Morocco’s a year-round destination, but the best time to visit is generally during the autumn (September-November) or early spring (March-April). The weather is warm, but you’ll avoid the scorching heat and cold nights. Whatever time of year you visit, there’s always something special about Morocco.
Summer is hot and sticky, but there are breezy coastlines and balmy evenings to enjoy. Winter can be chilly with freezing temperatures in the mountains, but it’s the perfect time to experience the Sahara or trek the snow-clad peaks to Mt Toubkal. There are a few factors to weigh up when planning your Moroccan adventure and, like a good buffet, you’ll be able to pick the best bits.
When to visit the Sahara Desert
With the scorching summer sun and plummeting temperatures on winter nights, avoiding these extremes will make your desert stay more comfortable. Autumn and late spring offer ideal conditions to explore the arid landscapes without melting. Just note that March tends to be very windy and unexpected sandstorms can disrupt travel. Whenever you travel to the Sahara, pack loose layers to protect your skin and face from the overhead sun and swirling sands. They’ll also keep you warm at night when temperatures drop (yep, even in the summer!).
When to enjoy the coast
Travellers flock to the coast between June and September to take refuge from soaring temperatures. Water temperatures in northern Morocco often hit 25°C (77°F) in August, which is perfect for swimming. Consider visiting Tangier, Essaouira and Taghazout to hang ten at a surfing lesson, join a seaside yoga class or feast on grilled seafood.
When to beat the crowds
Inland hotspots like Marrakech, Fes and Chefchaouen are busiest from late spring to early autumn when the weather is favourable. However, there’s usually a surge in June through August when European holidaymakers take their summer break, particularly in coastal destinations like Tangier and Essaouira where the sea breeze takes the edge off the sizzling sun. For coastal trips, visit in April/May or September/October for a ‘best of both worlds’ scenario.
When to beat the heat
Morocco can get mighty hot in the summer, with temps often topping 40°C (104°F). Avoiding July and August is a good idea for those uncomfortable with the heat. The best time to visit if you like warm – but not too warm – weather is autumn or spring.
Can I visit Morocco during Ramadan?
Morocco's a predominately Islamic country, and some religious events may affect your travel plans. This includes Ramadan (the dates of which change every year), a holy month observed by Muslims across the world as a time of spiritual rejuvenation. Fasting occurs from sunrise to sunset, so restaurants, shops and other establishments may have altered hours (excluding hotels).
But these disruptions shouldn’t put you off! It’s quite a sight to see hundreds or even thousands of worshippers descend on local mosques for evening prayers before spilling onto the streets and markets to enjoy their iftar (breaking the fast meal). Read more about what it’s like to travel in Morocco during Ramadan.
Best for: cooler weather, small crowds, camping in the Sahara, Yennayer
Not a fan of the heat? January is the coolest and wettest month with daytime highs of 10-20°C, though it’s chillier in the mountains and warmer in the desert. The Sahara sees higher foot (read: camel) traffic due to more manageable daytime temps, while the rest of Morocco is usually crowd-free so you’ll have the sites and souks (almost) all to yourself.
If you time it well, you might experience Yennayer (Amazigh New Year), celebrated by traditional Berber communities in North Africa. Festivities can get pretty lively in the High Atlas with communal feasts, dancing and singing to honour the connection between the Amazigh and nature, and to call in abundant crops and prosperity for the year ahead.
Best for: cooler weather, trekking Mt Toubkal, Blossom Festival
There’s less rain in February and temperatures increase slightly. Queues at popular sites are minimal and you’ll have more opportunities to banter with locals. The weather is near perfect for hiking and camel rides in the desert. Or, if you prefer snow over sand, head to the High Atlas to experience the wintery magic of the mountains and summit Mt Toubkal, the highest peak in North Africa.
If you’re around in mid-February, consider visiting the quaint village of Tafraout in the Souss-Massa region for the annual Almond Blossom Festival. Expect delicious food, traditional Berber folk music and, of course, heaps of sweet-smelling almond blossoms.
Best for: lush landscapes, hiking, the International Nomad Festival
Hello, spring! March is a gorgeous month with budding flowers and lush vegetation thanks to the winter rains. Foot traffic picks up, but the weather is great for exploring iconic landmarks and getting lost in the winding streets of Marrakesh, Fes and Chefchaouen. Daytime temps climb into the low 20s, but layers are still required for the evening.
You could also align your trip with the International Nomad Festival in the remote Saharan village of M’Hamid El Ghizlane. It’s a wonderful opportunity to learn about the culture and customs of nomadic tribes from the region.
Best for: warmer weather, spring blooms, hiking, the Sufi Festival
Spring’s in full swing by April with rising temps and longer days. There's usually a rush of tourists around the Easter holidays, so keep this in mind if there’s somewhere in particular you want to stay as you may need to book in advance. Hiking in the Middle and High Atlas is a delight with blooming flora set against snow-topped peaks.
Be sure to check out the Sufi Festival if you’re around Fes, the cultural capital of Morocco. Sufism is an esoteric form of Islam that promotes mysticism, introspection and divine love. You’ll be able to witness Sufi devotees from around the world perform rituals, chanting, poetry and concerts in amazing venues across the city.
Best for: pleasant weather, trekking, the Festival of the Roses
May's hot but not sweltering weather makes it a popular month, so it’s best to book your activities and accommodation in advance. It’s one of the best months to go trekking, and it's the last month to venture into the Sahara or explore bustling cities like Marrakesh before the intense heat arrives.
If you visit M’Goun Valley (AKA, Valley of the Roses) in early May, you can see and smell beds of sweet Damascus roses as far as the eye can see. Pickers then pluck tonnes of petals for rose water and oil production – a key ingredient in Arab culture. Festival of the Roses coincides with the end of the harvest season and is a fantastic cultural experience.
Best for: enjoying the coast, cultural music festivals, the Cherry Festival
June marks the start of the summer (and the notorious heat), though it’s slightly cooler than July and August. The weather is prime for enjoying fresh seafood in Casablanca or kicking back on the beaches of Essaouira.
The festival calendar is jam-packed with musical goodness, including Essaouira's Gnaoua Music Festival and Fes's Festival of World Sacred Music. There’s also the Cherry Festival in Sefrou which features elaborate floats and parades, authentic Moroccan food and the crowning of ‘Miss Cherry’.
Best for: enjoying the coast, Jazzablanca, balmy evenings
Temperatures soar in June, often topping 40°C. But it's totally doable if you can cope with the heat (and remember to use sunscreen and stay hydrated!). It’s hotter the further inland you go – crowded cities like Marrakesh can feel stifling – so it’s the perfect excuse to head to Essaouira, Rabat or Tangier where the salty sea breeze cools things down.
Casablanca also hosts the annual Jazzablanca festival featuring soul, funk, new age and jazz music. Despite the heat, July is a reasonably popular month due to European summer breakers, so be sure to pre-book any activities on your bucket list.
Best for: balmy evenings, hitting the beach, Todra Gorge and Dades River
August is hot with a capital H. Beat the heat along the Atlantic or Mediterranean coastlines, or at Todra Gorge and Dades River where you can cool down in limestone river canyons. It’s best to start the day early and take refuge from the midday sun in museums, cafes or hammams. Days are quieter, but evenings come alive as locals fill the streets to eat and make the most of the cooler temps.
Best for: comfortable weather, the whole gamut of activities, Imilchil Marriage Festival
September is one of the best months to visit in terms of weather. The scorching heat subsides, sunshine is plentiful and the rush of summer holidaymakers comes to a halt. Aside from the Sahara which can still be oppressively hot, September offers prime conditions for trekking, swimming and exploring historical sites.
You could also head to the Middle Atlas to experience a side of Morocco most travellers don’t see at the Imilchil Marriage Festival. This annual event sees hundreds of Berber people gather in elaborate outfits to find their perfect spouse.
Best for: harvest season festivities, mild weather, Sahara adventures
Pleasant weather continues into October, and while the rain starts falling in the Middle Atlas mid-month, it’s usually not enough to disrupt hiking. It can get windy along the coast, so head inland to Fes, Marrakech and Chefchaouen to immerse yourself in the colour, chaos and charisma of Morocco sans the heat.
If you have a sweet tooth, you’ll love October as it’s date season! It’s a great time to experience traditional harvesting festivities and, of course, get your fill of Mother Nature’s caramels.
Best for: the Sahara, exploring the cities, cosying up in cafes
Things pick up again in the Sahara (but remember your warm layers!). Yes, it’s busier, but it’s worth it for more bearable temps. On the flip side, Morocco’s cities see lower foot traffic in November, making it a great time to tick off the highlights. The cooler weather is the perfect excuse to cosy up in cafes with mint tea and a plate of warm Moroccan pastries. Or go all out on the food on a tagine, harissa and couscous-filled adventure from Casablanca to Marrakesh.
Best for: winter trekking, cultural activities, Sahara adventures
For most of December, you’ll enjoy a crowd-free Morocco – excluding late-December which sees a spike in festive holidaymakers. It’s not quite bathing suit weather along the coast, but sun-seekers can visit the Sahara where clear skies and sunshine await. Mild daytime temps inland also make for excellent hiking conditions at lower altitudes like Todra Gorge (without sweating buckets).
If you want to embrace the wintry weather, you could go on a snow-crunching trek in the High Atlas to Mt Toubkal with a trusty pack of mules and an expert crew to lead the way.
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