Visitors will most likely first set foot on Moroccan soil at Tangier. Their first impressions of Morocco will be punctuated by the scent of sulphur that hangs in the air and the sultry atmosphere that accompanies it. It is this very mood that has proved irresistible to writers and artists alike. Henri Matisse, Tennessee Williams, Samuel Beckett, Orson Welles and the heiress Barbara Hutton added a bohemian touch to this remarkable city.
From 1932 until its incorporation into Morocco in 1956, Tangier was an international tax free zone, under the control of a committee of 30 nations. This was an era that was characterised by financial fraud, espionage, large-scale smuggling and outrageous sexual licence by wealthy and eccentric expatriates. From the tops of the mountains that surround Tangier, a magnificent spectacle unfolds as the evening sun sinks into the Atlantic Ocean and a bright moon slowly rises up out of the dark waters of the Mediterranean. Such is the view of Cape Spartel, where the waters of the Mediterranean and the Atlantic meet. This cape, famed since antiquity, contains the Caves of Hercules—for centuries the haunt of the Barbary Corsairs, the savage pirates who were the curse of the Mediterranean. The Phoenicians set up a trading post here and it later became the Roman town of Tangis. Arab rulers from the east took over in the 8th Century AD and Portugal captured it in the 15th century.
A city that was made famous by the movie, Casablanca, Tangier is a hot spot for celebrities and tourists looking to relax. The city is lively all through the year, with beautiful beaches all over.
A complex of castles on top of the hill overlooking the city. The Sultan, Moulay Ismail, built his palace here, and the gardens are part of his 17th century palace, called Dar el Makhzen.
A museum of toy soldiers (honestly) left behind by Malcolm Forbes, the American magazine tycoon, in his former residence at the Mendonb Palace.
The cape to the west from where the lighthouse shines out across the Straights of Gibraltar. You can visit the lighthouse observation platform, which overlooks not only a magnificent seascape, but also the expansive beaches nearby.
This museum holds artefacts dating back to the Stone Age, and includes beautifully preserved Roman mosaics. There are two wonderfully decorated courtyards.