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Bordering the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea in northwestern Africa, Morocco is a land of mountains and deserts, of bustling souks and intricately tiled mosques. For families, this mix of outdoor experiences and cultural immersion makes the country an ideal and appealing destination. Get lost in Marrakech’s labyrinthine medina (walled old city). Cook a meal and sip mint tea with a local family in a Berber village. Head to Erg Chebbi, the vast sand dunes in the Sahara desert, to camp under the stars. Learn about artisan traditions from leather tanning to weaving carpets.
Given its Arabian, European and Berber influences through the centuries, Morocco’s history and culture are incredibly rich and fascinating. The two official languages are Arabic and Amazigh (Berber), with both having several local dialects. French is considered the unofficial third language.
Navigating Morocco travel logistics and moving from one area to another can be tricky, so it’s best to engage a kid-friendly tour operator to ensure a seamless and comfortable experience. Ciao Bambino’s Family Travel Advisor team can connect you with vetted guides and more as part of our trip planning service. We spoke with our preferred travel partner in the region for insight on Morocco family vacations — where and when to go, hidden gems to see, and more.
There are so many reasons why Morocco is an ideal destination for families. Firstly, Moroccan culture centers around family life, and Moroccans love children. Kids are welcome everywhere and Moroccans are incredibly kind to them. Secondly, the destination has so much in the way of variety that there is something for all tastes, from immersive and fun cultural activities to more adventurous experiences. Lastly, we find that families get a lot out of the educational side of traveling to a country and culture so different from ours in the West. A trip to Morocco is a great learning experience, and at the same time a fantastically exotic and colorful adventure.
Yes, absolutely! We find that the destination is most ideally suited to families with children who are 7 and up, but also great for teenagers as there is a world of adventure to discover.
The fact that Morocco has something for everyone makes it a great destination for multigenerational groups. Besides the fact that there is rich culture, history and diverse environments, there are many stylish traditional accommodations that can be configured to accommodate multigenerational families. It helps that it’s sunny too, as free time can normally be spent lounging and enjoying each other’s company.
There are two main solutions, for two types of guests. The first is to concentrate on a more focused and compact geographical area for people who prefer to travel less and do more in the way of activities. The best example of this would be to spend time in the Marrakech, High Atlas and Agafay Stone Desert areas. For this kind of trip, a week would be ideal, with a possible coastal extension for a few days. The second style of trip is more of a journey for those who are happy to do a number of half-day journeys in order to cover ground and see the highlights of the country. Most opt for this as it allows them to see Fez, the Sahara Desert, the gorges and oases of the south, the High Atlas and Marrakech. For this style of trip, 10 days to two weeks is recommended, and it’s the best way to experience the exceptional variety of terrain and experiences that the country has to offer.
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A camel trek, sandboarding, campfires and a night in the dunes of the Sahara are a firm favorite of families. Chefchaouen is also very popular these days, but there is less to do there for families. It is more of a visual spectacle. Because Chefchaouen and the desert are a long way from each other, a well-paced journey with interesting stops en route is recommended.
There are a lot of wonderful experiences that we can organize in Morocco by accessing our broad network of contacts, and many such experiences are not available for people to book themselves. Immersive experiences like learning to cook with a local family, or mule trekking through the Atlas Mountains and eating lunch in a village house with a family, are difficult to plan without expert knowledge on the ground. Many of our adventure days are designed by us (and us alone) to take advantage of activities and places that standard operators don’t touch. Morocco is an adventurous place and although there are lots of vacation [options] out there, most are not very tailored to family interests and needs. It is important to be in the hands of the right local partner to ensure that all runs smoothly and the level of care, attention and understanding is up to the standards that guests deserve.
At a secret location in the desert there is a fortress. It’s not widely known, and with the right driver/guide you can find it and walk around. It is in fact a film set that was used in the Game of Thrones series. Inside there is also the original fighting arena/ring used in the film Gladiator. It’s a great place to take kids and not a lot of people know about it!
There are places to see all over the country and the infrastructure of small, convivial guest houses makes this easy to plan. Most flights from the U.S. go in and out of Casablanca and this works well for a round trip, so flying into one city and out of another isn’t really necessary.
The only time to avoid is the peak of summer when it is really too hot to travel comfortably. Otherwise, anytime from September to June works well. The winter months have warm sun during the day with cold nights and snow on the mountains (which makes it very scenic). The best months for temperatures around the country are May and October. The coast should be avoided in summer when Moroccans descend in their masses to coastal resorts. Otherwise, Morocco is big enough never to feel too crowded with tourists.
Editor’s note: Photos by Amie O’Shaughnessy.
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This is a challenging time for our clients given the uncertainty around the spread of coronavirus, particularly for those with near-term travel plans in impacted areas. We’re working with our suppliers on being flexible with their booking conditions, and enabling families to postpone travel to a later date without a penalty, when possible. Likewise, given the unpredictability around destinations that may be impacted in the future, we’re helping clients planning new trips and understand ways that they can protect themselves until the situation improves. We are ready to help our clients work through questions and concerns.