Another day in Marrakesh?

Old Jan 26th, 2021, 06:26 PM
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Another day in Marrakesh?

I am going on a 13-day photography tour of Morocco in November (covid permitting) that ends with two days in Marrakesh. The first day is a fully guided tour of the city, including Bahia Palace, the Saadian Tombs, the Koutoubia Minaret, the Majorelle Botanical Gardens, the souk, and Jemaa el Fna Square. The next day is free with lots of optional activities that sound appealing, including a hot air balloon ride (leaning away from this), a cooking class, a full day trip to Essaouira, or do my own thing. I have the option of staying another day after that before flying home. I haven't read anything (yet) that makes me think I want to spend a day going to, from, and visiting Essaouira, but I'm willing to be persuaded. If I have a day or a day and a half free in Marrakesh after the first day tour, what might I do? What do you think of going to Essaouira? Is there a day-trip besides Essaouira I might consider? (I know there will be possibilities in a guidebook, which I'm still waiting to arrive, but I'm interested in the input of those who have been there).
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Old Jan 26th, 2021, 06:34 PM
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Moved from Road Trips to the Africa/Middle East Forum and tagged for Morocco
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Old Jan 26th, 2021, 06:45 PM
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Thank you! Don't know how I ended up there.
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Old Jan 26th, 2021, 09:53 PM
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I really enjoyed Essaouira at the end of my Moroccan trip: Tasty tagines and mobbed medinas - a Moroccan medley

Photos here: https://kwilhelm.smugmug.com/Travel/...008/Essaouria/

I wouldn't start a trip there, but I thought it was a good place for a rest and something different. I'd recommend at least one night.

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Old Jan 26th, 2021, 10:52 PM
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To my mind one day in Marrakesh is not enough - I would remain there - Essaouira is lovely but not a patch on Marrakesh. Spend a day seeing the sights and then a day getting lost in the souk and surrounds. If I was to make a day trip from Marrakesh it would be to Ourazazarte - very long day but superb trip through the Atlas Mountains and an extraordinary endpoint - but perhaps that destination is included in your tour.
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Old Jan 27th, 2021, 06:00 AM
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Perhaps your hotel could recommend a reliable private guide for a day.
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Old Jan 27th, 2021, 06:26 AM
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Hmm, if you are recommending Ourazazarte for the film studios, I thought that was way overrated. It looks like they are hitting all the sites in Marrakesh in one day, which is rushed, but definitely doesn't require a second day. If they are going to Fez they don't need extra time in the souk in Marrakesh.
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Old Jan 27th, 2021, 08:37 AM
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Rather than buy the day trip option to Essaouira I suggest going for an overnight. I prefer smaller places in general though I love Marrakech. But I believe with just 1 extra day you'll get more for your time & get a much better sense of place in Essaouira than Marrakech. And it's a lovely town, among my favorites anywhere. I never tire of it. The busses to & from there from Marrakech are very good. Or you can hire a grand taxi for not an exorbitant amount.
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Old Jan 27th, 2021, 10:55 AM
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I meant to add, the day trip to Ouarzazate isn't, in my opinion, a good use of your day. I've been there on a stop between other places and found it dull.
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Old Jan 27th, 2021, 08:25 PM
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So the consensus seems to be that just the one day in Marrakech will be sufficient? I admit to liking smaller places too; I used to love bustling cities, and now they wear me out. I usually make an early night of it and hibernate in my room to recharge. In a smaller place, I'll be out walking in the evening.

The tour will be taking me to: Tangier, Tetaouen, Chefchaoen, Volubilis, Meknes, Fes, Erfoud, Erg Chebbi, Boulmane Dades (and places coming and going and around), and Marrakech. Some of those are stops during the day, not overnights.

If I wanted to, I could spend both my tour days in Marrakech and then take two days for an overnight in Essaouira, spending the last night in Marrakech so I can fly back to Madrid. If I spend both tour days in Marrakech, one of the options offered for the second day is a cooking class, and I love taking those when I travel.

I hope I'm not getting myself all excited for nothing. My last two trips both didn't come off - the last one due to covid, but the previous one due to an injury suffered en route to my destination. I really feel like the third time should be the charm!

Last edited by artsnletters; Jan 27th, 2021 at 08:28 PM.
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Old Jan 27th, 2021, 09:10 PM
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My last two trips both didn't come off - the last one due to covid, but the previous one due to an injury suffered en route to my destination. I really feel like the third time should be the charm!
Sounds like me and Greece! The first time I fell down some stairs in Turkey and wound up on crutches and the second time I tripped over a curb in Switzerland and broke my wrist. The third time I started in Greece... So I wish you luck.
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Old Jan 27th, 2021, 10:01 PM
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Originally Posted by artsnletters View Post
So the consensus seems to be that just the one day in Marrakech will be sufficient?
Not exactly what I meant, one day being far from sufficient but because Essaouira is so much smaller a day there goes a lot further if you get my drift, quite compact unlike Marrakech. And on the water, a beautiful setting. And fresh fish.
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Old Jan 27th, 2021, 10:37 PM
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Originally Posted by thursdaysd View Post
Sounds like me and Greece! The first time I fell down some stairs in Turkey and wound up on crutches and the second time I tripped over a curb in Switzerland and broke my wrist. The third time I started in Greece... So I wish you luck.
I was on my way to Africa for safari, and got as far as Amsterdam when I tore the cartilage in my knee. Came home on crutches via travel insurance. A two-day trip and a real let-down from what I had been prepared for!
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Old Jan 27th, 2021, 10:38 PM
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Originally Posted by MmePerdu View Post
Not exactly what I meant, one day being far from sufficient but because Essaouira is so much smaller a day there goes a lot further if you get my drift, quite compact unlike Marrakech. And on the water, a beautiful setting. And fresh fish.
OK, suppose I spend my second tour day in Marrakech and take two additional days for an overnighter to Essaouira (I will research that). What would you recommend for my free day in Marrakech?
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Old Jan 28th, 2021, 09:40 AM
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I'd spend a second night in Essaouira instead, which I find a more photogenic place than Marrakech. But if not that & you decide on another in Marrakech, I'm a big walker & the city is a great place to walk, flat. Your tour seems not to include the mellah, the Jewish quarter in the medina which I like. Do you know where you'll be staying? That might determine logistics of where I'd be walking to some degree.
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Old Jan 28th, 2021, 06:41 PM
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How long does it take to get between Essaouira and Marrakech? I am looking at a flight back to Madrid that leaves at 13:20. Could I comfortably get back to Marrakech by 10:00 or so? If so, I am thinking two days in Marrakech (3 nights), morning of the next day to Essaouira, stay the next day and night as well (2 nights in Essaouira), and return to Marrakech the next morning in time for my flight. The best option: two days in Marrakech, two in Essaouira.

My experience hunting down flights so far is that there are more out of Marrakech than Casablanca or Tangier. The Moroccan train site is fairly inscrutable. Couldn't get it to give me times; it kept saying it couldn't find any trips. In general, travel to and around Morocco is not easy to research!
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Old Jan 28th, 2021, 08:43 PM
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I just gave the Moroccan rail site a try, magnificent compared to last time I used it. I got to schedules right away. It wasn't apparent immediately, just needed to scroll down, & in English! https://www.oncf.ma/en

Here, for instance, is Casa Voyageurs to Tangier this Saturday: https://www.oncf.ma/en/Horaires?from...teret=&is-ar=0

You know this guy: https://www.seat61.com/train-travel-in-morocco.htm

Essaouira to Marrakech is about 2 1/2 hrs by car/taxi, 3 hours by bus because they stop once for a potty/snack break.
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Old Jan 28th, 2021, 10:10 PM
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Originally Posted by MmePerdu View Post
Gosh, I do know that guy, but it's been so long since I've planned any rail travel that I had completely forgotten about him. Thanks for the reminder!

Any idea what a taxi from Essaouira to Marrakech is likely to cost? Thinking it might make sense to use one for the return trip because I could have them drop me off right at the airport, rather than having to transfer from the bus depot.

What is the bus company's name?
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Old Jan 29th, 2021, 08:46 AM
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Marrakech needs more than one day, the souk itself needs most of day plus a visit to a traditional school and I think there is a Merchant's house hidden in the middle of it. Then the Rose garden, the large water tank out towards the airport, the sites mentioned and the international quarter has stuff to do. I've been three times the last for 6 days and never stop finding little things to do of which the central square is just a bit dull.

Going to Essouira needs either a shared taxi or a local bus (the bus is very nice with a stop for 15 minutes for a break) on the way. But I'd go with a night visit included. Apart from the walled town, there maybe a music festival for the people of the Magreb, then the castle out to the port and if you stay in the trad hotel you get a breakfast on the roof and security from the staff is great. But nearly all this can be done in Marrakech so if you are running out of time stay more in Marrakech.

BTW check the temperatures in November Essouira can get cold and wet.
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Old Jan 29th, 2021, 09:17 AM
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My first trips to Essaouira were by grand taxi (taxis licensed for long distance as opposed to those for in town) from Marrakech & if I recall correctly were the MAD equivalent of US$60. That was some time ago, before I discovered the excellent buses. Any accommodation will have drivers they call and will know what the current price is. So find out from your tour company where you'll be staying in Marrakech & email them. You should have no trouble getting a price as in my experience they all charge the same, either direction. When you know where you'll be staying in Essaouira you can email them to arrange it for you.

The bus I've used is Supratours. They have a useless-looking website but this one has the information you need & a link to the other bus company, CTM. I suspect they're very similar. https://myticketservices.com/suprato...-bus-myticket/
I tend to buy my tickets a day or so in advance at the station. I suspect your hotel would be happy to buy it for you for a small fee so ask. It simplifies things when you don't have a lot of extra time.
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