Get us in your inbox

Strait of Gibraltar
Strait of Gibraltar | Photograph: Shutterstock

There could be an underwater tunnel linking Europe and Africa by 2030

The 2030 World Cup has accelerated ambitious plans for a tunnel connecting Spain and Morocco

Liv Kelly
Written by
Liv Kelly

If you thought the bridge between Italy and Sicily sounded ambitious, think again. Thanks in part to the 2030 World Cup and the opening of Morocco’s Al Boraq high-speed railway, it sounds like another pioneering transport project might actually be going ahead. 

We’re talking about an underwater tunnel connecting Spain and Morocco. Yes, you read that right. The two countries – both set to host the 2030 World Cup along with Portugal – could be connected by a subaqueous railway. 

These ambitions have been kicking about for a long time, with a Strait of Gibraltar tunnel first being proposed way back in 1930. However, this week, the Moroccan National Company for Strait Studies said work was being done to establish the financial and strategic elements required to actually build it.

What we know so far is that the underwater section of the tunnel would span 28km and, at its deepest point, would reach 475m below sea level. The route would connect Punta Paloma, west of Tarifa in southern Spain, with Malabata, just east of Tangier in northern Morocco. 

According to the Telegraph, it’s estimated that once built, the two tunnels could transport 12.8 million passengers per year, along with 13 million tonnes of cargo. There’ll also be a third maintenance tunnel constructed, and as with any rail project, there’s the massive perk of slashed journey times. 

From Casablanca to Madrid, flying takes around two hours but driving takes up to 12. It’s estimated that crossing by tunnel would take only around five and a half. 

And if you think these plans sound rather demanding, it’s because they are. The proposals have been heralded as one of the most ambitious undersea projects in the world, added to by the fact that the route will cross over a geological fault line between the Eurasian and African tectonic plates – yikes

There are a couple of things still up in the air. We don’t yet know when this project will kick off, nor how much it will cost (but it’s estimated to be around €7 billion, at least).

Did you see that a brand-new train route connecting some of Europe’s most exciting cities is launching next year?

Plus: This Spanish Town has been named Europe’s most beautiful destination

Stay in the loop: sign up to our free Time Out Travel newsletter for all the latest travel news.

You may also like
You may also like