How to go to Ceuta and Melilla
While Ceuta and Melilla belong to Spain, both are autonomous cities. They are part of the European Union but are located in Africa. It could be said that they are two autonomous cities “inside” Morocco, which, logically, raises questions from Morocco. Basically, Morocco claims rights over both cities.
Nowadays, due to the number of immigrants that want to get to Europe, both Ceuta and Melilla have reinforced their security measures and surrounded its borders with barbed wire. I actually took a bus in Ceuta to the border to witness it with my own eyes.
How to get to Ceuta
You can either go from Morocco by bus or from Algeciras by boat. I did the latter. I boarded a boat that cost me € 39 and an hour and a half later I’d reached my destination. The Strait of Gibraltar can get very windy, which sometimes can rock the boat a lot, and on occasions it can even cancel the trip —as a matter of fact, the wind cancelled my boat, which was very little, but the ferry did make it off. On my way back, I returned to Algeciras by boat.
How to get to Melilla
Melilla is connected to Madrid and Malaga by plane —Iberia and Air Europa— and also by boat to the latter, although these usually set off at night and it takes several hours.
In my case, since I wanted to visit Ceuta and Melilla together, once I got back to Algeciras, I took a bus to Malaga and from its airport, a flight to Melilla. It was done in 45 minutes. In short, there was no direct transport between the two cities —which wasn’t always the case.
I went there in January and the weather was ideal: sun and heat.
Most of the tourism of both cities comes from Morocco. Given that Ceuta and Melilla belong to Europe, there are much more trademark businesses and tax-free zones, so you can buy perfumes, clothes and electronics (as in Gibraltar). The point being that there’s a wider array of products than in Morocco.
Ceuta’s streets are flooded with tourists.
Many Moroccan workers cross over every day to work both in Ceuta and in Melilla.
In both cities Hindus, Jews, Catholics and Muslims live together in peace. There are synagogues, churches, mosques and Hindu temples.
And I love that. Truth is I hadn’t found much information on the Internet beforehand, so I had no idea what I could stumble myself into, but it truly was a beautiful ride during a European winter, which there, since it’s in the Mediterranean, almost feels like summer.