Train & ferry route map, London to Marrakech

London today, Tangier tomorrow, 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.

UK to Morocco by train...

  London to Morocco train & ferry times southbound

  Morocco to London train & ferry times northbound

  What's the journey like?

  How much does it cost?

  How to buy tickets

  Video guide: Tangier to Madrid by ferry & train

  Alternative routes & options

  Hotel suggestions in Algeciras & Tangier

Train travel in Morocco...

  Train travel in Morocco:  Tangier to Marrakech

  Places to stay & things to see in Tangier

  Car hire in Morocco - ideal for south of Marrakech

  Hotel suggestions in Morocco





Route map...

Train & ferry route map, London to Marrakech

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:,, (Spain-Tangier), (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:



£1 = approx 12 Dirhams    Currency converter

Tourist information:      Recommended guidebooks


Hotel recommendations   Holidays & escorted tours to Morocco by train


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

Page last updated:

13 June 2019

London to Tangier & 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 & the journey like?

Step 1, London to Paris by Eurostar:  See the Eurostar video guide...

  The Train Bleu restaurant at Paris Gare de Lyon

A Eurostar arrived at Paris Nord...  All you need to know about Eurostar.


Why not have lunch at the wonderful Train Bleu restaurant in Paris? See the Train Bleu information page.

Step 2, Paris to Barcelona by TGV Duplex See the TGV Duplex video guide

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 or 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.

TGV Duplex at Paris Gare de Lyon   Upper deck second class on board a TGV Duplex.

TGV Duplex at Paris Gare de Lyon. These 200 mph double-deck trains link Paris with Barcelona.  Watch TGV Duplex video.


2nd class table for 4 on TGV Duplex upper deck...

TGV Duplex cafe-bar   TGV Duplex upper deck 2nd class seats

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


2nd class seats, this is upper deck seating.  There's a mix or tables for 4 and unidirectional seating.

Mt Canigou in the Pyrenees

Crossing 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 TGV Duplex at Paris Est.

1st class seats on the upper deck, with 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 indicates 2nd class.

Step 3, Barcelona to Antequera-Santa Ana by AVE 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.

Complimentary at-seat meal in Club class & Preferente Class   AVE Club class on an S102 AVE train from Madrid to Malaga

AVE S112...  Known to staff as pato (duck).  No prizes for guessing why...


AVE Preferente class...  Leather reclining seats, all with power sockets...

AVE Tourist class seats on an S102 AVE train from Madrid to Malaga   An S102 AVE train from Madrid to Malaga at Madrid Atocha

AVE Turista class...  Comfortable seats, 2 abreast each side of the aisle, mainly unidirectional but some bays of 4 around a table like this...


All aboard the AVE!  This is an S112 AVE high-speed train.  All AVE trains have a cafe-bar serving drinks and snacks, or feel free to bring your own food, wine or beer on board.

Scenery seen from the train to Gibraltar

Don Quixote country...  Arid Andalusian scenery seen from the train to Algeciras.  The rail line to Algeciras is one of my favourite routes, especially the last part from Antequera southwards, a scenic treat.  Watch the video...

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

FRS Ferry free transfer bus at Algeciras ferry terminal   Tarifa port

The free FRS shuttle bus leaves from 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!

Coast of Africa on the Straits of Gibraltar

Crossing the Straits of Gibraltar...  One of the world's iconic ferry journeys and an inter-continental one at that, between the Pillars of Hercules from the the coast of Europe to the shores of Africa...

...or Algeciras to Tangier Med Port by ferry, taxi or bus to Tangier...

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

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) very frequent, but there are always taxis available as an alternative.  Photos courtesy of Andrew Leo.

Morocco ► London

  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...

How much does it cost?

How to buy tickets online...

How to buy tickets by phoneUK 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.

How to make this journey using an InterRail pass...

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Watch the videoTangier 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.

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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 20:34, 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  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  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, Grimaldi Lines at  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  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  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)  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 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  Allow several hours minimum to connect in Sète, if necessary staying overnight.

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When in Tangier...

Tangier's Continental Hotel, the most historic & atmospheric place to stay...  Check prices & book

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  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

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!

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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.  Brand new 300km/h (186mph) Al Boraq high-speed trains link Tangier, Kenitra, Rabat & Casablanca using a new high-speed line.   A few air-conditioned trains every day still link Tangier with Sidi Kacem via the old classic-speed line.  Fast, modern, air-conditioned trains then run Oujda-Fes-Meknes-Sidi Kacem-Kenitra-Rabat-Casablanca-Marrakech, see the route map above..  Most of these conventional expresses have now been branded Al Atlas.  Regular trains link Casablanca airport with the city centre, and Trains Navette Rapides (fast shuttle trains) link Rabat & Casablanca.  Agadir and Essaouira have no railway station, but are linked to Marrakech by connecting bus.

How to check train times & fares...

You can easily check Moroccan train times & fares at the Moroccan Railways (ONCF) website,, English button top right.

Fares are pretty cheap by European standards, see fare examples below.  Fares for the Al Boraq high-speed trains have variable pricing in 2nd class, with cheaper advance-purchase non-flexible fares and more expensive flexible fares.  This policy has now been extended to most conventional long-distance trains too, which have been branded Al Atlas.  At short notice the more expensive flexible fares will apply.

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

Tangier Rabat

  • Journey time 1h20 by Al Boraq high-speed train.

  • Departures from Tangier at 05:55, 07:55, 09:55, 11:55, 13:55, 15:55, 17:55, 18:55, 20:55.

  • Rabat Agdal is the station you want for high-speed trains, only conventional non-high-speed trains call at Rabat Ville.

  • Fares vary between 89 to 172 dirhams 2nd class, the fare is 224 dirhams in 1st class.

Tangier Casablanca

  • Journey time 2h10 by Al Boraq high-speed train.

  • Departures from Tangier at 05:55, 07:55, 09:55, 11:55, 13:55, 15:55, 17:55, 18:55, 20:55.

  • Casa Voyageurs is the main station for high-speed trains.

  • Fares vary between 99 to 224 dirhams 2nd class, the fare is 292 dirhams in 1st class.

Tangier Marrakech

  • Option 1, by daytime train:  Take an Al Boraq high-speed train from Tangier to Kenitra (or on the 11:55 departure, Tangier to Casablanca Voyageurs) then a classic Al Atlas train onwards to Marrakech.

    Departures from Tangier at 06:55, 08:55, 11:55, 14:55, 16:55.  Journey time around 5h20.

    Fares vary between 186 to 338 dirhams 2nd class, the fare is 472 dirhams in 1st class.

  • Option 2, by direct overnight train, leaving Tangier at 23:20 & arriving Marrakech 09:01.  The train has 4-berth 1st class couchettes & ordinary seats, see the Tangier-Marrakech overnight train section below.

    The fare is 216 dirhams in 2nd class, 327 dirhams in 1st class, or around 375 dirhams in a 1st class couchette.

Tangier Fes

Tangier Meknès

How to buy tickets...

  1. In theory you can book Moroccan long-distance trains online at, but so far it only works with Moroccan credit cards.

    There's always a chance this will change at some point, so give it a try - feedback if you succeed would be appreciated, so far nobody has!  When you're in Morocco, you can also book by phone on 0890 20 30 40, but this number is not accessible from overseas.

    Booking opens one month before departure.

  1. It's easy enough just to buy your ticket at the station on the day, or perhaps the day before.

    On both the Al Boraq high-speed trains and the classic Al Atlas trains, all tickets come with a reserved seat so trains can in theory sell out, but there are so many seats that in practice they seldom do.  The Al Atlas trains have only one first class car, and that can indeed sell out on occasion.

    The shuttle trains linking Rabat & Casablanca and the few remaining conventional long-distance trains which have not yet been branded Al Atlas have unreserved 2nd class where tickets do not include a reserved seat so tickets cannot sell out, you sit where you like on a first come, first served basis.

  • Sleeping-berths (4-berth couchettes) on the convenient Tangier-Marrakech overnight train can be reserved up to 2 months in advance and these do sometimes get fully-booked as there's only one couchette car on the train, so book as soon as you reach Morocco, but it's reportedly sometimes possible to find berths available on the day of travel. 

  • If you really want to be sure of a seat on a specific Moroccan train, or a couchette on the Tangier-Marrakech, contact one of these agencies:

    Marrakech Tickets: - tickets for daytime trains can be emailed to you, tickets for the overnight couchette train can be collected in Marrakech or for departures from Tangier couriered to you for around £35.

    Travel link:  One seat61 correspondent suggests arranging couchette tickets on this train through local travel agency Travel Link (, 83 Rue de la Liberté (next to the El Minza Hotel), Tanger, call +212 539 93 58 77 or email both &, though reports about this agency have been mixed, see below.  You can also try similar agency

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).  Currently the station is a construction site, readying it for the new high-speed trains.

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

Tangier's new station


Inside Tangier station, showing ticket windows

On board the new Al Boraq high-speed trains...

Africa's first high-speed trains started running in November 2018 on the new Tangier-Rabat-Casablanca high-speed line.  Morocco's Al Boraq high-speed trains are 300km/h (186mph) double-deck trains, basically a version of French Railway's TGV Duplex.  They have 1st & 2nd class and a cafe-bar.  The new line roughly follows the route of the (still-operating) classic line, but joins the Fes-Casablanca main line at Kenitra rather than Sidi Kacem.

Morocco's new Al Boraq double-deck high-speed train.  Photos in this section courtesy of Nicholas Brooke...


1st class...


2nd class...


The cafe-bar...


An Al Boraq train...

On board the classic Al Atlas trains...

The classic long distance trains have smooth-riding 1st & 2nd class air-conditioned coaches, with a trolley selling tea, coffee, sandwiches & snacks.  Most of these classic expresses have now been branded Al Atlas, with a reserved seat automatically included with every ticket.  The few remaining classic expresses which have not yet been branded Al Atlas have reserved seats in 1st class but no reservation possible in 2nd class.

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

A rapide climatisé at Sidi Kacem...


A rapide climatisé arrived in Fes...

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,, 83 Rue de la Liberté (next to the El Minza Hotel), Tanger, call +212 539 93 58 77 or email both &  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 each side.  Courtesy 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

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 connection from Marrakech to Agadir & Essaouira...

  • Buses link Marrakech with Agadir roughly every hour or so, journey time 3h30.  Buses link Marrakech with Essaouira ever 2-3 hours, journey time 3h.  You can check bus times at

  • Buses are run by Supratours, a subsidiary of Moroccan railways.  Buses leave from the Supratours terminal next to Marrakech railway station, so train-bus connection is easy.

  • Marrakech - Agadir costs about 110 dirhams (€10), it costs a bit less to Essaouira.  Luggage must be checked in, and a small fee of around 5 dirhams is payable for this in addition to your fare.

  • Buy tickets locally.  You can buy combined train+bus tickets from any Moroccan railway station to Agadir via Marrakech - ask for a billet rail et route.

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Recommended guidebooks

Recommended 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

Lonely Planet Morocco - click to buy online   Rough Guide to Morocco - click to buy online

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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 set up a private venture and resumed publication of the famous European Rail Timetable in March 2014.  You can buy it online with worldwide shipping at either or 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.  Buy it online for £14.50 + postage worldwide (UK addresses £2.80) at or (in the Netherlands) for €13 + €5.50 postage from

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Suggested 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

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


Favourite hotel search & price comparison: checks all the main hotel booking sites at once to find the widest choice of hotels & the cheapest seller.  It's been named as the World's Leading Hotel Comparison Site in the World Travel Awards and I recommend it to find hotels in even the smallest places and to check that another retailer isn't selling the same hotel for less.

Favourite hotel booking site: is my favourite hotel booking site, and unless HotelsCombined throws up major price differences I prefer doing my bookings in one place here. 

You can usually book with free cancellation - this allows you to confirm your accommodation at no risk before train booking opens.  It also means you can hold accommodation while you finalise your itinerary, and alter your plans as they evolve - a feature I use all the time when putting a trip together.

Hotel Reina Cristina, Algeciras:  Book here...

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

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

Backpacker hostels...

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

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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:

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Travel insurance & health card



Columbus direct travel insurance

Take out decent travel insurance, it's essential...

Never travel without proper travel insurance from a reliable insurer with at least £1m or preferably £5m medical cover.  It should also cover loss of cash & belongings (up to a limit), and trip cancellation.  An annual multi-trip policy is usually cheapest even for just 2 or 3 trips a year - I have an annual policy myself.  However, don't expect travel insurance to bail you out of every missed connection, 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 to compare prices & policy features across major insurance companies.

If you have a pre-existing medical condition or are over 65, see - 10% discount with code seat61.

        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  It doesn't remove the need for travel insurance, though.

Carry a spare credit card, designed for 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 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.

Get a VPN for safe browsing when you travel.  VPNs & why you need one explained...

When you're travelling you often use free WiFi in public places which may not be secure.  A VPN means your connection to the internet is encrypted & always secure, even using unsecured WiFi.  In countries such as China where access to Twitter & Facebook is restricted, a VPN gets around these restrictions.  And lastly, you can select the geographic location of the IP address you browse with, to get around geographic restrictions which some websites apply - for example one booking site charges a booking fee to non-European visitors but none to European visitors, so if you're not located in Europe you can avoid this fee by browsing with a UK IP address using a VPN.  VPNs & why you need one explainedExpressVPN is a best buy and I use them myself.


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