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Spain itinerary - Madrid, Barcelona, Ibiza, Seville and Morocco

Hello! I'm wondering if anyone has a suggestion for a possible itinerary for a 2 wk-2 1/2 wk trip to Spain and Morocco. Morocco is a place that has to be on the list, we're hoping to visit Marrakech and another town. I'm travelling with a group of 3 single ladies. Any suggestions?

Posted by
16832 posts

Give yourselves as much time for the trip as you possibly can. Many people will say that this trip is too short to include both countries - to choose one or the other and see it to the max! I basically agree, but budget flights have now made it much easier to hop between both. See www.skyscanner.com for connections from Barcelona or Madrid to Fes or Marrakech. There are fewer flights to/from Seville, but Ryanair flies between Seville and Marrakech a couple of times per week.

For your trans-Atlantic flights, look at multi-city options, such as into Barcelona and home from Marrakech, if the price is reasonable. Then you can have a nice, linear trip: Barcelona - Madrid - Seville by train, and fly from there to Marrakech. If you need to include Ibiza, look at flight options Barcelona - Ibiza - Madrid, then continue as above.

Rough all of this out on a calendar to be sure you have a minimum of 3 nights (2 full days of sightseeing) in each stop. That's still moving quickly and you'll need more time if you want to insert any smaller towns.

Posted by
18349 posts

If one of your transatlantic flights is into or out of Morocco, I fear that you'll have to use Casablanca for that leg. It's not an unpleasant city, but it's almost totally modern and certainly not what you're going to Morocco to see. I'd recommend Marrakech and Fes for your primary sightseeing stops if you have time for only two. Fes is pretty peerless for craft shopping if your group is interested in that.

I don't see how you can include Ibiza along with Madrid, Barcelona, and Morocco on a trip as short as 2-1/2 weeks.

You didn't mention the timing for your trip. If it's mid-summer, be aware that the heat in Morocco can be quite an experience (there are five months with record highs over 110F).

I suggest budgeting for some sort of guide for your time in Morocco. Even if it's just the first 12-year-old kid who approaches you, having someone with you will go a long way toward preventing other potential guides for stopping you every 10 feet. With three of you, a professional guide would probably be quite affordable.

Posted by
7124 posts

It is a big ask, but if you can stretch to 17 nights on the ground as a minimum, then you can give it a good shot. You would need 3 weeks to include Granada and the Alhambra.

Barcelona and Madrid probably offer your best choices for arrival and departure flights. Jump over to Morroco in the middle of the trip.

Barcelona - 4N
fly to Marrakech - 3N - check Vueling and Ryanair for direct flights
train to Fez - 3N
fly to Madrid - 4N - Ryanair flies direct on Tue and Sat
train to Seville - 3N

I am sure there are seasonal direct flights ...
Madrid/Barcelona <> Fez/Marrakech

Posted by
14235 posts

There are cheap flights between cities in Spain and Morocco. But when I considered going to Morocco on my own, I found that going from city to city there is slow. And air travel takes a lot longer than the 1 hour flight - time to get to/from the airport, time to check in and go through security, then boarding procedures, then passport control, luggage collection (you are likely to have low cabin baggage allowances, even on a major carrier), then get to the city and then to your hotel.

Go to the wiki pages for the Marrakech and the Fez airports. Toward the bottom there's a table that lists all the airlines and destinations from each one. For example, you could fly into Madrid, then fly from Sevilla to Marrakech, then from Fez to Barcelona - but it will take some juggling because some (most? all?) of the flights are not as frequent as daily.

You'll have to fly to/from Ibiza in addition. With 2.5 weeks on the ground (not counting 2 days getting across the Atlantic twice, you have at best 18 nights on the ground and 6 cities. That's only 3 nights in each. 3 nights gives you only 2 full days, with a few hours at one end or the other - assume it will take 1/2 day to travel door-to-door with your luggage each time you move.

Madrid is worth 2-3 days if you love paintings - the Prado, the Thyssen and the Reina Sofia need hours - especially the Prado. Otherwise, Madrid is not as interesting as most other places in Spain. Sevilla's highlights can be seen in 2 days, but you should not go without spending at least a few hours in Cordoba to see the Mezquita. You'll see very little of Barcelona in 2-3 full days.

What time of year are you planning to go? For instance, summer would be too hot for most of us for most of your cities.

Posted by
15 posts

Sorry....I realize that I didn't include when we are planning to go - the trip is planned for mid May to early June. I figured that it would be warming up in Spain and hot in Morocco but, not too hot. Thanks again!!

Posted by
18349 posts

That's about the same time of year I went to Morocco about 25 years ago, so I'm not going to tell you not to go, but I am going to give you the average high temperatures and record high temperatures for Marrakech so you'll understand what you may be in for:

May Average High: 81.5
May Record High: 111.9

June Average High: 88.3
June Record High: 116.4

I got this info from Wikipedia, which indicates that the averages are from 1961 to 1990. One assumes that current figures would be a bit hotter. If you want to take a look at the actual day-by-day weather for May-June 2016 and prior years, you can find it at wunderground.com.

I remember seeing the Majorelle Gardens in Marrakech on a 113F day.

Posted by
15 posts

Thank you...so that looks like around 35 to 45 degrees C. Wow. Ok, good to know!

Posted by
18349 posts

I'm sorry. I should have noticed you were Canadian. I could have given you the temps in Centigrade.

Posted by
15 posts

Hello, what are your thoughts on the following itinerary?

May 19 - June 3

Madrid - May 20 - immediately travel on train

  • Seville - 3 days

Travel by bus

  • Gibraltar - 1/2 day

Ferry to/from Tangier

  • Tangier - 3 days

Bus to Malaga

  • Malaga -1 day

Fly from Malaga

  • Ibiza - 3 days

Fly to Barcelona - 3/4 day stay
Fly home to Toronto

Posted by
18349 posts

I'm unclear on what you are planning for the Seville-Gibraltar-Tangier part of your trip. Do you just want to stop off briefly in Gibraltar to sightsee, then go on to Tangier the same day via a ferry from Gibraltar? I'm not sure that will be possible. The DirectFerries website says the following, "The FRS Gibraltar Tangier Med ferry crossing between Gibraltar and Morocco is the only service operating on this route. With crossing durations from 1 hour 30 minutes, the route is scheduled to run around 1 time per week." [emphasis mine]

Ferries from Algeciras (closer to Gibraltar) and Tarifa to Tangier are much more frequent. It appears that there are a lot of buses from La Linea to Algeciras and far fewer to Tarifa, so it's probably best to plan on taking an Algeciras-Tangier ferry. If you click on that link you'll find the La Linea-Algeciras bus schedule. Scroll down for the direction you need. I don't see any indication of the validity period of this schedule. Refer to the letter codes in the right column to determine which day(s) each ferry runs:

L = Monday
V = Friday
S = Saturday
D = Sunday
F = holidays

That said, I'm not sure Tangier is a 3-day destination. It's my impression that people go there on day-trips because they only have one day for Morocco. However, I have only passed through Tangier on the way to the ferry, and I have no nearby alternative Moroccan destination to suggest. If your reading supports a multi-day visit, go for it. If not, add one or two of those days (I'm not sure how you're counting your time) to one of your other destinations. (I'd suggest Barcelona or--to allow for a side trip to Cordoba--Seville.)

Ibiza is known as a big-time party island. Should be fun if that's what you're looking for. Otherwise, I'd head somewhere else.

Posted by
15 posts

Sorry I realize that I left out the fact that I was going to Algericas to take the ferry over to Tangier.

While we`re in Tangier, we were thinking of taking a day trip to Rabat and then to Fes. Stay overnight in Rabat and then return to Tangier.

Our real goal was to stay in Marrakesh but, I am unsure if that is possible given our timeline. If we do go there, we will definitely fly from there to Ibiza to save time.

I have been wanting to go to Ibiza for the last 10 years and thanks to a blog written by fellow Canadians, it confirmed my feelings about the place. It is known for its party atmosphere but, it has some hidden gems.
http://travelingcanucks.com/2012/10/why-going-to-ibiza-may-surprise-you/

As always you have given me food for thought!

Posted by
18349 posts

Check skyscanner.com for flights between Spain and Morocco. I think there is a non-stop from Seville to Marrakech on Tuesdays and Saturdays. (I didn't check returns.) There are some flights from Malaga, too, but no non-stops.

It would be worth checking flights into Casablanca (just as a jumping-off point for Marrakech) as well if you need to travel on a different day, because there may well be more service into the capital. The Skyscanner website is not behaving for me at the moment, so I can't access that information.

It's worth mentioning that in Morocco the fastest way to move between towns is often a shared taxi (called a "grand taxi", at least in English). They really pack people into those things, and I have no idea how they would work if you had significant luggage. My mother and I traveled (ages ago) with roughly carry-on-size bags. Now that I think about it, in the old days there was no schedule for the grand taxis. You just showed up in the appropriate location and waited, though typically not for very long. Mind you, I haven't kept up with how things work in Morocco since that trip.

Posted by
823 posts

With 2 - 2.5 weeks you have plenty of time to visit Marrakesh. We flew there from Madrid and then took the train back to Tangier before crossing the strait via ferry. Two or three nights is all you need to get a good feel for Marrakesh. We were only in Tangier for a morning - but from my perspective Marrakesh is a much better experience.

Posted by
7124 posts

U could do Marrakech, but with lots of flying.

May 20 - Arrive Madrid. Train to Seville - 3 nights
May 23 - Fly Ryanair to Marrakech - 3 nights
May 26 - Fly Ryanair (via Barcelona) to Ibiza - 4 nights
May 30 - Fly to Barcelona - 4 nights
Jun 03 - Fly home to Toronto