autonomous city of Spain in North Africa

Melilla (Arabic: مليلية (Maliliyyah), Berber: ⵎⵔⵉⵜⵙ (Mřič)) is a Spanish exclave in North Africa, on the Moroccan side of the Mediterranean. In some ways it's similar to Ceuta but in other ways it's unique.

View from Old Melilla

Understand edit

  • Tourist information office, calle Fortuny 21, +34 952-67-54-44. 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.

Talk edit

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). Arabic is also widely spoken amongst the Moroccans in Melilla.

Get in edit

By car (or on foot) edit

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. You will lose one hour during summer when Spain observers daylight saving time.

By plane edit

By boat edit

There are ferry services run by Acciona Trasmediterránea and Balearia [formerly dead link].

  • from Malaga: 8 hours.
  • from Almeria: 6.5 hours.
  • from Motril: This is a new service from Motril near Granada.

By train edit

Moroccan train operator ONCF has three trains daily between Taourirt and the Beni-Nsar Port train station (about five minutes' walk from the border). Connections are available at Taourirt with trains to Fès, Rabat, Casablanca and Oujda.

Get around edit

Map of Melilla

See edit

  • Melilla la Vieja. The fortified old town, on a hill overlooking the port. Its ramparts have Roman origins. There is an elevator built into the restored city wall.
  • Modernismo. Architecture, throughout the city, but especially on calle López Moreno and calle del Rey Juan Carlos
  • 1 Or Zoruah Synagogue, Calle López Moreno Melilla, 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.
  • Plaza de España. Surrounded by monumental buildings such as the local assembly building, the Casino Militar, and the Bank of Spain.

Do edit

Buy edit

Melilla is a territorio franco, which means no VAT or other taxes.

Eat edit

Budget edit

Around the Plaza de España edit

  • 1 Café Restaurante La Selecta, Pl. Héroes de España, 1.
  • 2 La Flamenquita, C. Pablo Vallescá, #13. Tapas bar.
  • 3 Mar de Alborán, C. Gral. Prim, 24.

Playa de los Cárabos edit

  • 4 Bar Aragón, C. Marqués de Montemar, 32.
  • 5 Cafe Pizzeria Camelia, C. Cabo Antonio Mesa Cañón, 15.

Mid-range edit

  • 6 La Muralla, Cta. de la Florentina, 1. Spanish
  • 7 La Pérgola, Av. General Macías.
  • 8 Soul Beach Café, Paseo Francisco Mir Berlanga, Marítimo, 13.
  • 9 Los Vélez, C. de los Vélez, Marqués, 23.
  • 10 Restaurante Casa Juanito la Barca, C. Marqués de Montemar, 46. Seafood
  • 11 Restaurante Miguel Benitez, P.º Marítimo Francisco Mir Berlanga, 25. At the beach
  • 12 Cafetería El Galan, calle Remonta (Straight in front of Melilla Comarcal hospital.). Temporatily closed as of Sept 2022. Andalusian Toast with fresh tomato and olive oil, and typical sandwiches.

Splurge edit

  • 13 El Rincon de Alicia, C. Benlliure, 1.

Drink edit

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

Sleep edit

Stay safe edit

Melilla is a safe city to visit, though not unconditionally so. There are always lots of people enjoying the beach, etc. until late; though it is not advisable to travel alone at night, even in the city centre. Street robbery is not an uncommon occurrence for people walking alone at night in Melilla.

Pickpocketing is relatively common here, especially in public toilets where a common tactic is for a group of large men to crowd round the victim and basically empty every available pocket. It is a better idea to leave valuables with other friends before going to the toilet, or failing that, to surreptitiously tuck your phone/wallet into your socks.

Go next edit

Walking into Morocco edit

Catch a bus from the Plaza de España to the Moroccan border, 2 km to the south. Cross the border into the Moroccan customs and security area and queue 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. Be careful as scammers trying to sell you these forms or trying to "help" you complete them will run off with your passport.

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 hour during summer when Spain observes DST.

This city travel guide to Melilla is a usable article. It has information on how to get there and on restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please feel free to improve it by editing the page.