Comments/tips on draft Spain/Morocco itinerary?

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Aug 28th, 2018, 10:39 PM
  #1
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Comments/tips on draft Spain/Morocco itinerary?

Hi folks - so looking forward to this trip! We have approx 2 weeks to tour of Southern Spain and Morocco so there is a bit of time flexibility but I'd prefer to keep it as close to 2 weeks as possible. I've outlined background on us below, and if you have any comments on how reasonable this is, or other tips they're all welcome. We want to see a lot and we tend to push ourselves, but we don't want to feel overly rushed :

- Fly into Seville from Canada and overnight
- Day 1 = train to Cordoba, stay 2 nights
- Day 3 = train to Granada, stay 2 nights
- Day 5 = train to Malaga with stop at Cave of Nerja, stay 2 nights at Malaga
- Day 7 = Train to Gibraltar, explore Gibraltar, ferry to Tangier, stay 2 nights
- Day 9 = Grand taxi to Chefchaouen, stay overnight (*note - stay in Chefchaouen is optional)
- Day 10 = Grand taxi to Fes, stay 2 nights
- Day 12 = Train to Marrakesh, stay 2 nights
- Day 14 = Fly to Seville and continue on home

As background, we dislike chains and really want to experience the country, from food to culture. Some previous travelling hilights have included staying in an ex-brothel in Madrid and a tiny, centuries old family owned hotel in Venice, crawling through water filled caves in Belize, touring wineries in Tuscany with a sommelier as our guide and enjoying the long drive down the Oregon coast (though we won't be driving on this trip). We love food and wine, from street eats to fine dining. We love music (from rock to folks to classical), architecture, dance (and dancing), fashion, art, cathedrals, ruins, markets, gorgeous scenery and people. We walk a LOT.

We're Canadian, my wife is late 40's (looks younger) and I'm 59 (and look younger too). We're fit, fashionable and engaged in the world around us. We don't travel on budgets, though we do spend our money wisely and we know that expensive does not always mean good, let alone the best.

We have 2 weeks and have traveled middle to northern Spain. Now it's time for southern Spain and Morocco for our 20th wedding anniversary and my 60th birthday.

Any suggestions are welcome!

TIA - R.
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Aug 28th, 2018, 11:23 PM
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“. . . we. . . really want to experience the country, from food to culture.” Rooster99

That statement leads me to believe you’re shortchanging yourselves significantly at the pace you plan to go. The conventional wisdom counts 2 nights as 1 full day to enjoy your destinations and you have therefore planned a string of 1 day visits to some fascinating places that you won’t have the time to experience even superficially as you move on to the next.

My suggestion, having traveled in the areas on your itinerary, returning to some a number of times, would be to cut the number of moves in half, whether visiting just 1 of the 2 countries or to far fewer cities. I’m confident it will improve the quality of your 2 weeks enormously though still not giving you the time to linger anywhere, sometimes the best part of any trip.
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Aug 29th, 2018, 03:56 AM
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<<We want to see a lot and we tend to push ourselves, but we don't want to feel overly rushed >

I agree with MmePerdu. Having spent 3 weeks in southern Spain a few years ago, and just returned from a 2-week trip to Morocco, your plan as of now is waaaay too rushed, at least for me. From your interests, either country would work well, but I do think southern Spain might tick off all the boxes. And you have no time in Seville -- my favorite of the cities! If you love food, eating in Andalucia is a highlight. Of course, if you still want to visit both countries, but as MmePerdu suggests, cut the stops in half and you will have a much more enjoyable visit.
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Aug 29th, 2018, 03:32 PM
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I agree with the comments above. You are spreading yourself too thin. Sevilla is the jewel of Andalucia and yet you are almost ignoring it. Córdoba is interesting for the Mezquita but it costs you two nights to see it.

I believe the train line from the west into Granada is still closed with bus diversions.
And having seen a lot of Moroccan architecture in Morocco I wasn't that impressed with the Alhambra, given it's had 600 years of 'improvements' since the Spanish reconquest. (I write this as an inhabitant of Granada Province.)

And then the ferry link between Gibraltar and Tanger Med is sporadic and only runs on Friday evenings.

Personally I'd concentrate on Sevilla and perhaps Cádiz and then fly direct from Sevilla to Marrakech.
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Aug 29th, 2018, 08:11 PM
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This thread doesn’t seem to appear on the forum for Europe. Consider asking the moderators to add that link or repost there.

It obviously depends on what you want to see and experience, but FWIW, I’m glad I had 2 full days in Cordoba and 2 full days in Granada (2 nights there is generally sufficient to see ONLY the Alhambra; if you want to see any of that city’s other treasures, you will likely need more time). And I wanted 4 nights in Sevilla.

Hope that helps!
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Aug 29th, 2018, 10:26 PM
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Suggestions on destinations to change?

Hi folks - thank you for all your feedback!

I appreciate your comments, and had felt it was a bit ... busy ... but thought the relatively short distances between each destination would allow for additional time at each one. We have already visited Seville, so we're not ignoring its attractions, but rather trying to focus on new places. The initial overnighter in Seville is intended to help us recover from jet lag as much as to see the city. As an FYI, our last trip was to London and Paris, where we spent a week in each city, so we do understand the value of the longer stay.

We do want to see both countries, so if you were to trim destinations, and re-allocate days, can I ask what you'd suggest? I am thinking we could leave off Malaga and Chefchaouen.

Thanks for your help - R.
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Aug 29th, 2018, 11:11 PM
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IMO, of the destinations you are considering in Spain, Malaga doesn't rank in the same category as either Cordoba or Granada. I would consider the latter two among Spain's greatest treasures. JMO.
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Aug 30th, 2018, 03:10 AM
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Málaga is a problem as the train line from there heading west stops at Fuengirola and you'd have to transfer to bus to get to Algeciras.

Once in Algeciras you'd have to get a taxi from Algeciras to La Linea at the frontier with Gibraltar. Negotiating the border can take time if the Spanish are being awkward, then after your short visit you would have to retrace your steps to Algeciras, buy a ferry ticket at the FRS desk at the ferry terminal, then get the free FRS shuttle bus from Algeciras to Tarifa. This is because Tarifa is the only port that has ferries to Tanger Ville, the ferry from Algeciras lands you at Tanger Med which is in the middle of nowhere.
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Aug 30th, 2018, 08:17 AM
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Any way you do it, the connections between Andalucia and Morocco are not as easy as one would think. I briefly looked for nonstop flights between the various Andalusian cities and Morocco, and there are surprisingly few. Most Getting/taking the ferry will also mean organizing your itinerary around the transportation options. In fact, you'll need to organize your itinerary around either method of traveling between the 2, especially if you want nonstop flights. I found 2 in a search: Granada - Tangier is nonstop only 2 days out of the week (Air Arabia Maroc) as is Seville to Marrakech or the reverse (Ryanair). Of course, you could do flights with one stop, but that will add many more hours to the trip. Personally, I would stay in Spain or Morocco with the short time you are there, though I do get the desire to see both.

From Seville, I'd stay in Cordoba (3 nights); Granada (3 nights); working your way to the ferry and stay for one night (town to be determined); Tangier (1 night); Fes (3 nights); Marrakech (3 nights); flight to Seville. If you want the nonstop flight from Marrakech to Seville, then you'll need to coordinate with the schedule.

Sounds like too much work to me to coordinate all that! I'd stick to one country or the other!
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Sep 5th, 2018, 12:26 AM
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Progol, your suggestion maps almost exactly what I'd revised our plans to!

Where you've suggested "Granada (3 nights); working your way to the ferry and stay for one night (town to be determined); Tangier (1 night)", what would you think of travelling Granada to Gibraltar (by bus seems fastest), then exploring Gibraltar for a day and simply overnighting there as <town to be determined>? Then some more Gibraltar exploring next day followed by (same day), ferry to Tangier and travelling directly to Fes (via Grand Taxi? or train?). I'm thinking overnighting in Tangier would not give us much time to really see it at all so greatest benefit would be taking a longer day of travel Gibraltar > Tangier > Fes.

Thoughts?

TIA - R.
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Sep 5th, 2018, 04:12 AM
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Hi, Rooster,
I've never been and really have little interest in Gibraltar, so can't answer your question fairly. If I had to choose between Tangier and Gibraltar, having never been to either, I'd be much more likely to choose Tangier for an overnight if I HAD to choose. I don't really have experience in traveling between the 2 countries, though, so would defer to others here.

Paule
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Sep 5th, 2018, 10:16 AM
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I, too, have never been to Gibraltar because, from what I've read, the idea of the place is infinitely more interesting than the current reality. Also, I dislike monkeys. But tourist traps & apes aside, if you want an easier transition from Spain to Morocco I suggest you go to Tarifa instead, take the ferry from there where you'll arrive in the town, walking distance from the medina, rather than others from Spain that deliver you to the newer port to the east along the coast (pointed out also by TimCullis above). I have taken the Tarifa ferry from Tangier & return to Tangier and it could not be more convenient.
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Oct 8th, 2018, 12:03 AM
  #13
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Thanks for the tips folks! We are going to overnight in Gibraltar so we can get a bit of exploring in, then take the ferry Tarifa to Tangier and overnight there before training to Fez. We'll be moving a lot, but that's all part of the adventure!

- R.
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