Tangier Journals

Weekend in Morocco

A January 2007 trip to Tangier by skeptic

Welcome to Africa Photo, Tangier, Morocco More Photos
Quote: From southern Spain, the continent of Africa is just a boat ride away. We took the opportunity, spent three nights, and experienced an eye-opening adventure.
Royal Palace in Tetouan, Morocco Photo, Morocco, Africa
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Tetouan is the real Morocco. Don’t expect to find a crowd of European (or American) tourists here in the mountains outside Tangier. Do expect to find the color and bustle of an authentic Moroccan city.Tetouan is a short bus ride from Tangier. Give the bus driver in Tangier about a Euro and hop aboard. On the road up into the mountains expect to see more of Morocco’s Berbers, who make up a sizable part of the population. The business of Tetouan daily life begins right outside the bus terminal.Trucks carrying fish from the port were unloading to vendors out on the sidewalk when we arrived. Fruits and vegetables were on display for sale along the street. That was a prelude ...Read More

Asilah by the Sea

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Colorful Asilah Storefronts Photo, Asilah, Morocco
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We had only two days to explore outside Tangier, and our group leader picked Tetouan and the seaside town of Asilah. Great choice. Asilah is a delight for a short visit and to get the flavor of life in Morocco.Take a local bus from Tangier and arrive after 40 minutes in Asilah. Please note the highway signs spell it Assilah. The bus stops beside the coast highway, and from there it is a short walk to the center of town and the traditional walled city, the medina.Stroll toward the waterfront and enter the medina across the plaza from the cluster of shops and restaurants on the beach. Enter another world.Absent is the mad bustle that is the medina of Tangier. Th...Read More

The Buses of Tangier

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Story/Tip

Tangier Bus Terminal Photo, Tangier, Morocco
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Since our Tangier car rental was a no-show (yet another story), we fell back on plan B. All the good travel guides declared the usability of the Morocco bus service, so we decided to give it a try. It’s a story in itself.The desk clerk at the Hotel Tanjah Flandria indicated the bus terminal was only a few blocks down Mohamed V and to the right. We hoofed it down the hill, and after a stroll along a pleasant side street we found the terminal. And unrestrained chaos. Learn from our experience.There seemed to be a separate ticket window for each destination, and I inquired at one. The clerk tried to make me understand that we did not want to buy tickets at the window, and I ...Read More
The Medina in Tangier Photo, Tangier, Morocco
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For a first time visitor wanting a taste of Africa, Tangier on the coast of Morocco is ideal. It’s African, it’s Arabic, it’s Muslim. And it’s cosmopolitan. Just a few miles from the European coast, it may be the most European city in North Africa.The French have been here, and the Spanish. Street signs are in Arabic and French. Your Euros spend directly at many establishments, but you may also exchange them for the local dirham. As of January 2009 it’s about 8 dirhams to the dollar, down from 11 two years ago. Don’t get more dirhams than you need. They cannot legally be exported, and outside banks won’t take them. Many restaurants do not take credit cards.Northern Mor...Read More

Ferry to Tangier

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Story/Tip

Welcome to Africa Photo, Tangier, Morocco
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Flight to Tangier is the name of an old movie starring Jack Palance. All good advice is to fly to Tangier rather than take the ferry from Spain, and that advice will not be contradicted here. It is good advice. However, we were on a budget and happened to be winding up a week in southern Spain, so the boat seemed our logical choice. Not so obvious was which ferry to take. We used some of our drive time in Spain to check out our options. This is what we found:The huge ferry port at Algericas seems to be the port of choice. You don’t purchase tickets at the port, but get them in advance at regional outlets. Notably, along the freeway from Malaga there are one or more stati...Read More