Spain is one of the best European countries to visit if you love sunshine, beaches, great food, and beautiful cities. There’s a lot to see in Spain, from the big city locations of Madrid, Barcelona, and Valencia to the smaller towns and villages of places like Andalusia. And if you choose to head down to the south of Spain, you can enjoy a lot of exciting day trips to cities like Malaga and Seville, as well as hopping over the border and visiting a whole other continent by taking the ferry or a flight to Morocco.
At its narrowest point, the Strait of Gibraltar, which separates the European country of Spain from the African nation of Morocco, is less than 10 miles wide. The journey to get across it can be done in a matter of minutes, letting visitors explore the historic Moroccan port of Tangier all day long before heading back to Spain.
Several other ferry services leave from other ports around Spain like Malaga, Motril, and Almeria over to Melilla, which is actually a Spanish autonomous city but offers direct access to Moroccan cities like Nador. Those who don't mind taking a very long journey can even take ferries between Barcelona and Tangier, but for the purposes of a day trip, you'll want to be setting off from Tarifa, Algeciras, Gibraltar, or Malaga. Here’s how to plan your Morocco day trip from Spain.
Getting to Morroco from Spain
As previously alluded to, there are quite a few options available for people planning a day trip to Morocco from Spain. Here are just a few of the routes you might consider taking:
- Tarifa Ferries - Tarifa is situated right at the southernmost tip of Spain, offering the fastest access over to Morocco. Over a dozen ferries set sail for Morocco from this city's port on a daily basis, and the journey can be over in about half an hour, arriving right in Tangier.
- Algeciras Ferries - Not too far from Tarifa is Algeciras, another Spanish port city offering easy access by ferry over to Morocco for your day trip. The ferries are a little slower from Algeciras, so you'll need to allow up to two hours to get to your destination, but there are more services leaving this port each day, so you may be able to get cheaper tickets. Ferries from Algeciras go to both Tangier and Ceuta.
- Gibraltar Ferries - You can also choose to head into Gibraltar and catch a ferry from there for your Spain to Morocco day trip. There aren't many services out of Gibraltar, but the journey only takes 90 minutes to Tangier.
- Malaga and Almeria Ferries - Ferries also depart from the Spanish coastal cities of Malaga and Almeria, but the journey times are a lot longer, with the average crossing to Melilla or Nador taking around 4-5 hours in total. For most people, this will be too long for a day trip, as you won’t get enough time at your destination to really be able to explore and enjoy your brief stay in Morocco.
- Flights - If you don't want to take the ferry for one reason or another (for example, if you or a member of your traveling party suffer from seasickness), you can also choose to catch a direct flight from Spain to Morocco. Flights between these two countries can be over in about an hour, but you do need to consider the additional time needed to check in and get to and from the airports at each end. One of the fastest and most convenient options for a day trip is to fly direct from Seville to Fes.
Important Information and Things to Do in Morocco
- Book in Advance - If you’re planning a day trip from Spain to Morocco, especially during the busy tourist season and summer months, it pays to book in advance. These sorts of trips are very popular and the prices can get quite high if you leave it to the last minute, so booking your ferry ticket ahead of time is a great way to save money.
- Best Time to Visit - If you're heading over to Morocco to a city like Tangier, the best time to visit isn't in the summer, but in the spring or fall. Months like April, May, September, and October are generally considered the best times to visit as the weather won't be too hot and sticky. Plus, you'll be able to avoid the big summer tourist crowds, letting you see more and get more out of your day trip.
- Things to Do - Most day trips to Morocco will see you spending your day in the city of Tangier. It's a historic port city with a lot to offer, having played a key role in trade and transport between Europe and Africa for thousands of years. Some of the top sights to check out in Tangier include the American Legation museum, the Grand Socco square, the Dar el Makhzen palace, and the Kasbah Museum.