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Excursions to Morocco from Spain

How to Get to Africa from Spain!

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Morocco
Feliciano Guimarães @jsome1 flickr.com Creative Commons License

From the depiction of Africa on the news, you'd think it was a world away from Europe. So it might come as a surprise that Morocco is just 14 kilometers (nine miles) from Spain.

And Morocco's proximity to Iberia is more than just geographical.  Though a trip to Morocco is quite an unusual experience after European Spain, at the same time it is impossible to fully understand Spain, particularly the south, without visiting Morocco. The Moors ruled Spain for hundreds of years and they left behind a lot of their culture. Architecture, art and much of the Spanish language has Moroccan connections. The Alhambra in Granada and the Mezquita in Cordoba are originally Moorish, while the neo-Mudajar architecture brought Moroccan influences back to Spain. And flamenco, with its Eastern sounding melodies, wouldn't be the what it is today without an African influence. 

On this page you'll find details of ferries and flights to Morocco from Spain, guided tours of Morocco from Malaga, Madrid and the Costa del Sol, and some advice for when in Morocco.

Morocco Today

Morocco escaped largely unscathed from the 'Arab Spring', the revolutionary fervour that has swept through the Middle East and North Africa. There were some protests, the king made some changes and the country went on with its business. Morocco is a safe place to visit today.

How to Visit Morocco from Spain

The Morocco is close to Spain, does it makes sense to take a ferry or should you just fly? Where is a good place to start from in Spain? Is a day trip enough or should you spend longer in the country?

Ferry or Flight?

A quick ferry from the southern tip of Spain is a good way to reach Morocco; there are quick ferries from Tarifa, Algeciras and Gibraltar (Tarifa is the nicest of these). But not all ferries are that quick: from Malaga or Almeria you'll need to travel overnight and from Barcelona the journey is much longer. Take the boat only if you're already in the area. Buses and trains to the necessary Spanish ports add a lot to your travel time: if you aren't already on the coast, I'd consider flying. Seville has regular flights to Morocco. But once you're taking the plane, you could just as easily fly from Madrid or Barcelona. Scroll down for more on your various travel options or click on one of these links:

Day Trip or Longer?

A day trip is a good taster of Morocco, and a nice way of Instagramming your day in Africa. But the only way to do this is on a guided tour, which picks you up at the crack of dawn from your hotel, gets you on the earliest ferry available and then gives you a full tour of Tangier before getting you back to your hotel for the night.

 

Tangier is a city that has gone through varying fortunes over the years. Once a bohemian favorite popular with artists and writers, it went through a very rough patch but is now better than it has been, though it's still not Morocco's best city.

If possible, take at least three days in Morocco and give yourself a chance to at least see Fez or Marrakech. If you don't have time for that, you can book a day trip here:

Guided Tour of Morocco from the Costa del Sol

There are a number of guided tours of Morocco that depart from southern Spain. Note that these tours depart from Spain but head straight for Morocco, without seeing any sights in Spain.

I would recommend either the four- or five-day tour. It's a shame the four-day tour doesn't include Marrakech, but visiting Fes will still make your trip well worth the money. The five-day crams in an extra two cities, which might feel a bit rushed, but which at least includes Marrakech.

  • Three-Day Morocco Tour
    Cities Visited:
     Just Tangier.
    Read more: Three-Day Morocco Tour
     
  • Four-Day Morocco Tour
    Cities Visited: Rabat, Meknes and Fes
    Read more: Four-Day Morocco Tour
     
  • Five-Day Morocco Tour
    Cities Visited: Rabat, Meknes, Fes, Casablanca and Marrakech
    Read more: Five-Day Morocco Tour
     
  • Seven-Day Morocco Tour
    Cities Visited: Rabat, Meknes, Fes, Casablanca, Marrakech, Rabat and Tangier.
    Read more: Seven-Day Morocco Tour
     

Tour of Spain and Morocco from Madrid

If you are starting in Madrid, a combined tour of the south of Spain and Morocco could be your best bet. Departing from Madrid, these tours head into Andalusia, cross into Morocco for a few days before seeing a few more sights in Spain before returning to Madrid.
  • Ten-Day Tour of Andalusia and Morocco

    Visit Cordoba, Seville (two nights) before a night on the Costa del Sol in preparation for a ferry to Morocco in the morning.

    In five days in Morocco, see Tangiers, Rabat, Casablanca, Marrakech and Fes ( 2 nights). After another night on the Costa, you will have visit Granada and Toledo before returning to Madrid.

    This tour is the cheapest of the Spain-and-Morocco tours I've found and it covers all of the essential cities in Andalusia and Morocco.

    More on this Ten-Day Tour of Spain and Morocco

  • 12-Day Option: This version of the tour misses out Cordoba, but adds in Caceres, Meknes and an extra night in Marrakech. 12-Day Tour of Spain and Morocco

Things to Remember About Visiting Morocco

Morocco is a beautiful country that is well worth visiting. However, if you decide against a guided tour and want to travel by yourself, there are some points to remember.
  • Tangier is not the most interesting city in Morocco. The city used to be horrible, but the tourist industry has cleaned it up a little. Still, you'd be better off heading to the nicer places, like Fez, Marrakesh or Chefchaouen (all of which are easily reachable from Tangier or any of Morocco's ports).
  • The Moroccans WILL overcharge you and try to scam you Particularly in Marrakech. It's a part of the culture, so have a sense of humor and be thick skinned. Barter like there's no tomorrow and be weary of anything that sounds even slightly untoward. Having said that, things have improved on this front, with the police cracking down hard on fake tour guides, but caution is still advised, especially in Marrakech. Fez has improved dramatically.
  • Women WILL get attention Especially if they are blonde. Read more about Women Traveling Alone in Africa

Direct Flights from Spain to Morocco

Routes between Spain and Morocco seem to change with frustrating frequency. Check with the usual suspects (easyJet, Iberia, Vueling and Ryanair) for current availability.

Ferries to Morocco

There are ferries to Morocco from Tarifa, Barcelona, Algeciras, Gibraltar, Malaga and Almeria. Read more about Ferries to Morocco from Spain

Accommodation in Morocco

Looking around for accommodation when you reach Morocco can be a hassle - every man and his donkey will want to 'help' you. Coming prepared with a room already booked will make life much simpler for you:

Hotels in Fez | Hotels in Marrakech | Hotels in Chefchaouen (book direct)

Budget Guesthouses and Youth Hostels in Morocco (book direct)

You might also want to book a tour of Marrakech before you get there:

Half-Day Tour of Marrakech | Full-Day Tour of Marrakec

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