Update August 2017: In addition to the options presented below, there is now a direct flight operating between Malaga and Tangier by the airline Air Arabia Maroc four times per week. Iberia has also launched a direct flight on this route. Flying may be cheaper and more convenient than taking the ferry.
There are many ferry operators ready to take you the short journey from Europe to Africa. Morocco is actually visible from many parts of Spain’s southern coast. Most companies have modern and high-speed ferries, with the shortest connection between Spain and Morocco taking just 30 minutes.
However, it tends to take much longer, since these ferries are not known for their punctuality. If you are in a rush or need to be somewhere urgently, it would be recommendable to take an earlier ferry, since the crossing times published by the ferry companies are often useless. The immigration and customs checks on both the Spanish side and the Moroccan side are also quite inefficient, and can take a lot of time depending on the time of the year you are travelling, so bear in mind that you may get held up for a while.
Which route should I take?
There are 68 ferry crossings and 10 different routes between Spain and Morocco each day, provided by 7 different companies. The published crossing times can be anywhere from 30 minutes to 6 hours depending on the route you take, although as mentioned above it is worth remembering that they are often late and your crossing could take much longer.
Tip! The online ticket prices are the same as the prices at the office. If you miss your ferry, you cannot change or refund your ticket. We recommend buying your tickets at the office in person. The ferries are never full.
These are the four most common crossings for visitors travelling to Africa from Spain. Melilla and Ceuta are Spanish enclaves on the African continent, so are actually not part of Morocco. However, you can cross the border quite easily.
Tarifa to Tangier City: 60 min
Best price: €39.50
Algeciras to Tangier-Med: 90 min
Best price: €22.50
Algeciras to Ceuta: 60 min
Best price: €34.50
Málaga to Melilla: 6-8 hrs
Best price: €40.50
Tarifa to Tangier City: Best
Unfortunately Tarifa is not as well connected as the neighbouring town of Algeciras, which presents a few difficulties if you are travelling at night or are running on a tight schedule. However, if you can find a solution, this is our recommended route to take mainly because it arrives directly in Tangier City, which is a massive plus.
-Short crossing time -More expensive
-Arrives in Tangier City -Tarifa more difficult to get to
If you are travelling on FRS and have booked online, your booking confirmation is not your ticket. You have to visit the FRS office and show your booking confirmation and ID in order to get your ticket.
On FRS, immigration formalities are handled on the ferry. It is not very clear that this is the case, but you have to find the immigration desk and get your entry stamp on-board. You also need to fill in an entry form. Don’t forget to do all of this on the boat because otherwise you will have problems when you arrive in Morocco. By taking care of the immigration formalities on the ferry, the arrival process in Tangier is much easier.
After you dock in the port, there is quite a long walk to the passenger terminal. Here, your bags will be x-rayed, after which you can exit the terminal. The problem of aggressive touts and taxi drivers exists, although is sometimes exaggerated. Either way, you should be wary and decline firmly but politely.
Ferries on this route are operated by Intershipping and FRS. The ticket prices of both companies are fixed at €39.50 one-way.
How to get to Tarifa from Málaga:
Take a direct bus from Málaga Bus Station (Estación de Autobús) to Algeciras. It takes 1hr 30m and costs about €20. From Algeciras, take the M-150 or M-160 line to Tarifa. The M-150 bus takes 20 minutes and the M-160 bus takes 45 minutes. If you are travelling on FRS, their website claims there is a free shuttle service between Algeciras and Tarifa. However, the same website claims there is a free shuttle service between Tangier-Med and Tangier City, and this is no longer true, so be careful. Once you are in Tarifa, follow the signs for the port.
How to get to Tarifa from Sevilla:
Take a direct bus from Sevilla to Tarifa operated by Transporte Generales Comes. The bus number is 309. It takes 3 hours and costs about €20. Once you are in Tarifa, follow the signs for the port.
Sevilla – Tarifa Bus: Timetable (opens new window)
How to get to Tarifa from Granada:
Take the train from Granada to Algeciras, operated by Renfe. You will have to change in Antequera. The prices of the trains vary, and it could cost up to €40. From Algeciras, take the M-150 or M-160 line to Tarifa. The M-150 bus takes 20 minutes and the M-160 bus takes 45 minutes. If you are travelling on FRS, their website claims there is a free shuttle service between Algeciras and Tarifa. However, the same website claims there is a free shuttle service between Tangier-Med and Tangier City, and this is no longer true, so be careful. Once you are in Tarifa, follow the signs for the port.
Alternatively, take a BlaBlaCar ride from Granada to Málaga for about €8 and then follow the Málaga instructions above.
Algeciras to Tangier-Med Ferry
This is a good option for many travellers because Algeciras is better connected than Tarifa, so it is easier to get to and you run fewer risks of missing your ferry. In addition, these ferries are often cheaper. However, the crossing time is a little bit longer, and the ferry arrives at Tangier-Med Port, which is about 45 minutes away from the city of Tangier. This could suit some people better, because Tangier-Med and Tangier City are better connected than Algeciras and Tarifa. Furthermore, if you have a car and wish to bypass Tangier altogether to travel further south in Morocco, this is also a good option because you avoid the traffic of the city.
-Algeciras is well connected -Tangier-Med is quite far from Tangier
-Cheaper than other options -Longer crossing time
Ferries on this route are operated by Intershipping, FRS, Balearia, and Transmediterranea. The ticket prices vary, with Intershipping and Transmediterranea being the cheapest at €22.50, and the other two being more expensive at €32.50.
How to get from Tangier-Med to Tangier
As mentioned above, on some of the ferry websites, there claims to be a free shuttle service between Tangier-Med Port and Tangier City. As far as we can see, and following reports from other travellers online, this service is no longer provided.
TangierTaxi offers private transfers between Tangier-Med Port and Tangier City in air-conditioned vehicles with English-speaking drivers. Prices start from €45. Find out more about our Tangier-Med Taxi service.
There is also a train service between Tangier-Med and Tangier, but there is only one service per day and it leaves very early in the morning. Schedule and booking information is difficult to find, but we recommend getting in touch with the ONCF to find out.
Finally, you can take a grand taxi from Tangier-Med to Tangier. These are public taxis and carry 7 people at a time (6 passengers). Bear in mind that grand taxis are very small, and sharing the vehicle with 5 other passengers may be an uncomfortable journey for you. You can buy all of the seats in the taxi and travel on your own, but this will be more expensive. You may find it difficult to negotiate in this location, because you are effectively a captive audience, and taxi drivers tend to collude and fix their prices high.
Tangier-Med to Tangier Train: ONCF Website, French or Arabic only (opens new window)
How to get from Tangier-Med to Chefchaouen
If you wish to bypass Tangier altogether and continue heading south, then Chefchaouen is the next logical stop. Chefchaouen is located about 130km south of Tangier-Med port. There are no trains or buses, so the only option is to take a taxi.
TangierTaxi also offers a private service from Tangier-Med port to Chefchaouen. Our vehicles are air-conditioned, and our drivers are English-speaking. You can book this transfer online through our website. Find out more about our transfers from Tangier-Med to Chefchaouen.
You can also take a grand taxi. As mentioned earlier, these are public taxis and carry 6 passengers at a time with 2 in the front and 4 in the back. Space is limited, and the cars do not have air conditioning, so keep this in mind and bring water. You might have to wait for a while for your taxi to fill up depending on how busy it is, so don’t choose this option if you are in a hurry. You will probably have to change taxi in Tetouan. You can buy all of the seats in the taxi if you don’t want to wait, but due to the lack of alternative options, the grand taxi drivers may request overpriced fares from Tangier-Med.
Algeciras to Ceuta Ferry
This crossing from Algeciras to Ceuta takes about an hour and leaves at regular intervals throughout the day. Ceuta is a Spanish enclave on the African continent, so you will not actually be in Morocco when you arrive. However, Ceuta is a nice town and is worth visiting if you have time. In addition, it is easy enough to cross the border. I have already written an article about the Ceuta border and transport.
-Algeciras is well connected -Ceuta is not as convenient for travellers wishing to visit Morocco
-Ceuta is an interesting town -It is necessary to cross the land border
Ferries on this route are operated by FRS, Balearia, and Transmediterranea. The ticket prices vary, with FRS and Transmediterranea being the cheapest at €34.50, and the other being slightly more expensive at €38.50.