Week 458 – Morocco Trip Planning

Although Morocco has been on our list for a long time, it wasn’t until we were watching “Inventing Anna” that we got motivated to do the trip. We picked to go in November as it lined up with a potential break in my work (ended up being exactly the opposite for me but perfect for Sharon). We first checked Royal Air Maroc that goes straight from Washington to Casablanca first, but TAP Air Portugal was much cheaper. At first glance, it adds 4-5 hours to the trip each way, but practically it didn’t work that way. On the return, we stayed a night in Lisbon which is easy and always nice and on the outbound we figured out in our research that Casablanca wasn’t really worth a stop – so we would have had a connecting flight to Marrakesh and it was maybe 2 hours faster at most. So – why not Casablanca? It is the first city that most people think of when they think of Morocco. But in reviewing Youtube videos and talking to people, it didn’t appear to be a destination. We ended up focusing on Marrakesh, Fes, and Chefchaouen. I was a bit hesitant on Chefchaouen as it appeared to be a place where the “Instafamous” went for pictures but in the end it was worth the trip. Initial search for flights in-country found nothing, so we plotted out a course of 6 hours of train (3 hours on the old train and 3 hours on a new high speed rail) to get from Marrakesh to Tangiers then rent a car and drive 12 hours via Chefchaouen and Fes to get to back to Marrakesh. Not appealing to have 18 hrs of travelling plus transitions. We were about to cut Chefchaouen out (and cut 6 of the 18 hours traveling) when we found Air Arabia has one flight a week from Marrakesh to Fes – so we re-arranged our trip around to only stay in Marrakesh a day coming in and then flying to Fes. We then arranged a group tour from Fes to Chefchoun (still 8 hrs driving – but someone else doing it). The return flight from Fes to Marrakesh connected in Casablanca so it wasn’t fast either. So still had around 15 hrs of travel – but was much easier than driving ourselves. And parking in all three cities would have been a nightmare. In short – it is hard to get around Morocco. The roads aren’t great and the high-speed rail is designed to connect the government and financial centers – not the tourist centers. So if you go, search hard to find flights within the country.


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