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Spanish North Africa consists of some peninsulas and islands along the coast of Morocco that are a part of Spain.


Map of Spanish North Africa

  • 1 Ceuta (Arabic: سبتة (Sabtah), Berber: Sebta) – the dominant autonomous city
  • 2 Melilla (Arabic: مليلية (Maliliyyah), Berber: ⵎⵔⵉⵜⵙ (Mřič)) – an eastern autonomous city

Other destinations[edit]

The Plazas de soberanía (Sovereignty lands) are islands and coastal settlements administered by Spain.

  • 1 Islas Alhucemas Alhucemas Islands on Wikipedia
  • 2 Islas Chafarinas Chafarinas Islands on Wikipedia
  • 3 Peñón de Vélez de la Gomera Peñón de Vélez de la Gomera on Wikipedia – a peninsula only populated by Spanish military

While the Canary Islands are located off the North African coast, they have been an integrated province of Spain since the Middle Ages, and are not usually considered part of Spanish North Africa.


The Spanish Empire avoided claiming land in Africa for most of its history, as the Treaty of Tordesillas that was intended to divide the world outside Europe between the Spanish and Portuguese Empires gave Portugal the exclusive right to colonize the Old World.

In the 19th century, Spain annexed some territories on the Moroccan coast to battle Barbary pirates.

While most of Morocco was controlled by France, Mediterranean Morocco was a Spanish protectorate from 1912 until 1956.

The Spanish territories are de facto part of Spain and the European Union, though Morocco claims them. During the 21st century, African migrants have been entering Ceuta and Melilla as a gateway to Europe.

Get in[edit]

Ceuta and Melilla are the most accessible territories of Spanish North Africa.

These territories are legally part of Spain and the Schengen Area. You need no special permit to enter on a ferry from Spain; passports are however checked on ferries to Spain.

Melilla Airport (MLN IATA)

Get around[edit]

While Ceuta and Melilla are easy to get around, there is no regular public transportation between the exclaves.

There does not seem to be any public transportation along the coast, so unless you have a car or go by taxi (long distance travel by taxi isn't unheard of in Morocco) you're in for a long detour. From Ceuta, you can take the ferry to Algeciras on the Spanish mainland, bus to Malaga and plane or ferry down to Melilla. Going via Spain you don't need to cross national borders which would entail waiting, and depending on your nationality getting a Moroccan visa and/or a double entry visa to the Schengen area.

Public transportation through Morocco probably takes more time (in addition to the border crossings); from Ceuta, travel by bus to Tetouan and onwards to Tangier. From there, fly or take the train (via Fez, where you possibly need to stay overnight) to Nador 10 km south of Melilla, and take the taxi for the final stretch.


Spanish is the official and majority language. Moroccans speak Arabic or Berber languages, and might understand French.




Exchange rates for euros

As of January 2024:

  • US$1 ≈ €0.9
  • UK£1 ≈ €1.2
  • AU$1 ≈ €0.6
  • CA$1 ≈ €0.7
  • Japanese ¥100 ≈ €0.6

Exchange rates fluctuate. Current rates for these and other currencies are available from

As this is a part of Spain, the currency is the euro.

Go next[edit]

Morocco or mainland Spain.

This region travel guide to Spanish North Africa is an outline and may need more content. It has a template, but there is not enough information present. If there are Cities and Other destinations listed, they may not all be at usable status or there may not be a valid regional structure and a "Get in" section describing all of the typical ways to get here. Please plunge forward and help it grow!