Thinking about taking the ferry from Algeciras to Tangier? Do it! A Moroccan road trip certainly isn’t without its dramas, but it’s an incredible adventure that you’ll be absolutely glad you did.
Now there’s a number of different routes for taking a ferry from Spain to Morocco. But in this blog post we’ll just be covering the route from Algeciras to Tangier. Quite simply because that’s the one we took in our self converted campervan.
Ferry From Algeciras to Tangier
Here you’ll find details on sailing times and frequencies, where to buy tickets, onboard facilities, required documents, plus check in and boarding information. There’s also helpful tips for negotiating your way through Moroccan immigration and customs on the other side.
Algeciras to Tangier Ferry Crossings
How often are the ferry crossings?
From around 4am until late into the evening there are hourly ferry crossings from Algeciras Spain to Tangier Morocco. They rarely run on time, but nevertheless they are very frequent. Naturally the ones at the most convenient times and on weekends tend to be the busiest.
Which ferry company is best?
There are five different ferry companies covering the Algeciras to Tangier route; AML, Balearia, Inter Shipping, FRS and Transmediterránea. We travelled across with the latter, but for no other reason than that was the ferry available at the time we wanted to cross.
Our understanding is that they are all much of a muchness. So it really just comes down to your preference of when you want to cross. The Transmediterránea ferries depart Algeciras at 8am, 11am, 2pm, 6pm and 8pm. From Tangier it’s 8am, 11am, 2pm, 5pm, 8pm and 11pm.
How long does the crossing take?
The journey was supposed to take 90 minutes, but ours took closer to 2 hours. If you can it’s best to take an earlier crossing because there seems to inevitably be delays. Driving in the dark in Morocco is not recommended for safety reasons.
Ferry from Spain to Morocco Tickets
How do you buy ferry tickets?
There are three different options for buying ferry tickets from Spain to Morocco. You can either get them directly from the ferry company offices at the port, via travel agents or buy them in advance online.
We used a travel agent in Algeciras called Viajes Normandi and got a slightly cheaper price than we could find online. We didn’t want to risk turning up at the port without a ticket but in reality because there are so many ferry crossings it probably would have been fine.
How much do the tickets cost?
The price we paid for two adults and an infant plus our campervan was €330. This is for an open return ticket. We were travelling during Christmas week though which is busy. We have read you can get them as low as €200 when booked in advance for less busy periods.
Algeciras to Tangier Ferry Process
This is the bit that we were most nervous about when it came to taking the ferry from Algeciras to Tangier. Mainly because prior to this we’d only travelled within the EU with our campervan. But it turned out to be pretty straight forward in the end.
Getting through Moroccan customs was the longest and most confusing part. There are however quite a few points at which you need to produce varying documents so we’ve detailed them all below.
When does check in open?
Crossing from Spain to Morocco you need to be at Algeciras port a minimum of an hour before your sailing time. Coming back the other way, so taking the ferry from Tangier to Algeciras you are advised to be there a minimum of two hours before.
There are some toilets available at both ports should you need them.
Algeciras Spain Port
STEP 1 | TICKETS
Upon entry to Algeciras Port, follow the signs for Tangier (not Ceuta) and you’ll come to your first checkpoint. Here you just need to show your tickets. From here you’ll be directed into a queue specific for the ferry operator you are sailing with.
STEP 2 | TICKETS
Next you’ll go through that specific desk ferry operator desk. You’ll need to show your tickets again. Here you’ll be given your boarding passes.
STEP 3 | PASSPORTS
The next desk is Spanish passport control to get your exit stamps.
STEP 4 | BOARDING PASSES
As you’re boarding the ferry someone will double check your boarding passes.
Onboard The Ferry
STEP 1 | IMMIGRATION FORM
After you’ve parked your vehicle where indicated by the port staff, you’ll be handed an immigration form to fill in as you walk up on the ferry deck. Don’t forget to take a pen.
STEP 2 | PASSPORTS & IMMIGRATION FORM
You’ll need to present the form and your passport to the Moroccan immigration office onboard to get your entry stamp. The queue gets so long once foot passengers board. So head there straight away and get it over with and done with then you can relax for the rest of the journey.
As you arrive in Tangier, a member of the crew will call for you to go back to your vehicles. Don’t start your engine until the vehicle in front moves or you are directed to.
Tangier Morocco Port
STEP 1 | PASSPORTS
Directly off the ferry, police were doing some quick spot checks of passports.
STEP 2 | VEHICLE REGISTRATION DOCUMENT
Following the exit signs you’ll then drive around to the Moroccan customs section. All the motorhomes and campervans were directed to a queue to go through a big scanner.
You’ll be asked for your vehicle registration documents, so if you’re from the UK your V5 (log book). You have to park and get out, it’s pretty quick as it scans two/three vehicles at a time.
STEP 3 | DRIVER PASSPORT & VEHICLE REGISTRATION DOCS
Back in the queue with the cars at the customs desks you’ll need to produce the drivers passport and your vehicle registration documents again. Here you’ll be issued with a temporary vehicle import card.
It’s important, make sure you get one and that you don’t lose it.
Customs officers were speaking to everyone here and looking through people’s boots and roof boxes etc. Some people were literally having to repack their whole cars. Police drug dogs were also checking all vehicles.
Because we had already been through the scanner, the customs official we saw just took a cursory glance inside our campervan.
This part going through Moroccan customs was by far the bit that took the longest. If you speak French it will be very handy, but a few police did speak some English too.
Beware there are loads of unofficial people offering SIM cards and trying to help with directions in exchange for money. Our advice is don’t engage with them, just be firm and polite. We saw quite a few heated exchanges going on.
STEP 4 | PASSPORTS
Upon exiting customs, you’ll then approach a parking area where you can pick up SIM cards from legit people in INWI vests. They take a photo of your passport and will set them up and top them up for you.
The desk to purchase insurance, if you aren’t covered by your current provider, is also in this area. It’s obvious, you can’t really miss it.
STEP 5 | DRIVER PASSPORT & VEHICLE REG DOCS & TEMP VEHICLE IMPORT CARD
You’ll need to produce your vehicle registration documents, the temporary import card you’ve been given and the drivers passport. We paid €200 for 3 months. This is just 3rd party insurance, the legal minimum and is all that is available. It doesn’t take long at all.
You will need to pay in cash (either Euros or Dirham), they don’t take cards. But there is an ATM there. Probably not with a great exchange rate though.
Of course if you don’t need SIM cards or insurance you can just drive straight through this bit and out into Morocco. If taking the toll roads know these are cash only too. It’s a simple system, you take a card on entry then pay upon exit.
Onboard Ferry Facilities
Onboard the Transmediterránea ferry that we took there was a small cafe serving drinks and pastries, various seating areas, some with tables, toilets with baby changing facilities and a couple of TV’s.
It was pretty basic and there was no wifi. We took lunch onboard with us and then just slept.
Overnight Parking In Algeciras
There are quite a few parking areas in Algeciras where overnight parking is tolerated. We stayed in the carpark of a big shopping complex in Los Barrios, just before Algeciras Port. It has lots of different shops including Mercadona, Lidl and Carrefour supermarkets.
Here’s the address: P.I. Palmones II N-340, Salida 112, 11379 Los Barrios, Cádiz, Spain.
There’s also a Leroy Merlin that sells chemical toilet fluid. It’s hard to come by in Morocco and so best to stock up on it here if you use it and haven’t already.
The travel agents where we bought our Algeciras to Tangier ferry tickets from is just a few minutes walk away from here.
Here’s the address: C. Fragata, 32, 11379 Los Barrios, Cádiz, Spain.
Less than a 10 minute drive away there is also a really good service station where you can fill up on LPG and give your campervan or motorhome a wash.
Here’s the address: Arrabal Industrial, 17B1, 11360 San Roque, Cádiz, Spain.
Arriving In Tangier Morocco
Please note that this ferry from Spain to Morocco goes into the Tangier Med port which is around 50km from the city of Tangier, so an hour or so drive away.
If you want to get to your first destination in Morocco quickly, the toll roads are your best bet. Compared to European prices they are much more affordable. On entry you simply take a card from the machine, the barrier opens and then you pay on exit.
Please note that you can’t pay by card, only cash is accepted so make sure you have planned ahead for this. We travelled from Tangier Med direct to Asilah on the West coast which took around 45 minutes and cost 71 dirham.
Tangier to Algeciras Ferry
Because the process is less efficient on the Moroccan side, it’s advised you get to the Tangier port at least 2 hours before your crossing time.
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Yorkshire born & bred, Sarah is a professional blogger who loves to travel. Pushing her boundaries with new adventures is her jam, so you likely won’t find her in one place for too long. Also a serious Marmite addict.