Morocco is a great Easter destination for families. Here are two favourite routes for an April getaway.
We love the accessibility of Morocco. There are a host of daily flights from the UK, and being on the same time zone as Europe means no annoying jet lag when you land. Moroccans also offer unrivalled hospitality. The souks and scenery are fascinating for kids, and the cities, coast, deserts and mountains are in relative proximity for a holiday of contrasts.
We reckon Easter is the best time of year to go, as it’s not too hot and you have more time to explore this wonderful country. If you’ve only got 7-10 days and want to do more than fly and flop, we suggest the following couple of routes. (Our Moroccan Tailormade Tour operator can also create bespoke trips for you.)
1 Marrakech and beyond
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 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.
If you have time, head south towards the Sahara desert on a road trip of a lifetime for extraordinary gorges, oases, fertile river valleys, vast plains, fortified villages and ancient history: there’s even a Valley of One Thousand Kasbahs to discover! Outside Ouarzazate (4 hours from Marrakech) is well preserved kasbah-town Aït Benhaddou, featured in many a movie. The breathtaking dunes around M’hamid (4 hours further) deliver shimmering stillness and incomparable night skies studded with stars.
Where to stay
In Marrakech, we recommend staying at contemporary styled two-bed townhouse Marrakech Hideaway for privacy and independence (and better still, breakfast is included), which has a sister riad around the corner for any concierge services and the use of their pool.
Alternatively, laid-back haven Casa Taos set in orchards and lush gardens is only 25 minutes outside Marrakech and has space for kids to run around, a large swimming pool, perfect hosts, great home-cooked food, and large comfy suites.
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. There are a variety of options for families, from self-contained houses to junior suites, and close connections with the Berber communities ensure good access to local villages.
In the palmeraie de Skoura, near the incredible Dades Gorge, is tranquil Berber-styled guesthouse Sawadi. Much delicious food comes from its four-hectare walled kitchen gardens and orchards, there’s a cool pool, paddling pool, outdoor games and a mini-kasbah to climb.
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. The coast is most easily reached by flying into Agadir, Marrakech or Casablanca and taking a transfer (which is 1-3 hours depending on your destination), and there are flights to the lovely fishing port of Essaouira too.
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 (three hours north of Essaouira) bring birders and kite surfers (as well as the obligatory surfers and windsurfers). South of Essaouira is Paradise Valley for waterfalls rock pools, and delightful Taroudant – dubbed ‘Little Marrakech’.
Where to stay
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.
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 in her home for lunch and finding chameleons and tortoises in the garden.
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