For a family vacation that is truly unique, look no further than Morocco. A short flight takes you to the doorstep of a different world, a maze of bustling souks, ancient Kasbahs and rugged mountainscapes which are bound to enthral and excite even the youngest of imaginations. From the exotic intrigue of Marrakech, to the shifting sand dunes of the Sahara, Morocco is a playground for children.
Morocco is so full of wonder for little ones. It is a land of contrasts, warm hospitality and unique experiences which the whole family can enjoy. The kaleidoscopic colors of the Medina and the snow-capped peaks of the Atlas Mountains are as different and as spectacular as each other. The best time to visit Morocco is arguably before the fierce heat of summer takes its toll, or after it has subsided.
Marrakech is a knock-your-socks-off city for both young and old. Fall under the spell of its story book charm by navigating its labyrinth of lively souks on a treasure hunt or witnessing Djemaa el-Fna square become abuzz with the performances of magicians, snake charmers, storytellers and musicians. The Four Seasons Marrakech has established itself as one of the most exclusive resorts for families in the city. Its Kids For All Seasons Program is great for little ones, and the Young Adult Center is ideal for teens, ensuring all members of the family are entertained. The city’s Mandarin Oriental is another fantastic option for families, taking the hassle out of traveling with youngsters. From the moment you check in on camel back or roll up your sleeves in the onsite organic vegetable garden, a stay at the Mandarin Oriental is a great way to introduce kids to the real Morocco.
Only an hour outside of Marrakech is the Agafay Desert. This is the ideal option for families traveling with younger children, who might get impatient with the long drive to the Sahara. The Agafay offers many exciting activities for families like riding camels and dining under the stars as local musicians and dancers perform. This is a fun, authentic cultural experience for every member of the family.
Fes is an excellent jumping off point for a family vacation in Morocco. It’s less overwhelming than Marrakech, yet still gives a taste of all the country has to offer. Children will enjoy picnics at the historical Roman ruins of Volubilis, treasure hunts through the media, bartering with weavers and ceramicists in souks and eating their weight in sticky sweet pastries. Fes is the perfect way to introduce your children to a culture and world completely unlike their own. While in Fes, a day trip to explore Chefchaouen is a must for families.
This mystical blue city is nestled into the hills of the Rif Mountains, is made up of clusters of cubic homes, winding stairways, cobbled streets, and arches lacquered in vibrant blues. It’s a shock to the eyes, but in the best way possible. Chefchaouen is more of a village than a city, making it easily navigable for the entire family. A very safe option, it’s the only place in Morocco that we’d recommend exploring without a guide. While wandering around the medina your family is a lot less likely to be hassled by shop owners, they’re friendly, but not pushy (they may even invite you to their homes to enjoy a cup of sweet mint tea, a national delicacy), making for a welcoming environment for children. Little ones will also love petting and playing with furry new friends. The adorable street cats that roam the city will thrive on attention from your children.
Ensconcing yourself and your family in the Atlas Mountains for a few days showcases yet another side to Morocco. Take a cookery lesson and learn the nuances of authentic Berber cuisine, or trek through the dramatic scenery with adventurous teens. Kasbah Tamadot is a brilliant base camp during your stay, go fossil hunting in the mountains, search the hotel’s grounds for its resident peahens and tortoises, and hunker down to a movie night under the stars for the ultimate family stay.
Further afield, let the tales of Lawrence of Arabia come alive in the Sahara. Sleeping under the stars, coming face to face with camels, and enjoying the adrenaline fuelled activities that the desert has to offer are the key ingredients to an unforgettable family vacation. Whilst traveling to the desert by jeep is perhaps best for older children, direct flights to the outpost of Ouarzazate from Paris or Casablanca allow you to cut out the hefty journey. Whilst getting there is all part of the experience, it is arriving at a Bedouin Camp and spending the night in the heart of the desert that is the real tick off the bucket list.