Morocco is such a beautiful, hospitable, safe and cheap country that every year, more and more tourists are choosing to holiday in Morocco. It is impossible to enter Morocco from neighbouring Algeria and rather complicated to get in from Mauretania, so travellers generally either fly directly from their countries of origin or travel from Spain to Morocco.
In this article, we help you assess the different methods of travelling to Morocco from Spain and set out some guidelines and requirements.
- You will need a passport that is valid for at least six months from your date of entry.
- Remember to check the time zones as, at certain times of the year, the clocks in Spain and Morocco will be an hour different.
- It is no longer necessary to be vaccinated against Covid-19 or to present a negative test result.
- You can take your pets if they are microchipped, and have a valid European pet passport and a current health card.
Travel from Spain to Morocco by Ferry.
Taking a ferry is our recommended choice as the best way to travel from Spain to Morocco. It is fast, easy, cheap and allows you to bring your car. The ferry services generally provide cafe/restaurant and duty-free services and are clean and comfortable.
Bear in mind that ferry services will be cancelled in bad weather.
The requirements for entering Morocco from Spain normally only include a valid passport but be careful to check to ensure your country doesn’t require a visa as well as a passport. Usually, your passport will be enough to allow you to stay in Morocco for 90 days, but if you plan on staying longer, working, or studying in Morocco, you will also require the relevant visas.
Passport control is on the boats, so please ensure you get your entry stamp during the voyage. You will also need to present passport control with a filled-in entry slip which will be given to you when you purchase your ferry ticket or are available on board. It’s just your name, address of where you will be staying if known, passport number, occupation and reason for your visit. Touts will offer you these forms in some places and will offer to help you complete the very simple forms, but they will, naturally, ask for a few Dirhams for their ‘help’.
Any amount of luggage you can carry is free. There are often porters with trolleys to help, and of course, they will need to be paid for their assistance. Agree on a price before you do anything else.
The European ferry services such as FRS, Balearia and Transmediterranea will serve you alcohol on board at the cafe bar and in the duty-free shops but the Moroccan Inter Shipping and AML (Africa Morocco Link) ferries do not serve or sell alcoholic drinks.
Ferries can also take across your car, bicycle, motorcycle, camper van, or mobile home, but it is not quite that simple. As well as having a valid driving license and insurance, you have to show that you are not planning on selling the vehicle in Morocco. You must also have the vehicle registration documents and a certificate of roadworthiness.
Once customs are satisfied, you will be issued with a special document. Don’t lose it, as you will not be able to leave Morocco without it, and the signatory of the document won’t be allowed to leave without the registered vehicle. Although this may sound horrendous, it is usually actually quite a quick and simple process if you have all your documents in order.
Balearia and FRS require pets to have their own tickets. On all ferries, pets should be on a leash or in a carrier. Some ferries offer pet cabins.
From Tarifa in Spain to Tangier in Morocco is only a distance of 14.3 km (8.9 miles) so the crossing by hydrofoil ferry here only takes 45 minutes. Tarifa is a small town, the nearest large city being the port of Algeciras, and the ferry companies that operate from Tarifa; FRS and Inter Shipping, provide a free coach service to and from Algeciras for each ferry’s arrival and departure.
There are between ten and twenty crossings a day. The cost is low but the total journey time is greater than advertised as the ferries are always late leaving, sometimes considerably. The ferries arrive at Tangier Ville in Morocco, only a short distance from the rail and train stations.
Ferries also leave Spain from the ports of Algeciras, Malaga, Almeria, Motril and Gibraltar, the latter of which is British, but is a peninsula with a short crossing distance to Morocco. These ferries arrive at the Moroccan ports of Tangier Med or occasionally Nador, Al Hoceima, and the Spanish enclaves of Ceuta (called Sebta by the Moroccans) or sometimes Melilla.
The length of these crossings and their cost depend on the distance between the two ports in question, but the prices are reasonable. The Algeciras to Tangier Med crossing takes about an hour and a half. The Almeria to Nador ferry takes five to ten hours with one to three crossings a day. The Gibraltar to Tangier ferries only run a couple of times a month with FRS.
There is also a Barcelona to Tangier Ferry that is operated by the company GNV about four times a week and takes 28 to 36 hours but is treated as a beautiful mini-cruise. This company also provides a Barcelona to Nador ferry twice a week that crosses in 26 hours.
Tangier Med is quite new yet is now the largest industrial port in Africa and the Mediterranean, but its focus is on industry so the terminal is not very pretty or passenger-friendly. It is also situated 40 km ( 25 miles) from Tangier, so as a foot passenger, you have to get a taxi, bus, or train to Tangier. There are only a couple of trains a day, the buses don’t run in the evenings and the taxis are quite expensive.
If you arrive at Ceuta or Melilla, you will enter passport control when you reach the land crossing into Morocco. The queues here can be very long, especially during the traditional rush-hour times before and after office hours, as many Moroccans enter and leave the enclave to work every day. The ferries from Malaga, Almeria, and Motril arrive at Melilla
The Gibraltar ferry only goes once a week, on a Sunday afternoon, and arrives at Tangier Med.
Day trips travelling from Spain to Morocco can easily be purchased at travel agents along the southern Spanish coast if you don’t want to do it yourself. These will usually take you to visit Tangier, Tetouan, or Asilah. They also include a guide in the price.
Travel from Spain to Morocco by Plane.
There are too many flights available from Spain to Morocco to list them all in these guidelines. There are flights from Madrid to Marrakech, from Malaga to Fes, Seville to Rabat and even helicopters flying from Algeciras to Tangier. Other flights from Spain depart from Barcelona and Valencia, often to Casablanca.
The main advantages of flying are that it enables a traveller to go to cities that are not on the northern coast of Morocco and it is very quick. Seville airport, for example, is only a twenty-minute drive from Seville and the flight to Tangier is only fifty minutes. Flying from Malaga can be even quicker as it is on the south coast of Spain, opposite Morocco, though the airport is a little further inland. Though flying to Morocco may not be as quick as it first would seem once you factor in early check-ins, delays and the fact that airports are usually a long way from the city that they serve, so further transportation is required. Coaches and taxis are easily available outside the airport terminals.
The disadvantages are that flying is comparatively expensive and luggage above a certain limit is not free and can cost a small fortune in excess weight charges.
The main low-cost carrier is Ryanair, cheap and cheerful but with very limited free hand luggage and sometimes hidden costs. EasyJet allows a little more free luggage.
The national carriers are Iberia (Spain) and RAM (Royal Air Maroc) and these are better quality but considerably more expensive.
Travel to Morocco from Spain By Train and Bus.
Early in the morning, at 6.15 am, a train departs from the station at Barcelona-Sants and takes passengers heading to Spain to Maria Zambrano station in Malaga which takes about six and a quarter hours. Passengers then transfer to a coach which goes all the way to Casablanca, including crossing the Mediterranean on a ferry, taking another 39 hours. This is quite a long and expensive trip, in our opinion, but may be suitable for some.
Alternatively, it is possible to get a ticket for a coach from Barcelona to Madrid, which takes seven and a half hours and then a link or you can join the second coach in Madrid and travel on to arrive in Casablanca 46 hours later. also including a trip on a ferry.
Another coach service operates from Barcelona to Algeciras, taking a little over nineteen hours, boards the ferry and arrives in Casablanca thirty-six and a half hours later.