On my last trip to Morocco, I had a return flight back to London from neighbouring Gibraltar. Making my way up north and crossing the Mediterranean, although long, was easy and cheap. Most travellers leave Morocco to Spain and Gibraltar via the city of Tanger. But as I gave it a miss, and here I share with you, step by step, how to travel from Morocco to Gibraltar by bus and ferry, via Spain.
The duration of this journey will depend on how lucky you are with your bus, cab and ferry connections. If you’re not stopping in Ceuta, I recommend you set aside a full day from morning to evening. If you intend to explore this Spanish exclave in North Africa, then two days should be enough: roughly one on the move, and a day to get to know the place.
From Tetouan, the journey starts with a 45-minute bus journey to the town of Fnideq, that costs 7 dirhams, (£0.55, €0.65, USD0.85). Fnideq is right on the border with Ceuta. It is an understated coastal town with a busy market near the bus station and nice quiet beaches. At the bus station you must take a cab to the border. It will cost you between 10 and 30 dirhams (£0.75-£2.25, €1-€3, USD1.20-3.60) depending on your haggling skills, and it’s only a 5-minute drive.
On the Moroccan side of the border you will see four windows on your left, some for locals, others for foreigners. On the day I crossed there were only two officers serving all nationalities. There will be some locals offering you a departure card, so just bear in mind this is how they make their livelihood, and they expect a tip for the “help”.
TIP: The departure card is the same as the landing card, so get an extra one when you land, to save you time and hassle.
Hand in your departure card with your passport and you should have it back in a couple of minutes. After that, walk along the queue of cars and get to the Spanish border control. There is a security check which was unused when I crossed, but it may have been a one off.
FACT: This route is very popular with drug carriers trying to take hashish to Spain, so you may be invited for a random check.
As usual, hand in your passport to the Spanish officer and you should have it back in no time – that is, if you’re an EU citizen or don’t need a visa.
Now just walk along the path and take the bus to the city centre. If you’re not spending time in Ceuta you must get off at Plaza de Africa and from there you may walk 10 minutes to the port or take a cab.
On your way to the port you will see a number of outlets and other tax free shops. There’s a petrol station just by the entrance to the maritime station where you can buy newspapers and magazines. There are no left luggage facilities, free wi-fi or newstands at the maritime station. There are two bars/cafés where you can have a bite to eat, a small souvenir shop and information desk – which closes at 2pm on Sundays. If you haven’t bought your ferry ticket, there are a number of companies doing the crossing, which takes around one hour and costs €32 one way (£27.50, USD43). At the time I travelled the ferry company Acciona had a special of €9.60 (£8.60, USD13.50). If you’re under 26 years old you will get a reduction. You may want to buy your ticket in advance, though.
WARNING: Do watch your belongings very closely at all times on the ferry, as thieves operate on this route – I had my small rucksack robbed, whilst buying some coffee, for example.
IN SPAIN & GIBRALTAR
If your journey ends in Algeciras, enjoy the rest of your trip. If you’re continuing to Gibraltar, you may walk 10 minutes to the bus station or take a taxi. You must take the bus to La Linea – the Spanish town that borders Gibraltar – which normally leaves from platform 13. It’s a 45-minute trip and from La Linea’s bus station you may again walk to the border or take a taxi.
Crossing this border in your own vehicle or a taxi may be an unnecessarily lengthy process, as relations between Spain and Gibraltar have always been shaky. You will have to show your passport and may have your car checked. Crossing on foot is your best bet. Buses run from just outside Gibraltar’s border control to the main street, which is curiously called Main Street. 🙂
Gibraltar International Airport is right by the border, and you may just walk.