A trip to Marrakech was not our travel dream. Surprised? :) The idea for this trip came when we decided to jump somewhere at the end of the year for a few days to escape to a warmer climate. Initially, we thought more about returning to Cyprus, the Canary Islands or Dubai.
So why did we decide on Morocco? The air connection was decided. Direct connection from Warsaw, good hours and days of flights well and favorable price, because you can get to Marrakech with cheap airlines. In addition, locally, the cost is not so high, so it would seem that the ideal place for an extended weekend. But what do you mean! Marrakech and the children!
Yes, we had some concerns about whether
is a good destination for traveling with young children. In guidebooks or reports we looked in vain for children’s attractions or at least parks with playgrounds, and in some guidebooks it even said outright that children might be bored there! However, we did not give up and decided to see what interesting things could be done and seen there.
This trip proved one thing: you don’t need child-specific attractions at all to make a family outing a success. During the entire trip there was not a single playground (!), not a single changing table and not a single chair for children in the restaurant. Well, maybe not exactly, because we found one playground and a changing table at the airport when we already flew out ;) And now the most important thing: it was one of the most enjoyable trips of the year;-) The truth is that we sometimes get whiny or tired during trips, and here there was none of that. We all eagerly walked all over the city, did dozens of kilometers a day, and in the evenings returned tired but happy to the riad (a typical Moroccan house that often houses hotels).
We’ve put together some tips for you to help you organize your trip and allay any doubts you may have before traveling with your children.
Table of contents
A trip to Marrakech with a child a better idea than without?
Quite surprising, but observing many tourists on the streets, we came to the conclusion that thanks to the fact that we are with children, the locals treat us a little more gently. Let’s not kid ourselves, as in many other Arab tourist destinations, also in Marrakech we will be attacked from everywhere by persistent vendors, push you don’t know what, elevate prices and will do everything to leave some dirhams with them. A bit poor vision, but you just have to be prepared for it, such a culture, such a way of selling. About how to negotiate prices, how to avoid such situations, we will not write here, and will focus only on the aspect related to the youngest.
Well, as we mentioned, we had the impression that they were more careful with families with children, however. On the one hand, we lived near one of the “gentler” souks, because the closer you get to the main square, the Jemaa el-Fna, the worse it gets. We walked them every day, and we could count on the fingers of one hand the situations when we were accosted.
Many vendors simply waved, smiling at the children without wanting anything in return! At first we believed it was a ruse that every smile would be followed by an invitation to the store, a toy being pressed into your hand, etc., but we also had a tiny number of such situations. We had a hard time stopping Olive from running into the store after the cats, but this did not involve any reprimanding or stopping in the store. We were also warned not to let anyone lead us to an attraction, not to ask for help from passersby, only from the employees of the stores or attractions. And it worked out super well! Often, even security guards from various facilities would come out and escort us to the place we were looking for. They also helped us with the stroller, letting us leave it where they watched over it or helped carry it in.
The least pleasant was in the aforementioned Jemaa el-Fna square – here you have to be careful, have eyes around your head, because everywhere they want to slip whether a toy or a handkerchief into your hand, and then it’s hard to give it back. It is necessary to keep a very close eye on children, because it even happens that traders can pull by the hand, tempt in a thousand ways, and it is known that the further the conversation goes, the harder it is to break free. Thus, we advise you to keep your stay in this square to a minimum.
But overall, we were met with quite a lot of courtesy and help. People remembered us more easily, puzzled us, we could talk and learn something more, because children somehow solve the adult language more :) And so we had a favorite stand with fresh juices, where the Lord, already seeing us from afar, greeted us, and favorite stores, where cats cuddled, and we visited them :)
What to do with children in Marrakech!
Perhaps the most important question: what will we do together in Marrakech? What other visitors do: stroll through the souks, see the beautiful palaces and gardens, visit museums, admire Moroccan lamps, stalls full of color and handicrafts, look for cats or run away from carriages pulled by donkeys and horses ;)
After all, with children you can also go to museums or admire mansions, you just need to engage and interest them. Some of them are veritable mazes, and looking for arrows, discovering more rooms can be interesting and fascinating for everyone. So we were in the museums, the palace, the Jewish cemetery, the gardens, and not once did we hear that it was boring. Full of colors, animals, exotics, beautiful rooms, and on top of that, good food and delicious fruit juices – such things can really make you happy.
We will write a separate entry about what to see in Marrakech.
As we’ve already mentioned, we recommend keeping your stay at Jemaa el-Fna market to a minimum – this is the place where it’s crowded, noisy and there’s a lot going on…. While it’s still worth it for the food here or to watch the performances, it’s not cool to see trained, shackled monkeys or animals in small cages. At times, it can also be uncomfortable in terms of being dragged to booths, being pressed into various things, being chased into attractions…. it is better to avoid such things.
It’s definitely better to sit on a terrace in one of the many restaurants around the square and watch what’s going on down below from a distance.
Moving around the city
We explored all of Marrakech on foot, provided with a stroller and carrier. We saw literally a few other strollers, but we saw an awful lot of babies being carried in slings! And no wonder, because the infrastructure is completely unsuitable for strollers. While it is still somehow possible to drive on sidewalks, high curbs, thresholds, narrow entrances, or finally riads, attractions and restaurants without elevators make it difficult to get around.
As a rule, we left the stroller at the cash register, at the bottom of the restaurant, and walked around the attractions with a carrier.
If we are already moving on foot, it is necessary to prepare well for it here. Don’t be surprised by speeding scooters, motorcycles, bicycles that don’t care about pedestrians! Where cars won’t enter, these small vehicles will enter, poisoning (literally and figuratively) pedestrian traffic. So you need to move carefully, and it is best to always keep to the right (the child, of course, goes closest to the wall). Also beware of horse-drawn carts and donkeys.
After a few hours one gets used to the chaos :)
Food for kids in Marrakech
Then what will these children eat locally? What adults do :-) The idea is that we eat together, together, but we try to find places where we get something the kids will eat as well.
More important, however, is that there is somewhere to sit, it is reasonably clean and quiet. We’ll deal with the rest :)
So what was our nutrition like on the ground?
We had breakfast served in the riad. They were rather modest, but sufficient. We always got a basket of bread, pancakes (e.g., baghrir, msemen), jams, honey, cheese, plus sweet yogurt and freshly squeezed orange juices. If there wasn’t enough of something we could always ask for an extra.
We ate little during the day, rather catching some pancakes, omelets, baked goods made to take away at the mobile stands. Pancakes, waffles or ice cream were also available in places.
Lunch, or rather dinner, were the meals we ate towards the end, in restaurants with a terrace overlooking Marrakech. We tried the popular tazhin, kus kus porridge with meat and vegetables, but we also ate at restaurants where they served typically vegetarian or Western dishes. Fortunately, at our house, porridge with vegetables goes in quite well, so we didn’t worry about food. Even if it was not on the menu, you can easily ask for fries for the kids, which will always save the situation ;)
Accommodation with children in Marrakech
Where to stay overnight with children? In Marrakech we can find many hotels, apartments of different standards. There are, of course, hotels of European standard, with swimming pools, slides, but we preferred to spend the night in the aforementioned riad. Was it a good choice for an overnight stay with children?
And yes and no. The terrace, which we went to every day, and the nice courtyard, where it was pleasant to have meals, were super. We had a large suite at our disposal, and the entrance to the children’s bedroom was up stairs and through the bathroom, so we did not use this room too much, however. The room itself was great, atmospheric, spacious and nicely finished. A travel crib for the baby with bedding was waiting for us in the room.
However, it should be borne in mind that winter nights in Marrakech are chilly, and despite several heating systems in the apartment, it wasn’t exactly warm. We also lacked windows in the bedroom and normal flooring. In our riad, the floor was made of cubes, and on top of that, one that doesn’t get cleaned up too much ;) Unfortunately it did not work with a crawling baby ;)
Overall, however, our impressions are very positive, the hosts were very helpful and we could always count on their support. We can calmly recommend this facility. Here you have a bearing on our accommodation: Riad Misria et Spa.
If there are no places in it at the moment, you can also look for something in the area :)
Flight to Marrakech and return
We already mentioned that a direct flight to Marrakech made us consider Morocco at all as a destination for December. What do you need to know before buying tickets?
In the current winter season, direct flights from Poland to Marrakech are offered only by Wizz Air. These are flights from Warsaw (Chopin Airport) and take less than 5 hours. We emphasize this because it is quite a long flight for a low-cost airline, during which it is quite cramped and no free meal is served. So we recommend taking provisions with you or buying them on the plane. Children on the plane can be boring so you also need to take some books, puzzles, coloring books, favorite toys.
Our flights went smoothly, with no major turbulence. The only delay was due to the need to defrost at the Warsaw airport, but it was quickly made up.
At the Marrakech airport there is a small playground for children and several restaurants where you can buy something for the way to the plane.
Contrary to popular opinion, we recommend Marrakech to families with children. Maybe not necessarily as a first trip with a child, because there are a lot of infrastructural impediments here, but they did not make the trip a nightmare. The fact that we are already seasoned in battles, but we hope that after reading the above post you will be able to better prepare for the trip :)
An entry on what to see in Marrakech can be found here >>.