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Overnight train from Marrakech to Tangier: trip report

New York
Level Contributor
21 posts
25 reviews
Overnight train from Marrakech to Tangier: trip report

Before planning our trip, my wife and I tried desperately to get information on the overnight train from Marrakech to Tangier but didn't get great answers so I'm posting this as it may be helpful to others.

We wanted to take the overnight train from Marrakech to Tangier in order to get to Chefchaouen so we could cover the distance while sleeping and avoid paying for a hotel room. Trip notes:

- Each couchette is 370dh. It's tough to buy online on ONCF because you need a 'moroccan credit card'. We asked our guide to purchase tickets for us in advance (we purchased 4 for the two of us so we could have the whole compartment)

- The train departed at 8:45pm on time and arrived at Tangier at 7am on time. The train made about 6 stops in between

- There is one train car which is first class with 10 compartments. Each compartment has 4 couchettes, 2 bottom, 2 top. I'm about 6'1" and just about fit straight with my feet brushing the end. You get 1 pillow and 1 starched plain sheet so expect to sleep in hoodies and socks depending on weather (I went in october). There is not much room otherwise with a small luggage rack up top. There is no electric socket. There is a fan for ventilation.

- One quirk about the stops is they turn the electricity off so the fan stops while the train is waiting at the station. On one station, the wait was around 30 minutes while they changed the direction of the train.

- There are 2 bathrooms in the car on either side.

- They padlock the first class car while the train is in motion for security

- There is some cart service though I didn't purchase anything so not sure what they offer

Hope that helps set expectations about the journey. Overall, I enjoyed it and found it comfortable and dependable.

45 replies to this topic
Marrakech, Morocco
Destination Expert
for Morocco
Level Contributor
7,223 posts
130 reviews
1. Re: Overnight train from Marrakech to Tangier: trip report

thanks for coming back with the info - I still remember that I once ended up in a compartment with just 2 beds rather than 4 which was a surprise since most info always indicates that all compartments have 4 beds

Queensland...
Level Contributor
162 posts
32 reviews
2. Re: Overnight train from Marrakech to Tangier: trip report

Thank you for this report. I have been going crazy trying to find out this info. We are in Spain at the moment, heading south wanting to take a trip over to Morocco. How did you plan your trip? I am looking at booking everything on tripadvisor and viatour. Any suggestions?

Our plan is to take the ferry from Tarifa to Tangiers, 2 nts, train to Casablanca, 1 nt, train to Marrakech, 1 nt, Desert tour, 2 nts, Marrakech 1 more night, overnight train to Tangiers to pick up the ferry back to Tarifa.

los angeles
Level Contributor
59 posts
9 reviews
3. Re: Overnight train from Marrakech to Tangier: trip report

I just did the overnight train a couple weeks ago and I can confirm that all the couchettes have 4 bunks in them, even though the website seems to indicate that there may be the option of 2 bunk compartments. When I was purchasing the tickets, I specifically asked if there were 2 bunk compartments and was firmly told "No." Then, when I was boarding, I inspected all of the compartments to see if there were any with only 2 bunks. Nope. All had four.

Queensland...
Level Contributor
162 posts
32 reviews
4. Re: Overnight train from Marrakech to Tangier: trip report

May I ask what you paid for two persons in a four bunk coachette?

Thank you

New York
Level Contributor
21 posts
25 reviews
5. Re: Overnight train from Marrakech to Tangier: trip report

Hi Mike/Debbie, apologies for missing your original post.

We paid 370dh x 4 for the full compartment, so 2 went unused.

To your original question about planning, it was a relatively tough itinerary to plan! We didn't go with a tour company for whole trip but rather contracted guides along the way. Some of the ones we used are: Desert Majesty for 1 night to Zagora, Tangier Taxi for transfers from Casablanca to Marrakech, and from Tangier to Chefchaouen, Marrakech Food Tours in Marrakech and FezGuide for a half-day tour in Fes.

Desert Majesty purchased our train ticket as a favor to us, otherwise we would've had to purchase them once we got in-country.

los angeles
Level Contributor
59 posts
9 reviews
6. Re: Overnight train from Marrakech to Tangier: trip report

Mike/Debbie, did you consider going the other way from Tangier (towards Fes and onto the desert and then to Marrakech, rather than going down to Casablanca)? If you are intent on doing the desert tour, that might make more sense and save you some time. I know that there are various tour companies that do a desert tour that leaves from Fes, goes into the desert and then drops you off in Marrakech (since the desert is sort of on the way from Fes to Marrakech). So then, what you would do is go into Tangier, take a 3 hour bus ride to Chefchaouen (lovely village on the way to Fes), spend a night, then take a another 3.5 hour bus ride to Fes (or just skip Chefchaouen and go to Fes direct, although this is a long ride) and then go on the desert trip which would probably be a 3 day 2 night affair at minimum, which would drop you off at Marrakech. A couple of nights there and then the overnight train back to Tangier.

Queensland...
Level Contributor
162 posts
32 reviews
7. Re: Overnight train from Marrakech to Tangier: trip report

Thank you,

We are going to take your suggestion. Will take the train from Tangier to Fes. Then the two nights from Fes to Marrakech. Much better way to go. I think we will see more of the desert.

We have booked a full day tour of Chefchaouen while we Tangier.

Thanks again, helped us firm up what we are doing. Looking forward to the trip.

Alberta
Level Contributor
5 posts
54 reviews
8. Re: Overnight train from Marrakech to Tangier: trip report

Just a note about Chefchaouen...it's a small place (town moreso than city), and really fun to just wander. Unless you really want history, I'm not sure you'd even need a guide. Just a thought. Enjoy...we LOVED it!

Adelaide, Australia
Level Contributor
213 posts
111 reviews
9. Re: Overnight train from Marrakech to Tangier: trip report

thankyou for your helpful comments as my friend and I are about to do the same on way to Chefchaouen. Will book through our tour guide when in Morocco :)

Sydney, Australia
Level Contributor
1 post
5 reviews
10. Re: Overnight train from Marrakech to Tangier: trip report

We did the Marrakech to Tangier overnight trip a few weeks ago and confirm the details here are the most accurate I came across when researching this option. Best advice is to be realistic with your expectations - it is not flash, very basic but safe and comfortable. The re-coupling of the train mid-journey was a little mystifying at the time. When you depart Marrakech you are at the rear of the train, and mid journey (about 2am) the train stops for an extended period and an engine couples with the sleeper car and you depart again, this time as the first carriage - of course now heading in the opposite direction!

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