It’s been a long time between drinks, but I’m still alive! Having just finished 5 weeks on the Camino de Santiago (more on that later), I nicked down into Portugal for some R&R. Porto and Lisbon to be exact. Both of those places were charming, the people delightful and the food refreshing. Cheap too! But after that we wanted to get into Morocco and we just couldn’t figure out the best way to get from Lisbon, Portugal to Morocco. Well now we know.
Of course, the best way is to fly. But flying is REALLY expensive at last minute, so we decided to try out the buses instead. We booked our ticket directly at the bus station in Lisbon, but it’s also possible to get online to this bus website and book your trip. You want to book through from Lisbon to Algeciras if you’re heading to Morocco because Algeciras is where most ferries depart from. For us, it was a 9:30pm departure from Lisbon with a change of buses in Seville. From Seville a bus goes to Algeciras port directly. But to get from Lisbon to Algeciras, just book the one ticket right through. Cost was 59 euro each.
Once in Algeciras the next morning, things start getting interesting. The first thing to do is to buy a ticket. You can buy a ticket to a number of different places, but if you’re going to head to Chefchaouen like we did as your first stop (do this!), then you need to catch the ferry to Ceuta, a Spanish enclave in north Africa. It cost us 36 euro each. If you’re heading down the west coast first, catch the boat to Tangier.
How to get from Ceuta to Chefchaouen
Once in Ceuta, you need to get to the Morocco border. It’s quite easy! Walk out of the ferry port in Ceuta and hit the road out the front. Turn left down this road and walk about 500m where you will pass a gas station on your left and some supermarkets on your right. Keep walking until the road makes a sharp 90 degree turn to the right. Turn right here and up a slight hill for 100m up to a roundabout and then turn right again. From here it is 150m to the bus stop. You need to get on bus 7 and get off at the last stop. You will know it’s the last stop because the bus will empty out and the border is right there in your face. Cost is 0.80 euro.
Border control is a bit disorganised from the Moroccan end. Random guys without uniforms pointing you back and forth to different booths, across the road to the vehicle entry, back to the pedestrian entry… basically all around the place as if they’ve never checked in a foreigner before. Once you’re past this and in Morocco there is a cash machine and a bunch of taxis. From here you are probably best off having local currency although Euros are accepted, it makes things slightly more complicated with getting change.
You need to catch a collective taxi (one with other passengers) to the town of Tetouan for 2 euro. You might need to wait 15 minutes for other passengers and then you will be on your way. 45 minutes later you arrive in Tetouan. If you are dropped off at the proper spot, you will be just outside of a park and across the road from the CTM bus terminal. CTM is the good bus service through Morocco and costs slightly more than the beat up buses from other companies at the other bus station.
Book a ticket from Tetouan to Chefchaouen or Fes or anywhere else in Morocco for that matter (25dh). The trip to Chefchaouen is only about 3 or 4 hours and is a great first step in Morocco. More to come on this fantastic journey into Morocco, so check back soon.