Whether you choose the magnificent coast or travel inland to legendary Marrakech and the Atlas Mountains, kids will adore Morocco and be loved immeasurably in return. There are few countries so welcoming for children and, to be honest, adults find the strange and eccentric customs and sights as lot more of a culture shock than kids ever do.


Why go on holiday in Morocco

  • Direct flights from London to Marrakech, Rabat, Casablanca and Agadir. Flying time between three and four hours.

     

  • Temperatures in coastal cities like Agadir rise to 30˚C in July and August. November to February averages between 20 and 15˚C.

     

  • Morocco’s coastline has beautiful beaches, ancient medina, spectacular natural wonders like Plage Blanche and some of the country’s most exotic cities.

     

  • The Atlas Mountains are easily accessible from Marrakech and one of the world’s great ranges for walking and climbing.

     

  • Morocco is immersed in tradition and ancient ways of life are still very much part of the day to day here – even in major cities.

     

  • The country has nine World Heritage sites: Marrakech Medina, the Historic City of Meknes, the Medina of Essouira, Ouarzazate, the ancient Roman city of Volubilis, Ksar of Ait-Ben-Haddou, Rabat, Medina of Tetouan, Medina of Fez and El Jadida.

     

  • Jemaa Al-Fna square in Marrakech was the first UNESCO World Heritage site of Intangible Culture.



Where to go

Morocco’s seaside towns and major cities have a range of family hotels and international brand resorts. But if chlorinated pools and kids’ menus aren’t a deal breaker, consider staying in a riad: traditional Moroccan homes built around a central courtyard. Most historic medina incorporate beautifully restored riads as boutique hotels and guesthouses, self-catering apartments or entire family houses. Also worth remembering: the classic elegance of a riad is what most of the best hotels are trying to emulate.

Agadir

Sparkling Agadir is one of Morocco’s famous coastal resorts. It’s considerably less historic than some of the neighbours but scores well for sheltered, sandy beaches and a well-ordered sense of calm. Broad boulevards and palm-lined promenades are more Cannes than desert fringe here so adventurers are always pleasantly surprised to discover they’re not too far from the wilds of Plage Blanche and the Western Sahara.

Casablanca

Casablanca and Marrakech are Morocco’s great romantics. Like its inland counterpart, Casablanca is a fascinating mix of age-old tradition and contemporary creativity but it’s completely original too. This is the city where glossy malls are as much of an attraction as medina, new restaurants are springing up all the time and children are as likely to be awed by modern art as ancient mosques and palaces. Casablanca probably isn’t an ideal family holiday base but a string of pretty seaside resorts to the west make it a convenient airport choice from the UK and a fantastic day out – especially for teenagers.

Marrakech

The image of Koutoubia Mosque set against the snow capped peaks of the High Atlas Mountains is breathtaking and almost as old as Marrakech itself. Understandably this mesmerising city has always been a magnet for artists, writers, poets and musicians. Yves Saint Laurent made his home here and the gorgeous Majorelle Gardens created a paint colour all by themselves. This is the Moroccan legend which doesn’t need beaches or resorts to make it magical for young children. Take them to Jemaa Al-Fna in the afternoon to listen to the story tellers, wander round the morning souks or visit just after Ramadan for Eid al-Fitr and you’ll have created Marrakech lovers for life. It’s a captivating city for teenagers too and close enough to the mountains for memory-making expeditions – not far from the mighty Sahara or Toubkal either.

Essouira

It might have a magnificent World Heritage medina and some of the best water sports in North Africa, but that’s probably not the reason spectacular Essaouira seems familiar. Game of Thrones experts will recognise the sea fortifications as the location where Khaleesi marshalled her army of the Unsullied. If you aren’t a fan, it should be enough to know that the show’s creators choose the world’s sunniest and loveliest places to film and Essaouira is no exception. This breathtaking city also has exceptional beaches.


What to do

  • Jardin Majorelle, Marrakech
    The house and garden which gave the world ‘Majorelle Blue’, was most recently owned by Yves Saint Laurent and bequeathed to the city after his death. The museum is interesting but the gardens are the main reason to visit. Jardin Majorelle
  • Marrakech Medina
    The Medina is breathtaking but Jemaa al-Fna square is the showstopper. The first UNESCO World Heritage Site of Intangible Culture, this ancient gathering place of soothsayers, snake charmers, food sellers, musicians and story tellers is not to be missed under any circumstances. Marrakech Medina
  • Palmeraie Camel Tour, Marrakech
    A gentle, family-friendly half day tour by camel round the enchanting Palm Grove north of Marrakech. Palmeraie Camel Tour
  • Volubilis, Meknes
    The ancient Roman city of Volubilis, between Fez and Rabat, is huge and magnificent. Try to visit later in the afternoon when it’s cooler and less crowded to really appreciate the stunning ruins and – if you’re lucky – see the sunset over them. Volubilis
  • Historic City of Meknes
    Another astonishingly beautiful Moroccan World Heritage site, the medieval city of Meknes is entered through the vast Babel Mansour and contains no less than 25 mosques and 10 hammam along with granaries, inns, palaces and homes. Leave at least a day to explore. Meknes
  • Bahia Palace, Marrakech
    This 19th century palace is new by Moroccan standards but it’s no less spectacular than many of the country’s truly ancient architecture. The tales of intrigue and daring are thrilling and don’t miss the gardens, they’re said to be Marrakech’s loveliest. Bahia Palace
  • Atlantica Parc, Agadir
    In the unlikely event kids get bored with Agadir’s gorgeous beaches, this waterpark is the place for chutes, slides and rides. Not in the same league as the monsters in Asia and UAE, but still fun. Atlantica Parc
  • Medina of Essouira
    Essouira’s 18th century medina may not have the medieval heritage of others but the Atlantic coast more than makes up for relative youth. It’s also very much alive so Sandarac carvers, faith healers, fish sellers and mystics are just a few of the locals you’ll see plying their trade here. Medina of Essouira
  • Ouarzazate
    A drive through the Atlas Mountains from Marrakech to Ouarzazate is an unforgettable experience with older kids and teenagers. This ancient desert settlement is one of the most captivating (and filmed) in Morocco. It’s also gateway to the Sahara for trekking and guided tours. Ouarzazate
  • Toubkal National Park
    Morocco’s oldest national park covers 38,000 hectares, 70km east of Marrakech. Local communities, eco-initiatives, wildlife, wilderness landscape and the country’s highest mountain, Jebel Toubkal, are all reasons to hike, walk, drive or stay here with older children. Toubkal National Park


Educational value for kids

  • Morocco is one of the world’s greatest natural history lessons and has traces of the past wherever you look.
  • The oral tradition is still strong in Morocco and language isn’t a barrier to younger kids getting caught up in market place story telling.
  • Visit local villages and craft workshops in the Atlas Mountains.
  • A few words in French or Arabic go a long way for kids in Morocco.
  • Visit Jemaa Al-Fna in the evening for the street food stalls – snack heaven for kids and a wonderful learning experience.
  • Customs of the country are another eye-opener for children and mostly delightful.
  • Visit the country’s glorious mosques – the same mysterious symbols in Koutoubia are found in the Alhambra in Granada.

 

Getting about with kids in Morocco

City centres are hectic to drive around, but hiring a car is the best way to explore this marvellous and intricate country. Dozens of operators offer excellent tours to most of the historic sites and even a day in the Atlas Mountain foothills is memorable. Walking is the only way to travel around the medina.

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