Best time to visit Morocco

The gateway to Africa

Morocco is a fantastic destination to visit year-round. However, between the diverse landscape of the High Atlas Mountains that divide the country, the Sahara Desert reaching out to the coast and the Atlantic Ocean, planning the best time to go is very much dependent on your planned activities and where you’re headed.

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January – February

These are very much Morocco’s winter months, with average daytime temperatures of 15°C in Marrakech. It tends to be a little more humid with the possibility of some rain (10mm/month) – although nothing by UK standards! Comparatively, temperatures in the High Atlas are bitterly cold, although you can pretty much guarantee snow, so if you’re in the market for skiing, now is the time. This is often a great time to visit the Sahara Desert as daytime temperatures are much more bearable, but do pack warm clothes for the nights as this can change quite considerably!

Travelling in these months is generally quieter and can be quite cost-effective as you benefit from the low season prices.

March

Spring is here and there’s an increased buzz about the place, with warmer temperatures reaching a daily average of 20°C. Tourism is still low, as many wait for the snowy High Atlas peaks to thaw, however, chances of rain are slim and the beautiful spring wildflowers and cherry blossom trees begin to flourish. A perfect time to go and explore the cultural sights without the crowds. Generally speaking, you could visit any area of Morocco in March and enjoy pleasant weather, including the more consistent temperatures of the coast at this time. If camping in the desert – pack warm clothes for the evening, and a light headscarf in case of any spring sandstorms.

April – May

Tourists have caught wind of the blissful conditions and gradually make their way over for the Easter holidays. A prime time to visit, with daytime temperatures averaging 28°C. Accommodation costs tend to be a little higher, often with many venues imposing a minimum night stay. The coastal regions will offer a cool breeze amidst the heat, and are popular destinations for windsurfing, kitesurfing, and beginner surfers. Temperatures in the High Atlas range between 17°C-21°C, with bright sunshine and clear blue skies, which make for excellent hiking conditions if you don’t mind the heat.

June

June is incredibly hot, particularly in Marrakech with daytime temperatures exceeding 30°C, and the streets busy with summer tourists. Early morning and late afternoon site seeing is recommended for a more pleasant temperature. Or you may prefer to explore the coast, with places like Essaouira benefiting from the cool ocean breeze, aptly nicknamed The Windy City. The Atlas Mountains will too be beautifully warm at this time, however, it might make you think twice before embarking on a long hike. This is the last chance to explore the Sahara Desert ahead of the influx of snakes and insects that arrive in July/August.

Events
  • Amazigh New Year – Jan 12th -13th
  • Almond Blossom Festival, Tafraoute- Feb
  • International Nomads Festival, Draa Valley - March
  • Marathon des Sables, Sahara Desert, April
  • Merzouga World Music Festival, Erg Chebbi - April
  • Labour Day – May 1st
  • Mawazine (Rhythms of the World), Rabat - May
  • Gnaoua World Music Festival, Essaouira - June
Restaurant Suggestions
  • Lunch at the Selman Palace Hotel
  • Cocktails on El Fenn rooftop
  • Limoni for wood-fired pizzas
  • Dar Essalem – Live music & Moroccan food
  • Sunday BBQ at Kasbah bab Ourika
Ramadam

Ramadam is the 9th month of the Islamic calendar and is considered the holiest month for Muslims. During this time, observant Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset, each day for a month. Whilst visitors are still welcome and there are no specific rules for travellers to follow, there are some gestures that are appreciated e.g. dressing conservatively, not eating in the streets or showing public drunkenness. The date changes each year, so it is worth checking if this event coincides with your travels, as it could impact some activities such as restaurants and businesses being closed.

July – August

Again these months tend to be busy as they coincide with the school holidays, but aren’t considered high season in Morocco. They are the hottest months with daytime averages ranging from  29°C to 36°C, getting hotter as we head into August. You’ll be relieved to know that the Riads are designed to beat the heat, with their thick walls and open courtyards allowing them to stay cool. We recommend heading to the coast during this time, or at the very least ensuring you stay somewhere with a pool, but book in advance to avoid disappointment!

The Atlas Mountains won’t be quite as hot due to the altitude, but still less favourable for hiking. Note The Chergui Desert Wind is strongest at this time and can blow about a dusty wind, so don’t forget your eyewear if you do go exploring.

September - October

Summer turns to fall and temperatures drop just slightly down to 28°C, getting cooler towards the end of October. Sightseeing in Marrakech is somewhat manageable again, and coastal towns and mountain villages are still popular, although the extreme heat of the Sahara Desert is still too much to endure in September. However, travellers return to the Sahara come October, with many enjoying the ‘Date Festival’, an annual event marking the end of the date harvest season. Evenings can be cooler, so don’t forget some warmer layers. There are still travellers about, but much quieter and fewer children on holiday. You may encounter the odd rainfall as chances increase after the dry summer.

 November – December

These months are a popular time to visit as temperatures drop to a far more manageable level. Although you could still experience highs of 27°C, averages are more likely to range between 18-23°C. However, if you are looking for a winter getaway and a bit of warm weather you may be better further inland as the coast can drop as low as 13°C. There could be the odd rains – although very hard to predict. The best advice for visiting at this time of year is to go prepared, and pack for all occasions! Up in the mountains, you’ll find most venues have cosy fireplaces to keep you warm in the evenings but generally aren’t heated!

Events

  • Timitar Music Festival, Agadeer - July
  • Tafraoute Summer Music Festival - August
  • Tanjazz Festival, Tangier- September
  • Imilchil Marriage Festival - September
  •  Independence Day - November
  • Tan Tan Moussem - December
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