Just nine miles from the southern coast of Spain, this cosmopolitan city boasts beautiful views, untouched beaches, and friendly people. Check out why we love its warm, multicultural vibe.
The narrow, maze-like streets of the medina were constructed to provide shade from the hot African sun.
Medina: The old walled city embodies Tangier’s vibrant spirit through the hustle and bustle of its marketplace.
American Legation As the first public property acquired abroad by the United States—and the only listing on the US National Register of Historic Places outside the country’s borders—the American Legation served as a consulate until 1956, but it’s now a free museum, cultural center, and research library concentrating on Arabic language studies. Inside its stuccoed Moorish structure, you’ll find paintings by American artist Marguerite McBey and a gallery devoted to expat writer and composer Paul Bowles. 8 rue America, +212 5 39 93 53 17; legation.org
A boutique filled with handwoven fabrics and local artwork in the city’s medina.
Hand-loomed and embroidered textiles made by local artisans in the villages and the Rif mountains surrounding Tangier.
Bleu de Fes
Its selection of high-quality Moroccan specialties (rugs, pottery, and textiles) at reasonable prices makes this one of our favorite shops in the city. Owners Abdul and Atil are ready to bargain and aim to please. 65 rue les Almohades, +212 5 39 33 60 67
Michelle modeling the local fashions.
Shopping the medina
A hand-woven silk throw
Details from a hand-hooked Beni Ourain rug.
Paintings at Galerie Conil
Galerie Conil For up-and-coming artists, the Galerie Conil is the city’s taste-making showcase, serving as a venue for top international talent (whose work is often available at a fraction of Paris exhibition prices). In addition to admiring the art, visitors will also be grateful for its relaxing atmosphere, a welcome break from the commotion of the medina. 7 rue du Palmier, +212 6 55 64 10 14; conilgalerie.com
A vivid mosaic of geometric tiles.
The keyhole arch is a traditional element of Islamic architecture.
Ancient architecture, old-world charm, and undeniable mystique make it the most beautiful part of Tangier.
Tree trunks—painted white to protect them from the city’s pollution—are transformed into unexpected works of art.
The rooftop lounge at Nord-Pinus
Grand Hotel Nord-Pinus
A stylish alternative to the casbah’s other boutique options, this intimate retreat was once a pasha’s palace. Designed with a French twist by hotelier Anne Igou, the accommodations feature luxurious four-post beds, bathrooms with wild geometric tiles, and a shaded courtyard. An added bonus: the building sits at the highest point of the rue Riad Sultan, with views of the Spanish coast from its rooftop terrace. 811 rue Riad Sultan, +212 6 61 22 81 40; nord-pinus-tanger.com
Alfresco dining at Le Salon Bleu
Le Salon Bleu For a tea break from a day spent sightseeing or a leisurely late-afternoon lunch, this picturesque café’s view, decor, and service will make it a go-to favorite. Try the chicken tagine and the chocolate torte—to die for! 71 rue Amrah, +212 6 62 11 27 24
Laure Welfling’s popular boutique in the casbah offers everything from handmade ceramics to custom fashions and jewelry.
Laure Welfling A much-frequented stop among the cognoscenti while abroad, this chic shop isn’t to be missed. Owned by Laure Welfling, a Parisian ex-pat, and her artist husband, Guidi de Richemont Salvy (who designs many of the store’s wares), the boutique trades in everything from caftans to original watercolors. (We stocked up on ceramic plates and artwork!) Afterward, stop in for a mint tea next door at the couple’s Cercle de Musique Arabo-Andalouse, where you’ll be serenaded by traditional Moroccan lute players. 3 place de la Kasbah, +212 5 39 94 97 89
Shell bust from Laure Welfling’s popular boutique
Ceramic plate from Laure Welfling’s popular boutique
Camel treks through the Erg Chebbi Merzouga offer exotic views of the Northern Moroccan desert.
Mohand mini-suite at the Dar Nour
Dar Nour This romantic hotel is known for its cozy guest rooms and spacious terraces with glimpses of Tangier’s maze-like medina. The classic Moroccan interiors feature patterned textiles, plush loomed wool rugs, and colorful hanging lanterns. 20 rue Gourna, +212 6 62 11 27 24; darnour.com
The Charf room at the Dar Sultan boasts vibrant blue walls, a collection of pottery from Fez, and panoramic views of the Strait of Gibraltar.
Heiress Barbara Hutton reigned over casbah society.
The palm-shaded pool of the Villa Joséphine overlooks the sprawling Rif mountainside.
From posh resorts to a demigod’s grotto, Tangier teems with historic sites and picturesque pleasures.
The crystal-blue waters of the North African coast.
L’Océan Located on the Sidi Kacem beach, this lunch spot and beach club is a favorite of locals and tourists alike. In addition to feasting on terrific seafood, guests may (weather permitting) enjoy sand yachting, surfing, or merely soaking up the spectacular scenery. A 20-minute drive from the city, it’s the closest thing to the South of France you’ll find in Tangier. Plage Sidi Kacem, +212 5 39 33 81 37; oceanplagetanger.com
Sidi Mghait: The Muslim holy man after whom this beach is named may well be spinning in his grave over the easygoing lifestyle of this untouched playground. A few kilometers south of Tangier, this local treasure is a peaceful gem.
Le Mirage: With 45 deluxe bungalow suites and wide picture windows overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, Le Mirage boasts the best view outside the medina. Its posh amenities and direct access to the beach make it a perfect spot for celebrities traveling incognito, as well as vacationing families. Just eight kilometers (five miles) from the Royal golf club and 15 kilometers (about nine miles) from the Spanish coast, its location is pretty sweet, too. Les Grottes d’Hercule, BP 2198, +212 5 39 33 33 32; www.lemirage.com
Caves of Hercules: Looking out over the Strait of Gibraltar, this sublime grotto is one of the city’s most popular tourist attractions. According to legend, the demigod spent the night here before performing his 11th labor (retrieving apples from the Garden of the Hesperides). Located just 14 kilometers (about nine miles) from the city, it’s an easy, inspired afternoon jaunt. Cap Spartel
The sea window in the Cave of Hercules
Librairie des Colonnes
For more than 60 years, the Librairie de Colonnes has been the city’s hip hub for urbane bookworms. Frequented by a long list of famous literary travelers, and now owned by Pierre Bergé—the longtime romantic partner of the late Yves Saint Laurent—the shop hosts author signings, has an active literary review, and keeps Arabic, French, and English texts in stock. 54 boulevard Pasteur, +212 5 39 93 69 55; librairie-des-colonnes.com
Our favorite book about Tangier!
Painters Eugène Delacroix and Henri Matisse and writer Tennessee Williams once called the historic Grand Hôtel Villa de France home.
A breakfast repast
Matisse’s 1912 masterpiece, Paysage vu d’une fenetre, was inspired by the view from his window at the Grand Hôtel Villa de France.
Bazar Atlas: at the east end of rue Tijara, it’s an insider spot for scoring well-priced ceramics and rugs (the domino staff bought seven!). 25-90050 rue Tijara, +212 5 39 41 78 64
Green pottery from the village of Tamegroute
Details from a hand-hooked Beni Ourain rug.
Chairs with table inbetween.
High ceilinged room with long table with flower vase on it.
Table with flower vases.
Bedroom with nightstand and no door.