Travel From Spain To Morocco - The Easy Way
11 Tips for a Successful Crossover from Europe to Africa.
Both of us have been living in Europe, and so, we’ve learned to travel to Morocco from Southern Spain because of necessity. Primarily because it was a cheaper alternative that allowed us to bring as much luggage as needed. And when time allowed, southern Spain is really fun to discover on your way to Morocco. And so, we’ve had to adapt and figure out what is the best way to cross the Strait of Gibraltar.
If you’re trying to cross to Morocco from Spain, you’re going to find two options/ towns to depart from; Tarifa and Algeciras. Both are one way of getting to Morocco. However, Algeciras has absolutely nothing to offer. It’s full of factories and wholesale shops. If that’s not on your agenda, there is no reason to go there at all.
Keep in mind; the ferry line takes you to Ceuta, which is a Spanish town in the coastline of Morocco (about an hour and a half from Tangier), which means that you will have to go through the hassle of border control, with lines extending for miles. We had to wait here almost 5 hours one time to reach our turn at the passport control. Then, you have to find your way to Tangier.
Why is Tarifa The Best Departure Point to Morocco?
Morocco is only a 45 mins ferry ride from Tarifa. Tarifa itself is one of our favourite towns, we consider it one of the most chill towns in Europe, if not the world. We’re not kidding! coming here from large metropolitan cities, you would feel as if time slowed down. Not sure if it’s the surf vibe or the close proximity to Africa!
Tarifa has beautiful beaches along its coast, and cool speakeasy cafes and bars. Along it’s main avenue, you’ll find designer hipster shops. All of this makes it one of our favourite layovers from Europe before taking a Ferry to Morocco. Other than that, Tarifa ferries usually take you to the port Tangier Ville port, which is in the centre of town – Make sure your line doesn’t go to Tangier Med Port which is around an hour and a half away from Tangier city centre.
How much time are you planning for Morocco?
Depending on how much time you’re willing to give to your trip to Morocco, there is a lot to see in this North African kingdom. If you’re visiting Southern Spain from far away countries like the U.S, Canada or Australia, you should definitely take a minimum of two nights to Visit Morocco and add it to your bucket list.
All you need to do is find your way to Tarifa, take the 45 mins ferry to Tangier, spend the day there and visit Chefchaouen, the blue town, which is around 2 hours away from Tangier. You can easily do this in 2-3 days – This is not enough time at all, but you can see two highlight cities at least, tell your friends that you’ve been in Morocco.
Here is a cool video footage of April Martin showing her travel from Spain to Morocco.
However, if you plan to spend more than three days (At least a week) in Morocco, I’d recommend to come through Spain with a ferry, and leave from Marrakech by plane, this route will perfectly align your itinerary to visit the highlights of Morocco.
Here is an example of an itinerary we put together for one of our clients, who came from Spain by ferry and departed from Marrakech airport:
P.S.: You see that we didn’t add Casablanca or Rabat to the trip, you can add those to your itinerary from Marrakech; however, it all depends on how much time you have. Personally, Rabat and Casablanca are not our top picks for what Morocco has to offer. If you’re looking for off the beaten path adventures with a more authentic approach, you can skip these two cities with no regrets.
How To Get The Ferry From Tarifa (Spain) to Tangiers (Morocco)?
Most common ferry line is FRS, they run this line every day from 9:00 am to 9:00 pm, the departures are every odd couple of hours, 9:00 am, 11:00 am, 1:00 pm, 3:00 pm etc. until 9:00 pm. We’ve taken other ferry companies; however, we were disappointed most of the time. FRS has more comfortable seats, bigger tables, cosy lounge areas, free wifi, snacks onboard etc.
You can get your FRS ferry tickets the same day from inside the port in Tarifa. You will see kiosks with different company logos, go directly to FRS kiosk. Don’t bother if some guys try to “help” you buy the tickets, they will help you out but will charge you more for your trip as they usually take a commission or expect you to give them a tip. Ticket prices are around 35,00 EUR per person per way.
If you’re planning to travel to Morocco from Southern Spain, I’d recommend taking enough time in advance to discover Tarifa, but first, make sure you have your ferry ticket booked. You can do this directly through FRS website . You can use your Visa or Master Card to pay online. Be aware that sometimes the ferry lines are cancelled, they mention it on their website.
If FRS is by chance cancelled, our second favourite line is Intershipping. They also run every couple of hours from 8:00 am to 8:00 pm. Their ticket costs 40,00 EUR and takes around an hour from Tarifa to Tangier. You can also book and check their schedule online.
Here Are 11 Tips To Help You Survive Your Trip Along the Strait of Gibraltar
1. Avoid departing from Algeciras, the town is ugly and boring, and there isn’t much to see compared to Tarifa.
2. Don’t take a ferry to Ceuta. You will regret the customs from both the Spanish and the Moroccan border. You may have to wait here for several hours.
3. When you book, make sure you take a ferry to Tangier CITY PORT. Tangier has a second port which is around 1.5 hours from town, called Tanger Med. Make sure you are arriving at the city port, this will allow you to be in town already, you can literally skip the taxi hustlers and go straight for a walk in the Medina.
4. If you’re reading this, you’re probably English, American or Australian: Great news for you! When travelling to Morocco from Spain, even in high season, you will find two passport control lanes, one of the E.U. citizens and one for “Non E.U”. Usually, most Non-E.U passport lanes are way less crowded compared to the E.U. one when crossing in Tarifa. So, remember, to look out for the sign Non-E.U passport to skip the long queues.
5. Don’t be alarmed at the arrivals terminal in Tangier if you find a lot of promoters trying to sell you tours. I’d recommend you book your driver beforehand to avoid the hustle.
6. Once you’re in the boat, there are no seating numbers; you’ll be able to take any seat you want to, the ferries don’t have any assigned seating.
7. If you have the time during your travel from Spain to Morocco, and your schedule allows, you can catch a ferry to Gibraltar. However, if you want to head straight to Tangier from there, the only possible times are on Fridays and Sundays.
8. Ok, the seating is comfortable, but what’s the point of staying on board when you can check the amazing views on deck? There are plenty of seating areas on deck to witness the epic Strait of Gibraltar and your cruise from Europe to Africa.
9. When you buy the ticket from the port, make sure to ask the agent to fill in the yellow form, you will need this at the police booth at the ferry terminal. If you booked online, go to the FRS office at the port, to get your boarding pass, show them your booking code and ask him for the yellow form. Once at the police booth, show your passport and yellow form (they will keep the form and stamp your passport inside the ferry).
10. Although the wifi is available, we would not recommend it if it’s a priority. The signal can be weak and not reliable. Check our post on how to stay connected in Morocco to find the most reliable way to stay connected anywhere in the world, including on your ferry ride. If you’re planning to travel to Morocco from Spain, I would recommend to get SkyRoam (read post) to learn more.
11. Avoid getting snacks from the ferries, even tho you can pay with card or with Euros, the prices are high, and quality is questionable. We’d recommend to bring your own snacks and eat them on board. FRS has great comfortable eating tables, so you can sit and eat your own snacks; it is completely allowed to bring your own.
There is a legend that says that Europe and Africa were once one mainland. Then, Hercules put his powerful mighty feet between the two and separated the continents to stop the Roman rebels from coming to kidnap his wife Megara, the daughter of Kreo, King of Thebes. You can visit Hercules Caves in Cap Spartel; about 30-40 mins drive from Tangier city.
I hope this article helped you find the best way for you to travel from Spain to Morocco, one of our top tips to keep in mind is to avoid the ferry from Algeciras to Ceuta due to long hours. Another point to remember, there is so much to see in Morocco, if you’re here only for a couple of days or a week, definitely book your ferry from Spain to discover tangier and the blue town, Chefchaouen.
If you’re staying in Morocco for more than a week, then there is a lot to see if you book your way back with a flight from Marrakech (check the map above). Other than that, if you’re never seasick, check the timetables through FRS website and book your ferry ticket from Tarifa to Tangier, one of the best routes to get to Morocco from Spain.
Curious of what kind of Morocco travel ideas we have? check Tom’s Immersive Journey across the country. And find out why he decided to visit Morocco! Follow us on instagram to see our 3000 kms bike tour.
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