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Travelling by Train

If you prefer train travel, or have a little more time to spare, you could take a wonderful three day trip by rail to Marrakesh that takes in the Spanish capital Madrid en route.

By Train From St Pancras to Algeciras

Starting at the newly refurbished St Pancras International station you first take the Eurostar to Gare du Nord in Paris. Take the Metro to the Gare d'Austerlitz before catching the overnight sleeper from Paris to Madrid on the Francisco de Goya. This train is splendidly equipped with a choice of sleeping accommodation, including some compartments with ensuite toilet and shower, and also boasts a cafe bar and a smart restaurant. In the restaurant there are two sittings for dinner - 8pm and 10pm, so book a seat as soon as you join the train.

The train arrives at Madrid Chamartin, (this station is outside of the city centre) in the morning. Take a suburban train to the main domestic station Madrid Atocha in the city centre. It is likely that you will have 4-5 hours before the first available Altaria train to Algeciras which provides the option of spending the night in Madrid or allows enough time to explore the city. Taking the mid afternoon train will require an overnight stay in Algeciras or Tarifa before catching the ferry to Tangier. There are lots of reasonably priced restaurants to try - several with great views of the nearby Rock of Gibraltar.

Ferries to Tangier

The ferry options to Tangier changed in mid 2010 with the opening of the Tangier Med port which is 50 km outside the city of Tangier. This means that there is no longer a direct ferry service from Algeciras into the city centre of Tangier. The options now are:

From Tarifa 

Tarifa is closer to Morocco but 20 kms beyond Algeciras. It is the fastest and easiest route to Tangier Ville (old) port, which is very convenient for all the major sites and most hotels & riads. This service is operated by FRS This is a 45 minute crossing by catamaran. Usually 7 sailings per day at 2 hourly intervals.

Connections to Tarifa If coming by rail, the nearest station is at Algeciras, about 20 kms away. There are 3 options

  • Take a taxi to the Algeciras port, where a free shuttle operated by FRS will take you to Tarifa port. The bus leaves for Tarifa about an hour before the scheduled departure of the ferry. You can buy your ferry ticket at the FRS window in Algeciras and they will instruct you on exactly when and where to get the bus..
  • Bus: The bus station is opposite the train station. COMES bus company does a service to Tarifa.
  • Taxi to Tarifa: Cost about 35 euros

From Algeciras

The slower route, to Tangier Med which takes 45 minutes on the fast ferry or about 1.5 hrs which is convenient for those travelling to/from Tetouan or Chefchaouen in Morocco and those arriving by train in Spain.

Connections to Tangier Med: you can get there by taxi (c 300 Dh one way – takes 35 mins) or by a free shuttle bus from the old port in Tangier (takes 1 hour, to which you’ll need to get a taxi or bus if arriving by train (approx 10 min ride).

NB: There are currently very few facilities at Tangier Med so travel with a coat (you may have to wait in the open)and need food & drink in case of a wait for the ferry.

Arrival in Tangier

Tangier Railway StationPlanning onward travel by train. For those arriving from Tarifa the new Tangier Ville railway station is just 10 minutes' drive away from the port and it is wise to go directly there to purchase tickets if you have not already had them secured for you.  You may choose to travel by day to places such as Rabat, Casablanca, Meknes or Fez. When travelling to Marrakech, most clients choose overnight sleeper (couchette). Trains on the Tangier to Marrakech route take around 9 - 10 hours, and you arrive in Marrakech at breakfast time. They are simple, air conditioned, have couchettes and overnight sleeping arrangements and are extremely good value for money.

Travelling by Train to Morocco

Here's a link to a fascinating and informative article written by one of our clients, Roger Sargent, after his trip to Morocco by train .