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Spain, Portugal & Morocco on a shoestring!

Spain, Portugal & Morocco on a shoestring!

Old Mar 17th, 2013, 08:29 AM
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Spain, Portugal & Morocco on a shoestring!

Hey everyone,
Looking at a trip to Europe in September, hoping to see a bit of Spain, Portugal & Morocco.
Will be a bit pressed for time as we have 2 weeks, but are realistic and know we can't hope to see everything there is to see.
Rough itinerary:
Fly to Barcelona from Perth, West Australia.
Make out way down to Madrid.
Keep going down until we get to the coast and skip over to Tangier, Morocco.
Finish up in Portugal and fly to London.
We plan to backpack and stay in hostels, will be using busses & trains including overnight trips.
Don't want to cram 2 months worth of travel into 2 weeks, we want to pick a few things/places we would love to go to and be happy with that.
Any thoughts/ideas/ experiences on must do/see's and suggestions on length of time in each place and info on transport/hostels would be very much appreciated!
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Old Mar 17th, 2013, 08:34 AM
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I would hold off on visiting Morocco until you can spend at least a week there and avoid Tangier, which is a dump that doesn't even remotely represent the wonderful country of Morocco.
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Old Mar 17th, 2013, 08:43 AM
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Jessie, people on Fodors don't usually travel on a shoestring budget. Lonely Planet might be a place to post your questions. I think Thorn Tree forum on the Lonely planet website is back in business.
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Old Mar 17th, 2013, 08:45 AM
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My first thought is, though Morocco is probably my favorite destination, you might save it for another trip. Taking the ferry to Tangier is by no means getting a feel for the country. I like Tangier but in the context of time spent in the country, not as a day trip or 1 overnight. If you can spend at least 2 nights there, maybe, but why not use the time in Spain & Portugal, visit Morocco for 2 weeks some other time. You have little time for those 2 countries so I suggest you leave it at that.
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Old Mar 17th, 2013, 08:46 AM
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September is still high season in Spain and Portugal and as mentioned, Tangier does not represent the rest of Morocco. Trying to cover all three countries, from Barcelona, to Tangier and Lisbon will keep you on the go constantly, especially if you don't have a plan and make reservations ahead of time (accommodations and transportation).

What fun is that? But good luck anyway.
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Old Mar 17th, 2013, 08:55 AM
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I travel fairly cheaply, although I don't do a lot of hostels, but you will certainly find more hostelers at Lonely Planet. However, sleeping cheaply doesn't have much to do with your itinerary, which is far too ambitious. You could easily spend far more than two weeks in each of those countries.

I agree with skipping Morocco on this trip. I would even consider skipping Madrid - I much preferred Lisbon. If you're flying into Barcelona I would go on to Granada, as I think the Alhambra is the single best sight in Spain. Then maybe one of the white towns, probably Ronda, then Seville. Then you can either take the train to Madrid to catch the overnight train to Lisbon, or take buses into southern Portugal. You really don't have time for more, but from Lisbon I would go north via Coimbra to Porto and get a cheap flight from there.

Look at seat61.com for great info on using trains in Europe. Check out hostelbookers and hostelworld for places to stay, along with couchsurfers and airbnb. For cheap flights start at whichbudget.com and skyscanner.net. For my 2004 trip including Iberia see wilhelmswords.com/rtw2004

You need to realize that two nights in a town gives you only one day. You should lay this out day by day , allowing time for transport (include packing up and checking out and getting to the station/airport). Don't ignore night trains, which save time, but try to afford couchettes rather than seats.
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Old Mar 17th, 2013, 09:22 AM
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Ok, let me ask a different question: what did you love about these countries?
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Old Mar 17th, 2013, 09:53 AM
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I think more to the point, why did you choose them?
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Old Mar 17th, 2013, 10:02 AM
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Pretty sure this is my thread here is it no-?
All I'm asking for is for people to say what they really loved about the places-the "must-see's." There are loads of different places we want to go to and things we want to do and experience but we know we won't get to see all of them. We want make the most of our limited time there and save the "nice-to-see/do's" until the next trip.
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Old Mar 17th, 2013, 10:26 AM
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I was not being compative, yes, defintely your thread. Hence my question, what do you like to do that drew you to these places. What is it YOU are looking for, your favorite activities. Hiking or museums. Beach or mountain. City or village. And so on. The more we know about what you like the better we can answer. It's a BIG question you've asked.
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Old Mar 17th, 2013, 10:35 AM
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Yes, it's your thread, but what WE are looking for in visiting places may be completely different from what YOU are looking for, so why waste time explaining how much we love the saffron dealers in Marrakech if you have no interest in that?
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Old Mar 22nd, 2013, 04:25 PM
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Haha... We're planning the same trip countrywise, for 2 weeks also, next month!

Flying into Madrid for 2 days.
Flight to Lisbon for 4 days.
Flight to Malaga, then bus to Gibraltar (see the rock).
Night in Algeciras.
Ferry from Tarifa to Tangiers, then train to Rabat.
Night in Rabat.
Bus to Oulidia for 2 days.
Bus to Marrekesh for 2 days.
Flight back to Madrid to leave next day!

It seems a like a lot, and it is, but we figured that we don't know when we'd be back in this part of the world again, so why not see all the countries in the region that we always wanted to go to? I'm leaning to agree with others about Tangier - we were gonna stay the night, but my Moroccan friend considers it a border town like TJ (Tijuana, Mexico)... You get hustled on like crazy & probably not a good sampling of Morocco. Decided to take the 4 hour train ride to Rabat for the night, then to his beach house in Oulidia.

Sorry didn't have much to answer, but thought maybe might help you in planning your route a lil'... Will post some reports & pics of our trip!
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Old Mar 22nd, 2013, 05:15 PM
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I found Tangier to be quite a nice place to spend a few days. Did the reverse, ferry to Tarifa then back to Tangier. I certainly like Tangier better than I did Tarifa. I think Tangier suffers from a lingering case of historic bad reputation but I found no evidence to support it these days. I enjoyed my time there very much.

I stayed here, loved it: http://latangerina.com/en/
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Old Mar 23rd, 2013, 07:01 AM
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Portugal - since you have no specific destination I recommend Sintra. It was the highlight of my Portugal trip. I loved the palaces and the feel of the town. If you're looking for night life this is not the place for you. Best to stay in Lisbon and see Sintra as a day trip. So you see, your itinerary motivation does make a difference.
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