“I just know that I don’t know anything.
As the wise Greek philosopher Socrates famously said, I only know that I know nothing. And although he knew a lot, the bottom line is that you have to be humble and no matter how much you know, there is always a lot to learn out there.
Today I welcome you with this sentence, because I want you, before visiting Melilla, to know some curiosities about the city, its people, what to do and so on.
Although I know I don’t know everything about Melilla, I want you to open all your senses and above all your mind. To teach you, humbly, everything I know so far about my city.
My intention is to delve, briefly and if only a little, into the vague perception of Melilla today or to expand on the little that is known about it.
So, with that said, let’s move on with this article!
What you should know before visiting Melilla
Here are the different things you should know before visiting the city of Melilla.
An article aimed at those who like to get to know the destination before visiting it.
If you prefer to go in blind, better leave your reading here 🙂 Although I don’t advise it, this could save you a lot of money at your destination.
Let us begin.
5 different cultures coexist
Yes. In a city of only 85,000 inhabitants and a surface area of12 km2, no less than five different cultures coexist. Let’s say it’s a tremendous mix of cultures. Christians, Muslims, Jews, Hindus and Gypsies.
The majority of Melilla’s population is Christian and Muslim, almost equal in number. This would be followed by the Jewish population and with smaller numbers of Hindus and Gypsies (in terms of population numbers).
Undoubtedly, this interculturalism is a strong sign of identity of the city of Melilla.
Melilla’s people are more than used to living together despite not sharing a religion. They feel part of the city, they are Melilla citizens, regardless of their religion. A healthy and healthy coexistence for all.
In Melilla, everyone mixes. People coexist very naturally and calmly. There are not neighbourhoods of one religion and neighbourhoods of another. No.
The cultural richness can be seen not only in the people, but also in the streets of Melilla.
You can meet, approximately, the same number of churches as mosques. You will also be able to see, albeit in smaller numbers, synagogues and a Hindu temple. And in all the temples it is possible to stop and contemplate and browse a little.
In the Golden Triangle, you will come across and marvel at buildings of different religions, perhaps the most unique temples in the city of Melilla.
Finally, as a curiosity, in addition to the Spanish and Christian national holidays, Melilla also officially celebrates two Muslim religious holidays: the feast of Eid Fitr (end of Ramadan) and the feast of Sacrifice-Aid Al Adha (the feast of the lamb).
As a result of what I have just told you above, in the city of Melilla you will be able to try out a varied and more than surprising gastronomy. The result of the fusion of the 5 cultures.
Gastronomy with a Mediterranean flavour, so what can go wrong?
To begin with, tapas are a typical custom in Melilla.
As far as meat is concerned, lamb, chicken or veal kebabs are the main attraction, seasoned with saffron, cumin, pepper, paprika, parsley and coriander.
You will also find Couscous (mixes chopped lamb meat with vegetables and spices), Harira (vegetable, meat and spice soups) and a kind of pastry typical of Melilla called pastela (made with chicken or seafood, and sprinkled with icing sugar and cinnamon).
Let’s go with the fish.
Of course, being a coastal town, you’ll find good fish. In many bars or restaurants, they offer mussels, anchovies, sardines and anchovies, anchovies in vinegar and fried fish.
All of them are very tasty dishes that you can enjoy at a very good price in any bar or restaurant in the centre of Melilla.
There is also good seafood (langoustine, lobster, prawns or shrimps) and tasty shellfish (mussels or clams).
A curious and typical dish is the pastel de pescador, (fisherman’s pie), made with various fish, including monkfish, marlin, prawns and langoustines.
The turn of fruit and vegetables.
In Melilla’s gastronomy, garden produce plays an important role, especially tomatoes, beans, asparagus and artichokes.
One dish you can try is the so-called tortilla de colores (of Hebrew origin). And with the ingredients you will understand the name: egg (yellow), peas (green), carrot (orange) and mashed potatoes (white). A quite tasty dish.
You can also find a wide variety of desserts in the city:
- Sweet couscous
- The sweet scarves.
- Jiringos (sweet semolina cake)
- Camel’s kiss (Stuffed dates)
- Chebakia (traditional sweets)
Peculiarity with drinks. You can find all kinds of drinks in Melilla. But there is one nuance compared to the rest of the country: coffee.
When you visit Melilla, you will notice that “our coffee” is replaced by a green tea with mint (a Berber heritage) with an exquisite taste and pleasant aroma.
Another great thing is that when you order something to drink in a bar or restaurant, they give you a tapas! the “tapa” is normally included in the price of the drink.
In Melilla, there is no typical dish as such, because the gastronomy, like the city, is a corpus of flavours and fusions.
To almost conclude with the gastronomy, here are some dishes from Melilla:
- Monkfish casserole
- Pinchitos morunos (kebabs)
- Fish cauldron
- Baked rice
- Different types of couscous
- Harera (traditional North African soup)
And finally, the best breakfasts to start the day full of energy:
- Moroccan tachnift Catalan-style bread with turkey and cheese
- Moorish tea with mint
- Some churros (porras or madrileños)
Some adventure activities in Melilla and surroundings.
Melilla is not just about culture and history. There are also various activities to unleash the adrenaline we all have inside us.
So, let’s go, briefly, with a list of adventure and fun activities you could do in Melilla and surroundings:
- 4×4 route to Morocco (dunes, cobbled paths and winding cross-country roads).
- Diving at Cabo de Tres Forcas and Bocana Beach (Rays, barracudas and corals, also PADI certified).
- Kayaking in Galapagos (to see Melilla from another perspective, to contemplate its cliffs and fortress from the Mediterranean Sea).
- Kitesurfing at La Bocana beach (2km south of Melilla, a virgin spot with wind and wave conditions, perfect for kitesurfing).
- Paddle surfing in Cala Trápana (an increasingly fashionable sport that you can do from this beautiful cove to observe the imposing city of Melilla from a distance).
- Surfing on the Hípica beach (wave lovers, in Melilla we also practise this magnificent and demanding sport).
- Climbing (for those who love maximum adrenaline and heights, hang from the walls of Melilla).
Weather in Melilla
In Melilla, we cannot complain about our climate.
Summers are hot and dry and mostly clear. Winters are cool, windy and partly cloudy. During the course of the year, the temperature generally varies from 10 °C to 30 °C and rarely drops below 7 °C or rises above 34 °C.
The best time of the year to visit Melilla for warm weather activities, is from the end of June to mid-September.
The hot season lasts for about 3 months and the average daily maximum temperature is 27 °C. The warmest month of the year in Melilla is August, with an average maximum temperature of 29 °C and a minimum of 22 °C.
The cool season lasts about 4 months and the average daily maximum temperature is 20 °C. The coldest month of the year in Melilla is January, with an average minimum temperature of 10 °C and a maximum of 17 °C.
In short, we have good temperatures here for most of the year. So you can visit Melilla at any time of the year, depending on your priorities (whether you want to enjoy the beach or not, etc).
Best vantage points
Seeing the city of Melilla from a panoramic view is very impressive, so I recommend several strategic points from where you can get a good perspective of the city and from where you can see other equally beautiful landscapes:
- Take a kayak or paddle surf and see the fortress of Melilla from the Mediterranean Sea.
- Mount Gurugú (on the outskirts, already in Moroccan territory)
- Calle Miguel Acosta (between the lighthouse and Cala Trápana, good views of the lighthouse, Cala Trápana and the Baluarte de la Concepción Alta).
- From the royal battery located in the Ibañez art museum.
- From the military museum located in Melilla la Vieja.
- The cliffs of Aguadú.
You can now visit Melilla and learn more about it.
I congratulate you for wanting to know a little more about Melilla before visiting it. I think these are things that are good to know before you come for two reasons: to be prepared and to have a broader knowledge of the place you are about to visit.
I hope you have enjoyed this article and that above all it has been of help to you on your pre-trip to Melilla.
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Remember I’m Jennifer, from Your guide in Melilla and…
I hope to see you and guide you through my city!