Overshadowed by neighbouring Chefchaouen with it’s insta-perfect blue washed walls, Tetouan is rarely on the tourist radar. Indeed, it may lack the accommodation and dining options of Chefchaouen, but the sparkling white-washed medina set with the backdrop of the Rif Mountains is equally beautiful. Also, the town’s strong Spanish influence makes it especially interesting, and families will appreciate the long stretch of sand and warm Mediterranean sea at Martil, just a 10 minute drive away.
So what is there to do in Tetouan with kids? Well, read on…
1. Eat crepes by a Spanish Cathedral
Tetouan may be the only Moroccan town with a Roman Catholic Spanish Cathedral at it’s centre, whose bells chime on the hour. The warm yellow walls of Iglesia de Bacturia look over Place Moulay El Mehdi, and across the roundabout are grand buildings also harking back to the town’s Spanish History.
Just across the road alongside Iglesia de Bacturia are a couple of cafes serving ice-cream and crepes. A good place for kids to have a refuel before heading over to play at Feddan Park.
2. Play at Feddan Park
This beautiful open space at the foot of the Medina is a popular hang out for locals. The views up to the white-washed buildings perched on the hillside are stunning.
Here you will find a good playground for little ones, including swings, climbing frame, and two trampolines. There is a small fee to use the playground (we paid 15DH for two children, no time limit).
Adjacent to the playground is a café serving hot and cold drinks, plus snacks. It’s a great place for parents to sit and catch up whilst your kids burn off some energy in the playground.
3. Wander the Medina
Tetouan’s ancient medina is a Unesco World Heritage site. As you wander up and down it’s narrow steps, it feels like you’ve stepped back in time. It’s one of the best medina’s in Morocco for kids to explore as it’s moped-free, relatively quiet, and very few streets sellers. In comparison to the medina in Marrakech with kids, this is a dream!
There are a lot of steps and steep laneways through the medina. So to get the best out of your visit to the medina with kids, take a taxi up to the viewpoint at the top of the medina. The views over Tetouan here are incredible.
Then make your way down on foot to the Kasbah via the road. To the left of the Kasbah is another great view point, and the kids will appreciate the grassy bank to play on. Then continue down through the medina to the right, taking steep steps and tiny alleyways, to finally reach the souq at the very bottom and Feddan Park.
4. Play along the Corniche
Head down to Corniche Oued Martil. Here there are small electric cars for younger children to ride (5DH per 5 mins) and a couple of playgrounds also aimed at younger kids.
For older children, there is a basketball / football court.
This is also a lovely open space to take a stroll in the evening.
5. Take in the views from the hills across the river
Take a grand taxi across the river and up into the hills to Parque Ain Boenan. Use this Google Map point. Here there are a few local cafes to take in the view. But we recommended walking up into the woods behind, following the small track (ask a local to point you in the right direction). The footpath leads alongside the road and up into the trees, with the road on your left.
Kids will love playing in the woodland and climbing the rocks. It’s a short walk along to a good viewpoint from where you can even take in Spain and Gibraltar on a clear day.
This is also a great sunset viewpoint.
6. Hit the beach
If you need to escape the heat of the city, or just need a big space for the kids to play, jump in a Grand Taxi (30DH, though you’ll probably be quoted 60DH from Tetouan) from the town centre to Martil Plage (the Grand Taxis are the blue cars). Perched on the Mediterranean Sea, a long stretch of sand and calm waters await.
This is a very local beach and you’re highly unlikely to see any Western tourists. The ladies here swim in their abayas and hijabs, but Mums, you will be fine swimming in a normal cossie (perhaps leave the thong at home and don’t go topless). Local men all wear swim shorts, so no problem for Dads there.
Head to Cafe El Dorado for pizzas, panins, crepes and ice-cream with great service and a lovely beach view.
Where to eat in Tetouan with kids
The restaurant choices in Tetouan are rather disappointing, and perhaps reflects the few foreign tourists that visit. There are a plethora of local fast food restaurants and tea houses with men (rarely women) sitting outside drinking tea, and watching the world go by.
However, there are a couple of restaurants that are worth a visit. These include Cafe Granada by the playground at Feddan Park and also Restinga, which is set in a shady courtyard off the main pedestrian street, and also serves alcohol. There’s also Diamond on the main road out of town.
Vegetarians, and most certainly vegans, may struggle in Tetouan. However, if you are self catering, there’s a Carrefour Supermarket on the outskirts of Tetouan.
Where to stay in Tetouan with kids
The lack of foreign tourists to Tetouan also means that there are few good accommodations, especially for families.
We stayed at this Airbnb. The hosts are extremely lovely and the three-bed apartment is spacious and airy. There’s a good kitchen (as Moroccan kitchens go), ok WIFI, a washing machine, and even a bath. However, there is no aircon, so in the mornings we kept the shutters down to keep the apartment cool, and the traffic from the road below can be noisy.
But it’s a great space, in a good location for exploring the town, and the views from the balcony in the main bedroom to the Rif Mountains on one side, and Tetouan Medina on the other, are incredible.
Getting around Tetouan
If you are based in the city centre, it’s easy enough to get around on foot. However, if you want to get up to the Kasbah and don’t fancy the climb, or you want to head over to Carrefour, jump into a Petits Taxi.
The Petits Taxis are the yellow taxis and drivers should use the meter. But the downside is that they are legally only allowed to take 3 passengers. So if you are a family of four on more, you need to take two.
For travelling further afield, such as to Martil Beach, you need to take a Grand Taxi, which are the slightly larger, blue taxis. There are Grand Taxi stations dotted around the town. Just ask a local to point you in the right direction. There is a fixed tariff for journeys.
Final thoughts on visiting Tetouan with kids
If you’re short on time with your adventures in Morocco with kids, it’s unlikely that Tetouan will make the cut. But if you do have the time and are looking to venture away from the tourists (and perhaps an alternative to Chefchaouen) then we very much recommend a visit to Tetouan with kids.
The accommodation and dining options are lacking, but the quiet medina, interesting Spanish influence, and fun play areas for the kids, more than make up for this.