Moulay El Mehdi Square in the Spanish Ensanche in Tetouan
In a tourism trip through northern Morocco A very popular destination is the great city of Tangier, that during the last century an image of an international city has been forged.
Or you can also visit places with great charm like the ones you find in the delicious Chefchaouen Medina, focus of numerous European and North American tourists traveling to this area of the North African country.
Or enclaves as beautiful as the fortified coastal town of Asilah.
Medina of Tetouan from the Spanish Eixample
But if you go toTetouan, very close to these places, and just 41 kilometers south of Ceuta, you will be surprised because for nothing it will seem like a tourist destination.
That happened to me on my first trip to Tetouan, city that lately I am visiting with some frequency.
My only previous experience of atrip to Morocco was the Marrakech visit, city that I loved, but that has an undoubted tourist character.
Therefore, it was really surprising to get to Tetouan, a city with a long history linked to Spain, and so close to our country, and not find practically western by its streets.
Now that after several visits I already know better this city located in the foothills of the Moroccan RifI'm going to give you some tips to visit Tetouan, as well as enough arguments so that in the end you consider it worth your visit.
Mosque in the center of Tetouan next to the medina
Why Tetouan is a World Heritage Site
I'll tell you first Tetouan It is a declared city World Heritage Thanks to your medina.
Indeed, the Unesco He highlighted in 1997 the great importance that the former had from the 8th century Titawin, now Tetouan, as a contact route between the North African region of present-day Morocco and Andalusia.
Subsequently, Tetouan It was a city developed by Muslims who were expelled from Spain at the end of the fifteenth century, so its architecture has had a great influence Andalusian.
Currently the Tetuan medina It is considered the most complete in Morocco, and the one that has been most safe from external influences.
Visit the medina of Tetouan it is enough argument to put on your route through North Africa this city that is known as the White dove.
Prayer in a mosque in the medina of Tetouan
How to get to Tetouan
Located about 60 kilometers east of Tangier, where you can get on a cheap flight of just one hour from Madrid, you can also access Tetuán easily after cross the Strait from Algeciras to Ceuta, or to the aforementioned Tangier.
From Tetouan you will be in just over an hour in the charming Chefchaouen, with its streets where the blue color acquires the greatest prominence.
Thevisit of Tetouan You can do it perfectly in a single day, since the historic center is not large and you can explore it perfectly on foot.
What to see in Tetouan
There are two clearly defined axes for your visit.
Colonial architecture in the Spanish Ensanche of Tetuán
Of course the historic medina, but also the so-called Spanish Ensanche, area adjacent to the medina.
This spanish neighborhood Now it is the nerve and commercial center of the city, and it is the urban result of the Spanish presence during the first half of the 20th century.
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Spanish Ensanche of Tetouan
Effectively, Tetouan it was the capital of the so-called Spanish Protectorate in North Africa, which extended from 1913 to 1956, when the Moroccan independence agreement was signed.
Church of Our Lady of Victory in Tetouan
These decades of Spanish presence favor that in Tetouan you find older people who speak perfect Spanish, and who refer to that period as a time of boom, both economic and artistic.
Teután and The time between seams
A good reflection of that time and its relationship with Spain you find in the television series The time between seams, based on the novel by Maria Dueñas, which shows a splendid Tetouan.
Now in your walk through the Spanish Quarter of Tetouan you will see houses with an interesting Colonial architecture, whose facades have a bright white with green touches, all different.
Even in one of the main squares of the city, that of Moulay El Mehdi, can you see her catholic church of Our Lady of Victory, built in 1919, an exception as a religious temple in a city that already has only 27 mosques in its medina.
Fur tannery in the Medina of Tetouan
How is the Medina of Tetouan
Although after the march of the Spaniards in good measure the Tetuan medina it opened towards him spanish neighborhood when some sections of the wall are removed, the ideal is that you access through one of the five doors that remain in the mentioned wall.
Although the Tetuan medina it's not as big and as labyrinthine as that of Fez, and you can visit without the company of a guide, my advice is that to extract the real juice from it, you visit with their help.
To contact an official guide (not worth anyone offered on the street), you must go to the tourist office, which you find next to the Consulate of Spain.
The great attraction and difference of the Tetuan medina with, for example, the Marrakech medina or, in another dimension, that of Chefchaouen, is that there you will find the true atmosphere of a Moroccan city.
It is a non-tourist medina, a place where a good part of the population of Tetouan resides, who shop in the souks that stretch through it.
Royal Palace in the old square of Spain in Tetouan
your walk through the medina of Tetouan It will be a return to past centuries, where you will be surprised by the diverse and curious trades that take place in it, where there is no lack of tanners, and even a donkey parking.
One tip is to try to prevent your visit from coinciding with a Friday, because you will find closed the positions of some trades, such as jewelers, since it is the holiday of Muslims.
Sleep and eat in Tetouan
With regard to accommodation in Tetouan, I anticipate that there are not too many.
If you want a simple three-star hotel, at a very reasonable price, and with clean and modern facilities, I recommend the Athens hotel, in the very center of Spanish Ensanche.
El Reducto riad restaurant in Tetuán's medina
And if you are looking for the charm of a riad in the medina, at one of its entrances you have two establishments run by Spanish citizens, The Redoubt Y White Riad, which are a reference in the city.
And refering to where to eat in Tetouan, a key aspect is if you are looking for a place to drink beer or wine.
You will find them in the Spain house or in the aforementioned Riad El Reducto, where you can enjoy both Mediterranean food and Moroccan specialties at a reasonable price, although superior to the most popular local food houses.
Another place where you can eat with beer in Tetouan is in the Restinga restaurant, very close to thatConsulate of Spain, where the waiters will also speak to you in Spanish.
Already unable to consume alcohol, if you feel like choosing between a wide range of fish dishes, I recommend the Fish corner.
White Riad in the medina of Tetouan
And if you are looking for a popular Moroccan food establishment, which the local population recommends, you should go toOmar, next to the enclosure known as Spanish pavilions, always full, with their chawarnas and food take away With very popular prices.
Here you have more photos of Tetouan, north of Morocco, both of its medina as of Spanish Ensanche.
And in this article you have a large gallery of photos of the medina of Tetouan.
- Views of the medina of Tetouan in northern Morocco
- Colonial architecture in the Spanish Ensanche of Tetuán
- Corner of the old square of Spain in Tetouan
- Corner of the Spanish Ensanche of Tetouan
- Corner of the Spanish Ensanche of Tetouan
- Minaret tower of the Great Mosque of downtown Tetouan
- Hairdresser in the center of Tetouan