A day in Tangier, Morocco

posted by Russ, February 2 in morocco, travel with tags , , ,

1 comment so far

Excerpt from my travel section about my day trip to Tangier, Morocco from Spain:

Medina stalls in Tangier, Morocco

Medina stalls in Tangier, Morocco

During my trip to Spain, one of the things that I wanted to do was a day trip to Morocco. I had really wanted to make a few days of it and head to Rabat and Marrakesh, but I didn’t have the time so I stuck with the day trip. I had also heard good things about Tarifa, Spain, so after my stay in Granada I went to Tarifa where I was able to get a fast ferry across the Strait of Gibraltar into Tangier. The other option was to go to Algeciras, Spain, and take the ferry from there, but apparently there’s not much to see there which is what made me pick Tarifa.

Prior to my trip I found a lot of confusing information about the trip to Tangier, but I will say that it is a piece of cake. From Tarifa it was about 60 Euros for a round trip ticket. You simply walk into the terminal and buy your ticket and you’re on the next boat to Africa! There is only one terminal, and one boat which leaves hourly if I remember correctly. Keep in mind that there is a one or two hour time difference between the two countries, and also try to get an early start so you don’t find yourself in Tangier after dark. Make sure you have your passport, and prepare for some serious culture shock. On the boat you can get your entry stamp in your passport which allows you to walk right off the boat and into the city. Some people seemed to say not to do it on the boat, but I did and I was able to get right off and go on my way — in fact it looked like people who hadn’t gotten their passport stamped on the boat were turned around and had to go back and get one.

View of Tangier, Morocco entering ferry terminal

View of Tangier, Morocco entering ferry terminal

There are official guides right at the port who are supposedly licensed to give tours, if that’s your thing, I would recommend going with one of them, otherwise prepare to be bombarded by locals who want to sell you things and give you “official” tours. With a prepared head and some self confidence I walked right by the guides and headed right into the medina. But that didn’t last long, as I soon saw how skilled these people are at making you second guess yourself. In retrospect I should have stuck with my instincts, but being a newbie in the city and trying to find my way around while having these touts tell me I wouldn’t be safe and would only find my way with their help, my confidence was lowered and I “accidentally” ended up with someone showing me around. Of course, after 10 minutes he tried to charge me an arm and a leg and threatened me. I promptly gave him the equivalent of about 2 euros — about 80% less than he wanted — and quickly lost him.

If I went again, I probably would do the same thing, with the exception of letting myself get suckered by the touts. Other than that one incident I had no problem with feeling unsafe, in fact after I lost him I soon befriended a few day trippers from Mexico and we had a great afternoon. I then spent the last hour alone again, and had no problems. The locals are very adept at finding people straight off the ferry who have yet to find their bearings. If you can get through that you should really be able to enjoy your trip. Even if you don’t know where you are, pretend that you do and whatever you do, don’t tell anyone it’s your first trip to Tangier!

In an afternoon there isn’t a whole lot to do other than wander around, laugh a little, and maybe try your hand at bargaining. Just remember that these people making their living doing what they do, and don’t feel pressured. Also, even
though you will probably feel lost, trust your intuition because you most likely won’t get lost. You may temporarily lose your bearings, but most roads and alleys lead to someone where you can catch your bearings.

Some highlights for me where getting lost in the medina, having lunch in the Petit Socco with my new friends, the Grand Socco, the Kasbah, and heading further away from the medina where I was able to catch a look at the “real” Tangier that most day trippers don’t see.

Read the entire post and see the photos here

Originally posted on Monday, February 2nd, 2009 at 5:32 PM .

One Response to “A day in Tangier, Morocco”

  1. Viviana Ng says:

    A round of applause for your blog post.Thanks Again. Will read on…

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