Those of you who love to travel like I do, will know the familiar feeling of itchy feet. The persistent desire to see more and more of the world. Of course we could sell up and live like nomads on the road. Trust me this idea doesn’t terrify me as much as it probably should. However, I also enjoy the consistency of daily life. At least now while the girls are still young. So the compromise lies in holidays.
As much as I love a sun and sand holiday, I also love to immerse myself in a new country and experience new cultures. I appreciate as soon as you become a parent, your needs fall to the bottom of the pile but as the girls were just about to turn four, I convinced Stu now was time for a bit of an adventure.
Morocco with Twins
We had the flights to Thailand up on the screen but Stu persuaded me that something slightly closer would be better. Morocco has been on my bucket list for years so we decided to go for it. Because we were on quite a budget, we opted to build a holiday our self rather than buying a package. This saved us thousands.
We booked with Ryanair for the 3.5 hrs flight to Marrakesh. It was perfectly fine and we’ve never had an issue with Ryanair but this is the longest I’d want to fly on a budget airline. Seat comfort and needing to pay for all the added extras is just something you need to factor in.
Two stop holiday
To transform our trip from a holiday into an adventure we chose to make it a two stop trip. First we stayed in Agadir on the coast for a week and then travelled back to Marrakesh for 3 days in a riad.
The hardest part of our holiday was not having the transfers sorted before we left. As we needed to go straight to Agadir from the airport, we weren’t able to pre-book the coach. This left us at the hands of the persuasive taxi drivers who convinced us a direct taxi would be a good idea. It was fine but cost about £90 and wasn’t air conditioned. The girls slept almost the entire way so they didn’t suffer…just me.
All Inclusive Family Friendly Resort
Our first part of the holiday was at a very family friendly resort in Agadir. We stayed at the El Pueblo Tamlet which was just a few minutes walk from Agadir’s main beach. There were four or five pools including a shallow toddler pool that was always quiet. It had a buffet restaurant and a few themed restaurants too. We chose it because it also had a spacious family room and was very reasonably priced.
Getting out – Mini Zoo and Road Train
Because we had everything we needed within the resort, we only ventured out once into Agadir. Of course if we weren’t going to Marrakesh after we would have wanted to see more but this first part was more for the girls. We discovered a quaint road train than ran in a loop and stopped right outside our hotel and then right outside a mini zoo. This was a perfect way to see Agadir with little ones and took us right along the promenade.
The girls love to be by the sea and most days we took the short walk to the beach. On the way back we stopped at the kids club to shower off and there was also a small playground there too. We didn’t actually use the kids club for childcare but I believe this was available.
One experience I really wanted was a camel ride. Our resort had a resident camel affectionately named Chocolate who we nearly took a ride on but I decided for a more Moroccan experience I’d prefer a ride on the beach. I did barter and only paid about £8 for me to ride with both the girls. This was for twenty minutes but after five I was ready to get down. I’m really glad we did it but I was gripping on for dear life. The girls still say how bumpy it was.
After our relaxing beach week it was time to move onto Marrakesh. This time we took the air conditioned Supratours coach back. It was lovely and in hindsight it would have been the better option for both trips.
We knew this was going to be a completely different experience to the coastal resort and it was. Obviously, there is so much accommodation to choose from. You could stay at hotel, airb&bs, resorts or riads. For the most authentic experience we choose a central riad within the Medina walls. Riad Fabiola et Spa was tucked away but everyone was very friendly and helpful to guide us. The main reasons for choosing this particular riad was its spacious family rooms, the fact it had a courtyard pool and its Moroccan feel.
Soak up the Culture
On our first full day we set off exploring towards the souks. The roads are bustling with donkey carts and motorbikes but we’d done some research so this didn’t come as a surprise. We’d packed backpack reins and I’m really glad we did as they gave us some added security and control over two inquisitive little ones. It was a very warm 30+ degrees so we took our time, kept hydrated and only planned short bursts of walking. At the end of each day we’d head back to the riad for a refreshing dip.
Jamaa El-Fna Square
We were in walking distance of this iconic market square. Before arriving, we’d read that it was best to explore during the morning as by early afternoon it gets very busy and would be difficult to navigate with children. If we were travelling just the two of us, I’d have love to experience the hustle and bustle in the evening but even during the day there was plenty to see. We took in the colourful stalls, tried some Moroccan food and enjoyed numerous bargain juices from the many fruit stands.
You will also see snake charmers and monkeys but beware of getting too close or stopping to look for too long as you’ll be expected to pay for the privilege. Keep walking. Personally the monkeys in chains made me cross and I wouldn’t have wanted a picture but if you did, you’d need to cough up cash.
Horse and Carriage Ride
After lunch, we decided to take a carriage ride to see more of the city without walking. There are no shortage of carriages. In fact there is practically a rank of them. It was £35 for a 40 minute ride but we enjoyed it and it gave their little feet a rest. The journey took in the city walls and part of the new town.
Marrakesh New Town
On the second day we took taxi to the new town and found a little park to play at. These are pretty rare and we struggled to find any play parks in central Marrakesh. After a lovely mixed meat shawarma platter for lunch we headed back to the Jamaa El-Fna square for more time to soak up the culture. Here you can have henna and there are even ‘dentists’ offering to extract your teeth.
Getting the Balance Right
Overall a trip to Morocco with children is about finding a good balance of culture without the whole experience becoming overwhelming. I feel we achieved this and made some great memories as a family. Although they are young and probably won’t remember the trip in years to come, I know I’ve started introducing them to world and showing them other walks of life. Hopefully they’ll catch the travel bug too.
I’d love to know some of the more unusual places you’ve visited with children.
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