Tangier and the Mediterranean

We’ve compiled the best of the best in Tangier and the Mediterranean - browse our top choices for the top things to see or do during your stay.

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  • 1. Grand Socco

    Ville Nouvelle

    This large, palm-lined plaza sits at the junction of old and new, linking the medina to the Ville Nouvelle. Tangier's main marketplace in times past is now known as the Place du 9 Avril, the date of King Mohammed V’s famous speech requesting independence. The keyhole-shape Bab el Fahs, the main entrance to the medina, stands at the bottom. As late as the 1940s, when the new city was just beginning, the door was locked at night to seal off outsiders—hence the name, meaning "Inspection Gate."

    Pl. du 9 Avril 1947, Tangier, Tangier-Tétouan-Al Hoceima, Morocco
  • 2. Kasbah


    Sprawling across the medina's highest point, Tangier's kasbah is a fusion of sun-drenched squares, where the Mediterranean sun bounces off pristine white walls—a relic of the Portuguese in the 16th century—and shade-filled alleyways, making it the ideal place for relaxed wandering. Don’t miss Place de la Kasbah, with the Dar el Makhzen (a sultan’s palace turned fascinating museum) at one end, and the iconic Bab al Bhar gate at the other. Step through the gate for stunning views over the port and across the ocean to Spain. The Bab el-Assa has a fountain covered in beautiful zellij tiles, ornate stucco, and carved wood. The kasbah is also home to some of the city’s most atmospheric restaurants and lodgings. You can reach it from the Grand Socco by walking up Rue d'Italie, which turns into the steep Rue de la Kasbah, and entering through the Bab el Kasbah at the top. Or dive into the medina and get there—with a few twists and turns en route—walking upward along Rue Amrah. A petit taxi can take you there as well.

    Tangier, Tangier-Tétouan-Al Hoceima, Morocco
  • 3. Kasbah Museum of Mediterranean Cultures


    This former sultan’s palace now houses a beautiful museum, with arts and crafts—including carpets, jewelry, ceramics, illuminated manuscripts, and textiles—alongside an overview of the region’s rich history from the Paleolithic period to colonial times. There are finely crafted examples of carved and painted cedar ceilings and the marble columns in the courtyard were taken from the ancient Roman city of Volubilis; other notable objects are the mosaic Voyage of Venus and the life-size Carthaginian tomb. There's also a lovely Moroccan-Andalusian garden to stroll through and a rooftop café with stunning views. Exit the palace via the former treasury of Moulay Ismail, the Bit el Mal; look for the giant, knobby wooden boxes that once held gold and precious gems. A palace has been here since the 12th century, but the current building was reconstructed in the 18th century by Ahmed Ben Ali.

    Pl. de la Kasbah, Tangier, Tangier-Tétouan-Al Hoceima, Morocco

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: 20 DH, Closed Tues.
  • 4. Lixus

    Perched on a hilltop with stunning views over the Loukos Estuary, Lixus is a fascinating archaeological site, just 10 minutes from Larache and one hour from Tangier. Although the site may not as famous or imposing as the Roman ruins of Volubilis near Meknès, you’ll be able to explore without the crowds. Only a small portion of Lixus has been excavated, but the main attractions are an amphitheater, a column-lined road, and a mosaic of a sea god (half man, half crab). Also notable is the religious center of the town, at the summit, which retains the foundations for the places of worship of each civilization to have settled there—from Phoenicians in the 7th century to the Carthaginians to the Romans. The Romans believed it was here that Hercules picked the golden apples of the Garden of the Hesperides. A visitor center has an interesting display charting what’s known of the site’s history, and the guardians (Mohammed speaks excellent English) at the entrance are informative and happy to show you around; a tip of around 100 DH is appreciated. You can reach the site by petit taxi from Larache; arrange for your driver to pick you up after your visit.

    Larache, Tangier-Tétouan-Al Hoceima, Morocco

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: 60 DH
  • 5. Medina and Kasbah

    Chefchaouen boasts one of the most picturesque medinas in Morocco, a compact and crowd-free area that's a delight to explore, with almost every building along its tangle of alleyways painted in a dazzling blue hue. Photo opportunities abound at every turn. At its heart is the cobbled main square, Place Outa el Hammam. Looming over the medina are the dusky red walls of the 13th-century kasbah, now home to a lovely Andalusian garden and a small ethnographic museum.  Climb the tower for incredible views of the medina and the mountains beyond.

    Pl. Outa el Hammam, Chefchaouen, Tangier-Tétouan-Al Hoceima, Morocco

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Medina free; kasbah 60 DH
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  • 6. Muralles Reales

    Ceuta's monumental Royal Walls date back a millennium and have been added to over the years by the Arabs, Portuguese, and Spanish to strengthen the town's fortifications. The strikingly modern Museo de los Muralles Reales, set in the walls, displays interesting art exhibitions. Crossing the San Felipe moat gives you a fine view over the walls.

    Av. San Francisco Javier, Ceuta, Ceuta, Spain
  • 7. Plaza de África

    The lovely Andalusian-style square is at the heart of the old city and worth exploring. Check out the memorial that honors soldiers who took part in the Hispano-Moroccan war of 1859. Flanking the main plaza is a pair of impressive churches, both built on the sites of former mosques: to the north is the baroque Nuestra Señora de África (Our Lady of Africa), and at the southern end is the larger and even more ornate cathedral.

    Plaza Nuestra Señora de África, Ceuta, Ceuta, Spain
  • 8. Royal Artisan School

    Just across from Bab el Okla, this prestigious school was founded in 1919 to preserve Morocco's rich craft heritage. Here you can watch the masters passing on their skills, including wood painting, pottery making, and embroidery, and also buy directly from the artisans. The Moorish-Andalusian building is a work of art in itself, with a colonnade inscribed with Kufic inscriptions, stained-glass details, and a vibrant zellij tiles.

    Av. Mohammed Ameziane, Tetouan, Tangier-Tétouan-Al Hoceima, Morocco

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: 50 DH, Closed Fri. afternoon and weekends
  • 9. St. Andrew's Church

    Ville Nouvelle

    Consecrated in 1905, this towering Anglican church—famously painted by Matisse in 1912–13 from his room at the Grand Hotel Villa de France—gives a sense of the flourishing interfaith relations that Tangier was once famous for. The Lord's Prayer is engraved in Arabic behind the altar, and quotes from the Koran appear across the Moorish-style walls. The church is built on land donated by Sultan Hassan. A cemetery surrounds St. Andrew's and holds the grave of British journalist Walter Harris (1866–1933; he lived in and wrote about Morocco), as well as British and Commonwealth soldiers who died fighting in North Africa during World War II. The caretaker is almost always on-site, and for a small donation to the church, he will share his knowledge about the church and those buried here.

    50, rue d'Angleterre, Tangier, Tangier-Tétouan-Al Hoceima, Morocco

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Closed Fri.
  • 10. Tangier American Legation Museum

    As the first public real estate and the only U.S. National Historic Landmark outside the country, the Tangier American Legation Museum pays testament to the long-standing relationship between Morocco and the United States. Since the stately building was donated to the U.S. government by Sultan Moulay Suleiman in 1821, the museum has amassed a large collection of paintings, books, maps, and portraits. Exhibits to look out for include the original correspondence between George Washington and the sultan, and an amusing letter home from a panicked ambassador who was given an unusual goodwill gift by the Moroccan people: a now-extinct Barbary lion. Don't miss the Paul Bowles wing, dedicated to the American author's life in Tangier.

    8, rue d'Amérique, Tangier, Tangier-Tétouan-Al Hoceima, Morocco

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: 20 DH; guided tours 50 DH per person, Closed Sun.
  • 11. Akchour Waterfall and God's Bridge

    The village of Akchour in Talassemtane National Park—a 50-minute grand taxi ride northeast of Chefchaouen—is the starting point for two beautiful and relatively easy hikes. Take the left-hand path at the hydroelectric dam, and the Akchour waterfall is around a 45-minute walk away. From there you have the option of continuing on a four- to five-hour round-trip hike to another, much larger waterfall. You can also choose to go right at the dam; on the other side of the river, you can head up on a steep path to God's Bridge, a natural stone bridge. Several small cafés offering mint tea and tagines sprinkle the paths, as do wildflowers. Be aware that some locals might try to sell you things, some of them illegal.

    Akchour, Tangier-Tétouan-Al Hoceima, Morocco
  • 12. Archaeological Museum

    Close to Place Al Jala, this three-room museum holds a small collection of Roman mosaics and statuettes, coins, bronzes, and pottery found at various sites in northern Morocco such as Lixus and Cotta. It also has pictures of the archaeological site of Tamuda (which resembles Stonehenge), where Anteus is fabled to have been buried after his battle with Hercules. There are further exhibits in the garden.

    2, av. Mohammed Ben Larbi Torres, Tetouan, Tangier-Tétouan-Al Hoceima, Morocco

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: 10 DH, Closed Tues.
  • 13. Cap Spartel Lighthouse

    At 985 feet above sea level, the land around the lighthouse offers amazing views over the water: on a clear day, it's possible to see the meeting point of the dark blue of the Atlantic and the turquoise of the Mediterranean. Built by Sultan Mohammed III in 1864, this lighthouse was maintained by Britain, France, Spain, and Italy until Morocco's independence from France in 1956. 

    Cap Spartel, Tangier-Tétouan-Al Hoceima, Morocco
  • 14. Castillo del Desnarigado

    Just under Ceuta's lighthouse, and named for a flat-nosed Amazigh pirate who made the cove his home in 1417, this fort built in the 19th century now houses a museum of military history showcasing the evolution of weapons from the 16th to 19th centuries. You can look out across Ceuta's port and, on clear days, take in a stunning view of Gibraltar from the ramparts.

    Carr. Castillo del Desnarigado, Ceuta, Ceuta, Spain
    0956-51–40–66-in Spain

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Free
  • 15. Caves of Hercules

    Six kilometers (4 miles) south of Cap Spartel are the Caves of Hercules, a popular tourist attraction tied to the mythical Hercules, who’s said to have rested here after his labors. One cave has been decorated with amateurish paintings; the other has been left in its natural state and is famed for its windowlike opening in the shape of the African continent, through which the surf crashes. Legend has it that the cave leads to a subterranean tunnel that crosses the Mediterranean. At one of the many cafés by the entrance to the caves, you can sit under a parasol and take in the sea views over a cold drink. You can tour the caves on your own if you're not with a guide or a group. 

    Cap Spartel, Tangier-Tétouan-Al Hoceima, Morocco

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: 5 DH
  • 16. Cinémathèque de Tanger

    Ville Nouvelle

    This popular cinema and cultural center, formerly the Cinéma Rif, is in a renovated, whitewashed Art Deco theater dating from 1938; it offers retrospective screenings and cutting-edge films across two screens. Old Spanish film flyers dazzle from under their glass frames at the café, where there is a full menu of intriguing, ciné-inspired cocktails and some light bites. The colorful, comfy chairs spill out onto the legendary Grand Socco marketplace, perfect for people-watching.

    Pl. du 9 Avril (aka Grand Socco), Tangier, Tangier-Tétouan-Al Hoceima, Morocco

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Films 25 DH, Closed Mon.
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  • 17. Cotta

    Approximately 7 km (4½ miles) south of Cap Spartel, look down toward the beach and you'll see the ruins of the 3rd century BC Roman town of Cotta. It was known for its production of garum, an anchovy paste that was exported throughout the Roman Empire. All that remains of the town now are the foundations of buildings, baths, and villas. You can walk to the site from the road or, more easily, from the expanisve beach that runs south from the lighthouse, known locally as Robinson Plage.

    Cap Spartel, Tangier-Tétouan-Al Hoceima, Morocco
  • 18. Dar El Oddi

    A hidden gem in the medina, this beautiful 1920s mansion has been painstakingly restored by the El Oddi family and opened to the public as a small but fascinating cultural space. Among the ornate zellij tiles, carved stucco, and stained glass, there are collections of photographs, postcards, and stamps (miniature works of art) honoring the city’s history. There’s also a souvenir shop and a small peaceful café to sip a mint tea.

    5, Derb Oddi, Tetouan, Tangier-Tétouan-Al Hoceima, Morocco

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: 25 DH, Closed Mon.
  • 19. El Chorrillo Beach

    At Ceuta’s longest and most popular city beach, the sand is nothing special but the clear water is relatively calm year-round. It gets crowded in summer. Amenities: food and drink; showers; toilets; water sports. Best for: swimming.

    Ceuta, Ceuta, Spain
  • 20. Grand Mosque


    The towering white-and-green-tiled minaret of the largest mosque in the city makes it one of the most recognizable sights in the medina. Built on the ruins of a European-built church in 1685 by Sultan Moulay Ismail, it was a tribute to and celebration of Morocco's return to Arab control.  While only Muslims are allowed to enter the mosque, it makes a great photo stop as you explore.

    76, rue de la Marine, Tangier, Tangier-Tétouan-Al Hoceima, Morocco

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