Morocco: Portugal’s (other) next-door neighbor

Portugal to Morocco: how can you visit both in the same journey? It’s not that difficult, just follow our lead.

Portugal and Spain share the Iberian Peninsula and are seen as the closest to each other. But there a country that you can also include in the list. We are talkin about Morocco: portugal’s (other) next-door neighbor.

In fact, Rabat, the moroccan capital, is 560km (about 330 miles) in a straight line from Lisbon, while Madrid is under 503km (312 miles). It seems very close, but travelers need to be prepared to switch continents: from Europe to Africa. And it can be an amazing adventure.

First things first. Morocco, with 35 million inhabitants, is considered one of the most stable countries in Africa. It is a constitutional monarchy, led by King Mohamed VI with an economy that relies heavily on tourism, therefore it is a safe place to visit. The European Union recognizes this stability, having granted the country, in 2008, the Advanced Status.

Old connection

The ties between Portugal and Morocco are much older than that. As a matter of fact, the Portuguese Age of Expansion and Discovery began precisely with the conquest, in 1415, of a city that, today, is considered part of Spain, but surrounded by Moroccan territory: Ceuta.

In 1471, the Portuguese conquest Tangier, and the city becomes part of the Empire until 1661, when it is given to England as part of Catherine of Braganza’s dowery. The princess married King Charles II and, believe it or not, introduced tea in her new country. Yes, without her there would not be the “Five o’clock tea” culture!

By the end of the XVIII century, Portugal no longer had Moroccan possessions. But the trade kept going, with the spices and luxury items taking center stage.

In 1994, Morocco and Portugal signed the Good Neighborhood, Friendship and Cooperation Treaty, and there are regular summits between both governments. Today, the commercial bonds remain strong, not only between the two countries but also with the European Union.

How to get there

There are many flight options, from the three Portuguese main airports – Lisbon, Porto and Faro – to the main Moroccan cities: Rabat, Casablanca, Marrakech, Fez and Agadir.

In average, the flight is about two hours long, which means that you can have a taste of North Africa during your stay in Portugal. Many travelers remain settled in Europe – at an hotel or other accommodation – spend one to three days in Morocco and come back north to Europe to finish their vacation.

If you feel like an adventure, why not a road trip? If you prefer to take the car, go to the south of Spain and enter the north of Morocco on the many ferry boats.

What to do and see

There are so many places and thins to do in Morocco that it is hard to select just a few. But these are our top choices from our next-door neighbor:

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