Best time to visit Morocco

To get the most out of your adventure, it's important to choose the best time to visit Morocco. If you have your eye on the climate, explore the southern regions or desert routes, especially avoiding mid-summer when temperatures spike, turning normal walks into sweat, especially if you use public transport. July-August, although scorching elsewhere, offers a coastal paradise. As for the mountains, there are no rigid rules, which brings a thrill to a Moroccan trip.

When's the best time to visit Morocco

The best time to visit Morocco largely depends on your interests and the regions you plan to explore.  

In Morocco, the peak tourist season typically spans from April to October, with the highest influx of visitors occurring during the spring (April to June) and autumn (September and October) months. These periods are favored due to the mild and pleasant weather, ideal for exploring Morocco's diverse landscapes, from its bustling cities to the tranquil Sahara Desert.

However, the summer months, particularly July and August, can be overwhelmingly hot, especially in the desert regions and the south. The intense heat during these months can make outdoor activities and exploration less comfortable. Moreover, coastal areas like Essaouira and Agadir may be more crowded.

On the other hand, the winter months, from November to February, can be quite cold, especially in the Atlas Mountains and the desert at night. While this season sees fewer tourists and can be a good time for those looking to avoid crowds.

The weather in Morocco in May is great for bike tours © Shutterstock

Visiting the Atlas Mountains is best during spring and autumn © Shutterstock

Best months to visit Morocco?

Spring, which comes late by European standards (around April and May), is perhaps the best time to visit Morocco, with a summer climate in the south and in the mountains, as well as on the Mediterranean and Atlantic coasts. 

To give you a better understanding of the weather in Morocco, here's a month-to-month guide for the best time to visit Morocco.

Weather in Morocco in January

January offers a unique perspective on Morocco. It's the heart of winter, and while the temperatures may be cooler, especially inland, coastal cities like Casablanca and Rabat enjoy mild weather ranging from 10°C to 18°C.

If you're looking for a quieter and more budget-friendly experience, January is a great choice for Morocco. It is considered the low tourist season, so you can expect fewer crowds compared to other months.

Read more about the weather in Morocco in January.

Weather in Morocco in February

February offers a delightful balance of manageable weather, fewer crowds, and cost-effectiveness. It's an excellent time to explore the country's diverse landscapes and cultural treasures. 

Whether you're navigating the labyrinthine medinas, trekking the mountains, or succumbing to the allure of the desert, February promises a remarkable journey through Morocco. 

Read more about the weather in Morocco in February.

Weather in Morocco in March

March is the perfect time to discover Morocco's enchanting landscapes and vibrant culture. The weather is relatively mild, encouraging outdoor activities. Although it is not the peak tourist season, it is not as crowded as the summer months, which can be a huge advantage.

In addition, hotel prices in March are more reasonable than during the peak season, making it an ideal time for budget travellers.

Read more about the weather in Morocco in March.

Weather in Morocco in April

April is the perfect time to explore Morocco as the country emerges from the chilly embrace of winter into milder and more pleasant temperatures. Spring is in full swing and the landscapes are filled with vibrant colours.

Overall, the weather in Morocco in April is the perfect time to stroll the bustling medinas, explore the diverse cultures and enjoy the enchanting beauty of Morocco's varied landscapes.

Read more about the weather in Morocco in April.

Weather in Morocco in May

In May, Morocco blossoms into an enchanting destination, with warmer weather that invites travellers to enjoy themselves. The pleasant temperatures make it the perfect time to stroll through the mazes of ancient cities, savour the local cuisine and explore the country's rich historical and architectural heritage.

Read more about the weather in Morocco in May.

Weather in Morocco in June

June signals the onset of summer in Morocco, bringing with it a warmer embrace. The weather becomes more conducive to outdoor activities, inviting visitors to explore the vibrant markets, traverse the scenic Atlas Mountains, and unwind in the coastal breezes

Overall, June can be a favourable time to visit Morocco. This is a time when Morocco showcases its diverse offerings, from bustling urban centres to tranquil natural wonders.

Read more about the weather in Morocco in June

blue-city-chefchaouen-morocco-shutterstock_1109507813

Chefchaouen, also known as the Blue City © Shutterstock

Weather in Morocco in July

July ushers in the height of summer, bringing a sun-kissed warmth to Morocco. While the inland regions experience higher temperatures, coastal areas provide a refreshing escape. This month is perfect for seaside relaxation, immersing oneself in the cultural festivities, and enjoying the lively atmosphere that characterizes Moroccan summers.

Overall, July can be a challenging time to visit Morocco for some travellers due to the high temperatures that characterize this month. However, whether it's a good time for you depends on your preferences and ability to handle the heat.

Read more about the weather in Morocco in July.

Weather in Morocco in August

August continues the summertime allure in Morocco, with a sun-drenched ambience that beckons travellers to coastal retreats and cultural hotspots. While the interior regions may experience warmer temperatures, the coastal cities offer a more temperate climate, making it an ideal time to indulge in the country's coastal charm and diverse landscapes.

Read more about the weather in Morocco in August.

Weather in Morocco in September

September marks the gentle transition from summer to fall, maintaining a warm and inviting atmosphere. September lies in Morocco’s shoulder season, and with the summer crowds waning, it's an opportune moment to explore Morocco's treasures, from the historic sites to the natural wonders. 

Read more about the weather in Morocco in September.

Weather in Morocco in October

October extends an inviting welcome to Morocco, as the country gracefully transitions from the warmth of summer to the cooler embrace of autumn. The temperatures become more moderate, creating an ideal climate for exploration and outdoor activities. 

The weather in Morocco in October makes this month particularly enticing for those seeking a balance between cultural immersion and natural wonders. From the vibrant markets of Marrakech to the golden dunes of the Sahara, October offers a diverse tapestry of experiences.

Read more about the weather in Morocco in October.

Weather in Morocco in November

Morocco is a land of diverse landscapes and cultures, making it a captivating destination throughout the year. While each season offers something special, November can be an excellent time to visit for several reasons.

November brings relief from the scorching summer heat and the bone-chilling winter cold. The temperatures are generally pleasant, making it easier to explore the country without the discomfort of extreme weather.

Read more about the weather in Morocco in November.

Weather in Morocco in December

December can indeed be a fantastic time to experience Morocco for several compelling reasons.

While much of Europe is shivering in the cold, Morocco boasts mild and comfortable temperatures. The winter weather is ideal for exploring Morocco's historic cities, hiking in the Atlas Mountains, or even enjoying some sun on the coastal beaches.

Read more about the weather in Morocco in December.

Moroccan peak season

The peak season in Morocco is usually between mid-May and mid-October. During this time, the weather is usually pleasant and conducive to travelling. Cities such as Marrakech, Fez and Chefchaouen attract large numbers of tourists and popular attractions such as the Sahara Desert and the Atlas Mountains are lively. Hotel accommodation and excursions can be in high demand, so booking in advance is recommended for a more comfortable journey.

Planning a trip to Marrakech? Start preparing for your trip with our guide to the best accommodation options in Marrakech.

Moroccan rainy season

Morocco's rainy season lasts from November to March. Although rainfall varies from region to region, the coastal areas and the north of the country receive more rainfall. Landscapes transform into lush greenery and temperatures become milder. This season is ideal for those looking for a more peaceful and serene holiday. However, travellers should be prepared for occasional rains and cooler temperatures, especially in the evenings.

Moroccan dry season

From April to October, it is the dry season in Morocco, characterised by warm temperatures and minimal rainfall. This period is ideal for exploring a variety of landscapes, from bustling medinas to vast deserts. Cities such as Marrakech and Fez are drenched in sunshine and active holidays such as hiking in the Atlas Mountains or camel trekking in the Sahara are particularly enjoyable. The dry season attracts a large number of tourists, so it is essential to plan and book accommodation and activities in advance.

Want to be better prepared for your trip to Morocco? Read our useful tips for travelling to Morocco.

The Hassan II Mosque or Grande Mosquée Hassan II is a mosque in Casablanca © Shutterstock

The Grande Mosquée Hassan II Casablanca © Shutterstock

Festivals in Morocco

Morocco abounds in holidays and festivals, both national and local, and coming across one can be the most enjoyable experience of travel in the country – with the chance to witness music and dance, as well as special regional foods and market souks. Perhaps surprisingly, this includes Ramadan, when practising Muslims, including most Moroccans, fast from sunrise to sunset for a month, but when nights are good times to hear music and share in hospitality.

Ramadan

Ramadan, the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, commemorates the first revelation of the Koran to Muhammad. Most people observe the fast; indeed Moroccans are forbidden by law from publicly disrespecting it, and a few people are jailed for this each year.

Fasting period

The fast involves abstention from food, drink, smoking and sex during daylight throughout the month. Most local cafés and restaurants close during the day, and many close up altogether and take a month’s holiday. 

Smokers in particular get edgy towards the month’s end, and it is in some respects an unsatisfactory time to travel: efficiency drops, drivers fall asleep at the wheel (hence airline pilots are excused fasting), and guides and muleteers are unwilling to go off on treks, and when the fast ends at sunset, almost regardless of what they are doing, everybody stops to eat. The month-long closure of so many eating places can also make life difficult if you are dependent on restaurants.

But there is compensation for witnessing and becoming absorbed into the pattern of the fast. At sunset, signalled by the sounding of a siren, by the lighting of lamps on minarets, and in some places by a cannon shot, an amazing calm and sense of well-being fall on the streets. 

The fast is traditionally broken with a bowl of harira and some dates, a combination provided by many cafés and restaurants exactly at sunset. You will also see almsgiving (zakat) extended to offering harira to the poor and homeless.

After the fast

After breaking their fast, everyone – in the cities at least – gets down to a night of celebration and entertainment. This takes different forms. If you can spend some time in Marrakech during the month, you’ll find the Jemaa el Fna square at its most active, with troupes of musicians, dancers and acrobats coming into the city for the occasion. 

In Rabat and Fez, there seem to be continuous promenades, with cafés and stalls staying open until 3am. Urban cafés provide venues for live music and singing, too, and in the southern towns and Berber villages, you will often come across the ritualized ahouaches and haidus – circular, trance-like dances often involving whole communities.

If you are a non-Muslim outsider you are not expected to observe Ramadan, but you should be sensitive about breaking the fast (particularly smoking) in public. In fact, the best way to experience Ramadan – and to benefit from its naturally purifying rhythms – is to enter into it. 

You may lack the faith to go without an occasional glass of water, and you’ll probably have breakfast later than sunrise (it’s often wise to buy supplies the night before), but it is worth an attempt.

Panoramic view from the Daliyya (Dalia) Beach on the Strait of Gibraltar, Tangier, Morocco © Shutterstock

Panoramic view from the Daliyya (Dalia) Beach in Tangier © Shutterstock

Other Islamic holidays

Ramadan ends with the feast of Aïd es Seghir or Aïd el Fitr, a climax to the month’s night-time festivities. Even more important is Aïd el Kebir, which celebrates the willingness of Abraham to obey God by sacrificing his son (Isaac in the Old Testament, but believed by Muslims to be his older son Ishmael). Aïd el Kebir is followed, about two months later, by Moharem, the Muslim New Year.

Both aïds are traditional family gatherings. At Aïd el Kebir every household that can afford it will slaughter a sheep. You see them tethered everywhere, often on rooftops, for weeks prior to the event; after the feast, their skins can be seen being cured on the streets. On both days, shops and restaurants close and buses don’t run; on the following day, all transport is packed, as people return to the cities from their family homes.

The fourth main religious holiday is the Mouloud, the Prophet’s birthday. This is widely observed, with a large number of moussems timed to take place in the weeks around it, and two particularly important moussems at Meknes and Salé. There is also a music festival, Ashorou, which is held thirty days after Aïd el Kebir, when people gather to play whatever traditional instrument they feel capable of wielding, and the streets are full of music.

Moussems and ammougars

Moussems – or ammougars – held in honour of saints or marabouts, are local and predominantly rural affairs, and form the main religious and social celebrations of the year for most Moroccans, along with Aïd es Seghir and Aïd el Kebir.

Some of the smaller moussems amount to no more than a market day with religious overtones. Others are essentially harvest festivals, celebrating a pause in agricultural labour after a crop has been successfully brought in, but a number have developed into substantial occasions – akin to Spanish fiestas – and a few have acquired national significance. 

If you are lucky enough to be here for one of the major events, you’ll get the chance to witness Moroccan popular culture at its richest, with horseriding, music, singing and dancing, and of course eating and drinking.

There are enormous numbers of moussems. An idea of quite how many can be gathered from the frequency with which, travelling about the countryside, you see koubbas – the square, white-domed buildings covering a saint’s tomb. Each of these is a potential focal point of a moussem, and any one region or town may have twenty to thirty separate annual moussems. 

Establishing when they take place, however, can be difficult for outsiders; most local people find out by word of mouth at the weekly souks. Some moussems are held around religious occasions such as Mouloud, which change date each year according to the lunar calendar; others follow the solar calendar (see Ramadan and Islamic holidays).

The accommodation situation will depend on whether the moussem is in the town or the countryside. In the country, the simplest solution is to take a tent and camp – there is no real objection to anyone camping wherever they please during a moussem.

Aims and functions of Moussems

The ostensible aim of the moussem is religious: to obtain the blessing, or baraka, from the saint and/or to thank God for the harvest. But the social and cultural dimensions are equally important. Moussems provide an opportunity for country people to escape the monotony of their hard-working lives in several days of festivities, and they may provide the year’s single opportunity for friends or families from different villages to meet.

Music and singing are always major components of a moussem and locals will often bring tape recorders to provide sounds. Sufi brotherhoods have a big presence, and each brings their own distinct style of music, dancing and dress.

Moussems also operate as fairs, or markets, attracting people from a much wider area than the souk and giving a welcome injection of cash into the local economy, with traders and entertainers doing good business, and householders renting out rooms.

Spiritual and therapeutic significance

At the spiritual level, people seek to improve their standing with God through prayer, as well as the less orthodox channels of popular belief. Central to this is baraka, good fortune, which can be obtained by the intercession of the saint.

Financial contributions are made and these are used to buy a gift, or hedia, usually a large carpet, which is then taken in procession to the saint’s tomb. It is deposited there for the local shereefian families, the descendants of the saint, to dispose of as they wish.

The procession taking the gift to the tomb is the high point of the more religious moussems, such as that of Moulay Idriss in Fez, where an enormous carpet is carried above the heads of the Sufi brotherhoods, each playing its own hypnotic music. Spectators and participants, giving themselves up to the music, may go into a trance. If you witness such events, it is best to keep a low profile so as not to interfere with people trying to attain a trance-like state, and certainly don’t take photographs.

Release through trance probably has a therapeutic aspect, and indeed some moussems are specifically concerned with cures of physical and psychiatric disorders. The saint’s tomb is usually located near a freshwater spring, and the cure can simply be bathing in and drinking the water. Those suffering from physical ailments may also be treated at the moussem with herbal remedies, or by recitation of verses from the Koran.

Planning your April Morocco trip

Uncover the enchanting allure of Morocco with the guidance of our local travel experts. We take care of every detail of the planning and booking for your adventure.

Whenever you're ready to set off on your journey, contact us, and we'll create a tailor-made itinerary to suit your desires. Explore our existing Morocco itineraries for inspiration, knowing that each one can be adjusted to meet your specific preferences.

Rough Guides Editors

written by
Rough Guides Editors

updated 20.05.2024

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