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Melilla: Spain’s answer to ‘The Rock’, but with Rif Mountains and Sahara Desert excursions to offer.

When you think of Spain you would probably never think of the north Moroccan coast, yet there are two Spanish enclaves there: Ceuta, which is just across the straits, and Melilla, a little further away from the southern Spanish coast. Melilla is known for its famous August Regatta which takes place this year from the 8th to the 14th of August.

The Melilla Regatta is one not to be missed, as the city and its Yacht Club make the crew of visiting yachts hugely welcome, offering amazing banquettes and hospitality. There’s a 100 mile delivery voyage from Gibraltar to Melilla, then after a day’s rest, the events proper take place in the sun soaked Mediterranean Sea, winding up with prize giving on the 14th.

The city of Melilla is also known as the ‘City of Four Cultures’ as Christians, Muslims, Jews and Hindus live together here maintaining their cultural identities, each leaving their mark on life in the town as well as its cuisine. It’s also a town of great historic interest influenced by the Phoenicians, the Romans, Vandals and Arabs. Its fort dates back to the 15th century.

Melilla is a fabulous place for scuba diving and snorkelling and also simply for sunbathing on its fine blue-flag sandy beaches. It is also an ideal departure point for adventure activities such as an excursion to the Rif, which is easily accessible from the town, to Mount Gurugu Nature Park, or to the oases of Figuig and Tafilat at the edge of the Sahara Desert.

You can fly direct or take the ferry from Malaga to Melilla, the European city closest to the desert.

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