Whilst the mainstream tourist destination of Spain may seem uncommon for YPT, we always have the ability to find a non-mainstream gem in almost any destination. On our Spanish Protectorate tour, we will take advantage of the easing Covid-19 restrictions in order to bring you an action-packed tour that will begin in Spain before taking a helicopter into Africa to visit the two Spanish protectorates of Ceuta and Melilla!
Ceuta and Melilla are two Spanish enclaves
situated on the northern shores of Morocco’s Mediterranean coast. Together they
form the European Union’s only land borders with Africa. Both of these cities
trace their Spanish heritage to the 15th century. Coveted by Morocco, they have
long been a flashpoint in diplomatic relations with Spain. Madrid asserts that
both territories are integral parts of Spain and have the same status as the
semi-autonomous regions on its mainland.
Historically, both port cities developed as
military and trade centres linking Africa to Europe. Since 1995, they have enjoyed
a limited degree of self-government as Autonomous Communities. However, Ceuta
and Melilla’s heavily fortified borders have come under pressure from African
migrants seeking a better life in Europe.
Our Spanish Protectorate Tour will see us explore both of these Spanish enclaves in depth. To get from one to the other, we’ll be entering Morocco for an epic road trip along the Mediterranean before returning to Spain via ferry and exploring the historic city of Almeria to round off the tour.
Arrival in the Spanish city of Algeciras at your own leisure and check into our designated hotel.
We will meet up in the evening as a group and head out for a Spanish meal and some ice cold beers to get to know each other and go over the tour plan.
Overnight in Algeciras.
Sunday 11th July
Breakfast at the hotel before we grab our bags and head to the port to catch the helicopter to Ceuta.
The helicopter trip across the famed Strait of Gibraltar will take around an hour and we will be able to enjoy spectacular views during the crossing. Upon arrival, you’ll officially step foot on the African continent, ticking off two continents on one trip!
Arrive at our Ceuta hotel around midday and check in before we meet our local guide who will be showing us around for the day.
Lunch at a local restaurant
We will explore the famed royal walls that surround Ceuta, visit the bustling Plaza Africa, see the giant Hercules statue, and explore the lively markets and fascinating streets of Ceuta.
We’ll head up to San Antonio overlook and hike around Ceuta’s fortress on Mount Hacho. From here, you can gaze into Europe from Africa and see the British territory of Gibraltar.
Evening meal in Ceuta.
Overnight at the hotel.
Monday 12th July
After breakfast, we will grab supplies before meeting our driver for the drive-through Morocco to Melilla.
We will cross the frontier into Morocco for the full-day drive. As you might expect, the borders of Ceuta are heavily fortified and consist of 10-foot barbed wire fences ringed with searchlights, movement sensors, and guard towers.
This epic road trip will see us hug the Mediteranian coast taking in stunning views.
On the way, we will stop at a range of interesting sights and stop for a Moroccan lunch.
Arrival into Melilla in the late evening where we will check into the hotel and rest up before heading out for a group dinner in the city.
Overnight in Melilla.
Tuesday 13th July
After breakfast, we’ll start our tour of Melilla by exploring the old city’s medieval fortifications and enjoying the views of the Mediterranean from its ramparts.
We’ll then hit up the Museum of Archaeology and History and the Military History Museum. When the port of Melilla was dredged, more than 10,000 coins from different periods were collected, including some as old as the first century BC. Many of these coins are on display at the Museum of Archaeology and History.
The Military History Museum has an extensive collection of weapons, munitions, flags and reproductions including a scale model of Melilla Square as it was in 1846.
We’ll then visit the Caves of the Convent. These natural caverns are said to have been excavated by the Phoenicians and have been used as hiding places throughout different eras.
After trying some local cuisine for lunch, we’ll enjoy some free time allowing you to spend the afternoon checking out the new city’s mix of colonial and modernist architecture, browsing Spanish and Moroccan goods at the mercadillo, or lounging at the beach.
We’ll meet back up in the evening to sample wine and traditional Spanish dishes at the tapas bars clustered around Plaza de España.
Overnight in Melilla
Wednesday 14th July
After breakfast, we’ll grab our bags and head to the ferry terminal to catch a ferry across the Mediterranean back to Spain.
We’ll spend a full day on the ferry and arrive in the early evening in the historic Spanish city of Almeria.
Check into the hotel and head out for an evening dinner and some drinks in Almeria.
Overnight in hotel
Thursday 15th July
After breakfast, we’ll kick off a full-day tour of Almeria.
Although well known as a popular spot for sunseekers, Almeria is home to an array of dark and bizarre attractions that certainly appeal to the YPT crowd.
The first stop of the day will be a Spanish Western-styled theme park, located just outside of the city. Originally known as Yucca City, the set was designed by Carlo Simi and built for Sergio Leone’s For a Few Dollars More in 1965.
After lunch, we’ll head back to Almeria to visit the civil war tunnels. Under the city of Almeria, there are 4km of tunnels that were used to shelter the residents of Almeria during the Spanish Civil War. The city was bombed at least 52 times by hundreds of bombs, and the tunnels were meant to shelter 90% of the city’s 52,000 people at the time.
If time allows, we will check out The Alcazaba, with its 1430 m. walled perimeter, this is Spain’s second-largest Muslim construction, after the Alhambra Palace in Granada. It was built at the behest of Abderrahman III in the tenth century after the founding of the city.
After an action-packed day, we’ll head for a farewell dinner and drinks in Almeria.
Overnight in Almeria
Friday 16th July
End of tour with YPT able to organize tour extensions and onward travel if required