Algeciras

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<map lat='36.132051884162735' lng='-5.44647216796875' zoom='12' view='0' float='right' /> Algeciras is an industrial port-city in southern Spain, in the region named Andalusia. It is one of the main ferry crossings to Tangier, Morocco, from which it is often possible to hitchhike with truckers ("camioneros") onto a boat to Morocco, without having to pay a ticket.

To Morocco

Many drivers have the right to bring a passenger along with them, so it is both legal and free for them to take you along. Beforehand, you will see many trucks waiting in the many parking lots surrounding the port. The easiest way to find a ride is to simply ask, and continue asking everyone you see until you find someone who is leaving on the next boat. The last ferry of the night departs around 24:00, and each ferry loads about an hour before departure. So, to be on the safe side, you should arrive no later than 21.00 if you´d like to try for the last ferry of the night.

There are basically two ways of getting a lift. Walking around and asking truck drivers is one option, you will meet many of them on their way between town and the truck parking lot, a little south of the main terminal, where the military port is. Stand near the roundabout (see maps) and ask people, but they might go hours or days later.
If you want to get a quicker ride, it's better to try your luck right where they boad the ferry. Follow the signposting for the trucks to Tangier. If you feel you are running around areas where no pedestrians should be, don't worry, authorities seem to be quite relaxed. You can walk all the way up to the water where the boats are loaded and ask the truckers waiting there.

Some drivers are actually willing to take more people into their truck than they are allowed, but don't bet on it, it's better to split up if you are hitching with more than 1 person. Once on the ferry, you can expect a free meal and coffee (if your driver is nice and shares the coupon with you), and sometimes even a shower and a room.

Remember that the ferries do not go to Tangier itself, but to Tangier-Med, a port 40 km to the east of Tangier. There is a Bus to Tanger right by the Port, which costs 7MAD (0,70€), but hitchhiking is obviously possible as well.

UPDATE: As of March 2016, renovations of the port seem to be complete. There doesn't seem to be a parking lot where Trucks to Morocco are waiting in the port, but you can just walk all the way through to the quay and ask around there. This has the added advantage that your ride should usually leave on the next ferry, as this is already where everybody is boarding the boat. Right before the last Police checkpoint, there can be quite a queue of trucks, whom you can also ask, but nobody seems to care if you walk past the checkpoint either. Next to the checkpoint there is also a parking lot, but the trucks there are coming from the ferries and are not going to Morocco.

If you are planning on buying a ferry ticket to Morocco, consider sailing out of the little-known port of Motril, which is an hour and a half south of Granada. If you don't want to make the detour all the way to Algeciras, the boat from Motril to Melilla costs about the same as from Algeciras to Ceuta (€36 for adult, €32 for ages 17-21). Drawbacks: Ferries leave only once a day, and the trip is several hours long (although you may enjoy the cruise). Melilla is a bit out of the way, but if you plan on heading straight for Fes or Tazekka National Park, it may be a good starting point.

Formalities

Police might send you away if they find you walking the last metres of the road leading to the quay because you are bypassing the passport control, but once you're on the last, big parking lot where everybody is waiting to board the ferry, noone should bother you, as you're already past all checkpoints.

If you don't have a passport from a Schengen member country, things might be more complicated for you. Using the method described here, you will bypass the passport control on the european side and thus not get an exit stamp, which you might need for different reasons. So it would be wise to find out in advance if you need an exit stamp, in which case you would need to find a truck before passing the checkpoint.

Customs and border crossing patrol will take place on the ferry. You should bring your passport and a pen to fill out the form that you will be given. Sometimes, you have to ask the staff for guidance, since the border personnel expect you to come to them, rather than for them to come to you. You should take care of all passport-stamping before the boat arrives in Tanger because you will have to present your stamped passport page to the authorities before leaving the port.

Personal Experiences

It took n0id two hours to find a ride in August 2009. Without a basic knowledge of French it would have been much harder. Many trucks already had two drivers, only a few didn't. Truck drivers on the ferry told him that it was much harder to hitch a ride from Tangier to Algeciras, due to the drivers' fear of getting busted for drug-trafficking and the tight security at the port in Tangier. On the other side, security will let you sleep in the gare maritime in Tanger (New Port) if you arrive after 23:00 because there won't be any buses going to Tangier city anymore.

DamnthatTelevision got a ride with the first camion he saw, and crossed the straight with the Moroccan driver, who also bought dinner and let him sleep at his place in Tangier. French was crucial, moroccan hospitality is legendary.

Traveling Charles used this information and hitched the ferry in May & June 2013. Since they were two people, they were unsuccessfull asking the trucks waiting in line to board the boat and many of the drivers said no, as they can only take one person. But they asked the guy who was in charge of loading the boats and he was the key for getting a ride as he said he'd help them and basically gave permission to one of the drivers to take two people and so the driver who had previously said no, was then happy to take them now that he had the permission.

Amylin, inside a truck, hitchhiking onto the ferry from Algeciras, Spain to Tanger, Morocco, April 2008.

Coming from Morocco

Arriving by ferry from Morocco you should have tried to locate a ride on or before the ferry. If this failed (as it did in my case) you arrive at the passengers port. Go past the places where there are long distance buses and you'll come to a crossing. Follow the signs to whatever direction you're going to. If your going direction Malaga (many people going long-distance here) follow the signs saying "Salida Norte" for a couple of minutes and you'll see the huge shipping port. Keep on walking and you'll be on the main road out of the Port, where all cars coming from the ferries are passing.

If you're going far make sure the driver drives on Playa del Sol or some other motorway and don't avoid them because they aren't free.

Vrana found that if you just walk over to where the cars are being led off the ferry and out of the port area (the roundabout by the main building), you can find a lot of people hitching and cars that stop. She found a ride directly to Amsterdam there.

Fedecicco found his lift on the same round about but he was very lucky. It is better to try next to the harbour (you can see also a petrol station but don't ask there) there is an alimentary security control for trucks. All trucks trasporting fish or fruit (the bests to go straight in continental europe) must pass by it and stop inside. He arrived there during spanish holidays (semana santa) that's why it was pretty hard but normally this option should be the best. Either try directly at the ferry harbour (not the big merchandise one) where cars and trucks leave the ferries, or look for trucks that doesn't cross the sea and just wait for containers.

Sleep

Around the harbour are plenty of supposedly "cheap hotels" for around 10€/night. However, the waiting hall for the ferries is open 24/24h, is actually safe, controlled and also some other people (locals/homeless/travelers) sleep in it. If you don't find a lift for the ferry or a long lift for Europe, it is better to sleep there and try the next day instead of moving somewhere else.

I slept one night in waiting hall on toilets for disabled people and it was ok. No one disturb me but for sure it´s not the most beautifull sleeping spot.

{IsIn|Spain}} nomad:Algeciras