Back in February when a group of us booked a trip to Morocco, we did not realize it landed on Eid al-Fitr, a celebration that marks the end of Ramadan. When I noticed, I was excited for the cultural and religious experience since back at my home university, I’ve taken a few courses on Islam and Africa. In the end, it was a group of over 15 of us that spent the weekend in Tangier, and here is what we did!
Note: To respect the culture and religion, the girls in the group wore clothes that covered our body (many dresses with button ups) and we traveled with a few guys.
After arriving late the night before, we woke up Friday morning, had breakfast in our hostel, and headed out to stroll through the markets and do some shopping. Since there were so many of us, we split into two groups and divided the guys to have a few in each. Afterward, we walked to Terrasse des Paresseux for a view of the water and city. From there, we ventured to El Cementerio Judio and Terrasse Borj Al-Hajoui for more views. We then explored Hotel Continental and saw some historical photos and facts, along with very colorful architecture. At this point, it was 1 P.M. and lunchtime, so we headed to Restaurant Hamadi.
There was live music as we enjoyed traditional Moroccan food. From here, I highly recommend the Harira soup, Chicken skewers, and Kefta Kebab. To put down our food, we walked to the Phoenician Tombs and looked out at the water before we headed to a huge must-have in Morocco: mint tea. We went to Cafe Hafa where we enjoyed the best tea I have ever had. After relaxing for a bit, we did a taxi tour where we drove through the hillside, saw some camels :D, visited Cape Spartel Lighthouse and the Hercules cave, and walked down to some rocks by the ocean.
We finished the tour and recharged a bit in our hostel before dinner at Restaurant Ahlen. Here we tried a Ramandan dish that had fish and chicken and cinnamon filling (very yummy). They served us complimentary tea (with a very cool pour) and bread sweets.
Saturday was a day trip to Chefchaouen, also known as the Blue City. Since we were a big group, we booked a van that was about a 2.5 hour drive from Tangier. We were there for about 4 hours. Again, we split into groups and mine ended up doing lunch and then exploring the various streets (all very blue) and getting some souvenirs. Others opted to just grab a snack and then do a climb up to the mosque, up to you to mix and match. You do not need much time here as the main attraction is the blue buildings, so take all your touristy pictures and you can do some of these activities afterward.
While experiencing the end of Ramadan with Eid was a great experience, it is important to note many places will be closed (as it is a time to be with family and friends), but not everywhere, so you will be able to eat (make sure to ask for and try traditional Ramadan dishes!). Since fast is broken after sunset with Iftar, the streets were very lively at night. It was a nice familiarity as Spanish culture is usually out and about late. For the religious experience, we heard the call to prayer a couple of times and saw the traditional Eid clothing worn.
Overall, it was an amazing weekend and my favorite part was the food, it had so much flavor and seasoning!
Note: Carry cash! They do not take card anywhere. Take ~50-150€ and you can exchange them at the airport or there might be some places near where you stay. There are also some ATMs around if you have a debit card (1€ is around 10 MAD).
While I loved Tangier, a day is enough, and if you want more of a touristy experience, Marrakesh is your city for the weekend. A few friends from the group went to spend their third day there and did the following:
“We just walked around the market during the day and at night and went on a camel ride, ate dinner in the desert, and watched a Moroccan performance at sunset. It was beautiful.” -Chloe. The verdict recommendation: a full weekend in Marrakesh over Tangier.
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Hi! My name is Alexandra Carrillo and I am a 2nd year at my university. I am studying International Relations and Spanish with emphases in politics and security and Latin American literature. I am from the USA and México and I often travel between the two. My hobbies include embroidering, painting, and reading (my favorite genres are romance and history). A fun fact about me is that I have a twin sister who goes to the same university as me (we are fraternal and people still mix us up!). I look forward to documenting my journey abroad and the people and places I'll meet along the way!