Tangier has long been a byword for bohemia in North Africa.
Why go now?
The main port of entrance into North Africa from Spain, Tangier is Morocco’s libertine hangout. Rock stars and celebrities have used it as a bohemian bolt-hole for decades. The pace is subdued and the summer is hot and sunny.
It’s my first time. What should I do there?
Grand Socco square is a mishmash of cafes, restaurants and market stalls. It’s the main entrance into the Medina and a great way of getting more of an insight into the local way of life. Walk up the narrow alleyways and you’re bound to come across a snake charmer or musician. Stop for orange blossom infused coffee at Café Hafa (Avenue Hadj Mohamed Tazi) on your way to visit the grandiose Kasbah Palaces. The Sultan’s Palace, Dar El Mahkzen and Sidi Hosni are the most beautiful.
I’ve been before. What should I see this time?
The beach facing the Atlantic Ocean is a playground for water sport lovers. Surfing, kite-boarding, and jet skiing are big deals here. A camel ride along the seemingly endless stretch of sand is strangely therapeutic — if not a little bumpy. Sampling local delicacies is a must. Moroccan cuisine is one of the tastiest and most refined in North Africa. Restaurant Hamadi (2 Rue de la Kasbah) is the best place to go for a couscous followed by live music.
Where’s the best place for an afternoon’s shopping?
The Medina in the old town is the best for your Moroccan-inspired buys. Alleyways are lined with stalls and sellers ready to haggle with you over the price of shoes or incense. You’ll also come across many jewelers and herbalists. Parfumerie Madini (14 Rue Sebou) sells essential oils and soaps. Owner Mr. Madini can copy any bottled scent placed under his nose.
What’s the nightlife like?
Great seafood at the Restaurant Populaire Saveur (2 Escalier Waller, Ville Nouvelle). For dessert, order the “seffra” sweet couscous — sticky with honey and laden in dried fruits and nuts. Enjoy a mint tea night-cap at Café Baba, with photos of the Rolling Stones (not so sure if the Stones drank tea) adorning the walls (1 Rue Sidi Hosni).