Travel and Exchange, the blog of travelers who change currency

From Spain to Morocco: how to cross the Strait of Gibraltar

From Spain to Morocco: how to cross the Strait of Gibraltar

Many travellers who visit Andalusia, in the south of Spain, wonder how they could cross the Strait of Gibraltar in order to reach Morocco. Hereafter we will tell you every detail, every alternative and how the experience of travelling from Europe to Africa is.

On many occasions, both in Andalusia and during my long journey around the world, the conversation about crossing the Strait has arisen. Sometimes it’s been started by friends that were planning a trip around the south of Spain with a foreseeable crossing to Morocco, other times by travellers who have come to Malaga and have asked us how to do it. For those of us who live in the south of Andalusia, especially those from Cadiz, crossing to the neighbouring continent is something relatively common. It is a close destination too different and attractive to ignore. Some go every now and then a few days to Morocco and some take their car for a longer route. Moreover, many of us have family and friends in Ceuta and Melilla.

However, for those who love to travel far and wide, jumping on a boat and going to Africa is really exotic and, to some extent, even adventurous. Crossing a continent from the bucket list is always pleasant for a traveller. But in Travel and Exchange we recommend continuing the trip around Morocco and, at least, planning a route that includes Chefchaouen, Rabat, Casablanca, Mequinez or Fez.

It not easy to describe the feelings that emerge as soon as you arrive in Tangier; thinking that it is only 15 kilometres away from Spain seems unreal. And, for me, this is the principal attractive of crossing to Morocco. Now I’ll tell you how to do it:

How to travel to Morocco by ferry

The most common way of travelling to Morocco is going by ferry to Tangier. There are two regular routes:

  • Algeciras – Tanger-Med Port ⎝ (one hour and a half by boat).
    This port is in Alcazarseguir, 50 kilometres away from Tangier and 30 from Ceuta. You can reach Tangier by bus or by taxi. The buses are cheap but they change their schedules very often and they are not very modern. It is easier to take a shared taxi.
  • Tarifa – Tanger Ville Port ⎝ (an hour by boat). This one is better located, in the city of Tangier.

Keep in mind:

  • The two main companies for crossing the Strait are Inter Shipping and FRS. You can find their schedules and book in advance on their respective websites. Keep in mind that the state of the sea can disrupt the schedules and the trip duration.
  • • And, when planning your trip, don’t forget that in Morocco it’s one hour earlier than in Spain.

How to reach Tarifa

The best way to cross the Strait is from Tarifa to Tanger Ville, because it is the shorter route and it reaches Tangier directly. However, in Spain, before taking the ferry, reaching Tarifa is not easy if you don’t have a car, because there are not railroad lines and and buses are only frequent from Cadiz and Algeciras.

If you come from Sevilla, its easier because there are several buses each day with Transportes Generales Comes. However, from Malaga there’s only one direct bus and another one that does a few stops. You can book a seat at Avanzabus.

As an alternative to the bus, locals use BlaBlaCar and Amovens. It’s cheaper and, with a little bit of luck, you will find available seats in some car that goes to Tarifa.

Either way, if you travel from other city by public transport, my recommendation is to spend at least one night in Tarifa, before or after the trip to Morocco. It’s a small town, with beautiful little streets, nice people, good food, spectacular beaches and well known by surf and kite-surf lovers. As for Algeciras, a nearby bigger city, I think it’s not worth the visit.

Other ways of crossing to Morocco

Every now and then the press publishes some news or statements about the future tunnel of Gibraltar, which will connect Europe to Africa – supposedly – by 2025 or 2030. While this remains a project, the two only ways to cross the Strait are by boat or by plane.

By boat, there are more options that those noted above, the alternatives are not as direct but they are also interesting for long-distance travellers. You can find more information about the following ferrys in Direct Ferries:

  • Ferry Málaga – Melilla and entering Morocco through the Beni Ensar border crossing. There are also ferry lines departing from Almería and Motril.
  • Ferry Algeciras – Ceuta and entering Morocco through the Tarajal border crossing.
  • Ferry Motril – Nador.
  • Ferry Motril – Alhucemas.
  • Ferry Almería – Nador.

Flying is the easiest (and most boring) way of reaching several Moroccan cities departing from other parts of Spain farther from Andalusia. You just have to search in Skyscanner or any other flight search engine to find the combination of flights that suits best your calendar and economy.

Another quick and entertaining way of crossing the Strait to Ceuta is by helicopter. There are daily scheduled flights from Algeciras (10 minutes) and Málaga (25 minutes).

Travelling to Morocco

Citizens from a long list of countries don’t require a visa to enter Morocco, only a valid passport. In this case the process is quick and easy. If you speak French, you won’t have any problems in Morocco; if you speak Spanish or English, you might find some outside Tangier or other tourist locations. Remember that in Morocco you will have to put time forward 1 hour and that you need to change your money to Moroccan Dirhams to pay. Keep reading if you want to know how to do it quickly and easily.

Global Exchange in Morocco

You can exchange your money for Moroccan dirhams with Global Exchange. They have more than 13 branches in the international airports of the cities we just told you about: Agadir, Tangier, Marrakesh, Casablanca and Fez, with Customer Service usually open 27/7.

And if you are already there and you plan on changing money upon your arrival (or your coming back home), we will make it easier with a 15% on the margin applied to your change at any of the Moroccan branches. To benefit from the discount, show this coupon at the branch and start your trip off on the right foot.

Imágenes: B. Mehdi, llyass T., Fulvio Spada, Festival Timitar, Festival TANJazz e hichamaarkoubi.

Pictures by: José Rambaud, shaorang, xavier33300, NASA, Juan Antonio Segal.

Juan Ayala

Economist and professional travel blogger. Early in 2013, I decided to break with my routine and I now live a never-ending adventure around the globe. I gave up my seat in an office so that I could wake up in a different place every day. I collaborate with Global Exchange and I share my trips in hiworld.es and celiacglobetrotter.com.

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