The “Hispanic Route”

9 day-tour: The “hispanic route”

Starting from Tangier airport

The north of Morocco doesn’t have only french influences, but more Spanish and Portuguese ones. This will be an opportunity for the “Iberians” to see with their own eyes what they learned at school. This tour is the one that suits better the ones coming by ferry to Tangier or Ceuta.

1st day – leave Tangier to Tetouan (Tetuán in Spanish, Tetuão in Portuguese). The former capital of a Spanish protectorate, whose influences are to be seen in the new quarter. See the medina, classified by UNESCO as World Heritage and prepare yourself for the visit of Volubilis in the archeological museum, among other attractions. Overnight in Tetouan. 

2nd day – leave towards Chefchaouen (Xauen in Spanish, Xexuão in Portuguese), the blue city. Stroll around it, and find nice views, narrow alleys, decorative arches, defensive walls and gateways, fine houses, and traditional crafts. Overnight.

3rd day – from Chefchaouen, take south towards Ouezzane, a town with Jewish influences and with renowned olive oil. The next attraction will be Volubilis, a roman site, the ancient capital of the Mauretania Tingitana kingdom, Morocco’s most important archeological site. Close by Moulay Idriss stands for a pilgrimage site of the highest national importance. Overnight in Mèknes.

4th day – in Mèknes you must see the splendorous mausoleum of Moulay Ismaïl. Other attractions are calling you, like the ramparts and their gateways, an example of it is the Bab Mansour el-Aleuj, right in front of the lively el-Hedime square. Overnight in Mèknes.

5th day – go to the south, through the Atlas mountains, passing by Azrou, surrounded by cedars and oalm oaks. The roads goes through the Zad Pass, the highest of the Middle Atlas. Continuing south you have Midelt, a city known for the growing of apple trees. Already out of the Atlas, you will go along the Ziz Gorges, where the river with the same name flows. Through Errachidia arrive at Erg Chebbi with two overnights in RESTCAMP ERGCHEBBI

6th day – free day to relax, to take part in activities (see the article Magical Desert Dunes for adventures and sportsmen) or to visit the nearby small cities of Merzouga, a tourist center, Erfoud, home for the Dates Festival, and Rissani, with the mausoleum of Moulay Ali Cherif nearby. Between these two last cities, the road goes along the oasis of Tafilalt Palm Grove. Overnight in RESTCAMP ERGCHEBBI.

7th day – go back towards the north, leaving Errachidia, the Ziz Gorges, Midelt and Azrou behind. Overnight in Mèknes. 

8th day – get to Souk El-Arba Du Rharb, especially interesting on Wednesdays for its weekly market giving its name to the town. A special attraction for the Portuguese is Ksar el-Kebir(Alcácer-Quibir in Portuguese, Alcazarquivir in Spanish) where, nearby, a battle, here known as the 3 Kings Battle, took place in 1578. The next must is Asilah (Arzila in Portuguese, Arcila in Spanish), almost two hundred years in Portuguese hands. The medina, surrounded by walls, gives place every year for a street art festival, remaining visible to visitors all over the year. Overnight in Tangier.

9th day – spend your day exploring Tangier, the city that gave the name to the tangerines. Once Portuguese, given to England and later Spanish, this city has an international past, still visible in the present. Therefore some of the attractions are the Grand and the Petit Soccos, the American Legation Museum, the Anglican Church of St Andrew, the Place de France and the Place de Faro, among many others. In case you visited Tangier before this tour, take the chance to know other places along the Strait of Gibraltar. In the morning go east to Ksar es-Seghir (Alcácer-Ceguer in Portuguese), held by the Portuguese for one century, and then to Cap Malabata to admire the stunning view. In the afternoon go west to visit the Cap Spartel, the northwesternmost point of the African continent, where the Atlantic and the Mediterranean waters meet. Finish the day in the Grottes d’Hercule, which owes its name to the legendary Hercules. Find here out why.