Visiting Tangier with friends. A city made for enjoyment
Nature, culture, history, heavenly beaches and delicious gastronomy await you and your friends in Tangier. This gateway city, a mecca for artists, writers, musicians and bohemians from all over the world, is a great place to enjoy in good company. So get ready to discover one of the great Mediterranean port cities, together with Alexandria and Istanbul. A gateway between two continents that is lively and literary, cosmopolitan and mischievous, artistic and bohemian, diverse and contradictory… Tangier is a city that will leave you captivated with its light and magic. Situated just 13 kilometres from the Spanish coast, the city boasts countless gems and surprises throughout its maze of narrow streets and along its coastline, where you can admire its monuments and sample its delicious gastronomy.
If you are planning a break with friends to Tangier, below are a selection of essential things to do to get the most out of the city. What’s more, any time of year is perfect for exploring this hospitable city of over one million inhabitants that conjures up stories of sultans and that, according to the writer Paul Morand, ‘is the most European city in Africa and the most African city in Europe’.
Here are some options that you cannot miss on your break with friends:
- Discovering the kasbah and its museum
- Shopping at Petit Socco
- The hundred-year-old, iconic Café Hafa
- Exploring the port of Tangier
- Visiting Cape Spartel and the Hercules caves
- Enjoying Tangier’s traditional cuisine
Discovering the kasbah and its museum
A great way to kick off your Tangier city break is by discovering the kasbah and its museum. You can take a relaxed, leisurely walk through the narrow streets that make up the walled complex of the old town. You will be amazed by the beautiful streets and the brightly-painted houses that you will no doubt want to capture with your camera. From here you will have commanding views of the city as well as the best views of the Strait of Gibraltar and Tangier port.
- Perfect location with sea views
- Large outdoor swimming pool
- Excellent restaurants
- Spacious rooms measuring up to 64 m²
Be sure to spend some time in the Kasbah Museum, perhaps one of the city’s most important historical attractions. The museum is housed in the former sultan’s palace, which holds many secrets. The last sultan to reside here until 1912 was Moulay Hafid. Look out for the hand-carved dome dating from the early eighteenth century, which has retained part of its original paintwork, and the ancient trees that stand in the Andalusian-style garden.
Shopping at Petit Socco
This diverse, brightly-coloured market is a must-visit on a Tangier city break with friends. Walking around the hundreds of shops selling unusual items is a great way to pass the time, although shops selling crafts and gifts aimed at tourists are widespread. Here you can buy traditional footwear, wallets, clothing and bags as well as regular produce such as fruit, vegetables and spices. Believe us, you will have a ball. You’ll surely want to indulge in a special treat and will be surprised by your haggling skills. Make the most of your time there by having a delicious mint tea at one of the bars that surround Petit Socco.
The hundred-year-old, iconic Café Hafa
A visit to Tangier with friends wouldn’t be complete without a drink at the iconic Café Hafa, which just celebrated its 100th anniversary. Opened in 1921, the café is a favourite bohemian hangout that has welcomed customers as illustrious as the Rolling Stones, Paul Bowles, Bernard-Henry Lévy and Juan Goytisolo. It consists of several tiered terraces that look out onto the Strait of Gibraltar with Europa Point forming the café’s backdrop. The establishment is simple with white and indigo coloured walls and tiled tables and painted ceramic flowerpots. Next to the café are a series of Phoenician tombs that also overlook the sea.
Exploring the port of Tangier
Although it’s not a must-visit place on a Tangier city break with friends, the port is a great place to get a good feel for the city. Here you can soak up the sea breeze and the scent of spices and fish that is so characteristic of Moroccan ports, signalling that you are on fishermen’s turf. Strolling around the surrounding area while the port’s fishermen get to work is definitely worth the while.
Visiting Cape Spartel and the Hercules caves
This is one of the most popular excursions in Tangier’s surrounding area. Both Cape Spartel and the Hercules caves are just 14 kilometres from the city and offer an unforgettable views of the Strait of Gibraltar and the point at which the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean meet. The Hercules caves house countless legends and there is reason to believe that they were inhabited during the Neolithic period. According to mythology, Hercules slept inside the cave on one occasion. You can reach the caves on the Tangier tourist bus.
Enjoying Tangier’s traditional cuisine
You cannot leave Tangier without setting foot in one of its traditional restaurants serving authentic Moroccan cuisine. As a general rule, dining options in Tangier are very good value for money for European visitors and dishes that cannot be missed include chicken tagine with lemon, kebab skewers, vegetable couscous and delicious Moroccan desserts. Where you choose will depend on your budget, but some low-cost restaurants have acquired a well-deserved reputation, such as Riad al Andalous, Hammadi and El Morocco Club. Other good options include Dar Lidam, Palais Zahia, Rif Kebdani, Ahlen, Al Maimouni and Ali Baba.
Where to sleep in Tangier
The best accommodation option in Tangier, due to its unbeatable location, outstanding service and excellent value for money, is the Barceló Tangier hotel. Situated in the city centre, the most modern, tourist-oriented part of Tangier, it boasts panoramic sea views and is just a two-minute walk from the beach. The hotel has 138 rooms equipped with all mod cons, while dining options include a restaurant serving international cuisine, a snack bar and a café. What’s more, it boasts a large outdoor swimming pool and a pub that usually offers a programme of live music. At the Barceló Tangier you can enjoy the city to the fullest with your friends and experience an unforgettable holiday by the sea.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the essential things to do in Tangier with friends?
The best things to do include discovering the kasbah and its museum, going shopping at Petit Socco, having a drink at the legendary Café Hafa, strolling along the port and enjoying its traditional cuisine.
What are the best excursions to do with friends from Tangier?
A must-do excursion on a visit to Tangier with friends is Cape Spartel and the Hercules caves.
What is the best time of year to visit Tangier with friends?
Tangier is good to visit at any time of the year, although temperatures are more pleasant for walking in spring and autumn.