Africa, Morocco

Morocco in Winter is Always a Good Idea

January 18, 2016
Morocco in winter

The view of Marrakech from our riad balcony.

I’ve never really thought about Morocco as somewhere I wanted to travel to. In fact, the entire continent of Africa has remained at the back of my mind, in the sense of “I suppose I’ll set foot on there someday.”

Well, someday crept up a lot sooner than I anticipated. Turns out, the country of Morocco is only a short flight away from the UK. I’m once again completely bowled over by how well-connected London is to pretty much everywhere in the world except from the corner that I hail from. Sigh. Oh well.

Related: The Top 11 Things to do in Essaouria

Have you considered a trip to Morocco in the winter? Maybe you should. Here's why.

When a fellow Australian expat asked if I wanted to join her in a quick trip to Morocco, I accepted her invitation eagerly. We discovered shortly after that we’d have cloudless skies and mid-twenties weather for our trip, meaning we’d absolutely made the right decision. Morocco in the winter couldn’t have been anything but a really good idea.

Riad Catalina

How comfy do these beds look?

These days, I largely stay in Airbnb’s when I travel and we did start off looking at these as an option… before we were told to stop being silly and book into a Riad instead. These are basically the Moroccan version of a BnB, because they do provide you with breakfast, which Airbnb’s across the world don’t so much tend to. The breakfast was not for the gluten intolerant – consisting of bread, pastries and doughnuts, accompanied by the sugary sweet mint tea – a Moroccan staple that I was slowly becoming addicted to.

Not usually one for selfies, but that was a gorgeous bathroom.

I arrived in Marrakech with little to no expectations, which is always the best way to approach travelling, in my opinion (with the exception of Iceland, which blows my mind every time I go there).

My friend Kristy and I could agree on one thing – three days was not enough time in this city (damn it, work). We filled every second we had with adventure and activities – seeing the Jardin Majorelle, visiting a Moroccan spa, shopping in the souk, heading out to a Berber village, climbing a mountain and eating our body weight in cous cous and tajine.

This way to comfort.

I learned the hard way last year that London winters and I simply are not compatible. So, a three day break of strolling through winding streets, seeing the local sights, practising my schoolgirl French with locals and soaking up the sun was more than welcome. It provided the perfect opportunity to come back to London refreshed and ready to face the icy cold 2 degree celsius temperatures (that’s a joke – I will never be mentally ready to do such a thing).

Hey, cat.

Have you been to Marrakech, or somewhere else in Morocco? What were your impressions of it?

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  • Reply Candice January 18, 2016 at 10:04 pm

    Dammit, I totally cancelled a trip to Morocco because I thought it’d be too cold in January. Where did you go hiking? I was interested in a little nature trip but it seemed too cold

    • Reply Laura Céline January 18, 2016 at 11:26 pm

      Oh no! You should head out there while you’re in Berlin for sure. It was warm, sunny and lovely.
      We went out to the Atlas Mountains, about 45 mins from Marrakech. Our Riad organised a day tour. Climbed a mountain and realised about 1/5 of the way up that I was not fit enough to be climbing anything, or possibly even walking.

      • Reply Candice January 19, 2016 at 12:57 pm

        Hahaha I so badly wanted to get into the Atlas Mountains! Dammit. Perhaps I can arrange for March.

        • Reply Laura Céline January 19, 2016 at 1:48 pm

          If you do make the decision to go, I’ll be 100% behind you!

  • Reply Andrew Darwitan December 5, 2016 at 5:01 pm

    Morocco is just perfect all year round, isn’t it?

    • Reply Laura Céline December 5, 2016 at 10:15 pm

      Pretty much! Although I do like the “cooler” winter temperatures!

  • Reply ADAM DOOLITTLE December 25, 2016 at 10:23 pm

    Like you, I’ve never really considered Morocco a place I have to go to. Of course, I’m always open-minded and looking for something new and exciting. That’s exactly what you found which is fantastic. That purity of discovering something unknown is why we travel 🙂

  • Reply Happy Go Travel December 26, 2016 at 2:56 am

    Like you, I am a very open minded traveller because the world has a way of surprising you. Morroco looks like an amazing part of the world and it is on my wishlist.

    • Reply Laura Céline December 26, 2016 at 7:17 am

      It’s lovely! Hope you make it there one day.

  • Reply jessica December 26, 2016 at 5:30 am

    I desperately want to go to Morocco! We went to Northern India in the winter once and believe the weather was similar. Winter is a great time to travel!

    • Reply Laura Céline December 26, 2016 at 7:17 am

      I agree! It’s fun to go to other “winterish” places and see snow and such, but I also like to escape to somewhere else for a bit of midwinter sun.

  • Reply Josie December 26, 2016 at 7:19 am

    Great article and photos. I’ve been wanting to go to Morocco for years. I have a bad habit of travelling somewhere when the weather is not at its best, so it’s good to hear that even in winter Morocco is a good place to go.

    • Reply Laura Céline December 26, 2016 at 10:26 am

      It strikes me as the kind of place that has nice weather all year round! Thanks.

  • Reply Mindi Hirsch December 26, 2016 at 9:55 am

    I was supposed to go to Morocco years ago, but the trip fell through due to a long story. Your experience makes me want to plan a new trip. I hadn’t thought of going this winter, but maybe this is a good idea especially since Morocco is out of the Schengen zone.

    • Reply Laura Céline December 26, 2016 at 10:29 am

      That’s a shame! It’s not a place I regret going to. Hope you get the chance to head there at some point in the future.

  • Reply Ana Rose | Roads and Pages December 26, 2016 at 9:02 pm

    Whenever I think about Morocco, I think about camels. I have never been there but it is one of the places that I would like to visit someday. I am just not sure if it requires a tourist visa or not.Travelling means I need to work and save harder.

    • Reply Laura-Céline December 28, 2016 at 8:04 am

      I didn’t actually see any camels, which was disappointing as I love ’em! Don’t work too hard!

  • Reply Kreete December 26, 2016 at 10:40 pm

    I almost went to Morocco myself when I lived in London and it’s true, it’s so well-connected! This is what I miss living in Australia. My partner tends to be just like you, without any expectations before visiting a new location and I suppose it helps to enjoy the place a bit more. I hope that one day I will get to go there and have as much fun as you did. I do hope I won’t get addicted to the sugary mint tea though! Ha!

    • Reply Laura-Céline December 28, 2016 at 8:08 am

      Haha, I have some expectations a lot of the time, if I have enough time to think about it. Good luck not getting addicted – it’s delicious!

  • Reply Kallsy December 27, 2016 at 11:22 pm

    We would love to entertain this idea of visiting Morocco in the winter time (or really, just anytime we can). I would love to check out some AirBnBs in other countries as we have only tried them in the States but the idea of a Riad entices me as well. Reminds me of what traditional ryokans are in Japan.

    • Reply Laura-Céline December 28, 2016 at 8:53 am

      I’ve stayed in a Ryokan as well as a Riad and they are far superior to Airbnb. Although I’ve not had a lot of good experiences with the service, so that’s probably why I feel that way.

  • Reply Nathan December 28, 2016 at 2:37 am

    I absolutely loved Morocco! I also went w/little to no expectations and I was completely blown away. Also, I felt like everywhere I turned was some other stunning photo waiting to happen. Great food, friendly people, interesting history– what’s not to like?

    • Reply Laura-Céline December 28, 2016 at 9:01 am

      Exactly the same boat! It’s a country I really want to see more of, particularly the Sahara!

  • Reply Izzy January 2, 2017 at 8:15 am

    I was able to visit Morocco 5 years ago and to this day, it remains one of the most magical experiences of my life to date! It is definitely on the top 3 countries list (including Nepal and Peru). Riads are my FAVORITE type of accommodations! Our itineraries were very similar actually! What did you think about that hammam spa?

    • Reply LC January 2, 2017 at 11:43 am

      I’m glad you had such a good time there! Ah, the spa was interesting, death defying experience… I wrote a post about it which is on this blog.

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