Introducing Tangier – a gateway to Africa

A country of vibrant colours, flavoursome food and bustling souks, Morocco is an incredibly exciting country to visit. If you’re interested in travelling here, I thoroughly recommend making Tangier your port of call. Often referred to as the ‘gateway to Africa’ (thanks to the fact that it’s at the entrance to the Strait of Gibraltar), this city is brimming with attractions.

One of the things I like most about Tangier is its mix of old and new. Its historic medina, which I’ll tell you more about in a moment, allows you to walk through a tangle of ancient streets and see an older way of life. At the same time, this city has been vastly cleaned up and revamped over the past few decades, while a new, modern city has been built alongside the medina. So, you have the chance to experience Morocco as it was then and is now.

Before I give you a few examples of the best cultural attractions to see here, I’d just like to point out that this part of the world is a great place to visit on a cruise. You can find out more about doing so from companies like Fred. Olsen, but one of the advantages of travelling in this way is that you’ll get to visit a few destinations on the other side of the Strait of Gibraltar before hitting Tangier, which means you can see how life differs on either side. And, of course, you’ll enjoy plenty of luxury along the way – always a bonus!

The medina

The historic walled part of the city, the medina, is the ultimate place to go to discover Tangier’s culture. Home to scenic squares, grand mosques and bustling souks, it has a real feel of Moroccan magic.

You’ll enter it through the Grand Socco – a plaza that was once a major marketplace. Today, it’s something of a tourist hotspot, and is home to several attractions, including the Cinema Rif – an arthouse cinema, archive and cafe, . Beyond the Grand Socco, you can wander through a labyrinth of cobblestone streets; try to do so aimlessly for the best experience – you never know what you might find.

Another place you might come across is the Petit Socco – once the medina’s seedy crossroads, this is now a hive of both local and tourist activity, with cafes perfect for a spot of people-watching with a refreshing mint tea.

Grande Mosquee

If you do stumble across the Petit Socco, you won’t be far from the spectacular Grande Mosquee, so make sure you take a stroll to see it. This building is believed to have been built on the site of a Roman temple, and even once housed a church, making it an all the more interesting place to admire.

The Kasbah and the Kasbah Museum

Strolling from the medina, you can enter the Kasbah (which is built on the highest point of the city) through the Bab el-Assa or south-eastern gate. This is a great place to explore, with the highlight being the former sultan’s palace, known as Dar el-Makhzen.

Inside, you’ll find a museum dedicated to Moroccan arts – a great place to take a look around and get a feel for the country’s culture.

Mendoubia Gardens

Located close to the aforementioned Cinema Rif, the Mendoubia Gardens are a great place to go for a quick break from the hustle and bustle. Head up to the top of the central hill to see an impressive monument framed by cannons, while simply taking a walk through the gardens will give you the opportunity to glimpse some of the city’s most elegant colonial buildings, which line this green oasis.