Morocco in January: why you should visit Morocco in winter

Morocco in January – is it something worth experiencing? Yes, it most certainly is – in fact travelling to Morocco in january is definitely something to consider. Read on to find out why.

View of Marrakech from the balcony of a riad in winter. Discover why it's worth travelling to Morocco in January.
The view of Marrakech from Riad Catalina’s balcony.

Morocco. Country of sunshine and chaos. Surely a place you’d reserve for the summer months, when it is at its best and brightest. Right?

Maybe not so much. By the time you reach the middle of winter in places like the USA, CAN and Europe, you might suddenly feel a desperate need to escape somewhere, anywhere with any semblance of warmth.

Luckily, living in Europe is like winning the country jackpot. You can fly to almost anywhere you fancy and often not for a too upsetting price. So, why wouldn’t you go? Particularly in winter.

Travelling to Morocco in the colder months mean there was cloudless skies and mid-twenties (seventies) weather for my trip.

So, here are some reasons why you should definitely travel to Morocco in January (and particularly Marrakech), or during the cooler season in general.

Winter in Morocco is truly lovely.

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Why you should travel to Morocco in January

This guide to Morocco in winter will cover:

  • Where to stay in Marrakech
  • Things to do in Morocco in winter
  • Reasons why you should travel to Morocco in January
  • Last few details covering Morocco in the cooler seasons

Looking for somewhere to stay in Marrakech? I stayed in the very beautiful Riad Catalina. Highly recommend it to any traveller to the city.

Marrakech Travel Tip: You may want to organise a private airport transfer to your hotel from the airport. I had issues with our taxi driver raising the price after I’d got in the car and bitterly regretted not organising a transfer in advance.

Inside the Jardin Majorelle. It's definitely worth travelling to Morocco in January and exploring this gorgeous garden.
Visiting the Jardin Majorelle is a must-do in Marrakech.

Things to do in Morocco in January

Visit the Jardin Majorelle: Drop into these stunning gardens, created by French artist Jacques Majorelle and once home to fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent.

Take a tour of the medina: If only to get your bearings, take a tour of the Jemaa el Fnaa medina by night. You’ll learn about its history and maybe get a few tips on haggling from your guide.

Take a day trip to Essaouira: Head to the coast, to visit the city of Essaouira.

Visit the Atlas Mountains: The Atlas Mountains are gorgeous and home to Berber settlements. Thoroughly worth checking out on a day trip from Marrakech.

Have a hammam: It’s cool enough in the winter to enjoy a hammam, traditional Turkish bath. Check out prices here.

Head to the desert: With temperatures being cooler, this is the perfect time to explore the desert. You can have dinner under the stars or take a quad bike trip, for a more ethical option than riding a camel.

A cat in Marrakech sitting on a brightly coloured stool. Discover the advantages to visiting Morocco in January.
Slightly disgruntled Moroccan cat.

Why you should visit Morocco in January

Here are some reasons why you should consider taking a trip to Morocco in winter.

If you live in Europe, you travel a short distance for a completely different climate

It boggles my mind that the country of Morocco on the continent of AFRICA is only a three hour flight from London. Yet, this is the reality of the situation.

In those short three hours, you can travel to a country where the winter temperatures are often hotter than an English summer.

Why wouldn’t you do it?

I also like the fact that after that short distance, you’re in a country that has a completely different cultural experience to the one you’ve just left. So, why wouldn’t you travel to Morocco in January?!

I’m writing this from the perspective of being Australian. Three hours travel gets me either 2/3 of the way across my country, or to New Zealand. Both are destinations I thoroughly adore, but obviously a lot more similar in cultural attitudes!

It’s an inexpensive-ish destination

Morocco isn’t the cheapest of cheap destinations, but compared to other countries (we are talking the USA, Canada, UK, those in Western Europe, Australia and NZ here, to clarify) it seems pretty reasonable.

Most meals out cost less than $15 AUD and the food was good and plentiful. Plus, did I mention I’d pay just about anything to escape a UK winter? I definitely felt like I was getting a good deal.

The only time I felt we were getting properly ripped off was when we caught a taxi from the airport to our riad.

I’d been told by a friend who frequented the place what to expect to pay and had quoted that price to the taxi driver, who agreed on it.

When we reached our destination, he raised the price and wouldn’t let us out of the car until we agreed to pay it.

As I was travelling with another female friend, we decided the safest course of action was to pay it and curse him as he drove away.

Yes, I know that we were viewed as rich westerners who could afford to pay the extra, but it’s the principle of the matter. Plus it’s always fun to be taken advantage of, particularly when you’re a defenceless woman.

Inside the bathroom at riad Catalina,a woman taking a selfie.
Not usually one for selfies, but the bathroom at Riad Catalina is gorgeous.

The weather is perfect in Morocco in winter

Marrakech in particular seems to have splendid weather all year round, with an average temperature of 29°C (84°F) in the hotter months and 13°C (55°F) in the wintertime.

I will admit I got incredibly lucky when I visited Morocco in January, with the temperature ranging in the early twenties (that’s mid-seventies for you Americans out there). The cloudless blue skies certainly helped add to this picture of perfection.

You might be able to ski… in AFRICA

What do you picture when you think of Africa? Searing heat? Beautiful beaches? An expanse of desert? ME TOO.

Except, Morocco truly is a country of many diverse climates. Including one that features of all things… SNOW.

Yep! The Atlas mountains, which you can visit within a day trip from Marrakech, regularly see snowfall in the winter months.

So, if you’re lucky, you might be able to have a bit of a snow break during your time in Morocco.

You can go home and brag to your friends that you managed to ski in Africa. They may not believe you… but you’ll know the truth in your heart.

Inside the Jardon Majorelle in Marrakech.
Jardin Majorelle is lovely in January.

Sweet mint tea tastes so much sweeter when it isn’t searingly hot outside

Personally, any country that is passionate about tea is a country I can get behind.

Moroccans happen to be mad about their mint tea – drinking it morning, noon and night.

Even as a passionate tea drinker, I will concede that drinking the stuff when it’s hopelessly hot outside is a labour of love or perhaps just an addiction.

It’s so much easier to enjoy tea when there’s a slight chill in the air and you realise you’re drinking it for the comfort value, rather than because you have an outright dependency on the stuff.

So, it is glorious in the early hours of the morning during your stay in Morocco, to come downstairs and start sipping on that first cup of tea of probably twenty, because the mint sure does taste good.

You’ll still be able to do everything you want to do in Morocco in winter

Places like Marrakech are touristy, but for good reason – they have plenty on offer.

We organised every activity we wanted to do when we arrived in the city and weren’t left wanting on anything.

Every tour had spots left, we were able to walk straight into a spa and get a service. We didn’t have to wait for seating at restaurants.

Plus I think any excess heat would have diminished certain experiences, like walking up the Atlas mountains to see what was admittedly a fairly disappointing waterfall.

We would have languished in the summer sun, which would have been wholly unpleasant for all involved.

The Atlas Mountains in Morocco in winter.
Travelling through the Atlas Mountains in winter.

Your brains won’t be addled by the heat whilst you try to haggle in the souk

The Middle East is hands down my favourite place to shop, because haggling is the best.

It’s not only a sport, it’s a psychological game, between you and the shop owner.

And what I like about it, is that everyone comes away feeling satisfied… you feel like you’ve got a good deal. They’ve made a sale. Smiles all round.

I particularly like my souvenirs from Marrakech because I feel like I worked for them.

And I did this successfully as I wasn’t melting in the heat like the Wicked Witch of the West at the time.

So, visit Morocco in January, if you fancy a spot of shopping!

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

Pin me baby, one more time.

Cloudless skies and perfect weather - here are a few other reasons why you should consider making Morocco your country of choice for a winter destination.

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32 Comments

  1. 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

    1. 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.

  2. 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 🙂

  3. 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!

    1. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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!

    1. 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!

  8. 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.

    1. 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.

  9. 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?

  10. 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?

    1. 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.

  11. Thanks for your advise but for me I rather travel in summer because I feel more active in this season comparing with winter. and we should be careful because winter is coming 🙂

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