Can one see Morocco from Portugal?

What you need in order to see from country A to country B is not just the distance between them but elevation. The higher, the better. If the two countries are separated by water, then assuming ideally clear weather, what matters is whether the line of sight between the point you’re standing at and the point you’re trying to see dips below the surface of the ocean between them. Therefore the distance between those two points must be no larger than the sum of their horizon distances, which are a function of their elevation.

So look for mountains, not beaches.

The place in Morocco whose horizon distance reaches farthest in the direction of Portugal might be Jebel Kelti (1912 m) about halfway between Tetouan and Chefchaouen, with a horizon distance (corrected for atmospheric refraction) of 169 kilometers. I’ve sampled a number of hills closer to Tangier, but they are all lower and their lines of sight don’t reach as far into the Atlantic.

The highest point in Algarve is Fóia at 902 m, with a horizon distance of 116 km. I’m not sure if there are any almost-as-high peaks further east in Algarve, but ultimately that doesn’t matter because the distance from Jebel Kelti to anywhere in Portugal is 277 km, and the sum of the horizon distances is 285 km. There certainly isn’t anywhere as high as 902 m within the few dozen square kilometers of Portuguese coastal marsh that fall inside the 285-km circle.

Thus even assuming perfectly clear air and a telescope, you can’t see any part of Morocco from anywhere in Portugal. (Except possibly in the case of very unusual meteorological conditions over the Gulf of Cádiz, which might in theory enable a looming image of Kelti to appear above the horizon).

morocco – Driving from Marrakech to Merzouga for camel tour

Due to my personal experience, I would avoid driving for such a long stretch in Morocco. If the road quality has improved, the skills of the local drivers have not. I can assure you their driving style is very different that what you might be used to: aggressive and unsafe. Moreover, the fact that you don’t know the road also means you will be driving even more defensively. This will add an extra source of stress on you. 7 hours of stress is a very long effort. I would personally take the coaches. Indeed I used Supratours from Marrakech to Essaouira without a glitch.

There are Supratour coaches serving the line Marrakech – Merzouga. These leave at 08:30 and arrive at 20:59, needing approximately 12 hours 30 minutes, according to the ONCF timetable website. Therefore you would have to plan your journey accordingly.

There are also mentions of night coaches, such as this tripadvisor forum post from 2011. I could not find any more information about these though.

Your best bet is to go to the Supratours coach station in Marrakech to ask or more details, seeing as there isn’t much available online.

morocco – What is the purpose of this cage on the wall of hotel room?

I’m looking for ideas about functionality of this wooden “cage” found on the wall of hotel room in Fez, Morocco. I haven’t had a chance to ask the service about it, and I’m yet to find a similar thing in any other hotel.

The photo was taken in 2019. The cage is about 50 x 50 cm, has a lock on the side and opens sideways I believe. During my stay it was empty and closed all the time. Notice it has no back panel – the wallpaper behind is visible – so my guess is nothing dirty (like laundry) goes inside.

A wooden cage found on the wall of hotel room in Fez, Morocco

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planning – Sahara in Morocco – Do we need 4×4 car?

You are planning a >2000km roadtrip across Morocco. You will be covering large cities as well as smaller rural town. You will spend most of your trip driving in rural, arid, areas. The road quality you will encounter will most probably vary from dual-carriageway asphalt to narrow strips of dusty roads. With all this in mind, I would have no doubts in opting for a 4×4 vehicle. Not a city SUV though, but a 4×4 vehicle geared for off-road (didn’t want to say jeep), with short gears, reinforced bits and pieces, proper suspensions and threaded tyres. For starters, these vehicles are made for unpaved roads and can therefore take a beating or two so you get the added versatility. Secondly you are likely to find binding clauses in rental car agreements prohibiting all driving on non-asphalt roads. By intuition I would think that a 4×4 rental agreement should not include such clauses. For completeness sake, note that a two wheel drive car might be enough for this trip. IMHO a 4×4 isn’t mandatory. Rather, I would recommend it.

As an extra tip, when renting, make sure you get unlimited mileage, accident insurance and a contact number in case something goes wrong.

trains – What is the easiest way to travel between western Europe and Morocco without using plane?

You can take a ferry from Algeciras in Spain, to Morocco.

There are routes to Tangier, and to Tangier Med (located about 40 km east of Tangier), which is a shorter route.

The crossing to Tangier takes about 2 hours, and sailing times, although published, are erratic. You can forget about high speed travel for this section of the journey.

I don’t know anything about the crossing to Tangier Med although it is easy to find online.

However, I believe there is a hydrofoil service from Tarifa in Spain to Tangier, see here too.

Tangier has rail connections to Marrakesh (for example an overnight sleeper train) and to other cities in Morocco, for example Fes.

Because of the erratic sailing times from Algeciras I would allow a full day for this section of the journey – the ferry I was on departed 3 hours late. It would be foolish to book a train out of Tangier in the hope of making the connection. A more reliable plan would be to stay at least one night in Tangier, before travelling on. You might want to explore Tangier too.