Travel to Marrakech
Flying to Marrakech
Airlines operating direct flights to Marrakech from the UK include British Airways, easyJet, Ryanair and Thomson Airways. Cheap flights are available if you avoid school holidays and book well in advance. There are no direct flights from the USA, but Royal Air Maroc has direct flights to Casablanca, with onward connections to Marrakech.
From London - 3 hours 40 minutes; New York - 11 hours 30 minutes (including stopover); Los Angeles - 18 hours (including stopover); Toronto - 13 hours (including stopover); Sydney - 29 hours (including stopovers).
Travel by road
Major cities in Morocco are connected by a good network of relatively uncongested roads, but driving within Marrakech is not recommended due to almost constant traffic jams of trucks, cars, daredevil scooters, clueless pedestrians and stubborn donkeys. Many of the new roads in the Palmeraie (palm grove) outside Marrakech aren't yet paved, and a 4-wheel drive is recommended.
Traffic drives on the right in Marrakech, and the minimum driving age is 18 years. Speed limits are 60kph (37mph) in towns, 100kph (62mph) outside urban areas and 120kph (75mph) on motorways. There are frequent road blocks once you get outside Marrakech, so you should keep your papers accessible. The Moroccan authorities acknowledge most foreign driving licences, but an International Driving Permit is recommended.
Emergency breakdown services
There is no general breakdown service - hire cars should have emergency breakdown details on board. For accidents, contact the police (tel: 19).
Most services between Morocco's major cities and towns are run by CTM (tel: +212 800 090 030; www.ctm.ma), the national coach company. CTM’s urban and intercity routes leave from Marrakech's Gare Routière (central bus station), on the northwestern edge of the old city. You can buy bus tickets in advance from the main bus station or at the Guéliz CTM office on Boulevard Mohammed Zerktouni. It is no cheaper but it will guarantee a seat, which is particularly advisable on routes that run a limited service.
Eurolines (tel: +44 871 781 8177, in the UK; www.eurolines.co.uk) runs services to Marrakech from destinations all over Europe, with many routes involving a change of coach in Paris. International buses arrive and in the Guéliz CTM office on Boulevard Mohammed Zerktouni.
Supratours (tel: +212 5 3773 1061; www.supratours.ma) provides comfortable, air-conditioned express bus services from Essaouira, Agadir and Laayoune. Buses depart and arrive from the Supratours station next door to the railway station at Avenue Hassan II. You can buy tickets in advance at the Supratours station or via your hotel or riad.
Time to city
From Casablanca - 3 hours; Agadir - 2 hours 30 minutes; Fes - 5 hours 30 minutes; Essaouira - 2 hours 40 minutes; Atlas Mountains - 1 hour 10 minutes.
Travel by Rail
The Moroccan rail system runs along two branches: from Casablanca on the west coast to Oujda in the northeast, and from Tangier in the north to Marrakech. There are two classes of seats: first has six seats per compartment, and second has eight per compartment. Second-class travel is quite comfortable for most journeys. In summer, note that first class ensures an air-conditioned carriage only on intercity TCR (Train Climatisé Rapide) trains.
Marrakech's railway station is located on Avenue Hassan II at the corner of Boulevard Mohammed VI in the new district of Guéliz. You can buy tickets directly at the station or through your riad or hotel.
The Moroccan state railway, Office National des Chemins de Fer, or ONCF (tel: +212 890 203 040; www.oncf.ma), is a legacy from French colonial times, and although services are limited, they are reliable and inexpensive, and a good option for travel between Morocco's major cities. It's also a greener way to travel, reducing emissions that might otherwise harm southern Morocco's delicate desert ecosystems. Return tickets are good for up to seven days after your initial date of travel.
From Fes - 7 hours 30 minutes; Rabat - 4 hours 30 minutes; Tangier - 10 hours.