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Cycling from Santander to Marrakesh

tomdavidrobertstomdavidroberts Posts: 3
edited July 2012 in Tour & expedition
Morning all,
I'm currently planning a route with a friend to cycle from Santander (Northern Spain) to Marrakesh (Morocco) and am asking for any information that people have.

We both cycle regularly, last year cycling from London to Berlin and back in 13 days, we have also had some fantastic experiences on Spanish oads and hope to find a fairly direct route. We aim to do around 80-100 mile days with weight as well, all we need now is advice from people that have been there done that got the t-shirt.

Some parts I'm having trouble with researching are:
-The route, avoiding hilly areas (especially in Spain)
-Whether roads to Marakesh will be good enough for a light hybrid bike
-sites to see en route
-places to stay in Morocco
-anything else you can think of.

Any help would be reallly!!! appreciated!


Tom Roberts


  • I've only managed to find a few websites with any info
  • culverwoodculverwood Posts: 256
    You will not be able to avoid the Cordillera Cantabrica climbing up to the meseta. The Sierra Central just North of Mardid is another obstacle though not as bad if you avoid the worst sections, the Sierra Morena in the South is not so bad as you are generally going down off the meseta at that point.

    If you are taking the Burgos, Valladolid, Salamanca, Caceres, Merida, Sevilla, Algeciras route the coast road between Tarifa and Algeciras is definitely a climb but there is an inland route though not without hills.
  • MajeedMajeed Posts: 20
    Morocco is great place for holiday.
    You can find very cheap but classy places to stay. We paid about Ł12 for hotel per person per night in Fes.
    Marrakesh is more expensive as it is strictly tourist area, it's also very hot as it is close to desert (on the same side of the mountains).

    I would go to Morocco this year too, but my passport expired and I can travel only in EU :(
  • tremaynetremayne Posts: 378

    Slightly different in terms of equipment, but I rode (motorbike) from Bilbao, down through Spain and took in a loop of Morroco - including Marrakech.

    Haven't got time this morning to help you in full, but can post a little more later.

    1/. Generally speaking, the roads in Morocco were way above expectation. Remarkably good - certainly not to worry about. The main thing to bear in mind is that they run a class of 'road' called piste - and you really don't want to be riding on that. Easy enough to avoid. In summary - won't be a problem. I've ridden in almost every European country and wouldn't put morocco even in the top ten of worst roads (currently I'm giving that to Albania, followed by Belarus).

    2/. Per above, Fez is nice. But if you can manage it - Merzouga (nr Risani) is worth the detour. You are on the edge of the desert there and its pretty radical. Huge differences in the country - very North is actually very green and not what you might expect at all. Atlas mountains - awesome. Tiz and Test pass - awesome. Dades gorge - awesome. The scenery is fantastic.

    3/. People are mega helpful and places like a Casbah are a good shout for accommodation. You'll never never not find somewhere. People there (off the tourist trail) genuinely want to help you and will go out their way to get you fixed up. Same with food. Several meals were had in places that probably weren't restaurants in the normal sense and without exchanging and actual words!

    4/. When are you going? It will get seriously hot in the summer.

    Did the west coast also (essouraia and upwards) - but the highlight for me was Merzouga and Atlas area.

    Awesome trip. Big mileage though! Hope you are allowing yourself enough time!
  • I cycled via Santander - Marrakesh as part of a longer trip.

    I would highly recommend the Atlas even if it is a bit hilly. By the time you get there you should be plenty fit enough.
    Central Spain was scorching in August and I used to cycle only in morning and evening when it was cooler, and chill out in a town during the afternoon. But I was still doing 80-100mile a day at that point.

    Chefchaouen near the Rif mountains of Morocco is a very pretty town.

    The roads in Morocco should be fine for a hybrid, just avoid the pistes (dirt tracks).
    No problems with accommodation. If you have a tent, wild camping is easy or when you get to town just ask the locals where there is a hotel. People are very helpful and friendly and often I was invited to stay in their homes too.

    More here if you're interested:
  • cycladeliccycladelic Posts: 641
    I rode from Cassablanca to Santander this March/April and really enjoyed Morocco. My route took me through Portugal, which didn't really float my boat. In Spain, I went via Seville and Malaga - the ferry there from Melilla was overnight and the port is said to be give hassle than Tangiers.

    I have a blog on Crazy Guy that has a lot of photos.... it might give you some ideas: ... 9112&v=2lC
    It's an uphill climb to the bottom
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