In the fifteenth and the seventeenth century, Melilla and Ceuta became Spanish territories or exclaves, respectively. And while Morocco has claimed these territories several times since then, they have been unsuccessful. In my eyes, Spanish Morocco is here to stay — at least for the next decade or two.
Spanish Morocco: The EU in Africa
As with much of Africa, these Spanish exclaves in Morocco were under the rule of several other empires since their discovery. Combined, Melilla and Ceuta have been under Almoravid, Almohad, Marinid, Wattasid, Roman, Vandal, Phoenician, Punic, Ummayyad, Idrisid, Byzantine, Hispano-Visigothic, Amazigh, and Portuguese rule, among others (and not necessarily in that order! Thanks again Wikipedia).
Nowadays, a visit to Melilla or Ceuta is (sort of) like a day in the EU. You get a passport stamp (but pay no visa – yay), cars have EU plates, plus the architecture, customs, and traditions are more similar to Spain than Morocco. It’s like you are stepping out of Africa.
Also note, Spanish Morocco is not confined to these 2 exclaves. Check out the map below in order to see all Spanish holdings in this Arab country:
Things to do in Melilla
Thinking of heading to this lesser-known Spanish exclave? Pick a Spanish hostel and check out the following Melilla attractions:
Melilla La Vieja: the Old City
Las Cuevas del Convéntico: underground history
Parque Hernández: botanical gardens
Almacenes de las Peñuelas: municipal museum complex
Things to do in Ceuta
Thinking of heading to the most popular Spanish exclave in Morocco? Check out the following Ceuta attractions:
Casa De Los Dragones: Moorish and Spanish architecture
Conjunto Monumental de las Murallas Reales: breathtaking fortifications
Parque Marítimo del Mediterráneo: the Martime Park
Parroquia de Santa María de Africa: Gothic-Barroque church