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Going to Barcelona to Morocco and back.. help!

Going to Barcelona to Morocco and back.. help!

Old Jun 25, 06, 4:11 am
  #1  
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Question Going to Barcelona to Morocco and back.. help!

Three of us are planning a trip to Spain and Morocco, but we only have two weeks. We are all flying into Barcelona around the 2nd of July, and then we want to make our way down the coast either by car or train, but we do know we definitely want to drive at some point.

Does anyone have suggestions of where to stop, both on the Eastern coast of Spain (Barcelona to Sevilla) and also in Morocco?

We were thinking Alicante, Granada, and Sevilla in Spain, and then in Morocco, Tangiers, Chefchaouen, Fes, Marrakech, and Essouira. This is not set in stone but we are looking to see a variety of landscapes (city/beach) and we want to have as full a trip as possible...

Does anyone have any suggestions? I would really appreciate it!

Thanks
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Old Jun 26, 06, 9:54 am
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Careful about getting dissappointed with Alicante - a visit to the castle is nice, but the authorities reponsible for town planning over the past few decades have acted disgracefully.
Best thing about Alicante is the nightlife - aim for the casco antiguo, although a lot of young people aim for San Juan beach in July & August.
Don't get me wrong, I adore Alicante, but it's not the most picturesque destination. Consider stopping off at the Huerto del Cura (also known as El Palmeral) in nearby Elche to see Europe's most impressive array of palm trees http://www.huertodelcura.com/jardinhc/entrada.html

Another highlight of the area are the 'salinas' near Santa Pola - huge wet salt flats where thousands of flamingos congregate.

Valencia is definitely worth a visit. If you're into modern architecture, then a visit to the CAC - City of Arts and (S)ciences designed by Calatrava is worth a look. You can stop for Paella (some of the best places are in the Valencia 'suburb' known as Albufera) and a glass of horxata. Again - the nightlife here is awesome (Valencia is known as the party capital of Spain).

Another place to stop off is Altea between Valencia & Alicante - it was one of the few fishing villages on the Eastern Mediterranean coast that was left standing after Franco went all out for development in the 1960s (creating the Torreviejas, Benidorms and Torremolinos uber resorts that scar the Spanish Coast). You'll have seen Altea tons of times already as it features in many car commercials thanks to its thin whitewashed winding streets.

The sand dunes of Almeria are worth a visit (Doñana National Park - plenty of flamingos in this area too). And the most beautiful beach I've been to is in the village of Aguilas in the region of Murcia.

For watersports (especially motorised ones) there's the Mar Menor - about 25 kms long and nowhere more than 4 metres deep. On some days it's like a mirror, seeing the night sky reflected here can make you feel like you're standing at the edge of the world.

Granada should certainly be on your itinerary.

I'd also highly recommend a stop at one of Spain's Paradores - historic buildings used as inns - a scheme sponsored by the Spanish Government.
http://www.parador.es/english/index....urce=realmedia
The Paradores of Tortosa (in Tarragona) and Alcañiz (in Teruel) are both on your route. - although it isn't on the website, for a supplements of about 25 Euros, Paradors will usually give you an extra bed so you can turn a twin into a triple. It brings down the cost of a stay at one of these to about 40-45 Euros each if there's 3 of you.

Also, do check to see if there are any festivals you can go to on the dates you're travelling - a fiesta in a small town you've never heard of could easily turn into the highlight of your trip.

As for Morocco - Chefchaouen is the only place on your list I've been to. It was very pretty, but it reminded me a little of an inland Goa for young Spaniards. I enjoyed Tetouan more, but I was the guest of someone who'd grown up there, so that's probably why.


One last thing. The train connections from Barcelona to Alicante are fabulous. Onward to Murcia they aren't nearly so effective, and you're sunk if you want to go further West this way.

I went from Alicante to Algeciras by privately owned car, stopping off in Granada. You're likely to have a problem with a car hire company in Spain allowing you to take their vehicle over to Morocco.

Last edited by LapLap; Jun 26, 06 at 10:42 am
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Old Jun 26, 06, 1:03 pm
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Travelling between Spain & Morocco

There's some excellent advice here:

http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/showthread.php?t=510501
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Old Jun 26, 06, 1:40 pm
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yes, I don't think Granada is easily accessible via train from BCN. If you're going to Morocco via ferry, it's a pretty established route - lots of backpackers do it. Skip Tangier.
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Old Jun 28, 06, 10:19 am
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Mr. Canuck and I spent our honeymoon in Spain and Morocco last spring. Some aspects of our itinerary look like they won't appeal to you, but others might. The part that wouldn't fit your plan (but others might be interested) - we flew into BCN, drove north to Cadaqués and Girona, back to BCN, and then used BA miles to get one-way tickets to Madrid. I wasn't keen on the ferry to Morocco, so instead we used miles to fly directly from Madrid to Marrakech - fast, and also this route allowed us to land at mid-day in Morocco (instead of late at night - I wasn't sure what to expect in Morocco).

Now for the part that might interest you (the Morocco part of the trip). We enjoyed Marrakech a lot and had good success researching and booking riads through www.riadsmorocco.com. Unfortunately, I can't remember our riad's name. In Essaouira, we stayed at Madada Mogador, which was spectacular - and a wonderful treat after a week's hike in the mountains. We weren't impressed with some of the riad owner's restaurant recommendations, but quite enjoyed La Licorne.

It's easy to get from Marrakech to Essaouira by bus. Because timing was tight, we took a grand taxi to Essaouira - and regretted it. I thought it would be a more comfortable way to travel - far from it. Picture a 90-year old guy in a rattletrap Mercedes who likes to play chicken with the oncoming traffic on a very narrow road (rule of the road - biggest vehicle has the right of way). We took the bus back and it was adequately air-conditioned, reasonably roomy, comfortable - and the bus was the biggest vehicle on the road. No WC on board, but there's a pit stop at a restaurant with toilets half-way along the route.

If you have the time, it's worth trying either to get into the mountains for a few days, or to the desert. We organised our hike through Sherpa in the UK, but it appears it would be easy enough to just line something up through contacts your riad/hotel manager will have in the first city you stop in.
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Old Jul 21, 10, 4:19 am
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Marrakech activities

I recommend you visit things to do in Marrakech

it will give u a fine picture of the experience you may enjoy in Marrakech
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