Hiking in Tangier
Moroccans don’t find hiking hugely popular (they prefer to walk around a little and picnic rather than walk up mountains on trails). In spite of this, there are tons of excellent places to hike in the North of Morocco, if you know where to find them and how to get there. My personal favorite is the climb up Jbel Mousa, the mountain directly across the Strait from the Rock of Gibraltar. It’s not far from Tangier, located outside the Spanish enclave of Ceuta, about 2 hours by bus or grand taxi from Tangier, and an interesting city in its own right.
How to Hike Jbel Mousa
- Take a grand taxi to the tiny village of “Bel Younesh” (they leave from the taxi stand in Findeq)
- From Bel Younesh, make your way toward the beach and the long rocky outcrop. You’ll quickly see the long sloping ascent of the mountain.
- There is a trail that runs up the mountain in switchbacks. Look for it at the bottom left of the sloping valley that leads up the mountain.
- Remember that this isn’t a national park, but it’s community pasture land. Be extremely friendly and polite to the shepherds and villagers whose path you are using.
- Try to get an early start, the sun sets really quickly in the valley, and it could be difficult to find your way back to the taxis in the dark.
General Advice on Hiking in Morocco
- The best times to hike in the north are in late spring and early fall, when the hills are green, but the rains haven’t ruined the trails yet. In a lot of Morocco, and certainly in Tangier, the best natural places, are also used for sheep grazing and farming, and it can be awkward and confusing to be sure you aren’t walking on someone’s land.
- If you ever see any indication of a military or government building, TURN AROUND IMMEDIATELY and go back. The local government has to be very careful of people wandering near their buildings and properties, and you could spend the afternoon being questioned by gendarmes (local police) just for stopping to ask for directions.
- It’s a good idea to hire a local guide to take you up the mountain, especially if the trails are on someone else’s land. I would recommend asking village kids because they are less apt to rip you off, or to turn out to be too out of shape to complete the climb they are guiding. If you are hiking in Chefchaouen, I STRONGLY recommend a guide, because of all the people growing drugs up there. The presence of a local guide says “we are not going to cause trouble” to nervous hash farmers. (In spite of this, Chefchaouen offers some of the best hiking in the country, and I highly recommend it!)
Places to Hike in Tangier:
- Forest Near Cap Spartel
- Mountains along the Mediterranean Coast incl. Jebel Moussa
- Hiking in Tetouan, Chefchaouen, etc.
- Think about booking a rural guest house, and doing day hikes up into the mountains. Lots of options are available and we hope to add some of these to our site in the near future.