Short Trip to Morocco from Barcelona
Replies: 12 - Last Post: Jan 21, 2010 1:49 AM Last Post By: artemis2
Jan 10, 2010 8:18 AM
First question: where best to spend our time in Morocco. Is Marrakesh worth the travel time, or should we focus on Fez, for example.
Second question: how best to get there, how long will it take, where best to stop, etc. I checked flying BCN to Fez or Marrakesh, but the price was too much & the times horrendous. We don't like arriving anywhere late at night. Fly to Malaga then ferry to Tangiers, train from there? What would be the logistics of that plan?
Jan 10, 2010 10:42 AM
Jan 10, 2010 11:24 AM
2.....look at Ryanair fares, from Barca., they fly from both airports in Barca. to Marrakech. a combination of the two airports with single tickets should get times to suit you.
Marrakech is very Moroccan and you'll find tourists every where in Morocco, impossible to hide them, they just keep coming out right where you can be offended by the mere sight of them.. Horrible red things with white patches carrying maps they can't read, asking stupid questions, reminds me of someone,............ME.
Go to Marakech, worth while, see if you like it, maybe you'll come back to try some where else another time.
Jan 10, 2010 1:31 PM
3For whatever reason, I have not been able to get the Ryanair site to work. I have enabled cookies. It takes my information, but doesn't give any flight info.
Soultraveler, I've read about your adventure somewhere before, because I remembered Mozart. Your reports on Morocco make me even more anxious to get there. Thanks a bunch.
Jan 10, 2010 3:03 PM
4Ahhh, the cookie needed to be "bookryanair.com" instead of "ryanair.com". That may indeed be the way we go. Makes sense to get south quickly, then explore our way north. We will probably go to Marrakech because DH is a geomorphologist in love with sand dunes, but Fez sounds more interesting to me.
We should have no problem fitting within Ryanair's weight limit for carry-on. May have to scrunch a bit on that 21.6", but even if we had to check, it would still be a cheap flight.
Thanks for that tip.
Jan 10, 2010 3:56 PM
5csdcsmith - the beautiful Merzouga sand dunes are not near Marrakech or Fez. The best sites in Morocco are very spread out (many hours drive) but well worth the effort. There certainly are MANY places in Morocco where you will see few tourists, but Marrakesh is always swamped with them because of the cheap flights & package tours.
The medina in Fez has far fewer & just the fact that it has no noisy traffic and motos makes a HUGE difference. Marakech is like the disneyland ( & tout city) of Morocco & April is the busiest month, so be forewarned as it's a fave European getaway.
We took a cheap flight out of Marakesh & it took us longer to get out than it took us to get in over land! So keep that in mind.
Other than Fez medina, I wouldn't spend much time in the cities as the gems are in the countryside, Atlas mountains, like near Ait ben Haddou, Essouria or 1000 kasbahs etc. etc
You won't meet any locals in Marakesh, just people wanting to sell you something, but you will in the countryside and small villages. If you speak French, that will be a BIG help.
You'll love it! Don't miss the Merzouga dunes in the Sahara...the best part of Morocco & getting there is half of the adventure & can be done by bus.
Jan 10, 2010 4:00 PM
Jan 10, 2010 5:18 PM
7Soultraveler, here's our thought process on the order of things. Please, please critique this at will:
We get to Barcelona March 23 and plan a few days there before leaving about March 28 for points south (coincidentally the same day you went to Morocco). We return to the States April 22 from Barcelona.
Going to Morocco next would allow us to avoid the Easter (April 4) build-up in Andalucia.
We are both sun-sensitive and hot weather bothers us. Earlier may be cooler than later. (Also for that reason, I'm not nearly as excited about the Sahara as DH is.)
While we generally agree with the build-up of excitement, we figured we might really appreciate the slower pace in Andalucia after Morocco.
We want to savor Andalucia for what it is. Anticipation of Morocco might interfere with that.
On another note, your descriptions of the Grand taxi rides scare me S*less. I've got a whole lot of living I want to do.
Jan 10, 2010 5:23 PM
Jan 16, 2010 8:42 AM
9It sounds like a good plan, csdcsmith! You shouldn't have to worry about too much heat then & you could run into rain and cold. ( Semana Santa in Seville is spectacular and worth seeing but also often gets partly rained out, twas quite cold when we went and the Sahara was cold at night!).
I've had friends who were disappointed in Spain after Morocco, so that's why I mentioned that as Southern Spain is awesome, but Morocco can be so intense, that it may well seem a let down if seen after wards which is a shame.
Different countries have spring break at different times, so it will be hard to miss that impact. although we saw it at high season and outside of Marrakesh, this was not a problem. Easter week in Andalusia is stunning & if you pick a small white village it doesn't have to be crowded like Seville or Malaga etc:
It's true, Grand Taxis are not for the faint of heart, but then the whole country is not for the faint of heart! (Unless you stay in a luxury riad the whole time). If we go again to Morocco, then I would rent a car, even though we have had friends that showed up and the car they ordered was not available. Ha! They ended up with a junk heap instead of the 4x4 they ordered, but thus is life in Morocco and part of it's charm. ;) Like the alley cat fight we saw in the middle of the Marrakesh airport while waiting a looooong delay, it's that edginess that makes it more exciting.
What you plan will not necessarily come about, but still it is easy to do independently (even more so if you have some French, but we don't as Spanish is our 2nd language). You could take a bus from Marrakesh to Merzouga which we considered as the locals do & we've had friends that did that.
You'll love it and want to go back!
Jan 20, 2010 1:02 AM
10Grand Taxis are a great way to travel in Morocco. They are cheap, flexible and fun.
This is a trip of a week i once did in Morocco and really liked (i'm aware that other options are possible).
Day1. Early flight into Marrakech. Taxi from the airport to the Gare Routière. Grand Taxi to Essaouira (arrived there at 1pm)
Day 2. Full day and night in Essaouira
Day 3. Grand Taxi to Taroudant, change in Agadir (Inezgane). Sleep in Taroudant and decided to rent a car there next morning.
Day 4. Drive with rental car to Tafraoute in the Anti-Atlas - purple skies - sleep in Tafraoute.
Day 5. Explore the beautiful region around Tafraoute and drive back to Taroudant in the evening
Day 6. A driver from the rental company joined us to drive us back to Marrakesh (he would drive the car back alone). This way we were able to drive through the High Atlas, via the Tizi-N-Test pass, with several stops along the road. The GT use the faster but less scenic road. Sleep in Marrakech.
Day 7. Full day and night in Marrakech
Day 8. Fly home
Jan 20, 2010 7:09 AM
11If you like to live dangerously, then and only then take a Grand Taxi. The locals refer to them as "mad cows" because of the way they drive (speeding, passing on blind curves, etc.)
Most people who have posted in this forum over the past five years or so think Fes has more hassle than Marrakech. And Fes doesn't have anything comparable to Marrakech's Jemaa' el-Fna.
Jan 21, 2010 1:49 AM
12If you like to live dangerously, then and only then take a Grand Taxi.
I didn' find it to be more dangerous compared to taking a bus in some parts of Latin America.
Anyhow, it is very convenient for transportation between towns and a great way for meeting people. To have more comfort, one can pay for an extra seat.
I also think it is a good introduction to the African continent, as the equivalent of Bush Taxi/Taxi-Brousse is widely available and popular in the rest of the continent.
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