TARIFA TO TAngiers in MOROCCO FERRY
Practical guide to the Tarifa to Tangiers ferry journey. For information about all the ferry routes from Andalucia to Africa, see our ferry page.
You can take the ferry from Tarifa Port with one of two ferry companies: FRS and Intershipping, either with a car or as a foot passenger. The journey takes around 45 minutes.
If you are travelling on foot but arriving by car, Tarifa port has a small car park which costs about 18 euros a day. If you decide to leave your car there, take the ticket with you, and when you return to the terminal, stamp your ticket in the wall-mounted machine before passport control, to get a five euro per day discount. Alternatively, you can arrive a little early, drop off passengers and luggage at the ferry terminal, and go to another car park or street parking. The port car park is free for the first 15 minutes - handy if you are dropping off passengers, but not parking.
If you already have ferry tickets, then you can arrive at the port as little as half an hour before departure.
If you need to buy tickets, or collect pre-reserved or paid-for tickets, you can do this at the ferry company office desks on the right-hand side when you enter the port terminal building. Allow more time in case of queues.
You need to fill in a departure card, which will be collected when on board the ferry.
When you're ready to go to the departure lounge, you'll find a cafe with hot and cold drinks and sandwiches before customs and passport control. If you arrive early for your ferry, and you want to eat something, go here as the departure lounge itself has no drinks facilities. This area can either be very quiet and extremely busy, depending on whether coach parties are leaving - mostly at the weekend in the morning.
First you go through the the ferry company ticket check, then security where all suitcases and handbags have to be passed through the X-ray machine. Drinks are permitted, but sharp objects may be confiscated (although fully-loaded cars are not scrutinized to the same degree). Next comes the passport check and then you wait in a spartan departure lounge with two gates, one for each ferry company. From here, you can see the ferry boats and the cars being driven onto them.
When the gate is opened, foot passengers with all luggage and suitcases cross the port and board the ferry by the vehicle ramp.
On the ferry
Once inside the ferry, you can leave your suitcase in a rack on the vehicle deck, but this is not a secure area. You will need to climb the steep staircase to the passenger deck with your hand luggage and find a seat. The ferry has lounge seating, a small duty-free shop, and cafe with tea, coffee and snacks.
On the way out to Tanger, the Moroccan immigration official travels on board in the lounge deck, so you must show him your documents and filled-in arrival card, a process which saves considerable time on arrival at the port. Usually one person from each group can take all passports for that party. Documents are stamped and the white arrival card that you have completed is checked and collected. Sometimes the officer asks to see each person. Be sure to keep the green part for your return journey.
On docking in Tanger, remember to change your watch - the time in Morocco is one hour before Spanish time, so 10am in Tarifa would be 9am in Tanger. An announcement is made for foot passengers to return to the car deck and they get off the ferry before the cars. Bear in mind that you have a lot of luggage, it can be difficult to pass between the parked cars. At the bottom of the ferry car ramp is a passenger ramp leading up to the overpass. Porters are available for maximum fee of 5 euro. Travel documents are quickly checked for the entry stamp, and at the end of the overpass in the terminal, all luggage is X-rayed.
On leaving the terminal, if you are not being met, you will probably be hassled for guide or taxi services. Taxis are waiting at the bottom of the steep ramp. The cost to anywhere in the city is max 5 euro. If you prefer to walk, this is a sensible option as the port is close to the centre of Tangiers.
Remember to check that your vehicle insurance is valid outside Europe, and you have your green card certificate.
When you drive into Tarifa port you'll see two car lanes, one for each ferry company (FRS and Intershipping), to the left-hand side of the terminal building. If you already have your tickets, go straight to this lane and a ferry company official will check your tickets for car and passengers. If you need to purchase or collect tickets, go into the car park which is free for 15 mins, and do this inside the ferry terminal.
Once tickets are checked, drive on to passport control, where the driver should hand over all passengers' passports together.
Next you drive onto the dock area and join the queue. When called forward, drive onto the ferry via the steep vehicle ramp. Park your car as directed and climb up to the passenger deck where you will spend the short journey.
On the ferry
On the way out to Tanger, the Moroccan passport official travels on board the ferry, so you must complete passport checks while the boat is at sea, to save time at the port - join the queue in the lounge deck. Usually one person from each group or family can take all the passports, although sometimes the officer asks to see each person. Documents are stamped and the white arrival card that you have completed is checked and collected.
As the ferry docks, passengers return to the cars, you drive down the ramp on to the dock in Tangier as directed. Moroccan-registered cars have a swift exit through customs, while foreign number-plated cars have a more complicated procedure.
You need your car log book, green card insurance certificate, driver's passport, and a form you are given to fill in. You need to present these documents in an office nearby. Semi-official badge-wearing men will guide you through this procedure, and then ask for a tip for their services.
With all the documentation complete you can finally drive into Tangiers town.