A break from the ordinary: Exploring exotic Morocco
When planning an adventure in Morocco, embrace the eclectic nature of this ancient country's intriguing mix of old and new. Spend time on the sunny coast, then make room for a camel ride into the desert, a trek through the lush valleys and winding trails of the Atlas Mountains and a visit to the exhilarating chaos of Marrakesh. It's easy to explore all the must-have Moroccan experiences in a couple of weeks, but choose wisely for a brief visit. Consider a springtime trek to beat the heat and crowds, or, if you're a fan of high temps and celebrating holidays with the locals, schedule your visit during the peak of summer.
Seasons and weather in Morocco
The Moroccan summer starts in June and lasts through September. Temperatures inland, including in Marrakesh, can hover in the mid-90s in June and September and climb well into triple digits during July and August, making summertime travelers sticky and grumpy. Leave the heat and attitude behind with a trip to the sunny coast made comfortable by ocean breezes. The cooler temps in the mountain regions dissecting Morocco also give welcome relief from the fierce summertime heat of the inland plains.
Fall in Morocco means milder temperatures during September and October for much of the country. It’s the off-season for tourism and can mean better prices and less competition for space. Southern Moroccan winters feature daytime highs in the 60s to 70s and nighttime lows in the 30s and 40s. Even the mighty Sahara cools enough to make excursions into the desert more bearable. Regions in the north experience cloudy, rainy days during winter, as well as significant snowfall in the higher elevations of the Atlas Mountains.
Spring – touted by many as the best season for a visit – arrives in late March and lasts through May. The landscape is filled with blooming flowers and fresh green foliage. Days are sunny and warm – not hot. The coast may be a bit chilly for true beach bums, but there’s still plenty to see and experience in Casablanca and other coastal cities.
Managing the crowds
That Moroccans love to celebrate is evidenced by all the traveling they do throughout their country for state and religious holiday festivities. Peak holiday season runs from July through September, and celebrating reaches its height during August when Moroccans living or working in Europe travel home to reconnect with family and friends.
In August it can become difficult to find a hotel or snatch an empty table at a restaurant. Even worse, many restaurants and hotels close during the month to beat the heat and create family time. To snare August accommodations, organize your trip early and get specific about where to stay and when.
Take a side trip to Spain
About nine miles north of Morocco via the Strait of Gibraltar lies Spain. A memorable side trip might include visiting the Costa del Sol, home to some of the best beaches in Europe, including the resort town of Marbella, where the wealthy go to tan. Squeeze in a stopover in Cadiz, the seaport that once launched ships to colonize the New World. Spring is Spain’s best season for visitors hoping to avoid oppressive summer heat and crowds associated with the Europeans’ penchant for traveling during August.