Discovering Tetouan: A Guide to Morocco’s Hidden Gem

Tetouan is a historic city located in northern Morocco, nestled between the Rif Mountains and the Mediterranean Sea. The city has a rich cultural and historical background, making it a popular tourist destination. In this article, we will provide you with a brief overview of Tetouan’s travel information and history.

Travel Information

Tetouan can be easily accessed by bus, train, or taxi from other major cities in Morocco such as Tangier, Rabat, and Fez. The city is located just 60 kilometers east of Tangier, making it a popular day trip for visitors. The city’s main bus station is located on Avenue Mohammed V, and there are frequent buses connecting Tetouan to other cities in Morocco. The train station is located in the new town of Tetouan and provides connections to Casablanca, Rabat, and Tangier.

Tetouan has a well-preserved medina, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The medina is located in the heart of the city and is home to a labyrinth of narrow streets and alleys lined with traditional houses, shops, and cafes. Visitors can explore the medina’s many souks, which are filled with local handicrafts, leather goods, and textiles. Other popular attractions in Tetouan include the Ethnographic Museum, the Archaeological Museum, and the Hassan II Mosque.

Tetouan is known for its culinary delights, and visitors can sample a range of traditional Moroccan dishes, including tajines, couscous, and pastilla. The city is also famous for its sweet and savory pastries, such as chebakia, briouats, and sfenj. Visitors can try these dishes at local restaurants and cafes or at one of the many street food stalls located throughout the city.



Tetouan’s history dates back to the 3rd century BC when it was founded by the Berbers. The city later became a Phoenician and Carthaginian trading post before falling under Roman control in the 1st century AD. In the 7th century, Tetouan was conquered by the Arabs, and it became an important center of Islamic learning and culture.

During the 15th and 16th centuries, Tetouan was a thriving port city and a major center of trade between Europe and Africa. The city was ruled by the Wattasid dynasty, and its strategic location made it an important target for both the Portuguese and the Spanish.

In 1484, the Portuguese attacked Tetouan but were repelled by the city’s defenders. In 1497, the Spanish launched a second attack on the city, which they managed to capture and hold for several years. During this time, the Spanish built a fortress in Tetouan, which still stands today.

In the 17th century, Tetouan became the capital of the independent Republic of Tetouan, which was recognized by European powers and had a flourishing trade with Europe. The city’s golden age came to an end in the 18th century when it was conquered by the Alaouite dynasty, who made Rabat their capital.

Today, Tetouan is a thriving city that celebrates its cultural heritage and history. Visitors can explore the city’s rich past by visiting its many historical sites and museums. The city is also home to a vibrant arts and culture scene, with many galleries and workshops showcasing local art and crafts.

In conclusion, Tetouan is a beautiful city with a rich cultural and historical heritage that is well worth exploring. From its well-preserved medina to its delicious cuisine, visitors can experience the best of Moroccan culture in Tetouan.

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