Who would expect to find hundreds of modernist buildings, the second-largest such collection outside Barcelona, in North Africa? Yet here they are, along with one perfectly preserved medieval fortress, several fascinating museums and a wealth of tapas bars. The result is Melilla, a great place to spend the weekend.
Along with Ceuta, Melilla is one of two autonomous Spanish cities on the Moroccan coast. Its economy is rooted in cross-border commerce, and its population nearly equally divided between Spanish Christian and Berber Muslim, giving a strongly multicultural atmosphere. The enclave is tightly fenced and at the forefront of Spain's efforts to prevent sub-Saharan African migrants and refugees from the Syrian and Libyan conflicts entering the European Union.
Melilla is very easy on the traveler, and tourist infrastructure is excellent. While ferry-loads of visitors pour in during summer, in the low season you’ll have plenty of breathing room.
These are our favorite local haunts, touristy spots, and hidden gems throughout Melilla.