Melilla

View from Old Melilla

Melilla is a Spanish exclave in North Africa, on the Moroccan side of the Mediterranean. In some ways, it's kind of like Ceuta but in other ways, it's a unique place.

Understand

Talk

You are in Spain. People speak Spanish. But you are also in North Africa, and many people speak Tarifit (Spanish: rifeño, a variety of Berber). French is also widely spoken amongst the Moroccans in Melilla.

Get in

By car (or on foot)

From Morocco. Melilla is completely surrounded by Moroccan territory (and the sea), and this is obviously a very sensitive border. Many try to cross illegally into Spain, with dire consequences. Crossing legally (in either direction) is also an eye-opening experience, but presents no particular difficulties if you are not transporting counterfeit goods or hashish.

Don't forget that Spain and Morocco are in different time zones, so crossing the border into Melilla you will lose one hour, or two hours in April and May (Morocco only started to observe daylight savings time in 2008).

By plane

Air Nostrum (Iberia Regional) flies from Málaga (8 flights daily), Madrid (3 flights), and one flight from Almería, Granada, Valencia and Barcelona.

By boat

There are ferry services run by Acciona Trasmediterránea.

By train

Moroccan train operator ONCF has three trains daily between Taourirt and the Beni-Nsar Port train station, about five minutes' walk from the border. Connections are available at Taourirt with trains to Fès, Rabat, Casablanca, and Oujda.

See

Buy

Melilla (like Ceuta) is a territorio franco, which means no VAT or other taxes.

Eat

Drink

The city is full of cafe/bars but the liveliest part is the Puerto Noray, opposite the big Hotel Puerto Melilla and has many restaurants, bars and nightclubs. And all of the bars look out at the marina.

Stay safe

Melilla is a safe city to visit. There are always lots of people enjoying the beach, etc until late. a visitor who stays near the centre will not have a problem.

Go next

Walking into Morocco

Catch a bus from the Plaza de España to the Moroccan border, 2km to the south. Cross the border into the Moroccan customs and security area and line up at the police kiosk to get your passport stamped. This can take a while. Be sure to go up to the window and ask for an entry form to fill out (in French, Spanish or English) while you wait. Be careful for scammers trying to sell you these forms or trying to "help" you fill them out. They will just run off with your passport.

When you get out you will be in the village of Beni Enzar which has the port of Nador with sailings to Almeria or France, where you can find banks (just next to the port)or a collective taxi to the city of Nador. Remember to turn your watch back one or two hours!

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Sunday, April 05, 2015. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.