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Mango Polo
Aug 4, 2007


Previous thread is in archives sadly.

So! I'll be flying to Morocco on the 9th and returning on the 31st. Kind of a short deadline to figure out what I actually want to do there, but this trip also sort of come out of nowhere.
That's a pretty big chunk of time though, and I'd like to take things at a nice and relaxed pace. Currently I'm looking at:

Flying into Tangier, 2 nights.
Chefchaouen, probably 2 nights
Fes, 2 or 3 nights
Ouarzazate, 1 or 2 nights
Marrakesh, 2 nights
Essaouira 2 or 3 nights
back to Tangier, flying out.

Note: Guy travelling solo, and no driver's license.

Any recommendations for places to visit/tours? A solid Sahara trek is on my list, but I wouldn't mind at some point dumping myself in a cosy place and enjoying food and drinks with minimal effort for a few days.

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Saladman
Jan 12, 2010


Your schedule doesn't quite make sense to me; the dates don't really add up if you're going on the 9th and coming back on the 31st, so 3 weeks? But then you only list like 14 days on your itinerary. I guess you're trying to figure out what to do with the extra days. If you add 1-2 days everywhere it looks a lot better, but even so it's not really a "nice and relaxed pace". I spent 2 nights in Ouarzazate and god drat that was rushed (went only to Ait Ben hadou and the Fint Oasis, and I had a car so flexibility was on my side). 3 days in Marrakech, on the other hand, was plenty. The other 3 days of our trip we spent at a luxury hotel up near the Setti Fatma falls, but to be honest I wouldn't recommend going up there as a single traveler. It was nice and romantic but it'd be boring by yourself. It is cool to see a huge forest and big rivers in the middle of what is otherwise a desert though.

The Sahara is still quite far from Ouazarzate by the way, it's like another 6 hour drive to get to Merzouga. Trains will get you everywhere except Ouarzazate and Essaouira, so I guess that'll be handy. You might be able to get a bus from Marrakech to Ouarzazate? To be honest I didn't see or notice any, either time I drove up or down, and everyone else I know who has done it has either hired a car or hired a driver. Essaouira is well-connected by buses.

Saladman fucked around with this message at Jul 5, 2015 around 16:15

Keret
Aug 26, 2012






Soiled Meat

When I was in Morocco I traveled mostly by bus, and I found CTM to be a really good choice and not so expensive. That or I know Supratours runs a ton of buses between Marrakech and Essaouira for a good price. I enjoyed Tangier and Chefchaouen a lot more than Fes or Marrakech personally but I prefer places that are a bit less totally insane and chaotic. If you want to chill a bit, I really can't recommend Essaouira enough, for me it was the perfect balance between a city and a more calm atmosphere and I ended up spending like a week there after I missed a flight out of Marrakech and wanted to hang out somewhere more chill. There is really cool local folk music there called Gnawa that is really worth checking out if you are into that kind of thing, and also the ocean of course. Also if you want even more laid back, just south of Essaouira is a tiny fishing village called Sidi Kaouki that is a perfect place to just hang out if you get tired of big cities and stuff. There's a local bus that runs between it and Essaouira but good luck finding anything like a timetable for it.

Mango Polo
Aug 4, 2007


Saladman posted:

I guess you're trying to figure out what to do with the extra days.

Yes, that! Sorry, I could have made it more clear.

And I did forget to mention Merzouga, that was the idea for the Sahara trek.

So basically:
Tangier -> Fes -> Merzouga + Sahara -> Ouarzazate -> Marrakesh -> Essaouira -> Casablanca -> Tangier and back home.
With more time in Ouarzazate and Essaouira. Since those are farther down the itinerary I can be very flexible with my time.

Shibawanko
Feb 13, 2013



Essaouira is way more relaxing than any of the other Moroccan cities I visited. Barely any touts, nobody tries to bother you on the street. Chaouen is alright in that respect but still not really free from aggressive salespeople. Marrakesh and Fez are beautiful and all but I just straight up hated having to walk around there, in the burning sun, constantly having to reject offers of something or other for sale.

Restaurant touts are easiest to get rid of if you show that you are already full. Blow up your belly and pat it in a silly way and they'll usually leave you alone.

smackfu
Jun 7, 2004



We stayed in Meknes for a couple of days and really enjoyed it. A lot less of a hassle than the other cities. You can take a day trip to the ruins in Volubilis and the city itself has some great old architecture and walls.

KingColliwog
May 15, 2003

Let's go droogs

If we're in Portugal/Spain and want to spend a few days in Morocco (3-4 days or so probably so like a single city probably), what's the best way to get there. Should we hit the south of Spain and take a ferry to Tangier or Ceuta or something like that?

If we travel with an 8 months old, are we gonna regret stepping foot in Morocco or is it relatively baby friendly if we chose what we visit.

KingColliwog fucked around with this message at Jan 24, 2016 around 19:32

Saladman
Jan 12, 2010


KingColliwog posted:

If we're in Portugal/Spain and want to spend a few days in Morocco (3-4 days or so probably so like a single city probably), what's the best way to get there. Should we hit the south of Spain and take a ferry to Tangier or Ceuta or something like that?

If we travel with an 8 months old, are we gonna regret stepping foot in Morocco or is it relatively baby friendly if we chose what we visit.

It completely depends on where you're going to be in Spain before you want to go to Morocco, and where in Morocco you want to go. If you just want to go to Tangier, and you're already going to be in Malaga, then yeah your plan makes sense. If you're going to be in Madrid/Barcelona and you want to go to Fes or something, then flights are way cheaper and way faster. Presumably you won't feed your kid half-cooked street food, so s/he'll be fine. Morocco doesn't really have any unusual communicable diseases.

E: Just saw your post in the other thread. So you'll be around Lisbon? Flights will probably be cheaper and faster, and then you can go wherever you want in Morocco instead of being stuck with just Tangier. (Not sure about Lisbon, but Madrid flies everywhere in Morocco for incredibly low prices.)

E2: Maybe I'm wrong... cheapest I see really are ~$200 round-trip from Lisbon to Casblanca/Marrakech/ Tangier, and $300-$350 for anywhere else. If you go towards Madrid you can get super cheap flights on Iberia and RyanAir ($60-$100 round trip) to almost anywhere in Morocco.

Saladman fucked around with this message at Jan 24, 2016 around 21:57

Shibawanko
Feb 13, 2013



KingColliwog posted:

If we're in Portugal/Spain and want to spend a few days in Morocco (3-4 days or so probably so like a single city probably), what's the best way to get there. Should we hit the south of Spain and take a ferry to Tangier or Ceuta or something like that?

If we travel with an 8 months old, are we gonna regret stepping foot in Morocco or is it relatively baby friendly if we chose what we visit.

Morocco is very stressful if you go to areas where vendors are used to tourists. I wouldn't take a kid there really. Not because it's dangerous for the kid, but it's just hard to keep track of many things at once when you're in the crowds and harassed by vendors.

KingColliwog
May 15, 2003

Let's go droogs

Saladman posted:

It completely depends on where you're going to be in Spain before you want to go to Morocco, and where in Morocco you want to go. If you just want to go to Tangier, and you're already going to be in Malaga, then yeah your plan makes sense. If you're going to be in Madrid/Barcelona and you want to go to Fes or something, then flights are way cheaper and way faster. Presumably you won't feed your kid half-cooked street food, so s/he'll be fine. Morocco doesn't really have any unusual communicable diseases.

E: Just saw your post in the other thread. So you'll be around Lisbon? Flights will probably be cheaper and faster, and then you can go wherever you want in Morocco instead of being stuck with just Tangier. (Not sure about Lisbon, but Madrid flies everywhere in Morocco for incredibly low prices.)

E2: Maybe I'm wrong... cheapest I see really are ~$200 round-trip from Lisbon to Casblanca/Marrakech/ Tangier, and $300-$350 for anywhere else. If you go towards Madrid you can get super cheap flights on Iberia and RyanAir ($60-$100 round trip) to almost anywhere in Morocco.

That's cool thanks.

After Lisbon we will hit the train and probably go to the south of Spain and we were considering Madrid and Barcelona. Right now we're very interested in Cheufchaouen which seem to be easily accessible from Ceuta, but we're not 100% sure where we will go yet (probably a single city since 3-4 days is not a lot). It's really good to know that flights are cheap from Madrid, I'll try to take a look at flights from Barcelona because that's another city we're very interested in.

Shibawanko posted:

Morocco is very stressful if you go to areas where vendors are used to tourists. I wouldn't take a kid there really. Not because it's dangerous for the kid, but it's just hard to keep track of many things at once when you're in the crowds and harassed by vendors.

That's one of the things I'm afraid of and why we're looking for city that would be less crazy. We're not doing Marrakech this time around for this very reason. The plan right now would be Cheufchaouen and then hit Tetouan on the way back if we have time.

Absolutely nothing is set in stone though, we're in the first stages of planning.

Shibawanko
Feb 13, 2013



KingColliwog posted:

That's cool thanks.

After Lisbon we will hit the train and probably go to the south of Spain and we were considering Madrid and Barcelona. Right now we're very interested in Cheufchaouen which seem to be easily accessible from Ceuta, but we're not 100% sure where we will go yet (probably a single city since 3-4 days is not a lot). It's really good to know that flights are cheap from Madrid, I'll try to take a look at flights from Barcelona because that's another city we're very interested in.


That's one of the things I'm afraid of and why we're looking for city that would be less crazy. We're not doing Marrakech this time around for this very reason. The plan right now would be Cheufchaouen and then hit Tetouan on the way back if we have time.

Absolutely nothing is set in stone though, we're in the first stages of planning.

Chaouen should be okay, it's really beautiful. Essaouira is another town where we were never harassed by anybody, and it has a very pleasant climate too. I dunno about Tangier though, we didn't go there but since it has a lot of international traffic I imagine there might be a tourist shakedown culture.

KingColliwog
May 15, 2003

Let's go droogs

Shibawanko posted:

Chaouen should be okay, it's really beautiful. Essaouira is another town where we were never harassed by anybody, and it has a very pleasant climate too. I dunno about Tangier though, we didn't go there but since it has a lot of international traffic I imagine there might be a tourist shakedown culture.

We don't plan on going to Tangier unless we need to land there.

I'll look at Essaouira. How is Fes if anyone knows? Being harrassed non-stop is clearly not something we are looking for with a 8 months old.

Shibawanko
Feb 13, 2013



KingColliwog posted:

We don't plan on going to Tangier unless we need to land there.

I'll look at Essaouira. How is Fes if anyone knows? Being harrassed non-stop is clearly not something we are looking for with a 8 months old.

Fes was worse than Marrakesh.

KingColliwog
May 15, 2003

Let's go droogs

Shibawanko posted:

Fes was worse than Marrakesh.

Thanks a lot. Will come back if I have other questions. You've been really helpful

KingColliwog fucked around with this message at Jan 26, 2016 around 16:15

KingColliwog
May 15, 2003

Let's go droogs

Ok I have one more question. We pretty much decided that we will go to Cheufchaouen from Cadiz spain by bus/ferry/bus(or taxi). Then we will leave Morocco by plane to Barcelona (we're trying to limit the number of flight because we don't know if the baby will hate or super hate it)

I've seen people saying to go from Algeciras to Ceuta and some from Tarifa to Tangier. Anyone knows which would be the best/easiest? And once in Morocco a lot of people are saying to take taxis and some saying to take bus. What would you guys suggest and why?

I'm favoring tangier at the moment and then the bus because that seem easier, less expensive and safer but I really don't know anything so I'm willing to be convinced to take another route. For example I'm guessing finding the good bus and the stop and everything might be harder than I think while taxi driver might be jumping on us to offer their service.

Oh and we are both native french speaker so that should make things easier. From what I know pretty much everyone speaks at least some french, but I know the north was a Spanish colony so may be it won't be as easy to communicate in Tanger?

xcdude24
Dec 23, 2008


KingColliwog posted:

Ok I have one more question. We pretty much decided that we will go to Cheufchaouen from Cadiz spain by bus/ferry/bus(or taxi). Then we will leave Morocco by plane to Barcelona (we're trying to limit the number of flight because we don't know if the baby will hate or super hate it)

I've seen people saying to go from Algeciras to Ceuta and some from Tarifa to Tangier. Anyone knows which would be the best/easiest? And once in Morocco a lot of people are saying to take taxis and some saying to take bus. What would you guys suggest and why?

I'm favoring tangier at the moment and then the bus because that seem easier, less expensive and safer but I really don't know anything so I'm willing to be convinced to take another route. For example I'm guessing finding the good bus and the stop and everything might be harder than I think while taxi driver might be jumping on us to offer their service.

Oh and we are both native french speaker so that should make things easier. From what I know pretty much everyone speaks at least some french, but I know the north was a Spanish colony so may be it won't be as easy to communicate in Tanger?

You may have already gone, but this is worth a shot.

There's two ports in Tangier, Tangier Port, which is in the city proper, and Tangier Med, which is quite a ways out, and will require a bus/taxi to get into the city. The ferries that go to Tangier Port only leave from Tarifa, but if you go with FRS, they have a free shuttle bus from Algeciras to Tarifa. If you want to see Chefchaouen and Tetouan, it's probably best to get a ferry to Ceuta. Tetouan is about 30-40 minutes from the border, and Chefchaouen is another hour and a half. IIRC, there's no direct transport from Tangier to Chefchaouen, so you'll have to go through Tetouan anyways (unless you book a direct taxi from Tangier to Chefchaouen, which will be a lot more expensive).

Hope that helps!

Edit: you shouldn't have any trouble finding French speakers, especially in touristy places like Chefchaouen.

I know you mentioned you were looking to get away from the tourist hassle. Tetouan is pretty good for that- it's a big city by Moroccan standards, but it doesn't get a lot of tourist traffic, so you can check out the (very beautiful) Medina without a lot of hassle.

KingColliwog
May 15, 2003

Let's go droogs

xcdude24 posted:

You may have already gone, but this is worth a shot.

There's two ports in Tangier, Tangier Port, which is in the city proper, and Tangier Med, which is quite a ways out, and will require a bus/taxi to get into the city. The ferries that go to Tangier Port only leave from Tarifa, but if you go with FRS, they have a free shuttle bus from Algeciras to Tarifa. If you want to see Chefchaouen and Tetouan, it's probably best to get a ferry to Ceuta. Tetouan is about 30-40 minutes from the border, and Chefchaouen is another hour and a half. IIRC, there's no direct transport from Tangier to Chefchaouen, so you'll have to go through Tetouan anyways (unless you book a direct taxi from Tangier to Chefchaouen, which will be a lot more expensive).

Hope that helps!

Edit: you shouldn't have any trouble finding French speakers, especially in touristy places like Chefchaouen.

I know you mentioned you were looking to get away from the tourist hassle. Tetouan is pretty good for that- it's a big city by Moroccan standards, but it doesn't get a lot of tourist traffic, so you can check out the (very beautiful) Medina without a lot of hassle.

Already went, but that's great advice and I'm sure it'll be helpful to someone else.

If anyone is wondering how easy/hard taking the ferry is well it's super easy and not stressful at all.

Also, the whole morocans will try to scam you, don't trust anyone, etc. thing you always hear about morocco is way blown out of proportion. I don't know if it's just because we had a baby with us, but everyone was REALLY nice and even in tanger people weren't particularly pushy and we never had any trouble when politely declining an offer. Even in the medina we never felt like people were trying to force us in their shop. The only time I got that vibe was when one guy was clearly trying to "be our guide" without telling us straight up and I had to tell him 3-4 times before he left us alone.

We had to shorten our trip because we had some problem with the baby and morocco got hit hard by that, but the little taste we had made us want to plan a whole trip there in the future. I'd really love to spend a few weeks.

Mango Polo
Aug 4, 2007


KingColliwog posted:

Also, the whole morocans will try to scam you, don't trust anyone, etc. thing you always hear about morocco is way blown out of proportion. I don't know if it's just because we had a baby with us, but everyone was REALLY nice and even in tanger people weren't particularly pushy and we never had any trouble when politely declining an offer. Even in the medina we never felt like people were trying to force us in their shop. The only time I got that vibe was when one guy was clearly trying to "be our guide" without telling us straight up and I had to tell him 3-4 times before he left us alone.

When I was there it was pretty drat awful, as a solo male. Half the trip was during Ramadan, half after, so fairly low season. As beautiful as Morocco was, my entire trip has been marred by these lovely scammers and people trying to siphon money out of me for everything and anything. It was just a constant, non-stop verbal assault. At some point it starts to be really difficult to enjoy the country when telling people "no thanks" politely has them throwing back insults at you or following you around shouting. Couldn't stop to look at something without scammers almost lining up to take shots at me.

I would love to go back for the country, the food, the culture... but I won't.

The only place where it was calm was Essaouira, and I'm guessing it's only because the large number of expats living there have tempered the scammers. e: Oh and Marrakesh. Of all places, Marrakesh was where I got the east hassled and bothered by locals other than Essaouira.

Mango Polo fucked around with this message at Jul 10, 2016 around 20:28

Saladman
Jan 12, 2010


Marrakech for us was awful, and many street vendors were rude even when politely told "non, merci". We got harassed fairly consistently in 4 days in the medina, especially my white-European-looking fiancee who speaks Maghreb Arabic. We both speak French, but speaking Maghreb Arabic to the constant stream of harassers made it even worse. We went in January, also fairly low season. Everything was fine outside of Marrakech.

Shibawanko
Feb 13, 2013



Towards the end of my trip I figured out that it's best to use jokes and stuff to blow off the touts. Like on the food market in Marrakech if someone was trying to pull me towards their stall i'd bulge up my stomach and rub it like I was very full in a silly cartoon way and that'd throw them off.

I suspect you had less trouble because you were with a wife and kid. Your appearance might also have something to do with it. My wife and I look very scammable I think.

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Mango Polo
Aug 4, 2007


I'm guessing Marrakesh was a better experience for me because that was around when the number of tourists was swelling up, so locals trying to get their hooks into tourists had plenty of better targets than me.

As opposed to Fez, which was pure hell. Especially near the leather tanning area.

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