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Tangiers has a reputation for the exotic and the romantic. While not entirely Moroccan, European or African, this Morocco city is a heady mix of all three - with its old-world bazaars still intact and a retinue of makeshift shops, snake charmers, musicians and storyteller making it a compelling destination. Situated on Morocco's northern tip, its international flavour remains strong; as does its reputation for inspiring shady deals and foreign misfits.
Petit Socco is city central and is the main focus of attention. In the Kasbah area, there's the 17th-century Dar el-Makhzen, the former Sultan's palace which is now a museum. The nearby American Legation Museum is reminder that Morocco was the first country to recognise American Independence. For a romantic strole, visit the white-walled Kasbah and the Sultan's Garden with its Moroccan fountain and fragrant herbs and shrubs, and orange and lemon trees.
A recommended day trip by car from Tangiers is the High Atlas town of Tinerhir, at the end of a lush valley of palms and mud-brick villages. It's undoubtedly on of Morocco's most pristine natural sights. The shear dimensions of Todra Gorge, nearby, are amazing: some 300m high but only 10m wide at its narrowest point set off with a crystal clear river running through it. Rock climbing on the vertical rock face of the gorge has become very popular with travelers looking for an extreme experience. There are plenty of hotels in and around the gorge and regular buses pass through Tinerhir en-route between Marrakesh and Er-Rachidia.
The beaches in Tangiers aren't worth writing home about. A couple of hours south by car is Morocco's most popular coastal spots, Essaouira, which has a beautiful beach that curves for kilometres to the south. The forts of the old city are a blend of Portuguese, French and Berber military architecture, and their massiveness lends a powerful mystique to this Moorish influenced town.
Tangiers is well linked to Europe, Africa and the Middle East. Tangier International Airport has regular flights to several European cities. Taking your own vehicle to Morocco is straightforward. There's a variety of car ferries and jetfoils operating between Algericas in Spain and Morocco's Tangier and Ceuta. There are also ferry trips twice a week from Gibraltar to Tangier.