Tétouan, a former Spanish protectorate, is less than 100 km from Asilah. The city is one of the country’s most important ports and, as well as spectacular views over the mountains, it also benefits from being close to beach resorts such as Martil. Many travellers stop here on their journeys to and from Chefchaouen, and this article provides a short guide of some of the key sights to visit.
The Tétouan medina (old town), classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, has seven gates (babs) and is surrounded by a 5 km wall and ramparts. It was developed by the Moors expelled from Spain in the 17th Century and much of the original architecture and design is still visible today. Furthermore, it is obvious from the ornate street lamps, benches and rubbish bins that the local government is keen to maintain the city’s elegance.
Place Hassan II & Royal Palace
The main plaza can be reached by following Rue Mohamed V from the cathedral. This popular meeting place, surrounded by cafes and leafy terraces, is the location of the Royal Palace.
The plaza and the Royal Palace were only recently built; Hassan II ordered their construction in the 1980’s. The palace is on the old site of the Spanish High Commission and the plaza is located where the Spanish garden used to be. This is a great place to enjoy a coffee in the shade and people watch.
Taking the street to the right of the place will bring you to the covered market (souk). Tétouan is one of the least touristy cities in Morocco and here you can stroll through the warren of white and green streets in relative peace. Each street has its own speciality, from textiles, to fresh fruit and veg, to delicious nougat and much more.
Located just outside the Bab el-Okla gate is Tétouan’s renowned artisan school. This is where many of Morocco’s finest craftsmen learned their trade; include zellige, carved plaster, ornate wood and decorative rifles. Visitors are allowed in to admire the students at work and the building itself is worth a look (normally Monday – Thursday).
Just a few steps down from the Artisan School, in a gap in the medina wall, you will find the Ethnographic Museum. The former fortress of the sultan Moulay Abderrahman, opened as a museum in 1948, displays a fascinating range of items representing Morocco’s culture and traditions.
Jardin Moulay Rashid
Continuing down Avenue Hassan II, along the outside of the medina wall, you will reach a small park. The area, previously known as Ryad Al Ushak, was a popular site for poets. Today, the modernised version maintains its romantic air and many young couples come to enjoy the peace and tranquility around its old fountains, in the shade of the palm trees.
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- For information on how to travel around the region please visit our Local Travel page.