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Friday, 21 March 2014 12:00 AM

Internal Travel on your Moroccan Holiday - Trains

Rail Services in Morocco

Morocco is over 2,000 km long and over 500 km wide at its widest – a total land area of over 710,850 sq km (274,400 sq miles), which is roughly twice the size of the UK. Therefore, with interesting destinations across the country, many holidaymakers to Morocco do some or a lot of internal travel during their stay, which we can advise on to ensure that the holiday is enjoyable.

Fortunately some of the most interesting cities in Morocco are linked by an excellent rail network, which was developed in the main by the French (during the French Protectorate period) and is now run by the state owned ONCF.

Rail transport is the most sustainable form of mass internal transport, and avoids the use of large numbers of private hire car, mini bus and coach use.

Additionally the train service in Morocco is generally excellent – numerous trains daily on most routes, inter-city rapide services, relatively clean and peaceful carriages, competitive pricing, choice of seat class, generally significantly on time.

Morocco’s Rail Network - Where It Goes

Marrakech is the southern-most part of the Moroccan network. Marrakech is the gateway for most visitors to Morocco, and is one of its Imperial cities with a huge depth of history and culture (and also the focal point for the many tourists).

From Marrakech, which lies just north of the High Atlas mountains, the rail network heads north west to the Atlantic coastal cities of Casablanca and then Rabat, before heading east inland to Meknes and Fez. A branch also heads (off from between Rabat and Meknes) due north to Tangier, overlooking the strait of Gibraltar.

Marrakech to Fez takes a little over 7 hours, Rabat to Fez around 2.5 hours and Meknes to Fez around an hour.

The Imperial cities of Rabat, Meknes and Fez are all fascinating in their own rights and differ significantly – Fez is a maze of alleys that appears unchanged in hundreds of years (other than the introduction of motor scooters), Meknes is the quieter and laid-back sister, and Rabat has an ancient medina that most tourists bypass.

Rail Travel As Part Of Your Holiday in Morocco

Whilst second class tickets cannot be purchased in advance, and neither can tickets be purchased on the internet yet, Naturally Morocco can arrange for first class tickets to be bought in Marrakech, Fez, Rabat and Tangier, and for taxi pick-up and drop off to and from your accommodation and the local train station.

The Moroccan rail network is a great asset for longer distances and can normally be included in your holiday between the cities noted above and can make internal travel calm and comfortable.