Crossing the Strait of Gibraltar: Spain to Morocco

The doorway that merges the Atlantic Ocean with the Mediterranean Sea is a narrow channel between Spain and Morocco, the Strait of Gibraltar. At its narrowest point, it’s only a 9 mile stretch, a small separation of the two continents. For people interested in making the crossing from Europe to Africa, there are many ferry companies that operate in this stretch of water, making the journey quick and relatively painless.

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The Rock of Gibraltar

There are various ferry companies that operate trips from Spain to Morocco. There are different ports on the southern coast of Spain, in Tarifa, Algeciras, and Gibraltar. It is easy to make time to visit Gibraltar before taking the ferry over to Africa, even if the port isn’t Gibraltar. The bus from La Linea de Concepción (just outside of Gibraltar border) to Algeciras leaves from the bus station frequently, #12o and takes about 40 minutes

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First Glance of Africa from the Ferry

We booked in advance with FRS, and were able to pick up our tickets at the port in Algeciras. It was evident that pre-booking was really not necessary, as there was tons of room on board. The waiting area of the ferry in Algeciras is a bit dumpy, and getting there early is not necessary the way it is in airports. Be wary of men trying to “sell” the visa entry papers, they are free and provided on the boat, this is just another scam.

The ferry ride is short and relatively painless, but opt for a front facing seat if you get motion sickness. There is food on board, and they are comfortable and secure.

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While on the ferry, be sure to check into passport control before arriving. Getting to Tangier can be intense, because sketchy people offering rides swarm the arrival areas, and the taxi drivers can try to rip you off if you don’t agree on a price beforehand. My best advice would be to contact your accommodation first, figure out what you should expect for a price, and haggle to that point.

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Once in Tangier, I stayed in The Medina Hostel, which was very easy to find from the main entrance of the medina. It was a lovely, clean hostel with a beautiful terrace view, a decent breakfast and helpful staff.

Because we used Tangier as our launching point into Morocco, we didn’t have much time to explore the city. Hannah and I did a little shopping and wandering around, but on our second day, it was off to Chefchaouen, the blue city in the mountains, which I’ll talk about in the next post 🙂

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