Tangier is the main gateway to Africa from Europe. Ferries run from Tarifa and Algeciras in Spain and also from Gibraltar. The harbour is for both ferries and commercial imports. It is crowded and somewhat chaotic. A new commercial port is being built 40kms to the east and this should be open in 2006. When this is completed, the ferry port at Tangiers will be much more user-friendly.
The airport, Ibn Batouta, is 8 kms from Tangiers on the Asilah road. The train station is 3 kms from the docks at the far end of the main town beach. It was opened to service passengers from Marrakech, Casablanca, Rabat, Fes and Oujda amongst others.
There is a long sandy beach near the centre of the town which stretches in the direction of the railway station. The Grand Socco is the principal market area. It is close to the harbour entrance and leads to the Medina. It was here where the eccentric American Barbara Hutton, of Woolworth's fame, lived.
There are areas of modern, expensive housing to the west of the city on the road to the golf course and Cap Spartel, and to the east at Cap Malabata.
Tangier Railway Station
View of Tangier City from the surrounding hills
The North Coast from Tangier to Ceuta:
Leaving Tangiers, head east on the R416 which travels for 40 kms to the Spanish enclave of Ceuta (Sebta). This road is in good condition.
There are very many expensive houses on this road which overlook the straits across to Spain. Not for nothing is this area known as the Moroccan Costa del Sol.
There are a number of small villages, such as Ksar es Seghir, a little fishing port which attracts many holiday makers. There are a number of new developments in this area.
From Ksar to Ceuta the road winds over the windy Djebel Moussa, the mountain which, with Gibraltar, forms the legendary Pillars of Hercules.
There are a large number of wind turbines which provide electricity for the area.
Ceuta to Tetouan:
Ceuta ( Sebta in Arabic) is a spanish enclave served by ferries from Algeciras and Gibraltar, and daily flights from Malaga. It was retained by Spain when Morocco became independent in 1956 and serves as a military base and duty-free area.
Crossing the border into Morocco can be time-consuming especially if you are travelling by car. Despite a long and interesting history there is relatively
little of interest.
Travelling south from Ceuta there are long, sandy, little-used beaches. The principal area is Smir-Restinga where there are a number of developments and a marina.
Mdiq is a small pleasant town with a regular market. There are fish docks at the end of the beach where there is a large number of open-air fish restaurants, a little basic in amenities but great fresh fish. There is a pleasant walk from the town to the restaurants. The people are friendly and there is no
hassle at the regular street markets. There are several hotels of a reasonable standard.
Cabo Negro is a few kilometres south of Mdiq and is modern and European in feel. There is a new 9-hole golf course and, as with all golf courses, there are a number of new developments and individual villas in the immediate area.
Martil, a small town which extends beyond Cabo Negro, is the coastal resort for Tetouan. In the summer it gets quite busy with tourists. There are a number of modern developments but the town is spoilt by a large number of
unfinished streets. Pot hole city!
Tetouan is 11 kms from the coast at Martil. It was built between 1550 and 1600 by Arabs and Jews who been evicted by Philip the second of Spain. They had mainly lived in the Granada province of Andalucia. The area of Granada was conceded by the last Arab Emir, Boabdil, to the Reys-
Catolicas by the treaty of Santa Fe in December 1491. After this they lived in relative peace until they were evicted in 1560 for refusing to accept catholic religion and dress.
On their arrival in, what is now Morocco, they settled in Tetouan and built the city as a new town copying the architecture of places such as Granada, Cordoba and Sevilla. To this day Tetouan looks and feels like the old arab and jewish quarters of Andalucian cities. The second language is still Spanish not French.
There is a large an plescent Medina, similar to that of Marrakech but without the pressure to Buy. The central square is dominated by the royal palace. There are several hotels and the nearest camp site is at Martil.