A popular excursion for many tourists in the south of Spain is to take a day trip to Tangier, Morocco. Bell and I booked our tour through a local travel agency while in Rota, Spain. The guided tour with FRS Maroc S.A.R.L included the ferry ride from Tarifa, Spain to Tangier, guided bus tour of the Tangier area, lunch in a local restaurant, and guided walking tour of the city. Here are some pros and cons if you’re considering whether a day trip to Tangier, Morocco is worth it, specifically a big guided tour.
Con: Tangier is not the nicest Moroccan city and many that visit never want to set foot in Morocco again. This was the case with friends we traveled there with and also others in our tour group. If you know you’ll visit a more picturesque Moroccan town in the future, you might want to skip the day trip to Tangier. Towns like Marrakesh, Essaouira and Fes are all more worthwhile than Tangier.
There was, however, plenty of time to patronize their friends. We had an hour a piece in the carpet and trinket shop and an hour with the spice doctor. But no time to give a few bucks to a local small business where people actually wanted to spend money. There was never an opportunity to even have a coffee at a local cafe (you could have one at lunch which was decent, but Restaurant Hammadi is just a big tourist joint affiliated with the tour company).
Some of the spices are cheap and good. We bought 3 orange blossom oils which are very relaxing before bed. And at 3 for 10 euros, that’s much cheaper than the Body Shop. The cooking spice we bought is also pretty good. We wished there were more cooking spices for sale as the choices were small.
We discovered that the guides were behind 90% of our hassling. You might even miss your scheduled ferry out of Morocco and subsequent bus connection from Tarifa to Cadiz. The guides dropped us off at the ferry port late, after senselessly leaving us in a small side street for one last bombardment of street hasslers. A group of us missed our ferry and had to wait an additional two hours for the next one. This caused some to miss their “included” bus connection and be responsible for their transport out of pocket. You can read all about the day in our article Day Trip to Tangier: The Morocco Fiasco.
Day Trip to Tangier, Morocco, worth it?
It’s a tough call and depends what you want. If you want a relaxing day in Morocco, don’t do the day tour. You’ll probably be hassled less if you tour Tangier independently. So consider just buying the ferry ticket from Tarifa to Tangier.
Tips on Visiting Tangier, Morocco
If you do the day tour make sure you have plenty of bottled water with you. After lunch the opportunities to purchase water were senselessly obsolete. Beverages were never offered at the carpet factory (unlike in Turkey where they have the common courtesy to offer customers a drink). Prices asked by street vendors and the carpet factory are drastically inflated by at least least 400%. You can get items for 1/4 of the initial asking price, but the key is to feign interest.
Where to Stay in Tangier, Morocco?
If you visit Tangier, it might be a good idea to spend a night to get to know the city better. You’ll often find the best hotel prices on booking.com. Book something in advance with free cancellation if you’re spending the night.
You can also find awesome value on apartments through Airbnb. Make sure the property has a lot of good reviews, this is very important anywhere, but especially in places like Tangier. If you’ve never used Airbnb, sign up here for a $40 credit off your first Airbnb stay!
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