Morocco, officially known as the Kingdom of Morocco, is a country in the region of Maghreb region North of Africa, overlooking the Atlantic Ocean to its west and the Mediterranean Sea to its north. Morocco is a predominantly Islamic country. Its culture comes from a blend of European, West African, Arab, Berber, and Sherdish Jewish communities.
With diverse and arid desert-like weather conditions, the weather is the single largest factor when deciding the time of the year for the travel and the cities and locations that can be covered. Overall the best time to visit is during spring or fall, during which the weather and temperatures are pleasant. While the coastal cities are accessible all year round, with temperatures hovering around 20 degrees Celcius during summers and pleasantly mild in winters. However, it is the interiors, the mountains, and the dessert that needs careful planning when it comes to travel. Morocco is one special country where you can enjoy the sea coast, the high mountains, the snowy winters, and the scorching hot desserts all within one single country.
Morocco Seasons and Weather
Morocco hosts the Sahara Dessert, and you can only imagine the climatic effects. The summer in this country lasts from June to August when the heat is unbearably fierce, just like the dessert. However, the weather gets pleasant as you move towards the coastal towns around the Atlantic coast like Casablanca and Essaouira. There is a nice and temperate climate along the Mediterranean Sea on the north coast and the Rif Mountain ranges, with the days being long, hot, and sunny.
Winter season lasts from the start of November to the end of February. During this time, the day temperatures will be pleasantly mild and surprisingly cold during the evenings and the nights. Temperatures in the Atlas Mountains can dip very low. You can head there if you want to enjoy some snow winters, whereas north Morocco will experience winters differently, being cloudy and wet.
Spring season lasts from March to May. It is a warm and dry season and offers the best climbing and hiking views with blooming flowers and a lush green cover over the landscape everywhere you see. This is one of the best seasons to explore the spectacular hiking trails. This is a season when the snow has melted from the mountain peaks and sea temperatures are cool enough for a dip.
The fall season lasts from September to October and offers pleasant, enjoyable weather. Therefore, it’s ideal for visiting the coastal towns and indulging in hiking as the weather is cool and dry, letting you explore the mountains and the excellent hiking trails.
Basic Month by Month guide
- The ski season is very brief, and you will have to make an effort not to miss it. From the second week of January to the second week of February, finding snow is almost guaranteed in and around the Atlas mountains.
- If you do not like extreme cold weather and snow, you can head over to the Anti-Atlas range during December, January and February to enjoy the mountain life with pleasantly warm days and cool nights.
- February to April are the months during which you will experience many desert storms and so be prepared for it wherever you are in Morocco then.
- If you love hiking and trekking-related activities, you should head over to the Atlas Mountains during the month’s March through November, when it is really popular. When it comes to the Anti-Atlas mountain range, July and August months should be avoided when it is the hottest, unless you can handle hiking in the heat.
- Dessert is always hot, but the hottest months are from June to September. So if you want to visit the desert and enjoy the sand dunes, just avoid these hot scorching months. Ideally, you should be exploring the dessert during April and May with acceptable weather conditions. However, note that you must have a good sleeping bag as the dessert’s temperature can dip by almost 20 degrees Celsius compared to day temperatures. August temperatures are baking hot, so this is one month you should always steer clear of. However, in the coastline locations like Essaouira, the temperatures are even lower by around 14-15 degrees Celsius.
- During the winter months, the Atlantic coast (and specifically around Casablanca) will see a lot of rainfall and frequent showers.
Do keep these handy tips in mind when you plan your trips and vacation.
Cheapest time to visit Morocco
To cut costs and get bargains, you can travel in the summer months during which the prices will be lower for accommodation, airfares, and local tours. But due to diverse climates, the low season varies from region to region in Morocco. For Marrakech, Essaouira, and Sahara, the cheapest rates are February, October, and May. The shoulder seasons, which are also the Spring and Fall seasons, will give you the best deals, cheapest bargains, and the least number of tourists with friendly and warm weather.
When to beat the tourist crowd
Like low seasons, the least crowded season will vary from region to region in Morocco.
While the mountains seem to be crowded during the Spring and Fall seasons due to the pleasant weather, it’s best to avoid these seasons. These are high season for trekking and hiking activities.
When it comes to coastal cities like Tangier and beach towns, they offer good weather throughout the year but are especially crowded during the summer months. So you can opt for the winter, spring, or fall seasons to enjoy the beach towns. You can also enjoy the months of April and June just before the crowds set in.
Thanks to the warm but pleasant temperatures of autumn and spring, the inland cities like Chefchaouen, Fes, and Marrakech experience a lot of tourist inflow and get very busy. Avoid these months and try to travel in the other months.
You will find the least crowd in Sahara during December, January, and February, and that is when you should be planning to cover it. But these are also the months when it will get freezing cold at night and so ensure you are carrying the right weather protection with you.
Important Festivals in Morocco
Being a majority Muslim country, Morocco hosts several cultural festivals as well as observes Islamic holidays. As a traveler, you can also plan your trip to accommodate the various festivals that are celebrated in this nation.
The International Nomads Festival
This festival takes place for 4 days every March and is a celebration of arts, music, and culture and involves several open-air performances. You will find several workshops and performances that offer folk art, storytelling, theater, and music in the desert near the town of M’hamid.
The Gnaoua World Music Festival
This is an international event that takes place in the beautiful coastal town of Essaouira. This festival is an annual event and hosts several international performances by artists from around the world. The concerts are free for the public and cover the best of international music as well as Morocco’s local Gnaoua music.
The TANJazz festival
The name may seem peculiar. However, it is derived from Tangier, the town that celebrates and hosts this festival. As the name suggests, this is an International Jazz festival. This festival boasts of some of the very best Jazz performances from around the world, and they take place in several hotels across Tangier city.
The Rose Festival
The Rose Festival is an annual event that marks the harvesting of Rose petals. What makes it special is the huge 700 tonnes of roses harvested and is held in Dades Valley. It offers a variety of performances in celebration of the harvest. You will find sweet-smelling pink-colored Damascus roses in the fields of El Kelaa M’Gouna. The performances include traditional music, song, and dance numbers, and where local Berber tribes converge to socialize and enjoy the harvest together.
The Geminids Meteor Shower
When was the last time you saw a Meteor show? During December, you can see the most intense of meteor showers in the country. These meteor showers are slow-moving and breathtakingly beautiful and are caused by falling debris from some object.
The Migration of the Berbers
This event takes place twice a year and has been happening for thousands of years now. The current generation of Berber and their ancestors have all followed the same path twice a year for this travel. The tribe and their cattle move together for this migration which happens in May and September each year. From the edge of the Sahara Desert, Morocco’s native Berber tribe will make a time-consuming and challenging journey to the sacred pastures in the Atlas Mountains.
Imilchil Marriage Festival
Hosted in the Imichil village, every September, the Berber tribal clans go looking for love and carry on an age-old tradition in the process of marrying anyone they like from the neighboring tribes.
Ramadan needs no introduction and is one of the most important festivals of the Muslim community. However, what’s exciting is their devotion and faith in their god. Also, it’s a sight to see as whole towns, cities, and villages virtually shut down for the entire day and suddenly come back to life in the evening during the iftar with people breaking their fasts together and relishing the food. The atmosphere is festive in the evening, with people heading out to restaurants, food joints, and cafés after breaking their fast. Witnessing this event as a traveler and non-muslim in itself feels like an honor and gives a unique experience.
- The timings and events during Ramadan will change. Most restaurants, cafes, and shops will be closed throughout the day during Ramadan and will open only in the evening during the daily fast-breaking. The shops, souks, and cafes may stay open longer in the evenings and night than usual, sometimes even all night.
- Major tourist attractions and madrassas, gardens, museums, mosques, etc. would stay closed throughout Ramadan. Therefore make your plans according to the situation. It would be best recommended to avoid the month of Ramadan. There is not much left for the tourists to do and also a lot of restrictions are in force.
- Morocco will be hot and so be prepared with adequate linen or cotton clothing, hats, shades, sun creams, and water bottles before heading out.
Morocco is a year-round destination if you plan to stick to the coastal town or cities which have pleasant weather even in summers. Anywhere else in Morocco will need careful planning for travel and stay. Climate and weather conditions will change from region to region, so pack accordingly. I hope the information helped you and gave you sufficient information to start planning out your next vacation in Morocco. Happy travels.