Top 10 tourist attractions in Tetouan
Top 10 tourist attractions in Tetouan: A favorite with lovers of traditional architecture and culture, Tetouan is an atmospheric city with a pretty Medina that’s its main tourist attraction. Snugly located at the start of Morocco‘s beautiful Rif Mountain region, Tetouan is also an excellent base for nature lovers keen to get away and explore the unspoilt surrounding hills.
An easy day trip while staying in Tetouan is to the Rif town of Chefchaouen, where the buildings of the old town are all painted in shades of blue. Incredibly photogenic, the colorful streets here should be high on your list of things to do in the region.
Tetouan’s medina (old town) has retained its authentic Andalusian soul, making it the most Hispano-Moorish of Moroccan cities. It’s an utterly atmospheric place to explore, and architectural historians consider it to be the country’s most beautifully preserved medina. Every bend and turn in an alleyway brings you to a perfect new local scene, with many beautiful, slightly crumbling buildings lining the narrow streets. There are no particular attractions as such; visiting here is more about simply soaking up the atmosphere.
2 Archaeological Museum
This museum’s exhibits include the superb Roman mosaic of “The Three Graces”, unearthed at the Lixus archaeological site. There are also displays of objects from sites across northern Morocco, including prehistoric tools, coins, bronzes and pottery. The museum also houses an excellent library, with over 60,000 volumes devoted to the preservation of North African literature. For anyone interested in history, a visit here is well worthwhile; especially if you’re visiting later, or have already visited, Lixus on your travels. Unfortunately, the museum’s exhibits are not labeled in English.
3 Souk District
Top 10 tourist attractions in Tetouan: The medina’s souk district is a fun place to barter for goods, toast your heart’s content from the many stalls, and get involved in the lively local action. Marché El Fouki This is where the people of Tétouan go to buy their bread. Here you’ll find breads of all shapes and sizes, including the traditional round and flat loaves. Guersa El Kebira This is where the clothing and textile traders set up shop, with wonderful local textiles to buy. le El marché chaud This is where you’ll find beautiful ceramic works and handcrafted goldsmith’s jewelry. For shoppers looking for that special gift, the souk district is not to be missed. You’ll find prices here cheaper than in the more touristy markets of Fez and Marrakech.
4 Ville Nouvelle
Tetouan’s Ville Nouvelle is centered on Avenue Mohammed V, which starts at the main square of Place Hassan II, next to the Palais Royal and the Mosquée Pacha. There are cafés all along the street where folks go in the evenings to catch up with friends. Do as they do and stop for a coffee or mint tea, and people watch for a while. Walk from the square, up to Avenue Mohamed V, to the charming old Spanish cathedral of Iglesia de Bacturia, which is still fully functional.
5 Ethnographic Museum
Inside the walls of Sultan Moulay Abderrahman’s fortress at Bab el Okla is the interesting Musée Ethnographique de Tétouan, established here in 1948. If you’re curious about traditional Moroccan culture, this is a great place to spend an hour or two exhibiting local customs from wedding ceremonies to daily life. The museum is located inside the rampart gate, and you can climb up to the roof to take photos of the city after viewing the exhibits.
Top 10 tourist attractions in Tetouan: If you’re going on a day trip from Tétouan, head for Chefchaouen, renowned as one of Morocco’s most picturesque towns. It’s a holy city with some 20 mosques and shrines, where thousands of worshippers take part in an annual pilgrimage. For other visitors, Chefchaouen’s main attraction lies in its incredibly photogenic streets. The white and blue houses here in the Medina are dreamlike in their sheer beauty, and even the floods of tourists exploring them can’t break the magical charm of this town. Get a good view of the whole Medina region by taking a walk out of town along the Ras el Maa river.
7 Rif Mountains
Located just southeast of Tangier and Tetouan, the Rif Mountains are a paradise for hikers, trekkers and mountain bikers. Walking here is full of lush green hilly panoramas and excellent bird-watching potential. Some of the best trekking options start from Chefchaouen, which is also a good place to organize all the Rif Mountains outdoor activities. Of particular note are good walks in both Talassemtane National Park and Bouhachem Nature Reserve, both of which are in the Rif Mountains region. Much of the Rif is isolated, with few remote villages, so hiring a guide is a good idea.
Top 10 tourist attractions in Tetouan: This easy fishing port is also a popular seaside resort, especially during July and August when Moroccans flock here for their beach vacations.There are plenty of restaurants next to the beach and the beautiful sandy beach is very busy at weekends. The whole shore area is scrubbed and modern, so don’t expect a traditional atmosphere, but a visit here makes an interesting contrast with the old-world charm of Tetouan.
9 Cabo Negro Beach
Cabo Negro beach is one of the best sandy beaches in northern Morocco. The lovely, wide coastline is quite often empty outside the summer months, adding to its appeal. It’s the perfect place to get out your beach towel and lie back, soaking up the sun and knowing you’ll rarely be disturbed by other beach-goers. It’s a welcome change from the busier resorts of Morocco’s Atlantic coast, such as Agadir. Of course, if you arrive in July and August, be prepared for a completely different scene, as the beach is very popular with local Moroccan tourists.
10 Northeast coast
Morocco’s northeast coast is home to breathtaking scenery and is the country par excellence for renting a car for the day and taking a road trip. The winding road hugs the shore, taking you past small villages and beautiful beaches at every turn. It’s a slice of rural Moroccan coastal life that’s hard to beat, plus you’re likely to spot a patch of sand along the way that’s completely empty, ideal for an impromptu picnic and a quick swim. Head southeast of Tetouan, following the coastal road to El Jebha village, for the best panoramic views on offer.
A white Andalusian town on the Mediterranean Sea near Tangier, Tetouan dates back to the 3rd century BC, when it was a colony called Tamouda, which existed until 42 AD when it was destroyed by Roman armies.
When Sultan Merenid Abu Thabit built a kasbah in Tetouan in 1307, the Muslim city began to take shape. But as a refuge for Barbary pirates, Tetouan drew the wrath of Castilian king Henri III, whose forces invaded and plundered the city in 1399. For a century, Tetouan went through a period of decline, until it came under the Andalusian influence of refugees from Granada.
From 1484, the city took on some of the rich architectural and cultural character of Muslim Spain, traces of which can still be seen today. In 1913, Tetouan became the capital of the Spanish protectorate until independence in 1956.
Located in an agricultural area, Tetouan is today a market center for cereals, livestock, citrus fruits and handicrafts.
Where to stay in Tetouan for sightseeing
Top 10 tourist attractions in Tetouan: We recommend these highly rated hotels in Tetouan, close to the city and the atmospheric medina:
Club Med Yasmina: luxury resort, huge swimming pool, flying trapeze, golf and tennis.
Hotel Al Mandari: 3-star hotel near the medina, modern decor, attentive staff.
Riad El Reducto: mid-range guesthouse, friendly staff, traditional decor, lovely rooftop terrace.
Blanco Riad Hotel & Restaurant: affordable rates, old town location, comfortable beds, air-conditioned rooms, mint tea.