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Route PlanningWhere to go, when, what are the interesting places to see
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hi, we went through morrocco on a gl1500 we went through the atlas mountains ...first to katama and then into other parts of the high atlas...i,ll check out more details for you but basically go for it... as regards spain and portugal; i suggest you go through andorra...a great series of roads. andorra is not in eu so make sure you have insurance cover..the tiz n test road in the high atlas is amazing but fairly slow and quite dodgy on the bends.
do you want accommodation details? if so i can dig them out.....one place we stayed was the atlas film studio ...not too dear and fairly interesting.. johnfrom ireland now on 1800 goldwing
My wife and I will be leaving Frankfurt May 6 on our 2003 1800 Goldwing that has been shipped from Canada, headed to the south potentially across France, down the coast of Portugal into Morocco. Are we better off to head to Morocco the fastest way possible before it gets too hot and then make our way north as the summer approaches? Should we go through the middle of Spain to get there asap?.
I would love suggestions for places and roads to ride and especially suggestions about Morocco. We are considering a loop from Tangiers, Casablanca, Marrakesh, Zagora, Erfoud, Fez and back toward Tangier.
What about suggestions for the Burgundy and Bordeaux regions on the way. We will be in Europe until about the middle of July. We hope to go up toward England, visit our daughter and fly back to Canada from there. Generally we like to ride along the coast in a way that puts us on the coast side of the road. Any suggestions would be appreciated.
I did a similar route through Spain, Portugal and Morocco this summer. If you are camping, here are a few of my best records on locations that I will use on all future trips:
1. Via 19 Overland is run by Marco Rocha, he is very friendly and very helpful, local knowledge and tips on routes et cetera. A great stop for a coffee with a friendly local about 20 minutes below Porto.
2. Quinta do Pomarinho campsite is absolutely beautiful and the best campsite we found in Portugal. Perfectly positioned for overland travels. Run by a Dutch couple who firmly leave all stress at the door.
1. Cross from Algeciras into Tangier Med. The entrance into Morocco is absolutely painless and takes less than 40 minutes. Don't forget you will need 70 EUR to buy local vehicle insurance. The Algeciras port is junction 112b of the ring road.
2. Best ferry tickets to cross can be purchased behind the Carrefour at junction 109 in Algeciras.
1. Stay the first night in Chefchaouen. Its a couple of hours from Tangier and a memorable first night in Morocco.
2. The municipal campsite at Rabat has no security and has hyperdermic needles - avoid if you want to keep your car/ bike, wallet, passports etc.
3. Try to arrive in Casablanca in the morning, when you can get into the Mosque on a visitor's tour. As the 2nd biggest mosque in existence (only to Mecca) it is testament to the determination of man. No campsites in Casablanca though.
4. If staying in Marrakech, stay at the Relais de Marrakech. Its the best one in the city and 10 EUR to the city centre.
5. Zagora - camp at the Camping Sindibad and have dinner at the Auberge Chez Ali. If you have a 4x4, go to Iriki Garage, run by brothers Said and Aziz. They are the best mechanics I have ever found, including the UK.
I’ve come across this topic very late in the day but I hope I’ve got a few good tips to offer, at least as far as crossing Spain is concerned. Firstly, some of the advice you’ve had really is way off the mark, although I’m sure it was meant with the best intentions:
Originally Posted by dstehouwer
- Gas is cheaper here than in France
- Fastest route to the south is via the coast; peage. Cost is about 50 euro's per bike too.
* This would be the journey from hell. Spain’s Mediterranean coast isn’t quite the ‘Wall of Concrete’ that is often described. Well not quite, although it has some beautiful cities such as Valencia and Cartagena, stylish resorts like Sitges and Palamós and stretches of wild and unspoiled coastline, the Cabo de Gata in the south and the Cap de Creus in the north, to name but a few, motoring down the coast offers a choice between the devil and the deep blue sea, the national highway is almost entirely urbanized and horribly congested while the autopista merely offers you a fast ride past the ‘back’ of all the beauty spots, which, somewhat typically of Spanish geography, are grotesque blobs of hideous fringe development inland of the coast itself. If you went this way you’d regret four days of wasted life!
Originally Posted by Mike K.
Essaouira,Asilah,Tanger,Tarifa,Vejer de Frontera,Cadiz,Sevilla,Evora,Lissboa,Porto,Burgos, San Sebastian!
* This is more on track but for a few important errors: there’s no point in going to Barcelona to get to Zaragoza, you’ll pass through the most c9ngested region along the Mediterranean coast and then the busiest ‘corridor’ in Spain, i.e. the highways and autopistas between Madrid, the capital, and Barcelona, where all the trade goes. Not only that you’ll be doing a huge zig-zag, having gone well east of the Pyrenees you’ll then be heading almost due west to Zaragoza instead of south towards the Straits. So why not cross the Pyrenees over the Somport pass north of Zaragoza? It's one of the loveliest and the road on the French side is both in good condition and not very congested - somewhat of a rarity - and if the weather's bad, no snow in May but serious visibility issues in rain or fog, there's always the tunnel.
After the that the route to Albacete and on to the coast via Ronda makes great a deal of sense, but for the detour to Cuenca, which is way off the route unless you're gone round - or heaven help you through - Madrid. Instead, from Zaragoza head via Teruel and then Utiel (avoiding Albacete) Ciudad Real and on to Granada - but see below)
All this is based on passing through Spain as quickly as possible, which seems a waste as you’ll be avoiding some of the best scenery, and certainly the best roads, in Europe! If you plan to dally in Spain take a look at my guidelines to route planning on my blog, The Spanish Biker, But if you do have to pass straight through – and I’ll be disappointed of you if you don't find a way to stop over at San Sebastian, a serious ‘must do’ city break - then take the Somport/Jaca route described above and pick up the autovia there to Huesca and Zaragoza and onwards from there.
The hint about riding down from Ronda to Algeciras is spot on – a fabulous ride and Ronda is a good place to stay – but the while of the coast there is horrible so I’d try to ride as little of it as possible. But one worthwhile exception would be to get the ferry from Malaga and stay a night in that lovely city, the ferry port is right opposite the historic city centre so you won’t spend expensive holiday time lurking around for hours on some grotty dockside.
There are numerous detours you could do from this road alone plus some specifc little tricks – south of Zaragoza follow the original national highway as far as Teurel – this used to be a notoriously dangerous and horrible ride but now the traffic has gone it’s lovely – and almost completely empty! I don’t do specific route guidance but one itinerary springs to mind: stay your first night at Jaca (pronounced Haca by the way), it’s a lovely small city and a very good introduction to the peculiarities of Spanish lifestyle, like browsing for tapas while you wait to eat sometime after nine p,m.! Then follow the above route and stay your second night some way short of Granada at Cordoba, one of the three great Andalusian capital cities and by far the easiest to explore: the Mesquite really should be one of the Wonders of the World and you won’t find a better example in Morocco, not even Fez.
Coming back up though Portugal is rather off my patch, but I find that central Portugal is very poor riding, one village no sooner ends than another begins, whereas the Ruta de la Plata, either the original or the modern autovia of the same name, follow the border closely and you can pop over to see the sites - and eat and sleep more cheaply
If you do go that way then following the Cordillera Cantabrica through Austurias to the Picos de Europa is a 'must do' and , ideally you'll have time for that final break in San Sebastian - I really am jealous!
Just to add to the info. My wife and I rode Roscoff-Saumur-Clermont Ferrand-Massif Central-Milleux Bridge-Jonquera-Valencia-Sete Aguas-Ecija [? West of Seville] Huelva-Faro-Lagos-Sao Bras de Alportel-Setubal-Lisbon-Serra de Estrella's-Zamora-Santander then the boat home to Plymouth. If in Algarve don't miss the Moto Clube de Faro, on the En125 a mile east of Faro town centre. The most fantastic bike club with an amazing atmosphere. Accomodation, showers, kitchen, all for the asking. Cheap bar and hot food, with a supermarket across the road and BP garage next door. If you need time out from the road - go here.
Some perhaps not so useful info. Bike is an 06 carburettor T100 Bonny with 30K miles when we set out. 19 tooth front sprocket/42 tooth rear. Givi A660 screen. Triumph K&Q seat. 45 lt topbox, Oxford throw over rear panniers, LIDL 10 lt pushbike panniers and tank bag up front. 54 mpg, 25 kg luggage. We rode 2 tanks/240 miles a day, on average, 16 riding days. Never set off before 10 am, lunch about 2pm, looking for cheap hotel from about 5 pm. Beer in hand by 7pm - never missed. Navigation by tearing pages out of an old road atlas. Spent £ 2K all in and thoroughly enjoyed it. Are we going again in 2013 ?
Marrakesh, Istanbul and Moscow maps are out right now.
And our combined ages are 118, how daft is that ?
Try not to miss this interesting and varied country. No matter what you eventually decide do it is a long trip ahead of you and the worst thing to do is plan it! A trip through France (Maybe), Spain, Portugal and Morocco is huge miles for what is a short time frame to take it all in. Is the journey for example about the distance or for the experience? Just asking.
General living costs in Portugal are two thirds cheaper than France, and one third cheaper than Spain.
I liked Morocco and swore on a stack of bibles I would not buy a carpet. What did his nibs do? Bought a carpet in Mazouga! Never say never in Morocco! (It was posted back to the Isle of Man from Mazouga and took about six weeks)
Experience has taught me that it is far easier to purchase a machine in the continent one is flying to and take things from there, and then leave it there for the next trip on your return. (See the world slowly)
Good luck, and if in Portugal pass by I may just be there at the time.
I've travelled up and down uk,France,Spain,Ceuta,morocco,if anyone's passing France to Spain at la jonquera area and after accomodation,I've some friends near figueres that have a great place to stay in the mountains.
There's also one great trails that can be ridden on most types of bike if you want to see a bit of scenery.you can contact them on email email@example.com[/email]
Here's a couple of piccys if they attach ok..
What an interesting thread! My partner and I are currently on the road with a similar route on our Triumph Tiger Explorer. We've been flying by the seat of our pants, so to speak, not making too many plans other than a vague notion of making our way down to Morocco to spend a week or two, and then east across the Mediterranean to end up in Turkey, and then back up to the UK where we started.
So far we have been on the road for about two and a half weeks, staying near Mont Saint Michel for our first night after the ferry ride to St Malo from Portsmouth, then down to Tours, La Rochelle, Bergerac, Bordeaux, San Sebastián (yes, it is beautiful, make sure you eat lots of pintxos!) Salamanca, Then a couple of small villages along the Douro river, eventually making it to Porto and then to where we are now in Peniche. Our next stops will probably be Sintra / Lisbon and Evora. After that, who knows... We are planning to get to Gibralter before crossing to Morocco.
Would love to hear how your tour goes, if you are interested in our experiences on a similar route we have a blog with some stories, photos and videos as well as our bike log: ourbigfatbiketrip.com
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