Family

Affordable Family Vacations

by Nicola McCormack

MARRAKESH FOR FAMILIES

Some destinations are magical enough to appeal to all ages, which pretty much sums up Marrakesh. The low costs of traveling to Morocco are equally bewitching right now. Airfare can get up there, but the on-the-ground costs for food, shopping, and accommodation are where you'll make your savings. For parents, the maze of souks is a place to hone bartering skills; for youngsters, it's a mysterious labyrinth of (inexpensive) treasures, exotic aromas, and glowing lanterns. Early evening is when the main square, the Jemaa El Fna, comes alive with gnawa musicians, tumbling acrobats, snake charmers, and the infamous "dentists" who proudly display the rotting fangs they've hauled out—tooth brushing may never be an issue again. Eat at one of the hundreds of smoky open kitchens, where tasty chicken kebabs (under a dollar apiece) and desserts drizzled in honey will satisfy even the most finicky eaters—although it's probably best not to point out the cooked sheep heads until the kids have finished their food. Stay in a riad—a traditional Moroccan house-turned-hotel with a central courtyard—for an authentic experience; the Zamzam is a beautifully restored seven-room riad in the Medina. Room start at $173 a night in low season; the child-friendly amenities range from babysitting services and high chairs to kids' meals and extra cots (youngsters under 10 can stay in their parents' room for free). There's also a pool and a hammam where even kids can benefit from a jet lag–relief massage.

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Information may have changed since date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.

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