Many people who visit Asilah pass through Tangier, arriving either by plane, ferry or bus. However, few spare the time to discover the once cosmopolitan and vibrant city also known as the “Gate to Africa”.
This article outlines a great walking tour that allows you to take in the key sights of the city in just one hour and is perfect for anyone planning on taking the ferry to Spain (its all downhill!) Alternatively, if you are arriving from Spain to the port just reverse the order (only recommended if you have a light backpack or a small suitcase with wheels).
- Cemetery & Jardins du Mendoubia
Located just above the Tangier medina is the cemetery and the Jardins du Mendoubia. This recently re-developed space is a tranquil and calming place to catch your breath before heading into the heart of the city. From here there are great views of the medina and to the Mediterranean beyond.
- St Andrews Church, Tangier
Head down hill towards the medina, and just before you reach the main square, you will see St Andrews Church on the right, highly identifiable by the St George’s flag flying from the church’s tower. This church was built between 1894 and 1905 and contains a curious mix of Anglican and Islamic features, including the inscription of the Lord’s Prayer in Arabic on the walls. The church holds a regular Sunday service which is attended by British ex-pats as well as immigrants from other African countries, such as Nigeria.
- Grand Socco
Just beyond the church you will see the Grand Socco. This square, also known as Place 9 Avril, used to be a bustling market place (and was the scene of the mugging of the innocent Spanish shepherd, protagonist of Paulo Coelho’s The Alchemist). The area has recently undergone a make-over and now features a pretty fountain and benches and is overlooked by the Rif Cinema (which shows both French language and Arabic films) and a grand mosque. For a bird’s eye view of the action, head up to the restaurant Les Passagers de Tanger for a bite to eat on their terrace.
- Petit Socco
From the Grand Socco, pass through the Bab el Fahs gate into Tangier’s Petit Socco. On the right you will discover the meat and fish markets or by continuing straight down you will find the souk selling everything from jewellery, to goat skinned lamps, to tadelakt pottery. A simple “la shukran” (no thank you) will send away any annoying hustlers or over-zealous vendors. To avoid getting lost just keep following the main street straight down. You will pass a catholic nunnery and the Grand Mosquee on your right. At the end of the road you reach a lookout point with the old cannons used to protect the city, from here you can see across the Gibraltar Straights to Spain.
- Continental Hotel, Tangier
The Hotel Continental is a classic landmark in Tangier. The hotel has accommodated many famous people over the years and is a great spot to enjoy a Moroccan tea and watch the ferries coming and going into the port. Sneak inside and up to the breakfast room to discover the incredibly intricate original mosaic walls and painted ceilings.
Once refreshed, take the recently cleared original steps down to the ferry port – an easy 5 minute stroll.
- Have you visited Tangier? We would love you to share your experiences in the ‘Reviews’ box below.
- For more information about getting ferries to and from Tangier visit our Ferries page.
- For a map of the route click here.