Month-by-month

Winter hits Morocco in November and lasts until mid-February when the days begin to shorten. While temperatures are warm compared to European or North American climates, it’s worth layering your clothes, particularly as pleasant daytime temperatures tumble once night falls.

January is the perfect time for kite-surfing in Essaouira and Dakhla along the coast. Opt for a trek in the Sahara Desert rather than the towering Mount Toubkal when snowfall can be heavy at higher altitudes. In the cities, expect some rainy days and the occasional road closure when crossing Tizi n'Tichka Pass in the Atlas Mountains.

February to May is one of the best times to visit Morocco as temperatures are perfect for exploring its cities in the day before ending your evening on a rooftop. In the Atlas Mountains, the valleys are in bloom with wildflowers, making springtime an ideal season to summit Mount Toubkal or venture further in to the Sahara Desert where the rivers are wide with water.

During the summer months of June to August temperatures soar, but with both Atlantic and Mediterranean coasts, there are no shortage of wild beaches to explore, small coastal towns to wander through and festivals to enjoy. Moroccans living abroad often return for the month of August and locals head to the coast to seek refuge from the heat. Accommodations in cities like Fez and Marrakech may offer reduced rates to entice visitors who prefer to wander with fewer tourists. Several camps in the Sahara Desert may close for the summer as daytime temperatures soar. Shade and air-conditioning is limited.

When September rolls around, locals and expats return for la rentrée and business resumes after summer holidays abroad. With them come tourists as the temperatures decrease, becoming more and more comfortable towards October. Marrakech comes alive with cultural activities and art exhibitions. In rural areas, the olive harvest begins in autumn and a wander through a palm grove in the south provides an opportunity to taste dates from the source.

Morocco_Aitbenhaddou2

Ksar Kasbah, Ait Benhaddou

Festival and events

Be sure to check the dates of each festival prior to planning your trip as dates change depending on the holy month of Ramadan, which changes dates each year due to the difference between the Gregorian and Islamic Hijri calendars.

The three-day almond blossom festival in Tafraoute in February promotes local culture through dance, folklore and – unsurprisingly – all things almond.

As the name suggests, Jazzablanca brings the best in jazz (and other crowd-pleasing performers) to Casablanca for energetic music-filled nights both indoors and out.

Providing access to some of the finest private venues, think centuries-old palaces and residences, throughout the medieval medina of Fez, the Fez Festival of World Sacred Music brings together some of the finest names in the industry for performances in unique venues.

A colourful and loud parade through the medina kicks off the four-day Gnaoua and World Music Festival held each June in Essaouira when electrifying energy from the three stages featuring Gnaoua masters turn this typically sleepy seaside town into an all-out party.

Despite the July heat, the Festival des Arts Populaires in Marrakech provides a display of local folklore through traditional dances and even costumes from across the country. Many shows take place in historic Badii Palace.

Each October, Essaouira plays host to the Andalusian music festival, highlighting the country’s Andalusian roots through music, dance, film and talks over the course of three days.

When to go to Morocco

By Mandy Sinclair

Mandy Sinclair is a travel and public relations consultant based in Marrakech, Morocco. Having swapped public employee life in Canada for a life unknown in Morocco, she’s constantly exploring the North African kingdom. She hosts the bi-weekly podcast Why Morocco, conversations with the creative and inspiring personalities she meets while living in Marrakech. When she’s not at her desk, she’s meeting guests on Tasting Marrakech food and cutlural tours, a business she developed given her love of street food, arts, culture and architecture. Mandyinmorocco.com

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