The best times of the year to visit Morocco and the Sahara Desert

Morocco is one of the world’s most diverse countries, ranging from the Atlantic Coast to the High Atlas Mountains to the Sahara Desert. That means there are all kinds of weather and seasons throughout the year. So when is the best time to visit Morocco and the Sahara Desert? While spring (March to May) and autumn (September to October) are hailed as the best times to visit due to the pleasant temperatures, every season offers something different. To help you decide when to travel to Morocco and the Sahara Desert, read our month-by-month guide to discover the weather and the best events throughout the year.

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January

While Morocco and the Sahara Desert are known for their scorching temperatures, it actually gets quite cold in winter. January falls in the middle of winter, meaning icy temperatures and snowy mountains. If you’re heading to the Sahara Desert, you’ll get mild daytime temperatures, but the nights will be very cold, so bring your warmest clothes! In the cities, it will typically be sunny and cool, but there’s also a good chance of rain. Since January is a shoulder season, it’s a quieter time of year for tourism. 

What to do in Morocco in January

Skiing. The best time for skiing in Morocco falls from mid-January to mid-February

New Year celebrations. Join the parties and festivities held by different hotels in the major cities of Morocco like Marrakesh, Casablanca and Fes.

Yennayer (Amazigh New Year). Held from 12–13 January every year, Yennayer is the Amazigh (Berber) holiday that marks the start of the agricultural year. It’s celebrated by Amazigh (Berber) people, who mostly live in the Atlas mountains, and the festivities are incredible to see.

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February

The Moroccan winter continues into February and although the weather gets a little warmer, it’s still often cold, rainy and snowy. If you want to ski, head to Ifrane, a small resort town known as “little Switzerland” due to its gorgeous mountain scenery. If you prefer to visit Morocco in a quieter season, you’ll find fewer crowds all over Morocco in February as it’s the shoulder season. 

What to do in Morocco in February

Almond Blossom Festival in Tafraoute. Usually held in the second week of February, this gorgeous festival is held to celebrate the annual blooming of the almond tree flowers in Tafraoute. You’ll also witness many cultural traditions of the Amazigh (Berber) people who live here, plus you’ll get to taste the delicious products made with almonds.

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March

March heralds the start of spring in Morocco, with the weather warming up. You’ll likely find the sun shining and the flowers blooming when you visit Morocco in March. The temperatures generally range between 10°C and 20°C depending on the region, although it can get colder so it’s best to come prepared for anything. If you head into the mountains, you’re likely to see the snow melting and the wildflowers, cherry trees and almond trees blossoming. Be aware that spring sandstorms are common in the Sahara Desert during March.

What to do in Morocco in March

Outdoor activities. Whether you want to go hiking, cycling, or quad biking, March is a great month to do it. The temperatures are warm but not sweltering, and the rain is easing off. 

International Nomads Festival. This open-air festival celebrates Africa’s diverse nomadic cultures. It’s an incredible multicultural celebration of music, dance, food, cultural issues, and more. It’s usually held in March in the Draa Valley.

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April

Spring continues into April, with lovely temperatures ranging from 15°C to 27°C depending on the region. It’s a great time for sightseeing and photography with blooming trees and lush green landscapes. It’s also the best time to visit the Sahara Desert as the temperatures are mild – although the nights are still very cold!

What to do in Morocco in April

Ramadan. The religious month of Ramadan usually falls between April and May. While some travellers avoid travelling during Ramadan as some businesses shut down, it’s a great time to visit if you’re interested in different cultures and religions. It’s also a special experience to witness the breaking of the fast at sundown each day. In 2022, Ramadan will begin April 2nd and ends May 1st. 

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May

As the last month of spring, the weather starts getting warmer and sunnier in May. The average daily temperature in Marrakesh is around 28°C, but temperatures can range from 15°C and 35°C from the mountains to the desert. It’s a great month for hiking in the mountains or sightseeing in the souks and medinas.

What to do in Morocco in May

Gnaoua World Music Festival. Held in Essaouira, this incredible festival brings Gnaoua musicians from all over the world to celebrate their beautiful music.

Festival of Roses. Kelaat-M’Gouna, known as the valley of roses, hosts this annual festival every year in May. You’ll witness the harvesting of millions of roses and there are plenty of special events to keep you entertained.

June

Summer arrives in June – and so does the heat. It’s also the start of the lower season, so if you’re looking for a quieter experience, this is the month to do it. It’s the last month to visit the Sahara Desert before the sweltering heat of July and August arrives. And if you’re looking for some cooler areas, head to the coastal cities of Essaouira and Tangier or the peaks of the High Atlas Mountains. 

What to do in Morocco in June

Fes Festival of World Sacred Music. Held in Fes, this incredible festival celebrates spirituality, dance and music. It attracts local and international acts from all kinds of genres and the performances take place anywhere from the alleyways of the Fes Medina to stages around historical landmarks.

Mawazine Festival. This is another amazing music festival, but this one is held in Rabat, the capital of Morocco. It lasts for five days and you’ll see both local and international acts performing.

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July

Summer is in full swing come June and it’s one of the hottest months of the year to visit Morocco. While it’s considered the low season, it does coincide with school holidays in the UK, so it can be a popular time for family holidays. With daytime temperatures rising to 45°C, it’s best to go exploring in the mornings and evenings and spend the midday soaking in a pool. The hot summer nights are especially magical with lively markets and events.

If you’re after water sports, surfing, beaches and seafood, head to Essaouira. If it gets too hot, you can always retreat to the Atlas Mountains which are a bit cooler than the cities at around 30°C. It’s not a great time to visit the Sahara Desert due to the scorching temperatures and influx of snakes and insects.

What to do in Morocco in July

Timitar Music Festival. Held in the coastal city of Agadir every July, this festival draws artists from all over the world to celebrate Amazigh and Berber culture and music. You’ll experience shows, workshops, conferences and more throughout the festival. 

Jazzablanca. If you’re a jazz fan, you can’t miss this international jazz festival. Held every year (usually July) in Casablanca, it attracts the best jazz musicians from across the globe.

August

August is another scorching month with daytime temperatures reaching the mid-40°Cs. It’s best to head to the coastal cities like Tangier or Essaouira during this month.. And if you’re heading to the inland cities like Marrakesh, be sure to book a hotel with a swimming pool! It’s also best to stay clear of the Sahara Desert in August as it’s simply too hot. 

What to do in Morocco in August

Moussem Moulay Abdellah Amghar. This incredible festival is held every year in El Jadida and draws hundreds of thousands of people. You’ll get a real Moroccan experience here with folklore art and music, traditional horse riding performances, and more.

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September

September is one of the best times to visit Morocco as the weather starts to cool down, the skies are blue, and the summer holiday crowds tend to leave. The temperatures can still reach up to 33°C so it’s still a great time to go to the beach. And as autumn rolls in, the Sahara Desert also becomes much more manageable. 

What to do in Morocco in September

Festivals. From the Oasis Music Festival in Marrakesh to the Marriage Festival in Imilchil, or the L’Boulevard Festival of Casablanca to TANJazz in Tangier, you’re sure to find a festival to suit you during September in Morocco. 

October

The weather continues to cool down in October, making this month a popular time for tourists. It’s mild enough to go sightseeing around the cities and warm enough to visit the Atlantic coast. You can also go exploring in the Sahara Desert or the mountains, although the rain is beginning to increase in the northern mountain ranges. 

What to do in Morocco in October

Erfoud Dates Festival. Got a sweet tooth? You can’t miss this incredible Dates Festival held in the oasis of Erfoud near Ouarzazate. The area alone has nearly one million date palms and you’ll find some of Morocco’s finest date products here.

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November

November starts to ease into winter, offering cooler days and fewer crowds. The rainfall increases but you’ll still get plenty of sunny days – perfect to visit the iconic cities of Morocco like Marrakesh, Fes and Casablanca. Just remember to bring some warm clothes for those chilly nights. It also gets colder and windier in coastal cities like Essaouira and snow gets thicker in the High Atlas Mountains. November is also a great time to visit the Sahara Desert, with milder temperatures. 

What to do in Morocco in November

Milad un Nabi. Held on 10 November, this national public holiday celebrates the birth of the Prophet Mohammed. You’ll find all kinds of festivities from decorated mosques to market stalls selling traditional snacks and crafts.

Moroccan Independence Day. Held on 18 November, this day commemorates the day Morocco gained independence from Spain and France in 1956. It’s a national public holiday and you’ll find festivities and events around the cities.

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December

If you’re dreaming of some winter sun, December is a great time to visit Morocco. While it’s the start of the winter season in Morocco, it’s still mild and sunny, with some rainy days. The weather is cool enough to explore the cities, although the nights can get very cold. Snowy conditions make much of the High Atlas mountains impassable and snow falls heavily in many of the smaller villages. 

What to do in Morocco in December

Tan-Tan Moussem (Festival). This incredible cultural celebration brings dozens of different tribes from across Morocco to Tan-Tan in southwest Morocco. There’s dancing, music, storytelling, and camel races and it’s a spectacular event to witness.

Marrakesh International Film Festival. If you’re interested in Moroccan movies, you can’t miss this event. Held every year in Marrakesh to celebrate cinema, there are all kinds of films, workshops and events running, and don’t miss the movie projections on the main square of Jemaa El Fna.

Are you planning to visit Morocco and the Sahara Desert? Let us know in the comments below!

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