Hidden just at the edge of the ramparts of Tangier's casbah high above the medina, is this gem of a small hotel with only ten rooms. During restoration work the owners discovered an old hammam within their walls, which now is the secret centrepiece of the hotel. Sooner or later you will share a beer with your convivial host and he will offer to introduce you to the oldest form of wellness - his master of ceremony will heat the private hamman with fire wood, give you a perfect rubdown in the steamy marbled vaults scented in oriental fragrances and wrap you in cosy blankets afterwards. Fresh mint tea on the diwans on the roof terrace overlooking both the Atlantic and the Mediterranean complete the joutney back to the old Tangier of poets, spies and smugglers ...
If you want to visit and experience a real, non-touristy market this is the place to go. This is a lesser-known traditional Moroccan market used mainly by locals. You can buy souvenirs for yourself and your home as well as gifts for friends and relatives at a cheaper price than elsewhere.
Only a few minutes' taxi ride from the main tourist areas.
Ask for Casabarata. Also next to the market is an historic Mosque.
Google map: bit.ly/91NUOt
If you're staying in Gibraltar you might as well hop on the ferry and spend a day in Tangier, Morocco.
You could go there on your own, but it's probably best if you book a tour from Gibraltar. Loads of tour companies do the Tangier tour - they charge different prices and some of the tours are from the Spanish side, so you should check the itinerary to see whether they pick you up at the hotel or you have to make your way to the port (it's about 30-40 minutes' drive).
Once you land in Tangier, you'll be driving all sorts of places - I suspect some places are run by relations of the guides and they try to sell you goods whether you want them or not. I'm not saying you shouldn't buy - small items are good, but be careful how much you pay!
A shop where you will not be pestered, hassled or pressured into buying anything. If you do not have a well-informed guide, do not go into any carpet shops unless you are prepared to buy one, as you will be invited to have tea, and then be subjected to intense sales pressure.
Just above the harbour
My wife and I took a seven day WindSurf Cruise. Upon docking the last day, we booked a pre-arranged private tour in Tangier Morocco. It was about a three or four hour tour. The purpose of this email is to let readers know that our guide, David, was a remarkable, engaging and knowledgeable young man. Of all the excursions on all the cruises we've taken, we enjoyed his commentary and his interest in our learning about all things Moroccan more than any guide we can remember. He is a real asset for his company and will be for anyone else he chooses to work for. We really enjoyed our tour with David as a private personal tour guide in Tangier..he was fabulous! We were taken to places that were amazingly beautiful and to top it off, much of the natural history was explained to us. My wife and I are both interested in conservation, and we've done plenty of it!
A fortified former Portuguese port on the Atlantic Coast below Tangier, Asilah is built in Andalusian style with whitewashed buildings and is surrounded by huge ramparts. It has a small medina that is easy to navigate and fairly hassle free. There are also some good seafood restaurants and beaches which stretch for miles up the coast. A good place to relax away from the madness of the big Moroccan cities.
Asilah also has an International Festival that runs for 3-4 weeks in August, with musicians and artists from around the world.
About 45 mins from Tangier by train (station is 2km out of town).
Tangier is nothing like I had imagined (it's much better) and so very different from anything I'd ever seen before. We hired Baba, a private guide which meant we didn't have to travel around in a big pack. Baba drove us to the usual tourist spots: Cap Spartel, the Caves of Hercules, past the rich homes & palaces, through the modern part of the city. Then we headed to the Medina on foot. Fantastic! It was the highlight of our trip. He asked us if we wanted to ride a camel (yes), if we wanted to see a snake charmer (no), if we wanted to visit a herbalist (no), and he insisted on holding my packages so I could concentrate on taking pictures! No sales pressure, no sales pitches. (If we wanted to, fine; if not, we moved on.)
Tangier is fabulous - right out of a movie. All you can really do is walk around, but what a walk! Be prepared for the constant (and I mean constant!) hawkers of "treasures" that one normally has to go to Chinatown to get.
We took a ferry from Tarifa, Spain to Tangier, Morocco. Ferry information can be found at www.frs.es/eng/
From Algeciras to Tangier at 09:00 am. Fast catamaran takes around 70 minutes crossing. The return is at 02:30 pm.
Also there are ferries that operate between Algeciras and Tangier. They run every hour approximately from 7 am to 10 pm each way.
There is a safe parking place inside both ports Algeciras and Tarifa. It is Safe to leave the car for the day there.
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