We were going to hit Tangier from southern Spain back in 2002, taking a ferry to Tangier and back. At the time Rick Steves described it as the “Tijuana of Morocco,” a relatively exotic, yet somewhat sleazy change of pace from the rest of a Spain trip. We wound up going to Portugal as part of that Spain trip, instead. My understanding is that Tangier has been somewhat cleaned up and is now a more sophisticated, less hustle-tourists-for-their-money destination, but haven’t gone there, even now. If you’re not already a short ferry ride from Tangier, and would be flying from Madrid, Marrakech would be just as easy to reach.
And exactly a year ago, January 2019, we were in Marrakech, on a 3-week Morocco trip. We flew from Denver to Marrakech, connecting thru London Heathrow airport. We took an all-day spice market/cooking class, and stayed at the wonderful Dar Kawa riad. After several days/nights, we flew to Fes and its higher, cooler setting, and its proximity to more ancient places. Our lodging in both Marrakech and Fes organized guides for us, to show fascinating sights and also protect us from hustlers.
We then had a weeklong desert tour, and came back to Marrakech for a couple more days before returning home. A big, historic city with an ancient medina old town, Marrakech is the one place to go, if you’re going only one place in Morocco. Fes is a close number two. Again, haven’t been to Tangier, but from what I’ve learned, it wouldn’t beat either Marrakech or Fes as a must-see destination. Unless it was a lot more convenient and cheaper, there’d be no reason for someone to consider Tangier.