Why Seasoned Globetrotters Always Travel By Train In Morocco

Morocco is a huge, diverse country with captivating towns and cities dotting vast plains that run up against the High Atlas mountain range. Hundreds of miles separate the Mediterranean port of Tangier from Marrakech toward the south of the country. And there's so much to see in between: Hand Luggage Only adores evocative Casablanca, the medina in Fes, and the capital, Rabat.

One of the best ways to move between these incredible cities is by train. Blogger Tracy's Travels in Time highly recommends using the trains in this North African country, and says that the trains here eclipse those in her native U.S. in terms of quality, speed, and enjoyment. Importantly, Tracy says that she always felt safe on Moroccan trains and that the trains themselves were clean and comfortable. She also says that they're an excellent way to avoid getting caught up in traffic in larger cities: the trains take you straight into the center, bypassing the jams.

The practicalities of train travel

First things first, these excellent trains are not going to break the bank. In fact, train travel in Morocco is pretty cheap. A 2.5-hour ride from Casablanca to Marrakech will cost around MAD 110 ($11) in second class, with an upgrade to first class available for just MAD 40 ($4). Prices are available on the ONCF website and are current as of January 2023, and you can buy your tickets here too (the website is in French but some browsers will do an automatic translation — or, take the opportunity to practice!)

The Blonde Abroad recommends upgrading to first class as it's so cheap, and never more so than if you take the overnight train, which runs from Tangier to Marrakech. This train is an absolute bargain, costing around MAD 327 ($33) for a bed in first class. The Man in Seat 61 highly recommends the Al Boraq high-speed trains that run between Tangier and Casablanca, which have cut the journey time significantly.

Finally, let's talk about the train stations. Tracy's Travels in Time says that the stations were extremely clean (including the restrooms) and was a particular fan of the Gare du Marrakech.

Where to go by train

All of Morocco's major cities are connected by train. From Tangier, which sits just across the Straits of Gibraltar from Spain, to Marrakech near the center and Oujda near the northeastern border with Algeria, you'll be able to cover large distances on the rails. You'll absolutely want to visit Marrakech, where you can wander the fragrant souks and soak up the culture, figuratively in Jemaa El-Fna square, and literally in the city's traditional hammams (Turkish-style baths). Taking the train north, you'll come to Casablanca and then Rabat. In Casablanca, blogger Journal of Nomads loves the impressive Hassan II Mosque, and in Rabat, they praise the liveliness and vitality of the city.

Continuing on the same line, you'll come to Tangier, where Frommer's says you can get sublimely lost in the charming lanes of the old town. Inland, there's Fes, which The Blonde Abroad calls Morocco's culture capital. You'll adore exploring some of the 9,000 alleyways in Fes' old town, Frommer's writes, as you oscillate between streets teeming with people one minute and placid lanes the next. The train can take you to all of these places and more, giving you spectacular views out of the window as you glide between one fascinating city and the next.