18 days in spain
June 16, 2007 1:17 PM   Subscribe

planning an 18-day trip to almeria, spain, in late july. help me plan an itinerary!

my mom is going to visit family in almeria, but i plan to use almeria as a base to explore other places, too. i definitely want to go to granada for 2-3 days and morocco for 4-5.

1. is it reasonable to try to get to marrakech in this timeframe? i will take the ferry over from spain (from either almeria or gibraltar, depending on the family's schedule), but i don't know anything about morocco's internal transit system. i always assumed marrakech was the one must-see place, but i'd take fez, too.

2. where else in southern span should i visit? is it reasonable to make a jaunt over to barcelona? seville? cordoba? i have heard gibraltar is a dump and am happy to miss it (unless i decide to catch the morocco ferry over there).

3. any recommendations (hotel/transit/sights) would be most appreciated! i'm a single american female, competent in spanish, barely functional in french.
posted by thinkingwoman to Travel & Transportation around Almeria, Spain (10 answers total)
Morocco's trains are great, and you're not going at a very busy time. Pay the little bit extra for first class, it's worth it. If you only have 4-5 days in Morocco, I'd head straight down to Marrakech, hang out there for a bit, then take a SupraTours bus to Essaouira. Spend a day there, back to Marrakech, then on to Spain. I'll put my email in my profile, let me know if you want additional suggestions on where to stay/what to visit.

Oh - and it's HOT in Marrakech in July. Be prepared for all shops/businesses to close down for much of the afternoons.
posted by Liosliath at 1:36 PM on June 16, 2007

you would probably do well to rent a car. you will want to explore the costa del sol at will. I like Gibraltar. The views from on top of the rock are amazing. a daytrip to Ceuta would be awsome (go from Algeciras) A trip to the Bodegas in Jerez would be in order. (do you like Sherry?) Eat seafood w/ Manzanilla in SanLucar de la Barrameda. it's completely reasonable to visit Sevilla. You HAVE to go to Malaga and visit the Alhambra. Stay/eat in the Albaicin neighborhood nearby. Have a great time!
posted by mrmarley at 2:07 PM on June 16, 2007

You can definitely get to Marrakesh in that timeframe. Personally, I liked Fez more, but a lot of it depends on how you deal with annoying touts.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 2:12 PM on June 16, 2007

Definitely see Córdoba and possibly Sevilla: they're close enough to Granada (there's fairly quick, cheap intercity bus service through Andalucía), and they have enough to see. The HI hostel in Córdoba has an excellent location in the old city.

Barcelona is a whole different distance. It's a fantastic city with all sorts of things to do and (narrowly) my favorite in Spain, though--if you can get a cheap flight or are willing to put up with the night train, go for it.
posted by deeaytch at 2:14 PM on June 16, 2007

I loved Córdoba. It's about 225 miles from Almeria. It is a beautiful city and has one of the most fascinating cathedrals I have ever visited, as it's a combination of Muslim and Catholic influences. We (my family and I) stayed right across the river from the cathedral/mezquita at the Hotel Hesperia, which was very nice. The view from the rooftop at night was gorgeous. We also enjoyed wandering in the nearby residential area.

Granada is also close to Almeria, about 100 miles away. The Alhambra is a beautiful place. Lots of wonderful gardens and architecture.

You could drive or take the AVE trains.
posted by liesbyomission at 3:38 PM on June 16, 2007

Something to note: the ferry from Almeria to Morocco goes to Nador, which isn't connected to Morocco's train system.

It might be easier to fly: Iberia can get you from Almeria to Marrakech via Madrid, or you can fly to Melilla on Air Nostrum (which is run by Iberia).

The train from Tangier to Marrakech is overnight, also. Morocco's train system is at www.oncf.ma.
posted by mdonley at 8:46 PM on June 16, 2007

Ack, no, Nador is connected to the train system. My mistake. You might have to change at Casablanca, though. The website above will tell you.
posted by mdonley at 8:48 PM on June 16, 2007

Further Morocco train link: Seat 61
posted by mdonley at 11:31 PM on June 16, 2007

HI, there are many things to see in southern spain alone, I wouldn't go to others spanish provincias.. Sevilla is really nice (cathedral, jewish borough, Alcazar..). Try to check Ronda if you're coming from malaga to Sevilla. Enjoy your trip !
posted by nicolin at 2:33 AM on June 17, 2007

Sevilla is fantastic, I loved it. Should you add that to your itinerary, sevilla5 is a great resource by 5 folks who live & work in Sevilla that offers hand-picked selections for finding all kinds of lodging - apartments for 3-7 days, small hotels and hostals. Plus lots of info on things to see, dining, and general info.

I stayed in the Hotel Vinci La Rabida which was terrific but a bit pricier than I usually like to spend. It was booked, but we had hoped to try the Hotel Amadeus which is reasonably priced, charming, and in the heart of the Santa Cruz district.
posted by madamjujujive at 9:16 AM on June 17, 2007

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