Why go to Tangier?
Unique shops selling everything from handmade decor to antiques are hidden throughout the city
Local guides trying to sell excursions can overwhelm tourists with what they see as pushiness
Tangier awes visitors with its beautiful white buildings, ocean views and peaceful aura
Tangier Cruise Port Facilities?
The port area has been undergoing redevelopment, with plans for a shopping mall and restaurants. It has been a slow process and isn't scheduled to be complete until 2016 or 2017. Besides an ATM, cafe and a couple of small shops selling trinkets, soft drinks and snacks, there are few facilities. A cable car transportation system is under way that will link the cruise terminal to the medina and will be a tourist attraction itself. But why hang around in the port area when the magic of Tangier awaits?
Good to Know?
Tangier is a relatively safe and peaceful city, but it is sensible not to walk around alone at night, especially in unlit areas and on the beach. Be careful of your possessions at all times, and don't flaunt any items that could be considered by some as a show of wealth. Solo female travelers might face unwanted attention from Moroccan men.
The only other annoyance you may encounter is from persistent touts whom you should ignore. Besides those who hang around the cruise port, you will see them in and around the medina and along the beachfront promenade. Some touts are obvious, while others may present themselves as friendly locals. The latter, referred to sometimes as "false guides," will try to give you a tour of the town and accompany you for as long as they can, then ask for money. Remember, a firm "No, thank you" -- La shukran -- usually does the trick.
On Foot: It's easy to walk round Tangier, which is quite compact and simple to navigate. The two main roads are Boulevard Mohamed V, which runs close by the medina through the Ville Nouvelle, and Boulevard Mohamed VI (formerly Ave des FAR), which runs along from the beachfront from the port to Malabata.
By Taxi: "Petit" taxis are blue and hold three passengers, while "grand" taxis are cream colored Mercedes vehicles that hold six. Petit taxis are required to be metered, though drivers often refuse to charge by the meter. Make sure to agree to a price before getting in. Grand taxis are not metered, but even if you have agreed a price, drivers will sometimes try to overcharge you. Insist on getting the correct change.
By Guide: To arrange a guide, contact the helpful tourist office (29 Boulevard Pasteur; 0539 94 80 50; open 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday to Friday)
Currency & Best Way to Get Money?
The dirham is the Moroccan unit of currency. There are plenty of ATMs in town where official rates automatically apply, but daily withdrawal limits can seem low if you are, for example, paying cash for rugs in the souks. For updated currency-conversion figures, visit www.oanda.com or www.xe.com. Credit cards are accepted at most higher-end hotels, restaurants and shops. Money and travelers checks can be changed at major banks, exchange bureaus and some hotels. ATMs can be found at Arab Bank on Avenue de la Resistance, a five-minute walk from where you're docked, and Credit du Maroc on Rue Lafayette, about a six-minute walk.
Moroccans sometimes switch languages mid-sentence, reflecting the different cultures -- Berber, Arab, French and Spanish -- that have saturated the country. Arabic is the official language, and the Moroccan dialect, Darija, is spoken on the street. French is still widely spoken in cities, though confusingly Spanish is often spoken in Tangier. If you only speak English, then it's no problem, you will get by in the main tourist areas. One Arabic phrase worth remembering, though, is "La shukran," which means "No, thank you."