Tangier Off The Beaten Path

  • Ave Hassan 2
    Ave Hassan 2
    by Bennytheball
  • Pathway to the Necropolis.
    Pathway to the Necropolis.
    by Bennytheball
  • Phonic tombs.
    Phonic tombs.
    by Bennytheball

Most Recent Off The Beaten Path in Tangier

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    Tangier's desirable suburb.

    by Bennytheball Written Jun 1, 2014
    Ave Hassan 2
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    After the aggravations of touts, beggars and homeless street hustlers in Tangier's port area, the upmarket Marshan suburb is a breath of fresh air and is home to some interesting explorations. The King has a palace here, heavily guarded by armed security forces, so any of the previous-listed miscreants are swiftly removed from the streets.

    The natives are noticeably friendly and helpful to tourists who lose the way (me again!) school children are well-behaved and respectful to older people and the streets are litter-free. The two main attractions are the Phonecian tombs, and the famous Cafe Hafa, both are well-signposted from the main road and an information tablet is displayed at the entrance to the ancient Necropolis dating back to between the first century and fourth century AD. The burial tombs, carved out of the cliffside rock on the plateau of Marshan, were excavated from 1910 and 1960. The site is popular with historians, tourists and escorted school groups.

    A short distance from the tombs, and signposted from the main road again, a narrow street leads down to the famous Cafe Hafa, established in 1921, its stepped tree-lined terraces are carved out of the cliff, and on a clear day offer spectacular views of the Gibraltar Strait and distant Spain, a haunt of writers, pop stars and local students. The cafe has a reputation for hashish smoking and a notice above the entrance advises that this is not permitted, but visibly and universally ignored!

    I reached the suburb on a long walk from Place de France along Avenue Belgique, second right at the next intersection before Mosque Mohammed V, on to Avenue Hassan 11.

    A pleasant day trip and the ancient Kasbah is accessible on the road back down to the Medina.

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    Ksar-es-Seghir beach

    by solopes Updated Apr 12, 2013
    Ksar-es-Seghir - Morocco

    Maybe the sea is dangerous or cold in this northern coast, maybe the lack of infra-structures or the hard access keep people away, but the very nice beach of this small village near Tangier (with bad name in Portuguese history...), seems to deserve another kind of human presence.

    Was it a bad day?

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    Mendoub Palace

    by grandmaR Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    Some of the minatures

    Part of our tour from Spain to Tangier involved a visit to the free Forbes Museum of Military Miniatures. It was very interesting, but hard to take pictures because of the glare of the glass cases.

    Malcolm Forbes, who was an American publisher (1919-1990) of Forbes magazine and very quotable guy* bought the Mendoub Palace in 1970. In 1978, he housed his collection of military miniatures in this palace. He started the collection when he was a child.

    "Today, the collection contains over 120 000 miniatures, arranged to feature famous battles of history, and was bequeathed to the city of Tangier."

    There are also nice gardens with view over the surrounding country. Some of the people on the tour didn't even go into the palace - they just wandered around and looked at the view.

    10-5, closed Tuesdays
    Admission free

    Although it was not clear from the above quote, Forbes left the BUILDING (the Mendoub Palace) to Tangier and not the military miniatures. The miniatures were sold "..at Christie's New York's December 1997 record-breaking $739,608 sale of the Forbes Museum of Military Miniatures at the Palais Mendoub in Tangier, Morocco (following the death in 1990 of mega-collector Forbes)." One of the buyers was a collector in Broward Co. FL who bought one of the British Regiments from that collection.

    *Some of the things he said or wrote:

    "Making mistakes is human ...
    repeating 'em is too. "

    "Diamonds are nothing more than chunks
    of coal that stuck to their jobs. "

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    Bay of Tangier

    by keeweechic Updated Apr 2, 2009

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    The Bay of Tangier stretches from the port to Cap Malabata. The bay is considered one the most beautiful with its lovely beaches and popular seaside resorts and hotels. Avenue d-Espagne runs parallel along the bay.

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    Grottes d’Hercule

    by keeweechic Written Mar 30, 2009

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    At the southern end of Cape Spartel is the Grottes d’Hercule which are subterranean tides hidden by the high tides. Greek mythology has it that the limestone caves were founded by Hercules after achieving (or beginning .. depending on who you believe) his Twelve Labours. If you want to visit the caves, then late afternoon is a good time.

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    Cape Spartel

    by keeweechic Written Mar 30, 2009

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    From Tangier you travel the road leading through the La Montagne area to Cap Spartel, sometimes termed the most north-westerly point of Africa, but that seems to be debateable. The cape has had many names including Cape of the Vines and Cape Ampelusium. The promontory stands at the entrance of the Strait of Gibraltar at some 1,000 feet above the sea.

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    Day excursions: Asilah

    by Carmela71 Updated Aug 26, 2005

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    Just around 30 km from Tangier is this tourist resort with a beautiful long beach. Historically has been occupied by Spanish and Portuguese people.

    It is like any Mediterranean village, all white and blue houses and relaxed.

    The best way to go is through a Grand Taxi, prices can vary of the way you negotiate the price (another tip in warnings!)

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    Looking for Europe

    by matcrazy1 Written Jun 29, 2005

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    VIEW TOWARDS EUROPE

    Morocco is seperated from Europe by the Straits of Gibraltar, 14 - 44 km wide. Driving paralel to the rocky, northern coast of Morocco, from Tangier towards Cape Spartel, I took a short gravel road northwards and stopped to see European coast from Africa. But the visibility was too short that day :-(.

    Well, I saw Morocco for the first time in 1994, first from Sierra Nevada mountains in Spain, then from Gibraltar. I saw Europe from Monte Hacho summit in Ceuta, Spanish enclave in northern Africa.

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    The most northwestern point of Africa!

    by matcrazy1 Written Jun 29, 2005

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    URSZULA AT THE NORTHWESTERN END OF AFRICA :-)

    A kind of my travel related addiction is to visit the most northern, southern etc. points of a continent or a country.

    So, I simply had to drive to the Cape Spartel which is the most northwestern point of African continent. And I wasn't dissapointed. I enjoyed spectacular views over the Atlantic Ocean and rocky coast. Well, it's a pity that visibility was too low to see Europe.

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    Cap Spartel lighthouse

    by matcrazy1 Written Jun 29, 2005

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    THE LIGHTHOUSE, CAP SPARTEL

    From Grand Socco in Tangier I followed the direction signs to Cap Spartel (road S701) 21 km, westwards and I found that the most northwestern point of Africa a very relaxing and worth a short visit place. There is a large parking lot at the end which was almost empty when I arrived.

    What is there?
    - a restaurant when I ate early supper (details in a restaurant tip),
    - the lighthouse put among palm trees which was close for visitors (on my picture),
    - street stalls with local craft to buy (details in my shopping tip)
    - spectacular views over the Atlantic Ocean, the Straits of Gibraltar and Europe (the next tip).

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    Above high cliffs

    by matcrazy1 Updated Jun 29, 2005

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    PATHWAY ABOVE HIGH ATLANTIC COAST CLIFFS

    There is a short trail/path carved in rocks above high Atlantic cliffs by the Hercule Cave (23 km west of Tangier) which ends with flat viewing platform where a few chairs are put. The cliffs look amazing with the power of the ocean is well heard and seen down in the rocks.

    Warnings:
    - if you suffer from fear of heights better skip it.
    - there is a local guy on the terrace who wants money for the entrance.

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    Rocks by the Hercules Caves

    by matcrazy1 Updated Jun 29, 2005

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    URSZULA AND THE ROCKS BY THE HERCULES CAVE

    I drove 23 km west of Tangier to visit the Hercules Caves (Grottes d'Hercule) which are... a tourist trap. But the area around was fine.

    First of all I saw nice rocky formation above the caves. There is a cafe (Cafe Les Grottes) put partly inside the rocks. There is athletic looking guy (Hercules) painted on a rocky wall. There is a souvenir shop and a restroom/toilet put one level below. It's paid to a funny dressed toilet/restroom guard (!).

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    Unique octagonal minaret

    by matcrazy1 Written Jun 29, 2005

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    OCTAGONAL MINARET WITH STRANGE ATTIC

    All minarets of muslim mosques in North Africa are square whereas those, I saw in Turkey, were round. But, I did find this unique in shape, octagonal in lower part minaret somewhere in the Tangier's medina, close to Dar El Makhzen, the former sultanate and governor's palace.

    The stone decorative attic on the top of the octagonal part of the minaret looks strange and non-arabic in style as well.

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    Along cliffed coastline

    by matcrazy1 Updated Jun 29, 2005

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    HOUSES ALONG ATLANTIC CLIFFS

    I walked a bit along the Atlantic side of Tangier and I honestly think that it is the most charming part of Tangier although nothing very fancy. The coastline is cliffed and steep there.

    There is a street along the cliff with poor, white houses on one side and steep cliffs with polluted beach down on the other side. It's a little bit strange that it's poor quarter of Tangier. In most cities areas adjacent to sea/ocean are rather upclass.

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    Double gate

    by matcrazy1 Written Jun 29, 2005

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    THE MEDINA - DOUBLE GATE

    At first I was a bit surprised to see quite many gates put in the middle of the Medina but I shortly realized that the old Arab town was in continous, a bit chaotic growth in the past. Whereas old walls were ruined/demolished to give a space for new houses, many gates crossing streets survived till nowadays. I found this double gate, on my picture, somewhere in the Medina. The gates of Tangier's Medina are usually a little bit neglected.

    The pedestrians traffic (add few bicycles and various carts) is usually a bit heavier around the gates. There are always some stores or street stalls with food put close to the gates.

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