Tips on Getting to Morocco From Spain

Port of Tangier
Overlooking ferries in the Port of Tangier. Rachid Dahnoun / Getty Images

At its narrowest point, the Strait of Gibraltar separates Spain from Morocco by just 14.5 kilometers/ 9 miles. Here, the African and European continents are so close that it's actually possible to swim from one to the other. However, unless you're an athlete in prime condition, it's likely that you're looking for a more conventional mode of transport. There are several ways to make the crossing. You can fly, or you can book tickets for a number of different ferry routes. In this article, we look at the easiest ways to get to Morroco from Spain.

 

Ferries from Spain to Tangier, Morocco

Located on Morocco's northern coast, the city of Tangier is a natural entry point for visitors from Europe. If you're planning to explore the country by train, Tangier is your best option for frequent rail connections to major destinations like Fez, Casablanca and Marrakesh

Algeciras to Tangier-Med:

The ferry route from Algeciras to Tangier-Med is by far the most well travelled. Five different companies operate on this route, including Baleària, Trasmediterranea, FRS, Intershipping and AML. Between them, they offer a total of 32 sailings every day. These sailings vary in speed and price, with the fastest taking just 30 minutes to cross the Strait of Gibraltar. Prices start at around €30 per person, each way. You can travel as a foot passenger, or with a vehicle if you're planning on embarking on a grand Moroccan road trip.

It's important to be aware that Tangier-Med is a cargo port, located 25 miles/ 40 kilometers east of Tangier city center. Most ferry tickets include a bus transfer to the city. 

Tarifa to Tangier:

FRS and Intershipping also offer high-speed ferry services to Morocco from Spain's windsurfing capital, Tarifa. Together, the two companies offer 12 sailings per day, the fastest of which takes approximately one hour to reach Tangier. Prices start from around €40 per person, each way. This route offers the benefit of disembarking in Tangier town itself. 

Barcelona to Tangier:

This route is less popular, but allows travellers to embark in Barcelona, rather than having to travel all the way south to Tarifa or Algeciras. Two companies offer a total of six sailings per week - Grandi Navi Veloci and Grimaldi Lines. Grandi Navi Veloci is the fastest service, taking approximately 32 hours. Save money by sharing a berth, or splurge on your own private suite. Prices start at around €96. 

Ferries from Spain to Nador, Morocco

If you're not particularly fussed about landing in Tangier, another option is to take the ferry from Almería in Spain to Nador, a city located near the Algerian border on Morocco's Mediterranean coast. There are two companies operating this route - Trasmediterranea and Naviera Armas. The former option offers around three sailings every day, while the latter runs a faster service up to three times a week. Durations range from four to six hours. 

Ferries from Mainland Spain to Cueta

Cueta is an autonomous Spanish city located directly opposite Gibraltar on the tip of the African continent. It shares a border with Morocco, and therefore offers an interesting overland route into the country. Ferries run 10 times a day from Algeciras to Cueta, thanks to three separate companies - Trasmediterranea, FRS and Baleària. The fastest takes just one hour, and prices start at €30. Once you arrive in Cueta, you'll need to take a taxi to the border, where you'll have to go through passport control to enter Morocco.

 

Ferries from Mainland Spain to Melilla

Another autonomous Spanish city, Melilla is located just north of Nador and also offers easy entry into Morocco. There are a number of ferries to Melilla from the Spanish mainland - including routes from Malaga, Motril and Almería. Naviera Armas offers six weekly sailings from Motril, while Baleària and Trasmediterranea offer a total of 13 weekly sailings from Malaga. All three companies sail to Melilla from Algeciras, with the fastest of these services taking 4.5 hours. 

Flights From Spain to Morocco

If travelling to Morocco by ferry doesn't appeal, don't worry. There are plenty of flights to the North African country from several cities in Spain. The international carriers for Spain and Morocco are Iberia and Royal Air Maroc respectively. For cheaper flights, research budget airlines like EasyJet and Ryanair

This article was updated by Jessica Macdonald on June 9th 2017.