The i-escape blog / 10 of the best places to take your kids on a learning journey / Nadine Mellor

By Nadine Mellor, Kids Collection Editor

 

Morocco is a great Easter destination for families. It’s accessible, safe and sunny, with dramatic scenery and unrivalled hospitality. There’s no jetlag from Europe. And from this week, children no longer need vaccine passports to enter. So now is the perfect time to book a getaway for the Easter holidays!

Here are two amazing routes to try, and some family-friendly places to stay at along the way.

 


1 Marrakech and the High Atlas

i-escape blog / easter-in-morocco-family-holidays / Marrakech

The vibrant Red City is a favourite base point for families. There’s so much to see, starting with the compelling and labyrinthine souks, where everything from homeware and spices, to woodwork and jewellery, is for sale. You can also watch artisans weaving fabric, beating on metalwork, cobblers, and the infamously noisome tanneries. Take a caleche (horse-drawn carriage) ride around the city, climb the city walls, visit palaces and tombs, and discover Yves Saint Laurent’s beautiful Majorelle Gardens.

Outside the city walls lie the shaded palm groves of the Palmeraie, and in clear view to the south are the magnificent snow-capped Atlas Mountains. These are easily visited on a day trip from Marrakech, but we think an overnight stay gets you closer to wonderful Berber culture, and you can tackle some easy hikes into the mountains for spectacular views. The breathtaking Tizi-n’Tichka road to Ouarzazate (4 hours’ drive each way) reveals extraordinary gorges, fertile river valleys, fortified villages and ancient history: there’s even a Valley of One Thousand Kasbahs to discover! Stay overnight in the dramatic kasbah-town of Aït Benhaddou, featured in many a movie; or the palm oasis of Skoura on the edge of the Sahara desert (see our recommended hotels below).

i-escape blog / easter-in-morocco-family-holidays / Atlas and desert

Or if you have more time, head further south into the Sahara desert on a road trip of a lifetime. The breathtaking dunes around M’hamid (4 hours further) deliver shimmering stillness and incomparable night skies studded with stars.

Marrakech – where to stay

i-escape blog / easter-in-morocco-family-holidays / Marrakech Hideaway

In Marrakech, we recommend staying at contemporary styled two-bed townhouse Marrakech Hideaway, offering privacy and independence (and better still, breakfast is included). It has a sister riad around the corner for any concierge services and the use of their pool.

i-escape blog / easter-in-morocco-family-holidays / Casa Taos

Alternatively, laid-back haven Casa Taos, set in orchards and lush gardens, is only 25 minutes outside Marrakech. It has space for kids to run around, a large swimming pool, perfect hosts, great home-cooked food, and large comfy suites.

High Atlas – where to stay

i-escape blog / easter-in-morocco-family-holidays / Kasbah du Toubkal

In the Atlas Mountains, majestic Kasbah du Toubkal is a sustainably-run hilltop fort with superlative views from its panoramic roof terrace, and a great base for hikers of all levels. Family options include self-contained houses and junior suites, while close connections to the Berber communities ensure good access to local villages.

i-escape blog / easter-in-morocco-family-holidays / Sawadi

On the Ouarzazate side, near the incredible Dades Gorge, the tranquil Berber-styled guesthouse Sawadi sits among the shady Palmeraie de Skoura. Delicious food comes from its 4-hectare walled kitchen gardens and orchards, and there’s a cool pool (+ paddling pool), outdoor games and a mini-kasbah to climb. Alternatively, try the more traditional Kasbah Ellouze outside Aït Benhaddou, with its heated pool and Biblical views.

i-escape blog / easter-in-morocco-family-holidays / Camp Adounia

Further south in the M’hamid desert is tented eco-camp Camp Adounia, nestled in a sheltered spot in the dunes, with a welcoming campfire, beautifully and simply furnished canvas tents, and a communal dining tent. Here you can sand-board and take a sunset camel trek.


2 The Atlantic coast

Once an afterthought, the wild, windy and unspoilt Atlantic coast is increasingly popular, as a refreshing contrast to a few days in Marrakech or the desert. Kilometres of golden sands, metronomic breakers, authentic villages and a booming surfing culture draw more visitors each year. There are handy flights straight into the lovely fishing port of Essaouira; or failing that try Agadir, Marrakech or Casablanca, and then take a transfer (1-3 hours, depending on your destination).

i-escape blog / easter-in-morocco-family-holidays / Atlantic coast

Relaxed Essaouira, with its blue accent colours, original fortifications (great for clambering on) and the lively harbour is a really attractive destination for families. The souks are small and hassle-free, so easy to stroll around, the endless beaches are broad and very gently sloping, and there’s a nice cafe vibe. Camel rides on the beach and windsurfing are popular.

Along the coast road, you’ll see traditional farming, goats in trees, small flocks of sheep, dry stone walls, little towns and surfer vans parked above near-deserted beaches below. The rare beauty of the lagoons, pirate caves and oyster beds of Oualidia (3 hours north of Essaouira) bring birders and kite surfers (as well as the obligatory surfers and windsurfers). South of Essaouira is Paradise Valley, great for waterfalls and rock pools, and delightful Taroudant – dubbed ‘Little Marrakech’.

Atlantic Coast – where to stay

i-escape blog / easter-in-morocco-family-holidays / Paradis Plage Resort

An hour north of Agadir is unique surf, yoga and spa beach resort Paradis Plage. It’s brilliant for all ages: there’s a free kids’ club, kids’ menus and good grub, table tennis and playground as well as a heated kids’ pool and toddler pool. The on-site surf shack offers lessons for over 8s, there are dedicated kids’ treatments in the outstanding spa, and yoga for the over 10s. Plus camel and pony rides on the incredible beach.

i-escape blog / easter-in-morocco-family-holidays / Rebali Riads

Just outside Essaouira, in surfing town Sidi Kaouki, is a terrace of six serviced, family-friendly Rebali Riads, which share a hammam, tennis court and heated lap pool. The three larger riads have their own private pool and roof terraces for wondrous sunsets across the ocean and star gazing. Fun activities include visiting a Berber lady for lunch in her home, and finding chameleons and tortoises in the garden.

i-escape blog /easter-in-morocco-family-holidays / Villa La Diouana

In the fishing village of Oualidia, stylish clifftop retreat Villa La Diouana (sleeps 6-10) has mesmerising Atlantic views, lovely staff, an infinity pool with in-built paddling pool overlooking the lagoon, ping pong, toys and games, plus a zip-wire and playground in the garden. There’s a cook if you prefer not to self-cater, great fish restaurants in the village, and watersports below.


See our full collection of family-friendly properties in Morocco

P.S. Want something even more adventurous? Ask our Moroccan Tailormade Trip operator to create a bespoke holiday-of-a-lifetime for you.