Ceuta is a Spanish exclave in North Africa, located on the Mediterranean, on the southern coast of the Strait of Gibraltar. Captured by Portugal in 1415 and ceded to Spain in 1668, Ceuta is claimed by Morocco, which also claims other posts of Spanish sovereignty such as Melilla and some small islands in the Mediterranean Sea. The area of Ceuta is approximately 28 km².
Ceuta is a beautiful area, reminiscient of Monte Carlo and dominated by a hill called Monte Hacho, on which there is a fort occupied by the Spanish army. Monte Hacho is one of the possible locations for the southern Pillars of Hercules of Greek Legend. Ceuta has long been fought over because of its strategic military location.
The government of Morocco has called for the integration of Ceuta and Melilla, drawing comparisons with Spain’s territorial claim to Gibraltar. The Spanish government and both Ceuta’s and Melilla’s autonomous governments and inhabitants reject these comparisons on the ground that both Ceuta and Melilla are integral parts of the Spanish state whereas Gibraltar, a British Overseas Territory, is not nor never has been part of the United Kingdom. Ceuta’s Islamic past is also shorter than much of the rest of Southern Spain. Morocco, however, dismisses these arguments as irrelevant.
Ceuta today is a beautiful, safe place with stunning views of both Spain and Morocco. The border with Morocco is a bit of a mess with all the touts and potential border jumpers hanging around but it is a nice place for a short visit. You can get there overland from Morocco, it’s about 1.5 hours from Tangier or you can take a ferry from Algeciras in Spain everyday and from Gibraltar once a week. There are also charter services from Spain and I believe a once in a while ferry from the South of France.
Ceuta is one of the two Spanish enclaves, along with Melilla that make up Spanish Morocco as defined by the Travelers Century Club and this was my first visit. It was very pleasant and next time it will be a longer stay.