Tangier has always been a whirling mix of cultures. Between the 1920s and 1950s, the city was officially an International Zone popular with the Beat writers and other artists on the fringes of society. Now thanks to the development efforts of King Mohammed VI, Tangier is drawing a wider crowd. The city is now a hot spot for stylish travellers in Morocco, with those in the know flocking to the new marina and the wide, clean beachfront.
Hospitality is taken seriously in Morocco, so expect to find breakfast for free in most Tangier hostels. One place even prepares a free couscous dinner weekly. In the evening, mingle with artists and musicians at your hostel's nightly events, or simply chill with a mint tea on the roof terrace. If you're looking for full immersion, you can stay in the walls of the ancient Kasbah. A Tangier hostel converted from a traditional riad can be a peaceful escape for those after a bit of privacy.
You'll encounter the Ville Nouvelle (New Town) first when you arrive in Tangier. This modern city is bright and buzzing with chic young Moroccans. A walk towards the beach will lead you to the wide, palm-lined boulevard of the corniche, where families stroll in the evenings. Old-world Tangier still lingers in the medina. The maze of crooked streets can occupy you for hours; remember to head uphill if you're looking for an exit or bab.
You could spend your entire trip exploring the medina's spice stalls, hole-in-the-wall cafés and mysterious corners. Make sure to visit the ancient Kasbah, a fortress that houses a museum and has incredible views across the Strait of Gibraltar. For a visual example of Tangier's layered past, stop by St Andrew's Church. This Catholic building faces Mecca and is decorated with Quaranic inscriptions. Travellers after a taste of authentic Tangier should check out Cinéma Rif, an Art Deco theatre where locals catch the latest French and Arabic releases.
From Ibn Battouta International Airport, it's best to take a taxi to Tangier as the bus stop is 2km from the airport. If you're arriving by ferry, be careful to check whether you're docking at Tangier Port or the new Tangier Med terminal. Tangier Med is 48km from the city but is connected by a 45-minute bus ride. Once in the city you can walk to most destinations, especially those within the car-free medina.