The port of Nador in Beni Ensar, Morocco

Nador

Morocco

Nador is a city and important port ιn the northeast of Morocco. Serving ferry routes both from Spain and France, the port of Nador is one of the main getaways between Europe and Morocco. Book cheap ferry tickets online to Nador on Ferryhopper at no extra cost!

In our guide, you can find all the information you need about ferry routes to Nador, as well as tips about what to do and see in the charming city:

View of the port of Nador from a ferry

The port of Nador seen from the ferry

Nador ferry port

The port of Nador (or port of Beni Ensar) is one of the most important ports in Morocco and one of Europe’s main gateways to the African country. It is located in the town of Beni Ensar (also called Beni Ansar or Aït Nsar), a few kilometers north of the city of Nador.

The port of Nador currently serves regular ferry connections to and from Sète in France. There also used to be crossings from Spain before the temporary closure of the borders between the two countries. If you’re thinking of traveling to Morocco by ferry, Nador can serve as an alternative destination to the Spanish enclave of Melilla; the two cities are only 15km away from each other and share port facilities.

In close proximity to the ferry terminal, you will find a waiting area, cafés, restaurants and ATM machines. There is also a parking lot as well as vehicle and bike rentals.

Ferries to Nador port: schedules and tickets

There are regular ferry crossings between the port of Nador and Sète on the south coast of France. There used to be ferry connections from the Spanish cities of Barcelona, Motril and Almería as well, but they are currently suspended. You can see all available routes to and from Nador at a glance on Ferryhopper’s Map of ferries.

Ferry from Sète to Nador

The ferry route Sète - Nador is operated all year round by 2 companies: Baleària and Grandi Navi Veloci. There are usually 2-3 weekly crossings, with the trip taking about 39 to 43 hours depending on the company and ferry itinerary. Ticket prices to Nador from Sète start at around €55.

Ferry from Barcelona to Nador 

Ferry services between Barcelona and Nador are temporarily suspended. The ferry route Barcelona - Nador was normally operated once per week by Grandi Navi Veloci. Trip duration was approximately 29 hours and ticket prices started at around €59.

Tip: if you’re planning to travel from Barcelona to Morocco, you can also take the ferry to the port of Tangier. While Nador is on the northeast coast of Morocco, Tangier is located in the northwest, on the Strait of Gibraltar. 

Ferry from Almería to Nador

The ferry connection between Almería and Nador is currently suspended until further notice. The companies operating on the route were Naviera Armas, Baleària and Trasmediterránea.

Ferries to Nador from Almería departed daily year-round, with more than 10 weekly crossings usually taking place. The duration of the trip ranged from about 3.5 to 9 hours depending on the company and type of ferry. 

Ferry from Motril  to Nador

The ferry connection between Motril and Nador is suspended at the moment until further notice. The route was operated all year round by Naviera Armas. Ferries departed up to 4 times per week and journey duration was about 4 hours

Where is the ferry port in Nador?

Nador is a city in the Mediterranean, on the northeastern coast of Morocco. The port of Nador is located in the town of Beni Ensar, about 13km north of the city of Nador. It is also right next to the international border with the autonomous Spanish city of Melilla.

How to get to Nador port

You can reach the port of Nador either by car or by train. National Route 15 (N15) connects the city of Nador to Beni Ensar and the port. You can also take National Route 16 (N16), which runs from the west to the east, connecting Tangier, Al Hoceima and Nador.

The port of Nador can also be reached by train from Tangier, Fez, Casablanca and other major Moroccan cities. The Taourirt - Nador line connects Beni Ensar to the national railway network. Trains terminate at the port, providing easy access to the ferry terminal. For more information on train services in Morocco, you can visit the ONCF website (Moroccan National Railways Office).

There are also bus services (operated by CTM) connecting the town of Beni Ensar to some of the main urban centers, such as Fez, Casablanca, Al Hoceima, Rabat, Marrakech and Tangier. You can find more information about intercity bus routes and schedules in Morocco on the CTM website (in French).

View of Nador and the Sebkha Bou Areg lagoon

Nador is on the coast of the unique Mar Chica saltwater lagoon  

Vacation in Nador

Situated on the coast of a beautiful saltwater lagoon in the Mediterranean, Nador is a small city in the Rif region of Morocco. It was founded in the 19th century by the local Berber population and was under Spanish rule from 1912 till Morocco’s independence in 1956. 

With several redevelopment projects on the way, Nador is set to become one of the biggest tourist resorts in the country. But for the time being, you can still enjoy the authentic Moroccan atmosphere and laid-back vibe of the city. 

Strolling down the streets of Nador, you will have the opportunity to catch a glimpse of the everyday life of the town’s inhabitants and get to know the local culture. And if it gets too hot, you can always escape to one of the lovely nearby beaches for a relaxing day by the sea!

How to get to Nador

You can reach Nador by ferry from Sète in France. There are about 2-3 weekly crossings, with trip duration ranging from 39 to 43 hours. Normally, there are also ferry crossings from Spain (Barcelona, Motril and Almería), but they are temporarily suspended.

You can also get to Nador by plane. The Nador International Airport (also known as El Aroui Airport) is located approximately 24km south of the city and serves connections from France, Germany, Belgium, Spain and the Netherlands. Taxi services are available at the airport, but there is no public transport to Nador.

If you’re traveling to Nador from Spain, you can also fly to Melilla Airport. The airport is located close to the city (about 17km), but you will have to cross the border - which is currently closed - to reach it. The Melilla Airport connects the Spanish city to southern Spain as well as Madrid and Gran Canaria. 

If you are already in Morocco, there are regular bus and train services that connect Nador with several major and smaller cities across the country.

What to do in Nador

While Nador does not have world-renowned sights and attractions that would get the tourist adrenaline pumping, it offers a great local experience to visitors.

One of the best things to do in Nador is walk around the city to discover the traditional tea shops and restaurants, try delicious Moroccan dishes and enjoy great views of the Mediterranean. You should also visit the Nador souk, the city’s colorful marketplace, where you can find pretty much anything your heart desires!

To catch some sun and truly unwind, head to one of the beautiful beaches near Nador. And for those who would like to explore the area, there are many charming places to visit near the city, such as Mount Gourougou and the Spanish city of Melilla.

Sacks of spices at the Nador marketplace

Colorful spices at the traditional market of Nador

Beaches in Nador

Given its location on the coast of the Mediterranean, it’s no wonder that Nador is close to some gorgeous beaches. The mild weather allows you to enjoy the sea and the sun for most of the year, with the months from May to September being the warmest ones.

Some of the top beaches close to Nador are: 

  • Charrana: it is roughly a 1-hour drive from Nador to this picturesque pristine beach that offers amazing views of the Moroccan sunset. Charrana beach has no amenities, so make sure that you bring all the essentials with you.
  • Plage Boukhana: this endless sandy beach is located on the thin strip of land that separates Nador’s lagoon from the Mediterranean Sea. It is easily accessible by car and has a beach bar. 
  • Playa Tcharrana: surrounded by imposing mountains, this beautiful beach has calm waters that are perfect for swimming. You will find a small restaurant and a parking lot right next to the beach. Bear in mind that it can get a bit crowded during the high season.
  • Tibouda: this gorgeous secluded beach with the white sand and turquoise waters is the perfect place for a peaceful day by the sea. It takes a hike of about 1 hour to reach it, but it’s worth the effort.
  • Playa Sidi Lehsen: located about 40km from Nador, this is a lovely beach with golden sand and crystal blue waters. Access is easy and there are some traditional cafés and small restaurants where you can grab a bite.
  • Plage D'Arekmane (or Plage Kariat Arkmane): this quiet, family-friendly beach is located right next to the town of Kariat Arekmane, about a half-hour drive from Nador. It has a wide range of facilities, from cafés to water sports rentals. The beach is also supervised by a lifeguard.

Sightseeing and activities in Nador

Given its small size, Nador’s attractions can easily be explored on foot, allowing you to fully experience the city’s daily life. For those who want to enjoy the great outdoors, Nador is also close to some impressive natural sights, such as Mount Gourougou. 

Here  are some of the best places to visit while in Nador:

  • Nador’s saltwater lagoon: go for a relaxing walk along the beautiful coast of the Sebkha Bou Areg lagoon (also known as Mar Chica), where the locals hang out in the evening.
  • The Nador souk: a must-see during your trip, this is the best place in town to go shopping and look for souvenirs. From fruit and brightly-colored spices piled in huge sacks to clothes, fabrics and impressive jewelry, you can find pretty much anything in Nador’s lively marketplace.  
  • The city’s corniche: offering lovely views of the Sebkha Bou Areg lagoon, the recently redeveloped corniche is perfect for a leisurely stroll, jogging or cycling. 
  • Mount Gourougou: for a breathtaking view of Nador and the Mediterranean, head to the gorgeous mountain located next to the city. A green forest covers its slopes, which are home to stunning waterfalls, hiking paths and several native animal and plant species.  
  • Cape Three Forks: located only a few kilometers north of Nador, Cape Three Forks is perfect for a day trip from the city. The vast mountainous promontory stands out for its wild beauty, awe-inspiring landscapes and secluded beaches.  
  • Melilla: the Spanish enclave surrounded by the waters and territory of Morocco is only 15km away from Nador. Don’t miss the chance to discover the historical city with the impressive medieval and modernist architecture, fascinating museums and picturesque tapas bars. 

Important note: if you decide to visit Melilla from Nador, you will be crossing an international border. This means that you will need your passport, visa or other official documents that are required to enter the Spanish territory. At the moment, the border between Melilla and Morocco is closed until further notice.

Nightlife in Nador

As you would expect from a small Moroccan city, Nador has a strong café culture. While drinking is permitted in the country, alcohol must be purchased and consumed in places that have a special licence. If you’re looking for something stronger than mint tea, the bar of the Mercure Rif Nador hotel is one of the only places in Nador that serves alcohol.

Food in Nador

Nador is full of small tea shops and restaurants that offer mouthwatering Moroccan dishes as well as international favorites, such as pizza and burgers. You can start your day with a hearty Moroccan breakfast: eggs with bread accompanied by mint tea. We also recommend trying fresh fish and seafood as well as grilled chicken, which seems to be a very popular dish in Nador.

Two glasses of Moroccan mint tea with sugar

Mint tea is one of the most famous symbols of Moroccan hospitality

Useful information about Nador

You can visit Nador and the coastal regions of Morocco any time of the year. While in the south of the country it can get very hot during the summer, the sea breeze makes the sunny coast comfortable, with temperatures not rising above 25-26°C. Winters are pleasantly mild, but the weather can get a bit cloudy and windy. For swimming and sunbathing, the best time to travel to Nador is between May and September. 

In the center of Nador, you will find many shops, supermarkets, pharmacies and ATM machines. The city also has 2 hospitals, El Hassani and Al Matare. As for accommodation, there are several hotels that suit all budgets, while you can also find some apartments and rooms to rent.

The main languages spoken in Nador are Tarifit Berber, Arabic and French. Due to the close proximity of the city to Melilla, many locals also speak or understand Spanish.

Fast fact: Riffian Berber people represent 98% of the population of Nador, making it the largest Tarifit speaking city in the world.

Important phone numbers for your stay in Nador

Here are some useful contacts to keep handy during your trip to Nador:

  • Nador - El Aroui Airport: +212522435858, 0801000224, +212536361077 
  • El Hassani Hospital:  +212636784622, +212536606233
  • Al Matare Hospital: +212536606363
  • Moroccan National Railways Office (ONCF): +212537774747
  • CTM (intercity buses): 0800090030
  • medical emergencies: 150
  • police: 190 (landline), 112 (mobile phone)
  • Moroccan Royal Gendarmerie (police outside urban areas): 177

Transportation in Nador

Nador is a small city where everything can be reached on foot. Alternatively, you can get around by taxi, one of the most popular means of transport in Morocco. There are 2 types of taxis in the country: petits taxis (“small taxis”) and grands taxis (“big taxis”).

Petits taxis have a maximum capacity of 3 passengers (plus the driver) and can only transfer you within city limits. There are taxi ranks for petits taxis, but it’s also very common for people to hail them on the street.

Most petits taxis do not have meters, so make sure that you agree on a price with the driver in advance. Remember that if there are vacant seats, the driver might pick up other passengers going roughly in the same direction. You can also hire the whole taxi for an agreed price.

If you want to travel outside Nador, you can get a grand taxi. Grands taxis can accommodate up to 7 people (including the driver) and taxi ranks can be found around the city. Bear in mind that some grands taxis only travel on fixed routes.

Grands taxis are normally shared with other passengers going to the same destination or somewhere along the route. There is also the option to hire the whole vehicle if you’re willing to pay for all the vacant seats.

There is also a public bus network in Nador, but some local help will probably be needed to make the best use of it. Buses are operated by the company Vectalia.

A red petit taxi in Morocco

Petits taxis are a very popular means of transport in Morocco

Where to book ferry tickets online to Nador

Book cheap ferry tickets to Nador online on Ferryhopper with no hidden fees! Find all the information you need about the port and the city of Nador, compare prices and organize your ferry trip to Morocco with just a few clicks.


Nador has direct ferry connections with 5 ports:

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