While my parents were in Málaga we also took a day trip to Tangier, Morocco! Morocco wasn’t on my top list of places to visit at first but after a while I realized that I have no clue when I will be that close to Morocco again so we booked a tour. We planned this trip very last minute (the day before) and there were no big bus guided tours available with decent reviews so we began to look into a private tour. We stumbled upon Said’s Tours which had good reviews. (Here is the link to his Trip Advisor page if anyone is looking into a day trip to Morocco!) We took a bus from Málaga to Tarifa where we took a ferry to Tangier, but there were limited busses and ferries so we only had about 6 hours in Tangier. Said was very accommodating and allowed us to prioritize the things we really wanted to do. No one in my family is much of a foodie so we chose to opt out of the special Moroccan dinner and I requested a Henna Tattoo so he made a point to make sure I was able to get one. The ferry ride was fairly short and we were able to go through customs on the ferry which saved us time when we got to Morocco.
When we got there, Said himself was waiting for us with a sign. He took us to the car and we went on our way. We first went for a little driving tour of the city where Said gave us a little background information on Tangier and then he dropped us off with another guide who led us around for a while. We went to a light house where we could see where the Atlantic Ocean meets the Mediterranean Sea. Then we got to ride camels on the beach. This was at the top of my list and one of the coolest things we did. I had some friends who went to Morocco and they said that the camels they were given the opportunity to ride were very poorly treated but the ones we saw were just in a small group, not meant for big bus tours, and seemed to be treated well. Then we went to the Cave of Hercules, where the Phoenicians had carved an opening to the sea in the shape of Africa. The entire cave was basically a very rough map of their little part of the world and it was incredible because it was so old (the Phoenicians arrived in Morocco as early as 1000 B.C.)!
After this we met back up with Said and he took us through a fairly poor residential area. It was incredible because it was so local. We never would have gotten to see it if we were on a big bus tour. Said seemed to know everyone and he took us into a house where they make traditional bread and he was able to just take a piece and share it with us. After the residential area, we continued to the Medina market area where there were lots of spice markets and fruit sellers and then we went to a meat market and a fish market.
We did not go to any big tourist market where we were pressured to buy things by everyone we passed by, we walked passed one and we felt very lucky to have seen the more local side of things. We ended the day in a spice shop where we learned about traditional spices and oils and we were able to buy some Aragon oil (another big thing on my list), for our hair and skin. Our other tour guide brought a little Arab lady into the store who didn’t speak english and she did my Henna tattoo. We headed back to the ferry, stopping for pictures outside of the Casbah (the old part of the city), and our guides made sure that we did not feel rushed or hurried.
When we got back to the port to get to the ferry, Said knew people and was able to help us bypass the long customs line, and he walked us all the way to the ferry. Our private tour was really not much more expensive than a big bus tour would have been but it was so much more worth it for us. It made Tangier one of my favorite places that I got to travel during my time abroad.