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oceania Aug 1st, 2007 11:55 AM

2 week itinerary for Morocco
I will be travelling to Morocco sometime in October or November for about 2 weeks.

I'll be arriving into Morocco from Spain and my first destination is probably going to be Fes as it makes the most sense.

I definitely want to visit the Sahara and Mountains/atlas area but I'm finding it difficult to find information on it and where to go and stay. Also don't know what order to visit each place, need help sorting this stuff out.

So far I'm thinking:

Fes - 3 days
Meknes? - 1 day?
Quazzarte - ?
Marrakesh - 3 days?
Essaauoria (not sure if I should bother)
Rabat - ?
Casablanca - 1/2 day just for the mosque and it's on the way
Tangier - 1/2 day just passing through

I much rather visit the desert and mountains and skip the larger cities (except Marrakesh and Fes) so I can fit everything. I do like jam packed trip so I don't mind if it is a bit overwhelming, most of my trips are this way anyways.

Please let me know the best way to travel to each destination - I'm guessing bus.

Any ideas on how much to budget for lodging, food and local transportation? I prefer to walk as much as possible, stay at hostels/guesthouses and eat from pretty low budget. I'm travelling solo as well.

thank you!

jgg Aug 1st, 2007 04:03 PM

oceania - we just spent 8 days in Morocco in March and loved it. The highlight was definitely our time in the Sahara desert. We didn't make it to Essouria, but with 2 weeks you could definitely do it, and others on the boards really like it there. I am going to give you the link to my trip report as well as another Morocco trip report. The second one was buy a woman travelling with her friend. They were a bit more budget conscience they we were (we were travelling with our kids), but I think you may find them both helpful.

Overall, I would say 3 days in Fes and 3 days in Marakkech would be a good start. Our trip to the desert was for 3 nights,Incl. an overnight stop in Ouazarzate along the way. You also drive through the High Atlas Mountains on the way from Merzouga (desert) to Marakkech so can stop a long the way at the Dades Gorge, Ait Benahaddou, etc.

Our trip report:;tid=34974589

Other trip report (it is a hoot!!):;tid=34944264

oceania Aug 1st, 2007 08:02 PM

Thanks!! I will go through both the links.

I'm also looking for a reputable company for a desert tour originating in Fes, ending in Quazzarte preferable. Not looking for high end but decent quality.

Is it possible to book once I'm in Morocco or is it recommended to book in advance?

jgg Aug 2nd, 2007 07:42 AM

We used Blue Men of Morocco ( for our time in Morocco and were extremely pleased. You can make plans once you arrive, although most of the ones I have seen mentioned are from Marakkech not Fez (althought I am sure they have some as well).

I would suggest you also take a look at the TripAdvisor Morocco Forum It tends to be a bit more active.

schlegal1 Aug 2nd, 2007 08:17 AM

Hi Oceania:
We're also going to Morocco in November (over U.S. Thanksgiving holidays) and we're really excited. Hope we can both compare notes when we return! No comments ion your itinterary since we've never been to Morocco but FYO I have made all our plans through Elena at Blue Men of Morocco. They are not budget by any means (esp since they quote in Euros and if you're American the dollar is so weak) but her responsiveness has been excellent and I have seen good reviews elsewhere. I know that there are some others who have recently booked guides in Morocco--try searching the board. Good luck!

schlegal1 Aug 2nd, 2007 08:21 AM

Here's a Fodor's discussion about a private guide people seemed to have good experiences with:

oceania Aug 2nd, 2007 11:58 AM

A private tour is going to be way out of my budget. It seems like people's version of budget is more much extravagant than mine :-P

I need to find a group tour to the desert but it can be from Marrakesh which hopefully will be easier and cheaper...I did contact Blue Men and I'm looking at a lot of money from Fes and going solo.

After doing some more research, I've come up with this itinerary, please let me know what you think:

Madrid (4days includes day trip to Toledo)
Cordoba (2-3days)
Sevilla (2-3 days)
Granada (2-3 days)
Granada > Algeciras > Tangier > Fes (1 day travelling)
Fes (3 days)
Meknes > Volubis)> Rabat (1 day?)*
Rabat & Casablanca (1.5 days)
Marrakech (4 days)
desert tour (2-3 days)*

Fly back to Madrid from Marrakecsh.* I also have 3 days extra to spend as I see fit.

I need help with the items marked with *

I need find a cheap one way flight to Madrid from Marrakesh.

I've also moved up the date of my trip - I think I will be leaving Oct 4th and coming back Nov 4th - not booked yet. I feel a little overwhelmed because there's sooo much to consider. I dropped Lisbon from my itinerary unless I miracleously able to fit it in.

oceania Aug 2nd, 2007 02:05 PM

I should have waited before I made my previous response. Upon further investigation, I still think it's better to start the desert tour from Fes and this way the middle and high atlas, gorge and Quazzarte will be on the way to Marrakesh.

I have a feeling that I will be paying an arm and a leg for this but I think it's better I wait until I get to Fes, hopefully meet up with some people and hopefully the hotel I'm staying at will help organize something.

jgg Aug 2nd, 2007 02:56 PM

Glad you noticed that as it makes more sense to go from Fez to Marakkech via the desert. I would also suggest rather than going to Casablanca/Rabat after Fez that you wait until after Marakkech so you are essentially making a circle, otherwise you would be back tracking back to Fez. With the few extra days you have you could stop in Essouria on your way from Marrakkech to Casablanca. As I mentioned, I have never been to Essouria but many people love it there. Then you can fly out of Casablanca (which might be easier to find a direct flight to Madrid from).

There are many low cost airlines that fly to Morocco from Spain but you often have to stop in London which can make a 2 hr. flight turn into a 5-10 hr. depending on layovers. Iberia and Royal Air Maroc are the best bet for finding a direct flight, but will be more expensive.

oceania Aug 2nd, 2007 06:31 PM

Thanks Jgg! I used your advice I have yet a new itinerary :-P which I'm pretty happy with. I found some really excellent website with great information which I'll post at the bottom of this message.

This is pretty detailed but it's mostly as a guideline because you know never what might happen, delayed flights, buses, etc but I have accounted for any disruptions and can easily accommodate changes - I'm ok with taking out Casablanca and Lisbon if need be.

I won't be booking my flight to Madrid until the first week in Sept but I noticed the price of the flight has changed constantly throughout the day over $200 difference on - really weird.

Anyways, this is what I got:

4-Oct-2007 depart toronto
5-Oct-2007 arrive Madrid
6-Oct-2007 Madrid
7-Oct-2007 Toledo (day trip from Madrid_
8-Oct-2007 Madrid/Cordoba
9-Oct-2007 Cordoba
10-Oct-2007 Cordoba/Sevilla
11-Oct-2007 Sevilla
12-Oct-2007 Sevilla/Granada
13-Oct-2007 Granada
14-Oct-2007 Granada
15-Oct-2007 Granada > La Linea (Gibraltar)> Algerciras > Tangier
16-Oct-2007 Tangier > Fes
17-Oct-2007 Fes
18-Oct-2007 Fes
19-Oct-2007 Fes
20-Oct-2007 Meknes & Voulibis (day trip from Fes)
21-Oct-2007 Desert Tour
22-Oct-2007 Desert Tour
23-Oct-2007 Desert Tour
24-Oct-2007 Desert Tour
25-Oct-2007 Marrakesh
26-Oct-2007 Marrakesh
27-Oct-2007 Marrakesh
28-Oct-2007 Casablanca (1/2 day) overnight train to Tangier
29-Oct-2007 Tangier > Algeciras > Madrid
30-Oct-2007 Madrid
31-Oct-2007 Lisbon (only 10 euros on mon/tue!)
1-Nov-2007 Lisbon
2-Nov-2007 Lisbon
3-Nov-2007 Madrid
4-Nov-2007 depart Madrid

Great links to train and flight info:

oceania Aug 2nd, 2007 07:23 PM

I also found a tour that meets my needs perfectly - the price is high but I hope it'll be cheaper once I get to Fes

In case anyone is looking as well, here it is:

Marrakech to Fez (or Fez to Marrakech)

Day 1
We will meet you at your riad or hotel, depart Marrakech and transport over the High Atlas mountains Tizi nTichka pass before visiting the World Heritage Site of Ait Benhaddou. We'll have time to stop and enjoy the impressive landscapes, have coffee and fresh-squeezed orange juice breaks. At Ouarzazate we'll stop for lunch, and a swim. Our next next destination is the Valley of the Rose, famous for the Persian rose; and Dades Valley. You will pass through many Berber villages and see riverside oasis and barren hillsides clustered with kasbahs (fortified dwellings housing many families and their livestock). Stay in old kasbah with Moroccan dinner by the swimming pool.

Day 2
After breakfast we have a short drive to walk through a massive fault dividing the High Atlas mountains. Todra Gorge sheer rock walls rise over 300m. After lunch you can wander with your guide through palmery villages, gardens and kasbahs for a close look at traditional Berber ways of life. Visit the women’s market in Tinihir and old kasbah quarter of a desert town. Stay this night in same hotel as yesterday.

Day 3
Our destination is the desert. Along the way we pass through folded exposed rock slabs of fossils and can stop and explore. Optional visit a fossil factory to discover Sahara’s wonderful varieties of ancient life. Further into the desert landscape, the Erg Chebbi dunes appear on the horizon. Our late-afternoon destination is the auberge (small inn) near Merzouga, where your camel guide waits to take you into the dunes. Upon arrival, a traditional tagine dinner (vegetarians welcome) is prepared under the stars shining in the clear sky. Climb the dunes and watch the moon rise before retiring for the night in your nomad wool tent. Or you have a choice of staying in the desert auberge with a sunset camel trek into the dunes, with a relaxing dinner in the auberge and breakfast early the next morning.

Day 4
Bivouac trekkers return by camel at sunrise to the auberge for breakfast and shower. Depart for long days drive to Fez. Fez hotel this night extra.

jgg Aug 2nd, 2007 07:59 PM

Glad you found a company you are happy with. Their website looks great! Your new itinerary looks great with plenty of time to explore and relax (perhaps a hammam or two). Be sure and read the other person's trip report link I gave you as she also went to Lisbon and was travelling solo.

Clifton Aug 4th, 2007 09:12 AM

Just as a side thought... we just rented a car in Marrakech and dropped it off in Fez after we'd gone through the Atlas and out to Merzouga. Didn't have the benefit of a guides knowledge, but enjoy making our mind up as we go.

Either way, I think you're on the right track with the itinerary. I liked Essaouira btw.

oceania Aug 4th, 2007 09:53 AM

Thanks for the reassurance Clifton! My itinerary is just too packed to add more destinations so Essaouira is out this time's just a beach resort town, isn't it?

Is 3 3.5 days in Fes and 4 days in Marrakesh sufficient?

Clifton Aug 4th, 2007 10:55 AM

Actually, 4 full days in Marrakech would be more than enough for me. It's fascinating, but also tiring, with all of the pressure as you walk around to be parted from your dirham. The first night the Jemaa el Fna was a big "whoa"! Pretty amazing. After the second full day, neither of us was very excited about the prospect of walking through that square again. Fez on the other hand really had my imagination going. I tell friends that Fez is just what I thought Marrakech was going to be - mysterious and exotic. Except around the tanneries, Fez goes about it's business and you're an observer of a very different way of life. In Marrakech, as a tourist, you *are* the business.

Essaouira is... well, it's a walled town with a medina and ramparts. Swarms of little blue fishing boats. Google a couple of images of it. It's not like condos and beach chairs, but it does have a beach leading south away from town. It's laid back, very low pressure. Someone called it "Morocco light" which seems sort of right. But we went to Essaouira righ after we saw and blew off Casablanca, so it was a way to sort of ease into things. Did the same things with a casual little mountain town north of Fez called Chefchaouen on the other end, as a cool down before heading for Spain.

Still, if you have limited time, I can see the need to par it down. Essaouira does take a couple of hours by bus each way from Marrakech and might seem pretty sedate after seeing the big cities you're going to.

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