Hercules statue, Ceuta

Ceuta, the best of four cultures


Pleasures to discover on the other side of the Strait

Known as the “pearl of the Mediterranean”, Ceuta waits on the other side of the Strait of Gibraltar, a destination full of colour. In northern Africa, this Spanish city combines four cultures, with Christian, Muslim, Jewish and Hindu traditions. The result is a welcoming, dynamic place, in a unique natural setting between two seas and a culinary fusion with surprising ingredients. It also enjoys a microclimate with mild temperatures never rising above 32º.

Relax in the Mediterranean Maritime Park

The city of Ceuta boasts a fine example of the work of the architect César Manrique: the Mediterranean Maritime Park. With the characteristic environmental values which Manrique, a native of the Canary Islands, would defend throughout his life and career, this complex of natural salt water pools, palm trees and waterfalls is a space to relax, devoted to well-being. Complete with a wide range of culinary options and sun loungers by the sea, this is a great spot to spend a day relaxing and de-stressing before you discover Ceuta’s other attractions – and there are many!

View of the Mediterranean Maritime Park

Huge monuments to Hercules

Whether arriving at Ceuta by ship or helicopter from Algeciras (Cadiz) or Malaga, your first view of the city is dominated by a giant sculptural group depicting Classical mythology: seven metres tall, in four tonnes of bronze. This is 'Hercules and the Union of the World' by Ginés Serrán. In 2007, this Ceuta-born painter and sculptor chose the original setting of the Greek myth describing the separation of Europe and Africa, the Strait of Gibraltar, for the site of this work.The first Hercules, in Plaza de la Constitución, pushes the two continents apart. The second, on the western dock, grasps the columns to join together what he had separated. Serrán intended to take a new approach to the myth and to symbolise peace and unity among the countries of the world.  

Hercules statue, Ceuta

Sailing between the Royal Walls

The meeting of cultures in Ceuta can be seen in a route through the Museum of the Late Roman Basilica from the 4th century, the remains of the 11th century Arab baths and the complex of the Royal Walls. This fortress, which marked the limits of the ancient city, is the only one of its kind in Europe, due to its moat - navigable for small boats and canoes - which divides it into two parts and connects the two sides of the Bay of Ceuta. The Royal Walls fortress is home to exhibitions and other artistic events, and even includes a Parador de Turismo hotel which was built later, in harmony with its monumental style. In summer, outdoor concerts are held here. Attending a performance by leading figures of contemporary dance and flamenco, such as Sara Baras or José Mercé, or international symphony orchestras in this setting is a wonderful experience.

Royal Walls of Ceuta

Nature, leisure and multicultural flavours

After a day on the beach or an excursion to Mount Hacho, with its amazing views of Ceuta and the Strait of Gibraltar, you can return to sea level via the Paseo de La Marina and come to the leisure area of the Poblado Marinero. There are plenty of options for water sports (scuba diving, sailing, kayaks, etc.) and for a deep dive into the cuisine of Ceuta, especially its fish and seafood. You could also explore the city’s shopping area and try some Andalusian-style tapas on Paseo del Revellín.There is one speciality that everybody in Ceuta will recommend... although it can be a challenge for all but the most daring. This is the bocadillo campero de corazones de pollo - a large roll filled with chicken hearts. The dish is as authentic and unique as the adobo moruno dressing and alioli sauce that go with it. It would be a shame to leave Ceuta without at least a taste of this iconic local dish. And thanks to the multicultural nature of this city, you can finish off with an avocado and banana smoothie, or a mint tea with Arab pastries in a small café. In Ceuta, tolerance between cultures is something in the air, to be celebrated and enjoyed.  

Avocado smoothie
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