Ten things to do in Tangier

In danger of becoming seriously cool again for the first time since the Sixties, Tangier is shaking off its seedy reputation and is embracing international tourism.

Artists are rediscovering Tangier's seductive laissez-faire attitude, with annual music festivals - Tanjazz and Les Nuits de la Méditerranée , attracting the culture junkies who want to follow in the footsteps of their literary and music idols.

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City break guide: Tangier
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Ten things to do in Tangier

The Hotel Nord Pinus is not only one of Tangier's most beautiful hotels but probably the best located too, situated in the highest point in the Kasbah.

Breakfast on the terrace overlooking the azure blue sea is worth the overnight stay in itself. Run by design enthusiasts, the guesthouse is crammed with colourful antiques and artisan Moroccan crafts.

The Laure Welfling gallery (3, Place de la Kasbah, Tel: +212 (0)39 932 083) and Bazar Majid are Tangier's best boutiques if you're looking for good quality, authentic artisan crafts and antiques. Laure hand-picks products created by local artists while everyone from Mick Jagger to Truman Capote has wafted through the doors of Bazar Majid, walking out with one of their fine antique kaftans or Berber tribal jewellery pieces. Hagglers will find plenty of bartering opportunities in the medina, which sprawls out from the Petit Socco into a labyrinth of leather handbags, woven fabrics, silverware and reproduction jewellery. All at prices marginally lower than you would pay in Marrakech.

All the characters of Tangier's bohemian past have at one time or another supped at a table in the Cafe Hafa (Avenue Mohammed Tazi ). It's a little scuffed around the edges now, but still has a little of its original allure, best soaked up out on the terrace overlooking the straits.

Get ready to familiarise your taste buds with tagines and pigeon pastille for better or worse, Moroccan cuisine can feel a little repetitive (there's rarely a set menu where you won't experience one or the other). However, champing the way for fine dining is the lovely Riad Tanja, run by the chef of the celebrated Dar Moha in Marrakech, where traditional dishes are served in opulent, Moorish surrounds. For a light lunch, try eating out on the sun-dappled terrace at the pretty Villa Josephine.

Tangier's seafront bars and casinos still leave a lot to be desired, while the cafe and restaurants around the Petit and Grand Socco are largely dry, although are open late into the night serving pots of tea and shisha. Nostalgia junkies might want to sample the scene at the Tangier Inn but while Ginsberg's photo still hangs in the bar, its bohemian credentials leave lot to be desired. For a safer bet, order a bottle in at your riad and find a roof terrace to share it on.

The pretty, pastel-washed seaside town of Asilah is only a thirty minute train ride direct from Tangier but can feel like a world away from the chaotic bustle of the medina. A traditional port town that has been haven for local artists, Asilah celebrates its rich cultural heritage every August with a month-long celebration.
(For train times see: ONCF)

Catch a film at the beautifully restored Cinematique de Tangier.

Tangier's seafront bars and casinos still leave a lot to be desired, while the cafe and restaurants around the Petit and Grand Socco are largely dry, although are open late into the night serving pots of tea and shisha. Nostalgia junkies might want to sample the scene at the Tangier Inn but while Ginsberg's photo still hangs in the bar, its bohemian credentials leave lot to be desired. For a safer bet, order a bottle in at your riad and find a roof terrace to share it on.

As the locals would do and get a traditional moroccan hammam, You may lose a few layers of skin but you'll be feeling fresh as a new born baby by the end of it. Ask at your hotel or raid for a personal recommendation, or to enjoy the 'experience' in more cordial surroundings book into the spa at the 5-star El Minzah hotel. A 1930s, Moroccan spin on a British Gentleman's Club, the El Minzah has seen some sights - including passing stars in spies during Tangier's Golden years.

Arrange a guide to talk and walk you through the artist's quarter in the Kasbah - chasing the footsteps of William Burroughs, Matisse, and Tennessee Williams.

Down near the Grand Socco, pull up a chair in Paul Bowles' favourite cafes; the Grand Cafe de Paris and the Cafe de France, and raise a toast to Tangier's literary past.

In the gardens of a former Sultan's palace in the Dar el-Makhzen Museum (Place de la Kasbah, Tel: +212 (0)39 932 097); where the terrace is overflowing with scented fruit trees and flowering hydrangea. Inside the museum there is a trove of Moroccan and Berber antiques to inspire your next home decor project...

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