Although the 'wild days' of Tangier are long gone, it remains a fascinating Moroccan city. It's an interesting mix of Morocco, France and Spain, with a very pleasant little square in the old medina and beautiful beaches close to the city. Between 1923 and 1956 the city was located in an 'international zone' that was governed by France, Spain and Great Britain. This international 'free' status had a great attraction for adventurers, artists, eccentrics, spies and shady businessmen.
Officially the city has 700,000 inhabitants, but many people from the countryside who live in the slums around the city are not taken into account in the official numbers.
Tangier is located in the far north of Morocco, on the Strait of Gibraltar, the narrow strait between the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea.
Tangier is the second most important industrial center of Morocco, after Casablanca. Amongst others textiles, machines and chemical products are being produced. The companies are partly located in free-trade zones. In 2007 the new Tanger-Med port was opened, forty kilometers east of Tangier. It's the largest harbor on the Mediterranean. The harbor itself plays an important role in passenger transportation: ferries to and from Spain process more than a million travelers annually. Tourism is of great importance to the city. The last few years, many holiday resorts are being built on the beaches in the vicinity of Tangier.
Tangier's airport is situated twelve kilometers southwest of town, right on the Atlantic coast. Tangier-Boukhalef Airport is easily reachable by rental car. From the city center you follow the Avenue Moulay Ismail (N1) which leads straight to the airport. The route to the airport is clearly signposted.
There are busses in Tangier but, as in other Moroccan cities, many inhabitants prefer the so-called petit taxis. Most of these taxis have meters, but make sure the driver actually switches it on. In taxis without a meter you need to negotiate about the price. Reach an agreement before you get in!
It's easy to explore Tangier in a rental car. Signposting is reasonably clear and, outside rush hour, it's not too busy in the city. From the center there are two main roads: Boulevard Mohamed V runs from the medina to the Ville Nouvelle, and Boulevard Mohamed VI runs from the harbor to Malabata. In the city center and in some streets in the Ville Nouvelle you have to pay for street parking. There are some parking garages where you can safely park your rental car.
Tangier has a large supply of accommodation. In and around the medina it's full of cheap hostels and guesthouses; in the Ville Nouvelle you find midrange and more luxurious hotels. In the last few years many tourist resorts have also been built alongside the city beaches. If you want to visit Tangier in summer months, we recommend booking your hotel room well in advance.
For more information about Tangier we recommend Google or the following sources: