Because of its unique location, the climate in Morocco is influenced by the Atlantic Ocean, the Mediterranean Sea, and the mountainous and desert areas. In Morocco, it can sometimes be hard to tell the difference between winter and summer and day and night. However, there are four main identifiable seasons. Spring, with widespread sunshine and a gentle sea breeze in coastal areas, sees higher temperatures in the uplands and mountains, as in the Sahara Desert. The summer period delivers up to ten hours of sunshine a day in the coastal region. On the high plateaus, the heat becomes stifling, but a few strong winds and isolated thunderstorms can take the edge off the heat. When autumn arrives, the strong winds blowing in from the north-west hit the coast and bring the temperature down. There can then be rainfall, especially in November. The same is true on the high plateaus, and the Atlas mountains can even see the first frosts in November. Autumn is the wettest time in the Sahara Desert, with some stormy showers and still very high temperatures. Lastly, winter is the mildest time in the coastal region. Rains will be heavier in the north of the country and will decrease in the south. On the high plateaus, winter is cold and wet. In the Sahara Desert, there is less sunshine (five to six hours a day), and there can be significant variations in daytime temperatures. Here is more detailed information about specific cities and regions to know about the climate before you travel, to help you decide the best time to visit Morocco.
Essaouira is a coastal town that enjoys a relatively mild year-round climate. Even during the winter months from November to February, the maximum average temperature is between 18°C and 20°C. In summer, maximum averages are 22°C in August and September, with almost no rain. The temperature in Essaouira is much lower in summer than in other cities in Morocco. This is due to the trade winds that cool the air. Summer winds are pleasant, but in winter they tend to cool the air too much. Essaouira's highest rainfall generally occurs between November and December with between two to three inches.
Morocco's far southern region
The far south of Morocco has a semi-arid to desert climate. The pre-Saharan valley region, with the Saharan foothills of the Middle and High Atlas, has a desert climate with possible variations depending on the altitude. Temperatures can increase from seven to ten degrees in winter, with frequent frosts at night, to over 30°C in summer. The mercury can even nudge 50°C in some places. As with the rest of Morocco, July to September are the warmest months with a maximum average temperature topping 30°C in the high period from July-August. Temperatures are lowest in December and January, with an average of ten degrees and 0.4 to 0.6 inches of rainfall.
The Saharan region lies to the south of the Atlas Mountain range. Here, there is a desert climate. Rainfall is non-existent for much of the year (February to August) and there are very great differences in temperature. The coastal part of the Sahara has smaller variations in temperature and less of a difference between winter and summer. In winter, the average temperature is 18°C, while in summer it rises to 23°C. Inland, winters are much cooler with an average temperature of 14°C, while summers are 35°C.
Marrakech has a warm semi-arid climate, with winter droughts. Marrakech lies at the foot of the Atlas Mountains and has relatively mild winters with maximum average temperatures of between 18°C and 19°C from the months of December to February. Don't get caught out by the cool evenings though, as temperatures can drop to around five or six degrees. Summers are hot and temperatures can frequently exceed 40°C. Maximum average temperatures top 30°C from June to September, reaching a maximum in July and August of 36.5°C. Autumn, from October to November has pleasant temperatures, but sees the arrival of humidity and thunderstorms. It rains more heavily in winter, with over one inch of rainfall from December to February, and possible snow.
The medinas of the north
From Fez to Meknes and from Tetouan to Tangier, the medinas of northern Morocco enjoy a Mediterranean climate, at times influenced by the Atlantic Ocean, and other times by the proximity of the Sahara desert. Atmospheric disturbances from the ocean generally affect this area of northern Morocco between October and March, and can run on into April and May. Summers are dry and sunny, but morning haze and night-time dew can appear. Rainfall is higher in cities in the north of this region, such as Tangier or Larache, and more moderate in Rabat or Casablanca. Expect average temperatures of around 13-14°C during the winter period from December to January, and summer temperatures of around 24-25°C from July to September. In this area of the northern medinas, it's fairly rare to experience the stifling heat and sweltering temperatures seen further south in Morocco.