A Family-Friendly Guide to Meknes

A caleche in Meknes
A caleche in Meknes | © xiquinhosilva/Flickr
Sarah Williams

One of Morocco’s former imperial cities, Meknes is filled with historic charm aplenty. It is, however, a lot less touristy than the more famous old imperial capitals of Marrakech and Fez. This makes it a great place for letting kids peek into Morocco’s past without being overwhelmed by the hustle and bustle. It’s not just about history, though; there are many ways for families to have fun in Meknes. Here are some top recommendations for a family trip to Meknes.

Ride a caleche

A caleche is a horse-drawn carriage. A novel way to see the sights, and great for tired legs that don’t want to walk any farther, kids are often delighted by a horse and carriage ride around Meknes. The actual carriages make the experience even more charming; they are more like fairy tale chariots than carts. There are several types of carriages to choose from too. Tours pass through many of the city’s major landmarks, including beautiful gates and the old medina.

Horse and carriage outside the walls of Meknes medina

Explore the souks

If you and your children enjoy visiting local markets, Meknes is a terrific place to see how locals trade without the hassle and frenzy of other souks around the nation. Pause outside artisan workshops and watch how a variety of goods are produced, and see a huge assortment of traditional Moroccan goods throughout the souks in Meknes.

Diverse goods at a souk in Meknes, Morocco

Play at KS Fantasy Park

Geared mainly towards younger children, KS Fantasy Park is a cool indoor play area in Meknes. Suitable for all seasons, it is heated in the winter and kept cool in the summer. Children can get active and have fun with colourful ball pools, slides, trampolines, climbing equipment, and bridges. There’s also a special play area for very young children. The mini disco is often popular with music-loving kids.

Visit El Hedim Square

Often said to be a smaller and less frenetic version of Marrakech’s famous Djemaa el Fna, El Hedim Square has plenty for kids and adults alike to enjoy. In the daytime, snake charmers play hypnotic music to encourage their slithery creatures to sway for the crowds. Food and drink sellers surround the square, and there are various stalls that sell assorted Moroccan items. In the evenings the square is livelier, with games and competitions, and more food and drink options.

El Hedim Square in Meknes

Descend into an old underground prison

Children often enjoy visiting places that are a little unusual, and the large underground jail of Habs Qara is sure to ignite their imaginations. There are a few reminders that the subterranean chambers were previously used to imprison people, but there’s nothing that would cause distress to a child.

Underground prison in Meknes

Coming soon: Aqualand Meknes

Currently under construction, Aqualand Meknes is set to open in 2018. It will be a fairly large water park that provides a great place to cool down on a hot day. It will also offer a nice break from city sightseeing for travelling families. Plans include several pools, including one for smaller tots, as well as assorted slides and chutes and a lazy river. Moreover, there will be food and drink outlets and areas for relaxing and sunbathing.

More activities

Stay in a traditional riad to give kids a taste of traditional Moroccan life, take older children along on a trip to a hammam for a new experience, and if time permits, plan an outing to the Roman remains at Volubilis.

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