Route map...

Train route map, Morocco

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© OpenStreetMap contributors, available under the creative commons licence.

The best way to get around Morocco...

The best way to travel between Moroccan cities is by train.  Morocco now has Africa's fastest trains, 300km/h (186mph) Al Boraq high-speed trains based on France's TGV, linking Tangier, Rabat & Casablanca every hour over a new high-speed line.  Classic trains link Tangier & Casablanca with Meknes, Fes & Marrakech.

small bullet point  How to buy tickets

small bullet point  Taking the train south from Tangier

small bullet point  Tangier Ville station

small bullet point  What are Moroccan trains like?

small bullet point  How to travel from London & Paris to Morocco by train

Where do the trains go?

How to buy tickets...

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Taking the train from Tangier...

Tangier to Rabat

Tangier to Casablanca

Tangier to Marrakech

Tangier to Meknes & Fes

Bus connection to Agadir & Essaouira...

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Tangier Ville station...

The old station in Tangier near the port & medina was closed some years ago and is now used as a police station.  An impressive new Tanger Ville station has been built just inland from the far end of the sea front.  It's now been expanded to accommodate the Al Boraq high-speed trains.  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).  The station includes a comfortable Al Boraq lounge for anyone with a 1st class Al Boraq ticket.

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

Tangier's modern station

 

Interior showing ticket windows

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What are Moroccan trains like?

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, 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.

Tip:  There is an Al Boraq lounge for anyone with a 1st class Al Boraq ticket at Tangier Ville, Kénitra, Rabat Agdal and Casablanca Voyageurs

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 are now branded Al Atlas, with a reserved seat 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.

Moroccan trains usually have a refreshment trolley...   An Al Atlas train in Morocco

An Al Atlas train in the new colour scheme.  A refreshment trolley comes down the train.  Photo courtesy of Tom Whitehead...

First class seats on a Mroccan Al Atlas train...   Second class seats on an Al Atlas train in Morocco...

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. Courtesy of Tom Whitehead

 

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...

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.  Until early 2022, the train had one sleeping-car with single-berth compartments and one couchette car with 4-berth compartments, but the sleeping-car has now reportedly been discontinued.  Only the 1st class 4-berth couchettes remain.

The couchette car has 11 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.

For the record - and in case it resumes at some point - the sleeping-car had 11 private single-berth compartments (Lit Single in French), each with a comfy bed with full bedding, a washbasin and a chair.  The sleeper was a relatively new addition, introduced in 2018 although the car itself is older.  But like I said, it's been discontinued.

Couchettes 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.  The couchettes can't be booked online, to book a couchette in advance from outside Morocco, see the specific advice on this train in the How to buy tickets section above.

Single-bed sleeper on Tangier to Marrakech train   4-berth couchettes on Tangier to Marrakech train   Marrakech to Tangier night train

Single sleeper (discontinued)

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4-berth couchettes

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Marrakech-Tangier night train...

Photos courtesy of @Simply_Railway

Double-deck trains between Rabat & Casablanca...

These smart air-conditioned double-deck trains operate the hourly Rabat-Casablanca shuttle service (TNR or Train Navette Rapide, they also operate a few Fez-Meknès-Rabat-Casablanca expresses.

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

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

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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 at Amazon.co.uk

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

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Hotels in Morocco

In Tangier, the classic Continental Hotel is the top choice for location and atmosphere, and inexpensive, too.  Ideally located for both port and old medina, and with its own restaurant, it can now be booked online at Booking.com.  Opened in 1870, Winston Churchill stayed there, amongst others.

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.

Continental Hotel, Tangier

The Continental Hotel, Tangier...

Reception, Continental Hotel Tangier   View of port from balcony, Continental Hotel Tangier

Reception...

 

View of the port from my balcony...

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.

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.

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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:  www.carrentals.co.uk

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Travel insurance & VPN

 

Staysure travel insurance

 

Confused.com logo

Always take out travel insurance...

You should take out travel insurance with at least £1m or preferably £5m medical cover from a reliable insurer.  It should cover trip cancellation and loss of cash & belongings up to a reasonable limit.  These days, check you're covered for covid-19-related issues, and use an insurer whose cover isn't invalidated by well-meant but excessive Foreign Office travel advice against non-essential travel. An annual policy is usually cheapest even for just 2 or 3 trips a year, I use an annual policy myself.  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, I get a little commission if you buy through these links, feedback always welcome.

UK flagwww.staysure.co.uk offers enhanced Covid-19 protection & covers you even if the FCDO advises against non-essential travel.

UK flag

If you have a pre-existing medical condition or are over 65, see www.JustTravelCover.com.

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

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

 

Curve card

A Curve card saves 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 explainedExpressVPN 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.

 

Anker Powerrbank

Carry an Anker powerbank...

With tickets, reservations, vaccination records and Interrail or Eurail passes now often held digitally on your mobile phone, it's vital to keep it charged.  I recommend carrying an Anker powerbank which can recharge your phone several times over if you can't get to a power outlet when you're on the move.  I never travel without one.

 


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