How To Do A Day Trip To Morocco From Spain

Stillenroute.com is part of the Amazon Associates affiliate program, as well as affiliate programs from other companies. That means if you purchase a product through links on this website, I earn a commission, at no additional cost to you.

Last Updated on April 14, 2021 by Mary Emmer

Are you planning a trip to Spain and wishing you could fit in a visit to Morocco as well?  Well, guess what? You can. Even if you don’t have time in your itinerary (or in your budget) to stay there for multiple days. This post will tell you exactly how to do a day-trip to Morocco from Spain.

This is the perfect option if you have already planned a southern Spain itinerary but didn’t include Morocco either because you didn’t have time and additional days, or because you didn’t want the added expense of a multi-day stopover in Morocco before or after the Spanish part of your trip.

Why Plan A Morocco Tour?

It is well worth your time to plan your own special Morocco discovery tour.

Spain is absolutely wonderful, of course, so it may seem like nothing more is needed once you’re exploring the wonders of all that Spain has to offer.

But the idea of stepping foot into something more exotic is exciting for me.  There’s something almost tempting about it.

Once you’re on the southern coast of Spain you can actually see Morocco from certain points.  After all, the shortest distance between Europe and Africa across the Strait of Gibraltar at the narrowest point is only about 9 miles.

And once you can see it, that temptation to embrace a new country and culture becomes almost irresistible.  And the easiest and best way to experience the wonders of Morocco is on a tour.

Where To Go In Morocco On A Day Trip?

If you’re visiting Morocco on a day tour from Spain, you will most likely be visiting the city of Tangier.  This is the most accessible city for day-trips from Spain.

Tangier is located at the western entrance to the Strait of Gibraltar and is considered the “Gateway to Africa.”  It’s an ancient city with a history that begins before the 5th Century BC, and it’s gone by many different versions of its name ever since.  Today, it’s a bustling city that has a reputation for being a little rough around the edges, but it’s still worthwhile if you have that urge to dip into Africa while you’re visiting Spain.

Also, once you get a taste of Morocco, you may decide to return for a longer and more comprehensive visit to this interesting country.

Tangier has been somewhat romanticized over the years by writers, poets, and artists who came to Morocco looking for adventure and then wrote about it or brought their experiences to a canvas in the form of a painting.

Tangier has definitely lost some of the charms of yesteryear and it’s now quite touristy, but despite that fact, there are still many worthwhile things to see here and I would recommend that you grab the chance to make the trip if you have the opportunity.

How To Get To Tangier From Spain

The best and fastest way to make the trip from Spain to Tangier is on the ferry from Tarifa, Spain to Tangier-Ville.

The Tarifa to Tangier ferry is the fastest crossing available and only takes around 30 minutes.  There are also ferries crossing from Algeciras, Spain to Tangier which take about 70 minutes.  And it’s also possible to cross from Gibraltar to Tangier in about 80 minutes.

Is It Safe To Visit Tangier Alone?

While it’s possible to visit Tangier alone without too much trouble, I don’t recommend doing it that way.

Even though it seems pretty straightforward to get on the ferry from Spain to Morocco, there are some other things to consider.

Remember that “reputation of roughness” that Tangier is known for? That’s something to keep in mind before planning your day trip. While the physical aspect of taking the ferry and getting over to Tangier would most likely be no problem, you still need to spend the day there, in a big bustling city that you’re unfamiliar with, and that could lead to problems for tourists that don’t know what to expect. It’s best to take a tour so that when you arrive in Tangier, you’ll have a tour guide to take you on a guided walking tour of the important things to see.

Some Highlights Of A Visit To Tangier

Your tour guide will make sure that you see all of the important tourist sites in Tangier, or any other place that you visit on a guided tour.  That’s the number one advantage of taking a tour!  You won’t miss anything important.  Here are some of the highlights that you can expect to experience during your visit to Tangier.

  • Medina  – The old town, a labyrinth of winding streets and passageways, beautiful ancient architecture and shops selling almost anything you can imagine
  • Kasbah – This is the old fortress of the city where the sultan used to live
  • Markets – Located in the Medina, the markets sell an amazing array of spices and many other interesting products.

A walk through the old city will inundate your senses with the aroma of exotic spices, teas, and other food and drink.

Best Way To Visit Morocco From Spain

So, while you certainly could opt to set out on your own from either Tarifa, Algeciras, or even Gibraltar, catch the ferry across the Strait of Gibraltar, and wind up for a fun-filled (hopefully) day on your own in mysterious and exotic Tangier, it’s not what I would recommend.

My recommendation is to take a full-day guided tour instead.

These are some of the benefits of taking a tour instead of schlepping over there on your own –

  • Pickup from your location included
  • Roundtrip ferry transfer included
  • Transportation in Tangier included
  • Lunch or other meal usually included
  • Local guide included
  • Tours in your native language
  • Everything is included in one price
  • Worry-free visit (that means you won’t get lost walking around the Medina)

One of the best things is that it’s entirely possible to get a tour even if you’re not staying in or near Tarifa which is where the ferry departs from.

It’s actually possible to get a tour from other cities in the region such as Malaga or Seville which are locations that may already be in your southern Spain itinerary.

And having all the transportation included means that you don’t have to figure it all out on your own, either on the Spanish side of the Strait of Gibraltar or on the African side where you would most likely have more difficulty.

And finally, having a guide for the day (in your native language) is what really makes or breaks a day trip to an exotic spot.  If you’re making the effort to go, you want to make sure that you see everything you should, and that you actually understand what you’re seeing.

A guide will make that happen.

Examples Of Day Trips To Morocco From Spain

Tangier Private Full-Day Trip From Tarifa/Algeciras

Tangier, Morocco Day Trip From Costa Del Sol

Tangier Day Trip From Seville

Private Morocco Day Tour – Tangier From Sevilla

There are quite a few different options for day trips.  Some of the tours will be in small groups, and some are private.

And while each tour includes something slightly different, the important thing is that every tour will include a worry-free day trip for you.

Can You Do A Day Trip To Morocco From Barcelona?

This is a question that I’m asked every so often. While day trips work well via the ferry if you’re staying in places like Seville or Malaga, the ferry transportation won’t work from Barcelona because it’s much further away.

It is possible, however, to get a low-cost flight from Barcelona to Tangier, and then have a guided tour arranged once you arrive in Tangier.  The only difference to you will be the mode of transportation between Spain and Morocco. The guided tour in Morocco will still include all the same benefits that I’ve outlined above.

What About A Longer Trip To Morocco?

If you’re thinking that Morocco sounds pretty cool and deserves more than just a day-trip to Tangier, you’re right!

There are many special places to visit in Morocco.

If you have time for a longer stay while visiting Morocco, then you will really have the opportunity to explore the country in much greater depth.  It’s possible to find tours for virtually any number of days, from just a few days to as many as…well, the sky is the limit here!

If you plan to visit for one week or less, then it’s better to limit your itinerary to a specific region at a time.  For example, Northern or Southern Morocco, The Atlas Mountains, the Western Coast, or the Sahara region.

how to do a day trip to Morocco from Spain

While it’s technically possible to do a “Highlights of Morocco” tour which combines regions in 7 days, I personally don’t recommend doing it that way.  You will have a better, more in-depth experience if you stick to a specific region for a week or less stay.

If you have a long itinerary in mind, then it’s possible to combine the different regions into one long “Best of Morocco” type of itinerary and still see everything that you should see.

Here are some itinerary examples.

1 Week Itinerary Morocco

From Marrakech – 7 Day Morocco Highlights Tour

From Casablanca – 6 Day Imperial Cities of Morocco

3 Day Itinerary Morocco

From Marrakech – 3 Day Sahara Desert Tour to Merzouga

From Marrakech – 3 Day Imperial Cities Tour

From Marrakech – 3 Day Trip to Berber Villages

Essential Travel Tips For Morocco

Travel map and currency

Be sure and do your research before you go.  Because, well, you don’t know what you don’t know, right?

It’s best to be a bit knowledgeable about the customs and traditions of any country that you visit so that you don’t unknowingly do or say something that you shouldn’t.  That being said, please, please, please be observant of the cultures, traditions, and beliefs of whatever country you are visiting, even if they differ from your own.

Official Language

Arabic and Berber.  Moroccans speak a mixture of Arabic, Berber, French, and English.  In the larger cities and tourist areas, English will be more widely spoken and you shouldn’t have a problem communicating.  If you visit rural areas, English will not be widely spoken.

Official Currency

Moroccan Dirham

Credit Cards and ATMs

In larger well-established shops and restaurants, credit cards are usually accepted.  In small shops, restaurants, and markets, however, it’s quite likely that they may not accept credit cards.  It’s best to have local currency with you for smaller purchases and for use at the small establishments that don’t accept credit cards.  You can get local currency from an ATM.  However, the ATMs can be hit or miss.  If you are staying in a hotel you can exchange money there.  But if you’re only visiting on a day-trip, you will need to either use an ATM or a foreign currency exchange place.  Another great reason to have a guided tour.  Your tour guide will be able to tell you the best place to exchange your money for local currency.

Tipping

Tipping is not mandatory in Morocco.  However, if you are satisfied with the service, it’s customary to round up the bill and leave the change.  Be sure and keep small change with you for this purpose.

Appropriate Dress

Men can be men and boys can be boys.  But women?  You must adhere to much stricter guidelines on what you wear.  Women must be dressed more conservatively.  At.  All.  Times.  Morocco is a Muslim country, and the culture is such that the women must be dressed conservatively, and in some places (especially if you visit a mosque) they must be completely covered all the way to the wrists and ankles.  This means long sleeves and long skirts or pants.  Women must dress appropriately to avoid unwanted attention.  Also, remember what I said about respecting the traditions in other countries?  Even if you see other tourist women dressing less conservatively, please, please, please ladies….do the right thing and make sure you’re dressed appropriately!  It’s a great idea to always carry with you a large scarf or shawl that you can wrap up in if necessary.  I never travel anywhere without one!  Something like this works really well.

Stay Away From Free Tours

You may see people offering free tours in tourist areas.  Stay away from them.  They may lead you to some areas of the city you are unfamiliar with, then, when you are lost will demand money to get you back.  Another reason why it’s recommended that you use a reputable guided tour for your visit.

Beware of Pickpockets

This advice goes for any place that you visit.  It’s just common sense.  There are pickpockets.  Make sure your valuables are safe and secure.  Men, do not put your wallet or any important documents (like your passport) in your back pocket.  Ladies, be sure and use a crossbody bag that cannot be easily snatched off of you.

Haggling Is Expected

Haggling is an interesting subject.  Some people are uncomfortable with the idea of haggling over an item they wish to purchase.  But haggling is not only common in Morocco (especially in the markets), it is expected.  It’s part of their tradition.  If you can put up with the process of haggling, you can expect to pay 25-50% less than the original price they quote you.  I’d say that’s well worth it!

Holy Days and Holidays

Morocco is a Muslim country and the Holy Day of worship is on Friday.  This means that everything will most likely be closed on Fridays.  Also be aware of any special holidays as these might affect the opening hours of various shops, restaurants, and attractions as well.

Drinking-Water

Stay on the safe side and drink bottled water.

Photos

Don’t assume that you can take photos of people or shops on the street, especially in the markets.  In some cases, people will pose for photos and then require you to pay for them.  Even if you ask permission, they may still demand money.  It’s best to ask first and establish a price, then take the photo.

Visas

Nationals of many countries are allowed to visit Morocco without obtaining visas.  But don’t assume that includes you.  Be sure and check the required documentation before arriving.

Vaccinations

Morocco typically has not been a country that required vaccinations before entering.  However, since the onset of Covid 19, things have changed for almost every country worldwide and it can no longer be assumed that you won’t need one.  Be sure and check the CDC Traveler information.

Public Restrooms

And, I’ve saved the most important for last.  Ladies, if you’re like me, this one is important, right?  My first piece of advice is, don’t use public restrooms if at all possible.  Try and use the restroom in a hotel or restaurant instead.  Yes, I know they are public too, but better than those “public” ones that most cities just have in various places for, well…the public!  Don’t assume that there will be toilet paper.  Be prepared!  Make sure that you have some tissue with you, as well as small change because there are attendants in many restrooms and they may require you to pay for entry and leave a tip.  Always have hand sanitizer or wipes with you as well.  And finally, Morocco is well known to have squat toilets in places.  All I can say is, prepare yourself!  Seriously, make sure you’ve regularly done your squats at the gym.  Honestly, I haven’t actually sat on a public toilet seat in years (just too much of a yuck factor for me), so this is no big deal for me.  It’s WHY I do squats at the gym!

Things That Tourists Should NOT Do In Morocco

Travel Map

In addition to my essential travel tips, there are a few things that you should just never do while you’re in Morocco.

Be Disrespectful of Islam

Islam is Morocco’s official religion.  As such, you must be respectful of the customs and traditions that are part of the culture.

Dress Inappropriately

I covered this above, but it bears repeating.  Make sure that you are dressed appropriately, especially you ladies!  It is considered disrespectful to do otherwise and if you are dressed inappropriately I promise you that you will attract some very unwanted attention.

Disrespect the Monarchy

Do not say or do anything disrespectful with regards to the Moroccan Monarchy.  This includes speaking, muttering, rude hand gestures, anything like that at all, even if you are joking.  Just don’t do it.  Some of these things are considered illegal and could actually lead to a jail sentence.

That’s it.  This is not hard.  Just behave!

I hope this post gave you some insight into just exactly how you can do a day-trip to Morocco from Spain.  Or, perhaps your appetite has been sufficiently whetted for a longer visit to this fabulous country.  Either way, I’ve got you covered!

So tell me, have you already visited Morocco?  Either on a day trip or a longer itinerary?  If so, drop a comment for me below with your impressions and what you liked best!


Is this your first visit to Still En Route?  If so, don’t miss my about page to learn more about what really goes on around here!

 

Mary Emmer

About Me

Hi, thanks for stopping by.  I’m an online entrepreneur here at Still en Route where I write about everything travel-related, with a baby boomer twist!  My goal is to inspire you to be adventurous and teach you how to fit more life into your lifestyle, even if you’re a baby boomer like me!  You can also find me at Looks Like Books because I’m a book geek.  And at Affiliate Cents because…well, I’m just a geek.

2 thoughts on “How To Do A Day Trip To Morocco From Spain”

  1. Sounds fascinating to visit two different continents in a day. I guess I never realized how close it was and that it actually can be done in a day. Great tips and ideas, and the mentioned tours sounds very interesting. What time of year would be the best time to go?

    Reply
    • In my opinion, the best time to visit would be spring or fall. So middle of March thru to end of May. Or Sept thru November. Weather will be pleasant but not too hot!

      Reply

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.