Just a three-and-a-half-hour flight from London will transport you to the ancient and exotic land of Morocco. Once reserved for intrepid travellers, in recent years Morocco has become a family-friendly destination and is perfect for those seeking a family holiday with a side of adventure. With the right amount of exotic intrigue, adventure, and best of all, easy transport links from the UK, Morocco strikes the perfect balance and is most definitely one of our favourite family destinations. From the hustle and bustle of colourful Marrakesh to oasis-like Ouarzazate and the sweeping golden sands of Essaouira, with so much to see and do, the land of medinas has something for everyone – and will entertain even the surliest of teens. Read on to discover our ultimate destinations for Morocco family holidays.
Marvel at the rose-red city of Marrakesh
Marrakesh is like something straight from a storybook, with market stalls selling colourful handmade carpets, huge mounds of fragrant spices, jewel-coloured slippers, exquisitely painted pottery, butter-soft leather, and everything in between. Enlist the help of a guide to navigate your way through the warren of side streets as you soak up the sights, sounds and smells that are unique to the medina of Marrakesh. After exploring the souks, head to the main square, Jemaa el-Fna, at sunset to watch its daily transformation into an entertainment hub that’s lit by the lines of fragrant charcoal braziers cooking up delicious local delicacies. Prepare for the whole family to be completely engrossed as you ogle at jugglers, flame throwers, acrobats and musicians – it’s definitely a sight to be seen!
The next day, if you need to escape the craziness of the city, head to the Majorelle Garden, once belonging to Yves St Laurent. Painted in vibrant blues and rich yellows, it’ll leave the kids wide-eyed with wonder and provides a stark contrast to the Red City’s terracotta hues. Alternatively, you could also try your hand in the kitchen and take a cookery class as you learn how to whip up authentic Moroccan fare before feasting on your creations at the end. Or, if you fancy a day of relaxation, why not escape the heat and just spend the day lounging by your hotel pool instead?
Adventure awaits you in Ouarzazate
For the next part of your adventure, drive over the spectacular Tizi n’Tichka mountain pass to the Ouarzazate area, a beautiful oasis-like region that’s home to Morocco’s film industry. Make sure you stop to admire Skoura, one of the biggest settlements you’ll encounter with palm trees, narrow pathways, kasbahs and ksour (fortified villages) that are unchanged in appearance for centuries. Onwards to Ouarzazate, a more modern place and the perfect backdrop for adventure. Here, you can stay in a traditional style kasbah, with its warren of rooms, passageways and courtyards that teenagers will love before spending the day hiking, quad biking, camel riding, or mountain biking – it’s all about the adventure here!
Teens will also love the Atlas Film Studio that still contains sets from some of its most famous shoots: walk through Egyptian temples, Tibetan palaces, Arabian fortresses – all rendered in exquisite detail, so much so that it’s almost a shock to walk behind the sets and realise it’s all fake. Finally, on your way back towards Marrakesh, be sure to pay a visit to one of the most iconic destinations in Morocco, Ait Ben Haddou. With more film credits than most Oscar winners, this UNESCO World Heritage Site was the location for Lawrence of Arabia back in 1962 and has most recently been the location for Game of Thrones. Admire the gorgeous red-mud pisé walls of this ksar and kasbah that seems to rise organically out of the hillside, leading down to a palm-fringed river bed below – there are Instagram opportunities abounding!
Laid-back leisure in Essaouira
After a fun-packed few days, finish off your holiday with a trip to the laid-back coastal town of Essaouira with its gorgeous stretches of sandy beaches and UNESCO-listed medina. Just over two hours from Marrakesh, this old fortified fishing town is the perfect place to slow down the pace after your adventures in Marrakesh and Ouarzazate. Think white-washed houses, a postcard-pretty harbour and golden sand beaches: yes, this is the place to live life a bit more slowly. Stroll along the harbour and spot pretty blue fishing boats come and go from the port, or watch local woodworkers carve on the streets before picking out a souvenir. Alternatively, if you’re in the mood for culture, at the Essaouira museum you’ll find a potted history of the town including the mysterious Iles De Mogador that lies just offshore. Plus there are art galleries galore and a medina that’s small enough to navigate on your own – a welcome change after the frantic energy of Marrakesh.
And, of course, there’s the long beach and gusts of wind known locally as the Alizee that make Essaouira the ultimate destination for adventure-junkies who want to try their hand at windsurfing or kitesurfing. For those who prefer their adventure on dry land, there’s also the option to go horse riding on the beach too. Worked up an appetite? Don’t worry, you won’t go hungry here: there are cafes abounding, as well as stallholders lining the streets selling mouthwateringly good grilled fish fresh from the boats. All in all, Essaouira is a fantastic final stop on your Morocco family holiday and provides the perfect base for some much-needed r&r before you head back to the UK.
Morocco is a very family-friendly destination where children are welcomed everywhere. Being just a short-haul trip from London, it’s the perfect place for a family adventure especially with teenagers in tow. In a week to 10 days, you can visit all of these destinations, making it an ideal half-term holiday spot. Want to find out more about how to plan the ultimate Morocco family adventure? There’s nothing our dedicated team don’t know about Morocco family holidays. Contact us today to get a quote and start planning a fun family adventure that’s tailor-made to your needs.