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Two hours to different worlds - Morocco

Two hours to different worlds - Morocco

Jul 23, 2018 Lifestyle

The great thing about the Costa del Sol is not only its scenic beauty, lovely setting on a sunny coastline, gorgeous mountainous hinterland and diverse offering of experiences, but also the fact that it is the ideal stepping stone for yet more unforgettable discoveries.

Among these are the cultural hub of Málaga, the charming white mountain villages and, within a two-hour radius, such variety as the ski slopes of the Sierra Nevada, the surfer’s paradise of Tarifa and historic jewels such as Cádiz, Jerez de la Frontera, Seville and Granada. Though it’s across the water and in another country, Morocco remarkably belongs to this range of inviting destinations within easy striking range.


Short trips to Morocco

Whether you take a fast crossing catamaran ferry from Tarifa or a more conventional roll-on, roll-off car ferry from Málaga, Algeciras or indeed Tarifa, the voyage across the western extreme of the Mediterranean Sea, an area referred to as The Straits of Gibraltar as it forms the point where the sea meets the Atlantic Ocean, is relatively short and very scenic.

The coastal scenery on both sides is inspiring enough, but you may just catch sight of whales or of dolphins frolicking in the water. Tangier is the port of call for most who follow this route, and it is a delightful city with much to offer in terms of food, shopping, culture and history. This atmospheric port city is an exotic assault on the senses that tells you you’re in North Africa.

Once here, visit the historic Kasbah, full of tiny little shops, spice traders and eateries, or head to the fishing harbour or the many historic sites. One thing you cannot miss is the authentic feel of a local tea or coffee shop, and if you’re not careful the Moroccan tradesmen will see you return loaded with their artefacts, textiles and spices.


Visit the "other Gibraltar"

For a fascinating mix of Spain and Morocco that mirrors Gibraltar’s blend of Britain and Andalucía, take the ferry straight to Ceuta, Spain’s little exclave on the Moroccan coast. Much like Gibraltar is geographically part of Spain yet connected to the British crown, so Ceuta is a slice of Spanish sovereign territory in North Africa.

The result is a tightly packed, historic town where lots of cultures, including Spanish, Moroccan and Indian, come together in lively shopping streets, squares, cafés and restaurants. Like Tangier, it’s fine for a day trip, but why not treat yourself to a night or two in one of the reasonably priced local hotels or hostels, and take the time to savour the atmosphere and explore the surroundings.

Other great towns to visit within striking distance of Tangier are the blue coloured Chefchaouen and hippie-chic Asilah.