Friday, 30 January 2009

Algeciras Port to Ceuta

Two GoMarbella reader wrote in this morning to ask about going to Ceuta, a little Spanish enclave on the northern coast of Morocco. Both wanted some contact with different cultures.

I used to go to Ceuta around 30 years ago when I had to leave Spain every three months and get my passport stamped to show I had not overstayed the three permitted months. It was the closest exit point to the Costa del Sol and I would walk into Morocco at the border post and then come back in the other side and ask for a stamp in my passport. I haven't been there for many years.

There is an interesting cultural mix in the little colony. I was really surprised not find anything about Ceuta in the first three guide books on Spain I looked at. This is probably because Morocco thinks Ceuta should be theirs and Spain won't give it up. The editors of the books probably don't want to upset anyone by saying Ceuta belongs to Spain.

Many sub Saharan African refugees periodically try to cross the border fence to gain entry in Europe. The Spanish government will not let any successful border jumpers cross the straits into Spain so they are stuck in Ceuta until they are unwillingly repatriated so you have this population along side long term Ceuta residents and the Moroccan traders who have bribed the corrupt Moroccan border guards to let them bring their goods into Spain.

If you have a couple more hours to spare you could go to Tetuan from Ceuta, a Moroccan village about 20kms into Morocco, sharing a taxi but I think you will find enough Moroccans in Ceuta not to bother going out of Ceuta.

Every time I look for ferry sailing times it is a struggle but google "" and try your luck. There are a least 1o sailings a day in both directions between Algeciras and Ceuta between the two ferry companies that operate this crossing.

I wouldn't bother to book the ferry tickets in advance, just turn up 30 minutes before the sailing time and get your ticket from the ticket office on shore. (By the way, have you spotted that the ferry in the picture is actually the ferry from Tarifa to Tanger?)

The 11km sea crossing itself is enjoyable and you get a great view of Gibraltar as you leave the Algeciras port and the straits of Gibraltar as you sail across. You can see everything on foot. Visit the market, the tiny beach and look for Moroccan food restaurant for lunch. At the end of the day you will definitely feel you have been somewhere different.

Although you are not technically leaving Spain, take your passport for identification purposes.

You will need to get to Algeciras, if you are going by bus from anywhere along the coast, so check out the bus schedules to Algeciras from where ever you are. The Algeciras bus station is right in front of the ferry port. If you are driving down, there is ample parking in front of the port.

Normal travel precautions apply, watch out for your belongings at all times. Keep your passport and money out of sight and reach at all times, especially if you are in a throng of shoppers or leaving the boat. Pick pockets frequent ports and prey on travellers when boarding or disembarking or congregating in queues.

I am sure you'll have a great day out!


Anonymous Anonymous said...

We're travelling to morocco from marbella for a day and were just wondering what is the easiest way in doing this? where is the best place to visit once we get there and if the ferries run regularly?


5 March 2009 18:42  
Blogger Mike Drury said...

Hi Ciara

Thank you for visiting the Spain Now and Then blog.

If you are taking the bus down to Algeciras from Marbella, copy this link and paste it into your browser: It will give you the schedule of buses from Marbella to Algeciras port and back.

For a memorable exposure to Morocco I would go to Tangier just for a day. My best advice to you is to go with an organised tour because they take care of everything and you will be left alone and not hassled.

I will put some information for you onto this blog if you decide to go with a group.

If you have a male in your party and are feeling adventurous and would like to do the visit on your own, then check on ferry sailing times here:

Don't bother to book online, just use the site to check ferry sailing times to match up to the bus arrival time in Algeciras and buy your ticket at the ferry office in Algeciras.

If you do the trip on your own, please let me know and I'll send you some suggestions on where to go and what to see in Tangier.

Thanks again for the contact Ciara and best wishes from Marbella.


5 March 2009 20:20  
Blogger Mayar said...

I am planning to travel to Tanger end of June and will be staying there for 4 to 5 nights,
i am planning to visit Cueta & Marbella,
how much is the distance from Tanger to Ceuta by car?
Can I take the ferry from Ceuta to go to Marbella and spend 2 or 3 nights? and what about the distance?
Do you think 4- 5 days won't be too little for such a trip

24 May 2009 13:34  
Blogger Mike Drury said...

Hello Mayar

Thanks very much for checking in to

I have been trying to estimate the distance from Tangier to Ceuta. I have been to both places a number of times by ferry but never driven between them. I estimate it as just under 100km.

You could share a gran taxi with other travellers to Ceuta or to Tetouan or take a bus. Sharing a taxi will be about the same price as a bus and faster.

From Ceuta you can take the ferry to Algeciras and then take the bus all the way up to Marbella. From Ceuta to Algeciras allow two hours for the crossing and getting through the ports on either side and from Algeciras by bus to Marbella allow 3 hours. So that's about half a day you will lose travelling. Will you go home from Marbella through Malaga airport or will you come back to Tangier before you go home?

I think you are right about not having a lot of time in each place. 4 to 5 days in total will only give you a couple of days in each place. You won't need to spend more than a morning in Ceuta.

Let me know how I can help you Mayar, ask me any questions that you think will help you plan your journey.

Best wishes from Marbella and thanks again for your contact.


25 May 2009 19:58  
Anonymous Eduardo said...

Hey! Thanks for this information! It was really helpful!

22 November 2009 19:06  
Blogger Mike Drury said...

Thanks for taking the time to write back Eduardo. I hope you had a good trip.

Just yesterday, Sunday afternoon, I was coming back from Tarifa and stopped off in Algeciras to explore the Getares urbanisation which is next to the big hospital outside the town. I got a good look at Gibraltar from a very different view. As you sail to Tangier or Ceuta, it's the last bit of Spain on your right.

Best wishes from Marbella Eduardo and thanks again for writing.


23 November 2009 10:47  
Blogger Mustafa said...

hi Mike, I wanna learn something, I will take a shared taxi from Ceuta to Tangiers airport. Is that easy and done by taxi drivers in a systematic way? And do you know how much does it cost?

25 January 2010 19:35  
Blogger Mike Drury said...

Hi Mustapha

Thanks very much for writing in. I'll try to find out for you. I'll ask my friend Fatima who works in the Chaouen Tourist Information Office and see if she can help.

I'll put the details onto the blog as soon as I get them.

Best wishes from Marbella


25 January 2010 23:26  
Blogger Mike Drury said...

Hello again Mustafa

Fatima of the Chaouen Rural Information Office wrote to tell me the following:

"H Mike

At the Ceuta border there are a lot of shared taxis. No problem at all.The only thing is all taxis will try to rip off the clients. This is the bad part of it...

The price is around 60DH I think. I have never gone from Ceuta to Tangier in a shared taxi.

A private taxi would cost around 400DH.

If you need help, please don't hesitate.

Best Fatima"

Mustafa I hope that helps you. Many years ago I once went from Ceuta to Tetuan in a big old shared Mercedes taxi and everything was fine.

I hope you have a good journey

Best wishes from Marbella


26 January 2010 16:36  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi, I am in the South of Spain for several weeks towards the end of July. I would like to take the ferry to Cueta and do a short trip to Morocco. I will have a hire car which I would ideally like to bring with me. I also have a Wife and a 6 year old to entertain. By short trip I mean, a few hours drive, perhaps 1/2 nights in accomodation. Any suggestions and is driving problematic? Tks. Carl.

15 February 2010 15:28  
Blogger Mike Drury said...

Hello Carl

Thank you very much for your contact.

The first step will be to check if your hire car company permits the use of their car in Morocco and they should then give you advice on exactly what documentation and additional insurance to be carrrying.

If it is only short trip I suggest going to Chaouen which is only a couple of hours from Ceuta. One of my travel agent students stayed there a couple of years back and she said it was a pleasant little village.

I have corresponded with Fatima of the tourist information office there and they have rural houses for rent.

I'll ask Fatima for information about her rural houses and let you know via this page when she writes back.

If you need any help in finding a car hire company which allows the use of the car in Morocco, let me know.

Best wishes from Marbella Carl and thanks again for writing.


19 February 2010 08:22  

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