Train & ferry route map, London to Marrakech

London this morning, Morocco tomorrow night, by train!

This page explains how to plan & book a journey from London to Tangier, Marrakech, Fez, Rabat or Casablanca without flying, in comfort & safety using regular daily scheduled train & ferry services.  And what a journey!  Take Eurostar to Paris, have lunch at the fabulous Train Bleu restaurant, then speed south to Barcelona at up to 199mph by double-decker TGV Duplex.  Stay overnight, then ride superb Spanish high-speed trains through wonderful Spanish scenery into Andalusia, sailing by ferry from Europe to Africa across the Straits of Gibraltar.  Once in Morocco, let the real Marrakech Express speed you south towards the incredible High Atlas mountains.  No flights, no airports, no stress.

Train times, fares & tickets...

  London to Morocco train & ferry times southbound

  Morocco to London train & ferry times northbound

  Fares & costs

  How to buy tickets, the cheapest way

  Video guide: A journey from Morocco to Madrid by ferry & train

  Alternative routes & options

  Places to stay & things to see in Tangier

  Train travel in Morocco:  Trains from Tangier to Marrakech, Fez, Rabat, Casablanca

  Hotel recommendations in Algeciras, Tangier & Morocco

  Car hire in Morocco - ideal for seeing the area south of Marrakech

  Holidays & escorted tours to Morocco by train - all sorted out for you.

Sponsored links...


Useful country information

Train operator in Morocco:

Office Nationale des Chemins de Fer Maroccains (ONCFM), www.oncf.maTrain travel in MoroccoAll-Europe train times

   

Ferries to Morocco:

www.trasmediterranea.es, www.balearia.com, www.frs.es (Spain-Tangier), www.gnv.it (South of France & Barcelona to Tangier)

Time zone:

GMT (GMT+1 last Sunday in April to  last Sunday in September, except during Ramadan).

Dialling code:

+212

Currency:

£1 = approx 12 Dirhams    Currency converter

Tourist information:

www.tourism-in-morocco.com          Recommended guidebooks

Hotels:

Hotel recommendations   Holidays & escorted tours to Morocco by train

Visas:

UK & EU citizens do not need a visa to visit Morocco for up to 90 days.

Page last updated:

9 July 2014


London & Paris to Tangier, Fez & Marrakech

   
  The historic town of Ait ben Haddou in Morocco...
 

The mud-built town at Aït ben Haddou, south of Marrakech.  Many movie scenes were filmed here, such as 'Gladiator'.  It's well worth hiring a car for a few days and exploring this region...

London ► Morocco

Can I stop off on the way?

Why not stop off in Madrid or Granada?

Or in Gibraltar?

What are the trains like?

Step 1, by Eurostar from London to Paris:  See the Eurostar page...

 

A Eurostar about to leave London St Pancras...  All you need to know about Eurostar.

 

Why not have lunch at the wonderful Train Bleu restaurant in Paris? www.le-train-bleu.com.

Step 2, by TGV Duplex from Paris to Barcelona...   Watch the TGV Duplex video

The new Paris to Barcelona service is operated by impressive 186mph TGV Duplex double-decker high-speed trains.  You board the train through a wide sliding external door into a small hall at one end of the lower deck, where an internal door opens into a lower deck seating area.  A wide, short & easy flight of stairs leads from the entrance door to a landing at one end of the upper deck.  You walk along the train from car to car at the upper level, and the café-bar is also at the upper level.  There are toilets both upstairs & downstairs.  When booking, you can choose a seat on either upper or lower decks if you use www.capitainetrain.com or www.loco2.com or book by phone, but not if you book at any of the Rail Europe websites.  If you have problems with stairs or very heavy luggage, the lower deck might be best.  But for the best views (over the top of the occasional sound barrier along the high speed lines!), definitely choose an upper deck seat.  For couples in first class, an upper deck 'club duo' table-for-two is easily the best option.  More pictures & an account of what to see on the Paris to Barcelona journey.

A TGV Duplex about to leave Paris Gare de Lyon   Upper deck second class on board a TGV Duplex.

Boarding a double-deck TGV Duplex at Paris Gare de Lyon.  You can now easily travel from London to Barcelona in a day by Eurostar & TGV, a relaxing day catching up on your reading over a bottle of wine.  And it isn't even particularly expensive if you follow the advice on this page!  Watch the TGV Duplex video

 

The upstairs landing on a TGV Duplex showing the stairs down to the entrance door...

Upper deck second class on board a TGV Duplex.     The bar on the upper deck of a TGV Duplex

2nd class seats on TGV Duplex upper deck.  There's a mix of unidirectional seating & some tables for 4 like this.

 

The cafe-bar on the upper deck in car 4, serving tea, coffee, soft drinks, wine, beer, snacks and microwave-style hot meal dishes....

Mt Canigou in the Pyrenees

Mt Canigou & the Pyrenees...  One of the highest peaks in the mighty Pyrenees, the 2,784m (9,137 feet) Mt Canigou dominates the skyline on the right of the train all the way from Perpignan to Girona.  More pictures & an account of what to see on the Paris to Barcelona journey.

First class on board a TGV Duplex   An impressive TGV Duplex.

1st class seats on TGV Duplex upper deck.  That's a 'club duo' on the left & a 'club quatre' on the right.

 

A TGV Duplex at Barcelona Sants.  The red near the door indicates 1st class, pale green 2nd class.

Step 3, by AVE from Barcelona to Antequera-Santa Ana for regional train to Algeciras...

These superb-quality AVE high speed trains are amongst the classiest trains in Europe.  They have three classes, Preferente (premium 1st class seating), Turista Plus (1st class seating but without any food) and Turista (2nd class).  AVE trains run at up to 186 mph over the Spanish high-speed lines.  Most trains between Barcelona and Andalucia are the S102 type shown below, little articulated single-axle Talgo carriages sandwiched between strange-looking duck-billed power cars, hence the nickname pato, Spanish for duck.  The final destination of the Barcelona-Antequera train will be shown on the departure boards as Malaga.

A 'pato' S102 AVE train, of the sort that runs Barcelona to Antequera & Malaga   Cafe-bar on an S102 AVE train

AVE Pato which means duck.  No prizes for guessing why.

 

Cafe-bar...

AVE Tourist class seats on an S102 AVE train   AVE Turista Plus seating on an S102 AVE train

AVE Turista class...  Comfortable seats, 2 abreast each side of the aisle, mainly unidirectional with some tables for 4...

 

AVE Turista Plus class.  Reclining seats, power sockets for laptops & mobiles, mainly unidirectional but some tables for 2 & 4.

AVE Preferente class on an S102 AVE train   An S102 AVE train

AVE Preferente class. Large leather reclining seats, all with power sockets...

 

An S102 AVE... All aboard!

Step 4, by FRS fast ferry from Tarifa to Tangier Town with free bus from Algeciras...

FRS Ferry free transfer bus at Algeciras ferry terminal   Tarifa port

The free FRS shuttle bus leaves from outside Algeciras' modern Estación Maritima 1 hour before each ferry departure.

 

It's just a 30 minute 22km drive to Tarifa.  You enter the small modern ferry terminal & board the SeaCat for Tangier...

Inside the FRS fast ferry from Tarifa to Tangier   FRS ferry to tarifa, at Tangier town

Inside the FRS fast ferry.  There's a refreshment counter selling food and drink, including a welcome cold beer.  There are small open-air observation decks at the rear.

 

The FRS fast ferry at tangier town ferry terminal.  FRS still use the old Tangier Town terminal, just 5 minutes walk from the Continental Hotel & old medina.  A more convenient & romantic place to arrive!  See the video!

...or by ferry from Algeciras to Tangier Med Port, then train, taxi or bus into Tangier...

A Euroferrys fast ferry from Algeciras to Tangier   Euroferrys conventional ferry approaching Tangier

Fast ferry passing Gibraltar:  Fast ferries from Algeciras to Tangier Med Port take 50-60 minutes, although you're mostly sealed in.  Here, a fast ferry sails out of Algeciras with Gibraltar in the background.

 

Conventional ferry at Tangier Med Port:  Conventional ships take 1½ hours, but their decks allow you to enjoy the crossing of the Straits of Gibraltar in the open air. This is a Balearia ferry.

Shuttle bus from the ferry arrives at Tangier Med Port terminal building   Inside Tangier Med Port 'Gare Maritime'

At Tangier Med Port, you walk off the ferry and onto a free shuttle bus which transfers you along the road and up the hill to the terminal building (Gare Maritime) for passport control.

 

Inside Tangier Med Port Gare Maritime are the passport controls, X-ray machines, check-in desks & ATMs.  Taxis are waiting outside, plus an hourly free bus to Tangier.

The 17:30 train from Tangier Med Port to Tangier Ville, at Tangier Med Port station   2nd class seating compartment on the train from  Tangier Med Port to Tangier Ville   The view from the train between Tangier Med Port & Tangier town.

The train from Tangier Med Port to Tangier Ville is now up and running...  Above left, the 17:30 from Tangier Med Port to Tangier Ville is just a locomotive and two comfortable air-conditioned carriages, connecting with the overnight couchette train to Marrakech, see the timetable below.  The station is easy to find, it's located directly below the ferry terminal building, integrated with it.  The trains aren't (yet) that frequent, but there are always taxis available as an alternative.  Photos courtesy of Andrew Leo.

Morocco ► London

How much does it cost?

Using a railpass...

  Scenery from the Madrid-Algeciras train...

Don Quixote country:  The sun is low in the sky as the afternoon train from Madrid to Algeciras snakes across the Andalusian plateau on its way south to the Straits of Gibraltar...

  The ferry from Algeciras to Morocco leaves Gibraltar astern

The Slow Boat to Africa...  Next day, aboard the ferry from Algeciras to Tangier with the Rock of Gibraltar on the port beam...

If you simply want to travel to and from Morocco, forget railpasses, just buy cheap advance-purchase tickets as a railpass is unlikely to save any money.  However, if you already have a railpass or InterRail card, or if you want to make other trips in France, Spain or Morocco so that a railpass becomes worthwhile for the freedom and flexibility it offers, here are approximate supplements which railpass holders need to pay on this route:

How to buy tickets online...

The easiest & cheapest way to book a London-Morocco train journey is online.  Booking for the trains opens 90 days ahead - Eurostar in fact opens 120 days ahead but I'd wait so you can confirm onward trains before committing to a non-refundable Eurostar ticket.  Eurostar & TGV fares work like air fares so book ahead for the cheapest prices.

How to buy tickets by phone:  UK 0844 248 248 3, overseas +44 844 2482483...

To buy tickets from London to Algeciras by phone, call International Rail on 0844 248 248 3, lines open 09:00-17:00 Monday-Friday.  Overseas callers call +44 844 2482483.  Unlike some other agencies, International Rail are equipped with both the French and Spanish rail ticketing systems, so can sell the cheapest fares for all the trains from the UK to Gibraltar.  They charge a £10 booking fee for bookings under £100, £20 for £100-£300, £30 above £300.  Eurostar, Trainhotel & Renfe tickets will usually be emailed to you as e-tickets, so there's no postage fee or delay.  For more information on buying European train tickets, see the How to buy European train tickets page.

Tailor-made travel & hotel arrangements...

If putting the trip together yourself seems too complicated (even with the advice I provide!), one experienced company offers a compete tailor-made travel service with all your rail tickets booked for you and hotels arranged at stops along the way.  You simply tell them where you want to go and where you'd like to stop off on the way, and they will do the rest.  Contact www.railbookers.com, on 020 3327 0761.  US & Canadian residents can call them toll-free on 1-800-408-3280 or see website.  Australian residents can call their Sydney office toll-free on 1300 971 526 or see www.railbookers.com.au.  New Zealand residents call toll-free on 0800 002 034 or see website.  They can advise you on the best trains, routes & hotels too.  They get very positive reviews, and look after their customers very well.  At the time of writing, they suggest a deluxe 12-night return train journey from London to Marrakech & back, with hotel stopovers in Cordoba, Tangiers, Fez, Marrakech, Rabat, & Ronda from £1,885.  However, they can arrange train journeys between the UK and Morocco with whichever routes and stopovers you like, just ask.


Watch the video:  Tangier to Madrid by ferry & train...

See for yourself how straightforward, comfortable and scenic a Morocco to Europe journey can be by train & ferry.  The video shows a journey on the FRS fast ferry from Tangier to Tarifa and the train ride from Algeciras to Madrid.


Other routes & options...

(1)  London to Morocco by GNV or Grimaldi Lines ferry Barcelona to Tangier...

This is an attractive alternative to the route via Algeciras.  Indeed, with a day exploring Barcelona then a cruise to Tangier, it's a holiday in itself.  However, it's not daily and not necessarily cheap, given the cost of the cruise ferry.  Grandi Navi Veloci operate superb regular cruise ferries from Barcelona to Tangier up to 3 times a week, with Grimaldi Lines also running a cruise ferry once a week.

London ► Morocco via ferry from Barcelona

  • Travel from London to Barcelona by Eurostar & TGV, arriving at 20:32, see the London to Spain page.  You may need to stay overnight, a same-day connection is sometimes possible depending on the ferry time and required check-in time.

  • Check Grimaldi Lines sailing dates and times at www.grimaldi-lines.com.  Their cruise ferry usually sails at 23:59 on Sundays (which could be your day 2 from London) arriving Tangier at 10:30 on Tuesdays (day 4 from London).  Check the required check-in time carefully.

  • Check Grandi Navi Veloci ferries at www.gnv.it.  GNV's ferry usually sails on Tuesdays at 17:00, on Fridays at 10:00 and on Sundays at 14:00, arriving at Tangier 26 hours later.  With a departure at 17:00 or 14:00, a departure from Barcelona on day 2 is possible, getting you to Tangier day 3.  With a 10:00 departure, the connection with the sleeper from Paris is too tight, so you'd sail on day 3, arrive Tangier day 4 from London.

  • Both companies' ships are true cruise ferries, with comfortable cabins with en suite toilet and shower, swimming pools, self-service and a la carte restaurants, cinema and bars.  Having said that, don't be surprised to see many Moroccan families who haven't paid for a cabin, camped in the hallways!

  • As a rough guide, Barcelona to Tangier one-way for two people sharing a 2-bed cabin in May might cost €232, in other words €116 per person.  See the Spain page for details of prices London-Barcelona. 

  • To buy tickets, start with the ferry, as they only sail on certain days but the trains run daily.  Book either ferry online at the Seat61 Ferry Shop or book the Grandi Navi Veloci ferry at www.gnv.it, Grimaldi Lines at www.grimaldi-lines.com.  Then book the trains from London to Barcelona as shown on the Spain page.

Morocco ► London via ferry to Barcelona

  • Day 1:  To check Grandi Navi Veloci's sailing days and times, see www.gnv.it.  The cruise ferry usually sails on Mondays at 23:00, on Wednesdays at 23:00 and on Saturdays at 16:00.  The 23:00 departures arrive in Barcelona around 08:00 two nights later (day 3), the 16:00 departure arrives at 19:00 one night later (day 2).

  • Day 1:  To check Grimaldi Lines sailing days and times see www.grimaldi-lines.com.  Grimaldi usually sail from Tangier on Tuesdays at 17:00, arriving Barcelona at 20:00 on Wednesdays.  Don't risk any tight connections, stay overnight in Barcelona!

  • Both companies' ships are true cruise ferries, with comfortable cabins with en suite toilet and shower, swimming pools, self-service and a la carte restaurants, cinema and bars.  Having said that, don't be surprised to see many Moroccan families who haven't paid for a cabin, camped in the hallways!

  • Day 3:  Travel from Barcelona to London by TGV & Eurostar, arriving London in the evening, see the London to Spain page.

On board a Grimaldi Lines ferry from Barcelona to Tangier Med Port...

A 4-berth standard cabin on Grimaldi Lines ferry from Barcelona to Tangier, Morocco   A la carte restaurant on Grimaldi Lines ferry from Barcelona to Tangier

Chaos in cabin 725.  The author's family in a 4-berth cabin on Grimaldi Lines ferry to Tangier...

 

The a la carte restaurant on Grimaldi Lines' Ikarus palace from Barcelona to Tangier...

The Ikarus palace ferry from Barcelona to Tangier   Swimming pools on the ferry Ikarus Palace   Sunset from Gimaldi Lines' ferry Ikarus Palace to Tangier

In the Straits of Gibraltar...

 

Swimming pools...

 

Sunset at sea...

(2)  South of France to Morocco by GNV ferry...

If you prefer a longer sea voyage, there are regular passenger ships from Sète in the South of France to Tangier, originally run by Comanav (Compagnie Maroccaine de Navigation), now taken over by the Italian ferry operator Grandi Navi Veloci.  See www.gnv.it for sailing dates, fares & online booking.  It's easy to get from London to Sète by train - You can check train times & buy tickets online at www.raileurope.co.uk (UK residents) or www.voyages-sncf.com (for residents of any country).  Allow several hours minimum to connect in Sète, if necessary staying overnight.


When in Tangier...

The Continental Hotel, Tangier's most historic & atmospheric place to stay...

In Tangier, easily the most interesting & atmospheric place to stay is the venerable Continental Hotel, whatever your budget, and it's one of my favourite places.  If you arrive by FRS fast ferry from Tarifa, you'll easily spot it on your right high up on the edge of the Medina as you walk into town.  Opened by a British family in 1888 and used by many famous people including (allegedly) Winston Churchill and Queen Victoria's son Alfred, it's now a travellers' favourite, with classic Moroccan décor and an atmosphere straight out of Agatha Christie - indeed, it's been used as a film location at various times.  In spite of all this history, it's cheap, a single room with shower & toilet costs around 595 dirhams (£49) per night including a light breakfast, a double room with shower & toilet around 735 dirhams (£61) including breakfast.  Ask for a room on the first floor with a balcony overlooking the port and new town.  Rooms are fairly basic, only a handful have A/C, but they have clean en suite showers & toilets, the hotel is handy for the FRS ferry, superbly located inside the old medina walls a stone's throw from the old town centre, Petit Socco & Grand Socco.  The hotel now has free WiFi and 24 hour reception.  It has a good and cheap restaurant for lunch and dinner, too, although alcohol isn't served.  Rooms can now be booked online at Booking.com.  Or just turn up, they usually have rooms available.  The address is 36, Dar Baroud (Medina), Tangier, tel +212 39 93 10 24.

Continental Hotel, Tangier   Continental Hotel, Tangier   A bedroom at the Continental Hotel in Tangier

The Continental Hotel, Tangier.  In the middle picture, the FRS Tangier-Tarifa ferry port is in the background.

Things to see in Tangier...

Tangier sometimes gets a bad press from travellers who are hassled by a few touts at the port, who then hurry through without seeing it and tell everyone else to do the same.  This is very short-sighted, as Tangier is the intriguing and atmospheric city where Europe meets Africa.  Indeed, fans of the film 'Casablanca' will find it a far more plausible setting for Rick, Elsa, Captain Renault and Major Strasser than the big and unremarkable city to the south.  Tangier was an international zone from 1923 until its incorporation with Morocco in 1956, and it really was awash with spies from both sides in world war 2.  It retains a faint air of mystery and intrigue even today, although I've always felt very safe there!  It's a wonderful and fascinating place to spend a day or two, so make sure you include it in your itinerary.   Make sure you see the medina (old town), kasbah (fort), the Petit Socco (small square, be sure to have a coffee or mint tea here) and Grand Socco (large square), the lovely English Church, and Tangier American Legation museum (the first bit of overseas territory ever acquired by the United States).  For more information on Tangier, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tangier.

Where to go next?

Modern air-conditioned trains are waiting to whisk you south to the rest of Morocco.  Rabat is the country's capital and well worth a stop; Casablanca is certainly a name to conjure with (you have to say you've been there!) but in reality it's just a large city.  Marrakech is the obvious destination, and a worthy (if touristy) one.  Why not hire a car for a few days and explore the country south of Marrakech?  Meknès & Fez are amazing places, as good or better than Marrakech an with fewer tourists, so don't miss them!


Travelling by train in Morocco

Train routes in Morocco

The trains in Morocco are some of the best in Africa, and they're the ideal choice for getting around between cities.  Fast, modern, air-conditioned 'trains rapides climatisés' link Tangier, Rabat, Casablanca, Marrakech, Meknès, Fez & Oujda, see the route map above.  Regular trains link Casablanca airport with the city centre.  Agadir and Essaouira have no railway station, but are linked to Marrakech by connecting bus.

A Tangier-Casablanca train at Sidi Kacem   A Tangier-Casablanca train at Sidi Kacem

Above:  A Moroccan train at Sidi Kacem...

 

Above:  The 11:00 express from Tangier, arrived in Fes...

How to check train times & fares...

You can easily check Moroccan train times & fares at the Moroccan Railways (ONCF) website, www.oncf.ma, in French, using Google's Chrome browser to translate.  Fares are very cheap, see fare examples below

How to buy tickets...

There is no easy way to book trains from outside Morocco, and you don't generally need to book in advance anyway.  Just buy your ticket at the station on the day, or perhaps the day before.  In 2nd class, seat reservation isn't even possible, you just buy a ticket and hop on, so the train cannot be 'full', at least in 2nd class.  Seats can be reserved in 1st class, up to a month in advance.  When you're in Morocco, you can also book by phone on 090 20 30 40, but this number is not accessible from overseas. 

Sleeping-berths (4-berth couchettes) on the convenient Tangier-Marrakech overnight train can be reserved up to 2 months in advance.  These can sometimes get fully-booked, so book as soon as you reach Morocco if you can, but it's reportedly sometimes possible to find berths available on the day of travel.  One seat61 correspondent suggests arranging couchette tickets on this train through local travel agency Travel Link (www.travellink.ma, 83 Rue de la Liberté (next to the El Minza Hotel), Tanger, call +212 539 93 58 77 or email both officetanger@travellink.ma & imad@travellink.ma, though reports about this agency have been mixed, see below.

Tangier's new station...

The old station in Tangier near the port & medina was closed a few years ago (it's now used as a police station!), but an impressive new Tanger Ville station has now been completed just inland from the far end of the sea front.  Walking from the port, the medina or the Continental Hotel to the new station takes around 30-35 minutes, so take a petit taxi as this only costs 20 dirhams or so (about £1.70).

Tangier's new station   Inside the new Tangier Ville station...

Above:  Tangier's new station

 

Inside Tangier station, showing ticket windows

Taking the train South from Tangier...

Here is the complete train timetable from Tangier to the rest of Morocco.  As you can see from the route map above, Tangier is on a branch line from the main Marrakech-Casablanca-Rabat-Meknès Fès line.  Most trains from Tangier reach the main line and turn southwest to Rabat & Casablanca, and you have to change trains to go east to Meknès or Fès, although there are two daily direct Tangier-Meknès Fès trains.  Indeed, in 2010 ONCF have opened a new line that bypasses Sidi Kacem, 'cutting the corner' at the junction with the main line and significantly speeding up Tangier-Rabat-Casablanca trains.  Trains now run every hour or so on the main line between Marrakech, Casablanca, Rabat, Meknès & Fez, see www.oncf.ma for a complete timetable. Look for the 'Les horairies dans la poche' link at the bottom of the ONCF home page to print out a complete pocket timetable to take with you.

 Tangier ► Fez, Casablanca, Marrakech

 Local train...

 

 

 

Local

 

 

Local

 

Local

Local

 Tangier Med Port

depart 

-

-

-

07:10

-

-

11:00

-

15:00

17:30

 Tangier Ville

arrive

-

-

-

08:10

-

-

12:05

-

16:05

18:40

 Inter-city train...

Rapide

Rapide

Rapide

Rapide

Rapide

Rapide

Rapide

Rapide

Rapide

Sleeper

 Tangier Ville

depart 

05:35

07:35

08:25

09:35

10:40

11:35

13:35

15:35

17:35

21:35

 Meknès

arrive

|

|

12:19

|

14:19

|

|

|

  21:09m

 01:57k

 Fès (Fez)

arrive

|

|

13:00

|

15:00

|

|

|

  21:50m

 02:30k

 Rabat Ville

arrive

09:09

11:09

-

13:09

-

15:09

17:09

19:09

21:09

03:09

 Casablanca Voyageurs

arrive

10:20

12:20

-

14:20

-

16:20

18:20

20:20

22:20

04:30

 Marrakech

arrive

  14:05 c

  16:05 c

-

  18:05 c

-

  20:05 c

  22:05 c

  00:00 c

-

08:05

All trains run daily, every day of the week.

Local = local train, 2nd class only.  New service linking Tangier Ville with Tangier Med Port ferry terminal started June 2013, allegedly every 2 hours.

Rapide = Air-conditioned rapide, 1st & 2nd class with refreshment trolley.

Sleeper = Direct overnight train Tangier-Marrakech with couchette car with 4-bunk 1st class compartments.  Seats also available.

c = change trains at Casablanca

k = change trains at Sidi Kacem

m = change at Mechra bel Ksiri

No letter next to the arrival or departure time = direct train

Click here for bus connections to/from Essaouira & Agadir

 Marrakech, Casablanca, Fez ► Tangier

 Inter-city train...

Sleeper

Rapide

Rapide

Rapide

Rapide

Rapide

Rapide

Rapide

Rapide

Rapide

Rapide

 Marrakech

depart 

21:00

-

-

05:00 c

-

07:00 c

-

09:00 c

11:00 c

-

13:00 c

 Casablanca Voyageurs

depart

00:45

05:45

07:45

09:45

-

11:45

-

13:45

15:45

-

17:45

 Rabat Ville

depart

01:57

06:47

08:47

10:47

-

12:47

-

14:47

16:47

-

18:47

 Fès (Fez)

depart

  01:45 k

|

  07:10 m

|

10:20

|

13:05

|

|

17:05

|

 Meknès

depart

  02:20 k

|

  07:50 m

|

10:55

|

13:42

|

|

17:42

|

 Tangier Ville

arrive

07:00

10:30

12:30

14:30

14:55

16:30

17:25

18:30

20:20

21:25

22:25

 Local train...

Local

Local

 

Local

 

Local

 

 

 

 

 

 Tanger Ville

depart

07:20

11:15

-

15:15

-

17:45

-

-

-

-

-

 Tangier Med Port

arrive

08:20

12:10

-

16:10

-

18:40

-

-

-

-

-

These timetables shows all trains to & from Tangier, but there are lots of other trains on the mainline linking Marrakech, Casablanca, Rabat, Meknès & Fez.  You can check train times at www.oncf.ma, in French 'horaires' = timetables, 'tarifs' = fares.

High-speed service is due to start in 2015:  French-built double-deck TGV Duplex trains running at up to 320 km/h are due to link Tangier & Casablanca in just 2 hours 10 minutes when Africa's first high-speed line opens in 2015.

 Fares

One-way in Dirhams...

2nd class air-conditioned

1st class air-conditioned

1st class couchette

Tangier Med Port - Tangier Ville

30 (£3 or $5)

n/a

n/a

Tangier Ville - Casablanca

125 (£10 or $17)

185 (£15 or $24)

350 (£29 or $46)

Tangier Ville - Marrakech

205 (£17 or $26)

310 (£26 or $40)

350 (£29 or $46)

Tangier Ville - Fez

105 (£9 or $14)

155 (£13 or $20)

-

Children aged 0-3 travel free, children aged 4-10 travel at half fare, children aged 11 and over pay the adult fare.

On board the trains...

The long distance rapides climatisés have 1st & 2nd class air-conditioned smooth-riding coaches, with a trolley selling tea, coffee, sandwiches & snacks.

First class seats on a Mroccan express train...   Second class seats on an express train in Morocco...   Moroccan trains usually have a refreshment trolley...

1st class is very comfortable indeed, with plush carpeted 6-seat air-conditioned compartments or occasionally open-plan seating.  It's still cheap, and well worth the extra over 2nd class.  First class tickets include a specific reserved seat, so can sometimes sell out.

 

2nd class has 8-seat air-conditioned compartments with basic padded plastic seats.  The coaches now look a bit tatty, but they're still perfectly adequate & incredibly cheap.  2nd class seats aren't reserved so cannot sell out, you find an empty one & sit down...

 

A refreshment trolley sells inexpensive soft drinks, snacks and excellent hot sweet coffee!

The overnight train from Tangier to Marrakech...

The overnight train is a popular and time-effective way to travel from Tangier to Marrakech, sleeping in a couchette and saving a night in a hotel.  One couchette car is attached to this train, with eleven 1st class 4-berth compartments, each berth provided with pillow, sheet and light blanket.  The car is air-conditioned, although it may be a while before the air-con kicks in if the car has been standing in the sidings all day!  The compartment doors lock securely, and it is a safe, comfortable and time-effective way to travel.  As there is only one couchette car, berths can get sold out, so book ahead if you can.  However, it's not impossible to find berths available even if you book at the station on the day of travel, so give it a try.  All compartments are shared 4-berth, sharing is absolutely fine and normal, though if you are not on a tight budget and there's only 1, 2 or 3 of you, you can book all 4 places in a compartment for private occupancy.

How to book the Tangier-Marrakech couchette train from outside Morocco:  There's no direct way of booking this train from outside Morocco, but you can arrange it through local Tangier travel agency Travel Link, www.travellink.ma, 83 Rue de la Liberté (next to the El Minza Hotel), Tanger, call +212 539 93 58 77 or email both officetanger@travellink.ma & imad@travellink.ma.  Travellink charge a hefty 500 dirham (£41) booking fee on top of the ticket cost, credit cards are accepted, but it can be worth it if catching this train the day you arrive in Tangier is mission-critical.  Travellink have been highly recommended by five separate correspondents, although two other travellers say the agency seems to have bought their couchette tickets on the day of travel anyway (which defeats the whole point of using them, and in one case, they then found the couchettes full), and one other traveller reports poor service.  Feedback if you book this train through Travel Link is always welcome.

Couchette on the Tangier to Marrakech overnight train   1st class 4-berth couchette car on Tangier-Marrakech overnight train.

4-berth couchette:  Upper berth in a 4-berth couchette compartment on the Tangier to Marrakech overnight train... There are upper & lower bunks on each side.  Courtesy of Patti White.

 

Tangier-Marrakech overnight train:  The 1st class 4-berth couchette car attached to the Tangier - Marrakech overnight train. 

Photo courtesy of Dave Turner.

New double-deck air-conditioned trains linking Rabat & Casablanca...

These smart new double-deck air-conditioned trains are now entering service on the hourly Rabat-Casablanca fast shuttle service (TNR or 'Train Navette Rapide' and a few Fez-Meknès-Rabat-Casablanca express trains.

New Moroccan double deck train at Fes   First class seats on the new Moroccan double decker train

Double-decker train at Fez...  Photo courtesy of Marie Javins

 

First class seats on the new Moroccan double decker train.  Photo courtesy of Marie Javins

The end of the line:  Arrival at Marrakech station...

Marrakech station   An air-conditioned express train, arrived at Marrakech

Marrakech station...  Photo courtesy of Peter Brogdale

 

Arrival at Marrakech...  Photo courtesy of Peter Brogdale

Bus connections to Agadir & Essaouira...

Buses from Marrakech to Agadir & Essaouira are run by Supratours, a subsidiary of Moroccan railways, and depart from the Supratours terminal next to Marrakech railway station.  You can check bus times at www.oncf.ma.  Marrakech - Essaouira costs about 65 dirhams (£5 or $7), Marrakech - Agadir about 95 dirhams (£8 or $12).  Luggage must be checked in, and a small fee is payable for this in addition to your fare.  You can buy combined train+bus tickets from any Moroccan railway station to Agadir and Essaouira via Marrakech - ask for a 'billet rail et route'.

 Marrakech ► Essaouira  (bus)

      

 Essaouira ► Marrakech  (bus)

Marrakech 

depart 

08:30

10:45

14:45

17:00

19:00

Essaouira

depart 

06:45

09:30

11:45

15:15

18:30

Essaouira

arrive

11:29

13:44

17:44

19:59

21:59

Marrakech 

arrive

09:29

11:59

14:29

18:29

21:29

 Marrakech ► Agadir  (bus service)

Marrakech 

depart 

00:30

05:00

09:00

10:45

12:45

14:30

15:00

17:00

19:00

22:30

Agadir

arrive

04:59

08:59

13:59

15:29

16:59

18:59

19:59

21:59

23:29

02:59

 Agadir ► Marrakech  (bus service)

Agadir

depart 

04:00

06:00

07:00

08:00

08:15

10:00

13:15

14:00

15:30

19:30

23:30

Marrakech 

arrive

08:29

09:59

12:29

12:29

12:59

14:29

18:29

18:29

12:29

00:29

03:59



Recommended guidebooks

Lonely Planet Morocco - click to buy onlineRough Guide to Morocco - click to buy onlineThe Man in Seat 61 book - click to buy onlineRecommended guidebooks...

Make sure you take a good guidebook.  Easily the best guidebooks for the independent traveller are Lonely Planets and Rough Guides.  Both provide an excellent level of practical information and historical background.  You won't regret buying one of these!

Click the images to buy online at Amazon.co.uk

My own book, an essential handbook for train travel to Europe based on this website called "The Man in Seat 61", was published in June 2008, and is available from Amazon.co.uk.


The European Rail Timetable & maps

Thomas Cook European Timetable -  click to buy onlineTraveller's Railway Map of Europe - buy onlineThe European Rail Timetable (formerly the Thomas Cook European Timetable) has train & ferry times for every country in Europe plus currency & climate information.  It is essential for regular European train travellers and an inspiration for armchair travellers.  Published since 1873, it had just celebrated 140 years of publication when Thomas Cook decided to pull the plug on their entire publishing department, but the dedicated ex-Thomas Cook team have set up a private venture and published the first edition of a reborn European Rail Timetable in March 2014.  You can buy it online with worldwide shipping at www.europeanrailtimetable.euMore information on what the European Rail Timetable contains.

A Traveller's Railway Map of Europe covers the whole of Europe from Portugal in the west to Moscow & Istanbul in the east, Finland in the north to Sicily & Athens in the south.  On the back are detailed maps of Switzerland, Benelux & Germany, plus city plans showing stations in major cities.  Scenic & high-speed routes highlighted.  Click to see sample.  Buy online for €13 + €5.50 postage worldwide at www.treinreiswinkel.nl/railway_map_of_europe.

 


Find hotels in Morocco...

Recommended hotels in Algeciras, Tangier, Marrakech, Fez & elsewhere in Morocco...

In Algeciras:  For Algeciras hotels, click here.  I highly recommend the Hotel Reina Cristina, which is easily the best hotel in Algeciras as well as the most historic, set in its own grounds just 10 minutes walk from either rail station or ferry passenger terminal.  It costs only about €53 per night for a single, €68 for a double.

In Tangier, the classic and wonderfully atmospheric Continental Hotel is the top choice, and inexpensive.  Ideally located for both port and old medina, and with its own restaurant too.  It can now be booked online at Booking.com.

In Marrakech, the Hotel Islane is a good mid-range choice at around €35-€45 (£26-£31) per room per night, with an excellent central location just round the corner from the Jemaa el Fnaa, the main market square.  It also has a good rooftop restaurant.  The most famous hotel in Marrakech is of course the top-notch La Mamounia Hotel, if you can (a) afford it and (b) get a room!

You can arrange hotels before booking opens for train tickets if you use a site with free cancellation such as www.booking.com.

 

◄◄ Hotel search & price comparison.

www.hotelscombined.com checks all the main hotel booking sites at once to find the widest choice of hotels & the cheapest seller.  It was named as the World's Leading Hotel Comparison Site at the World Travel Awards 2013 and I highly recommend it, both to find hotels in even the smallest places and to check that another retailer isn't selling your hotel for less!

www.booking.com is my favourite booking site.  It's really clear and you can usually book with free cancellation and so confirm your accommodation at no risk months before train booking opens.

Hotel Reina Cristina, Algeciras...

The classic Hotel Reina Cristina is easily the best place to stay in Algeciras, 10 minutes walk from both rail station and ferry terminal, set in its own grounds...

Hotel Reina Cristina, Algeciras   Main hall of the Hotel Reina Cristina, Algeciras.

Backpacker hostels...

  • www.hostelbookers.com:  If you're on a tight budget, don't forget about backpacker hostels.  Hostelbookers offers online booking of cheap private rooms or dorm beds in backpacker hostels in most cities at rock-bottom prices.


Car hire in Morocco

It's well worth hiring a car south of Marrakech!

Hiring a car isn't the first thing you'd think of in Morocco, but the roads are relatively empty and driving is surprisingly easy.  If you've a few days to spare when you get to Marrakech I highly recommend hiring a car and driving south over the High Atlas Mountains via the absolutely incredible Tizi n Tichka Pass, perhaps the most amazing road I've ever driven.  Stay the night at the Kasbah at Tifletout (now a hotel) and visit the Gorge du Dadès, Todra Gorge, and the remarkable mud-built town of Aït ben Haddou.  Driving really isn't difficult, indeed the roads are far less crowded than in the UK or Europe, making it a very pleasant way to get around the countryside.  Instead of searching multiple websites to sort out your car, try this search engine which compares different hire companies' prices.

Compare 50 different car hire companies:  www.carrentals.co.uk


Holidays & tours to Morocco by train

   
  Railbookers to Morocco

020 3327 0761 (UK)

1-800-408-3280 (USA)

1300 971 526 (Aus)

0800 002 034 (NZ)

  Great Rail Journeys

01904 527120 (UK)

Believe it or not, there are two tour companies who can arrange a holiday to Morocco by train rather than plane.  Railbookers.com tailor-makes itineraries to your own specifications leaving on any date you like, whereas Great Rail Journeys offers escorted group tours on a range of specific dates.  Both companies have very good reputations.

Railbookers tailor-made holidays to Morocco by train & ferry...

Railbookers can tailor-make a flight-free holiday to Morocco, with train travel, transfers & hotels all arranged for you, for however long you like, leaving on any date you like.  Their website has a suggested 9-day holiday from the UK to Morocco for around £1,250 per person with 4 or 5 star hotels, and although this is outwards by train and back by air they can book you both ways by train if you like.  If you tell them what you want, they'll advise you on the best trains, routes & hotels and sort it all out for you.  They operate a high-quality service and get a lot of repeat business.

Great Rail Journeys "Marrakech Express" tour (www.greatrail.com)...

If you want a holiday to Morocco without flying, travelling with a group of fellow travellers and a professional tour manager, one company offers a remarkable escorted tour overland from the UK to Morocco and back by train from £2,975.  Check out Great Rail Journey's Marrakech Express tour from the UK to Spain & Morocco, with 1st class train travel and 4* or 5* hotels. Stopovers include Madrid, Ronda, Seville, Tangier, Fez, Marrakech, Casablanca.  Check the details online, then call 01904 527120 to book or use their online booking form.  Seat61 gets some commission to support the site if you book your holiday through this link or phone number.


Travel insurance & health card...

 

 

Columbus direct travel insurance

Get travel insurance, it's essential...

Never travel without insurance from a reliable travel insurer with at least £1m or preferably £5m medical cover.  It should also cover loss of cash (up to a limit) & belongings, and cancellation. An annual multi-trip policy is usually cheapest even for just 2 or 3 trips a year (I have an annual policy myself).  Don't expect travel insurance to bail you out of every missed connection, though, see the advice on missed connections here.  Here are some suggested insurers, Seat61 gets a little commission if you buy through these links, and feedback from using insurance for rail & ferry travel is always welcome.

In the UK, use www.confused.com to compare prices & policy features across major insurance companies.

If you have a pre-existing medical condition or are over 65 (no age limit), see www.JustTravelCover.com.

        If you live in Australia, New Zealand, Ireland or the EU, try Columbus Direct's other websites.

  If you live in the USA try Travel Guard USA.

Get an EU health card, it's free...

If you're a UK citizen travelling in Europe, you should apply for a free European Health Insurance Card, which entitles you to free or reduced rate health care if you become ill or get injured in many European countries, under a reciprocal arrangement with the NHS.  This replaced the old E111 forms as from January 2006.  The EHIC card is available from www.ehic.org.uk.  It doesn't remove the need for travel insurance, though.

Get a spare credit card, designed for foreign travel with no currency exchange loading & low/no ATM fees

Taking out an extra credit card costs nothing, but if you keep it in a different part of your luggage you won't be left stranded if your wallet gets stolen.  In addition, some credit cards are better for overseas travel than others.  Martin Lewis's www.moneysavingexpert.com/travel/cheap-travel-money explains which UK credit cards have the lowest currency exchange commission loadings when you buy something overseas, and the lowest cash withdrawal fees when you use an ATM abroad.

You can avoid ATM charges and expensive exchange rates with a Caxton FX euro currency Visa Card, or their multi-currency 'Global Traveller' Visa Card, see www.caxtonfx.com for info.

Get an international SIM card to save on mobile data and phone calls...

Mobile phones can cost a fortune to use abroad, and if you're not careful you can return home to find a huge bill.  Consider buying a global pre-paid SIM card for your mobile phone from www.Go-Sim.com, which can slash costs by up to 85%.  Go-Sim cuts call costs in 175 countries worldwide, and you can receive incoming calls and texts for free in 75 countries.  It's pay-as-you-go, so no nasty bills when you get home.  It also allows cheap data access for laptops & PDAs.  A Go-Sim account and any credit on it doesn't expire if it's not used between trips, unlike some others, so a Go-Sim phone number becomes your 'global phone number' for life.

 


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