Travel and Tourism

Tangier (http://wikitravel.org/)

Tangier (طنجة) is an important port city in Morocco.

 

Tangier is a fascinating Moroccan city to visit. It has many of the things that travellers love--a sense of exotic mystery, interesting history, beautiful vistas, unspoiled beaches, and friendly people.

Tangier is an interesting mix of north Africa, Spain, Portugal and France. It is located in northern Morocco, and was under joint international control until 1956. Tangier is separated from Spain only by the 20 miles of the Strait of Gibraltar.

Frequent ferries make the short crossing from Europe each day, and many cruise ships sailing between the Mediterranean and the Atlantic often include Tangier as a port of call.

 

By ferry

Regarding the Crossing: is best to take the FRS ferry from Tarifa port.the first ferry departure from Tarifa-spain To Tangier-Morocco is at 9.00 AM and every 2 hours. from Tangier, the latest FRS ferry run back to Tarifa is at 22.00 PM. is far better to take the ferry from Tarifa port in order to dock in Tangier port situated in the City. when you take the ferry from Algeciras you'll be arriving in Tangier new port(Tanger-Med) Situated in about 40 KM from Tangier(one hoyur) each way from Tangier).

 

By plane

Tangier-Ibn Batouta Airport (TNG) is located 12 km (7.5 miles) from the city travel time about 20 minutes). Taxi 100 Dh (10€) from Tangier, 150 Dh (15€) at night or from the airport to Tangier Ville (to train station: 120 Dh). At present Royal Air Maroc easyJet, Ryanair, Iberia (Air Nostrum), Jetairfly, germanwings, Corendon Dutch Airlines, Transavia and Air Arabia Maroc fly here. All persons entering or leaving Morocco are required to complete an entry/exit card and non-residents are permitted to remain in Morocco for a total of 90 days.

Coming in by plane is the easiest and  hassle free way of coming to Tangier: there are no touts at the airport and the prices of the taxis are fixed by the government. Beware of long queues at passport controls before flights bound for the Schengen area.

If you’re on a shoestring and need to get to the airport, take a grand taxi to Assilah (20Dh) or Gueznaia and exit when the road goes off to the airport (it's signposted). It’s only a short walk from there (1.8km). Coming from the airport, a grand taxi running into Tanger can be easily caught at the crossing.

 

In recent years, things have improved considerably for tourists and you are not likely to be bothered too much but you will have to go through all the formalities of bringing your car into Morocco like everyone else. You can only bring your car in for 6 months in any one year. You are not allowed to leave it in Morocco unless you are prepared to pay the tax for the car which can be up to three times the actual cost of the car. This applies even if your car breaks, but if your car is written off, you will need to notify the customs authorities to avoid paying tax on a car as an import. There are strict regulations on bringing a car. For example, customs will not allow someone else to the leave the country with a car entered under someone else's name. Exceptions applied for relatives.

You must have "green card" insurance for your vehicle when driving/riding in Morocco. You can get this insurance from many companies in Europe, or in Morocco at the port in Tangiers. If you are stopped, you must show this insurance to the police. (Police have had a recent directive not to hassle tourists, so you may not be stopped at all, but still you'd better have the insurance in the unlikely event of an accident.) If you do not have insurance from your home country, then local insurance can be purchased at small insurance booths situated at the port. The insurance companies are reasonably reputable and will pay out if you have an accident. Note that this insurance policy has limitations and you are likely to have much more comprehensive cover from insurers from your own country. Most European insurers will cover Morocco and many include it under their standard level of European cover.

Contact details for Moroccan customs (Douane) are:

Administration des Douanes et Impôts Indirects,

Avenue Annakhil, Centre des Affaires, Hay Riad, Rabat

Tél : +212 (0)537717800/01 - +212 (0)537579000

Fax : +212 (0)537717814/15

Email : adii@douane.gov.ma

Web site: [1]

 

The port is located beside the Medina, and a few hundred metres from the ville nouvelle. (Note that Port of Tangier, and Port of Tanger Med are different ports. Port of Tangier is normally served from Tarifa, Spain; and Tanger Med, the new commercial port, is served from Algeciras, Spain. Tanger Med is the French spelling, which is used in road signs and in GPS maps.) Although the government has been partially successful in reducing the number of touts, money changers, taxi drivers and faux guides hassling people arriving by boat, expect to be mobbed. Look like you know where you're going, politely refuse any offers of help or ignore the "the fake guides" completely, or if you really feel like you need to escape jump in a taxi to escape the throng; just make sure that the taxi driver is no worse than the mob you are trying to escape. The taxi rank is inside the port area - you are likely to be mobbed by requests from many drivers. There is no queuing system - just take the taxi which you have agreed a fare with and are comfortable with. The blue coloured petit taxis are substantially cheaper and used more by locals and are preferable to the cream coloured grande taxis who are mostly unmetered. The grande taxis generally also will still try and charge you more even if you have agreed price, be insistent and get all your change back.

There are many fast hydrofoils daily on FRS Ferry Serice [6] from Tarifa in Spain for about 37 Euros one way, or 67 Euros round-trip (as of November 2010). Several times a day there are also fast Balearia ferries [7] from Algeciras, Spain to the new Tangier-Med Port (25 miles from downtown Tangier) for 29.50 Euros one-way or 62.50 Euros round-trip (as of November 2010). Passengers should be aware that the boats often run slower than the advertized time (because they depart later than scheduled time or simply take longer to get across). So give yourself an ample time cushion (1 hour minimum) if you plan to catch another transportation after you get off the ferry. For example, one speed catamaran between Tangier and Tarifa advertizes one hour travel time between Tanger and Algeciras on their brochure (35-minute boat travel between Tangier and Tarifa, then 15-minute bus travel from Tarifa to Algeciras), but in reality, this trip will take over 2 hours. Example: the boat frequently leave later (by 15-30 minutes) than the scheduled time, then once at Tarifa, the bus does not depart until everyone on the boat clears customs (which takes 30-45 minute), then the bus will take 20-25 minutes to travel from Tarifa to Algericas.

Get around

Walking is perhaps the best way to see the relatively compact Tangier. Petit taxis are common, but if it is unmetered make sure you agree on a price first. Tangier is very easy to navigate around; the two main roads are Boulevard Mohamed V which runs from near the Medina through the ville nouvelle and Boulevard Mohamed VI (formerly Ave des FAR) which runs along from the beachfront from the port to Malabata. The Medina area is a complex array of alleyways some of which can only be accessed on foot. Mohamed V has a whole range of clothes shops, pharmacies and cafes as well as Hotel Flandria, Hotel Rembrandt. Hotel Minzah lies just off this road. Mohamed VI runs along the beach front where you will find numerous hotels (Rif, Ramada, Sherezade, Solazure, Tariq, Movenpick), bars, discos, restaurants and cafes. Most hostels are situated on the roads heading uphill near the port area.

 

 

Most locals in Tangier will be unfamiliar with what we call the "ville nouvelle". To help with agreeing fares and generally with navigating using taxis - the central main thoroughfare is simply known as the "Boulevard", the beach area as "Playa", the port as "Marsa", the medina as "souk barra", the hilly area to the west of Tangier with the Golf Course and Race Track as "California", the residential area heading towards the main road to Tetouan as "Idrissia", the thieves market as "Casa Barata".

 

See

Take a simple walk along the beach (Ave Mohamed VI) to enjoy what the city is famed for.

The Kasbah

·         The tomb of Ibn Battouta, a 14th century famous traveller who was born in Tangier. Pay tribute to a fellow traveller.

·         Teatro Cervantes, rue Salah Eddine et Ayoubi. Closed and falling to pieces but take a photo from outside the gates as you pass by on the way up to the Grand Socco.

The American Legation, 8, Rue America. The Tangier American Legation Museum (TALM), a thriving cultural center, museum, conference center and library in the heart of the old medina in Tangier, is housed in the only historic landmark of the United States located abroad. The museum exhibits a large collection of art and historical items. It also has a Paul Bowles Wing [9] dedicated to the writer and composer who lived most of his adult life in Tangier. 

Musée d'Art Contemporain de la Ville de Tanger

The Kasbah Museum, the former Sultan's palace deserves to be seen not only for its collection of artefacts from the Phoenician to modern times, but also for the building and garden. There is a small entry fee (10 Moroccan Dirham or about $1USD) and varying opening times winter and summer.

 

Do

People watching on the Terrasse des Paresseux, boulevard Pasteur or on Sunday along the beachfront Avenue Mohammed VI.

Drink a mint tea at the Café El-Hafa and enjoy the view of the ocean.

Mnar Park aquatic park with a tremendous view of the coast. Open in 2005 it costs 5€ for children and 10€ Adults has aqua slides, karting circuits, café, romantic restaurant. (Excellent pancakes!).

Get happily lost in the medina, which is most active in evening and night.

Visit the American Legation Museum in the walled city. (Morocco was the first country to recognize the United States, in December 1777 with the hope of promoting commerce with the new republic. This act by the Moroccan sultan was the first public recognition of the U.S. by a head of state.)

Go to the souk on Thursday or Sunday mornings to see the Rif mountain women in their colorful costumes selling their produce and dairy products all along the wall of the St. Andrew's Church (English Church).

·     Visit Hercules Cave (Grottes d'Hercules). The caves of Hercules, located just 14kms west of Tangiers, are a place of stunning natural beauty and great archeological significance. Apparently, this is where the mythical figure, Hercules, used to rest after finishing his 12 labours. The cave also bears a mirror image resemblance to the continent of Africa. Get there by taxi costing about 160-200 dirham and takes about 15 minutes. It costs 10 dirham to get into the cave, do not bother with a tour guide. The cave is within a kilometer of a beautiful sandy beach (Plage Achkar), great for sunbathing or swimming. Buy bread and fruit before you leave, pack a picnic, and make a day of it.

·     Trip Boat (Promenade en mer, Pêche), Port de Tanger ville,  +212630551802, [12]. Trip Boat is a company that proposes boat trips from the port of Tangier, half day or full day, as well as fishing trips aboard an italian boat propelled by its two engines 200CV each.  

 

Buy

Most brasswork is made in other towns but is available here. Leather goods are also available. Stay away from the tourist traps and you may find the price quite agreeable.  There are markets notably the souk in the medina (mainly vegetables, clothes and tourist items) and in Ben Mekada (vegetables). The latter does not cater for tourists at all and is known as one of the "rough spots" of Tangier and back in the 1980's there were bread riots here.

Colorful leather slippers with pointed toes are great gifts to take home and cost about 600D a pair, more if they have soles suitable for walking outside. If you can bargain, especially with some Arabic, you can get the same shoes for 100DH - a typical price for a Moroccan customer. Mens and womens clothing can be had for reasonable prices too, in the medina.

 

Eat

There are many choices of different cuisine available. Many of the luxury hotels offer a good selection of both Moroccan and Continental Fare, though at prices much higher than what you will find elsewhere. There are also many restaurants along the Ave Mohamed VI (the beachfront) where one can enjoy a nice meal with a glass of wine on the beachfront.

In the evening, go to the plaza next to CTM bus station. There are several cafes and restaurants facing the plaza. The price and services are good because of the keen competition. Just wandering around in the medina will bring you across numerous Moroccan restaurants offering similar dishes, quality, and prices (main dish around 7 dollars), so you can basically just choose one at random and probably be satisfied.

 

Street Food

You may quickly bore of tagines and street food is a great option for snacking throughout the day. Fresh orange juice costs about 5D; sandwiches of egg, peppers, and sauce are about 10D. Yogurt mixtures can be particularly creative, such as avocado and almonds, or fruit mixtures. Tiny stalls in the souk sell cooked vegetables like eggplant, with rice, and other tasty treats and a meal there can cost 10D or so. In the early evening you may find squares of chickpea cakes sprinkled with salt and paprika.

 

Breakfast

In the morning a "locals" cafe will give you a cafe au lait for 5D. (Cafes where tourists congregate will charge you 10D.) Usually there is a bread vendor at the cafe (by the port or the madina) who will serve you bread with cheese and honey for another 5D. It's perfectly okay to buy your bread/breakfast elsewhere and eat it outside at the cafe. If the bread guy is next to the cafe the waiter will often collect.

 

Vegetarians

Vegetarians will find plenty to eat in Tangier and Morocco in general, but vegetarian tagines can become boring after a couple of days and often contain lamb stock. Street food is a lot more creative and fun. If you've brought a camping stove, shop at the souk and make your own. Or you can opt for Pizza, Japanese, Chinese or Indian all of which are available in Tangier.

 

Drink

There are many places in Tangier to drink - people have their own favourite haunts. Much depends on the current owner who tends to give the place a certain ambiance. Favorite bars/discos with foreign (and local) clientele include Casa Pepe, Sable D'or, Morocco Palace, Marco Polo (popular with truck drivers) and hotel bars such as Ramada and El Minzah.

You could opt for a coffee instead - there are no shortage of cafes; some of which are the best in the country. Some have amazing views (cafe Hafa), some good coffee, some are popular (cafe Tropicana, cafe Celine Dion), some with music (cafe in the Dawliz complex), some have good cakes (cafe Oslo), some are places to relax after a hard day shopping (cafe Madam Porte, cafe Vienna), and some are just plain sleazy - the choice is yours.

Fresh fruit juices are sold by street vendors during the summer months. The cafes also serve fresh juices and often have what is called a panache - a mix of fruit juices often with milk, apple and almond - try it - its delicious.

·         Cafe El-Hafa, (Near avenue Hadj Mohamed Tazi, GPS +35.79133°,-5.82175°). Nice view on the Straits of Gibraltar. Drink tea while looking at boats passing by. Hard to find but worth it. edit

 

Stay safe

Tangier is a relatively safe and peaceful city. The only trouble you may encounter is the persistent touts whom you should ignore, or the con-men ready to overcharge you. You will encounter these characters mostly in and around the medina and along the beach front promenade. Some touts are obvious while others may present themselves as friendly locals. The latter, referred to sometimes as 'false guides', will quickly begin to you give you a tour of the town and accompany you for as long as they can, then ask you for money. The longer they accompany you, the more aggressive they can seem if you do not want to pay them for their time.

Generally, tourists have every opportunity to firmlyand clearly decline these touts straight away. Ceasing to engage and ignoring the touts is also highly effective, and can be done in a way that is polite. 'La Shukran' means 'No Thank You' and when said as if you mean it, is very effective in reclaiming your space.

Dressing like a local - as opposed to white shorts, shoes, and a backpack - will help you blend in and get good reception from merchants, who will often quote you actual prices instead of inflated tourist prices. Tangier is considered one of the more moderate cities of Morocco and it is quite normal and acceptable to see foreign women without head coverings. It is not usual, however, to see foreign women wearing revealing clothes in Tangier.

If you are lost in the medina, you can easily find your way out by going uphill (souk/English church/Nouvelle Village) or down (port). Kids and young men may ask you for money to lead you out (a dirham or two), or to the Cafe Central, but if you are asked if you are lost and do not want help, say "Yes, but happily," and usually that gets a laugh and solitude.

Tangier is a safe place for solo women travelers. Common sense is advised and personal safety precautions you would usually take anywhere apply in Tangiers too.

 

Get out

You can buy train, bus and ferry tickets at the stations and ports listed above, although you may find it easier to purchase ferry tickets from travel agents rather than face the gauntlet of touts at the port. If you plan on leaving by ferry, it is important to note that the ferries to Algeciras often do not follow a set schedule, and departure times can change even within a day of having purchased tickets. One alternative is to take a fast ferry to Tarifa, because these are more likely to run on time and at least one of the companies provides a free bus to the port at Algeciras. You can also flag grand taxis at the major bus stations and ferry port.