Morocco with children
Africa, Destination & countries, Morocco, Travelling with kids

Morocco with Children | Choose the Right Itinerary for Your Family

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“Why Morocco?” – you would wonder. Well, if you live in Europe, and there is not much sun in late October, you should definitely consider going somewhere hotter during the school holidays. Last time we went to the Canary Islands, Portugal, and even Gibraltar, but this time we have decided to explore a bit more of Africa and headed to Morocco with children.

Flights were so cheap that, honestly speaking, we have booked them without even looking at what we could do in Morocco with kids in the first place. Now we can reassure you that your children will get tons of experience culturally, physically, emotionally, and mentally.

Is Morocco good with kids?

It is sunny, it is relevantly safe, and there will be unforgettable memories to take back home.

A few reasons why you should go to Morocco with children:

Explore different culture

You will see a different world. Depending on where you travel in Morocco, your children will understand how people live, how they dress, what customs they have. You will hear the mosques inviting people to pray, you may also visit a desert, go on a mountain hike, dive into a cold cascade, swim in the ocean, enjoy myriads of colors in Moroccan Medinas, and much more.

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Learn new languages

Unlike Gibraltar, where only one language prevails, residents of the city Tangier, which is located in the north of Morocco and borders Gibraltar, speak four languages: Arabic, Moroccan Arabic, Spanish, and French. The rest of the country speaks Arabic and French. We noticed that closer to suburban areas Arabic prevails.

Experience new species and things

There are tons of things to do in Morocco with kids. Wherever you go, your day will be filled with some surprises. We have kissed an eagle and it almost took Teo’s hat away, cuddled with a giant turtle, patted a donkey, played with cats, and got over 50 splinters after touching a cactus. It is a fabulous idea to visit Morocco with toddlers too.

Taste new flavours and know more about Moroccan food

Moroccan food has its own unique twist to it.

Traditional Tagine is one of the most popular dishes in Morocco. It is made in a special clay pot with a cone-shaped lid which is called “tagine”. This is where the name of the dish is originated from. It can be lamb or chicken tagine that contains meat pieces braised with spices, garlic, onion, olives, and some vegetables, including potatoes.

You will eat a lot of Couscous and traditional fish recipes. But the best for kids in Morocco is fruit. Morocco has fantastic fruits. There is a pomegranate season in October, and the seeds are actually pinky yellowish, it is the sweetest pomegranate we have ever eaten. Teo ate at least three cups a day.

During our journey, we have tried local fruit from the cactus called Handiya. In the local market, it cost only 2 Dirham, but we were offered to buy it for 3 Euro (so just you know!). Do not touch the cactus, they usually cut it, open and give it in a small plastic bag.

Another quite unique fruit is called Bakhno or Bayberry. It usually comes from the mountain.

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Safety tips for traveling in Morocco with kids

Generally speaking, it is safe to take kids to Marrakech and around Morocco. Of course, you must be cautious of your belongings. When we went on our adventure trip all the way from Marrakesh to Tangier, we were advised by one of our local friends not to walk at night.

However, I must admit, everyone was super nice to our son. It is quite cultural that locals will pat on the head tousling kids’ hair. But it is considered very rude to take photos of strangers on the street. You can be yelled at quite seriously. However, usually, everyone is quite friendly and happy to give you a hug.

If you visit crowded places, put on your child colorful clothes and a bracelet tag with his name and your phone number on it.

What is Morocco like for a family holiday?

Family holidays to Morocco are actually a splendid idea, as this country has a lot to offer. The problem is that everything is quite far. Here are a few examples if you depart from Marrakesh.

  • Casablanca – one of the largest and most popular cities where you can go to the beach – 3 hs.
  • Atlas Mountains – fantastic hiking tour – 2 hs.
  • Aït Benhaddou – a historic site – 3.5 hs.
  • Merzouga – an authentic desert experience – 8-10 hs.
  • Rabat – the capital of Morocco – 3.5 hs.
  • Chefchaouen – blue city – 7.5 hs.

So, the bottom line is that before you start traveling to Morocco with children, plan the things your family fancy doing. Do you like active leisure? Lying on the beach? Staying at the hotel with slides and a water park? Going on an adventure ride? Learning history and culture? You choose! Morocco has it all.

Some of the families rent a car or even a motor home to drive around the entire Morocco. It will all depend on your time, availability, and willpower.

Check our family itinerary for 12 days below.

Language Spoken in Morocco: Can I get by with English in Morocco?

Morocco has two official languages: Arabic and Amazigh. People also speak Moroccan Arabic dialect. Almost everyone speaks and understands French, but if you go further north, you will most likely hear Arabic only. Up the north where Morocco borders Spain, people speak Spanish.

As for English…although they say they speak English, we struggled a lot during our trip. English is quite basic to understand, and this would only be available at hotels or hostels. The majority of people on the streets do not speak English.

How to get around in Morocco?

Regardless of what we thought and read online before traveling to Morocco with children, the transportation has exceeded our expectations.

You can rent a car, fly, or take a train to get around from one city to another. Personally, this time I have decided to give myself some rest and avoid all the stress driving. Instead, we have booked our train tickets online and had a fabulous five-hour journey from Marrakesh to Tangier.

This is the website to book the train tickets.

There are slow and fast trains. The quality of fast trains is fab! It is very modern. You do not need to print the tickets, simply use the digital version, and show it on your phone.

Buses are great too. And the tickets can be purchased online.

When you take a taxi, try to negotiate. If you find a cab with a meter in it, you are lucky. But be aware that all drivers take up to four passengers during the ride, unless otherwise, you must pay extra. Taxis without the meter will name a high price, but this is hard to avoid.

Tips and tricks when traveling in Morocco with children or Things to know before going to Morocco

  • Negotiate and stick to the agreement.
  • Print your boarding passes and other required documentation before heading to the airport. There is no built-in system in place yet, so in case if you do not have your boarding passes printed, you can either pay $6 USD per page to print them at the airport, or the manager will be able to issue a manually filled in boarding ticket.
  • Don’t let anyone fool yourself by letting a random stranger guide you through the streets or giving you a short tour in any of the cities in Morocco. Even if they say it is for free, they will be asking for money afterward and getting angry if you don’t pay them.
  • Do not take photos of strangers on the street.
  • If you rent a car in Morocco, get Excess Insurance before you travel. It will cost you less as if you get a minor scratch or get bumped on a parking lot. Locals drive fast and some of them may be careless. Some roads are quite narrow and curvy, for example, from Tangier to Chefchaouen.
  • Make sure you downloaded the Google maps to check on drivers.

What to do if your child gets sick in Morocco?

First of all, get your travel insurance. It is an absolute must.

This was our first time when Teo got sick, and yes, it is the worst that can happen to you and the least you would like to deal with during your holiday.

The easiest option is to call a doctor to the hotel. Most of the hotels offer this free service. You will be charged around 600 Dirham (or 60 EUR) for the doctor appointment, but you will get a quality service with an individual approach and most importantly, you will get it in English.

If you do not have an option, there are local hospitals and private clinics. You would probably want to avoid public hospitals because the wait is long and communication is poor unless you speak Arabic or French.

Private clinics are more expensive, but you will most likely get a better and faster service that is much needed for your child.

Family holidays to Morocco: our 12-day itinerary

Speaking of leisure type, this time we felt having a little bit of adventure but also giving us sufficient rest from all those long working hours back at home. This is why, we decided to please everyone’s needs in our family by booking an all-inclusive hotel with a heated pool and water park across the street and then heading on a mysterious adventure to Chefchaouen, also known as the “Blue City”.

Accommodation in Marrakesh with kids

I must admit there are quite a number of nice family hotels in Marrakesh. They usually offer an all-inclusive deal, including three meals, afternoon tea, on-site pools, water slides, animation program, SPA services, free cocktails and beverages, shuttle bus to Medina, babysitting services, and much more. What else can you wish for from the family holidays to Marrakech?!

Since we have traveled in late October with a 4-year-old child, it was crucial to find one place in Marrakesh that has a heated pool, and trust me or not, there is literally only one we found that suited and satisfied all our requirements.

Eden Andalou Suites, Aquapark & Spa

We have stayed at this hotel once we have arrived. Then we went on a little trip in the middle of our journey and decided to choose the same hotel on our way back, simply because, among seven other hotels, there was no heated pool.

Frankly speaking, the heated pool at Eden Andalou was not heated at 29 degrees Celsius as it was written on the sign, but it was not deadly cold either. Although it was 33 degrees Celsius outside, the water in a regular pool was freezing even for the adult in late October.

Eden Andalou Suites provided the greatest service that we could wish for during our entire trip. Fantastic food variety, a lot of personal approaches, especially from the animators’ side. Teo felt like he was at home surrounded by incredibly caring people. The hotel offers a kids’ evening disco at 8:45 pm every night. There is a range of activities both for children and adults.

The rooms both times were spotless, spacious, and very inviting. Great Wi-Fi and air-conditioning service too. Our child got sick in the middle of the trip with bronchitis and needed immediate medical attention. It was a lifesaver to know that this hotel provides an on-call doctor. Within only half an hour, the doctor knocked on our hotel room, and his English was absolutely fluent. This saved us and our son all the stress wandering around Marrakesh clinics which is not a great activity to do in Morocco.

Indeed, only a couple of staff managers speak some English, the rest would communicate with you based on a basic demand or using French or Arabic. However, English is barely spoken in the entire of Morocco, we were thankful we had a couple of managers who helped us throughout the way.

SPA service is quite basic. I would not suggest trying it out. You’d need to book the taxi through the tour agency located inside the hotel, which, unfortunately, dictates their own prices. It was a shock for us to know that we should pay less to go farther (a train station) compared to the airport that was only a 9-minute drive from our hotel.

On the bright side, we have drunk a good amount of Mojito cocktails and saved a lot of money. Morocco uses a LOT of mint in their tea and food; therefore, Mojito was our absolute favorite in this hotel.

Finally, the best part is the waterpark which was just across the street. It is the giant water park (not a couple of slides) that belongs to the hotel. All the guests have free access to it which was fab!

Are there any family-friendly hotels in Marrakesh?

Absolutely!

The reason we didn’t choose one of these options was mainly because some of the indoor pools or slides were closed at the time, there was no heated pool option, or we didn’t find the service we wanted to get. However, Eden Andalou is located a bit farther from Marrakesh city center, it is about a 15-minute drive to the train station and a 10-minute drive to the airport. Other hotel options are located nearer to the center and some provide a short walk to Moroccan sights.

So, we have decided to stay at the hotel for 3 nights initially and make a short walk to Marrakesh Medina.

With the number of activities, pools, waterpark, unstoppable meals, and entertainment program, we couldn’t get enough of it in four days.

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Tangier, Morocco

Tangier is a city in the northern part of Morocco. Everyone speaks Spanish there better than French, mainly because it borders Spain. We have visited Tangier for only a day because our original goal was to see the spectacular blue city, Chefchaouen.

Taxis are not cheap there. If you are a tourist, it will be hard to negotiate. Take it or walk.

This place doesn’t seem to be touristy and mainly became popular as a transit point to Chefchaouen. The beach that we were looking forward to so much was quite filthy and stinky. However, there are a couple of attractions you may be interested in:

  • Medina of Tangier
  • Kasbah Museum
  • Hercules Caves

It is interesting to know that on Thursdays there is a special Berber market opened. Locals work in the mountains six days a week collecting materials, knitting, sewing, making a variety of souvenirs. Thursday is the day when they sell their work in the market. So, it is quite fascinating to look at.

How to get there?

You will need to take a train to get to Tangier from Marrakesh. There is one transfer in between, and a 5-hour ride by fast train.

Chefchaouen, Morocco

Among everything we could see in Morocco, we were pretty impressed by Chefchaouen or the so-called “Blue City”. We thought it was quite unique spot to visit compared to the mountains, historic sites, or desert.

Chefchaouen is one of the most picturesque destinations in Morocco that is situated in mountains and features one of the country’s most charming medinas that is famous for its varied shades of blue paint covering almost all the walls in the town.

How to get there?

You have got two ways to get to Chefchaouen, and we tried them both. Book the bus ticket and take a 2.5-hour ride directly to the bus station. Then it will cost you around 20 Dirham to get to your accommodation via taxi. We paid around 270 Dirham for two adults and a child (4-12 years of age). Anyone under four gets free transportation.

Your second option is to get there by cab. It will take you 2 hours instead and around 600 Dirham. You do the math. However, on our way back we have booked an early 5 am cab to catch a 7am train to Marrakesh. This way we actually saved money because we had an entire day spent in the hotel enjoying the pool compared to the whole day trip.

What to do in Chefchaouen?

Chefchaouen is truly spectacular! Many people say you need a week there, we disagree. Two days is more than enough. Chefchaouen is a tiny suburban village that you walk through in one day. But many people come here for some peace and energy.

First, wander inside the town admiring hundreds of buildings and structures painted in different shades of blue. Nowadays, some of the locals decorated some alleys and stairs with plants, books, and paintings to make the spot Instagrammable. You will be charged around 10 Dirham to take a photo in one of these locations. Almost all the alleys are filled with little shops and artisans selling authentic Moroccan souvenirs. This is exactly the place where you can find real Moroccan craftsmanship.

In the middle of this town, you will find a square full of cafes and restaurants where you can get delicious food for an affordable price. Try to avoid the restaurants in the alleys, they will be more expensive.

At the square next to the giant tree, you will find one of the main attractions of Chefchaouen – Kasbah Museum which is a small Ethnographic Museum area. Tourists are charged 6-7 times more expensive, and to be honest, the whole museum can be seen from the entrance.

Another important thing to do when in Chefchaouen is to climb the hill to see off the sunset. The view to the Blue City is quite breathtaking.

Lastly, don’t forget to visit the astonishing cascade with freezing water (so worth it!) only 10 km away from the city center. The place is called Akchour.

Where to stay in Chefchaouen?

There is no better place than Hotel Ziryab.

It is located right in the heart of the Chefchaouen. The location is superb! Once you are out of the hotel, you are in the medina. Once you walk from the back door, you are ready to climb up the hill to enjoy spectacular views.

The hotel has an indoor pool that can’t be more relaxing after long walks. Good Wi-Fi, delicious food, amazing spacious rooms, including a special honeymoon suite with an entire balcony and unforgettable scenery. The only downside is that the windows to the rooms on the ground floor come out directly to the patio, so basically, they are never opened and your clothes barely get dry.

The owner of the place was extremely caring about any inquiries we had. He packed the breakfast at 4:30 am and arranged a cab for us to go back to Marrakesh which was absolutely priceless.

Why is Chefchaouen painted blue?

There are legends about the mysterious Blue City, and they are quite controversial too.

Articles suggest that locals followed the tradition of Jews who introduced the color blue and the practice of painting walls blue. In Jewish beliefs, the blue color represents the sky which reminds people of Heaven and God. Therefore, traditionally Jewish communities used to paint things blue, including clothes and prayer mats.

But it differs from what locals say in Chefchaouen today. Many people we met told us that some of the residents painted their homes blue after Jews left the area in the late 1940s and early 1950s. Back then the city was given back when Morocco gained independence in 1956. Due to the conflicts and violence, people in Chefchaouen wanted to feel free and searched for a positive mood. Later more and more houses were painted blue.

The more interest to the city was shown, the bluer it used to become and so attracted more tourists.

There is another belief that suggests that houses were painted blue to scare the mosquitos away. Although mosquitoes generally choose to live near water, they don’t like being in the water itself. The colors of Chefchaouen’s buildings certainly can look like flowing water.

Other majestic places to visit in Morocco with children

Marrakesh

There is plenty to see in Marrakesh as it is one of the most tourist sites in Morocco. So, if you come to visit Morocco, check out the following places:

  • Jardin Majorelle -Yves Saint Laurent Mansion. It includes the museum of Berber culture.
  • Marrakesh Medina covers textile souks and Hammam bath houses. At night, thousands of lights come up which makes your experience even more memorable.
  • Jemaa el-Fna square usually is filled with snake charmers, folk dancers, and street food vendors serving all types of food.
  • Bahia Palace introduces ornate courtyards, mosaics, and gardens. There are 160 rooms and 8 acres of gardens.
  • Ibn Youssef School is a 16th-century college building decorated with tiles and carved wood.
  • El Badii-Ksibat Nhass Palace – remains of a 16th-century palace.

Rabat

Rabat is the capital of Morocco and it will take around 3.5 hs to drive from Marrakesh.

It is a beautiful city that is filled with historical culture of Morocco and offers some scenic views of the Bouregreg River and the Atlantic Ocean.

  • Kasbah of the Udayas – this is what Rabat is most well-known for. It is a fort that is surrounded by French-designed gardens and overlooks the ocean.
  • Hassan Tower is a minaret that was built in the 12th century.
  • Royal Palace of Rabat
  • National Zoo Rabat Morocco – great for kids.

Casablanca

Casablanca is one of the largest and most popular cities in Morocco where you can go to the beach. It is only a 3-hour drive from Marrakesh.

Casablanca is a port city and commercial hub in western Morocco. The biggest worldwide-known malls start their path from Casablanca.

The enormous Hassan II Mosque, completed in 1993, has a 210m minaret topped with lasers directed toward Mecca.

Fes

Fes is a northeastern Moroccan city often referred to as the country’s cultural capital. It’s primarily known for its Fes El Bali walled medina, with medieval Marinid architecture, vibrant souks, and old-world atmosphere.

If you would like to visit some craftsmanship and learn how to work with clay, Fes will be the right place to go. You can find here tons of pottery and cooking classes by just wandering around the medina.

Moulay Idriss Zerhoun

It is a town in the Fès-Meknès region. If you visit Fes by car, you wouldn’t probably want to miss this incredible spot. It is only 1.5 hs away from Fes. The town is situated at the base of Mount Zerhoun. and is famous for being the site of the tomb of Idris I, the first major Islamic ruler of Morocco, after whom the town is named.

Ifrane

Ifrane, on the contrary, is located 1.15 hs away from Fes and it is towards the Marrakesh. Ifrane is a town in Morocco’s Middle Atlas Mountains. It’s known for its alpine-style architecture and nearby ski slopes and forests. Stunning views indeed!

It is worth visiting:

  • Ain Vittel – a spring with several waterfalls.
  • Ifrane National Park, with its Atlas cedar forests, where you can find a lot of rare Barbary macaques.

Essaouira

Essaouira is a port city and resort on Morocco’s Atlantic coast. It is almost 3 hours away from Marrakesh. This city is very popular for surfing, windsurfing, and kitesurfing because of the constant strong wind.

Plage de Lagzira

Plage de Lagzira is quite far from Marrakesh, around 5 hs away, this is why it is considered to be a hidden gem. But this beach remains to be the best beach in Morocco. If you come early in the morning, you will be able to enjoy the beach for a walk or a swim missing all the crowds. There are also quite a few restaurants where you can eat some fresh fish.

The best season to visit Plage de Lagzira is during spring holidays due to the nice weather and less crowds.

Ouzoud Waterfalls

Ouzoud Waterfalls are only 2.5hs away from Marrakesh, but it is such a great idea to stop by if you are driving from Fes or Ifran, as it is all on the way.

You should hike to the waterfall to see it, and trust us, it’s worth it! The water is clear and cool to the touch. The views from the restaurants are breathtaking. The monkeys are super cute and will eat anything you offer to them.

The path to go to the bottom of the falls has many stairs, so there is a challenge with kids, but it also has plenty of stores to stop on the way.

Dadès Gorges

Dades Gorges is 5.5 hs away from Marrakesh. If you are traveling to Merzouga, this is a must-to-visit place. You will find rugged gorges noted for steep, colorful walls, with a narrow road for picturesque drives.

Honestly, Dades Gorges must be marked as a world heritage site. It’s an amazing sightseeing place to enjoy a walk. We made a circuit from Ourzazate to Kalaat Magouna, then from Kalaat Magouna to Boumalne and then we took the taxis to the Dades gorges.

Merzouga

Another 5hs from the Dades Gorges and you reach Merzouga where an authentic desert experience for you is guaranteed! You should pre-book the luxury desert camp.

You can book the ride there from Marrakesh too, but it may be cheaper to rent a car.

Merzouga is a small Moroccan town in the Sahara Desert, near the Algerian border. West of Merzouga, Dayet Srji is a seasonal salt lake that’s often dry in summer. When full, it attracts a wide range of migratory and desert birds, including desert warblers, Egyptian nightjars, and, occasionally, flamingos.

Aït Benhaddou

Aït Benhaddou is a historic ighrem or ksar along the former caravan route between the Sahara and Marrakech in present-day Morocco. It is considered a great example of Moroccan earthen clay architecture and has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1987.

It takes around 3.5 hs to drive from Marrakesh, but it is also a great place to visit on your way back from Merzouga or Dades Gorges.

Atlas Mountains

The Atlas Mountains is the most popular place to visit after Marrakesh because it is only a 2-hour drive from it. Many hotels offer a one-day tour which makes it very comfortable. It is a bit challenging to travel with little kids as you will need to have a hiking carrier or carry them around.

However, it is wonderful trekking through the Atlas Mountains. Along the way, you get to see small merchants selling various foods and crafts. You will also likely be sold ‘authentic’ geodes.

The terrain is rocky and interesting with waterfalls, valleys, and fantastic views at the peaks. Ensure you have the right footwear as navigating these slopes in flip flops or crocs is not advisable.

Have you decided which places you want to visit in Morocco with children? Share with us your ideas! We all want to hear.

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