Widok Na Malownicze Miasto Tanger

Tangier, A Tapestry of Cultures, Tastes, and Fragrances

From Andalusia to Morocco, A journey through two worlds

The southernmost tip of Andalusia offers an extraordinary panorama of the Strait of Gibraltar, which connects two continents: Europe and Africa.

The view is absolutely stunning, making it well worth considering a one or two-day trip to Tangier when traveling through southern Andalusia. You can easily make the journey from ports in either Algeciras or Tarifa. We took a fast ferry from Tarifa, and the sight of the European coastline receding into the distance was truly impressive. The crossing takes just over an hour, including the check-in process (baggage is screened similarly to airport procedures).

Tanger - Marokańska Mieszanka Kultur, Smaków I Zapachów

After leaving the port building, we were immediately surrounded by a loud group of locals aggressively offering their services. It's good to know that if you firmly but politely decline, they will eventually back off.

Tangier - a city of many cultures and histories

Tangier, a captivating port city steeped in history, graces the northern Moroccan coast, where the Bou Regreg River gracefully meets the Atlantic. Its origins trace back to ancient Berber civilizations, earning the moniker Tingis from the Greeks, who were captivated by its strategic location and burgeoning trade routes ..
The Phoenicians founded the settlement of Tingis in the 7th century BC. It was later ruled by the Romans, Vandals, and Visigoths. In 707 AD, the Arabs conquered Tingis and Morocco, and it became a base for their raids into the Iberian Peninsula.

Tangier's strategic location and its entanglement in historical conflicts made it a coveted possession, leading to frequent shifts in its national affiliation. In 1471, the city fell under Portuguese rule, a period marked by trade expansion and cultural exchange. Nearly two centuries later, in 1661, Tangier's fate intertwined with the marriage of King Charles II of England to Catherine of Braganza, a Portuguese princess. As part of the dowry, Tangier became a British possession, undergoing a period of English influence and development. However, after 22 years of British rule, the city reverted to Moroccan control, where it remained until the early 20th century.

Offers to visit Tangier and its surroundings A One-Day Plan Full of Excitement in Malaga 👇🏻

The colonization of Morocco by France and Spain had a profound impact on Tangier. In 1923, the city became an internationally controlled zone, transcending the boundaries of national sovereignty. This unique status attracted a diverse array of individuals, including the renowned writer William Burroughs, who immortalized the city's bohemian atmosphere in his groundbreaking novel "Naked Lunch." Interzone in its heyday was a destination for many world-class artists who sought exotic oblivion there. Among them were the poet Paul Bowles, members of the Rolling Stones and the Beatles. The Free City area was first under French and Spanish protectorate, under the joint administration of France, Spain, and the United Kingdom. Later, Portugal, Italy, Belgium, the Netherlands, Sweden, and the United States also established their influence and administrative divisions there.

This bizarre cultural melting pot lasted until 1956, when Morocco regained its independence and Tangier was reintegrated into the country. 

Tanger - Marokańska Mieszanka Kultur, Smaków I Zapachów

What's worth seeing in Tangier?

  • Medina - is the oldest part of the city and is divided into two areas: commercial and residential. The streets cross, and intertwine, and following them we have the impression of walking in a maze. One thing I can admit - there is some kind of magic in all this...
  • Grand Socco and Petit Socco - Grand Socco is a large shopping square, while Petit Socco, also known as 'Souk Dakhli', is a square in Medina. This used to be Tangier's largest market, with cafes, hotels, and casinos around it, bringing together the richest in the region. There are two charming cafés here with long-standing traditions: Café Tingis and Café Central
  • Musee de la Kasbah - Here you can learn more about the culture, history of the city and its people. Right next door is the Fils de Detroit, a great pub with musical performances - absolutely worth a look and a cup of peppermint tea
  • Cap Spartel and the Cave of Hercules - this place needs to be approached preferably by taxi from Grand Socco. Beware of swindlers! - The cave is easy to get around and we won't need anyone's help to explore the place
  • St Andrew's Church - an interesting Moorish-style church, with an English cemetery next door

Coffee & mint tea... 

And if you want to relax with a Moroccan tea, here are some cool spots below:

  • The above-mentioned Café Tingis and Café Central in Petit Socco
  • Anna & Paolo recommended and very cosy bar
  • Café Hafa – An iconic café with a century of tradition, located in the center of Tangier. It has hosted many famous writers, artists, and musicians over the decades. The balcony offers a magnificent view of the bay
  • Gran Café de París – the most important cultural and literary venue of the era, the "Zona Internacional"

Tangier is not a large city, so getting around the old part will not require a car or a guide. If you want to see other districts of the city, or its surroundings, it is safe to take advantage of the offer of pushy cab drivers. Be sure to haggle, and then haggle some more—it's part of the culture and tradition here.

It's not always wise to trust the offers you receive, as the locals are skilled at storytelling and persuasion. Consider these conversations as part of the adventure, but keep your expectations realistic. Don’t expect a regular taxi driver to take you inside the villas and palaces of sheikhs. At best, they will show you the surroundings and proudly point out the ornate fences. Personally, I think the real charm of Tangier lies beyond the wealthy estates.

Before getting into a taxi, it's worth checking its technical condition. Once, we could see the road through a large hole in the floor. 🙂

Tanger - Marokańska Mieszanka Kultur, Smaków I Zapachów

How to get there

CLICK HERE to check out departure times, reservation options, information, and prices. You can purchase tickets in advance, or in the office before entering the port of Tarifa.

🛳️ Book a ferry ticket from Tarifa to Tangier A One-Day Plan Full of Excitement in Malaga 👇🏻

We witnessed passengers being let on and off the upper deck of the ferry through a passage next to the cars on the lower deck. At the end of the journey, crowds gather below, queuing to exit and placing heavy luggage on the hoods of cars. Suitcases, trunks, and large bags scrape and scratch the car paint with a grating sound. If you're traveling by car and planning to continue your journey in Morocco, I recommend drivers get in the car queue as early as possible to ensure their vehicles are parked as far from the entrance as possible.

Looking for accommodation in Tangier?

Great prices in unique locations... Feel the magic of the old city!

Tanger, Noclegi W Tanger
Stare Miasto Tanger

Hotel overlooking the medina of Tangier

Check out the accommodation deals and plan your trip to Morocco!

🔹 More great deals on accommodation in Tangier - Check the dates!

I highly recommend the captivating novel "The Seamstress" by María Dueñas, a captivating tale of love, intrigue, and resilience set against the backdrop of Tangier's rich history and vibrant culture.

Map of Tangier, on which I have marked the main attractions and cafes:


Always on the go, though sometimes I do miss a bit of boredom... 😉 My passions? Technology, photography, psychology, diving into diverse reads, and sports... especially water sports and padel. Professionally, I design websites, graphics, and more. I'm also the author and photographer at www.pixambo.com 📸

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