MOROCCO | Tetouan, Three Days at Morocco’s Spanish City | Lakad Pilipinas

Tetouan Three Days Itinerary

It’s very easy to change plans without a fixed itinerary and zero sponsors, traveling suddenly begins to be mercurial once again. What should’ve been a straight ride from Rabat to Chefchaoen has been rerouted not once (see our Three Days in Asilah) but twice. The Spanish City of Tetouan reared its head as we were checking the bus route to the Blue City. Dubbed as the White City, Tetouan attracted us by a single thing, its medina’s status as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

 

 

GETTING THERE


There’s no train route from Asilah to Tetouan, but ONCF, the government-run company that manages the trains in Morocco has buses that goes there, Supratours. These buses actually complements the routes where there are no available trains yet.

Getting to the Supratours bus station in Asilah posed a problem though. We can’t seem to find any info where it actually is. Google Maps is pointing to a makeshift van transfer station along the highway, so we went there, but that isn’t it. It turns out the Supratours terminal is actually right at the Asilah train station. The buses are parked at the back and you can purchase your ticket at the train station counter. These have a couple of daily schedules with tickets at MAD 45.00 (USD 4.50) and takes about an hour and a half of scenic ride. You may check the schedule and even purchase tickets at the ONCF website.

Don’t let anyone dissuade you from taking the bus. Not a few will tell you that there’s no bus going straight to Tetouan from Asilah, and you’d have to go to Tangier first. Even the ticket agent inside the station was telling us to simply get a taxi to Tetouan, which would be really expensive, but we persisted that we’re taking the bus.

The Supratours bus station in Tetouan lies outside the medina walls (there are two on Google Maps, this is the real one), and to get to our lodging, we walked for about three kilometers. We could’ve actually taken a local bus (ask around, the locals don’t bite) to Bab Okla, the nearest gate to our lodging, but we were stupid. Lol. Take a bus, it’s safe and very cheap.

Tetouan How to Get There from Asilah
TAKING THE SUPRATOURS BUS FROM ASILAH TO TETOUAN

Tetouan How to Get There from Asilah
VIEW FROM THE BUS WINDOW

Tetouan How to Get There from Asilah
TETOUAN TOWN OUTSKIRTS

 

 

HOW MANY DAYS TO SPEND IN TETOUAN


Tetouan’s medina and ville nouvelle can actually be explored in one full day. But if you consider the travel time to get there and get out via public transportation, you would need at least three days for the city—the first day to get in, the second day to explore, and the third day to get out. But should you decide to rent a taxi, it can be done in a single day, get in very early in the morning, then exit during the evenings. If you plan to see the nearby beaches, add another day to your Tetouan itinerary.

Tetouan How Many Days
ROOFTOP VIEW OF TETOUAN MEDINA

Tetouan How Many DaysTetouan How Many Days
TETOUAN’S VILLE NUVELLE OR NEW MEDINA

Tetouan How Many Days
A COLORFUL PART OF TETOUAN’S OLD MEDINA

 

 

TETOUAN FOOD TRIP


One of the things we benefited from by walking all the way to Bab Okla from the bus station is this simple hole-in-the-wall eatery located across Supratours. Well, we could’ve actually eaten here and taken the bus, but we probably wouldn’t have if we didn’t decide to walk.

Anyways, they serve rice meals, which made us all excited and giddy, it was something we missed during our Asilah food trip. Well, rice meals in the sense that they serve rice and they serve hot meals. They don’t necessarily serve them together, pairing their meals with bread instead. The staff was chagrined, and the other patrons weirded out, that we’re combining their food with rice. We then asked for the bread as take-aways, para llevar, for our dinner, lol.

Far as this restaurant is from where we’re staying, we dined on this place every single day—once during our arrival, the second time when we were out looking for an electric kettle (we decided on buying one for our drinking water instead of buying bottled water every time), and third, when we left for Chefchaoen.

Their food, which we really didn’t know the names of since they don’t have a menu, really resonated with us. It was so much like Filipino cooking—probably due to the heavy Spanish influence at Tetouan. If you take out the olives, the dishes were very similar to atsuete-infused and tomato-based meals in the Philippines, like giniling and afritada.

Tetouan Food Trip
MOROCCAN LEMON CHICKEN ON OLIVES

Tetouan Food Trip
LEMON LAMB SHANK WITH OLIVES, SERVED WITH BREAD. RICE & FRIES BOUGHT SEPARATELY.

Tetouan Food Trip
KEFTA WITH OLIVES PLUS A SIDES OF VEGGIES

 

 

VILLE NOUVELLE


Another good thing that came out of all that walking is that we got to see Tetouan’s Ville Nouvelle or the development outside its old medina without even meaning to.

Walking around Tetouan is pretty safe even if this is a busy town—buses regularly ply its roads and taxis are everywhere. We stop every once in a while to take photos of the charming art deco buildings, the crumbling walls of the medina perched high above the rocky hill, and a small park littered with kids playing on see saws and mini caves that form at the base of the hill.

Tetouan Ville Nouvelle
TETOUAN’S MEDINA IS BUILT ABOVE A ROCKY HILL

Tetouan Ville Nouvelle
TETOUAN MUSEUM

Tetouan Ville Nouvelle
AT THE OUTSKIRTS OF THE ANDALUSIAN EXTENSION OF THE MEDINA

 

 

CASA MEDINA SANAA

  ADDRESS: 31 DERBE JENUI, BAB OKLA | GPS MAP COORDINATES: 35.570544, -5.364135


Accessing Tetouan’s medina through Bab Okla, one of its seven gates, we followed Google Maps to our lodging and got nowhere. We asked around, no one knew where Casa Medina Sanaa was. It took several more asking before someone finally led us to the right door.

CASA MEDINA SANAA DISCOUNTED ROOM RATES

We booked a single room at Casa Medina Sanaa, and they gave us a whole floor complete with a sitting room and an en suite toilet and bath. Like most rooms in Morocco, it’s on the narrow side and the door doesn’t really give us that much confidence in case of a break-in. But still, it’s quite a deal.

From the look of the place, we surmise that the floor given to us is used for special occasions, like maybe weddings. I mean, it has a pedestal in the middle complete with shiny, fluffy fabrics with a love seat right on top. This is definitely one of the weirdest place we’ve stayed on so far.

What we do like about the place though is the rooftop restaurant where they serve us the daily free breakfast. It’s only the second time we’ve had complimentary morning fare in Morocco, the first one during our Casablanca four days itinerary. Tetouan, being located right at the foot of the Rif Mountains, the view of the mountains littered by boxy little houses at its slope from the balcony was just astounding, especially during the early mornings.

Tetouan Casa Medina Sanaa ReviewTetouan Casa Medina Sanaa Review
BEDROOM WITH EN SUITE TOILET & BATH | WHAT SEEMS TO BE A SITTING AREA FOR EVENTS

Tetouan Casa Medina Sanaa Review
ROOF DECK RESTAURANT

Tetouan Casa Medina Sanaa Review
COMPLIMENTARY BREAKFAST FARE

Tetouan View Morocco
THE VIEW FROM THE ROOFTOP BALCONY

Tetouan View Morocco
MAJESTIC MOUNTAINS DURING THE EARLY MORNINGS

 

 

TETOUAN MEDINA


The jewel of Tetouan is its medina. While almost every city in Morocco have medinas, the one in Tetouan is unique in the sense that it has three sections—the original Berber one, a Jewish section, and a Spanish zone. These areas have very different vibes from each other, yet combined, forms what is now Tetouan.

The medina is quite small, but it is as chaotic as the most frenzied medinas in Morocco are—point in fact, we did get lost a couple of times, a first for us since never once did we get lost in Casablanca, Rabat, Sale, and Asilah. It’s one of the few intact medinas that has structures untouched by outside influences in Morocco.

Tetouan Medina Royal Palace
THE GRAND PALACE AT THE CENTER OF TETOUAN MEDINA

Tetouan Medina
WINDING ROADS ALONG THE MEDINA

Tetouan Medina
A CRAFTSMAN AREA OF THE MEDINA

 

 

BERBER QUARTERS


Berber Marinids built the old section of Tetouan’s medina during the 13th century. This includes the kasbah on top of the hill which we failed to climb up to, and the mosque inside the medina. This area is located mostly on the north and east side of the medina and is characterized by narrow alleys and simple, roughly built structures. Highly notable are the numerous public water fountains that people still use to get spring water on up to this day.

Tetouan Medina Berber Quarters
A NARROW SEMI-PRIVATE ALLEY

Tetouan Medina Berber Quarters KasbahTetouan Medina Berber Quarters
THE TETOUAN KASBAH

Tetouan Medina Berber Quarters
MEDINA AREA NEAR BAB OKLA

Tetouan Medina Berber Quarters
BERBER AREA OF THE MEDINA

 

 

JEWISH QUARTERS


The Jewish Quarters or the Mellah Al-Jadid came about after a community of Shepardi Jews emigrated from Spain during the Spanish Inquisition and the Reconquista—the wars between Muslims Moors and Christian Kingdoms along the Iberian Peninsula during the 1400’s. This mellah is a distinct gated section of town that they actually close during the evenings.

Tetouan Medina Jewish Quarters
THE JEWISH QUARTERS OF TETOUAN

Tetouan Medina Jewish QuartersTetouan Medina Jewish Quarters
MELLAH AL-JADDID

Tetouan Medina Jewish Quarters
A COVERED SOUK ALONG THE JEWISH QUARTERS

 

 

ANDALUSIAN QUARTERS


And the most prominent part of Tetouan’s medina is its Andalusian or Spanish Quarters. Dubbed as the ensanche or extension, the area is located west of the main plaza, all sixty blocks of it, and is characterized by wide cobbled streets lined with handsome multi-storey Hispano-Moorish buildings decorated with intricate wrought iron balconies.

Tetouan was once the capital of the Spanish protectorate of Morocco, from 1913 up until Morocco’s independence, hence the development in the area.

One of the most prominent structure in the area is the Iglesia de Nuestra Señora de la Victoria Catholic church, we even got to have a little chit-chat with the parish priest as we were taking a photo, noting that there are a number of Filipinos working at Tetouan who attends mass.

We also particularly enjoyed the pedestrian-only street in this section of the medina, the ubiquitously named Avenue Mohammed V, lined with all sorts of boutique shops. And it’s actually where we finally found the cheapest electric kettle in town. Like our walk from the bus station to the medina, we’re continuously hitting two birds with one stone.

Tetouan Medina Andalusian Quarters Catholic Church
THE IGLESIA DE NUESTRA SENORA DELA VICTORIA CHURCH

Tetouan Medina Andalusian Quarters
ANDALUSIAN QUARTERS WALKING STREET

Tetouan Medina Andalusian Quarters
GORGEOUS ARCHITECTURE AT THE ANDALUSIAN QUARTERS

 






Posted by Lakad Pilipinas on Thursday, March 7, 2019

1 comment:

  1. it has a lot of information. Nice pictures. Thanks u ((((:

    ReplyDelete