Winter in Marrakech
Spring and autumn are the most popular times to visit Morocco but the ‘season’ we – secretly – love the most is winter. Why? Because while so many other places are swathed in grey skies and cold weather, Marrakech is soaked with sunshine. The skies are azure, the air is pure and you can top up your Vitamin D. What’s not to love?
WHAT’S SPECIAL ABOUT WINTER IN MARRAKECH?
The bright azure skies. The snow-capped Atlas Mountains. The freshness of the air. The warm golden sunshine.
The heat can get very intense and the skies hazy in Marrakech over the summer. But come in the colder months and you’re guaranteed bright, crisp light and stunning skies.
The snow also falls on the mountains and the view from the El Fenn rooftop during winter is magical. This is also the time of year when you’re likely to see the best sunrises and sunsets. Make sure to get up to our roof terrace early – or late – to catch them.
THE WINTER WEATHER IN MARRAKECH
The sun shines in Marrakech throughout December, January and February and it’s usually around 20-24C. It can sometimes dip – and we can also have the odd day nearing 30C in late February – but you can rely on it being consistently warm.
The thing to remember is that Marrakech is a cold city with a hot sun. So if you’re outside in the sunshine you’re going to feel the warmth but nights and early mornings will certainly feel colder. It can get down to under 10C at night and don’t forget there are no fitted carpets or central heating systems in traditional riads. Tiled floors get cold and, while we have open fires and heating in our rooms, you’ll certainly feel the chill if you’re on the rooftop so wrap up once the sun has set. Rain is also a possibility during winter – although it doesn’t happen much. There’s a chance that you might get a wet day though so be prepared just in case.
WHAT TO WEAR
It’s all about layers. Most Marrakechis are swathed in heavy coats during the winter but visitors don’t tend to wear them. You will however be certainly moving between the inside and outside which means going in and out of the sun and constant temperature changes. So pack t-shirts and light layers for outside, and heavier items like jumpers, scarves and gilets to throw on when you’re indoors – or in the evenings.
The best advice we can give is don’t underestimate how cold it can get. You won’t be wearing a kaftan on a January night and it’s better to wear too much because you can always take it off – than spend all week living in the one sweatshirt you brought.
WHAT TO DO
Sun-drenched lunches are definitely one of our winter highlights. After months of rain and grey skies elsewhere, take the chance to kick back and linger over the chance to get outdoors. Some people will also do some time by the pool but most don’t spend whole days there.
The medina is quieter in the winter as well so it’s the perfect time to wander and shop in the souk. Gardens in Morocco also remain green throughout the year so head off to the Majorelle to see the cacti and aloe vera. In late winter, we also start to get blossom so jacaranda, mimosa and orange trees will be in bloom.
If you’re feeling active, the weather is also perfect for hiking in the Atlas Mountains. And you can even sample snow if you head to Oukaimden – a ski resort about 50 miles from Marrakech. There are seven lifts and, while you don’t get the kind of runs you’ll find in top European ski resorts, there’s a certain something about skiing in Africa. Plus there’s a charming French restaurant called Chez Juju where you can hole up for winter classics and a glass of red wine.