Last Updated on January 5, 2024 by Lauren Allen
Ever wondered what it would be like to take a day trip to Morocco from Spain? Then you don’t want to miss this post.
We’ll be sharing an in-depth guide on how to make the most out of a Tangier day trip from Spain including how to get there, things to know before you visit and the top things to do while you’re there!
Tangier is a charming city that combines the modern with the traditional. Located on the northern coast of Africa, Tangier’s history dates back centuries, attracting adventurers and artists on the hunt for culture.
As you arrive in the city, you’ll be met with colours, markets and smells, offering a blend of Moroccan and European elements.
From its old-fashioned medina and structures to its delicious eats and shopping at the Bazar, Tangier promises a journey through time in one memorable day.
A quick note: This is a guest post from Cyrstal from Dreamscape Destinations – feel free to check out her blog!
How to get to Tangier from Spain
Spain to Morocco Ferry
A ferry ride across the Strait of Gibraltar is your best option for getting to Tangier from Spain. From the coast of southern Spain, ferry routes from Tarifa or Algeciras are the most popular.
The ferries depart between 12 and 20 times a day and take 30-60 minutes. Ferries arrive at Tangier Ville port, near the city centre. It’s recommended that you purchase round-trip ferry tickets in advance to avoid the ticket office. The ferry ride itself offers views of the strait and the surrounding landscapes.
As you set sail, you’ll be met with views of the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean coming together. The short but scenic ferry ride sets the scene for the fascinating experiences that lie ahead in this popular Moroccan city.
The ferry that I rode had a bottom floor that I decided to venture into. What a mistake! I was so seasick that it was hard to enjoy the ride. On the return ride, I made sure to secure a seat on the upper deck. If you ever get motion sickness, I recommend staying upstairs.
If you are travelling from other parts of Spain, you can reach the southern coast by train, bus, or car to board the ferry. With the well-established transport network, exploring the cultural wonders of a Tangier day trip has never been easier.
It’s the perfect destination to kick off (or continue) your experience in Morocco!
A quick note: If you decide to stay in the country instead of heading back to Spain, getting around in Morocco is easy thanks to their great transport links.
How far is Tangier from Spain?
The distance from Spain to Tangier is relatively short. The strait measures approximately 14 kilometres (8.7 miles) in width at its narrowest point. This geographical proximity allows for convenient and frequent ferry services that connect the southern coast of Spain with Morocco.
It’s surprising to catch a glimpse of the two continents, Europe and Africa, almost touching! This physical closeness between Spain and Tangier has helped to facilitate tourism and trade. As a result, it has played a role in shaping the cultural and historical exchanges between the two areas throughout time.
Where is Morocco?
Located in North Africa, Morocco is known as the continent’s gateway to Europe. With its close proximity to Spain, many travellers end up in Morocco after an interrailing through Europe. Morocco also shares borders with Algeria and Western Sahara.
Is a day trip to Tangier from Spain worth it?
Absolutely, Tangier is worth visiting! This Moroccan city offers a unique blend of culture, history and landscapes that leave avid travellers feeling inspired.
From its markets and medina to its coastal beauty along the Strait of Gibraltar, Tangier has plenty of attractions that appeal to all kinds of adventurers. The city’s history, with influences from various civilizations, adds only depth to its character.
During your Tangier day trip, you can immerse yourself in the local culture and savor the flavors of Moroccan cuisine.
The warm hospitality and sights make it a destination that promises an authentic experience. Tangier will leave you with happy memories and a desire to return to explore more of its hidden treasures.
What do I need to know before going to Tangier?
Before going to Tangier, there are a number of things you need to keep in mind. Here are some tips to ensure a smooth and enjoyable travel experience in Morocco:
- Travel Documents and Visas: Check the visa requirements for your nationality before travelling to Morocco. Double-check that your passport is valid for at least six months after you plan to leave the country.
- Currency: The local currency across Morocco is the Moroccan Dirham (MAD). While major tourist areas may accept credit cards, having some local cash for small purchases is advisable.
- Language: Arabic is the official language in Morocco, but many locals in Tangier also speak French, Spanish or English.
- Culture and Customs: Dress modestly, especially when visiting religious sites and be respectful of local traditions.
- Weather and Clothing: Check the weather forecast for Tangier during your visit and pack accordingly. Summers can be hot, while winters can be mild and rainy. Bring appropriate clothing for the season and comfortable shoes for exploring.
- Health and Safety: Ensure you have comprehensive travel insurance that covers any potential medical emergencies. Check if any vaccinations are required before travelling to Morocco from your home country.
- Local Transportation: Familiarize yourself with local transportation options, including taxis and public transport to navigate the city easily.
- Bargaining: Bargaining is a common practice in Moroccan markets. Be prepared to negotiate prices when shopping for souvenirs.
- Tipping: Tipping is customary in Morocco, especially for services. The locals appreciate small tips for good service.
- Respect for Photography: Always ask for permission before taking photos of people, especially locals and children. Some may request a small tip in return for allowing photographs.
In fact, you should keep these tips in mind for anywhere you visit in Morocco!
Do I need a guide during my visit to Tangier?
Whether or not you need a guide during your visit to Tangier depends on your personal preferences and the type of experience you wish to have. Here are some things to consider that may help you decide:
- Navigating the Medina: The medina of Tangier can be a labyrinth of narrow streets and alleys. If you prefer a more organized experience, a tour guide can help you navigate and provide history about landmarks.
- Language Barrier: If you’re not familiar with the commonly spoken languages in Tangier, a local guide can help with communication and enhance your understanding of the culture and history.
- Insider Knowledge: A knowledgeable guide can offer insights and stories that you might not find in guidebooks, bringing to life the heritage and hidden gems of Tangier.
- Safety and Security: Having a local guide can provide a sense of security, especially if you are unfamiliar with the area or have concerns about getting lost.
- Customized Experience: A private guide can tailor the tour to your interests and pace, ensuring that you visit the attractions and neighbourhoods you want to see most.
- Solo vs. Group Travel: If you are travelling alone, joining a guided group tour can be a great way to meet fellow travellers and share the experience. However, if you prefer a more intimate and personalized experience, having a private tour might be more suitable.
- Budget: Consider your budget when deciding whether to hire a guide. Guided tours can vary in cost, so evaluate the value and benefits it adds to your trip.
Guided tours are not the only way to experience Morocco’s beauty. Interacting with locals or doing a walking tour at your own pace can also lead to rewarding discoveries.
Is Tangier safe to visit?
Is Morocco safe for travellers? Generally, Tangier is generally considered safe to visit for tourists.
Like any destination, it’s always a good idea to use caution and be aware of your surroundings. This is especially true in crowded areas and tourist hotspots. Pickpocketing can occur, so it’s necessary to keep an eye on your belongings.
I advise avoiding isolated areas at night and stick to well-lit and populated areas. Especially if you are visiting Morocco as a solo female traveller.
Overall, visitors can enjoy the cultural experiences, markets, and landscapes that Tangier has to offer without too much worry.
However, stay updated on the current travel advisories and check for any recent changes in the safety situation before planning your day trip to Tangier from Spain.
Check out this post for a complete guide to staying safe in Morocco.
Are street vendors friendly in Morocco?
While exploring the streets of Tangier, it’s essential to exercise caution and be observant of street vendors. While many are legitimate and offer genuine products, some may resort to aggressive sales tactics or overcharge tourists.
It’s crucial to be aware of potential scams or overpricing, as some vendors may target unsuspecting tourists. Remember to haggle prices thoughtfully and remain wary of deals that seem too good to be true.
Additionally, keep a close eye on your belongings, as crowded areas can create opportunities for pickpockets. Always be polite but firm in declining offers if you are uninterested, as some vendors might persistently pursue a sale.
When a friend of mine pulled money out of his pocket to purchase something, it was immediately taken out of his hand! What was fascinating is that the man left 3 bracelets in its place! We were both shocked and amused at the same time.
While shopping in Morocco, a safe and pleasant experience can be had by using common sense and trusting your instincts.
What to wear on a day trip to Morocco from Spain
If you are yet to visit Morocco, it’s important to know that the cultural norms are much different than those in Spain. For example, Spanish locals wouldn’t bat an eyelid at you strolling around the country in denim shorts. However, in Morocco, you’ll get a lot of attention.
As you plan your day trip to Morocco from Spain, you should really consider what you wear. Generally, it’s advised that you cover your shoulders and knees to show a sign of respect to the locals.
Although cities such as Marrakech are more relaxed, locals (especially women) are always covered up. By doing as the locals do, you can avoid a lot of unwanted stares and cat calls.
However, something to keep in mind is that Morocco is a hot country. To avoid uncomfortable heat, you should dress in lightweight layers. That way, you can keep cool without having too much on show.
Floaty culottes and midi dresses are my favourite thing to wear in Morocco as a woman, but there are options for men too!
Things to do on a day trip to Tangier from Spain
Ride a Camel
Upon arrival in Tangier, the sights, sounds, and people might be overwhelming. However, the lively port city welcomes you with open arms.
Be on the lookout for photo opportunities with various animals including donkeys and camels. If you are keen on riding a camel, there are multiple options for your ride, including all-day guided tours, or short rides on the beach.
I personally opted for a short ride mostly for the photo opportunities and the time limit of my trip. This encounter with camels allows you to connect with the city’s past. Allowing you to engage in the customs that have shaped Tangier into the city it is today. Just make sure the camels are well looked after!
The Bazar Tanger, a marketplace of Moroccan goods, is a must-do activity if you’re looking for souvenirs. Located within the city’s medina, the bazaar offers a sensory overload of sights, sounds, and scents.
As you wander through its alleys, you’ll discover a bunch of handicrafts, textiles and traditional Moroccan pottery, all crafted by local artisans.
The market’s colourful stalls are filled with lanterns, handwoven rugs, intricately designed ceramics and wooden boxes. A jewellery box I purchased is one of the most treasured items in my home!
Each item tells a unique story of the area’s traditions. Don’t forget to engage in the age-old art of haggling with vendors to get the perfect keepsake to remember your journey to the city.
Whether you’re looking to decorate your home with Moroccan elegance or seeking a piece of Tangier to cherish forever, Bazar Tanger offers a shopping experience that represents Morocco’s culture.
Entering Hercules Cave is like stepping into a mythical world where nature is at its finest. This is a must-do activity on your day trip to Morocco from Spain!
The site, also known as the “Caves of Hercules,” holds both historical and geological significance. Legend has it that Hercules rested in these caves during his labours, adding a touch of magic to the experience. It is said that Hercules created the Straight of Gibraltar by splitting apart the continents of Europe and Africa.
As you enter the cave, the enormous opening will amaze you! This opening creates a window that views the Atlantic Ocean. The cave’s entrance resembles a map of Africa.
Inside the cave, you will find rock formations that create images of the mighty Hercules himself. Exploring the caves and learning about the stories and folklore associated with this site is an exciting experience.
The setting and history make Hercules Cave a highlight during your journey through Tangier. It’s sure to leave you with a sense of wonder and a connection to the mysteries of the past.
The Grand Socco is a round, central, outdoor market. It has a large fountain made of marble in the middle, fully surrounded by exotic palms and small flower gardens. It has a dozen benches for people to sit and relax.
This square is the centre of Tangier’s daily life and a meeting point for locals and travellers. Surrounded by shops, cafes, and historic buildings, the Grand Socco offers a blend of modern and traditional.
As you walk through the square, a delightful mixture of sights, sounds, and scents will intrigue you.
Vendors offer colourful textiles, artisan crafts, fresh fruits, and fragrant spices. The calls to prayer from nearby mosques only add to the bustling atmosphere!
From the Grand Socco, you can continue the exploration of the medina’s winding alleys. Alternatively, you can wander to nearby attractions such as the Kasbah and the Petit Socco.
With its unique vibe and cultural significance, the Grand Socco is an important stop for those seeking a taste of Tangier’s spirit.
A day trip to Tangier from Spain would not be complete without a visit to the Kasbah Museum. This museum will take you on a journey back in time where history and culture come together.
Located in the highest part of the city, the museum offers a peek into the city’s past. As you wander through the beautifully restored rooms and courtyards, you’ll be fascinated by the stories of Tangier’s rulers, their extravagant lifestyles, and the interesting artefacts they left behind.
The museum’s exhibits display traditional Moroccan art, historical artefacts, and archaeological finds. From its outdoor patios, you can enjoy views of the city, the port and the endless expanse of the sea.
The Kasbah Museum is an educational experience that allows you to learn about Tangier’s heritage. Consequently, leaving you with an appreciation of the beauty that has shaped this wonderful city.
Cape Spartel is a significant landmark located about 12 kilometres (approximately 7.5 miles) west of the city.
This landmark marks the most north western point of mainland Africa, where the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea meet. This cape is known for its natural beauty, cliffs and coastal views.
Visitors can enjoy a stroll along the scenic pathways, witnessing the meeting of the two bodies of water. The Cape Spartel Lighthouse stands atop the cape, guiding ships through the busy Strait of Gibraltar.
This spot is a must-visit destination for travellers seeking a connection with the natural wonders of Morocco’s northern coast.
Petit Socco in Tangier is the heart of the city’s vibrant soul. This inviting square, tucked away in the medina, calls to people with its lively atmosphere and cultural history.
Once a centre for writers, artists and musicians who looked for inspiration, Petit Socco continues to thrill visitors with its blend of Moroccan and European impact.
As you explore the streets that lead to the square, you’ll be met with lots of sights, sounds, and scents. Vendors sell colourful spices, traditional handicrafts and tasty street food.
Cafés and restaurants line the square, offering a spot to sit back, people-watch and savour a cup of mint tea. Petit Socco’s charm and its legacy as a meeting point for creative minds make it an essential stop on your day trip to Morocco from Spain!
Dining at Hammadi Restaurant is an experience you won’t forget any time soon! Indulge your senses in a culinary adventure like no other at this hidden gem.
From the moment you step through its doors, you’re greeted with friendliness and lovely surroundings that show Moroccan splendour. The restaurant is decorated with Moroccan tiles and lanterns that sets the stage for an extraordinary dining experience.
Hammadi prides itself on serving an array of traditional Moroccan dishes, each bursting with spices and flavours. Savour tender lamb tagine, tasty couscous, and pastilla pies, all crafted using recipes passed down through generations.
As you savour each bite, you’ll be carried away on a delicious journey through Moroccan cuisine. Each meal ends with a cup of traditional Moroccan mint tea.
My favourite part of the restaurant was the live traditional music and belly dance performances. Dinner becomes an inviting experience that leaves a lasting effect on your taste buds and your heart as you fondly remember your Tangier day trip.
FAQs about taking a day trip from Spain to Tangier
Of course! It’s easy to jump on a ferry to Morocco from several destinations in Spain.
The ferry routes from Tarifa to Tangier in Morocco take just 30 – 60 minutes. How fast is that?
Although you will barely scratch the surface, spending a day in Morocco is well worth doing if given the opportunity. Morocco is a bustling country bursting with beauty, culture and unique charm.
Yes! Once you get to Morocco, the country is very cheap in terms of attractions, accommodation and eating out. As such, it’s definitely suitable for budget travellers.
If you’re on a shoestring budget, aim to spend around £30 a day in Morocco. It can be done for less, but £30 will allow you to delve a little deeper into the local culture and live more comfortably.
Morocco gets incredibly hot. So much so that it’s best avoided in the summer months. For nice yet bearable temperatures, visit Morocco between February and May.
You could easily spend months in Morocco, that’s how much there is to see! However, to see the highlights of many destinations, plan a two-week trip to this incredible country.
With so much history, charm and culture, Tangier certainly is a good destination for a holiday in Morocco!
Conclusion on visiting Morocco on a day trip from Spain
Visiting Tangier is an exciting experience that will leave a mark on your heart and soul. This Moroccan city weaves together culture, history and landscapes, offering a unique blend of modernity and tradition.
From the markets of the medina to the views of the Strait of Gibraltar, Tangier places you in a world of colours, flavors and sounds. As you say goodbye to Tangier, you’ll carry with you cherished memories of maze-like alleys, Moroccan treasures and the essence of a place where East meets West.