Itinerary for a friend
So, my colleague is going to take a trip around the world and Morocco is one of his stops. I woke-up day dreaming a Moroccan itinerary, not sure if its for him or for myself. Yes, I admitt. I’m jealous. But, I am happy for anyone who gets to enjoy a bit of Morocco in their lives. Below are my travel suggestions for a short and simple (albeit, not quite budget) visit.
Rabat and Casablanca
I’ve stayed in Rabat often, but never had a reason to stay at Riad Baraka. Located in Oudaya which is has a picturesque medina (old city). And you can take a walk to the Spanish Gardens for tea. I visited it from the outside. It has a picture of a golden cat on the wall. Baraka means good luck. I imagine it’s lovely. You get a view of Sale on the other side of the Bou Rgreg (Bou means river, not sure what Rgreg means). There’s a lovely waterfront, a beautiful medina, shopping across the street. If you wander the medina and see a corner baker, by all means buy something. I believe the petit pain au chocolate runs a couple dirhams.
If you want to take a day trip, you could take a cab to the Grand Mosque in Sale. The architecture there gives you a sense of what you can see in Fes and Meknes.
I’ve never visited to the mosque in Casablanca but would like to. I’m sure it’s a beautiful day trip if you want a Casablanca destination and it should be easy to figure out transportation. You could take the train to Casablanca and a cab to the mosque. I think it’s about a 45 minute train ride from Rabat to Casablanca.
Fes and Meknes
These cities are on the train line so they’re easy to get to. I think it’s about a three hour ride. The train schedule and look-up is online at http://www.oncf.ma/.
Accommodations in Fes are more expensive than Meknes and Meknes is a lovely city only a short train ride from Fes. So, while Fes is the “cultural capital” I think Mekenes is the bargain place to stay. Even though I had a horrible experience staying at Riad D’Or (I think it had mainly to do with being a woman traveling with a three year old), it is a good deal and a nice riad and lots of other people have had positive experiences there. Of course, Riad Safir, as noted, is an excellent alternative, but a bit musty in the ground-level room. If you can afford it, staying at Riad 20 Jasmines was awesome.
I’d organize a tour in Fes. You may be able to have a guide meet you at the train station. There is no way you’re going to find your way (without loads of frustration) around the medina in Fes. You could tour it every day for weeks, I imagine, and never see the same view twice. It’s a marathon experience, but well worth it. Fes has a tourist center. I thought I had a link to that contact information, but I can’t find it online. The person at the riad can help you.
Marrakesh has hostels I hear and some bargain riads. I haven’t been there much, so I can’t really recommend specifics. Marrakesh is on the train. If you get to go, it’s a very different experience from Fes or Atlantic coast. That’s the great thing about Morocco. If you take the train there, even for just a day, visit Jamal L’Efna, the main square that gets going at night. There’re all kinds of exotic foods and sights, sheep brains to eat and live snakes or monkeys to hold. It feels kind of Indiana Jones. There are tons of things to see and experience in Marrakesh, but its not a city I know very well. I always wished I’d visits Les Jardin Majorelle, but I haven’t yet.
I’ve probably busted your budget here. But if you can budget for just one night in a riad, you’ll remember it always. Happy travels.