Cape Spartel & the Hercules Caves are a great day trip option if you’re visiting Tangier for a few days. Below we tell you exactly how to get there & what you can expect to see!
If you take a day trip to the coast you’ll visit the Cape Spartel lighthouse and see where the Atlantic sea meets the Strait of Gibraltar. Following a 3.6 km pleasant walk south you’ll hit the pretty beaches, at which point you can choose which looks the best for a swim. And then to finish the day, wander into the Hercules Cave and see for yourself where Hercules himself, allegedly spent a night.
Cape Spartel is part of large protected reserve and only 25 minutes from Tangier. Which means that this day trip is an easy one, especially great if you’re not in the mood for long travel times.
If you have read our blog on 13 top things to do in Tangier then you’ll know that our day trip to Cape Spartel was one of our favs… a highlight on our visit to Tangier for sure! Yes Morocco Medinas are awesome, but after travelling Morocco for 3 months we were ready for a change of scenery.
Our day trip to Cape Spartel provided a break from the busy city, with a lovely balance of nature, beaches, a cave and a little history. So read our guide for all the details on how to get there and how to plan your visit.
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Where is Cape Spartel & the Hercules Cave
Cape Spartel is located in a National Park on the most northwestern point of Africa. What makes it uniquely special is that the views provide the perfect vantage point to see where the Atlantic Sea meets the Strait of Gibraltar. We explain how to see this in more detail below.
Scroll in and out on the map above, to see our recommended route for how to visit Cape Spartel and the Hercules Caves near Tangier.
How to Get to Cape Spartel from Tangier
Cape Spartel is around a 25 minute drive west from Tangier. If you have your own vehicle then Google Maps will get you there no trouble in the slightest!
However, if you don’t have your own vehicle then don’t stress… it’s easy peasy.
One of the easiest ways to get to Cape Spartel and Hercules Cave from Tangier is by Taxi. Simply find your nearest taxi point and negotiate yourself a ride. For reference, we found that 160 MAD was about the cheapest.
Of course, if you’re traveling on a budget like us, then a collective is an ideal way to get to Cape Spartel. In fact, I’d say it’s our preferred option for travel when exploring Morocco.
Taking a Collective from Tangier to Cape Spartel
IF you just read above, and are thinking to yourself… what the hang is a collective. Let me explain… A collective is essentially a shared taxi system, with set routes and prices. The collective driver waits at the collection points until their taxi is full before heading off.
The collective point in Tangier for Cape Spartel is at the top of Rue Sidi Bouabid, just before the roundabout. Look for the bus stop of Mosque Mohamed V, which is marked on the location map above.
Look for the taxis gathering on the side of the road and you’ll know when you’re in the right place. Find one of the drivers and let them know you want to go to Cape Spartel. He will point you towards the guy who is arranging the vehicles.
Normally the front cars are those next to depart, however some collective points do go to multiple destinations. In which case, you may find three or four vehicles are loading at the same time. For Cape Spartel we paid 20 MAD per passenger and only waited around 5 minutes.
Cape Spartel Lighthouse
Now that you have arrived in Cape Spartel from Tangier, it’s time to begin enjoying the sights. Let the collective driver know that you want to get dropped off at the Cape Spartel Lighthouse. This is the first stop for the day.
Note: If you plan to take a half day trip and want to catch a collective back to Tangier, then speak to the driver about the pick up point. These are normally at the same location, however it pays to double check.
From the drop off point its a short walk to the entrance of the park area and lighthouse. You have the option to simply admire the view over the Atlantic Ocean and the lighthouse from a distance. Alternatively, you can enter the lighthouse and park area for an entrance fee of 50 MAD for adults, while kids are free.
This fee covers the entrance into the grounds and the lighthouse. To be honest, we weren’t sure about paying for the visit, but were glad we made the decision to do it. The lighthouse complex also doubles as a small museum providing a short history of the area. Not to mention the epic views from the top of the lighthouse, after walking up the winding staircase.
There’s also a café onsite, and grassy gardens if you wish to stop for a coffee. We enjoyed a morning tea snack with a beautiful view.
From here there are also a couple of walks that you can connect to. One is the walk around the coast which follows the shoreline and is more frequented by local fishermen than tourists. But also you may be interested in doing the walk from Tangier to Cape Spartel, through the National Park. Read this review of one guy who made the walk in 2019.
The Beaches of Cape Spartel
And the beaches to the south beyond Cape Spartel lighthouse! Well they are some of the best in Morocco, if I should be so bold. Especially when the beaches closer to Tangier are super busy in the height of summer, then these are the beaches you need to explore. Below, we explain the beaches in more detail.
Not forgetting Hercules Caves which is an easy 3.6km walk from the lighthouse, past the beaches and down the coast. So pack your swimmers, a towel, sun block, snacks and water because we recommend that you make this a full day trip from Tangier.
Sol Beach, Achakkar Beach & Sidi Kacem Beach
Continuing on just south of the Cape Spartel lighthouse lie several perfect beaches. White sand, blue water, a small wave and plenty of places to stop and eat. Most of these beaches are within walking distance of each other, therefore conveniently you can take your pick depending on what you’re looking for.
Your options are a small rocky bay with restaurants, marked #4 on our map above. Then Sol Beach, Achakkar beach with several beach bars, or the more southern Sidi Kacem Beach.
Directions from Cape Spartel Lighthouse to Sol Beach
From the Cape, make your way south along the entrance road you came in on. Once you reach the roundabout, simply continue south down the coast. Look for the walking track or promenade that leads to the water. This track follows the rocky coastline and is a superb position to look for where the Strait of Gibraltar and the Atlantic Ocean meet.
There is also a little bay before you reach Sol Beach that is great for a swim. Check out our map for the location labelled #4 Restaurant Chez Bachir. Here you can take a dip, or find an umbrella to grab a place to rest and order something to eat or drink.
Heading further south, join back on the road for a short time before reaching Plage Sol or Sol Beach. In total, this is about a 20 minute walk from the Cape Spartel Lighthouse. It’s a lovely beach, the smallest in comparison to the beaches located further to the south. There is also a beach restaurant as you enter Sol Beach and plenty of places to rent a beach umbrella or chairs.
Directions from Sol Beach to Achakkar Beach:
For the final stretch, continuing south again, you can walk the beach towards Achakkar Beach. At the southern end of Plage Sol is a small outcrop, cross this to reach Achakkar Beach.
In summer, you’ll find both Mikki Beach and Kabana Beach Club located here. And depending on the season, both are party spots with lively music and drinks. But if you want somewhere a little quieter, carry on south for many other spots along the beach to choose from.
At the end of Achakkar beach out on the headland is where you will find Hercules Caves. While south of the cave is a huge stretch of beach that includes Sidi Kacem Beach.
The popular Hercules Cave is both man-made and a natural cave formation. The natural cave has one land entrance, but also opens out to the sea. From this angle the cave opening has a striking resemblance to the African continent.
There are a few interesting historical stories associated with the Hercules Caves. The most popular one contributed to the caves name, is the legend of Hercules and the golden apples. Legend has it, that in this cave Hercules spent a night before stealing the golden apples as part of his 12 labours given to him by King Eurystheus.
It is also said that the Hercules Caves over time have been used as a brothel, and for a time by smugglers seeking a shelter or hiding place. While the man-made caves were originally made by local Berber tribes who used the caves for carving stone wheels.
Word of warning, the cave is a popular tourist destination among local Moroccans. In the peak of summer, in July and August, it gets exceptionally busy. Therefore we recommend arriving early and consider making this day trip in reverse – ending at the Cape Spartel Lighthouse.
Getting from Hercules Caves Back to Tangier
To get back to Tangier you can again catch a private taxi or collective. The taxi stand at the Hercules Caves is near the Le Mirage Hotel and roundabout.
Come out of the cave complex entrance and cross over the roundabout heading down Rte des Grottes d’Hercule. This is where you’ll find the taxi’s waiting, so let one of the drivers know and they will sort you out.
Summary – Cape Spartel & More on Morocco
Our little family of four had an awesome day out at Cape Spartel. We planned on making a day of it so left early and packed accordingly. We were at the Cape not long after opening so missed the crowds, then followed our noses south ending up at Hercules Caves.
After several stops, admiring the coastline, grabbing a bite to eat as we walked, and swimming in multiple locations we had almost passed the full day. This gave us enough time to visit the Hercules Caves, which were rather busy by the afternoon. But all-in-all our day trip to Cape Spartel was excellent and one of our Tangier highlights.
If you want MORE on Morocco and other unique day trip ideas to cool locations, then click through to more of our other blogs below.
💎 Visit the famous blue city of Chefchaouen not far from Tangier
⛰ Take a day or overnight trip into the stunning Atlas Mountains near Marrakech
🧑🍳 Book in a cooking class for your visit to Fes
👙 Swim in the incredible river under God’s Bridge near Chefchaouen
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