There are many options when it comes to traveling to Morocco or getting around the country. For first-timers, read through the info below so you can make the most adequate plans for your trip!
GETTING TO MOROCCO:
You’ll most likely be landing in Mohammed V International Airport (CMN), which is located approximately 30 minutes south of Casablanca by car.
From Casablanca airport (CMN) to city centers by taxi:
At Terminal One, you’ll see a panel which indicates taxi prices agreed by the local council. Do not let taxi drivers convince you to pay more. If you’re heading to cities like Marrakech, Fez or Rabat, it’s worth it getting a private taxi to save time since waiting for trains can be time consuming. You can book ahead of time via Aeroport Transport.
Fares to various cities are as listed:
- To Casablanca: 250 dirham (approx. USD $28), 45 minutes
- To Rabat/El Jadida: 650 dirham (approx. USD $73), 1.5 hours.
- To Beni Mellal: 900 dirham (approx. USD $101), 2.5 hours
- To Marrakech/Meknes/Safi: 1000 – 1500 dirham (approx. USD $112 – 170), 2 – 3 hours.
- To Fez: 1300 dirham (approx. USD 147), 3 hours
- To Tangier/Tetouran/Essouria: 1500 dirham (approx. USD $170), 3-4 hours.
- To Agadir/Ouarzazate/Erranchidia: 2000 dirham (approx. USD $226), 4.5 hours.
- To Oujda/Nador/El Houcima: 2200 dirham (approx. USD $248), 6 hours.
Getting from Casablanca airport to city centers by train:
Train travel in Morocco is convenient. If you’re traveling to other cities, you need to head to Casa Voyaeurs station (sometimes called: Casa Voys) in Casablanca then transfer from there.
NOTE: You cannot reserve or purchase train tickets outside of Morocco. But it shouldn’t be a problem for you to purchase tickets on the day of or 1 day prior to your trip. Trains are divided into 2 classes with first class typically USD $15 more with the ability of reserving seats.
- To Casablanca city center: Take the train from CMN to Casa Voyaeurs train station which runs once an hour. Tickets cost 60 dirham (first class, approx. USD $6.7) and 40 dirham (second class, approx. USD $4.5). Signs will be in French but easy to figure out. The ride will be approximately 45 minutes.
- To Fez : The train will stop in Rabat (an hour out of Casablanca) and again in Meknes, which is an hour before arriving in Fez. Cost: 165 dirham (first class, approx. USD $10)/140 dirham (second class, approx. USD $15.8). Duration: 4 hours.
- To Marrakech : 90 dirham (first class, approx. USD $18.6)/140 dirham (second class, approx. USD $12.4). Duration: 3 hours.
- To Tangier : 125 dirham (first class, approx. USD $14)/185 dirham (second class, approx. USD $21). Duration: 5 hours.
Getting from Casablanca airport to city centers by private cars:
Renting a car at Casablanca airport:
You’ll find most major rental car companies at CMN in addition to local companies. They may offer lower prices but you’ll need to do a better job checking the conditions of vehicles and the staff may not speak English as well so it may be harder for you to negotiate or understand terms and conditions.
Renting a car won’t be cheap in Morocco, it may run from USD $395/per week or USD $57/day. Most companies will sell rental agreements with insurance and require a returnable cash deposit unless you pay by credit card. To save some money, you should reserve a car rental prior to your trip through a travel agency or online via car rental company’s website.
Getting into Morocco by bus:
Bus company CTM operates services from CMN airport to city center. Duration: 1 hour. You can use the same website to estimate your trip from the airport to other cities by bus.
If you’re taking the bus from Europe, you’ll need to take ferry from Spain to arrive in Morocco. A few bus companies you can look into are: Compagnie de Transports Marocains (Morocco), Busbud (Spain), Eurolines (UK), Busabout (UK).
Getting into Morocco by ferry:
Since Morocco is only 9 miles south of Spain, there are high speed ferries that’ll get you to Tangier in 30 minutes, making Morocco a great one-day trip or the perfect weekend getaway from Spain. If you plan on visiting Fez, Marrakech or Rabat, then you should reach Tangier first via ferry then transfer by train to reach your desired cities.
- Algeciras (Spain) to Tangier – This is the most popular route, and it takes only 30 minutes. High speed ferries’ roundtrip tickets cost 37 euros. Slower ferries are obviously cheaper. Ferries will arrive at Tanger Med port, 40 km fro Tangier city center and its main train station. Keep your ferry ticket and there’s a free bus that runs every hour taking you to Tangier city center within 45 min – 1 hour. Or taxi costs 30 dirham (approx. USD $3).
- Tarifa (Spain) to Tangier – Ferries run every 2 hours and takes 35 minutes. Round trip tickets cost 37 euros.
- Barcelona (Spain) to Tangier – This is not a popular route since it takes 24 hours to reach Morocco with one ferry a day. Round trip tickets cost 180 euros. This option is adequate for those who want to bring their vehicles onto the ferry.
Getting into Morocco by cars:
This is for the adventurists who will opt to drive into Morocco from Mauitania – a country bordering West Sahara near south of Morocco. This trans-Saharan route connects North Africa and sub-Saharan Africa. The 822 km route goes from Mauritanian capital Nouakchott to Nouâdhibou (border between Mauitania and Morocco) then to Dakhla in south of Morocco. It’s recommended that you fill up gas at every station you see as some gas stations may be out of petrol.
You will encounter custom officials and you’re required to have appropriate visa and passport to enter Morocco.
2 IMPORTANT TIPS: A) There are no public transport between Morocco and Mauritania. B) The Algeria and Morocco border is not recommended as it’s closed due to political issues.
GETTING AROUND MOROCCO:
Taking the train is the best option when traveling from city to city in Morocco since this option is comfortable and convenient. Flying from one city to another is a good option if you’re traveling between two Moroccan cities with a great distance in between. There aren’t any trains heading to the desert, so you’ll need to rent a car or take a grand taxi. If you’ve got more than a week, renting a car and road trip throughout Morocco is a beautiful way to see the country.
You’ll be familiar with 2 kinds of taxis: petit taxi & grand taxi.
Petit taxi – In different colors depending on the city. They only exist in bigger cities and they’re not allowed to go beyond city limits.
- Insist that the driver starts the meter.
- If not, ask for the fare before getting in
- Try to ask the hotel reception for the appropriate fare ahead of time.
- Typically it’s 1 dirham per minute journey time.
- Always ask to run the meter.
- Can carry only up to 3 passengers.
Grand taxi – Old Mecedes used as shared, long-distance taxis. The driver can stop and pick up more passengers along the way.
- Negotiate the price if you want a ride to yourself.
- Price per taxi should not depend on the number of passengers in your group.
- Ask other locals about the normal price before getting inside the taxi.
- It is normal to share a car up to 6 passengers.
- Front seat is normally given to two women.
- You can hire a grand taxi in Marrakech for the entire day, so you can explore the Ourika valley.
- A price chart to consider:
- Essaouira – Marrakech: 100 dirham per seat (Luggage will be charged an extra 20 dirham each)
- Marrakech – Ouarzazate: 10 dirham per seat
- Ouarzazate – Agadir: 150 dirham per seat.
Every city in Morocco will have a central bus station for you to easily buy tickets to travel from city to city. Fares are cheap, running from USD $8 – $14. Extra baggage handling include an extra $0.60. Two types of buses are:
Luxury buses, operated by CTM:
- Air conditioning.
- Include TV.
- Shorter routes for time efficiency.
Normal buses –
- Cheaper and cost only 25%-50%.
- More fun as you get to interact with locals.
- No air conditioning.
- Longer routes which is more time consuming but you’ll get to see local villages.
Photo: Flickr/Omer Simkha
Operated by OffficeNational des Chemins de Fer (ONCF), there are trains that run between: Marrakech, Fez, Casablanca, Rabt, Oujda, Tangier and Meknes. They’re separated into 1st and 2nd class, both comfortable. Book your tickets here.
Overnight ordinaire trains (couchette) are available. Casablanca to Marrakesh costs USD $8.50, the ride will last 3 hours. Rabat to Fès costs USD $8, the ride will last 3.5 hours. Tangier to Marrakesh costs USD $21, duration: 9.5 hours.
DISCOUNT TIP! Children under the age of 4 travel for free. Children from age of 4 – 12 received 10% to 50%, discounts.
If you choose to fly between two Moroccan cities, you’ll most likely be flying Royal Air Maroc airline. There are domestic airports in Casablanca, Essaouira, Fès, Marrakesh, Rabat and Tangier.
DISCOUNT TIP! Students under 26 years old receive 25% discount on RAM flights if you purchase tickets in advance or in a RAM office. Children from 2-12 also receive 50% discount.