From Spain to Morocco: How to Plan A Perfect Moroccan Day Trip

Traveling from Spain to Morocco makes for an enchanting day trip that belongs on any southern Spain itinerary.

It’s an opportunity to enjoy the blend of beauty and culture that bridges Europe and Africa.

But it takes some planning.

Continue reading to get the information and insight you need about traveling from Spain to Morocco, and vice versa.

from Spain to Morocco - Tangier view

CONTENTS –In this article provides insight to planning a trip from Spain to Morocco, including;

  • Why Visit Morocco from Spain?
  • How to Get from Spain to Morocco?
  • Ports & Ferries to Cross the Sea Between Spain and Morocco
  • Special Considerations When Going from Spain to Morocco
  • What to See in Northern Morocco?
  • When is the Best Time to Visit Northern Morocco?
  • Final Thoughts on How to Plan A Perfect Trip from Spain to Morocco
  • Next Steps

Why Visit Morocco from Spain?

Morocco beckons when you are in southern Spain.

The good news is, it is not inconvenient to go from one country to the other.

It’s in fact very common for Moroccans to visit Spain, and vice-versa.

The trip itself is very easy when you know a few important details.

Once you get a taste of the Arab influence in Spain, why not experience more in Morocco?

There, you’ll discover ancient cities, lively markets, gorgeous views, and of course, the tasty local food.

visiting tangier morocco
The beautiful city of Tangier is located in northern Morocco and offers a departing port to Spain

How to Get to Morocco from Spain?

The most common way to get from Spain to Morocco is by ferry.

The shortest distance between the two countries and continents is about 17 nautical miles (31km) by ferry.

You’ll be crossing the Strait of Gibraltar.

Depending on which ferry service and ports you choose, the trip can take between a half-hour to 2 hours, and there are no luggage restrictions.

It’s a very affordable ride. One way fares range between €30-€70, and you can leave your car at the port. You can also bring your car with you for an additional fee.

Along the way, you will likely have a good view to the Rock of Gibraltar so you can tick that off your bucket list!

Ports & Ferries to Cross the Sea Between Spain and Morocco

Never fear missing the boat to Morocco from Spain.

That’s becuase there are eight companies operating ferries from Spain to Morocco and back.

You can leave from any of the six ports in Spain and arrive at one of the four ports in Morocco.

The Spanish ports include:

  • Algeciras
  • Almería
  • Barcelona
  • Gibraltar (a British colony)
  • Málaga
  • Motril
  • Tarifa

The Moroccan ports include:

  • Casablanca
  • Motril 
  • Nador
  • Tangier

Just choose the route of choice, depending upon where you are and whether you want a direct route.

Spain to Morocco Ferry Options

spain to morocco by ferry 1

Here are ferry options operating out of the different ports:

  • Barcelona works with Nador (Grandi Navi Veloci) and Tangier Med (Grandi Navi Veloci, Grimaldi Lines) in Morocco.
  • Almeria uses Nador in Morocco (Balearia, Naviera Armas, Trasmediterranea).
  • Motril is linked to Tangier Med (FRS) and Al Hoceima or Nador (Naviera Armas).
  • Malaga is tied to Tangier Med (Balearia).
  • Algeciras works with Tangoer Med in Morocco (AML, Balearia, FRS, Inter Shipping, Trasmediterranea)
  • Tarifa is associated with Tangier (FRS, Intershipping).

There is no scarcity of choices.

Once you know the city of departure, check the dates and times to suit your itinerary.

Book the correct number of passengers and a vehicle if you have one.

You’ll find direct ferries are the best-priced routes.

Be sure to make arrangements in advance to ensure your choice.

You may be flexible, but time is of the essence for many tourists, who opt for the shortest journey from Tarifa to Tangier.

This is especially true if you’re planning a day trip from Spain to Morocco. You want to maximize your time!

Special Considerations When Going from Spain to Morocco

Cost may be a concern if you are on a budget, so do your research ahead of time.

Most of the time, you will find that Malaga and Motril are cost-effective options, and Barcelona as a point of departure is the highest.

You can also rent a car in Morocco or Spain, but check the prices first. Renting a car in Morocco is usually less expensive than in Spain.

It’s important to check the frequency of your ferry.

It may be anywhere from once a week to twelve crossings a day.

The busiest times are July and August, when prices soar and you might find limited booking options.

That’s why it’s recommended that you make your reservation as early as possible to avoid any surprises.

Some crossings have sleeping accommodations, private bathrooms, and offer meals. It is up to you the level of luxury you require.

To sum up, consider the location, travel time, price, frequency, and convenience.

If you’re ready for this adventure, one of the best website to book your trip is Direct Ferries.

Of course, you’ll need a valid passport (not a passport card) to enter Morocco.

And, be sure to check the Moroccan Ministry of Health and the Moroccan National Tourism Office for the most up-to-date requirements.

What to See in Northern Morocco?

Morocco’s northern region will be rich in options.

If you want to see it all, a good circuit begins in Tangier and continues through Asilah, Tetouan, and Chefchaouen.

These are the charming towns nestled in the Rif mountains.

If you have more time on your trip, you can even go a little south and visit Morocco’s imperial cities Fez, Meknes, and Rabat.

With this itinerary, every city will be different from the others.

Each offers new experiences, landscapes, and culinary treasures.

At no point in time will you have a ‘’Deja-Vu’’ moment!

chefchaouen morocco blue city
Chefchaouen, Morocco’s ‘’blue city’’ is only a two-hours drive from Tangier and offers a beautiful landscape of blue houses nestled on a mountain.

If you are short on time or would like to focus on one Moroccan city, stay in Tangier.

This beautiful city has one of the largest ports to Spain.

It encompasses most of the experiences Morocco has to offer to visitors, like:

  • A lively medina (old quarter)
  • Flowery narrow streets
  • Beautiful architecture
  • Interesting history
  • Amazing beaches
  • Charming terraces with incredible views
  • Delicious cuisine

It’s easy to see why a day trip to Tangier is an awesome addition to your Spain itinerary!

tangier medina morocco
Tangier medina is one of the oldest downtowns in Africa

When is the Best Time to Visit Northern Morocco?

You can enjoy visiting Morocco from Spain year round.

The winter season is November to February. The region can be a little chilly at that time of year, but far from freezing temperatures.

Winter nights can be cold, though – especially in the mountains as in Chefchaouen.

For that reason, most hosts will provide you with either a heating system or a sufficient number of blankets to keep warm.

The advantage of visiting Morocco during winter is that flight and accommodation prices tend to get really low during winter.

In this low season, you might find prices cut in half, if not more!

Summer is the peak season in Northern Morocco, as it welcomes those who like beaches and sunbathing,

But many think spring and autumn are the best seasons to visit the region.

This is especially true if you are not interested in beaches and want to avoid the summer heat waves.

The temperatures in spring and summer are very mild and pleasant. That often inspires better energy to stroll and climb the streets of the medina. 

Traveling from Spain to Morocco will add another rich level of depth and insight to your Spanish vacation.

While Spain is filled with wonders, Morocco is equally blessed. Both are colorful countries with gorgeous landscapes, medieval towns, and lively souks.

Your taste buds will thank you for the culinary glories you will experience.

Plus you will love the friendly people, filled with welcoming warmth.

Final Thoughts on Going from Spain to Morocco

To experience a diverse and culturally-fulfilling vacation, then do plan a trip from Spain to Morocco.

Taking in to account all the tips we have provided above will help you plan a memorable visit.


Author’s Bio: Safaa El Jaz of moroccanzest

Safaa is a Moroccan native who was born into a traditional family of artisans. She is passionate about Moroccan design, Moroccan food, and Moroccan history. Follow her on Instagram at @moroccanzest.


Next Steps

To learn more about planning a trip to Spain, read the articles below, next:

When to Visit 36 Dreamy Destinations

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Jackie Gately

Jackie Gately is a seasoned travel writer, photographer, and marketing consultant who is passionate about travel. She loves casual-luxury experiences, coastal getaways, cultural attractions, and local, wholesome food and wine pairings. A perfect day ends with her toes in the sand or by chasing the sunset with her camera--ideally both.