Day Trip From South Spain to Tanger, Morocco
Day Trip From South Spain to Tanger, Morocco Tangier Reviews
Tanger, Morocco Day Trip Sep 23, 2008
My girlfriend and I have in recent years been trying to get to as many new places as possible, so much so, that when we go away on a quiet weekend break we always look to see if we can get across a border somewhere and find a new country to tick off! We were invited down to Gibraltar by family living there and couldnt resist the chance to pop across to Morocco for the day during the stay.
The 40 minute bus journey from La Linea to Algeciras was only about 4€ for the both of us, so no complaints there and a short taxi ride (although it is walkable) to the port later we were ready to buy our tickets for the ferry.
Advice #1: CHECK! the ferry times there AND back before you leave and prices so that you have an idea in your head where you will be, at what time and how much it will cost you. seems obvious but when we arrived at the port we had a price in mind and it was almost double! quite a nasty shock, although once our minds were made up that we were going we parted company with our cash (Euros, by the way) Also, be aware that the return ferry time may be in Moroccan Time NOT Spanish Time (see further advice under Time Difference)
Once we had our tickets and visitors cards we made our way to the departures for Tanger getting lost easily with the Vague instructions from the person behind the ticket desk (its very simple mind but my spanish is, to say the least, appalling, so if like me and you'd prefer English instructions - go in throught doors, left staircase to the second floor and its the only way you can go on your left (food court opposite) ).
We made our way on board the ferry where we found out that you have to get your visitors cards stamped on the ship itself (a very simple process that most people have probably done before - if not, its just filling in your passport details really).
Advice #2 PRICES and TYPES OF FERRY You can either take the "super fast ferry" 47€ adult single, 1 hour crossing or the "ferry" 46€ adult single, 3 hour crossing. you may think that this is a no brainer...but our fast ferry on the way there took the same time as the ferry on the way back - 2 hours! Id still pay that whole extra euro though if i were you, just to make sure you're home before the next millenium.
Once we had arrived at the port of tanger, we managed to get off the ferry straight away and headed towards the exit. We were approached instantly by a man in arab attire, pestering us to go on a tour with him. This is exactly what i expected - being pestered from the moment I arrived. "I dont want a tour" - WRONG.
Advice #3 TOUR GUIDE get one. simple really, but they are really useful. they take you all round tanger in your own group teaching you about the history, showing you the sights and shops. ADVANTAGES - 20€ for about 4 hours sightseeing. speak good english. you are safe from harassment and pickpockets. DISADVANTAGES - you get taken to all their regular shops where the owners try to force you to buy carpets etc just be firm and say no thank you (unless you do want a carpet of course!)
I personally found Tanger to be a fabulous place, so busy, nice weather, friendly people but i was always nervous for my girlfriend, her hand bag etc. we saw no trouble and so i have no reason to still be suspicious but Morocco was the first African country I've visted and you do hear alot of stories and reports about tourists being mugged and worse - it does leave doubt in your mind. That said, the markets were unbelieveable, the bargains you could get there were even better (£2 for a Fez and a free postcard!) and the tour guide was truely brilliant.
Advice #4 TIME DIFFERENCE AND CURRENCY Morocco is GMT (-1) so if you are coming from Spain (as we were) its 2 hours behind the time you set off (we set off from Spain at 14:00 and arrived in Morocco at 14:00 effectively...) The Currency is the Moroccan Dirham. We changed up money to get Dirhams but its not really necessary - they do accept Euros, British Pounds and US Dollars in most shops, as do the tour guides.
The journey back was, in all fairness, a nightmare. The tour guide took us to get our tickets and left us at the port (which was fine) but the ticket office staff gave us the WRONG tickets! therefore customs wouldnt let us through. Finally, after a while trying to explain our situation, the customs' officer took us back to the ticket office and sorted it out. Once on board we encountered no further problems and even managed to find two spare seats on the literally crammed to the brim ship. As it was Ramadan (an Islamic festival during which muslims dont eat between the hours of sunrise and sunset) everyone on board barring us opened up lots of food and drink when some strange arabic music echoed through the air. Seeing our confusion, one man gave us some Dates to eat, which was a fabulous gesture of friendliness and warmth.
Advice #5 FERRY BACK make sure you have the boarding cards for your return journey. you should recieve them IN TANGER but just make sure you have the right ones so you dont have the same problems that we had! also make sure you have the right times, dont forget the time difference and also make sure that you get the last but one ferry at the latest - that way there is always one more ferry if anything goes wrong!
Once back in Spain, the buses had stopped running but the Taxi ride back was quick and easy and around 27€.
I hope this review helps you on your travels, i really do recommend Tanger, its a fabulous city with some breath taking sights but do be careful and stay safe. if you are cautious and sensible you will be fine and im sure you will really enjoy it, as we did.
happy travelling (and if you have any other questions, i do charge a smile for the reply ;) feel free to ask!)
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