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Ceuta is one of a handful of Spanish possessions on the coastline of Morocco. Located on a peninsula jutting out into the Mediterranean, it offers a compact dose of fantastic architecture, interesting museums, excellent food, a relaxing maritime park and bracing nature walks. The city is particularly beautiful at night, a skyline of artfully lit buildings and bursting palms.

If entering from Morocco, Ceuta is also an eye-opener. You cross a 400m no-man’s-land of haphazardly placed barricades, part of the EU's efforts to prevent illegal immigration, and find yourself blinking in the light of Spanish culture, a relaxed world of well-kept plazas and tapas bars bubbling over until the wee hours. This cultural-island phenomenon is the essence of Ceuta. It explains the Spanish military presence, the immigrants, the duty-free shopping, the shady cross-border commerce and the tourism. It makes a perfect weekend getaway.

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