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Tangier to Chefchaouen: Your Options

For visitors to Tangier, a visit to the famous blue village of Chefchaouen is a must! A common query is about the best way to get from Tangier to Chefchaouen. In this article, we will explain the various options for your trip from Tangier to Chefchaouen, along with the advantages and disadvantages of each.

1. Take a private taxi

This is at number one in our list because it is the most convenient way to get from Tangier to Chefchaouen, and also the least stressful. Travelling with a private company like TangierTaxi (you can also read our Tangier Taxi Review) is the the preferred option for most travellers. It is more expensive than taking a public grand taxi, but the difference is not significant and it’s normally worth it if you want to get to Chefchaouen with the least amount of stress possible. Most companies will provide a private, modern vehicle with air-conditioning and an English-speaking driver. The quality of private taxi companies in Morocco can vary wildly, from very good to very bad, so it’s important to check for reviews and other traveller’s opinions before booking. TangierTaxi are an example of a reputable company but there are others too. There is more information about the trip from Tangier to Chefchaouen on their website.

2. Take a public grand taxi

This is at number two on our list because it’s the second most convenient way of getting from Tangier to Chefchaouen, and is also a bit cheaper than taking a private taxi. You should remember to read our advice about Moroccan grand taxis beforehand if you want to avoid any stressful situations. Remember that there is a big difference between the public grand taxis and the private ones, so if you are used to taking taxis in Europe or America, you may be surprised by the poor condition of most grand taxis. Remember that the road from Tangier to Chefchaouen is windy and mountainous, so it’s important to make sure your driver is competent and safe!  You may have to switch to a different grand taxi in Tetouan.

3. Take the bus

This is the final option on our list of getting from Tangier to Chefchaouen because although it is the cheapest option, it is also the least comfortable. This is not a recommended option if you are travelling with children, because the buses in Morocco are not safe and the drivers drive too quickly for the road conditions. On the mountainous road from Tangier to Chefchaouen, buses can be seen overtaking on corners and taking unnecessary risks. The buses are not air-conditioned, so in the summer the passenger doors are left wide open to help circulation. There will probably not be any seatbelts either, so the bus is really only an option for young travellers who are on a strict budget. You can buy your bus tickets from Tangier to Chefchaouen through the CTM bus company.

4. The train

Sorry, there is no train between Tangier and Chefchaouen! Transport options are limited to either taking a taxi or a bus.

That concludes our list of the best ways to get from Tangier to Chefchaouen! You can read more about our Chefchaouen taxi tips on our website.

 

Private Taxis in Morocco

Private taxi companies in Morocco are in high demand due to the often poor conditions of grand taxis and petit taxis. These still remain popular forms of transport for adventure travellers and those on a budget, and can be very affordable if you are good at haggling for your taxi in Morocco. However, for those with a bigger budget, travelling with a private company represents are much more comfortable and convenient option for only a slightly higher price than the public taxis. Those travelling with children will also appreciate the amenities that a private transport company in Morocco can offer, such as seat belts, air bags, trained drivers and child seats.

The other advantage of travelling with a private taxi company in Morocco is that the service provided is door-to-door. This means that your driver will pick you up from the address you choose, and drop you off at the address you choose. You don’t have to worry about finding the grand taxi rank, and then haggling with the driver. You also don’t have to worry about unsafe drivers, or about having to share your vehicle with strange people.

There are not many private taxi companies in Morocco – mainly due to the difficulty of obtaining an official tourist transport licence. Many companies do not hold this licence, and grand taxis are legally not permitted to take you on day trips or excursions (even when booked through a hotel or agency).

TangierTaxi, despite its name, offers transport in all of Morocco and not just Tangier. They always get good reviews online. I have personally used them on my last few trips to Morocco and the service is always very professional. Their website advertises bases in Tangier, Casablanca, Fes and Marrakech, so you’re covered in all of the major cities if you are in need of a private, air-conditioned vehicle and English-speaking driver. They are fully licenced and insured to provide tourist transport throughout Morocco.

Here are some other private companies (but they do not have websites, you must call):

-SHL Transfert (Marrakech) +212 409 488 010
-Ouria Agence (Rabat) +212 866 045 953

At the moment I am unaware of other private companies in Morocco that are fully licenced and insured to offer transport and day trips to tourists. This page will be updated regularly if more information comes to light.

Petit taxi

Taking a Petit Taxi in Morocco

Taxis in Morocco are the most popular forms of transport. Even though there is a rail and bus service between major cities, the network is not so expansive and punctuality is still an issue. Flying is also an option, but tickets are extremely expensive by European standards. So taking taxis is the most common way of getting around, for both short trips in the city to long-distance journeys across the country. Taking a taxi in Morocco is not as simple as in other countries, and there are a few things to be aware of before you take one. This article is going to focus on the different types of taxis in Morocco, along with the advantages / disadvantages / costs of each one.

 

Petit Taxi

The first type of taxi on our list is the Petit Taxi. Coming from the French word petit, meaning small, a petit taxi is only for short distances and carry 3 passengers; 1 in the front and 2 in the back. A petit taxi cannot leave the city limits, so cannot be used for inter-city transfers. They are just for short trips around the city centre and suburbs. They are abundant in most Moroccan cities, and can be found without much difficulty. There are taxi ranks dedicated to petits taxis in strategic positions across the city. These ranks are often combined with a grand taxi stop, which is a different type of taxi.

Petits taxis are very cheap. The cost of taking a petit taxi is much lower than the equivalent of taking a taxi in Europe or the US, but bear in mind that the condition of the vehicle may not be up to the same standards. Taking a petit taxi at night time is more expensive than during the day, but only by a little bit. As in European countries and the US, it is customary to leave a small tip to the driver.

Petits taxis often do not have meters, so it will be necessary to negotiate a fixed price in advance with the driver. As a tourist, this could leave you open to exploitation, so don’t forget to read our article about taxi haggling in Morocco. Some petits taxis in big cities do have meters as a measure to prevent tourists from being ripped off, but some drivers might not want to turn it on. If this is the case, you should get out and find another taxi.

Most Moroccans share their taxi with other people heading in the same direction, so your taxi might not leave until all of the seats are taken, and may stop on the way to pick up others. You can hire the whole taxi for an agreed price, but be prepared to pay over the odds, although if you are in a rush then you don’t really have any other choice.

Petits taxis are easily identifiable in each city because they are all the same colour. For example, in Casablanca they are red, but in Tangier they are blue. Here is information about the colours of petits taxis for each city:

Agadir – Orange
Aklim – Green
Al Rachida – Blue
Azilal – Red
Azrou – Green
Berkane – Orange
Casablanca – Red
Chefchaouen – Blue
El Jadida – White
Fes – Red
Ifrane – Green
Marrakech – Beige
Meknes – Blue
Midelt – Yellow
Mohammedia – Green
Nador – Red
Ouarzazate – White
Oujda – Red
Rabat – Blue
Tangier – Blue
Taroudannt – White

It is a fact that petits taxis are not well-known for their comfort, so don’t expect leather seats and air-conditioning. The average petit taxi is a small, 4 seat vehicle such as a Fiat Uno produced in the 1990s. While they are not comfortable, they are perfectly fine for short journeys around the city.

These taxis seldom have seatbelts either, so if you are travelling with young children for example, you may prefer to book a better vehicle through a private company. The roads and driving habits in Morocco are not great, and in the city it can be quite chaotic at times, so taking a petit taxi could be stressful if you have children. However, it does seem to be an organised chaos, and the drivers are more than used to it.

Despite the size of a petit taxi, it is probably too big to drive down most streets in the medina, so if your destination is in the medina of a city in Morocco, bear in mind that you will probably have to walk the last leg.

 

grand taxi morocco

Taking a Grand Taxi in Morocco

Getting from city to city in Morocco can be a long and expensive affair. The flights are expensive and infrequent, the trains are slow and often late, and the buses are not always up to expected safety standards. The result is that for many Moroccans, getting from A-B involves taking a grand taxi. Grand taxis are normally old, beige Mercedes and are capable of carrying up to 6 passengers at a time. They carry 4 passengers in the back, and 2 in the front (next to the driver). Yes, really. 7 people crammed into that small space! They don’t have air-conditioning either, so on a hot summer’s day you must really remember to take plenty of water. But it’s the most common way of getting around for normal Moroccans, so it is a good opportunity for a true Moroccan experience.

Grand taxi

Grand taxis can be easily found in major cities. As with petit taxis, there are often conveniently-located ranks around the city where you can found an abundance of grand taxis waiting to take you wherever you need to go. Grand taxis are permitted to travel outside of the city limits, whereas petit taxis are not, so if you’re looking to travel for longer distances, make sure you get in a grand taxi.

When taking a grand taxi in Morocco, Moroccans almost always share with others. It is quite expensive for a local to rent out the entire vehicle, so the cost is often shared between others. In fact, you only end up paying for your seat. So, if you want to travel privately with no other passengers, you will have to buy the 6 other seats. You can find out more about the costs of taking a grand taxi by using our grand taxi fare calculator.

Driving conditions in Morocco do not match those in Europe or the US. Standards are much lower, and the sad truth is that many people die on the roads in Morocco each year. Grand taxis do not have seat belts, and the drivers are often poorly-trained, so you must be assertive if you think your driver is going too fast. He is very unlikely to speak English, so you’ll have to tell him in Arabic (or possibly French). Moroccans have a tendency to overtake cars on corners, or on hills, so you might be in for an experience if it is your first time on the roads in Africa. This is a warning, but should not act as a deterrent, since the reality is that you are unlikely to be involved in any accidents if you remain sensible and communicate with your driver if he is going too fast. If you are travelling with children, then maybe you should look into private transport in Morocco.

Do not expect your driver to know where your address is, even if you have it in Arabic. Roads are seldom signposted in Morocco. If your destination is in a medina, then you will have to walk the last leg, because taking a grand taxi into the narrow streets is forbidden and often impossible.

Finally, some grand taxis only drive on certain routes. If it is late at night, or a holiday, you might have to stop en route to change taxi. You may also be forced to share your vehicle with other people if availability is limited, since it is a bit unfair for one or two people to take up an entire car when locals do not have another option.

haggling taxi price morocco

Haggling for Your Taxi in Morocco

Knowing what to pay in Morocco can be difficult, and it’s sometimes hard to shake the feeling that you’re being ripped-off because you’re a foreigner. It’s true that while salaries in Morocco are high compared to some African countries, the average wage is significantly lower than that in Western Europe. The result is that some unscrupulous individuals will try to take advantage of you and overcharge you for products and services. It is important to remember, however, that this is the exception to the rule, and most Moroccans are not looking to rip you off.

Haggling for Your Taxi in Morocco

In European cities like Barcelona, Paris, and Rome, taking taxis is never particularly fun but always expensive. As a tourist in a new city, you have to place a lot of trust in your taxi driver because you are in unfamiliar surroundings and perhaps do not know the local culture or customs.  Unfortunately, it is well-documented that some taxi drivers in these cities take the long way round in order to artificially inflate the fare, or refuse to use the meter and charge more than it should be.

In Morocco, the same problems exist, and so it’s necessary to take the same precautions as you would in tourist hotspots like Barcelona, Paris and Rome. However, the good news is that it’s significantly cheaper in Morocco to travel by taxi, and if the driver is trying to get some extra cash out of you by going the long way round, it is likely to be a very insignificant amount for you.

But of course, out of principle you shouldn’t pay more for your taxi than anybody else just because of the colour of your skin or the language you speak, so there are a few things you should do in order minimise the risk of getting ripped off by petit and grand taxi drivers in Morocco.

  1. Use our Grand Taxi Fare Calculator to work out how much your trip should cost. This calculator is a general guide, and should only be used as an indicator, although it will at least give you an idea of how much you should pay for a given journey.
  2. Learn some Arabic expressions. Taxi drivers in Morocco are unlikely to speak any English, and French is not always as widely-spoken as some people believe. In the North in particular, French culture and speaking French can be a controversial subject, so being able to speak a few words of Arabic will get you much further in your Moroccan taxi negotiation and will probably be appreciated by the driver.
  3. Grand taxis do not have meters, but most petit taxis do. So, if you’re taking a petit taxi in a Moroccan city, you should ensure that they have their meters on. Not all petit taxis have meters, so if yours doesn’t then you should avoid taking it unless you have an idea of the right price and can agree on it beforehand with the driver.
  4. Try to avoid putting yourself into a position where you are a captive audience for the taxi driver. For example, airports and border crossings are generally bad places to take taxis because you have limited options, and this puts you at a disadvantage from a negotiation standpoint. If you know that you are going to be in a position like this, you should book online in advance through a reputable taxi company in Morocco so that there are no surprises.
  5. Be confident, and don’t act like a clueless tourist. Speaking a few words of Arabic is the best way to do this. You want to give the impression that you know where you are going, and that you know what the price should be. This will reduce the chance of the driver trying to rip you off.

If you follow this advice, you will be much more likely to achieve a fair price. You will still probably pay slightly more than the locals, but at least you won’t be taken for a ride and milked for every penny. Although taking taxis in Morocco is cheaper than in most of Europe, remember that the costs are not necessarily that much lower, and that petrol/diesel and insurance are only marginally cheaper than in more expensive countries.