On a whim, a few friends from my 2004 study abroad trip in Spain and I decided to take the ferry from Algeciras, Spain to Tangier, Morocco, a port town in northern Africa just across the Straight of Gibraltar. From the start, we were awestruck by all of the beautiful views of the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean. The culture in Tangier was also so vastly different than what we were used to in America and Europe, and it was so much fun to take in the sights, sounds, and colors of the souk and medina, where I bought two beautiful, authentic Moroccan teapots for my mom’s birthday (they’re still displayed in her kitchen!).
- Where to stay: Kenzi Solazur
- Flight details: Fly into Tangier Ibn Battouta Airport (TNG) or take the ferry from Spain
- Time of year visited: Summer
- Time in Tangier: 3 days
- Morocco itinerary: Weekend trip during 8 weeks study abroad in Spain, including Cádiz, Granada, Madrid, and Sevilla
Save this map to use on your trip:
- Click the star to the right of the map title
- Open the Google Maps app on your smartphone
- Click on the three lines in the upper left corner and select “Your Places”
- Select “Maps” and the map will be saved there for you to use on your trip. Have fun!
The Views of the Sea
My fellow travelers and I opted to do the one-day cultural excursion offered through the company with which we booked our ferry, which too us to Cap Spartel, the Kasbah (including Palace of the sultan and Kasbah Museum), the Phoenician Necropolis (Nécropole Phénicienne), the caves of Hercules, the medina, and the souk. It was a perfect introduction to the city for our limited time since it brought us to all of the major cultural sites. The best aspect of this tour for me by far was Cap Spartel, the lookout where you can see the Mediterranean Sea meet the Atlantic Ocean.
Don’t Miss: If you look closely, you can actually see a line in the water where the cold ocean and warm sea combine. Further south along the Cap Spartel Gran Reserva Natural de Tanger is Hercules Caves, featuring an opening in the cave that exactly resembles the outline Africa. It is thought to have been carved by the Phoenicians , and it’s really an amazing sight!
Logistics: This area is a little ways outside of the main town, so you’ll need to have a car to get there. Because of it’s location, it’s also quite hot, especially for those following the cultural guidelines of demure dress (covered knees and shoulders for women).
After taking in the sweeping sea/ocean views, we had the opportunity to ride camels, which was one of the most fun things I’ve ever done, as I love any opportunity to interact with the local wildlife. Yes, it’s super cliche and touristy, but when in Morocco, you must ride a camel (right?!). We were also treated to a traditional Moroccan meal at Restaurant Hamadi, complete with a quartet of musicians.
Don’t Miss: If you’ve never had Moroccan food before, you are in for a huge treat. Moroccan food is delicious, full of new flavor combinations and spices. Make sure to try pastilla, a sweet and savory Moroccan pie.
Logistics: Because of the way their knees bend, camels get up from sitting to standing using both back legs first, throwing you forward, followed by both back legs, pushing you backwards. Make sure you hold on!
Ferry from Spain
If you have the opportunity to get to Tangier by ferry, take it. The ferry ride over to Morocco was a highlight because of the amazing views of the city as you pull into port. You also go right past Gibraltar, and if you’re lucky, you’ll see dolphins playing in the ferry’s wake.