Morocco is a fantastic year-round vacation destination, but choosing the best time of year to travel will depend on your interests and holiday needs.

The mild months from October to April see an influx of travelers from the northern hemisphere, who flock to North Africa to escape long winters in Europe or North America. For the rest of the year – especially in July and August along the coast – Morocco is busy with domestic travelers and international visitors taking advantage of package holiday deals, music festivals and outdoor activities such as surfing, kiteboarding and hiking. 

Whether you come for the sun, the surf, the wind sports, the outdoors, local festivals or the rich culture, here's our guide to the best times to travel to Morocco.

September is the best month for good weather and fewer crowds

Domestic and international travelers head back to school and work after the August summer holidays, so September is a great time to visit. The weather is warm, with long sunny days, balmy waters and quiet beaches. It's also an excellent time to visit cultural sights in coastal cities such as Essaouira, Rabat, Casablanca, Tetouan, and Tangier. Inland, Marrakesh and surrounding regions can still be quite hot in September.

Diners in the sunshine at a rooftop restaurant in Marrakesh, Morocco
Avoid the hot summer and cool winter to make the most of Marrakesh © Thomas Barwick / Getty Images

September to November and March to May are best for hiking and visiting Marrakesh

For sunny days and temperatures that aren't too hot or cold, visit Marrakesh in spring (March to May) or fall (September to November). Avoid the summer months of June to August unless you have a love affair with air conditioning and 38°C (100°F) heat; nights can be cold from December to February, especially in riads (courtyard homes) without central heating.

During May and October, you can travel comfortably to Morocco’s portion of the Sahara Desert – expect to find most desert camps closed from June to August due to the excessive heat. Conversely, days are shorter during the winter months from December to February and the nights and early mornings can be freezing, particularly when sleeping under canvas. Sandstorms occur from January to May, but Saharwians are used to these storms; follow their lead by wearing a Tuareg scarf to protect your face from the sand and sun.

The High Atlas region is a year-round hiking destination, but the weather is mildest from April to June and September to November, creating ideal trekking conditions for all fitness levels. If you visit in May, you'll see the M’Goun Valley come alive for the Festival des Roses. If you prefer to trek at lower altitudes consider a visit to the Anti-Atlas mountain range in springtime. This season is for wildflowers, spring blossoms in the trees and quiet hiking trails. An annual almond blossom festival takes place in Tafraoute in February or March, depending on when the trees flower and the harvest.

The mild spring and fall are also the best times to see migratory birds. The top birding spot on the coast is Oualidia; its peaceful lagoon is a haven for resident and migratory waterbird species. Souss-Massa National Park also attracts migratory birds, which gather here in large numbers before or after their Atlantic crossings.

A surfer on the beach at sunset in Taghazout, Morocco
A surfer on the beach at sunset in Taghazout © mgs / Getty Images

December to February is the season for celebrations, surfing and skiing

The weather can be cold and wet from December to February, especially in the north, but winter is an excellent time for city and cultural explorations. In Marrakesh and other hubs popular with foreign residents and visiting travelers, you can enjoy epic celebrations over the Christmas and New Year holidays. However, accommodation prices increase significantly over the peak vacation dates from December 22 until January 7. Yennayer, the Amazigh New Year, falls in the first week of January, so there may be some local festivities around at this time as well. 

In deep winter, the peaks of the High Atlas are covered in snow – perfect for those who prefer to ski down rather than hike up mountains. The snow can create hazardous conditions for driving on remote roads, and some routes will close, but the main skiing areas – Oukaimeden and Ifrane – are accessible and skiing will be a fun addition to your North African adventure.

Winter is when the Atlantic swell is most consistent on the Moroccan coast. December to February sees the largest waves, and surfers flock to Taghazout, Mirleft, Sidi Ifni and other spots along Morocco’s west coast. A lively center for surf culture, Taghazout hosts an annual surf expo in October and international competitions such as the World Surf League in January and February.

A musician playing a tambourine in Agadir, Morocco
Summer is the time for music festivals in Morocco @ zzzz76/GettyImages

June to September is the best time for festivals and kitesurfing

Morocco’s long summer days and nights are ideal for outdoor music events, as bands and musicians fill venues nationwide. Top festivals to look out for include the Fez Festival of World Sacred Music (dates vary from June to September), Essaouira’s Gnaoua World Music Festival in June, the Asilah Festival in July and October and Casablanca’s Jazzablanca in June. Rabat’s Mawazine – one of the world’s largest festivals – is set to return in 2024 after a three-year hiatus. Book accommodations well in advance and be prepared for higher prices.

During July and August, inland temperatures can soar to over 38°C (100°F), but on the Atlantic coast cooling breezes and misty fog keep temperatures down to around 27°C (80°F). Agadir, Dakhla and Essaouira are particularly popular with domestic travelers in August thanks to the long sunny days and lifeguard-protected beaches. While the Moroccan sun is strong, beach parasols and covered outdoor seating areas are easy to find, and the ocean is calmer and warmer – perfect for swimming, riding pedalos and stand-up paddleboarding. The mellower waves from June to November are ideal for beginner and intermediate surfers.

Kitesurfing and windsurfing are possible year-round at several flat water spots in Essaouira and Dakhla due to consistent trade winds from the Atlantic, but April to September brings reliable high winds thanks to the thermal effect along the Moroccan coastline. An annual international kitesurfing competition is held in Dakhla at the end of September, drawing competitors and spectators from around the world. 

Experience Morocco without the crowds during Ramadan

Check the dates for Ramadan, the Muslim month of fasting; these change each year. This important annual festival is a quiet and spiritual time to experience Morocco. Though many food establishments close during the day, you'll still find places to eat at hotels.

This article was first published May 25, 2021 and updated Mar 11, 2024.

Explore related stories

Where-Locals-Go-Spain-Tarifa.png

Beaches

Explore the destinations where locals travel in Spain

May 20, 2024 • 5 min read