Help with itinerary for 11 nights in Morocco

Old Apr 16th, 2018, 05:31 AM
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Help with itinerary for 11 nights in Morocco

Hello! We are 3 women from Canada in our late 20's traveling to Morocco in June. We are looking for some help with an itinerary. We have 11 nights, flying into Rabat at 6pm, and departing Tangier at 9am. We like to eat at local places and experience local culture. We do tend to like smaller places and outdoorsy stuff more than big cities, but wouldn't want to miss big city must-sees in Morocco. I have traveled in Ghana, Nicaragua, Peru and Mexico on not much more than a shoestring budget, so am somewhat used to budget travel outside of the western world. We'd like to travel by train/bus but are open to the idea of renting a car if that makes things more feasible! One of the women I'm traveling with would really like to go to the desert and ride a camel, and go to Chefchaoeun but I understand that might not be the best plan with our amount of time.

Here are 3 itinerary ideas:
With all options: Arrive Rabat at 6pm and depart Tangier at 9am

Option 1
2 nights in Rabat
2 nights Fes
2 nights Chefchaouen
1 night Tangier
Overnight train to Marrakesh
2 nights Marrakesh (3 full days, potential day trip to Atlas mountains on one of them)
Overnight train to Tangier
1 night Tangier
*or maybe 1 night in Rabat, then spend final 2 nights in Asilah

Option 2
2 nights in Rabat
2 nights Marrakesh
2 night 3 day desert tour Marrakesh to Fes
2 nights Fes
2 nights Chefchaouen
1 night tangier

Option 3
2 nights Rabat
2 nights Tangier
2 nights Chefchaouen
2 nights Fes
3 nights Asilah

I'd love some feedback and advice!
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Old Apr 16th, 2018, 06:21 AM
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As far as I know, there's no airport in Rabat. The main airport is CMN, Casablanca. Trains will take you from the airport to Casa Voyageurs, the main Casablanca train station, then on to Rabat, not far. You may need to change trains (I haven't gone to Rabat directly from the airport so not sure on that point but I think so). In any case, I prefer Rabat, rather than Casa, as a place to spend time so your choice is a good one.

Of your 3 itineraries above #3 is, to my way of thinking by far the best with the time you have. Though I know it's hard, especially on a first visit & feel you want to see everything you can, I find the longer I stay in a place in Morocco the better I like it and the more I actually see, which is to say, understand more about where I am. The desert, for instance, is a long way from your main objectives and would eat up far more time (in my opinion) than it's worth. Option 3, while still busy, has the advantage of giving you a bit of time in each of those places without losing a great deal of time for each relocation. So it's efficient and the places are good ones (including Tangier which I like a lot. Don't let anyone talk you out of it).

Keep in mind that with travel between places factored in, 2 nights gives you only 1 full day plus a bit on travel days but still, I think it will work and serve to make you want to return, no doubt. I recommend trains & buses and maybe a grand taxi (car & driver) on occasion, rather than a rental car to get around, definitely more trouble than it's worth where you'll be going. A grand taxi will be affordable split among the 3 of you.
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Old Apr 16th, 2018, 08:39 AM
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Thanks for your reply! There's definitely an airport in Rabat - we already have our flights booked from London!

I'd love a little more insight on why you would choose option 3 over option 1. They both give us the same number of full days in a city with no travel (as we minimize travel during the day by taking the night trains), and option 1 would allow us to have 3 full days in Marrakesh. I'd love to explore the medina a bit in Fes, but wonder if 1 night in Fes might be enough for us. We do tend to like smaller places better (i.e. are from a small town in Canada, in Peru - much preferred the smaller Cusco and Ollantaytambo over Lima, in Nicaragua - much preferred the smaller lazy coastal/jungle towns).
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Old Apr 16th, 2018, 09:14 AM
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My objection to #1 is simply the number of changes of location and the distances it would have you covering. As I mentioned, Morocco is a place that benefits greatly from longer stays in fewer places. I wouldn't dream of staying just 1 night just about anywhere, especially in as unique & interesting a city as Fes. I'm not particularly keen on the 2 night stays in #3 either but consider it the best of the 3 in that regard. Though you likely won't know what you've missed with any of those itineraries, since you won't be anywhere long enough to really know much about anywhere, the shorter list is marginally better in that regard.

I suggest you choose between the north & the south, not ruin a potentially good trip by trying to do it all in so little time. #3 is the north and all the places are good ones. OR, go south on the train after arrival to Marrakech. I cannot see the point of fewer than 4 nights. You could then go back north to Chefchaouen & Asilah, ending in Tangier. But I'd choose either Fes or Marrakesh and stay long enough in 1 of them to get any idea at all of what they're about. One night stays or 2 nights/1 full day in any interesting place (and all these are interesting) is an amateur mistake. You may think you're seeing Morocco but will have no depth of experience. If you enjoy skimming the surface then do it, but you've asked for advice and that's my advice.

My thought is always that to rush around, and this is most definitely rushing around, one sees less, not some phantom "more". Everywhere you are you're IN Morocco, you don't have to keep moving like this to be more in Morocco.

Last edited by MmePerdu; Apr 16th, 2018 at 09:17 AM.
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Old Apr 17th, 2018, 07:54 PM
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With your advice and some more research, we've decided to stick to the north. We're thinking of the following as an itinerary but aren't sure whether to spend the last few nights in Asilah with a day trip to Tangier, or stay in Tangier with a day trip to Asilah. What would you recommend?

Day 1 - Arrive Rabat 6pm
Day 2 - Rabat
Day 3 - Rabat to Fes
Day 4 - Fes
Day 5 - Fes
Day 6 - Fes
Day 7 - Fes to Chefchaouen
Day 8 - Chefchaouen
Day 9 - Chefchaouen to Tangier/Asilah
Day 10 - Tangier/Asilah
Day 11 - Tangier/Asilah
Day 12 - Depart Tangier 9am
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Old Apr 17th, 2018, 08:27 PM
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You will already have been in cities, Rabat & Fes and a town medium-sized town, Chefchaouen. I haven't been to Asilah yet but intend to stay there at least a few days next trip as I've heard it's a nice place and somewhat smaller than Chefchaouen, also convenient to your escape city, Tangier. I think I'd be inclined to stay first in Asilah for 2 nights (nights 9 & 10), then your last night (11) in Tangier. I've stayed here a couple of times in Tangier and loved it: LaTangerina hotel Great location for sea views from the roof and walks in the medina.

Maybe someone who's stayed in Asilah will come along and tell us both how they liked it. But from what I've read about the place it sounds good to me.
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Old May 4th, 2018, 05:51 AM
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Not sure if you’re all set, but wanted to add a comment. We are in Chefchaouen now. Arrived about 24 hours ago. Seen pretty much all of it and would leave this afternoon if we could. If you want to do lots of shopping you could occupy your time. It’s a cute, small tourist town. So I would drop 1 Night here.

We had the same dilemma re Asilah and Tangier. After going back and forth decided to stay in Tangier and do a day trip to Asilah. Part of the decision was made due to transportation to Casablanca.
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