Things to do in Tetouan, Morocco: 1-day itinerary

To help you make the most out of your trip, we’ve put together this one-day itinerary that highlights the best things to do in Tetouan including a few tips on where to stay and what to eat.

Described as the “white dove” by Arabic poets because of its white-washed and tiled buildings, Tetouan is a picturesque Arabo-Andalusian city nestled in the northern part of Morocco where the Mediterranean Sea meets the Rif Mountains.

Compared to Marrakech and Fes, life in Tetouan is slow-paced and the city remains unspoiled by mass tourism. With its narrow alleys, the city’s vast UNESCO World Heritage-listed medina seems like it has not changed in centuries. It is actually one of the smallest medinas in Morocco.

Day 1

Morning: Bab Al Okla

The first stop on your morning walk is Bab Al Okla, one of the seven historic gates in Tetouan. Also known as the “Gateway to the Sea”, this Bab from the 16th century is definitely one the most impressive entrances to the Medina. You will find more information about the gate on the green boards on the walls. The gate leads to Tetouan’s Medina, a white labyrinth of streets lined with bustling souks, food stalls, poultry shops, and leather goods shops. Wandering through this UNESCO World Heritage site and its narrow alleys feels like stepping back in time.

Ethnographic Museum

Learn more about the culture and history of Tetouan at the Ethnographic Museum. Housed in a 19th-century fortress, the small museum features an impressive collection of clothing, musical instruments, jewelry, furniture, embroidery, weapons, and other cultural artifacts. For magnificent views of the city and the Rif Mountains, stop by the museum’s beautiful rooftop terrace. It will take you about an hour to explore the Ethnographic Museum.

Dar El Oddi

A Moroccan citizen converted his grandfather's family riad from the 1920s into a fabulous museum. Welcome to Dar El Oddi, a museum and cultural center that tells the story of the city through vibrant postcards, stamps, paintings, maps, and vintage brochures. Located in the heart of the medina, this beautifully restored mansion also has a traditional family kitchen on the ground floor. An entrance ticket to Dar El Oddi will set you back 25 MAD.

Madrasa Loukach

Built in the 18th century, Madrasa Loukach is a former religious school that has been transformed into a museum with a beautiful garden in the middle. With 10 exhibition rooms, the museum focuses on the religious heritage of the Medina of Tetouan and traditional education. The rooms are nicely organized, making it easy for visitors to learn more about the Muslim culture. In addition to manuscripts and other historical documents, the museum houses a nice collection of valuable and rare antiques.

Michouar’s Square and the Royal Palace

You have arrived in front of the most impressive square in the city, Michouar’s Square. Admire the beauty of the tall art-nouveau light towers which were designed by a student of Gaudi, Enrique Nieta. A part of the square has cafés with terraces and street stalls where you can stop for a refreshing drink and a snack. This lively square is also home to the beautiful Grand Palace known for its modern Moroccan architecture. Although you can’t enter the Palace, the exterior alone is worth checking out.

Day 1 - Morning Tetouan Tour Map

Afternoon: Archaeological Museum of Tetouan

Your afternoon walk begins at the Archaeological Museum of Tetouan. Located in the city’s Ville Nouvelle, the museum is for all you history buffs visiting Tetouan. It has an impressive collection of artifacts that tell the story of the region’s past. You will come across an ancient Roman mosaic, prehistoric tools, Islamic art, and displays of artifacts such as coins, pottery, and bronzes. Don’t miss the museum’s library which is dedicated to the preservation of African literature.

Feddan Park

The next stop on our afternoon walk is Feddan Park. This large square with open green spaces is a popular spot for local families and friends to hang out. The views of the medina and surrounding hills are spectacular. Keep in mind that the square gets crowded around sunset. There is a nice café, a playground for the little ones, and a large underground parking.

Moulay El Mehdi Square

You are entering El Ensanche, the Spanish quarter of Tetouan. On your stroll through this vibrant quarter, stop by Moulay El Mehdi Square. Also known as "El Plaza Primo", this beautiful circular square is a very busy place with the Church of Our Lady of Victories on one side and the Spanish Consulate on the other. The palm-lined square is notable for its fountain with jets of water and a few lively bars where you can unwind with a cup of Moroccan mint tea.

Tetouan Museum of Modern Art

Art lovers visiting Tetouan can spend a few hours at the Tetouan Museum of Modern Art. It is actually one of the only two modern art museums in all of Morocco. Situated inside a charming Andalusian building which once served as a train station linking Tetouan to Ceuta, the museum is home to Moroccan, Spanish, and Andalusian art from the 1950s to the present. There are five exhibition rooms showcasing a permanent collection of modern paintings and sculptures from all over the country. Visitors will also have an opportunity to see works from the students of the School of Fine Arts (INBA) of Tetouan.

Riyad Al Ochak

Your last stop is Riyad Al Ochak. Riyadh stands for garden and Al Ochak means lovers. So, the name of the garden translates to the “Garden of Lovers”. Built in 1929, this beautiful garden is known for its Arab-Andalusian architecture. It used to be home to several well-groomed animals like peacocks and monkeys and colorful fish tanks. Nowadays, this palm-fringed garden is a great place to go for a walk and reconnect with nature without leaving the city center.

Day 1 - afternoon Tetouan Tour Map

Other things to see in Tetouan

  • Tanneries in Tetouan: For those who don’t know, tanneries in Morocco are traditional places for processing leather. You will find the last few tanneries in Tetouan just minutes away from the Royal Palace. This area is much smaller than the famous tanneries in Moroccan cities like Fes and Marrakesh. Sadly, this centuries-old tradition is close to dying in Tetouan with just a few craftsmen working here.

  • Jbel Dersa Park: Located on the outskirts of Tetouan at an altitude of about 450 meters above sea level, Jbel Dersa Park is a beautiful park and a perfect destination for travelers who wish to venture outside the city gates. Hike up to the tower located at the top of Jbel Dersa Park for panoramic views of the city of Tetouan and Martil. The easiest way to reach the park is with a taxi.

  • Tetouan’s Souk District: Shopaholics visiting Tetouan can pay a visit to Tetouan’s Souk District. Home to numerous stalls, it is a great place to score a souvenir to bring back home from your trip to Morocco. From clothing and textile stalls to shops that sell handcrafted jewelry and ceramic work, Tetouan’s Souk District is where you can barter for all kinds of goods. Want to hear more good news? Unlike Souk districts in Moroccan towns such as Marrakesh and Fes which are super touristy and expensive, Tetouan’s Souk District is much cheaper and definitely less crowded.

Day Trips from Tetouan

  • Chefchaouen: Known as the “Blue Pearl of Morocco”, Chefchaouen is a UNESCO World Heritage town in the Rif Mountains. It is, without a doubt, one of the most photogenic travel sites in Morocco. Lose yourself in the narrow, winding streets of its Medina and snap photos in front of the blue-washed buildings. Don’t miss the picturesque Outa El Hamman Square and the Kasbah Museum which houses ancient artifacts, clothing, instruments, and traditional decorations. Wish to go on a shopping spree in Chefchaouen? You’ll be pleased to hear that the medina is filled with local artisans selling everything from woven baskets, hand-painted furniture, and carpets to jewelry, pottery, beautifully scented soaps, and spices. It takes 1.5 hours by road to reach Chefchaouen from Tetouan.

  • Talassemtane National Park: If you are a fan of the great outdoors, a visit to the Rif Mountains is simply a must. It is the best place to enjoy outdoor activities such as hiking, jogging, canyoning, and mountain biking. The most popular area of the Rif Mountain to explore is the Talassemtane National Park. The park begins just outside of Chefchaouen and is known for its plunging gorges, picturesque waterfalls, and thickly forested hills. Popular attractions include Akchour Waterfalls and the God’s Bridge. Numerous trails and routes are available for any hike level and birdwatchers should keep an eye out for golden eagles. It will take you approximately 2 hours and 30 minutes by car to get from Tetouan to the Talassemtane National Park.

  • Martil: Located just 10km from Tetouan, Martil is a popular coastal resort town with a beautiful beach. Many Moroccans come here during the summer season to soak up the Mediterranean sun and feast on freshly caught fish and seafood at one of the dining establishments on the wide palm-lined promenade. This small town is fully focused on tourism in summer. The rest of the year Martil is a university town.

  • Tangier: A city rich in history, Tangier has been occupied by practically everyone from the Romans and the Arabs to the Portuguese, the French, and the Spanish. Finally, in 1956, the city was returned to Morocco. Tangier’s colorful Medina with its narrow alleys is a good place to start your visit. The Kasbah is where you want to go for the views and the museums. The Souk is a place to satisfy your shopping cravings and score some cool souvenirs. It takes about 1 hour and 30 minutes by car to reach Tangier from Tetouan.

  • Ceuta: Bordered by Morocco, Ceuta is Spain’s autonomous city surrounded on three sides by water. Protected by high medieval walls and stone citadels, this tiny Spanish exclave is known for its stunning architecture, delicious cuisine, and different influences from both sides of Gibraltar. See the two seven-meter-tall bronze statues cast by local sculptor, Ginés Serrán Pagán. With its cafes and tapas bars, the European-style city center is where you want to go next. End your Ceuta day trip from Tetouan with a visit to the city’s beach, Playa de la Ribera, for some seriously awesome sunset views.

  • Cabo Negro: With its wide sandy shoreline and all-inclusive resorts, Cabo Negro is the most exclusive beach town in the region. It is located right between the town of M’diq and Martil, 13 km from Tetouan. In addition to 2 lovely beaches with turquoise waters, Cabo Negro has tennis courts, a few restaurants, and an amazing 9-hole golf course.

  • Al-Hoceima National Park: Visitors searching for an isolated and remote area can go on a day trip to Al-Hoceima National Park. Made up of the ocean, pine forests, and limestone cliffs, this large national park is easily reachable from the coastal town of Al-Hoceima. Inside the forested areas, you will find endemic thuya trees, rare bird species, and animals like jackals and boar. Visit the tiny isolated villages within the park, discover the park’s hidden coves and beaches, and enjoy the sweeping views of the ocean. Al-Hoceima National Park can be reached in 3 hours and 30 minutes by car from Tetouan.

  • M'diq: Located just a 20-minute drive from Tetouan, M'diq is a small Mediterranean village renowned for its beautiful landscapes and charming beach with calm waters. It is a popular destination among both Moroccans and foreign tourists who come here to enjoy the beach and practice water sports. The King of Morocco has a palace in this picturesque village in the Tetouan province.

  • Oued Laou: Welcome to Oued Laou, a charming seaside resort located just a 1-hour drive from Tetouan. Most people visit Oued Laou in summer to enjoy its spectacular beach with crystal-clear waters. If you are a fan of hiking and nature, you can explore the nearby mountains. The hiking trails are well-marked and the views of the region are simply breathtaking.

Tetouan golf courses

  • Cabo Negro Royal Golf Club: Golfers visiting Tetouan can spend a few hours at this magnificent 18-hole golf course. Opened in 1976, the Cabo Negro Royal Golf Club is located just a 20-minute drive from Tetouan on the Rif mountainside. Visitors can look forward to broad fairways and playing golf between beautiful dunes, hills, streams, and bushes. The golf course is situated within the luxurious Apartment Cabo Negro Royal Golf and Resort.

Things to do with kids in Tetouan

  • Corniche Oued Martil: If you are visiting Tetouan with your kids, spend a day at Corniche Oued Martil. There are plenty of rides for the little ones to enjoy, as well as bike, electric car, and scooter rentals. Your kids can also go on the trampoline or enjoy pony rides.

  • Martil Amusement Park: The nearby village of Martil is where you will find the fabulous Martil Amusement Park. It is, without a doubt, one of the most popular spots for families with kids in the area. Expect to find a bunch of cool rides such as the Paratrooper Ride and the Kiddie Ride.

Where to eat in Tetouan

  • Esquina del Pescado: If you are craving fresh seafood and fish, book a table at Esquina del Pescado. The decorations here are beautiful with marine and sailing-themed decor. As for the food, every dish is crafted to perfection. Olives and bread are served as appetizers. Start with the fish soup, conchas, or tortilla de gambas. The menu is extensive with salads, pasta, meat, and of course, fish and seafood dishes. The mixed seafood platter is mouthwatering, as well as fried calamari and shrimp with fried anchovies. For dessert, we recommend tarta de chocolate and tarte de limon.

  • Restaurant La Union: A family-owned restaurant, La Union is where you want to go for a traditional homemade Moroccan meal. It is not an upscale joint and the décor is quite simple. However, the food is amazing, the portions are huge, and everything on the menu is reasonably priced. The restaurant offers salads, soups, and authentic Moroccan dishes. The prawn tajin for 2 people is a big crowd-pleaser and the stewed lamb with potatoes melts in your mouth.

  • Diamond Tétouan Restaurant, Coffee & Pâtisserie: Wish to enjoy spectacular mountain views in a relaxing atmosphere and feast on tasty foods? Make a reservation at the Diamond Tétouan Restaurant, Coffee & Pâtisserie. They have burgers, tacos, pizza, fresh fish and seafood, crepes, milkshakes, smoothies and much more. Customers say how the paella is delicious and add that the mixed fried seafood is also worth ordering. Visitors with a sweet tooth should definitely try their crème caramel.

  • Restaurant Riad El Reducto: Even if you are not staying at this beautiful Spanish-run hotel in Tetouan, you can still book a table at their on-site restaurant with stunning interiors. Nestled on the roofed patio of an old house in the Medina, Restaurant Riad El Reducto offers modern Moroccan cuisine and panoramic views of the city. Popular dishes include Aubergine cannelloni stuffed with seafood, Spanish croquetas, chicken pastille, lamb couscous, and goat tajine. The flavors and mixture of spices here are wonderful and the staff is friendly. Customers say that this is one of the few places in the Medina that serves food and drink (including alcohol) during the day, during Ramadan. Keep in mind that the restaurant prices are above average for Tetouan standards.

  • Blanco Riad Restaurant: Situated inside a stylish boutique 4-star hotel, Blanco Riad Restaurant is all about upscale modern Moroccan food. You can book a table at their lovely terrace garden patio and enjoy delicacies such as goat tagine, harira soup, grilled red mullet with caramelized tomatoes and tapenade, and chicken pastella with cinnamon. The restaurant is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

  • AL Barakate Bakery: Get your breakfast fix at AL Barakate Bakery. This well-decorated place in Tetouan offers a wonderful selection of baked goods, sandwiches, cookies, fresh juices, and salads. In terms of service and the quality of food, AL Barakate Bakery is one of the best spots to enjoy breakfast in the city.

Where to stay in Tetouan

  • Blanco Riad: Located just a short walk from the Royal Palace, Blanco Riad is one of the most popular boutique design hotels in the city. With its hand-cut floor tiles, a picturesque courtyard, and a lovely fountain, this elegant 19th-century building looks amazing. Guests can read a book on the spacious ground-floor terrace, enjoy beauty treatments, and have a memorable dining experience at the on-site restaurant that serves modern Moroccan cuisine. The hotel boasts 8 individually decorated rooms with mosaic-tiled floors, velvet sofas, comfortable beds, and spacious bathrooms.

  • Riad el Reducto: Book a room at Riad el Reducto, a lovely boutique riad located at the entrance of Tetouan's Medina. The roof terrace offers magnificent views of the medina and the small courtyard with black and white cement tiles has a Spanish vibe. The hotel even has an on-site boutique where guests can purchase everything from perfumes to leather bags. Stay in one of the 10 individually decorated suites decorated with Moroccan mosaics. Once you get hungry, visit the on-site restaurant with traditional Islamic décor and enjoy a fusion of Moroccan and Spanish cuisine.

  • Hôtel Al Mandari: If you are searching for a modern family-friendly hotel with a European vibe, look no further than Hotel Al Mandari. Located just a short walk from the train station and the medina, the hotel offers cozy air-conditioned rooms, a 24-hour front desk, fast Wi-Fi, and an on-site restaurant. Guests like the mountain views from their rooms and add that breakfast is delicious.

  • Riad Darna: A hidden gem in the heart of the Medina, Riad Darna is a perfect place to stay for travelers looking for an authentic Moroccan experience. You will be staying minutes away from some of the most popular tourist attractions in the city. The riad itself looks lovely with traditional Moroccan furniture and a nice terrace with spectacular city views. Breakfast is included in the price.

  • Riad Las Mil y una Noches Tetuan: Located a stone’s throw from the Royal Palace, Hotel Riad Las Mil y una Noches is a meticulously decorated property with an adorable rooftop terrace that offers magnificent views of the white-washed buildings and mountains. The breakfast is generous and is included in the price of the stay, while the rooms are individually decorated and named after characters from 1001 Nights. Also, the riad is close to many restaurants, souks, and shops in the Medina.

The best time to visit Tetouan

Tetouan has a typical Mediterranean climate. The summer season is hot and dry, while winter brings cooler temperatures. If you are interested in spending time on the beach and don’t mind the heat, book your vacation in Tetouan in the summer. However, the best time to visit Tetouan is actually in spring (April to June) and fall (September to November) when temperatures are moderate and fewer tourists around. Visiting Tetouan in spring or fall ensures a pleasant climate for exploring the city’s attractions.

Tetouan Festivals

  • The International Film School Festival of Tetouan: Promoting the work of students from Film schools, universities, and institutes specializing in the film industry, the annual International Film School Festival of Tetouan is one of the most anticipated events in the city. This international competition for school films is usually held in November and lasts for about 5 days. The festival takes place at the historic Salle Teatro Espanol.

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