There are some places on the earth that definitely contain more magic than others : Paul Bowles, writer of The Sheltering Sky and long-term resident of Tangier.
Tangier is only a few kilometres from the coast of Spain yet culturally is an entire continent apart. With Berber, African, Arabic and European roots, the city is currently undergoing a renaissance bringing it into the 21st century yet it still retains the magic that has made it the chosen spot for generations of travellers, writers, musicians, artists and bohemians. From Delacroix to the Rolling Stones, the city has held sway in the imagination of many for centuries.
Dar Jameel can help arrange your sight-seeing tour with a trusted guide and/or taxi driver.
The medina, or ancient walled city, is the heart of the city and over it’s few square kilometres, one can find many locations and buildings rich with history.
Ibn Battuta, arguably the city’s most famous son, left his birthplace here on June 14th 1325 and travelled as far as India and China, writing one of the earliest travel books in the process.
The Kasbah, the ancient administrative centre of the medina, has a museum housed in the beautiful old Sultan’s palace and is worth a visit simply to see the building.
The Petit Socco (small square) was formerly the site for a small market but for many years has been a place to drink a coffee and watch the world go by.
The American Legation, housed in two beautiful houses, not far from the Petit Socco, was the first embassy founded by a fledgling U.S.A. in December 1777 and contains paintings of many artists who lived in Tangier as well as a small collection of memorabilia of the writer Paul Bowles.
Beyond the Medina
Stroll about the Ville Nouvelle, the ‘new town’ built by the French, Spanish and other colonial powers in the 19th-20th centuries. Drink a mint tea at the Café Hafa and enjoy the view of the ocean.
Visit Mnar Park aquatic park with a tremendous view of the coast. Open in 2005 it costs 5€ for children and 10€ for adults, has aqua slides, karting circuits, café, romantic restaurant. (Excellent pancakes!).
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 or visit the excellent L’Ocean restaurant nearby on Sidi Kacem beach.