Morocco is a winter wonderland that offers a unique blend of exotic culture, stunning landscapes, and warm hospitality. The country boasts a diverse range of destinations that cater to all types of travelers, whether you are looking for a romantic escape, an adventure-filled trip, or a cultural immersion. With so many options available, it can be challenging to decide where to stay during the winter months. In this article, we will explore the top 10 best places in Morocco to stay during winter and provide you with all the information you need to plan your perfect getaway.
Morocco’s winter season is an excellent time to visit the country, as the weather is mild and pleasant, and there are fewer crowds than during the peak tourist season. From historical havens to coastal charm, mountain majesty to desert dreams, northern nooks to lively locales, and cultural corners to famous footsteps, Morocco has something for everyone. Whether you want to explore the vibrant souks of Marrakech, relax on the beaches of Essaouira, or trek through the High Atlas Mountains, Morocco has it all. So, let’s dive into the top 10 best places to stay in Morocco during winter and discover the country’s hidden gems.
- Morocco is a winter wonderland that offers a diverse range of destinations for all types of travelers.
- From historical havens to desert dreams, Morocco has something for everyone.
- The top 10 best places to stay in Morocco during winter offer a unique blend of culture, adventure, and relaxation.
Why Morocco is a Winter Wonderland
Morocco is a country of diverse landscapes, cultures, and traditions. It is a country that offers something for everyone, and winter is no exception. From the snow-capped Atlas Mountains to the sunny beaches of Agadir, Morocco is a winter wonderland that should not be missed. Here are some reasons why Morocco is a great place to visit during the winter season.
Mild Winter Weather
Morocco is known for its mild winter weather, making it an ideal destination for those who want to escape the cold temperatures of their hometown. The average temperature during the winter months (December to February) ranges from 10°C to 20°C. The weather is sunny and dry, with occasional rainfall in some regions. This makes it a perfect time to explore the country’s cities, beaches, and mountains.
Morocco is a country that celebrates its culture and traditions, and winter is no exception. There are several winter festivals that take place across the country during this time, including the Marrakech International Film Festival, the Erfoud Date Festival, and the Imilchil Marriage Festival. These festivals offer a glimpse into the country’s rich history and traditions, and are a great way to experience Morocco’s culture.
Skiing and Snowboarding
Morocco may not be the first place that comes to mind when you think of skiing and snowboarding, but it is home to several ski resorts, including Oukaimeden and Michlifen. These resorts offer a range of slopes for skiers and snowboarders of all levels, as well as stunning views of the Atlas Mountains.
While the winter weather may be mild in most parts of Morocco, the desert can get quite chilly at night. However, this does not mean that you should avoid the desert during the winter months. In fact, winter is a great time to explore the Sahara Desert, as the temperatures are more comfortable for camel rides, sandboarding, and stargazing.
Cosy Riads and Hotels
Morocco is known for its beautiful and unique riads, which are traditional Moroccan houses with interior courtyards. These riads offer a cosy and warm atmosphere, with fireplaces and hot water bottles to keep you warm during the chilly winter nights. In addition to riads, Morocco has a range of hotels and resorts that offer comfortable and luxurious accommodations for winter travelers.
Overall, Morocco is a winter wonderland that offers a range of activities and experiences for travelers. From skiing and snowboarding to desert adventures and cultural festivals, Morocco is a destination that should not be missed during the winter season.
Historical Havens: Timeless Retreats
Morocco is a country with a rich history that spans centuries. Visitors to the country can experience this history firsthand by staying in some of the country’s most historic and timeless retreats. Here are two of the best historical havens to stay in during winter:
Marrakech: A Blend of Ancient and Modern
Marrakech is a city that perfectly blends the ancient and modern. Visitors can stay in traditional riads that have been converted into modern accommodations, such as the Riad Star. This riad was once the home of Josephine Baker and has been beautifully restored to its former glory. It features traditional Moroccan architecture, such as a central courtyard, and modern amenities like a rooftop pool.
For those who prefer a more luxurious stay, the Four Seasons Resort Marrakech is a great option. This five-star hotel is located in a 40-acre garden and features a spa, multiple restaurants, and a golf course. It is also located near some of the city’s most historic sites, such as the Bahia Palace and the Saadian Tombs.
Fes: A Cultural and Spiritual Epicenter
Fes is known as the cultural and spiritual epicenter of Morocco. Visitors can stay in traditional Moroccan houses, known as dar, that have been converted into modern accommodations, such as the Dar Roumana. This dar was built in the 17th century and features traditional Moroccan architecture, such as a central courtyard and intricate tile work. It also features modern amenities like a rooftop terrace and a restaurant that serves traditional Moroccan cuisine.
For those who prefer a more luxurious stay, the Palais Faraj Suites & Spa is a great option. This five-star hotel is located in the heart of the Fes Medina and features a spa, multiple restaurants, and a rooftop terrace with panoramic views of the city. It is also located near some of the city’s most historic sites, such as the Al-Attarine Madrasa and the Bou Inania Madrasa.
Overall, Marrakech and Fes are two of the best places in Morocco to stay during winter. Visitors can experience the country’s rich history and culture firsthand by staying in these historic havens.
Coastal Charm: Beachside Escapes During Winter
Morocco’s coastline is a true gem that attracts tourists throughout the year. During winter, the weather is mild, and the sea is calm, making it an ideal time to explore the beaches and enjoy the coastal charm. Here are two beachside escapes that offer a serene atmosphere and a rich cultural experience.
Agadir: Sunny Beaches and Serene Atmosphere
Agadir is a city located in the southern part of Morocco, known for its sunny beaches and serene atmosphere. The city boasts a 10-kilometer long sandy beach that is perfect for long walks and sunbathing. The beach is lined with cafes, restaurants, and shops that offer a variety of local and international cuisine. The city’s promenade is also a popular spot for jogging, cycling, and rollerblading.
In addition to the beach, Agadir has a vibrant nightlife that offers a range of entertainment options. Visitors can enjoy live music, dance performances, and karaoke nights in the city’s bars and nightclubs. Agadir also has a rich history and culture that can be explored in its museums, art galleries, and historic sites.
Essaouira: Windy City of Art and History
Essaouira is a windy city located on Morocco’s Atlantic coast that is known for its art and history. The city’s medina, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is a maze of narrow streets and alleyways that are lined with shops, cafes, and art galleries. The medina is also home to several historic sites, including the Skala de la Ville, a 18th-century fortress that offers panoramic views of the city and the sea.
Essaouira is also a popular destination for water sports enthusiasts, particularly windsurfers and kiteboarders. The city’s strong winds and waves make it an ideal spot for these activities. Visitors can also take a boat tour to explore the nearby islands and see the local wildlife, including dolphins and seabirds.
In conclusion, Agadir and Essaouira are two beachside escapes that offer a serene atmosphere and a rich cultural experience. Visitors can enjoy the mild winter weather and explore the beaches, museums, art galleries, and historic sites.
Mountain Majesty: High Atlas Hideaways
Morocco’s High Atlas Mountains offer a breathtaking winter escape, with snow-capped peaks and cozy lodges nestled in the hills. Here are two of the best places to stay in the High Atlas during the winter months.
Ifrane: Morocco’s Little Switzerland
Located in the heart of the Middle Atlas Mountains, Ifrane is known as Morocco’s Little Switzerland. With its Alpine-style architecture and snowy landscapes, it’s a popular winter destination for both locals and tourists. The town’s ski resort, Michlifen, offers a range of winter sports, including skiing, snowboarding, and tobogganing. Visitors can also explore the nearby cedar forests, home to Barbary macaques and other wildlife.
For those seeking a cozy retreat after a day on the slopes, Ifrane has a number of charming lodges and hotels. The Michlifen Resort & Golf is a luxurious option, with spacious rooms and stunning mountain views. The Hotel Perle de M’Gouna is a more affordable choice, with comfortable rooms and a central location.
Oukaimeden: Skiing and Mountain Adventures
For more adventurous travelers, the village of Oukaimeden offers some of the best skiing and snowboarding in Morocco. Located at an altitude of 3,200 meters, it’s the highest ski resort in Africa. With its steep slopes and challenging runs, it’s a popular destination for experienced skiers and snowboarders.
In addition to skiing, Oukaimeden offers a range of other winter activities, including hiking, ice climbing, and snowshoeing. Visitors can also explore the nearby Berber villages and learn about the local culture.
Accommodation options in Oukaimeden are limited, but the Hotel Club Igoudar is a comfortable choice with stunning mountain views. For a more rustic experience, visitors can stay in one of the traditional Berber lodges in the nearby villages.
Whether you’re seeking adventure or relaxation, the High Atlas Mountains offer a winter escape like no other.
Desert Dreams: Sahara Oasis Stays
Morocco’s Sahara Desert is a breathtakingly beautiful destination with endless sand dunes, starry skies, and nomadic traditions. In winter, the desert temperatures are cooler, making it an ideal time to explore this stunning landscape. Here are two of the best places to stay in the Sahara Desert during winter:
Merzouga: Gateway to the Erg Chebbi Dunes
Merzouga is a small town located on the edge of the Erg Chebbi sand dunes, one of Morocco’s most famous natural wonders. The dunes are a must-see for anyone visiting Morocco, and staying in Merzouga is the perfect way to experience them. There are many luxury desert camps in Merzouga that offer a unique and comfortable stay in the middle of the desert. Some of the best options include:
- Erg Chebbi Luxury Desert Camp: This camp offers spacious tents with private bathrooms, a restaurant, and a terrace with panoramic views of the dunes. Guests can also enjoy camel rides, sandboarding, and traditional Berber music.
- Sahara Desert Luxury Camp: This camp offers luxurious tents with en-suite bathrooms, a restaurant, and a lounge area with a fireplace. Guests can also enjoy camel rides, quad biking, and stargazing.
Zagora: A Desert Town with a Story to Tell
Zagora is a desert town located in the Draa Valley, known for its palm groves and ancient kasbahs. It’s a great place to stay if you want to explore the desert and learn about Morocco’s history and culture. Some of the best places to stay in Zagora include:
- Azalai Desert Lodge: This lodge offers comfortable rooms with traditional Moroccan decor, a restaurant, and a rooftop terrace with views of the palm groves. Guests can also enjoy camel rides, hiking, and visits to local villages.
- La Fibule du Draa: This guesthouse offers cozy rooms with Berber decor, a restaurant, and a garden with a swimming pool. Guests can also enjoy camel rides, hiking, and visits to the nearby kasbahs.
Whether you choose to stay in Merzouga or Zagora, a Sahara Desert stay is an unforgettable experience that will leave you with memories to last a lifetime.
Northern Nooks: Mediterranean Wonders
Morocco’s northern region is a treasure trove of Mediterranean wonders that offer a unique blend of culture, history, and natural beauty. Here are two of the best places to stay in the north during winter:
Chefchaouen: The Blue Pearl
Chefchaouen, also known as the Blue Pearl, is a charming town nestled in the Rif Mountains. It is famous for its blue-washed buildings, winding streets, and vibrant souks. The town’s blue hues are believed to have been introduced by Jewish refugees in the 1930s, who associated the color with the sky and heaven.
During winter, Chefchaouen’s streets are quieter, making it an ideal destination for those who want to escape the hustle and bustle of the bigger cities. Visitors can explore the town’s kasbah, hike in the nearby Talassemtane National Park, or simply relax in one of the many cafes and restaurants.
Tangier: A Cosmopolitan Edge
Tangier is a port city located at the northern tip of Morocco. It has a rich history, having been ruled by various civilizations, including the Phoenicians, Romans, and Arabs. Today, it is a cosmopolitan city that offers a unique blend of Moroccan and European cultures.
During winter, Tangier’s mild climate makes it an ideal destination for those who want to escape the colder temperatures in other parts of Morocco. Visitors can explore the city’s medina, visit the American Legation Museum, or take a stroll along the Corniche, which offers stunning views of the Mediterranean Sea.
Overall, the northern region of Morocco offers a unique winter experience that is unlike any other. From the blue-washed streets of Chefchaouen to the cosmopolitan edge of Tangier, there is something for everyone in this Mediterranean wonderland.
Lively Locales: Winter Festivities and Nightlife
Morocco is known for its vibrant culture and lively nightlife. During the winter months, the major cities come alive with festivals, concerts, and parties. Here are some of the best places to experience the winter festivities and nightlife in Morocco.
Casablanca: Urban Buzz and Beachfront Fun
Casablanca is the largest city in Morocco and a hub of activity year-round. In the winter months, the city comes alive with a variety of events and activities. Visitors can enjoy the urban buzz of the city, stroll along the beachfront, and explore the many bars and nightclubs.
One of the most popular winter events in Casablanca is the New Year’s Eve celebration. The city hosts a massive party with live music, fireworks, and a countdown to midnight. Visitors can also enjoy the annual Casablanca International Film Festival, which takes place in November and December.
For those looking to experience the local nightlife, Casablanca has a variety of options. The city is home to many bars and nightclubs, including the famous Sky 28 rooftop bar, which offers stunning views of the city.
Rabat: A Capital of Lights and Celebrations
Rabat is the capital city of Morocco and a cultural hub for the country. During the winter months, the city is transformed into a capital of lights and celebrations. Visitors can enjoy the many festivals and events that take place throughout the season.
One of the most popular winter events in Rabat is the Mawazine Festival, which takes place in May. The festival attracts musicians from all over the world and is one of the largest music festivals in Africa. Visitors can also enjoy the annual National Festival of Popular Arts, which takes place in July.
For those looking to experience the local nightlife, Rabat has a variety of options. The city is home to many bars and nightclubs, including the famous So Lounge, which offers a luxurious atmosphere and live music.
Overall, Morocco offers a variety of options for those looking to experience the winter festivities and nightlife. Whether you prefer an urban buzz or a beachfront party, there is something for everyone in this vibrant country.
Cultural Corners: Exploring Local Traditions
Morocco is a country with a rich cultural heritage, and exploring local traditions is a must-do activity for any visitor. Here are two cities that offer a glimpse into the country’s unique customs and traditions.
Taroudant: Rich Heritage and Ramparts
Located in the Souss Valley, Taroudant is a city with a rich cultural heritage. It is known for its traditional crafts, such as pottery, jewelry, and textiles. Visitors can explore the city’s ramparts, which date back to the 16th century and are some of the best-preserved fortifications in Morocco. The city’s souks are also a must-visit, where visitors can find local handicrafts and traditional Moroccan clothing.
Tetouan: Andalusian Influences and Crafts
Tetouan is a city with a unique blend of Moroccan and Andalusian culture. It is known for its traditional crafts, such as leatherwork, embroidery, and weaving. Visitors can explore the city’s medina, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is home to numerous historic buildings and landmarks. The city’s souks are also a must-visit, where visitors can find local handicrafts and traditional Moroccan clothing.
Both cities offer a unique experience for visitors who want to explore local traditions and customs. Visitors can immerse themselves in the local culture by visiting historic sites, exploring traditional crafts, and sampling local cuisine.
Famous Footsteps: Following the Stars
Morocco has been a popular destination for celebrities and famous personalities for many years. From musicians to actors, many have been drawn to the country’s exotic atmosphere and stunning landscapes. Some have even made it their second home. Here are a few famous places in Morocco where you can follow in the footsteps of the stars:
Marrakech is one of the most popular destinations in Morocco. It has a rich history and is home to some of the country’s most famous landmarks, such as the Koutoubia Mosque and the Bahia Palace. Many celebrities have visited Marrakech over the years, including Winston Churchill, who described it as “the most lovely spot in the whole world.” Today, Marrakech is still a favorite among celebrities, with many owning properties in the city.
Essaouira is a charming coastal town that has been attracting artists and musicians for decades. The town’s laid-back vibe and bohemian atmosphere have made it a favorite among creative types. Musicians such as Jimi Hendrix and Bob Marley have visited Essaouira in the past, and today, the town is home to many art galleries and music festivals.
Ouarzazate is known as the “Gateway to the Sahara” and is home to some of Morocco’s most famous film studios. Many Hollywood blockbusters have been filmed in Ouarzazate, including Gladiator, Lawrence of Arabia, and Game of Thrones. Visitors can take a tour of the studios and see some of the sets used in these famous films.
Casablanca is the largest city in Morocco and is home to some of the country’s most famous landmarks, such as the Hassan II Mosque and the Royal Palace. The city has a rich history and has been visited by many famous personalities over the years, including former US President Franklin D. Roosevelt and French fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent.
Tangier is a port city that has been a favorite among writers and artists for many years. The city’s bohemian atmosphere and stunning views of the Mediterranean Sea have inspired many famous works of literature, including William S. Burroughs’ Naked Lunch and Paul Bowles’ The Sheltering Sky. Today, Tangier is still a popular destination for writers and artists, with many visiting the city to seek inspiration.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the ideal destinations in Morocco for a winter holiday?
Morocco has a lot to offer in winter, with several destinations that are perfect for a holiday. Marrakech, Fes, and Casablanca are some of the most popular cities to visit during this season. However, if you’re looking for a more off-the-beaten-path experience, you might want to consider Merzouga, Chefchaouen, or Rabat.
Which Moroccan cities have the warmest temperatures during the winter months?
If you’re looking for warm temperatures during your winter holiday in Morocco, Marrakech is your best bet. The city has an average temperature of 18°C (65°F) in December, making it an ideal destination for those who want to escape the cold. Other cities with relatively warm temperatures during the winter months include Fes and Casablanca.
What are the recommended activities in Marrakech during December?
Marrakech has a lot to offer in terms of activities during the winter months. The city is home to several historic landmarks, such as the Bahia Palace and the Koutoubia Mosque. Visitors can also explore the city’s vibrant souks, which offer a wide range of products, from spices to textiles. For those who want to relax, there are plenty of hammams and spas that offer traditional Moroccan treatments.
How does the weather in the Atlas Mountains affect travel plans in December?
The weather in the Atlas Mountains can be unpredictable during the winter months, with heavy snowfall and icy conditions. This can affect travel plans, especially if you’re planning to hike or drive through the mountains. It’s important to keep an eye on the weather forecast and plan accordingly. If you’re not comfortable driving in snowy conditions, it might be best to hire a local driver or join a guided tour.
Can you experience a traditional Moroccan Christmas in any specific regions?
Morocco is a predominantly Muslim country, and Christmas is not widely celebrated. However, some hotels and restaurants in major cities like Marrakech and Casablanca may offer special Christmas dinners or events. If you’re looking for a more traditional Christmas experience, you might want to consider visiting one of the expat communities in the country.
Is Chefchaouen a suitable travel option for a visit in December?
Chefchaouen, also known as the Blue City, is a popular destination in Morocco. However, it can get quite cold during the winter months, with temperatures dropping below freezing at night. If you’re planning to visit Chefchaouen in December, make sure to pack warm clothing and plan accordingly. The city’s charming blue-washed streets and picturesque surroundings make it a worthwhile destination, even in the winter.