Morocco, once preserved for more adventurous travelers, has evolved into a seek-after touristic destination for families looking for something more exotic. Even though it can be mesmerizing and tricky for young children, it can be a great holiday place for families with teens.
A place that invites exploration, famous for its rich culture, foreign scents, chaotic sounds and bursting flavors, there are multiple reasons to spend your holidays here. Ancient medinas, sweeping dunes, impressive mountains, shifting sands, polite and friendly locals and ancient culture are only some of them.
Morocco is at the crossroads between Africa, Europe and the Middle East. From the modern business center of Casablanca to the ancient medinas in Rabat, the cool Mediterranean coast, the hot Saharan desert sands, the exuberant souks in Marrakech or the quiet Berber villages is a country with a vast variety of experiences to offer.
The country has developed an interesting public transport network. You can easily reach the different cities and touristic areas by train or bus. Of course, renting a car is also a good option, especially if you want to explore different cities and areas at your own pace. Just make sure you are comfortable with dusty, tricky roads and that you have an insurance policy that protects your rental vehicle against any breakage or issue you may have while driving.
Morocco is definitely a hot destination for families with teens. Here are some places to visit and activities to do that they’ll enjoy the most.
Explore the Medina in Marrakesh
The Medina (ancient city) of Marrakesh is fascinating and a place that teens love to explore. Its narrow alleys take you to unique historical sites, small mosques, beautiful mosques, crowded markets and magnificent riads and hotels, opulent gardens, carpet stores and hundreds of handicraft shops.
Walk through the alleys that form an intriguing maze and discover this UNESCO World Heritage Site at your own pace.
Take in the Sounds, Scents and Sights of Djemaa el Fna Square
Djemaa el Fna is Marrakech’s central square and one of the most captivating places in the city. Live musical performances, vendors, musicians and snake charmers will definitely catch the attention of adults, children and teens at day or night.
During the day, it’s filled with orange juice stands and shops and by night it turns into a huge outdoor eating area and theatre with snake charmers, fire eaters and musicians! It’s crazy, fun and it will give the teens in your family plenty of topics to chat about for weeks on end!
Feel free to take pictures of this famous square; just make sure you tip live performers and that you ask for permission before taking a photograph of somebody’s face.
Shop for Souvenirs in the Souks
Souks are Arab bazaars or marketplaces and they are probably the best place to find souvenirs and interesting things to take back home. The list of things you can find at souks is almost endless: fruit juice, tea sets, rugs, painted ceramics, household goods, spices… you mention!
Teenagers will definitely enjoy exploring the souks for the perfect souvenir: wooden snakes, jewelry, colorful blankets and bags, beautiful pottery, scented spices..! Get ready to haggle with vendors! Goods on sale at the souks are usually very pricey as vendors expect buyers to ask for lower fees, even half price!
Get a Henna Tattoo
Has your teenage boy or girl asked you for permission to get a tattoo at least a hundred times per hour? Have you told him “No!” to that idea at least a hundred times per hour? A trip to Marrakech can make both dreams true at the same time: getting a henna tattoo.
Henna artists create temporary body art using a dye from the henna plant. They create exquisite temporary tattoos that will satisfy your teen’s desire of being tattooed while preventing them from getting something permanent they may regret later.
The art of applying henna to the hands or feet is known as Mehndi and it is traditionally used for weddings and celebrations. There are all sorts of intricate henna designs to choose from and you and your teenager will have a great experience. Your teen will be able to show off his or her henna design for up to three weeks!
There are many street artists at Djemaa el Fna Square but many of them use chemically enhanced henna. For the best experience, visit the Henna Cafe. The Henna Cafe is a registered cultural foundation that offers henna tattoos to give free education and assistance to Moroccan people. Remember that henna is a strong dye that can stain your clothing or the linens at your hotel or riad bed; ask for plastic to wrap around your tattoo for a couple of nights.
Enjoy the Desert
The Sahara Desert is one of the highlights of any trip to Morocco and it’s definitely a must-visit place for families travelling with teens. There are so many ways that it can be explored that it will be easy to find one that fits your family’s interests and expectations.
The road to the desert takes a lot of driving until you reach the stunning Erg Chigaga sand dunes but it’s a fantastic drive as well: the road will take you over the spectacular Atlas Mountains and you’ll pass by mud-walled villages, palm groves and ragged canyons.
Morocco is the gateway to the Sahara and it would be a pity to miss such an interesting experience. Even though it can be tempting to explore the desert on your own, it’s highly advisable that you hire an organized tour from a professional company.
Embarking on a 4×4 tour across the majestic sand dunes of the Sahara desert is a great way to explore the amazing landscape. You’ll go on a caravan so that help is always at hand if you get lost in the desert or the vehicle you’re riding gets broken.
And what about sandboarding on the dunes? This will probably be your teenager’s most favourite activity of the whole trip. If your teen is a thrill seeker, playing on the dunes and sandboarding early in the morning is an absolute must. Be sure to assign someone to take plenty of photos and videos as this is a moment they’ll like to share with their friends back home.
There are great chances that whenever you think of the desert you imagine majestic sand dunes, camels and caravans of nomadic people going from one place to the other on donkeys and camels carrying lots of goods on their backs. And what if your trip to Morocco gave you the chance of riding on a camel?
Go camel trekking in the Sahara Desert and you’ll have a day you’ll remember for years on end. Most Moroccan itineraries will include a visit to the Erg Chebbi desert located in Eastern Morocco. It’s a place seek after by tourists for camping under the stars and have fun in the sand. You can go there in 4×4 vehicles or… camels! And a camel trek is definitely the way to go! Your teen will love to enjoy this Instagram-worthy experience: riding a camel while enjoying the sunset in the desert from the vantage point of a camel’s back!
The Palmerate district is another great place where to ask for a camel trek. They can be up to an hour long and they will take you through the palm grooves. Needless to say, dress in traditional colorful attire for the complete experience.
Visit Berber Nomads
It’s not strange to see groups of nomads settled with their and chicken as you drive south of the Sahara desert. They lead their simple lives living in tents often close to a well where they have access to fresh water for them and their animals.
The Berber are polite and generous people that are not afraid to share. It can be a great experience to spend some time with a Berber family, even if it is a day or an afternoon. Get ready to be absolutely spoiled with tea and bread and learn more about this interesting culture.
Journey into the Atlas Mountains
The Atlas Mountains, in Morocco, are not only an impressive mountain range but also the longest one in Africa. It separates the Atlantic and Mediterranean coastlines from the Sahara desert and rund from Morocco, through Algeria and on to Tunisia. You’ll journey through them to reach the Sahara desert and you’ll be able to enjoy the breathtaking scenery along the way.
If your family loves the outdoors, a trek in the Atlas Mountains shouldn’t be missed! The walking itself is stunning with deep lush valleys and proper peaks. There are mules to support trekkers carry bags and children are offered to take turns sitting on an extra mule. Accommodation during the trek is quite basic: you’ll stay in a shared room with simple facilities, that’s true, but you’ll have an experience of a lifetime!
Try Moroccan Food and Enjoy a Moroccan Cooking Class
Do you have a teenage foodie at home? Attending a Moroccan cooking class can be delicious and a great opportunity to teach them about another culture, try new ingredients and, who knows, add a few new dishes to the regular menu at home.
Moroccan food is tasty, unfussy, practical and rich in influences from Persia, Andalusia and France. The basic premise is to put ingredients in a pot and let it cook for a long time. Perhaps, the most famous is the Tajine, named after the dome-shaped dish where it is cooked. Moroccan salads are also interesting, combining olives, tomatoes, onions and spices.Other delicious dishes are bisara, briquettes, couscous, pastries, briouat and many others!
Attending a Moroccan cooking class is a fun activity that all the family can enjoy. While parents and teens prepare chicken and vegetable tahine, the children can make m’semen (a traditional African flat bread). There are private cooking classes offered and in some of them you even get a shopping list and money and you’re asked to buy the ingredients you’ll need at a souk. Don’t worry! A local is always with you to help you get what the right ingredients!