With so much attention being paid to Tangier in the travel media at the moment I thought it might be helpful to share a few transport tips that might make the logistics of planning your Moroccan holiday a little easier.
Getting to Tangier if you are already in Morocco:
Trains are a great way to get around in Morocco – most cities are connected and it is a fairly reliable, safe and relatively inexpensive way to get around. Both Marrakech and Fez are a leisurely train ride away from both Tangier and Assilah, while Rabat and Casablanca are linked to Tangier by Al Boraq – the fast train which is a pleasure to use. Recently, Ryan Air has announced that it will be launching more flights out of Tangier, including internal flights to Marrakech.
Tangier hasn’t always been the easiest place to fly into, but slowly more and more options are opening up. From the UK, in my experience, the easiest option is with Air Arabia, who fly directly from Gatwick a few times a week. For a budget airline, it is a little more generous than most with luggage. Air Arabia also connects Tangier to several European hubs, from Bilbao to Istanbul.
Ryan Air flies from Stansted as well as several European cities, while Iberia has a flight from Heathrow that involves a stop-over in Madrid. I have spent (wasted) many an hour trawling through websites trying to find other options, but in the end opt for one of these as the simplest and most time-effective option. Air Cairo has recently announce direct flights to Tangier, Vueling, TAP and Transavia are other options to explore depending on where you are coming from.
Combining air and sea travel, I have done the UK to Gibraltar option a few times, which then requires a taxi to Tarifa – which I might add is a great place for a stopover and a tapa or two – before stepping onto the ferry to Tangier.
The ferry trip from Tarifa in Spain to Tangier is the most direct. In under an hour you can cross continents and step off in the old port which is perfectly located below the medina. If you get get a ferry from Algeciras, it will take you to Tanger Med port which is about an hour out of Tangier central.A slightly longer journey, you can also get a ferry from Marseille to Tangier and Genoa to Tangier.
Getting to Assilah:
Assilah has its own train station, so while Al Boraq doesn’t slow down on its way past, the normal rail service – ONCF – does. a quick thirty minutes from Tangier central station, two hours from Fez, or an overnight journey from Marrakech will find you in Assilah. It is a bit of a walk to get into town and petit taxis can be a bit scarce on the ground, so if you are arriving with luggage it might be a plan to organise a taxi in advance.
From Tangier, the other options are bus, private taxi, shared taxi or car hire, in order of cost. A private taxi usually costs around 250mad one-way and allows you to be master of your own destiny, while a shared taxi is considerably cheaper at 20mad per person. If you are driving, it is a pretty easy 40 minute trip up the coast. you can go on the motorway and pay a small toll fee if you simply want to get there as quickly and painlessly as possible. Alternatively, the coastal road, which is the route I prefer, takes you past the ceramic dealers, basket weavers and roadside cafes, but also comes with more traffic and some erratic driving!
Hope that helps – See you in Tangier!
Main image credit: Norman Parkinson via Pinterest