Tétouan was, for me, a strategic stop on the journey between Chefchaouen and Tangier. I arrived with no expectations, but I can assure you that if there is a city that surprised me in the recent Northern Morocco script, this destiny was Tetouan.
In fact, this was the second time he had visited Tetouan; but had no great memories of the first visit, about two decades ago, when the Tétouan medina became part of the list of UNESCO heritage in Morocco. So long ago, then, I shall return to the Hispano-Moorish city of Tetouan.
My visit to Tétouan
I arrived in Tétouan mid-morning, straight to the Moulay El Mehdi square - the roundabout where the Church of Our Lady of Victory. Looking around, he immediately noticed the important Spanish colonial legacy of Tetouan. It was not the Moroccan faces and clothes, and at a glance the urban architecture could lead me to think that I was somewhere in the Andalusia or in any square in Central America.
The church was closed but fortunately the church's janitors opened the door to the building and I had the opportunity to enter, to listen to detailed historical explanations, and to visit the Church of Our Lady of Victory beyond the vibrant yellow of the outer walls.
Finished visit, then proceeded to El Feddane Square for a first glimpse in white tones of the Tétouan medina. I then passed by the imposing Bab Tut, one of the seven gates of the historic city, before seeing the Royal Palace and finally giving in to the hustle and bustle of souks the interior of the medina.
At that point we were accompanied by a plainclothes policeman, surprised by the perspicacity of a traveling companion, a deep acquaintance with the Moroccan reality who, at one point, approached him: "You are a cop, are not you? Look, I'm John, since you have to walk with us, why do not you show us the coolest places in the medina? "
And so we won a sympathetic local guide who, taking his mission very seriously, ended up showing us beautiful corners of the Tetouan medina.
Our souks, there were plenty of spice shops; the stalls of nuts with delicious dates with nuts; the dairies where the fresh cheese is sold jben; the carpet stores; religious articles stores; fabric stores and weavers; craftsmen such as carpenters and cobblers; and even the oldest tannery in Tetouan, where I had the opportunity to enter.
I also visited historical sites such as the Atarin fountain, one of the oldest in the medina and which, it seems, still retains its original form.
Finally, I went through the Mellah neighborhood with great interest. It is the Jewish quarter of the Tetouan medina, completely different from the rest of the medina, where I could not help but notice the narrow alleys as I walked through Haifa, Gaza and Ramallah.
By this time, it was time to say goodbye to your friend and thank you for your cooperation, and renew your energies with a lunch of the other world in the restaurant. Riad Blanco. It was the perfect way to end the visit to - I repeat - the biggest surprise of this trip through the North of Morocco.
Tétouan is same a crossroads of cultures. I loved it!
More photos by Tétouan
Map: Things to Do in Tetouan
How to get to Tétouan
The most convenient international airport to visit Tétouan is undoubtedly Tangier (there are direct flights from Lisbon). Once in Morocco, from Tangier to Tétouan there is no shortage of transport: you can follow Grand Taxi (shared taxis that depart several times a day) or by bus.
Where to stay
I ended up not staying in Tétouan, having visited the city only for half a day, taking advantage of the trip between Chefchaouen and Fez. If you have more time and want to sleep in Tétouan, I recommend without reservation the cozy Riad Thousand and One Nights and the most luxurious Riad El Manantial. Both are inside the medina of Tétouan, fact that in very will enrich the experience. Alternatively, the White Riad gathers almost unanimous praise.
A World Nomads offers one of the best and most complete travel insurance recommended by National Geographic and Lonely Planet. Other excellent and cheaper option is IATI Seguros, which has no age limit and allows multivariate insurance (including long-term travel) to any destination in the world. It's the insurance I use in my travels.
I traveled with the support of Morocco Tourism.