Morocco itinerary from Spain

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Jun 22nd, 2012, 06:38 AM
  #1
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Morocco itinerary from Spain

Flipping over from Europe Forum for john

Take a ferry from Tarifa or Algeciras to Tangier. From Tangier take the first train available to Fez. I actually liked Tangier but most people hate it, so I defer to the opinions of others here and advise leaving Tangier as soon as possible.

About 4 hours on the train from Tangier to Fez. Stay a few days in Fez, with a side trip to Meknes. Then rent a car at the airport (easier) and drive from Fez to the desert - Merzouga. It's a long drive but with ever-changing and sometinmes spectacular scenery.

Stay one night in a hotel near the dunes and the next night in a tent in the dunes. Your hotel can arrange this. The trip into the dunes is by camel. All the camels I saw were nice and there was no spitting so don't be put off by old or third-hand information. Keep in mind though that a camel is a means of transport and is not to be petted on the head like a dog. You will be fine.

Your next major place is Marrakech. But it's really too long of a drive from the desert for one day. Luckily, there are a lot of interesting places to break up the trip. I stayed overnight in the Todra Gorge.

Alternatively, you could take the train from Fez to Marrakech without going into the desert. You will regret that though.

BTW, If you need to see Casablanca, then just rent the movie again. The movie was filmed entirely in LA. The real Casa is just a very large modern city. However, it is Morocco's flight hub, so you may end up there anyway on your return from Marrakech to Spain.

Marrakech. Drop the car off at the airport. Lots to see and do there. I was not able to go to Essouira but people love it.

I do not think you can fly from Marrakech to Seville without changing planes at least once, probably routing through Madrid. And I think it would be expensive. I do think there are easier flights to Barcelona though. And you can fly anywhere from Casa. Maybe you could spend your last night in Casa.

Driving. All the signs are readily understandable. I would avoid driving in the cities - that's why I recommended picking up and dropping off your car at airports. Pay VERY close attention to the speed limits. And (last April at least) there is a giant pothole between Rissani and Merzouga. There are police checkpoints every now and then but you just basically slow down, roll your window down, smile and wave, and you don't even really stop. You'll be fine driving.
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Jun 22nd, 2012, 08:44 AM
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Just following from the Europe site, my thoughts are

1) the locals are multilingual with French and German at the top with English about third. I've never had a comms problem in Morroco
2) Marrakesh is the jewel of the cities, with Fez coming in second but going south there are also places like Tarrodant and Tafrout which are intersting.
3) Agadir and Essaouria are different again but dullish in winter and rainy. I've used a Riad to develop a website in the past there and apart from restuarants and fine views unless it is dry we kept the team on the development all the time . Access by bus is easy.

I'd fly to Marrakesh not take the ferry. If you do fly into M you will be ripped off at the airport taxi rank, turn left at the front and walk to the bus stop, very easy, very clean and very cheap.
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Jun 22nd, 2012, 08:56 PM
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Thanks for starting the thread, Robertino.

I am now disheartened, seeing that there is no direct flight between Seville or Granada, and Marrakesh or Casablanca. So if from Madrid we go south to Granada and Seville, we have to either turn back to Madrid, or go all the way south and take the ferry to Tangier. From Tangier we can go to Fez first.

What is the fastest way from Fez to Marrakesh? I guess it is either driving or taking the train, isn't it. If we stay in Fez for a few days, then if we drive we will have to leave from the center of the city and not from the airport.
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Jun 23rd, 2012, 06:27 AM
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Try www.traveleurope.com for flights from Seville to Marrakech. Myself, I'd go from Granada to Seville on the train then from there to Cordoba where after seeing the city you can pick up the train again to Algeciras and the ferry. As Robertino said, Tangiers is interesting, but from there hop the train to Fez. You can make a trip to Roman Volubilis and Meknes from Fez, or simply take the train west to Rabat, Casa, and Marrakech. A stop in Rabat is worthwhile. Or, you can take a CTM bus from Fez to Marrakech. It's a long trip, and the scenery is not particularly alluring, but it's another way to get to Marrakech. You could also rent a car to do this trip. You do not want to drive from Marrakech to Fez and then back to M to catch your plane to Barcelona !
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Jun 23rd, 2012, 07:22 AM
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I have basically decided not to take the ferry if it's a long trip and not very interesting.

Now knowing that direct flights between Seville/Granada and Marakesh is impossible, I have changed my itinerary as follows:

Madrid - 6 days
fly direct from Madrid to Marrakesh
Marrakesh - 3 days
take train to Kez
Kez - stay 2 days
Kez to Rabat
Rabat - 1-2 days
Rabat to Marrakesh
Marrakesh to Barcelona

I know flights between Madrid and Barcelona and Marrakesh are quite frequent and direct. It's the Morocco portion that I don't know.

As one of you said: it's not worth taking the train from Marrakesh to Fez and take the same rout back. So maybe going west from Fez to Rabat, and then from Rabat back to Marakesh would be less boring.

What do you think?
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Jun 23rd, 2012, 08:43 AM
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Someone on the Europe forum told me that "there is no need to go to Fez if you are going to Marrakesh, go to Essaouira instead"

Any comments?

I have just discovered that Iberia Air flies directly from Madrid to Tangier for ~40euros. In that case I can devise my itinerary as follows:

Nov 3-8: 6 days in Madrid (side trip to Toledo)
Nov 9: early flight to Tangier - hop onto train for 4 hr to Kez
Nov 9-12: 4 nights in Kez
Nov 13: 7 hr train to Marrakesh
Nov 13-16: 4 nights in Marrakesh
Nov 17: early flight to Barcelona
Nov 17-21: 5 nights in Barcelona
Nov 22: early flight to Seville
Nov 22-25: 4 nights in Seville
Nov 26: morning train 3hrs to Granada
Nov 26-27: 2 nights in Granada
Nov 28: 1 hr morning flight to Madrid
Nov 28: 1 night in Madrid
Nov 29: leave for London - then Canada
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Jun 23rd, 2012, 08:59 AM
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looks like a good timetable to me

Essaouira basically has a small sardine fishing harbour with an interesting opportunity to buy the fish straight from the boat and have it grilled in front of you.

The town is walled with many wiggly paths in amongst the houses which often lead to interesting shops but also end up in dead ends, about 1/10 of the town has been flatened and is used by the Sahara dwellers who camp there for the big music festival in March (I think). The new town is made up of restaurants, hotels and camel rides with some pretty good wind/kite surfing.

Marrakesh, on the other hand has palaces, hadrissas, museums, night clubs, a very big souk, a government (no haggling) shopping area, the central square, some parks and fine views of the snow on the Atlas mountains. Trips into the Atlas can be organised easily
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Jun 23rd, 2012, 09:07 AM
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Robertino
saw this link thought of you
http://www.fodors.com/community/afri...ember-2011.cfm
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Jun 23rd, 2012, 09:10 AM
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If you decide to get to Essauoria these guys were very good to us, making sure we found them ok off the bus, checked we got back into the hotel at night and advised on the best restaurants. Our comments are on tripadvisor.

Riad Marosko
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Jun 23rd, 2012, 10:13 AM
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how long does it take to go to Essauoria from Marrakesh? is it possible to take a day trip from Marrakesh? bus? train? Thanks
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Jun 23rd, 2012, 10:23 AM
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Where did you find a flight from Madrid to Tangiers for only 40€. ???????

Fez is a MUST. Do not miss it. Essaouira is pleasant - do visit it - but is a secondary spot.

Please tell about that flight. Ryanair etc. are not that cheap.
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Jun 23rd, 2012, 10:28 AM
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M to E? Bus is the best I think there are say 4 or 5 a day and it takes roughly 2.5 to 3 hours. The bus leaves from the bus station next to the IBIS and you can find the timetable on the web though last year you could not book except on site.

I'm told there are big taxis, but I've not done it
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Jun 23rd, 2012, 12:02 PM
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It is you Bedar, and thanks to you for the www.travelEurope.com where I found the Madrid - Tangier flight.

At first I couldn't find anything, because I put in going one-way, Madrid - Tangier. The search yielded flights which are 4-10 hours long costing 200 euros at least.

But when I put in a return date, the 40 euro, direct flight came up. Yes it is actually 40 euros each way. But even if I buy the return ticket and throw away the return portion it is still worth it (80 euros for a 1 hour flight from Madrid to Tangier).
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Jun 23rd, 2012, 12:21 PM
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Ah ha ! What dates did you put in ? I just put in Oct 17 and a return for Oct 24. The RyanAir flights came up for 21€ and 27€ for a total of 48€ and then 142€ on Iberia. Curious about your dates. My Oct 17 date is fixed; it's when we get in Madrid from the USA West Coast. But, I could put in any return date. Thanks !
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Jun 23rd, 2012, 12:26 PM
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I put in Nov 10 our and return Nov 17, and the 40 euro + 40 euro came up.
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Jun 24th, 2012, 06:39 AM
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Do not believe the people who tell you you can skip Fez (I assume you mean Fez when you type Kez???) if you visit Marrakesh. Marrakesh is over commercialized, and the medina in Fez is much bigger and more interesting. A day trip to Essaouira is certainly possible, although it is a nice place to chill out if you need a bit of a rest.
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Jun 24th, 2012, 07:17 AM
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OK, I went to the Iberia website and found the same pricing. The trick is to put in Saturday dates for the flights. If I take the Wed. flight out, the price goes up to $138. which still may be OK. We'd spend time in Madrid at the beginning of our trip instead of at the end if we waited till Sat. We'll see. If you need more info on Morocco, ask away. We lived in Rabat for five years.
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Oct 8th, 2012, 09:40 AM
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I am now looking to connect from Madrid to Fez.

The earliest non-stop flight leaves Madrid at 11:35am arriving in Tangier at 12noon. Ti go from Tangier to Fez I have to take the train which departs at 1pm.

Does anyone know if there is enough time to get to the train station - buy train tickets and board the train? Is there any bus or shuttle that travel from the airport to the train station? is it better to take a cab?

No - we don't want to stay one night in Tangier. All the hotels have been booked.

If I miss the 1pm train the next one departs at 5pm and it will be like 10pm when we arrive in Fez. The Riad says they can pick us up but 10pm is very late in the evening.

Thanks
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Oct 8th, 2012, 09:49 AM
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Seems unlikely. Even if you don't check bags you've got to clear immigration. And what if your flight is late?

See this site: http://www.tangier-airport.com/location.cfm

20 minutes to reach downtown.
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Oct 8th, 2012, 06:12 PM
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Thanks. I found an alternative route" flying from Madrid to Barcelona, and then take Ryan Air from Costa Brava in Barcelona to Fez. That way we can be in Fez at ~5pm!

Now the question is: from Fez to Marrakesh by train. How are the trains? I heard trains in Morocco are the best in Africa, but I also read that the toilets are very dirty, first or second class. I wonder which one is true.
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