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Morocco from Spain in Late July?

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I am meeting my 16 year old son in Barcelona at the end of his summer program and fly out of Rome 14 days later. Thinking of a short trip down to Morocco, and would appreciate suggestions about where to go, tour vs. going it alone, the best way to end up in Rome (back up through Spain, flight Tangier, train from Algeria?)- of course all on a very tight budget.
Thanks!!!!

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    I am soon wrapping up a nearly year-long around-the-world trip and was in Morocco in early March. My schedule was open-ended so I had a bit more time to spare than you probably will, but I took a ferry that left from Genoa, Italy, stopped in Barcelona and then continued on to Tangier, Morocco. The ferry takes about 24 hours to get to Barcelona from Italy and then another 24 hours to get to Morocco. The cheapest option (which I did) was to get a reclining sleeper seat, but you can also get a bunk in a cabin. When I went it was the off season (winter) so it wasn't very crowded and I was able to lay flat against a few adjoining seats as opposed to just reclining in one seat. However, I know summer is the busy season so I'm sure the ferries are more crowded and book up faster. At least going from Spain to Morocco it would only be one night as opposed to two. There are two companies I found that do the route: Grandi Navi Veloci (http://www2.gnv.it/en.html), which I did since it's cheaper and Grimaldi (http://www.grimaldi-lines.com/en). There may be others as well that run just in the summer months. I found this link, which might help: http://www.cemar.it/dest/ferries_morocco.htm.

    When you arrive at the ferry port, you are actually in Tangier Med, which is 30 minutes from the city of Tangier, but your ferry ticket entitles you to a free shuttle bus ride to Tangier leaving every 30 minutes. Tangier is a relatively nice city on the Mediterranean/Atlantic coast, but I'm assuming you would want to go down to Fez, Marrakech or Casablanca as well. Depending on how much time you had you could stop in Fez on your way to Marrakech and/or Casablanca since it's relatively on the way. The train system in Morocco is actually pretty efficient and reliable and is probably the best way to go if you decide to go overland. To get from Tangier to Marrakech you have to change trains in Casablanca and the whole trip takes about nine hours. I know that sounds like kind of a lot, but there are night trains with sleeper cars if you don't want to waste your whole day traveling. Here is a link to the railway website: http://www.oncf.ma/index_en.aspx.

    If you are working with a very limited time frame and just want to skip all that oversea/overland stuff then I met some people who flew to Marrakech from Barcelona on Ryanair. I honestly have never flown Ryanair so I don't know how that fits into your comfort level, but it's probably going to be the cheapest option you find especially if you book far enough in advance. You could also look into taking the ferry one way and flying the other way to save some time.

    Anyways, I hope this wasn't information overload. Have fun on your trip. Morocco's an amazing place and in my opinion perfectly safe--that's coming from a 31-year-old American woman who was traveling alone. If I can do it, I think anyone can. Marrakech (and I guess Fez, though I didn't make it there) are going to be more authentically "Moroccan" than Casablanca so I would make it your priority to go there. Also if you go to Marrakech you should try to stay in an traditional Riad inn for a more authentic experience. Good luck!

    And, oh, I just noticed you need to get back to Rome. Ryanair also flies from Marrakech to Rome or you could take the ferry to Genoa or Livorno and get the train to Rome from there. It's the same ferry companies, just takes an extra day after stopping in Barcelona.

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