Getting Around Morocco

As a site about Morocco that is worthy, we could not miss an article about how to travel around Morocco, detailing the different means of transport and the advantages and disadvantages of each one.

How to get around Morocco

Train Travel in Morocco

The Moroccan national railway company is the ONCF, and its website indicates routes, timetables and prices (in French and English). It also allows you to book online, but unfortunately it is necessary to have a Moroccan credit card, to which we must add that sometimes the website does not work as it should:

It is on of the most popular ways to travel long distances however it has the disadvantage of being somewhat slow and almost always delayed (I remember when it took more than an hour to run over a cow). But… it is more comfortable than a bus and much cheaper than a taxi.

Moroccan trains have two classes of travel (first and second class) with a difference of approximately 30% on the value of the ticket. If you’re not on a strict budget, I recommend you to buy first class: it’s much more comfortable, and, most importantly, you have assigned seats.

Put simply, on the main route, trains travel along the Atlantic Coast (from Tangier to El Jadida, passing through Asilah, Rabat, Casablanca, …), connecting Fez with the North and Marrakech with Casablanca. Therefore, trains are good enough if you only plan on visiting the most touristic cities on the Atlantic Coast. But if you want to visit more remote places, you will have to combine a train journey with other means of transport.

Train Prices

It will obviously depend on the distance travelled. For example, a train from Tangier to Asilah in first class costs approximately 30 dirhams, and from Casablanca to Marrakech 150 dirhams.

Buses in Morocco

You must understand that in Morocco, you are not usually in a hurry (if you have ever travelled there you will know what I am talking about). Taking into account that buses are the most economical means of transport and the one chosen by Moroccans for medium-long distances, it is usually “adapted” to their lifestyle.

 Buses in Morocco 

In addition, the buses tend to suffer from poor maintenance, and can even break down en route, forcing passengers to wait for the next one. All this translates into more than probable delays, with it being common for you to arrive at your destination a few hours later than expected.

Buses are recommended only as a last resort for trips where the train or taxi is not possible.

Prices: City buses usually cost approximately 4 dirhams. If we move between cities, it will depend on the length of the journey. For example, a bus from Tangier to Asilah costs approximately 20 dirhams and from Casablanca to Marrakech 100 dirhams.

Taxis in Morocco

Taxis are the ultimate way for both tourists and locals to get around in Morocco.

Taxis in Morocco

Taking into account the price of petrol in Morocco (not too far from that of Europe), it is surprisingly cheap and its rates are oriented towards Moroccan citizens (with a much lower salary than that of a tourist).

This is probably because most people do not have their own car due to the high investment involved (or at most a family car), mainly using taxis to get around (although this does not prevent taxi drivers from trying to charge more to travellers).

On the other hand, their security controls are similar to ours in the 80s. That is, they do not usually have rear seat belts and it would be a real anomaly if they had baby seats or airbags.

There are two types of taxis in Morocco: Grand Taxis and Petit Taxis

Grand Taxi

The grand taxis are all white. They have a capacity of five passengers (not including the driver), using the co-driver’s seat to accommodate two people (so I recommend travelling a maximum of four people so that it is not uncomfortable).

They only travel between cities. As they are private services with long journeys, their cost is higher, and it is advisable to negotiate hard to get a good price.

The most effective way is to get more travellers to share expenses, either by looking for them yourself or by telling the taxi driver that you prefer to wait until other customers who want to make the same journey arrive.

Alternatively, you can respond to the taxi driver’s initial offer by bargaining, especially during off-peak hours (even sitting on a nearby bench or terrace if he doesn’t give in). After all, a taxi driver who is stopped is a taxi driver who loses money.

Prices (for the full taxi): Between 10 and 20 dirhams per kilometre, although sometimes big taxis cover journeys from or to the outskirts of cities, with a set fare. For example, a grand taxi from Marrakech airport to the city costs 70 dirhams.

Petit Taxi

Petit taxis only circulate in the city and admit a maximum of 3 passengers per vehicle. To differentiate them from the previous ones, they are coloured.

As their appearance will depend on the city, it can be fun to “hunt” for the different petit taxis you will come across on your journey, as sometimes the designs seem random, while at other times they obey certain aspects of the city.

For example, in Marrakech they are brown and in Casablanca red, but in Chaouen they are blue and orange in Berkane (a city famous for its orange production).

Despite this, certain licenses are allowed which, I suppose, are aimed at saving on painting costs. For example, my favorite petit taxis are located in Kelaat M`Gouna (famous for its rose water distillery) but they don’t necessarily have to be completely pink, they are also allowed to be white with a pink stripe.

Rent a Car

This is another option to consider for those people who wish to make a very specific itinerary, with little public transport coverage and/or who want a vehicle at their disposal to improvise the itinerary on the spot.

There are several companies that offer this service, although the one I recommend, after weighing options, experiences and prices is Hertz.

The process is relatively simple: you book directly from the website, and when you arrive at the dealership you show up with your reservation, driving license, passport and credit card.

When you finish the trip you leave the car at one of the several different company dealerships around the country (so you can finish the trip in a different city than at the beginning), with approximately the same amount of gasoline.

Be patient and careful at the wheel, because at the entrance and exit of all locations there is usually a police presence (in addition to numerous speed controls).

Costs: As an example, a Peugeot 308 will cost approximately 40 euros per day, with a petrol cost of 0.5 dirhams per kilometre driven. In addition, 280 euros will be blocked on the card as a deposit.

Finally

Having tried all the options, I certainly opt for the taxi as the ideal solution to move around Morocco, although most of the time the long and tedious process of haggling is necessary. For long journeys I would recommend the train as a cheaper alternative (considering the possible delays), leaving the bus as the last option in case everything else fails.

And if you’re looking for a trip with a very specific itinerary and can’t afford a driver at your disposal, or you want to go your own way making quick decisions on the fly about which route to take, a rental car is also a good option.