Side trip to Tangier

Feb 19th, 2006, 05:22 PM
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Side trip to Tangier

Will be in Spain for 12 days next Sept. and am thinking of a day trip to Tangier. Any comments/advise would be appreciated.
larlar is offline  
Feb 19th, 2006, 06:34 PM
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Won't help too much, but did it as a 12 year old and still remember Tangier as a remarkable place. Loved it!
sprin2 is offline  
Feb 19th, 2006, 06:41 PM
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On a Spain/Portugal/Morocco trip I visited Tangier and it was a really tacky city. Certainly not representative of Morocco which was wonderful. Morocco is worth a few days at least.

Considering the length of time spent getting there, trying to see anything of interest, and getting back I would recommend skipping it. You can't even see that much in Spain in 12 days!
nancy is offline  
Feb 19th, 2006, 09:05 PM
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Tangier, like most border towns, can be pretty shady. I spent 3 weeks backpacking morocco and only felt unsafe in Tangier. I've grown up in border towns, traveled quite a bit around the world, mostly in latin america and europe, and am a pretty big guy but this city can be intimidating. It's not like a step off the boat into the set of Lawrence of Arabia.

Besides the fact that it's not exactly a day trip, given the fairly long ferry (over an hour), stepping off the boat you'll be swarmed by 'tour guides' and taxi drivers. Walk past em and get into a marked cab. We did drive around the city quite a bit, eating and what not, but ultimately went to the train station, which in itself is an experience. We waited there for the overnight train to Marrakesh. The ferry ride was very interesting, passing by the rock of Gibralter - which in itself was a pretty interesting city. BEWARE THE MONKEYS, theyll getcha

The thing that really did it for me in Tangier was meeting a local at the train station that seemed really friendly. He was a pretty well dressed guy who claimed to have studied cooking in the US. We had mint tea at the shop next to the station and talked for a while. Eventually we started talking about things to do in Morocco. He offered to help us make reservations in Marrakesh, and even offered to take us on a tour around Tangier before our train arrived. This all seemed like an awesome opportunity to see the town from a locals perspective, and i'm always up for getting to know the local lifestyle.

Boy was I wrong, and lucky! My good sense didn't let me take him up on the tour of the city, and what had tipped me off is he disappeared for a while and I had to pick up the tab for the mint tea! No big deal, but like the whole situation, a little shady. Anyway, by this time, he'd booked us reservations from a payphone, and tried to get us to eat at the nearest restaurant, which was disgusting, with a stagnant buffet covered in flies. With him gone, and things starting to click, I decided to double check on the reservations, and when I called... they'd never heard my name, they never received any reservation, and they never talked to a guy making a reservation on our behalf. I thought, "no wonder he offered to pay for the phone call"... cuz no call was made in the first place! (I was standing right next to him and the guy dialed the number so the guy must've been talking into a dialtone)

Anyway, remembering where I was in the world, I had every red flag raised. I gathered my things and went into the station. When he arrived, he tried to talk us into his car.. but luckily by this point, I'd figured him out, and lord knows where that ride was taking us.

After the overnight train to Mararakesh, I was dropped into one of the most beautiful and majestic places I'd been on my travels, and completely out of my element, which I love. I highly recommend the country, but dont recommend the border towns at all.

PS - Only hire tour guides from INSIDE the government tourist office. Spent 4 hours following around some half ass guide in Marrakesh who duped me into hiring him, after all he was in the lobby of our hotel, which was the nicest place on the main square. I even asked him for his permit and he offered to walk me to the tourist office to prove his legitimacy, in the end, all i can say is, what a pitch the guy had, and how sly he was to pull one over on me. My tour ended with a high pressure sales pitch at someones souvenier shop.

Finally - if you've got 12 days, and you'll be in spain, spend 12 days in spain, and don't waste it down on the southern coast near gibralter and algeciras, the only place worth seeing there is Sevilla. Choose from barcelona, valencia, alicante, granada, and madrid if you're gonna be on that side. You'll barely have time enough for that. The south of spain has less transportation and slower trains than the more central areas, so you can see more the more central you stay. I never made it up to the northern coast, but there's supposed to be some really nice areas up there.

Anyway, that's my bored on a sunday night 2 cents. Have Fun! And don't forget you're NOT in America, and it's NOT your country!
gruve is offline  
Feb 21st, 2006, 03:32 PM
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Thanks for the feedback. Tangier sounds alot like Tijuana, Mexico, which isn't saying much. I think I'll spend my time in Spain and skip the trip over to Tangier after reading the above comments.
If anyone out there had a positive experience visiting Tangier, please respond. Thanks again.
larlar is offline  
Feb 21st, 2006, 04:21 PM
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Tangier is not any place I would spend a day trip and I think it is a good idea to skip it.

I had a similar situation to gruve's in Tetouan and let me just say thank goodness I had only packed 5 kilos of luggage, am a damn fast runner, and have a knack for orienting myself in strange places because I literally ended up running through Tetouan with my backpack on, no map, trying to get back to the bus station from the heart of the medina.

laclaire is offline  
Feb 21st, 2006, 08:48 PM
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Rather you than me! I love Spain though and there is an awful lot to see there.
Carolina is offline  
Mar 8th, 2006, 03:10 PM
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Thanks for passing on your experiences in Tangier. Based on this information, I will probably skip the side trip to Tangier.
larlar is offline  
Mar 9th, 2006, 04:33 PM
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From a personal experience, do not do it. The ferry will pass by Gibraltar (I would highly recommend Gibraltar as a day trip from Malaga.) My husband & I want to go back. Had a wonderful local guide named Peter.

Going back to Tangier, once we got off the ferry, we were accosted by so-called "guides." Nothing to see. Casbah?? Forget it. Changed 20USD into local currency. Bought nothing. Once back in Spain, no one wanted to touch the currency. Thank God we did not change more.

Have been to Marrakesh. Very interesting. Tangier-absolutely NO. That's our personal opinion only.

Krysia is offline  
Mar 9th, 2006, 04:40 PM
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Save Morocco - a gorgeous and wonderful country - for when you can skip right past Tangier.
StCirq is online now  
Mar 9th, 2006, 07:11 PM
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I've been to a lot of crummy places, but Tangier must rank right near the bottom. Never have I had to fight off so many hawkers, touts, pimps, and beggars. Tangier makes Delhi look like the Ritz.
USNR is offline  
Mar 10th, 2006, 12:05 AM
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Tangier is just an awful town, with no character, dangerous ( someone tried to enter our 5 star hotel room while we were sleeping), and dirty like none I have seen so far. Having said that, I don't recommend it to anyone!
Tere is offline  
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