If there’s one thing I want to say about Morocco, it’s that the country is full of surprises. It’s a North African powerhouse with sprawling souks, endless tanneries, and hectic Medinas. But it’s also a place of quiet oases, snow-capped mountains, and a stunning coastline. And when in Morocco, Marrakech is a can’t-miss city. We took our 3 young kids to Marrakesh and that visit came with a lot of surprises. We were worried about taking our kids at first but quickly realized that Marrkech had so much to offer for families.
The red walls of the city’s ancient Medina are teeming with life – from the snake charmers in Jemaa el-Fnaa square to the food stalls selling Moroccan delicacies that your kids will love. But Marrakech is also a place of history and culture, with exquisite mosques, madrassas, and palaces.
In this post you will find some of our best recommendations on where to stay and places to eat when traveling to Marrakech with your family. We are sharing some of the things we learned along the way about this incredible city, and our essential travel tips with visiting Marrakech with kids. Are you traveling to Marrakech without kids? No worries, this travel guide would be perfect for an adult only trip as well.
How to get to Marrakech
Getting to Marrkech was fairly easy. We caught an early flight from Athens with a layover in Madrid. Flights to Marrakech arrive at Menara Airport (RAK). You will need a valid passport to enter Morocco, there were not any testing requirements at the time we visited (2022) and currently for Americans, visas are not required for visits less than 90 days. Be sure to check out Visit Marrakech for the most up to date info.
Finding a taxi to your accommodations is pretty easy when leaving the airport but I would highly recommend booking transportation through your Riad ahead of time. There are a couple reasons why, the main one being that this will prevent price gauging. You can know the price before your ride and that will prevent anyone changing the price to more than you would expect.
Another perk of prearranging your airport transfer would be the drop off. If you choose to stay in the Medina you will likely have to walk from the drop off area to the inside of the city as they don’t allow cars. With prearranged transport we had a representative from our Riad meet us and help us navigate the busy Medina, with all our bags, so we didn’t get lost.
What to pack when visiting Marrakech
Packing for Marrkech can be a bit tricky. Its really hot during the day and the evenings can get cooler.
You also want to consider the culture of the people who live in Marrakech.
Although you will see some tourists who are dressed in more revealing clothing it is best practice to dress modestly when visiting Marrakech. Marrakech tends to be more accepting of Western attire but as Morocco is a Muslim country women are advised to dress conservatively.
For women that means covering the shoulders and legs above the knee. Men can get away with dressing in shorts and a t-shirt, but women are advised to cover up a bit more.
Kids have a bit more flexibility when it comes to wardrobe but I would still bring shirts that covered shoulders and longer shorts.
Here are a few recommendations on what to pack for your vacation in Marrakech.
- Linen shirts for men and boys
- Linen pants for men and boys
- Lightweight Scarves for everyone
- Loose fitting tops for women and girls
- Flowy dresses for women and girls (below the knee)
- Jeans without holes for men
- Longer shorts for boys
- Sandals for everyone
- Comfortable walking shoes for all
- Cardigans or other cover ups for women and girls (to cover shoulders)
Is Marrakech a family friendly destination?
There definitely was a lot of things to do with our kids in Marrakech, but did we feel safe during our trip there?
Right from the start we noticed the Moroccan culture is very family-oriented. Kids are blessings and are treated as such. We had numerous occasions where locals approached our girls with compliments and kind words. It was very sweet and made us feel very welcome.
Like any major city, Marrakech does have an influx of petty crimes (watch out for pick pockets) but for the most part we felt very safe. You will likely experience hassling in the souks from assertive vendors, but for the most part, we found the Moroccans we met to be very kind, helpful, and a bit reserved.
Even the Moroccan cuisine is kid approved, we were able to find items for the pickiest eaters. We found fresh juice stands and delicious breads that our kids loved!
So, is Marrakech a family-friendly destination? In our opinion, Yes. We had such an awesome time there, and will definitely be planning another visit soon.
The best places to Eat in Marrakech with kids
Moroccan cuisine is a boiling pot of Berber, Arab, Moorish, and Mediterranean influences. The country’s cuisine is also greatly influenced by its position on the trade route between Europe and Africa. With all of these influences, it’s no wonder that Moroccan food is so diverse and yummy. We tried traditional dishes and more contemporary ones as well.
All of the places we tried had their own unique charm. Our favorites were:
Table de La Medina
The restaurant has an impressive menu with both traditional and modern Moroccan dishes. We loved the couscous Royale – a traditional dish of couscous with vegetables and meat. You can also try chicken kebabs and Moroccan Pastilla (a savory pie made with chicken, eggs, and almonds).
The restaurant has a beautiful setting with an outdoor terrace and views of the Medina. You’ll be welcomed with warm Moroccan hospitality and excellent service.
I have one word for it, Instagrammable! What a pretty place. Good food, good vibes, and good people! We sat under the shadows of lush greenery, sipping on refreshing Moroccan mint tea. If you’re looking for a light meal, they have excellent salads (I ordered the beet salad, which was fantastic). The menu also has heartier options like chicken tagine. The Mexican undertones in the Moroccan food here are worth trying. We found this menu to have a lot of international influence and notice items on the menu from Italy, France, and more!
Café de Espices
Embrace yourself for the best hummus of your life. This place is a must-visit for all the hummus lovers out there (and even if you’re not a fan, you’ll be a convert after trying it here). Cafe de Espices is located in the middle of the spice market in Medina. The cafe is small, with only a few tables, so be sure to get there early if you want a seat. We loved their specialty drinks and mocktails too. On hot days they have misters on their patio with beautiful views of the Medina.
L’Mida is a rooftop restaurant that looks over the splendid views of the market with the Atlas Mountains in the backdrop. The restaurant is beautiful, with an outdoor seating area and Moroccan lanterns. The menu is extensive, with both traditional and international dishes. From salads to tajines to burgers, there’s something for everyone. I ordered the chicken skewers, and every bite was heavenly. They also have a kid’s meal, including mini burgers with vegetables and potatoes.
A 1960s Riad turned into a restaurant; Le Jardin is a must-visit in Marrakech. The restaurant is small, with an intimate setting and an outdoor seating area. The menu has a good mix of Moroccan and European dishes. The Tagine here is worth trying. The restaurant also has an impressive mocktails menu, which the kids love.
Where to Stay in Marrakech
One of my favorite parts of our visit to Marrakech was our stay in a gorgeous Riad. A Riad lets you stay right in the heart of the city, live like a local, and enjoy some genuine Moroccan hospitality. These gorgeous Moroccan style palaces are great for kids too. You will find most have large rooms, gardens, and even pools, which made for the perfect mid day escape from the busy Medina.
Staying in the center of town will also help with transportation because you will be able to walk to most sites. But the downfall to staying in a busy city like Marrakech, is that it can get very loud at night. We were very lucky because our Riad was off the beaten path a bit. If you are traveling to Marrakech with younger kids it might be a good idea to bring a sound machine for those noisy nights.
Not all Riad’s are welcoming to families, so here are some of our favorite picks for family-friendly accommodations in Marrakech.
OMG, this place is GORGEOUS. We stayed here for the length of our vacation; every day was like a dream. The Riad (guesthouse) is located in the middle of the Medina, so it’s easy to walk to all the tourist attractions. It’s also located close to Jemaa el-Fnaa, where all the action is.
Although this Riad is close to many of the main sites it is a tucked back a bit down an alley so we did not deal with any noise at night and slept so well.
The Riad has a lovely rooftop terrace. You can enjoy views of the Medina and the Atlas Mountains while sipping mint tea. The breakfast spread (which is included) is also very impressive, with a lot of variety. And, of course, the rooms are beautiful and comfortable.
But what won us over, like all other guests, was their hospitality. The staff is extremely warm and helpful. Ahmed and all the ladies at the Riad made us feel at home.
Riad Africa is located in a great area of Marrakech for traveling families. They offer triple rooms, quad-rooms, connecting rooms, and suites great for larger groups. There’s a nice dipping pool and good breakfast everyday that the kids will love. This Riad is family ready with everything you need to be comfortable.
Riad Les Hibiscus offers a family room that is awesome. Family room is the only one on the top floor, so you have some privacy. Roof top is also a nice place for parents to retreat to in the evenings. Breakfast is a good spread like at most Riads, always nice for the kids.
If you’re not ready to stay inside the Medina, the Kenzi Club Agdal is a great option. It’s an all-inclusive so there are lots of things included that are helpful for families. Heated swimming pools, waterslides and is all you can eat. Kenzi Club also has a bowling alley, tennis courts, and a kids clubs for all ages. When you’re ready to visit the Medina, it’s a short trip away.
What to See in Marrakech
Marrakech has a colorful history with a lot of influences from different cultures. There’s a lot to see and do in this vibrant city. From the bustling markets to the magnificent mosques, there’s a new adventure waiting for you at every turn.
Here are some of the must-see attractions in Marrakech:
Ben Yousef Madrasa (school)
It is one of the largest madrasas in Morocco. It was built in the 14th century and is a beautiful example of Moroccan architecture. The madrasa has a large courtyard with an impressive fountain in the center. The walls and ceilings are decorated with intricate Islamic carvings and calligraphy.
It’s a wonderful place to take the kids, as it is open air and allows for wandering around at your own pace. Lots of ornate decor and beautiful tiling to see. There’s some really cool hidden rooms and stairwells that our children really enjoyed exploring. Our girls were fascinated by the classrooms and the boarding facilities.
**Note – Make sure to have cash because there is a small entry fee to enter.
The spice markets in Marrakech are a must-visit for all the senses. From the vibrant colors to the exotic smells, it’s an assault on the senses in the best possible way. You’ll find all kinds of spices here, from saffron to cinnamon to turmeric. Be sure to get your camera ready, as there are so many opportunities for photos.
Berber Pharmacies are the lifeline of the Medina. The Moroccan culture depends on natural ingredients to cure their ailments. Exploring a proper Berber Pharmacy is an experience all its own. My husband and kids found them fascinating and bought several items to bring home. One of the coolest souvenirs we found, that was actually given to the kids at no charge, was what they call magic lipstick. Made of clay, this small version of a tagine pot when wet produces a very colorful pinkish dye that you place on your lips for aded color. The girls couldn’t get enough of it while we were there.
As a Unesco world heritage site, the Medina in Marrakech is a place to be experienced. Endless spice and textile souks create a wondrous maze known as the Medina. Home to the original Marrakesh citadel, the Medina is rich with history and full of life. While it can mesmerize you, be careful that you remember your way. Without much wifi coverage and every turn looking the same, you can very easily get lost.
Jemaa el-Fna Square
Jemaa el-Fna square is full of snake charmers, folk dancers, street food vendors, and even fire eaters. One of the best places in the world to enjoy people watching and some of the most interesting shows around. Another area where the vendors can be a little aggressive, but still know boundaries just the same.
What to Do in Marrakech
Marrakech is a city that will stay with you long after you leave. We enjoyed a few days of pure relaxation at our Riad, but there’s so much to do in this vibrant city. Here are some that you’ll enjoy:
- Get an ornate henna tattoo
- Smell the herbs and spices
- Sip some refreshing mint tea
- Shop for lamps to take back home
- Drive to the desert and spend at least a night there
- Try a Tagine dish with vegetables, beef, or chicken
Things to Know Before Visiting Marrakech
For an exquisite and memorable experience in Marrakech, keep the following things in mind:
- The Medina is a bustling and vibrant place. Be prepared to get lost in the narrow alleyways. But it’s all part of the fun! Since you’ll be doing a lot of walking, I suggest you keep your most comfortable shoes.
- The vendors will stop you as you pass by the shops and stalls. So, excuse yourself politely or just walk fast if you’re not interested.
- If you stop to buy something, you have all the rights to haggle. That’s how it works and it’s welcomed.
- My most important tip for you is to not follow anyone anywhere. Tell them you know where you are.
- If you’re lost, turn on your GPS using the mobile data and regroup at an open area.
- You know you’ll have to cover up for the dressing part since you’re visiting a Muslim country.
- If you don’t have everything, you’ll find plenty of fashionable and comfortable clothing options there.
- Most Riad’s do not allow children under 12 to stay, so be sure to research before booking.
- Booking.com was a great resource for us and had really honest reviews.
- Alcohol is not very popular to the locals, at least not in our experience. They like their Mint Tea and Hookahs. They often drink fresh juices and mocktails instead.
How long should you plan for a Morocco family vacation?
Allowing your family at least 3 days in Marrakech is recommended. If you are planning to visit the desert, then you will need at least another 3 days to allow for the travel. Of course, if you wish to stay there longer, just add that time into your trip. Heading to another destination like the city of Fez would add another 2 days or more, especially if you are not flying out of there. To take the trip that we did, you would need about 9 days total.
Do they speak English in Marrakech?
Surprisingly enough, almost everyone we encountered at the Riad, the Medina, and at the restaurants spoke very good English. We made an effort to learn some of their language to use during introductions and when extending gratitude. They were very open to teach us, but also very accommodating by speaking to us in English. Another reason that we felt very comfortable and welcome in Marrakech.
I hope you found this guide helpful. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me. I would love to help you plan your dream trip to Morocco!
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