Have you ever ever appeared on the map and seen that Southern Spain is barely even separated from the African continent? Spain and Morocco are cut up by only a tiny channel of water the place the Atlantic Ocean meets the Mediterranean Sea.
There are a ton of flights between mainland Spain and Morocco, and they are often very low cost. However in the event you’re not a fan of flying, have a lot of baggage, or just desire overland journey, ferry companies are the best way to go. Plus, isn’t a global, intercontinental ferry route simply plain fascinating?
There are literally a ton of ferry companies from Spain to Morocco. Lately, I had the possibility to journey on one of the crucial widespread routes – from the southern tip of Spain to the northern Moroccan metropolis of Tangier.
I did it as a day journey, returning to my resort in Europe the identical night. It is a frequent tour for guests to the attractive Costa del Sol area, the place you’ll be able to keep in superior seaside locations equivalent to Marbella.
The Spain to Morocco ferry routes may be complicated to guide and luxuriate in, so I’d prefer to share my expertise, particularly on the Tangier ferry. Fortunately, it’s actually not so unhealthy to do when you perceive the fundamentals. Hopefully, this recommendation may help you make it occur – hopping over from Europe to North Africa for a couple of hours is a one-of-a-kind expertise!
The Varied Spain-Morocco Ferry Routes
As I stated, this text will primarily concentrate on the Costa del Sol (Southern Spain) to Tangier route, because it’s probably the most traveled by vacationers and the one which often makes probably the most sense. Nonetheless, there are a variety of ferry corporations working from a number of Spanish ports to factors throughout northern Morocco. Listed here are among the fundamental routes (Spanish port first, Moroccan port second):
- Costa del Sol <> Tangier
- Algeciras <> Tangier Med
- Tarifa <> Tangier Ville
- Motril <> Nador
- Motril <> Al Hoceima
- Almería <> Nador
- Barcelona <> Tangier
The Moroccan ports of Nador and Al Hoceima are a bit remoted within the distant japanese a part of the nation, plus they’ve an extended ferry crossing. Due to this fact, these routes are often solely acceptable for roadtrippers who’re on a mission to get actually off the crushed path. There are some unimaginable seashores on this aspect of Morocco, although.
Ferry Schedules from Spain to Morocco
It wouldn’t be smart for me to place schedules right here – there are too many routes, and they’re topic to frequent change anyway. Nonetheless, in the event you’re going for one of many frequent Costa del Sol to Tangier ferries, it’s secure to say that they’re very frequent.
Count on a ferry each two hours from the port of Tarifa from morning to nighttime. From Algeciras, close to Gibraltar, there are sometimes a number of ferries per hour, with the in a single day hours included. For the opposite routes to and from extra distant cities, ferries might solely be as soon as weekly, relying on the time of yr.
My favourite option to examine schedules is utilizing the web sites FerryHopper and DirectFerries. It’s principally like Google Flights or Skyscanner for ferry journey, that means you received’t must examine every of the varied ferry corporations’ web sites. It’s additionally secure to buy tickets instantly on these websites with out hidden charges.
Costa del Sol to Tangier Ferries
Now, we’ll go into extra element in regards to the almost certainly route you wish to take, as promised. The southern coast of Spain, referred to as the Costa del Sol, is residence to many resort areas, together with Marbella and Málaga.
This coast is linked by ferry to the Moroccan metropolis of Tangier through the Strait of Gibraltar, the narrowest level between the 2 continents. Nonetheless, there are two ferry docks on the Costa del Sol, and it may possibly make an enormous distinction to decide on one or the opposite.
Algeciras to Tangier Med
The principle ferry port of the area is Algeciras, a small metropolis with a wealthy historical past, due to its strategic placement. It’s additionally simply minutes down the street from the British enclave of Gibraltar, which, by the best way, could be very a lot price a go to.
That is the ferry terminal with extraordinarily frequent crossings, with departures that always proceed in a single day, and lots of ferry corporations. It’s additionally the simpler port to achieve, as Algeciras is linked to the remainder of Spain by practice and lots of buses. There are a lot of resort choices inside strolling distance of the port, just like the AC Hotel Algeciras by Marriott, the place I stayed.
Nonetheless, there’s a serious downside to the Morocco ferries that go away from Algeciras: they arrive in Tangier Med Port on the opposite aspect. That will sound positive by the title of it, however Tangier Med is over 50 kilometers and a 1-hour drive to the east of Tangier metropolis! That’s a critical additional voyage added to your travels.
In case you’re taking your automotive on the ferry, this isn’t as large of a deal. However in the event you’re a foot passenger, you’ll should deal with onward journey, as this port is form of in the midst of nowhere.
You might be able to discover automotive leases with pickup or supply on the dock – examine RentalCars.com. Different choices embody bus companies to Tangier, taxis (that may absolutely attempt to rip you off), or pre-arranged transfers.
Tarifa to Tangier Ville
The choice to the Algeciras and Tangier Med ferry is to depart from Tarifa. It is a a lot smaller port in a small city half-hour additional south of Algeciras. In actual fact, Tarifa is the southernmost tip of continental Europe – which is cool to go to and makes for the shortest crossing between the continents.
Tarifa is a bit additional to achieve in Spain and sadly doesn’t have a practice station or many accommodations. However in the event you can handle to get right here, whether or not by driving or on a bus, you’ll arrive at a way more handy port on the opposite aspect.
It’s known as Tangier Ville, which suggests Tangier metropolis, and that’s an correct description. The boat docks on the coast of the outdated city, and you’ll stroll to simply about all the pieces from there.
You’ll additionally get to Morocco quicker, because the crossing solely takes about an hour from Tarifa, versus 1.5 to 2 hours from Algeciras. The one ferry firm working this handy ferry trip is FRS Ferries, which takes passengers and vehicles. Their schedules are simply searchable on FerryHopper and DirectFerries.
You pay just a bit bit additional for this comfort – round 40 euros per particular person from Tarifa, as in comparison with 25 to 35 from Algeciras to Tangier Med. For my part, it was very a lot price it, particularly in the event you’re simply doing a day journey to Morocco on which you received’t wish to waste time.
My Expertise Crossing from Tarifa to Tangier Ville
I did the Tarifa to Tangier Ville crossing in mid-April, which was a good time to go. The climate on either side of the Strait of Gibraltar was great, and the crowds weren’t very massive. My household and I went to a unique continent for a day, arriving simply after breakfast and returning after dinner!
Reserving and Ticket Pickup
I made a decision to guide tickets prematurely, although I realized it’s nearly at all times positive to simply present up a bit early on the ferry places of work and do it earlier than boarding. I used FerryHopper to seek out my most well-liked departure however went to the FRS Ferry Firm web site to do the transaction.
There was a draw back to this. After making my reserving, I nonetheless needed to gather my boarding go from the ticket workplace on the port, whereas FerryHopper would have supplied me a cellular ticket to keep away from that.
We plugged Tarifa into Google Maps and drove our rental automotive there with sufficient time to reach about an hour earlier than departure. The drive could be very good, winding alongside small cliffs, from which you’ll see the African coast simply throughout the strait very clearly.
Nonetheless, we realized that parking in Tarifa isn’t easy. There’s not an enormous automotive park, and we needed to seek for road parking, which we ultimately discovered about quarter-hour from the dock.
Lining as much as choose up our ferry tickets didn’t take very lengthy, and we bought stamped out of Europe by Spanish passport management in the identical constructing. Foot passengers went on the boat after that and will take any seat they discovered. Automobile passengers may have a barely totally different process for driving onto the ship.
On the Ferry
To begin with, don’t run into the identical drawback as me – I’m not certain if this can be a frequent incidence, however we waited a really, very very long time within the hallway to get into the boat. Finally, I pushed previous the road to see what was taking place.
Because it seems, it was the road for Moroccan immigration, which is on the ship and may be executed throughout crusing! There was no want for everybody to be held up like that and delay the departure simply to get it executed ASAP. I began the pattern, and everybody swarmed into the passenger lounge, permitting us to get underway.
The boat appeared clear, and you’ll take any seat you discover. I discovered one with a view of the passport management line, which I jumped on as soon as it bought smaller. It was good that they stamped you into Morocco en route, because it saves a while.
The ferry trip is barely an hour, so there’s no must get too settled in. There’s a little bit café on board with some snacks and drinks.
Don’t anticipate any wifi. The trip wasn’t very tough after I went, however I perceive that it may be at occasions.
Arrival in Tangier
After a fast trip, you’ll dock in probably the most handy port in northern Morocco: Tangier Ville. As a foot passenger, getting off the boat was so simple as exhibiting that my passport was stamped. In case you have your automotive, you’ll want to attend a bit longer and present additional paperwork to drive it out of the port space.
The traditional medina of Tangier and the remainder of the outdated city are lower than 10 minutes away from the terminal constructing, and it’s quite simple to stroll – you’ll see all of it instantly upon exiting. Simply cross the road and also you’ll see town partitions, together with a big, open sq., from which you’ll stroll up the steps into the outdated city.
Be aware of the FRS ticket workplace in your means in, because it’s in a separate small constructing simply exterior the terminal. That’s the place you’d choose up your return ferry ticket, if essential, or go for any requests to vary your boat. By the best way, FRS permits free adjustments in case you wish to take an earlier or later boat!
Suggestions for Tangier & The Costa del Sol
Now that you understand how to make the journey, let’s ensure you have a good time on either side of the Strait of Gibraltar! To begin with, ensure you choose up some journey insurance coverage for Morocco – I exploit TravelInsurance.com to go looking many suppliers directly. I don’t know what medical prices could be in Morocco with out it, and I wasn’t actually curious about discovering out.
Exploring Tangier & Northwestern Morocco
In Tangier, you’ll be able to select to discover the traditional metropolis heart by yourself or with a private guide. It’s very hilly, and the slender streets may be complicated, however the wandering is a part of the enjoyable. Don’t miss the Kasbah Museum close to the highest of the medina, and have a Moroccan tea at one of many many cafés.
Yow will discover a automotive on RentalCars.com to discover the numerous sights simply past Tangier. Cap Spartel is the nook of the nation the place the Atlantic meets the Mediterranean, and there’s a wonderful nature park there with a lighthouse you’ll be able to climb for views again to Spain.
Only a few minutes south of that’s Hercules Cave, the place the mythological God is alleged to have slept after doing one in all his 12 labors. Different actions over listed below are doing a camel ride on the beach and visiting the quiet seaside city of Asilah.
Personally, I selected to do a guided tour of the sights and actions exterior of Tangier and discover town heart alone, which was a sensible choice. In case you determine to remain the night time in Tangier, there are two Hilton accommodations within the metropolis heart – the Hilton Tanger City Center and the Hilton Garden Inn Tanger City Center. Each are pretty priced, clear, and comfy.
Throughout the Strait in Spain
There are many issues to do within the south of Spain. If it’s summertime, there are miles of sandy shoreline for seaside bums to get pleasure from and delightful resorts with swimming pools and bars. I at all times select Marriott’s Marbella Beach Resort, which is a timeshare property with outsized rooms that may be booked as a traditional resort.
Moreover enjoyable on the seaside, don’t miss the possibility to cross one other border and go to the British enclave of Gibraltar. This tiny nation surrounds the large, strategic Rock of Gibraltar that guards the doorway to the Mediterranean. A guided day trip to Gibraltar ought to take you to the highest of the rock, the place you’ll meet the daring resident monkeys (identified regionally as “rock apes”) after which descend into Saint Michael’s Cave deep throughout the mountain.
Guests can tour the picturesque resort city of Marbella, the principle southern metropolis of Málaga, or get out into the countryside for actions like canyoning. Within the evenings, get pleasure from an evening of Spanish cultural leisure at a flamenco performance.
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Woodrow is a journey author who needs to do and see nearly all the pieces. He’s been to 40+ nations, all 50 US states plus Puerto Rico and the USVI, and is at the moment residing in France and exploring Europe. Woodrow is an professional in journey hacking, discovering cut price flights, and coined the time period “improve engineering” referring to his expertise to improve easy resort room bookings into suite stays. Woodrow loves SCUBA diving, fishing, and all issues aviation.
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