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Ceuta

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Ceuta [1] is one of two Spanish exclaves in North Africa. The territory has had several rulers before the Portuguese in 1415 took control of this city east of Tangier. Since 1580 it has been under Spanish administration but has the status of an autonomous city.

This exclave was in the spotlight in 2005, together with Melilla because hundreds of people were trying to climb over the border fence. Ceuta, being part of Spain and therefore a safe haven for Africans, made it a prime target for migrants. Today the border is heavily protected by the Guardia Civil. The European Union has invested a lot of money to make illegal immigration more difficult.

Get in[edit]

Taxis awaiting new arrivals at the border

As Ceuta is part of Spain, Spanish immigration laws apply. Leaving and arriving in Morocco, people will try to sell you the entry/exit forms you need and fill them out for you. Don't buy them as they are available for free at the Passport windows.

By sea[edit]

Ceuta is easily accessible from Algeciras by ferry. You will need official ID to book passage between mainland Spain and Ceuta.

Cruise ships occasionally visit, and usually dock within walking distance of the compact downtown area.

By road[edit]

From land Ceuta is only accessible from Morocco. If arriving by bus, you may have to take the bus to a nearby town and then a grand taxi to the border. For example, coming from the south, the closest an intercity bus will take you is to Fnideq. From there, take a grand taxi to the border (4 dh). It is much easier to go to Ceuta from Tetouán than from Tangier, as most buses from Tangier go through Tetouan anyway before heading north to Fnideq.

You will need a passport to cross the border with Morocco in either direction. Leaving and arriving in Morroco, people will try to sell you the entry/exit forms you need and fill it out for you. Don't buy them as they are available for free at the passport windows.

By air[edit]

There is just a heliport where Heli Sur Este [2] operates daily connections between Ceuta and Malaga.

Get around[edit]

Ceuta is a tiny city. So, the best way to get around is by bike or on foot. The area near the waterfront and shopping area is nicely landscaped and attractive considering the heavy traffic it supports.

There are taxis available. Make sure they use the meter or negotiate a price before you get in. There is a decent bus service with modern and spacious buses running around the city with stops at the border with Morocco. Look for a bus marked "Frontera".

Talk[edit]

As Ceuta is part of Spain, Spanish is the official language and is spoken by the majority of the population. Moroccans in Ceuta usually also speak Moroccan Arabic or Rif Berber, and often French and Standard Arabic as well.

See[edit][add listing]

The area hosts a few churches, and fortifications for those interested in Euro-African history and governmental relations. The downtown area and waterfront are remarkably clean and attractive with safe walking, and offer many shops and cafés serving the shoppers noted earlier.

Do[edit][add listing]

There is an interesting fort in town with some views. There is also a lighthouse to see. Other than that are lovely beaches and desert areas to explore.

Buy[edit][add listing]

The city was a free port before Spain joined the European Union in 1986; now it has a low-tax system. You will see that the economy of this city focuses on people travelling to/from Morocco and one-day shopping tourists. Offerings range from pavement hawkers and kiosks, to modest stores (with goods you would expect for the types of visitors noted above), to fine jewellers and an El Corte Inglés department store.

Eat[edit][add listing]

Offerings downtown range from terrace cafés and a drive-in McDonalds to a few fine restaurants.

Drink[edit][add listing]

Ceuta is a great city to go out. There are several pubs and clubs and a great tapas route.

Sleep[edit][add listing]

Try Ceuta Parador Ceuta

There are a few hostels/pensions with a big CH sign on the wall in the center and on or close to the pedestrian street. Prices start around 20€ per night

Get out[edit]

Spanish authorities tend to waive travelers out of Ceuta without any passport checks or formalities, so if you have a non EU passport and need an exit stamp advise the Guardia Civil officials at the beginning of the border area BEFORE walking through the gates and onto the walkway into Morocco. They will direct you into the vehicle lanes where you can get an exit stamp. Afterwards you start down a long walkway surrounded by fences on both sides. Keep an eye out for the little white Moroccan passport control window on the right hand side because you may or may not be directed towards it. Here you need to fill out an arrival card so have a pen ready, the officials DO NOT provide pens. After getting an entry stamp you walk a meter or two and there is one final passport check. Immediately outside of the border area on the Moroccan side there is a bank to change money and an ATM. Unofficial money changers on the Spanish side offer a slightly better rate, but not significantly so.


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