The fascinating and exotic northern city of Morocco
With an ancient heritage dating back to the fifth century BC, Tangier is a coastal city on the northern tip of Morocco. Tangier lies on the western side of the Strait of Gibraltar, which separates the Atlantic Ocean from the Mediterranean. The city has been a source of fascination for centuries of travellers, not least of which were an honour roll of twentieth century literary icons that included the famous beat generation of Kerouac, Ginsberg and William S. Burroughs, who wrote his masterpiece Naked Lunch while staying in the city. Although Tangier faded from glory in the latter half of the century, the palm-lined boulevard that traces the path of the long, curved sandy beach around the Moroccan coastline may yet prove to be an irresistible attraction to another generation of the cultural elite.
Holidays in Tangier are a great combination of beach holiday, history trail, cultural eye-opener and exotic shopping trip. Explore the narrow streets filled with market stalls selling all manner of unusual items, and enjoy a strong coffee in one of the bohemian street cafés that might once have played host to Tennessee Williams or even Kenneth Williams for that matter!
When to Go?
Although you might see a tiny bit of rain if you visit between November and March, generally speaking, Tangier is dry and hot. Late spring or early summer is the best time to visit Tangier before the summer temperatures become too oppressive and the tourist season gets into full swing. If you must visit between July and August at the height of tourism, book your hotels and flights to Tangier early to get the pick of the bunch.
How to get there?
Get a flight to Tangier Ibn Battouta Airport (TNG), formally Tangier-Boukhalef Airport, with Royal Air Maroc, which is currently the only airline operating direct flights to Tangier from the UK, flying out of London Heathrow Airport. Several other airlines Including BA, Air France and KLM have indirect flights to Tangier, with a stop-off in Casablanca. Another option is to catch a Eurostar train to Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport, where you can get a cheap easyJet flight to Tangier.
Visit the Kasbah, a fortified residential area or ‘medina’ in the heart of the city, which was built in the 17th century and is packed with narrow streets and lots of buying and selling. Head to the Grand Socco, or ‘Big Square’, in the evening, where you can barter for second hand goods, or buy some spices from the colourfully dressed market ladies in their big straw hats. The Dar El Makzhen is the former Sultan’s Palace, built at the highest point in the medina; you can stroll around the gardens or visit the museums that now occupy the palace, including the Museum of Moroccan Arts.