Best Day Trip from Málaga to Morocco: Tour Tips [2024]

Best Day Trip from Málaga to Morocco: Tour Tips [2024]

Are you looking for the best way to do a day trip from Malaga to Morocco?

In that case, you came to the right place!

I have done this day trip myself just recently, and as a local living in Southern Spain, I can also offer lots of practical tips that will make your trip a delight.

Let’s skip to the chase – the easiest and hassle-free way to see Morocco on a day trip from Malaga is by booking a tour from a local company. Check the one I recommended below.

You can also drive to Morocco, but you will face issues at the borders and navigating the local ferries with your car. I will provide details for both options in the article.

PS: this article contains affiliate links, I will earn a small fee if you use them, at no extra cost to you. Thank you for helping me run this blog! 

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Is Morocco Worth Visiting on a Day Trip?

Yes, it most certainly is

Even though Malaga and Costa del Sol have plenty to offer in terms of experiences, visiting Morocco and the African continent will be the highlight of your trip

I loved the trip I booked to Tetouan; it was like venturing into a whole new world you wouldn’t be able to experience so easily without the help of the local guide.

Of course if you can, spending a night or two would be ideal, but I think considering the travel time and how much you can see on a day trip, this is well worth your time.

Here is a short video from my trip to Tetouan:

YouTube video

Is Morocco Safe to Visit?

Yes, Morocco is generally regarded as a safe country to visit, especially if you have a local guide with you.

On my trip, we had a local Moroccan guide, an extra local guide to help keep an eye on the group, and also a local police officer allocated by the town hall.

In the case of a larger group, they provide an extra guide to look after the group to make sure nobody gets lost in the Medina.

the Royal palace in Tetouan, Morocco
the Royal palace in Tetouan, Morocco

Tetouan or Tangier: Which Day Trip Should You Book?

You will see that the local companies are offering day trips to two cities in Morocco – Tangier and Tetouan.

I booked the tour of Tetouan and I’m very happy I did because as I was told by our local guide, it’s much less touristy and crowded compared to Tangier. The Medina in Tangier attracts a lot of crowds, and with that comes unwanted attention from locals and sellers, more beggars, and overall, you will feel more like a tourist being chased to buy something.

You can, of course, also book a day trip to Tangier, and there is almost no difference in the price of the trip, or the distance traveled.

The main difference is the fact that Tetouan feels much more authentic and local, it’s a smaller city that is not taken over by tourists, and you will feel very much like you’re blending into the local life. The medina in Tetouan is an absolute delight to see.

Book Your Day Trip to Tetouan:

Get tickets for your day trip with FREE cancelation up to 24 hours before the tour.

3 Reasons for Booking a Day Trip from Málaga to Morocco by Bus

If you’re not 100% whether to drive or book a local tour, here are a few things you should consider:

1. You Get an Expert Local Guide in Morocco

To explore the cities in Morocco, you need to use the services of a local guide who has a license for this job.

Finding someone local you’ve never met before, and someone you can trust can be very difficult, and forums are full of stories of travelers who got scammed because they recruited the first guide they encountered after arriving in Africa.

With a tour, you will be accompanied by an expert local guide, in my case it was a local person who has lived in Tetouan his whole life, and knew the city inside out. 

Each tour is reported to the local town hall, and they also assign a police officer in civil clothing to accompany your group through the Medina.

Inside the Medina of Tetouan, Morocco
Inside the Medina of Tetouan, Morocco
carpet shop in the Medina of Tetouan, Morocco
carpet shop in the Medina of Tetouan, Morocco

2. Hassle Free Border Crossing

We were told it’s normal to spend up to one hour just at the border crossing because of the bureaucratic procedures on both sides of the border.

Thanks to our local guide, who knew people on the borders, we were able to cut the time in half, and while waiting, we learned everything about the local culture.

3. A Tour is The Cheapest Option

If you take into account the price of ferry tickets, including car transport, petrol, car rental, and the fact that car rental companies don’t like you crossing the continent with a rental car, a tour with a local company actually works out as the cheapest option available. 

Not just that, but it also saves you the hassle of navigating traffic on a different continent and getting the car in and out of the ferry.

Book Your Day Trip to Tetouan:

Get tickets for your day trip with FREE cancelation up to 24 hours before the tour.

Best Time of Year to Do a Tour from Málaga to Morocco

You can make this trip anytime during the year, but just keep in mind that if you’re visiting in the winter months, the sea can be quite rough, so the one-hour ferry crossing can be an issue.

In the summer months, Morocco can be notoriously hot, so you need to be prepared and wear appropriate clothing and sun protection.

I would personally say that the ideal time is in spring or autumn. In spring, during the celebration of Ramadan, the city is especially quiet, so you will have the whole Medina pretty much to yourself.

city of Tetouan in Morocco
city of Tetouan in Morocco
the medina of Tetouan, Morocco
the Medina of Tetouan, Morocco

Itinerary For Your Day Trip from Málaga to Morocco

  • pick up in Malaga around 6am
  • travel by bus towards the Strait of Gibraltar along the way you will learn lots of interesting things about Morocco
  • as you arrive at Algeciras port, your guide will secure your ferry ticket, and you will board the ferry
  • you will take the fast ferry to Ceuta (Spanish territory in North Africa) – 60 minutes 
  • after arriving in Ceuta, a local driver and bus will pick you up and you will continue to the Moroccan borders and enter the country
  • after arriving in Tetouan, you will start your day with a guided tour of the Medina
  • your tour also includes lunch in a typical Moroccan restaurant in Medina
  • you will also see the royal palace, a brief stop at a rug shop, a local natural pharmacy, city center and learn everything about the local history
  • you will return back to Malaga the same way, sometime before midnight

Book Your Day Trip to Morocco:

Get tickets for your day trip with FREE cancelation up to 24 hours before the tour.

Practical Tips: Tour from Málaga to Morocco

  • this is a full-day bus trip, so you will be back in Malaga just before midnight
  • you should be wearing top with long sleeves and closed-toe shoes (required by the tour company)
  • the duration of the trip depends on local traffic, ferry schedules, and the amount of time required for border crossing
  • Medina of Tetouan is huge! Over 40,000 shops and a maze of streets, so you won’t have time on your own to explore for safety reasons (super easy to get lost)
  • you will need a valid passport for your trip to Morocco – EU citizens can enter without visa
  • the ferry terminal in Algeciras is pretty big and modern, you will find a cafeteria and toilets there
  • the ferry itself is super comfortable with lots of seats available, a small shop and a bar
  • during the scenic ferry ride you can admire the views of the Rock (Gibraltar)
  • this is a full day trip and you will spend a lot of time waiting around, so please keep that in mind
  • the trip is not suitable for small kids
  • if you don’t like group tours and prefer private tours, this option is also available and linked below
port of Ceuta - Spanish territory in North Africa
port of Ceuta – Spanish territory in North Africa

What You Will See on Your Day Trip

The main highlight of this day trip to Teouan in Morocco is the ancient Medina.

This UNESCO World Heritage site sits at the foot of the Rif Mountains and is a treasure trove of diverse cultures and breathtaking architecture. Its narrow, winding streets invite you to explore the rich blend of Andalusian, Moroccan, and Ottoman influences that shape this city.

The markets, or souks, are a vibrant part of life here, filled with the aromas of spices and leather, and bursting with color from textiles, ceramics, and other goods. These markets are where the heart of Moroccan culture beats the strongest, offering a glimpse into the local way of life.

The Medina is also a cultural hub, home to many mosques and madrasas (Islamic schools), each with its own story and beauty. Visiting Tetouan’s Medina offers a unique chance to dive deep into Moroccan history, culture, and art. It’s a captivating experience, showing the harmony of different cultures and the living traditions of Moroccan craftsmanship.

Book Your Day Trip to Morocco:

Get tickets for your day trip with FREE cancelation up to 24 hours before the tour.

Private Tour from Malaga to Tangier

If you prefer traveling on your own with a private tour, you can book this one available for Tangier with pick up from Malaga, one for Tetouan is unfortunately not available as a private tour.

lunch in a traditional Moroccan restaurant
lunch in a traditional Moroccan restaurant
lunch in a traditional Moroccan restaurant
local entertainment at lunch time

Other Day Trip Transport Options

Don’t want a tour? Here are other options for this day trip!

Day Trip with a Rental Car

Driving to Morocco from Malaga is certainly an option, the drive takes about 4-5 hours one way and covers a distance of 250km.

You need to remember that you need to arrive in the port well ahead of the time to load the car and you will spend more time also at the border crossing.

The ferry tickets for the journey between Algeciras and port of Cueta start from 28 euros one way (including your car) and you can get them on the website of Balearia.

on board of a ferry from Algeciras to Cueta, Africa
on board of a ferry from Algeciras to Cueta, Africa

Keep in mind that you need to make sure your car rental company allows you to take the car outside of the borders of Spain, many will charge extra fees or require extra security due to car insurance.

Due to the issues with car rental I do not recommend taking this trip

Day Trip to Morocco by Bus

If you would like to consider the option of using public transport, I’m sorry to say that it’s not an option for a day trip. 

​There are no trains available as far south as Algeciras, and using the local buses would take a whole day, so it’s not an option you should consider.

entrance to the Medina of Tetouan, Morocco
entrance to the Medina of Tetouan, Morocco

Cultural Etiquette and Tips for Morocco

Respect Local Customs

Morocco is a country with deep-rooted traditions and customs, many of which differ significantly from Western norms.

Dress conservatively, especially when visiting a mosque or Medina. For women, this means covering shoulders and knees, while men should opt for pants rather than shorts.

Tipping Practices

Tipping is customary in Morocco for almost every service. From restaurant servers to tour guides, a small tip is always appreciated. Keep some change handy for such instances, and consider a 10% tip in restaurants as a general guideline.


Moroccans are warm and friendly, often greeting with a handshake and sometimes, among the same sex, with a kiss on each cheek. A polite “Salam Alaikum” (peace be upon you) is always a good start.

Language Tips

While Arabic and Berber are the primary languages, French is widely understood. Knowing a few basic phrases in any of these languages can go a long way. “Shukran” (thank you) is one of the essentials that can bring a smile to anyone’s face.

Safety Tips

As in any tourist destination, keep an eye on your belongings and be wary of pickpockets, especially in crowded markets (souks). Stick to well-lit, populated areas and always trust your instincts.

fruit sellers in the Medina of Tetouan, Morocco
fruit sellers in the Medina of Tetouan, Morocco
local shops at the Medina of Tetouan
local shops at the Medina of Tetouan

What to Pack for Your Day Trips

  • Comfortable Shoes: You’ll be doing a lot of walking, so comfy footwear is a must.
  • Water Bottle: Stay hydrated as you explore. It can get quite warm, especially in the summer months.
  • Sunscreen and Hat: Protect yourself from the Moroccan sun.
  • Local Currency (Dirhams): It is not necessary to change your Euros to Dirhams, locals will happily accept your payments in Euros or with a card
  • Your Passport: most countries do not need VISA to enter Morocco, but be sure to check this before your trip

What Souvenirs to Bring from Morocco

  • Berber rugs, known for their vibrant colors and intricate patterns, make a stunning addition to any home. Each rug carries the heritage of its weaver, a piece of Moroccan artistry and tradition. These can be shipped to your home.
  • Produced exclusively in Morocco, this versatile oil is used for cooking, skin care, and hair treatment, making it a perfect, multipurpose souvenir.
  • Equally essential are Moroccan spices. Ras el hanout, saffron, and cumin will bring the flavors of Moroccan cuisine into your kitchen, a spicy reminder of your travels.

Final Thoughts

I hope this article covered everything you need to know about booking your day trip to Morocco! If you still have some questions, please do leave a comment below and I will be happy to help.

Thank you for reading!

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Lucia has been living on Costa del Sol since 2020, and through her love of photography and travel, she has been documenting the best places to see in Southern Spain and uncovering hidden gems only known to locals. All the articles on Viva La Vita are written based on personal experience and local expertise.

Hi, I'm Lucia

At Viva La Vita, I will help you to discover Southern Spain like a local!

I've been living on Costa del Sol since 2020, and fill these pages with first-hand insights, personal experience and practical tips that will help you plan a wonderful trip to Spain.

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