When you have young children, it’s easy to think that your travelling days are over – at least until they get past the toddler stage. But if you’re not ready to ignore your adventurous streak in favour of the traditional sun, sea and sand family holiday destinations, there’s another way.
Travel companies are increasingly realising that there’s a market for specialist tours that cater for families with young children. They recognise that you might not be ready to stop globetrotting just because you have kids and that means it’s now easier than ever to jet off somewhere exciting with the little ones in tow.
Of course, there are a few things you’ll want to bear in mind if you’re travelling with toddlers, such as avoiding overly long flights, which is why destinations like Morocco are perfect for an adventure holiday that the whole family can enjoy.
On a purely practical level, Morocco is a good choice because the flight from London to Marrakech usually takes between 3.5 and four hours, so it’s not too long for little ones to sit still on a plane.
From an adventurous point of view, it’s somewhere totally different where you can immerse yourself in a new culture and see things that you just wouldn’t find on the coast of Spain or Portugal. There’s also a lot of opportunity for planning a varied trip to Morocco, given that it has incredible cities, beautiful coastline and amazing mountains all waiting to be discovered.
Kids will love the complete change from their normal surroundings, too – imagine seeing your youngsters’ faces captivated by the sight of camels wandering along the side of the road, or their awe at the dunes that roll for miles on the edge of the Sahara.
Places to visit with your family
There are a lot of incredible places in Morocco, which can make it tough to narrow down your options. When you’re on holiday with toddlers, you don’t want your itinerary to be too hectic, though. One of the best itineraries if you want to get a good overview of various sides of the country without having to dash around too much is to start in Marrakech, visit Ouirgane in the High Atlas Mountains and spend a few days in the coastal city of Essaouira.
Marrakech is a real must and the Djemma-el-Fna square is bound to be a highlight. Children will be enthralled by the sight of street performers entertaining the crowds – look out for snake charmers, jugglers, acrobats, storytellers and fire eaters as you explore. This is the bustling heart of the city and where you can really get a sense of how Marrakech was centuries ago.
Spend an hour or two exploring the winding alleys of the souks in the Medina, too – it will feel as though you’ve stepped into the pages of an Arabian Nights fairytale.
Driving into the mountains where Morocco’s Berber people live will present a real contrast – there are no crowds, just spectacular scenery and peaceful villages where the traditional Berber way of life has been preserved.
If you’re on a guided tour, you’ll usually have the option of joining a short walk through one of the nearby valleys to see the stunning scenery of the High Atlas Mountains in all its glory. These strolls will be tailored to toddlers, so you don’t need to worry that it will be too tough for your little ones.
From here, it’s on to the coast and the beautiful city of Essaouira, which has retained much of its traditional charm despite becoming something of a tourist hotspot. The long sweep of golden sand that lines the bay is bound to appeal to youngsters, but be aware that it can be quite windy here, so the sea isn’t always suitable for swimming in.