“If we are going to Spain, then we are going to Africa,” said my husband as we finally picked our destination.
I bobbed my head enthusiastically, because frankly after Japan, Spain seemed so tame.
But add a day trip to Morocco with kids to the mix and we were bound to have an adventure. Yes, we did.
We share how we executed this one day trip from Europe to Africa, to help you plan and enjoy yours.
The two of us adults were definitely more excited about finally visiting a new continent, even though we were aware such a short visit hardly counts. But it would give us a taste.
If I am being completely honest, which might make me sound like a jerk, I had all kinds of prejudice about Morocco and wasn’t really up for spending a whole week there. I had my doubts about the one day trip to Morocco with kids as well. Wondering: will we catch the ferries, what if something goes wrong, what can go wrong, how will we fix it…
Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less. Marie Curie
The quote from Marie Curie perfectly explains why despite our worries the thought of backing off was never seriously entertained. We knew we had to go and prove ourselves – OK me wrong. Down with the prejudice.
The kids sharing none of my anxiety, were just curious, because the first things that pops on their mind when you say Africa is lions and camels, dessert and sand.
We were all in for a big surprise.
How to get from spain to morocco?
But let’s kick it off with basics. This part is easy. There are plenty of ferries going back and forth between two countries all day long.
We picked the one going from Spain’s Algeciras to Morocco’s port Tanger-Med.
Tanger Med is one of the largest ports on the Mediterranean and in Africa.
A bit too late – after we bought the tickets, we realized this ferry drops you off about 40 kilometers away from the city of Tangier. But then again, we wouldn’t change it even if we could, since this option is cheaper compared to the ferry that does dock in the city and leaves from Tariffa in Spain.
The trip takes around an hour and a half and the ferries are immense and comfortable.
more on the ferry
No one tells you this, but you have to do the passport control on the ferry from Spain to Morocco. When I went in search of the loo, I noticed the immigration officer and a queue.
And please make it back to the ferry at least an hour before the departure and be prepared to wait. The line to get through passport control on our way back was around 50 people, but it took us an hour and a half. I was sure we’d missed our ferry, but as it turns out, it takes a lot of time to board the lorries on the ferry, so we still had about an hour to go once we took our seats.
How to get from Tanger-Med to Tangier?
This will prove a bit trickier, if you want to do the cheaper option.
As soon as we arrived, we were bombarded with offers from various taxi drivers.
They who are prepared to take you to the city for 250 Moroccan Dirham, which is around 22 Euros.
But allegedly – though we had trouble finding info about it on the Internet, somewhere near the port, there is a bus station. The bus that stops there will get you to Tangier for only 7 MAD. The problem is you have to find it and wait for it, when nobody is willing to provide either of the information.
When it comes to the bus, we found the most useful information on it here.
However, we weren’t lucky with the bus. So, we did the other sensible thing. We joined two other passengers and after what seemed forever, we settled on a price and got into one of the taxis. We were finally ready to see Tangier.
What to see in Tangier?
The taxi dropped us off in the old part of the city, called Medina.
It’s a maze of narrow alleys leading you around the their many local vendors.
As soon as you enter it, you are in a whole new world. More accurately it feels as if you stumbled upon a scene from a movie. It confirmed how I imagined Tangier. Because the new part of town as you drive from the port looks like any sprawling city in the world, nothing to set it apart. But Medina has a flavor.
But then there are vendors who try to sell you something even before you can glance at what they are selling.
Except when we tried to buy olives (which were the best I ever had and no I am not overstating), the vendor played hard to get.
There are people who offer to be your guide, because otherwise you’ll get lost. And that’s not true, no matter how persistent they are. You can manage to sightsee without the help.
We spent a few leisurely hours in Medina and we ran out of time to see more.
Petit Socco is a little square in the Medina.
Tangier Beach also seemed like a nice place to walk around, but after hours in the Medina, we were ready for a ferry back, so we just passed it by.
Kidz say: “It was nice, but it smells!”
The first time Stela uttered the words, I was mortified. But then it hit. She is not being mean and condescending. She is noticing the one thing that can perfectly describe this place. The smell.
We will remember Medina by the heady mixture of mint leaves, olives, spices, fruits and veggies. We were all overwhelmed with the smell.
What to try in Tangier?
The food was delicious. I am still thinking about those olives, but then there was also the chicken tagine, couscous, spicy harissa, baklava… and a cup of mint tea.
I wish I had photos of the food to share, but I don’t. This is our usual problem, we are to hungry to wait, we just dive in and then regret not having snapped a thing until the plates are almost empty.
is it worth it?
Absolutely. This one day trip from Spain to Morocco was admittedly just a glimpse at the other continent, at another country but it was still a great adventure and we strongly recommend it.
It was dipping our toe and we will eventually come for more. Eventually? Yeah, because as much as we liked the place, the people are nice but pushy. You have to keep remembering to bargain for everything and you have to be firm about your no. Altogether not something that comes naturally to me. I am all uptight about it, I’ll admit.
I can say it was a great way to dispel certain notions I had, but reinforced others. For now I’d say yes to one day trip to Morocco and maybe one day a longer one.