Hi all. Just wanted to say thanks to the previous post-ers––your advice and insight was so incredibly helpful in planning our trip.
We went to Morocco for 11 days at the end of October with the following itinerary--
Day 1- Evening arrival in Marrakech
Day 2- Marrakech
Day 3- day trip to Essaouira
Day 4- Djebal Toubkal (Kasbah du Toubkal)
Day 5- Djebal Toubkal
Day 6- (day of travel to Fes via hired car)
Day 7- Fes
Day 8- Fes
Day 9- Fes
Day 10- day travel to Marrakech (via train)
Day 11- Home (bummer!)
Because I was a bit anxious prior to leaving (some posts like "Marramess" made me even more so!), I wanted to address a few things. Here is a mishmosh of advice...
I know a number of posts have noted how safe the country is––after visiting, I couldn't agree more. My boyfriend and I confidently walked around by ourselves at night. We most certainly got lost, (especially in the beginning) but locals were very willing to help us find our way (if you are concerned you can always stop in a shop to ask for help). Obviously, you need to be somewhat cautious and aware of your surroundings. But it's no different than any other city.
Despite some previous reports, we did not feel hassled in Morocco. Only a couple of times did we get the "that road is closed" line, but a simple non merci (even if it has to be said a couple of times) did the trick. Honestly, it was no more hassle than you would get in any big city (including NYC, my home turf).
For those women who are a bit concerned, I had no problem as a 20-something blatant tourist. In choosing what to wear I just figured I'd err on the side of conservative, if only to be respectful. I wore loose tops that came up to my neck, and had no hassle whatsoever.
This may be to be expected, but just remember that cash is required in virtually every transaction. ATMs are pretty easy to find in the main areas, but we ran into a slight problem thinking we could pay by card for the train from Fes to Marrakech (meanwhile the ATM in the station was out of service, so my bf had to sprint to the closest location). I'm accustomed to having an ATM every two feet, so it was a bit of an adjustment to have to plan out getting cash.
Numerous posts noted how far apart things are. It was definitely a lot, particularly the trip from Toubkal to Fes (9 hours!). Just keep in mind that you're giving up a FULL day for travel from Fes to Marrakech (and to the desert as well, I believe). Even in 11 days, I felt like we may have been doing a bit too much.
As far as places to visit, I'm happy that I visited each place I did, though I do think Essaouira is a bit overrated (that's just my opinion though, and it probably has a lot to do with the fact that we had to sacrifice a day in Marrakech to go--if you have ample time to explore Marrakech it would probably be a great day trip!). Fes and Marrakech are two vastly different cities, but each is amazing I thought Fes had better handicrafts and architecture, but Marrakech had higher energy and a more cosmopolitan feel. And Toubkal made for a nice, relaxing break in between.
One final note, if you're in Marrakech on a Monday night, some restaurants are closed. It may not be a big deal if you're going to eat in the Djemna el Fna, but my boyfriend and I hadn't planned things out and left our nice dinner for Monday night (our last night). Two of the places we wanted were closed, but luckily Jean Patrik (Dar Silsila) was able to squeeze us into the third (Al Fassia in Gueliz). It was a fantastic restaurant so we were quite happy about it. But while we were there a number of people were turned away for not having reservations, so I think this may happen often. Just something to think about as you're planning.
Anyhow, those are my musings. Thanks again to those who have posted in the past! And to those who are currently in planning––have a fantastic trip!