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Revision as of 13:31, 20 September 2008

Melilla [1] is a Spanish exclave in North Africa, on the Moroccan side of the Mediterranean. In some ways, it's kind of like Ceuta but in other ways, it's a unique place.

Other destinations


  • Tourist information office, calle Fortuny 21, 952-67-54-44, [2]. Near the Plaza de Toros, but far from everything else. A better choice is to go to the Tourist Information kiosk outside the Casino Militar on the main plaza, Plaza Espana


You are in Spain. People speak Spanish. But you are also in North Africa, and many people speak Tarifit (Spanish: rifeño, a variety of Berber).

Get in

By car (or on foot)

From Morocco. Melilla is completely surrounded by Moroccan territory (and the sea), and this is obviously a very sensitive border. Many try to cross illegally into Spain, with dire consequences. Crossing legally (in either direction) is also an eye-opening experience, but presents no particular difficulties if you are not transporting counterfeit goods or hashish.

Don't forget that Spain and Morocco are in different time zones, so crossing the border into Melilla you will lose one hour, or two hours in April and May (Morocco only started to observe daylight savings time in 2008).

By plane

Air Nostrum (Iberia Regional) flies from Málaga (8 flights daily), Madrid (3 flights), and one flight from Almería, Granada, and Barcelona.

By boat

There are ferry services run by Acción Trasmediterránea.

  • from Malaga: 8 hours, with a fast ferry (5 hours) in the summer
  • from Almeria: 6.5 hours

Get around


  • Melilla la Vieja, the fortified old town, on a hill overlooking the port. There is an elevator built into the restored city wall.
  • Plaza de España surrounded by monumental buildings such as the local assembly building, the Casino Militar, and the Bank of Spain.
  • Modernismo architecture, throughout the city, but especially on calle López Moreno and calle del Rey Juan Carlos
  • Or Zoruah Synagogue, calle López Moreno 8. Arabesque architecture, designed by Enrique Nieto in 1924. Downstairs a tacky bargain store, but the façade is well-preserved. Visits can be arranged through the Tourist Information Kiosk on the Plaza Espana




Melilla (like Ceuta) is a territorio franco, which means no VAT or other taxes.


  • Cafetería Los Arcos, calle López Moreno, next to the Sagrado Corazón church. Spanish churros and café con leche, or Moroccan mint tea.


The city is full of cafe/bars but the liveliest part is the Puerto Noray, opposite the big Hotel Puerto Melilla and has many restaurants, bars and nightclubs. And all of the bars look out at the marina.

Stay safe

Melilla is a safe city to visit. There are always lots of people enjoying the beach, etc until late. a visitor who stays near the centre will not have a problem.

Get out

Walking into Morocco

Catch a bus from the Plaza de España to the Moroccan border, 2km to the south. Cross the border into the Moroccan customs and security area and line up at the police kiosk to get your passport stamped. This can take a while. Be sure to go up to the window and ask for an entry form to fill out (in French, Spanish or English) while you wait.

When you get out you will be in the village of Beni Enzar which has the port of Nador with sailings to Almeria or France, where you can find banks (just next to the port)or a collective taxi to the city of Nador. Remember to turn your watch back one or two hours!

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