Train route map, Morocco

Where do the trains go?

The trains in Morocco are some of the best in Africa, and they're the ideal choice for getting around between cities.  New 300km/h (186mph) Al Boraq high-speed trains now link Tangier, Kenitra, Rabat & Casablanca every hour using a new high-speed line.   Several air-conditioned trains per day branded Al Atlas still link Tangier with Sidi Kacem, Meknes & Fez via the old classic line, and similar Al Atlas air-conditioned expresses run Oujda-Fes-Meknes-Sidi Kacem-Kenitra-Rabat-Casablanca-Marrakech,  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.

To travel from London & Paris to Morocco by train, see the London to Morocco page.

How to check train times & fares...

You can easily check Moroccan train times & fares at the Moroccan Railways (ONCF) website, www.oncf.ma, 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

Tangier ► Casablanca

Tangier ► Marrakech

Tangier ► Meknes, Fes

How to buy tickets...

  1. Buy online...

    You can book Moroccan long-distance trains online at www.oncf-voyages.ma which is the official ticket sales site linked from www.oncf.ma, Originally it only accepted Moroccan credit cards, but it now usually accepts overseas cards, further feedback appreciated

    Booking opens one month before departure.

    When you're in Morocco, you can also book by phone on 0890 20 30 40, but this number is not accessible from overseas.

  1. Buy at the station...

    It's easy enough to buy your ticket at the station on the day or perhaps the day before.  Tangier Ville station now accepts credit cards as well as cash.

    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.

Tangier's new station...

The old station in Tangier near the port & medina was closed some years ago (it's now 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

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.

Al Boraq high-speed train in Morocco

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

1st class on an Al Boraq high-speed train in Morocco   2nd class on an Al Boraq high-speed train in Morocco

1st class...

 

2nd class...

Cafe-bar on an Al Boraq high-speed train in Morocco   Al Boraq high-speed train

The cafe-bar...

 

An Al Boraq train...

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!

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 or sleeper and saving a night in a hotel.  The train now has two cars with sleeping-berths, one a couchette car and one a sleeping-car.

The couchette car has eleven shared 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 air-conditioned sleeping-car has eleven private single-berth compartments (Lit Single in French), each with a comfy bed with full bedding, a washbasin and a chair.  The compartment doors lock securely, and it is a safe, comfortable and time-effective way to travel.  This sleeper is a relatively new addition, introduced in 2018.  If you use this car and get any more photos inside or out, please let me know!

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.  To book a sleeper or couchette in advance from outside Morocco, see the specific advice on this train in the How to buy tickets section above.

Sleeper on Tangier to Marrakech train   Sleeper on Tangier to Marrakech train   Sleeper on Tangier to Marrakech train

Private single-berth sleeper (Lit Single) on the night train from Tangier to Marrakech.  Courtesy of Stephen @firstclass10X

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.

Double-deck air-conditioned trains between 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:  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...

Back to top


large bullet pointGuidebooks

Recommended guidebooks...Amazon logo

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

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

Back to top


large bullet pointHotels 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.

Find hotels at Booking.comMy favourite hotel search site: www.booking.com

www.booking.com is my favourite hotel booking site and I generally prefer booking my hotels all 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.  I never book hotels non-refundably.  I have also come to trust their review scores - you won't be disappointed with anything over 8.0.

Tip:  It can pay to compare prices across multiple hotel sites:  HotelsCombined.com is a price comparison site which compares hotel prices on Booking.com, Hotels.com, Expedia, Accor, Agoda and many others.  Though if there's not much in it, I prefer keeping all my bookings together in one place at www.booking.com.

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...

www.hostelworld.com:  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.

Back to top


large bullet pointCar hire in Morocco

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

Back to top


large bullet pointTravel insurance & VPN

 

Columbus direct travel insurance

 

Confused.com logo

Always take out travel insurance...

Never travel without travel insurance with at least £1m or preferably £5m medical cover from a reliable insurer.  It should also cover trip cancellation and loss of cash & belongings up to a reasonable limit.  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, feedback is always welcome.

UK flagIn the UK, reliable insurers include Columbus Direct.

UK flag

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

UK flagYou can use www.confused.com to compare prices & policy features across major insurance companies.

UK flag

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

 US flag If you live in the USA try Travel Guard USA.

 

Curve card

Get a Curve card to save on foreign transaction fees...

Banks often give a poor exchange rate, then charge a currency conversion fee as well.  A Curve MasterCard means no foreign transaction fees and gives you the mid-market exchange rate, at least up to a certain limit, £500 per month as I write this.  The balance goes straight onto one of your existing debit or credit cards.  And you can get a Curve card for free.

How it works:  1. Download the app for iPhone or Android.  2. Enter your details & they'll send you a Curve MasterCard - they send to most European addresses including the UK.  3. Link your existing credit & debit cards to the app.  4. Now use the Curve MasterCard to buy things online or in person or take cash from ATMs, just like a normal MasterCard. Curve does the currency conversion and puts the balance onto whichever of your debit or credit cards you choose.  You can even change your mind about which card it goes onto, within 14 days of the transaction.

I use a Curve Blue card myself - I get a little commission if you sign up to Curve, but I'm recommending it here because I think it's great.  See details, download the app and get a Curve card - they'll give you £5 cashback through that link, too.

 

Express VPN

Get a VPN for safe browsing.  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 explained ExpressVPN is a best buy and I use it myself - I've signed up as an ExpressVPN affiliate, and if you go with expressvpn.com using the links on this page, you should see a special deal, 3 months free with an annual subscription, and I get a small commission to help support this site.

 


Back to top

Back to home page