Tétouan, Morocco’s most Andalusian city
Tétouan, known as the "white dove", is a city of Berber origin in Northern Morocco. Its name means "water springs" in Berber, owing to the abundance of springs throughout the city. It is located at the foothills of Mount Dersa, which belongs to the Hauz mountain range, about 70 kilometres from Tangier and 40 from Ceuta.
Getting to Tétouan
Given its importance in Northern Morocco, it has excellent connections with the city of Ceuta and other Moroccan cities. There is a motorway which links Tétouan to Ceuta and Tangier.
There are direct buses which depart from the border with Ceuta and the Port of Tangier. The fastest way to get here though is by taxi, if you don't have your own car.
The national railway operator, ONCF, offers direct routes from Asilah to other important cities such as Casablanca, Rabat and Marrakesh. There is a bus service from Tétouan to Asilah.
Tétouan has a special charm that's difficult to put into words. It may be one of the most charming cities in the country because it makes no effort to change its way of life for tourists. It maintains a special essence, with hints of its past history and hustle and bustle that you’ll find in every street.
The city is made up of the ancient medina, which was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and the Spanish District, which is considered the best colonial district in Morocco.
Is a maze of streets, alleys, squares, corners, doors and windows full of life which attract tourists. Feeling part of it all is easy - just take a stroll through its streets, drink tea at one of its cafes or talk to the locals. Let yourself be taken in by the medina and get lost in it.
There are three areas within the medina: Andalusian, Jewish and Berber.
It is almost completely surrounded by walls and its highest spot is dominated by its alcazaba, which once served as the Spanish barracks.
The heart of the Medina is Souk el Houts, dominated by the alcazaba of al-Mandari, and an interesting place where many women sell typical aprons from the city.
Another place you should visit is the Feddan Square, a beautiful square where you'll find the Royal Palace. Next to the palace are the zaouias of Sidi Abdellah el Hach and Sidi Ali Ben Aisa. This square has cafes, shops and provides access to the Jewish quarter.
The Jewish quarter is well worth a visit for its splendid houses and the ancient Queen Victoria Theatre.
A pedestrian street full of night life. There are many cafes, call shops, restaurants, tourist shops and street vendors. At the end of the street there are used books vendors, who sell a wide variety of books in many languages. It then continues on up to the Royal Palace.
This street belongs to the Spanish district, which was built during the protectorate to add to the medina.
Shopping in Tetouan
Shopping in Tétouan is a fun experience. To start with, you should take dirhams, the official currency of Morocco, since some establishments do not accept euros, and those that do charge a high exchange rate. We recommend exchanging your money at your port of arrival, at the border, or at your hotel. This site shows the exchange rate of the euro vs. the dirham:
With dirhams in your wallet you can buy anything you want. Since it is not a very touristy city, you can find better prices than in other places. Bab Nouaded Souk is a huge labyrinth of streets full of all kinds of stalls. There are stalls selling food, clothing, makeup, herbal products, accessories, fabrics, electronics and of course, typical local products. Be ready to haggle and get lost, but don't worry, the locals will help you find your way out.
If you're looking for local crafts at good prices, you should head to the crafts centre located next to the old railway station in the Spanish district. You can find everything there and watch the craftsmen at work. There are also marquetry and rug stalls in the medina that are well worth a look in on.