Best Places to Stay in Morocco During Winter: Visiting Morocco in December

Best Places to Stay in Morocco During Winter: Visiting Morocco in December

Morocco is a fascinating country that offers a lot to explore and experience. Winter is an excellent time to visit because the weather is cooler, the crowds are thinner, and the natural lighting is perfect for photography.

The Atlas Mountains are in full view in Marrakech, and the air is clearer, allowing visitors to enjoy the stunning views.

Best Places to Stay in Morocco During Winter: Visiting Morocco in December

Winter sun-seekers will find plenty of sunshine hours during the day, particularly in December and January, and even February can provide some pretty sunny days.

While the beach may not be ideal for sunbathing, it’s the perfect time to explore Morocco’s magical cities, bustling markets, and traditional Berber villages. In January, Marrakech becomes the capital of African Culture, making it more lively and happening than usual.

Key Takeaways

  • Morocco is an excellent winter destination with cooler weather and fewer crowds.
  • Visitors can enjoy stunning views of the Atlas Mountains and clear blue skies.
  • Winter is the perfect time to explore Morocco’s cities, markets, and villages, and Marrakech becomes the capital of African Culture in January.

What is the weather like in Morocco?

Morocco experiences a contrast in climate during the winter months. The Atlas Mountains are chilly and covered in snow, while other altitudes remain relatively warm. This means that mountain expeditions may not be suitable for everyone at this time of year.

However, for experienced outdoor enthusiasts, snow trekking can be a challenging and rewarding activity with some of the most spectacular views due to clear skies.

The Mediterranean coast is nice and warm during the daytime, but it can get a bit chilly at night. On the other hand, the Sahara climate is at its most extreme, hot and dry during the day, and close to freezing after sundown. Therefore, travelers must pack accordingly.

It is important to note that average temperatures and rainfall can vary from city to city. Therefore, travelers should check the weather forecast for each destination before embarking on their journey.

According to the country averages, December and February have low temperatures of 6°C and 8°C, respectively, and high temperatures of 19°C and 21°C, respectively. The sunshine averages around 8 hours during these months, and the average rainfall is 6.5 days with 13mm of rainfall.

Overall, Morocco’s weather during winter months is a land of extremes, and travelers must be prepared for varying temperatures and weather conditions depending on the location they plan to visit.

Where to Stay in Morocco?

Morocco offers a wide range of accommodation options for tourists. The country has a lot to offer, from traditional Riads to high-end luxury hotels. Riads are perfect for a romantic or revitalizing break, while luxury hotels are great for those who want to indulge in the finer things in life.

Many luxury hotels offer excellent Christmas and New Year packages, complete with entertainment and added-value services such as hammam and spa treatments. These services are perfect for warming up during the winter months. Additionally, privatization is also an option for those who want a different take on Christmas and New Year with family or friends.

City Breaks

Morocco’s imperial cities are a great option for a winter city break. The winter months are less crowded and have a calmer atmosphere, making it a great time to explore the sights and culture with a guide. Here are three cities that are worth a visit:


Marrakech is a vibrant and bustling city that is full of atmosphere year-round. During the winter months, the view of the Atlas Mountains is spectacular and can be seen from street level. There are plenty of things to do in Marrakech, including cooking classes, food tours, and visits to landmarks with their wealth of history and ornate architecture.

The Majorelle Gardens and YSL Museum are popular with travelers, and there are many other modern art museums to explore if that’s your thing. Marrakech has a buzzing restaurant, café, and bar scene with lots of new openings of stylish modern eateries, fusion and vegetarian food as well as high-quality, classic Moroccan places serving up delicious warming tagines and the local specialty; tangier which is slow-cooked in the embers of the Hammam furnatchi.

Epic can organize events with your riad such as storytelling dinners as well as tailoring guided tours to your needs. Families should also consider visiting the soon-to-be-opening Museum of Berber Culture on the way to the Atlas Mountains.

Things to do in Marrakech

  • Visit the Majorelle Gardens and YSL museum
  • Explore the city’s landmarks with their wealth of history and ornate architecture
  • Take a cooking class or food tour
  • Visit modern art museums
  • Enjoy the buzzing restaurant, café, and bar scene
  • Attend storytelling dinners around the table at your riad


Rabat is the modern capital of Morocco and is often overlooked by visitors. The city is clean, fresh, elegant, and green, and has a rich cultural history. If you’re into history and sites, you can visit the Kasbah of the Udayas and gardens, or the Chellah, a necropolis that dates back to the Marinids. Rabat also has an amazing modern art museum, the Mohamed VI Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, which is well worth a visit. Activities you can consider are horse riding and golf, and you can also spend time in the many shops, medinas, and beachside yacht clubs.

There are plenty of fun day trips you can make from the city, whether to Sale with its focus on artisan skills of pottery, metalwork, and weaving, or Casablanca for modern art and the Hassan II mosque, which is one of the only mosques open to non-Muslims.

Things to do in Rabat

  • Visit the Kasbah of the Udayas and gardens
  • Explore the Chellah, a necropolis that dates back to the Marinids
  • Visit the Mohamed VI Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art
  • Go horse riding or golfing
  • Spend time in the many shops, medinas, and beachside yacht clubs
  • Take a day trip to Sale or Casablanca


Tangier is a relaxed, laid-back, and slightly hipster city that is popular with some of the most renowned writers and artists throughout modern history. Although it can rain a bit in December, the temperature highs in Tangier can be 18°C or higher, and the sun is always out. Don’t miss the Caves of Hercules, the Dar el Makhzen museum, or the breathtaking views from Cap Spartel.

Tamouda Bay is one of our favorite places to stay just outside of the city, with its wealth of luxury properties and sandy beaches. So whether it’s a chance to relax and unwind by getting lost around Medina streets, taking coffee and a long lunch, or a more beachy break you’re after, Tangier has a lot to offer. It’s also a good center from which to visit Tetouan, Martil, and Meknes, and the train links are also superb with high-speed, TGV-style trains that run between Tangier and Marrakech.

Things to do in Tangier

  • Visit the Caves of Hercules
  • Explore the Dar el Makhzen museum
  • Take in the breath-taking views from Cap Spartel
  • Relax on the sandy beaches of Tamouda Bay
  • Get lost around Medina streets
  • Take a day trip to Tetouan, Martil, or Meknes

In conclusion, Marrakech, Rabat, and Tangier are all great options for a winter city break in Morocco. Each city has its unique charm and attractions, making it easy to find something to suit your interests. Whether you’re interested in history, art, or just relaxing on a beach, Morocco has something for everyone.

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Outdoor Adventures

Explore the Sahara

December is a favorite month amongst travelers to go trekking in the Sahara Desert. The weather is much cooler than the summer months, making it more comfortable for young children and anyone who is particularly sensitive to the heat or prone to heatstroke. Camel tours at sunrise or sunset are a wonderful idea, especially for photography fans. It is recommended to take a camera to capture the beautiful hues.

Atlas Hiking

Ait Bougmez Valley in the High Atlas Mountains is a great destination if you’re interested in exploring the great outdoor space in Morocco. In winter, the temperatures can swing from 3°C to about 15°C, making it a little chilly, but still a nice respite away from the heat of the cities. Trekkers refer to this area as “The Happy Valley” due to the friendly local people who are always welcoming tourists. A guided hiking tour is recommended to get the most out of your time here. Epic organizes guided tours for different levels of travelers in terms of fitness, all with a guide who can speak your language.

Go Skiing

Morocco’s ski resorts are one of its best-kept secrets. Ifrane, Oukaimeden, and Tazaghart are Moroccan resorts that come alive when there is snowfall. You won’t find many Western tourists, which is kind of nice. The season starts in December and ends in March or early April. It is recommended to bring your kit if you’re keen, as the kit you hire in Morocco won’t be of the usual standard of a European ski resort.

Rock Climbing

Morocco has a variety of different sites for rock climbing, from the Atlas to the Todra Gorge. We work with very good rock-climbing guides and companies that can supply expertise and equipment, catering to everyone from a beginner to the more advanced. Once your level of interest and skill is understood, the right trip can be pulled together to suit your needs.

Festivals and Events:


Morocco may not celebrate Christmas widely, but there are still plenty of exciting events to attend in December. One such event is the Tan Tan Music Festival. This annual gathering of over thirty different tribes from Morocco’s southern region takes place in the city of Tan-Tan near the border. It is a celebration of traditional Berber culture and the main draw for the tribes is camel trading. Additionally, there are inter-tribal competitions and games, traditional Berber re-enactments, and plenty of music and dancing.

Another event not to miss in Morocco is New Year’s Eve. While Christmas isn’t widely celebrated, Morocco is a popular destination during the festive period. By New Year’s Eve, some cities could become crowded again. It is a tradition to see in a brand new year sitting under the stars in the desert. So if you’re interested in exploring the sights of the Sahara, December could be the perfect time. Or if you prefer to stay in the cities, you’ll find plenty of rooftop spots to celebrate and enjoy a delicious meal (MarocMama).


January is a great time to visit Morocco if you want to experience the Berber New Year. The Berber communities in Morocco celebrate New Year around the 12th/13th of January, called Yennayer, which announces the beginning of the crop year. Head down to the communities in Agadir and Tiznit or to the middle atlas if you want to join in the singing, dancing, and couscous! (Continent Hop)

At the same time in January, you will also see the streets of the cities festooned to celebrate the Moroccan Day of Independence from France.

The Marrakech Marathon takes place annually in January, bringing runners from far and wide as well as encouraging local sports enthusiasts. It is a fun day out for everyone with a great local atmosphere, just mind the bikes! (Epic Travel)


February sees the Almond Blossom Festival in Tafraoute, a little town in the south of Morocco in the anti-atlas. The festival showcases singing, dancing, and food and has become a popular local event. It is now held in Roman Ruins in the Valle De Templi. It is a nice trip for those who want a bit more of an insider view on Amazigh culture and who want to get out of the big cities and maybe spend a night or two in the desert (Continent Hop).

The 154 Contemporary Art Fair takes place in Marrakech every February and has become the coolest event to be seen at and enjoy in the Marrakech calendar with events and openings all over the city, many with a free bar. It is a must-visit for art buyers, enthusiasts, and artists themselves. Come in February and find yourself rubbing shoulders with the up-and-coming stars of the art world and the Marrakech hipster scene (Epic Travel).

What to Wear & Pack for Morocco

Morocco has a diverse climate, so it’s important to pack for all eventualities. During the day, temperatures can be hot, so lightweight clothing like T-shirts and shorts are recommended. Sunglasses and hats are also a must to protect from the sun. However, evenings can get chilly, so it’s best to pack light jackets and layers. Waterproof clothing and an umbrella are also recommended as the weather can be unpredictable.

If you plan on going into the mountains or desert, it can get close to freezing at night. Therefore, it’s essential to pack warm coats and thermal layers for desert treks, overnight camping, or mountain stays.

It’s always best to check the weather forecast before packing and traveling to Morocco. If you’re unsure about what to pack or have any questions, you can contact a travel agent for advice and recommendations.

Overall, packing for Morocco requires a balance of lightweight and warm clothing to accommodate the diverse climate.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Weather Like in Morocco During December?

Morocco experiences a range of climates, from the Mediterranean in the north to the desert in the south. In December, the weather in Morocco is generally mild, with average temperatures ranging from 10 to 20 degrees Celsius. While the days can be sunny and pleasant, the nights can be chilly, especially in the mountains. It is recommended to bring warm clothing, especially for the evenings.

Which Activities are Recommended for Tourists in Morocco in December?

December is a great time to visit Morocco, as the weather is mild and there are fewer tourists. Visitors can take advantage of the pleasant weather and explore the country’s many attractions, such as the colorful markets in Marrakech, the historic sites in Fes, and the stunning natural landscapes of the Atlas Mountains and the Sahara Desert. Other popular activities include hiking, camel trekking, and visiting the traditional Berber villages.

How Does the Climate in Casablanca Compare to Other Parts of Morocco in December?

Casablanca, Morocco’s largest city and economic capital, has a Mediterranean climate, which means mild, wet winters and hot, dry summers. In December, the average temperature in Casablanca is around 15 degrees Celsius, with occasional rain. Compared to other parts of Morocco, such as the Sahara Desert, which can be very cold at night, Casablanca is relatively mild.

Can You Suggest the Best Destinations in Morocco for a Winter Holiday?

Morocco has many destinations that are perfect for a winter holiday. Some of the best places to visit in December include Marrakech, Fes, Chefchaouen, and Essaouira. These cities offer a range of attractions, from historic sites and colorful markets to beautiful beaches and stunning natural landscapes. Visitors can also enjoy traditional Moroccan cuisine, such as tagine and couscous, and experience the country’s vibrant culture and hospitality.

What are the Advantages of Visiting Morocco in December?

Visiting Morocco in December has several advantages. The weather is mild and pleasant, with fewer tourists than in the peak summer season. This means that visitors can enjoy the country’s attractions without the crowds, and take advantage of lower prices for flights and accommodation. Additionally, December is a festive time in Morocco, with many traditional celebrations and events, such as the Marrakech International Film Festival and the Gnaoua World Music Festival in Essaouira.

Which Moroccan Cities are Particularly Festive and Suitable for Christmas Celebrations?

While Morocco is a Muslim country and does not officially celebrate Christmas, many cities have adopted the holiday as a time for festive celebrations and events. Marrakech, Fes, and Casablanca are particularly lively during the holiday season, with Christmas markets, concerts, and other events. Visitors can also enjoy traditional Moroccan cuisine and hospitality during the holiday season.

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