Morocco is a great option for budget travel, but figuring out how to get around can be daunting. Many tourists are unsure where to start planning their itinerary and navigating the many different modes of transportation in Morocco.
Striking the perfect balance between expense and reliability can be complicated, and ultimately depends on your personal comfort levels. This article can help lay out the options and their relative benefits. It lists the main methods of getting around in Morocco, from most expensive to least expensive.
As a general rule, don’t take the advice of the people advertising travel agencies as the gold standard for getting around Morocco. These packages are great if you’re nervous about travel and need a little extra peace of mind, but you’ll definitely pay for it. Additionally, these tour programs often limit the amount of freedom and authentic interaction you’ll have in the country. This option is best for travelers with mobility or safety concerns.
These are by far the most expensive way to travel in Morocco, but do have some benefits. They allow you to hire a driver for a long trip or even for a day of sightseeing, organizing pick ups and drop offs for hikes and excursions. Expect to pay upwards of 500 dirham (about 50 euros) to get anywhere significant. You can split these between 6–8 people usually, depending on how cozy you’re willing to get. You can tell the difference between these and local taxis because they are generally white sedans. As with all taxis in Morocco, be sure to negotiate your price in advance. Grand taxis don’t usually have a meter, so get ready to haggle.
The train system in Morocco is both comfortable and reliable. It’ll run you about 200–250 dirham for a major trip like the one from Rabat to Marrakech, for example, but it’s still much cheaper than a grand taxi, and you’ll usually be able to spread out and take your own compartment to sleep, eat, etc. The bathrooms aren’t always reliable, so be sure you go before you get on the train. In general, trains are a great option for transportation in Morocco if you’re going long distances with lots of luggage, as the train stations are well-connected and usually centrally located.
These are the nicer brands of buses marketed toward foreigners, like the Supratours or CTM networks. They run between most major cities and some areas where trains don’t run, like Chefchaouen and Essaouira. A 4 hour trip from Rabat to Chefchaouen will run you about 120 dirham, to get an idea.
The tour buses are generally reliable and offer first class options with wifi and recliners for those who want to travel a bit more comfortably. You may have to spend some time waiting in a pretty miserable waiting area (first class passengers usually get their own more comfortable one) but in general, these journeys are pretty painless. Just be sure you pay close attention and get off at the right stop. If you’ve got luggage, expect to pay around 5 extra dirham to stow your stuff (remember to have some cash on hand to do this!)
For popular routes, like the ones to Chefchaouen and Essaouira, it’s best to book your tickets in advance either online or at the bus station about a day before, or you’ll risk being stranded when the seats fill up. Aside from this, tour buses are a very popular and comfortable option for transportation through Morocco.
Morocco’s local buses are much, much cheaper than the tour buses, with a trip from Rabat to Chefchaouen going for about 50 dirham. They are easy to spot as they are often branded only in Arabic and operate smaller, less modern looking vehicles.
With the reduced price, mainly what you sacrifice is comfort and clarity. These buses don’t usually run air conditioning and other amenities and are often overcrowded. The employees in their ticket offices will likely not speak English and may not even speak French or Spanish, so if you don’t have any Arabic skills, it may be difficult to find your way. Like many modes of transportation geared toward locals, these buses can be unpredictable in their schedules and stops.
This is a great option for cheap transportation in Morocco if you’re a seasoned traveler and comfortable operating with a bit of confusion. They’re definitely not less safe than the cleaner, more expensive bus options, but you will at times feel a bit lost while navigating the journey.
These are fairly cheap and only operate within the city they are from. They are usually blue or yellow depending on the city. In more rural areas, these may be large vans or buses that move people to and from markets for as little as 2 dirham. In general, a local taxi ride through a city center will go for about 20–30 dirham.
Before your ride begins, always insist that they start the meter or negotiate a price in advance, or you’ll end up paying over 100 dirham for a 5 minute cab ride. These cars can take up to 3 passengers and will pick up/drop off throughout your ride if they have empty seats, so don’t be surprised if you end up sharing one with a stranger.
Local taxis are a great option for getting around in Morocco if you’re taking short journeys to major sites or want to chat with some actual locals. In major tourist cities, taxi drivers often speak English, French and/or Spanish and usually give great tips for things to do and see. These cars are also relatively safe and reliable, even for solo women.
Transportation is one of the most planning-intensive parts of travel, but if you do it right, you can have some truly enjoyable journeys. Morocco is a beautiful country and riding through the mountains and desert will expose you to some seriously beautiful scenery. Morocco’s transportation system is well-developed and with a bit of forethought, you can see the country easily and cheaply.