Morocco

One Day in Tangier

One Day in Tangier

The city where the Atlantic and the Mediterranean meet, beautifully painted by Matisse and Delacroix. Many painters came to Tangier in search of the city's fabled light and there is still evidence of the time they spent here in the medina (old town). One of our favourite walks ? Start at the Hafa cafe, where the Belle Epoque still seems to exist, then head towards the Kasbah up above the city, cross the medina and descend towards the Petit-Socco and Grand-Socco district, ending your day in Tangier with a walk along the shoreline...

10:00 am

Tea or coffee at café Hafa

Savour a cup of tea in the Hafa cafe, its terraces set into the hillside, across from the sublime bay of Tangier and right on the Strait of Gibraltar. Tangier feels like an extension of Europe, but with reminders of the Sahara - its wide Atlantic beaches, eucalyptus and dry wind from the east. Cape Spartel is the extreme tip of Africa - with Spain less than eight miles away - where oceans meet and with beaches that stretch into the distance.

Marion Osmont

11:30 am

Bookshop La librairie des Colonnes

Tangier is an easy city, where visitors are immediately beguiled by its charm, like so many before: writers, artists, Ernest Hemingway, Truman Capote or Jack Kerouac, whose works today take their place alongside A Different Morocco, by Abdellatif Laâbi or Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi at the Librairie des Colonnes bookshop.

Marion Osmont

 

1:00 pm

Stroll in the Kasbah

Continue your 24 hours in Tangier on a hill, in the old walled town the dominates the bay - the Kasbah. Children play in the alleyways, women wash laundry in a fountain. There's a bird's eye view from a terrace : the Kasbah runs right down to the sea.

Marion Osmont

3:30 pm

Massage at the salon Khadija

One day in Tangier also means a massage by 74-year-old Khadija, who has all the sprightliness of a far younger woman. She has worked on the Rolling Stones and is a friend of jazz pianist Randy Weston - she may be the city's best ambassador  After a career in cinema and Ouarzarzate's big studios (listen out for her flamboyant filming memories with Richard Harris!), Khadija happily reinvented herself as a practitioner of shiatsu-inspired massage, learned in Amsterdam and New York. She welcomes you into the living room of her home, in the heart of the Kasbah.

Marion Osmont

6:00 pm

Tanger film library

After surrendering to Khadija's massage and cleansed of all tension, there's a drink waiting on the terrace of the old Rif cinema, now the Cinémathèque, on the Grand Socco, between the Medina and new city. The Cinémathèque screens Moroccan video art, popular Arab films and American independent filkmaker John Cassavetes retrospectives. With its trendy vintage decor, light fixtures and Sixties flea market armchairs, it is the meeting place for Tangier's burgeoning boho community. From there, you can view the line of palm trees that runs to the square and the unusual panorama of a large mosque, a Spanish cathedral and an Anglican church. 

9:00 pm

Walk around the shore

Tangier operates on Spanish time. Tangier gets up late. As your one day in Tangier slips away, the promenade along the sea becomes crowded with families and groups of teenagers - everyone gets caught up in their light-hearted passeggiata (evening stroll).

Marion Osmont

And on the overhanging coastal road, at Balneaires, in the nightclubs brought to life by oriental dancers and New York DJs, the night lasts into the morning for a true 24 hours in Tangier.

 

Strolls

> Café Hafa, the most popular cafe in Tangier, overlooking the sea, on Avenue Mohamed Tazi

> La librairie des insolites, a cross between a bookshop and a contemporary art gallery. 28 rue Khalid Ibn Oualid

> The Ziri group sells traditional handicrafts with a contemporary twist. Beware - it's hard to resist buying everything!  Do you go for a boucherouite rug? Or slippers made from a recycled flour bag ?  28 rue Khalid Ibn Oualid 

> La librairie des colonnes, an institution since 1949. There's a rich collection of literature in Arabic, French, Spanish and English. 54 boulevard Pasteur. 

 

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MARION OSMONT