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My wife and I have been reading about Morocco, and it's made it onto our list...but since we've mostly traveled in U.S. and Europe, we don't know much...yet.


If anyone here is experienced, we could use some advice. We'll be going in mid-February 2015, and we'll have 9 days, including arrival and departure days. We're pretty experienced at jetlag, so we won't be totally knocked out, but need an easy Day 1.


We're most interested in art, food and history of the area; less in shopping or riding camels...but getting out of cities to see rural life would be interesting. How much is realistic for us in the time we have? What would be the best places to be and how long?


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I've traveled independently in Morocco a number of times now, it became my favorite destination from the first trip 15 years ago.  You've made a good choice.  


Regarding your reading, literature aside, I have a number of guides and my first choice is still Lonely Planet, bought prior to my first visit and subsequent editions as the years have gone by.  If you don't have one I suggest you get one.  


I won't suggest you not go in February but don't think because it's largely desert that it's guaranteed to be warm.  One trip in March was miserable due to rain & cold in Marrakech, combined with no heat at my accommodation, not unusual in riads, the most interesting & atmospheric places to stay.  So be prepared for possible cool & wet conditions that time of year.  I usually go in April and have never had bad weather then.


Practically speaking you have a week to play with for the fun stuff.  Not a lot of time.  You may, at this point, have a list of places you'd like to visit.  What are they?  And will you be arriving in Casablanca or somewhere else?  Tell me these things and we'll go from there.


We used to live in Casablanca, Morocco for around 4 years a while back. Yes, mid-Feb is still the back end of the cool period but is close to Spring depending on altitude - so think positive and enjoy this lovely country!


9 days is brief for all that can be seen. The "Royal Triangle" that is all within reasonably easy reach is Marrakech, Meknes and Fez and those 3 would happily fill your days (and nights) with fascinating insights into Morocco. An optional stop on the coast at El Jadida could be added but the above "3" are absolute highlights!


Casablanca is just a commercial city so (with respect) please discount it. Rabat and Tangier are fine but not for a short stay. Equally, tripping over the mountains from Marrakech down towards the Sahara is probably not ideal for a short trip as there is quite a lot of road travelling time involved. However - if you really want to do this, I can produce some ideas for you.


I hope you enjoy your trip. It was one of our highlight stays!

To add to Mac's suggestions, with the week you have I'd recommend either a combination of Fes & Chefchaouen OR Marrakech & Essaouira.  The first gives you an interesting medina experience combined with a very pretty mountain town and the Roman ruins of Volubilis between.  The second a large city with all it has to offer plus a much smaller and very beautiful seaside fishing town with good tourist infrastructure.  For that time of year I'd recommend Marrakech/Essaouira.


If you're passing through Europe on your way you can likely bypass Casablanca entirely and fly one of the low cost carriers directly into Marrakech.

February is probably not what I would have chosen, either, but it's when my wife has the time.


PortMoresby, I'm not sure about arrival; I'm trying to balance the higher cost of flying right in with what seems to be multiple connections at cheaper rates. I haven't really looked to see what I could get in cheap Europe-Morocco fares if I can get an award flight to Europe. Casablanca looks cheapest so far, about $200 less than Marrakech, but that's not too important if Casablanca's the wrong place.


Mac, I think we'll have to look at this as a "first trip" since there is so much there. We'd probably be happiest staying in 2 places with some day trip possibilities. What would you suggest?


Thanks to both of you...I'm a total newbie to N. Africa!

If you can, pay the extra to go straight into Marrakech as going in via Casa is more hassle and time that detracts from the fun of your holiday. This is especially if you have to fly via a European hub first as it is all airport, airport, airport,


Marrakech is "THE" experience of Morocco and honestly very "full on" - just please hook up with local guides, probably and preferably via the hotel, who will deflect some of the more 'enthusiastic' locals who might make life a bit tedious. There is a huge amount to see as it will be so totally alien to you. We loved it and went back time and time again but the guide will be a very useful "shield".


Essaouira, like PortM suggests should be very pleasant as it will offer a coastal stay. I suspect that it has expanded greatly since we were there so I am not really up to date on that.


Personally, I would probably opt for Meknes as the 2nd centre as it has a lot of history and "son et luminaire" shows. You final choice will probably depend on the amount of "history" that you like to have. Having said that, I recall that Marakkech also has a very pleasant Club Med hotel in the centre of town that could give you a seaside feeling in the middle of town. Who knows?


Keep asking, we will do our best .

If you're passing through Europe and plan to go directly on to Marrakech, keep in mind that the low fare carriers more often than not use secondary airports which will add to your travel time if go straight on.  For instance, if you fly into London's Heathrow airport a low fare airline will likely use either Luton or Stansted.   I believe British Airways has flights from Heathrow so check on the variables and you may find that with time and costs involved to change airports a bit more expensive fare will be well worth it.


If the amount you'll save by flying into Casablanca is significant there's a train station in the basement of the airport with trains to the main Casa Voyageur Station.  From there you can change to trains south to Marrakech or north to all cities north.  The places you can get to by train are limited to the main cities but those are likely the places you'll be going anyway.  So don't worry about arriving in Casablanca and continuing right on to someplace else.  Consider it an opportunity to ride a Moroccan train which I love to do.

Last edited by PortMoresby

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