For a first-time traveler to Morocco, you may be wondering how to include the whole family in your next vacation. But don’t worry: Moroccans’ family-oriented culture and affection for children mean that everyone will feel welcome anywhere in the country. With so many sites to see– from shopping in busy medinas to hiking in the mountains and excursions to the desert– kids will be endlessly entertained. And what better time to explore Morocco with kids than in spring? The mild, sunny weather means you can stay out all day without worrying about the heat, and the views of the Atlas Mountains in springtime are unbeatable! Here are some hands-on activities to make the most of a springtime vacation for the family.
Get creative in Fez
The oldest and largest medina in Morocco is in Fez, the former imperial capital located in the northeast of the country. Today, Fez remains a cultural and artistic capital, filled with artisans and cooperatives crafting traditional ceramics, rugs, and leather goods. As your family winds through the maze-like streets and markets or souks of the old medina, you’ll find something new at the turn of every corner. Spend your day on a treasure hunt in the medina, shopping for unique, handmade gifts and scouting out one-of-a-kind antiques. With so many options to choose from, everyone in the family will find something they love!
For families who want to get their hands dirty, ignite the kids’ creativity by making pottery with a local artist. You’ll learn how to make pottery the traditional Moroccan way from one of the many artisans from Fez, who takes you through the entire process of creating your own ceramic. At the end, everyone gets to take home their own unique piece of pottery as a souvenir! Or join a local family at a riad to bake yummy Moroccan pastries, like sweet, almondy gazelle horns or crunchy, crackly ghoriba cookies. When you’re done in the kitchen, you’ll venture back into the medina to the community oven, where you can watch your pastries bake alongside trays of bread from the whole neighborhood. Then sit back and taste test your creations as a family along with some Moroccan mint tea.
Feel the magic in Chefchaouen
Nicknamed “The Blue Pearl”, the tiny mountain city of Chefchaouen is packed full of color and stunning views. Much smaller and calmer than the medina of Fez, Chefchaouen medina is painted a shocking blue and decorated with colorful murals and doorways. Wander the magical blue medina, an experience kids will remember with wonder for years to come.
Crossing the gate from the medina, you can take a family-friendly hike to a picture-perfect view of the whole medina. You’ll find a paved trailway up to the historic Spanish mosque, which provides an incredible panoramic sight of Chefchaouen’s quaint blue and white buildings nestled into the Rif Mountains. About a thirty minute trip at an easy walking pace, with plenty of lookout points to stop along the way, this trip allows all the family members to get to the top and back comfortably.
Relax on the coast in Tangier
On the coasts of the Mediterranean Sea and Atlantic Ocean, Tangier is a colorful mix of a laid-back beach town and a creative, cosmopolitan city. Kids will love the chance to explore along the beach, and adults will appreciate a chance to sit back and relax or get a taste of the sophisticated food and cultural scene. For ultimate relaxation, stay in one of Tangier’s beautiful beach resorts, where the family can choose between the pool or the beach to spend their day.
To take in the sights of Tangier, take a camel ride along the beach. The whole family will form a little caravan as you explore the beach, and your tour guide will be sure to take lots of pictures for you to share later. You’ll definitely want to remember this highlight in Tangier! Just outside of the city, explore the Cave of Hercules, where legend has it the hero Hercules rested after he created the Strait of Gibraltar connecting the Mediterranean and Atlantic. Fans of Greek mythology and history will love seeing this site in person, and every visitor will stop to marvel at the fantastic views of the Mediterranean from inside the cave.
Take an adventure in Marrakech
The city of Marrakech, plus its countless excursions to nearby attractions, is full of opportunities to try new adventures as a family. Not only does it have a vibrant medina full of markets, food, and street performers, Marrakech is also perfectly positioned for short excursions into mountains, the desert, or the coast.For an exciting introduction to Marrakech, swap the traditional guided tour on foot for a sidecar journey through the city. Your expert guides and drivers will wind you through the crowds of medina streets and out to hidden gems and gardens in the outskirts of town, as you ride along comfortably in a vintage open-air sidecar. Each sidecar can hold two people, so parents and little kids can enjoy the fun together!
For thrill-seeking kids, there’s an excursion for every possible experience! Take a hot air balloon ride outside of the city, where you’ll get unbeatable views of the sunrise against High Atlas Mountains in the distance. Take a day trip to the coastal town of Essaouira and take a surfing lesson as a family with a local instructor. You’ll be riding the Atlantic waves alongside surfers from across the world, so take advantage of this legendary surf spot while you’re there! Lastly, don’t leave Marrakech before an excursion into Agafay Desert. Spend the day riding on ATVs or two-seater buggies, then spend some quality time relaxing as a family as you catch the sunset over the desert.
By Claire Smith