Marbella to Morocco Day Trip (One Day Itinerary and Guide)

Marbella to Morocco Day Trip (One Day Itinerary and Guide), hotel continental tanger
Image by Kent MacElwee via Flickr

There are few places in the world where you can see one country from another across water, but not another continent. Its closeness to Europe makes it the perfect spot for an exotic getaway from the Costa del Sol.

The Moroccan city offers plenty to explore, from its maze-like medina alleys to the famous ocean-view Caves of Hercules and the unexpected American Legation. The city elegantly blends cultures unique to this part of North Africa and makes an ideal destination for a gradual introduction to Morocco’s vibrant atmosphere.

While Marbella is the ultimate luxury destination in Southern Spain, Tangier’s pull might be too strong for even the most determined traveler. It’s amazing to think that Spain and Morocco are just 13km apart at some points. Catching the quickest ferry ride from Tarifa to Tangier will have you across in about an hour. This timeless port city could be the perfect option if you’re traveling through Spain and longing for a taste of Morocco. But you might want to think about staying the night.

This guide has all you need to plan your day trip from Marbella to Morocco – how to get there and what to do. Don’t miss out on Tangier—it’s an incredible city you’ll be glad you visited!

key takeaways

  • Tangier is a great option for a day trip from Marbella if you’re interested in a total change of scenery.
  • The trip from Marbella to Morocco takes about 3 hours. This includes the 1-hour boat ride from Tarifa to Tangier.
  • Ferry tickets usually start at about 40 EUR for each leg of the trip.

Where is Morocco in relation to Spain?

Morocco sits across the Strait of Gibraltar from Spain. Tangier rests on Morocco’s northern coast, making it quite near Marbella and reachable by a quick ferry ride from the Spanish port city of Tarifa.

Tangier medina, green door
Image by Carl Ottersen via Flickr
Marbella to Morocco Day Trip, The authentic Moroccan spices
Image by Adam Heitzman via Flickr

How to Get to Tangier, Morocco from Marbella

Marbella is quite a distance from Tangier, but the trip is definitely doable. You can either go on your own with a car or join a group tour. (You could technically take the bus to Tarifa, but it’s going to take much more time if you choose that option.)

Car + Ferry from Spain to Tangier

If you’re thinking of a day trip to Tangier from Marbella, the easiest way to go about it is by renting a car and catching a ferry from Tarifa.

Quick facts:

  • You can reach Tarifa from Marbella in approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes by taking the AP-7 and then the N-340 after passing Algeciras.
  • Ferry tickets usually start at about 40 EUR for each part of the trip.
  • If you plan to park your car at the ferry terminal in Tarifa, arrive early because parking space is limited, and you’ll probably need to find street parking.
  • You should be there 90 minutes before the boat leaves. (For both your trip to Tangier and your return to Spain.)

Actually, there are two ports in Spain that connect to Tangier: Algeciras and Tarifa. (I discussed this fully in my post on whether it’s worth heading to Tangier from Seville.) The bottom line? Tarifa is usually the better choice for most folks. Why? Because the ferry from Tarifa goes straight to the heart of Tangier, unlike the one from Algeciras.

Considering how popular this ferry route is, if you’re thinking about a day trip from Marbella to Morocco, make sure to pick your date and book your tickets early.

Marbella to Morocco Day Trip (One Day Itinerary and Guide) morocco day trip,marbella to morocco

I recommend to rent a car in Spain through Discovery Car with free cancellation and insurance included. Book your rental car here.

Marbella to Morocco Day Trip
Image by Travel4Brews via Flickr
zellige tiles in tangier
Image by Kristi via Flickr

Guided Tour to Tangier

Seems like a hassle, right? If you want a simpler way to travel, I’d recommend booking a guided tour to Tangier, Morocco. It could really be the best option for you.

The enjoyment of the scenic drive from Marbella to Tarifa might not be worth the trouble of finding parking and sorting out ferry schedules. Tours often pick you up at your Marbella hotel, then take you all the way across the Strait of Gibraltar and make sure you’re back the same night. (More details on that later)

The only “downside” is that joining a tour means you’ll have to stick with the guide and won’t have the freedom to see whatever you want or explore at your own speed.

Marbella to Tangier Day Trip, church of saint andrews
Image by Adam Reeder via Flickr
cafe haitam in tangier, morocco
Image by Travel4Brews via Flickr

What to do in Tangier

  • The Medina and Souks: Wander through the bustling markets, where colorful stalls offer a glimpse into local life and culture.
  • The Kasbah: Explore the ancient fortress, enjoying panoramic views of the city and sea from its historic walls.
  • Kasbah Museum: Dive into Tangier’s past at the museum, where artifacts and exhibits bring the city’s ancient and more modern history to life.
  • Saint Andrew’s Church: Visit this historic church, admire its architecture and quiet gardens
  • Go to Cape Spartel and the Cave of Hercules: Experience the breathtaking views from Cape Spartel’s iconic lighthouse and explore the mystical Cave of Hercules.
  • Have a Mint Tea in Petit Socco: Relax in the lively square, savoring the traditional mint tea that Morocco is so famous for.
lighthouse of cape spartel
Image by Carl Ottersen via Flickr
Marbella to Tangier Day Trip, camel tour
Image by Adam Heitzman via Flickr

How Much Time Do You Need for a Day Trip to Morocco from Marbella

Even if you’re not staying the night, hopping over to Tangier for the day can really give you a feel for Morocco, and trust me, you’ll be itching to dive deeper into its souks next time! For your day trip from Marbella, think about catching an early ferry out and a later one back. That’ll give you a good 11 hours to explore the city without feeling like you’re in a rush.

But, watch out for that last ferry! It could get canceled because of strong winds, and that’s not the way you want your adventure to end!

Cinema Rif in Tangier
Image by Adam Heitzman via Flickr
Tanger Borj Dar Baroud in Tangier
Image by Carl Ottersen via Flickr

Getting Around Tangier

Walking is the easiest way to get around Tangier, given the city’s small size. It’s simple to explore on foot, especially since so many attractions are up steep stairs. Don’t worry, the medina of Tangier is nothing like the one in Fez. The broad streets are perfect for relaxed strolls, allowing you to enjoy the city without at your own pace.

If you need to travel a bit farther, like to Cape Spartel, for instance, you can hop into a petit taxi, but be sure it’s metered to avoid any extra charges.

the beach in Tangier
Image by Jose A. via Flickr
Marbella to Morocco Day Trip, souks markets in Morocco
Image by Adam Reeder via Flickr

FAQ and Tips

Is taking a Marbella to Tangier Day Trip Worth It?

That’s the real question—some might argue that a short visit isn’t worth the stress and time of driving. Save yourself the hassle and opt for a tour instead.

  • If you’re already in Tarifa or Gibraltar, the boat ride to Tangier is definitely worth it.
  • Let’s be honest, if you just want to go to Tangier to say you’ve been to Africa, go for it. And if this might be your only shot at seeing Morocco, I wouldn’t want you to miss out.
  • But Tangier is different from any other Moroccan city. It’s been shaped by both Europe and its unique position at the crossroads of continents. Just being there won’t give you the full Moroccan experience, but it might make you want to explore more of Morocco’s charm, like the old-world feel of Fez or the lively vibe of Marrakesh.

Best restaurants in Tangier

  • Le Salon Bleu (Rooftop Cafe in the Kasbah)
  • Restaurant Ba Sidi (Moroccan restaurant in the Tangier Medina)
  • Cafe Hafa (Iconic Seafront Cafe not far from the Kasbah)
  • Restaurant Al Maimouni (Moroccan restaurant in the Tangier Medina)
kasbah in tangier, morocco
Image by Kristi via Flickr
mint tea in Tangier
Image by Alistair Kitchen via Flickr

Tangier vs Marrakesh

Marrakesh and Tangier are both incredible cities, but they’re undeniably quite different. While Marrakech is the tourist capital of Morocco, packed with history and attractions, Tangier’s charm lies in its coastal location, offering easy beach access.

Tangier stands out not only from nearby Andalucia but also from the rest of Morocco, thanks to its unique cultural heritage shaped by its time as an international zo

ne. Despite its differences, Tangier makes for a perfect day trip from Spain if you’re curious about this part of North Africa. Marrakesh, on the other hand, is deeply rooted in Berber culture and usually requires more time to explore fully.

Where to Stay in Tangier

The thing about Tangier is that i Consider it might make a ay better trip if you can spend the night That is how i’d probably go about it. There’s nothing quite like the allure of hotels in morocco. this is your chance to experience it.

BudgetLa Maison de TangerFrom € 95 / night
Mid-rangeRiad Dar SabaFrom € 190 / night
LuxuryFairmont Tazi Palace TangierFrom € 226 / night
LuxuryLalla SoulikaFrom € 270 / night
Best hotels in Tangier, Lalla Soulika
Lalla Soulika, Image by lallasoulikatanger via Instagram
Lalla Soulika, Morocco
Lalla Soulika, Image by lallasoulikatanger via Instagram

In summary

In summary, Tangier is a fantastic day trip from Marbella. Its gorgeous seaside setting, along with the impressive medina and stunning Cape Spartel, make it a captivating destination.