There are three types of climate in Morocco. The north and Rif mountains have a Mediterranean climate. To the south (the Sahara), the climate is described as arid. Atlantic breezes moderate the high temperatures along the coast.
When to fly to Morocco
Morocco is a four-season destination and the high and low seasons will depend on what you want to do when you get there. Many visitors think April and May are the best months to see Morocco. For city breaks, Marrakech is best seen in the spring and winter months - it gets very hot in the summer.
The summer months - June through September - are busiest in resorts such as Agadir as this is when schools are out in Europe, but the winter months are popular too, with visitors fleeing harsh Northern European winters. Some parts of the country will be off-limits at certain times of the year. Parts of the Atlas Mountains will be inaccessible, due to snow fall, between December and February and the Sahara Desert will be at its hottest between late June and August (the best months to visit the Sahara are October through November). April and May are the busiest times in Essaouira, as it's quite windy during the summer months.
The ski season (at Mischliffen and Oukaïmeden, for example) is short - January to March.
Getting around Morocco
Royal Air Maroc, the flag carrier, has an extensive domestic network. It's the quickest, if priciest, way of getting around Morocco.
The train network takes in the major cities - Tangier to Marrakech for example - and are comfortable and fast. While the train network is not extensive, ONCF, the rail operator, provides the coaches of its SUPRATOURS subsidiary to continue the journey.
Taxis - "petit" (in towns) or "grand" (between towns). The "petit" taxis should be metered, but if it's not try to settle on a fare before you set off. The "grand" taxis are shared taxis and this is a great way to experience the country.
Buses are cheaper than the shared taxis and operate more regular routes.
Renting a car is a good idea if you want to see more out-of-the-way parts of Morocco. Select a local agency, rather than an international chain, for the best prices and be careful driving at night as many fellow road-users - such as donkeys, bicycles and mopeds - may not have lights.
Morocco insider information
- On summer nights in Tangier, Cinématèque de Tanger - once the Art Deco Rif cinema - projects arthouse films onto the Grand Socco, the busy, popular marketplace. There's an online calendar, at www.cinemathequedetanger.com.
- Another must-do in Tangier is Café Hafa. The cafe, which looks across the Bay of Tangier, opened in 1921 and has been host to such luminaries as Paul Bowles, William Burroughs and the Rolling Stones. The mint tea is the specialty.
- In the village of Imilchil, in the Atlas, beyond the Gorge of Ziz, a wedding festival is held every September. During the festival, young men and women, who usually must follow tribal customs, are allowed to choose a partner for themselves.
- Ouarzazate , in the centre of Morocco, is the movie-making capital of the country. Several Hollywood blockbusters have been filmed here including Lawrence Of Arabia, Gladiator, The Last Temptation Of Christ and Star Wars.
- Casablanca, the port city of "Play It Again, Sam" fame, boasts the Hassan II Mosque. Built in the 1980s by King Hassan II, it is one of the largest religious buildings in the world. Its minaret - at 210m - is the tallest in the world and it was built on reclaimed land on a promontory looking out across the Atlantic Ocean. The water can be seen through the glass floor.
- Fez el-Bali (Old Fez) medina dates from the 8th century. It has all the charm one would expect from one of the biggest living medieval cities in the world: a maze of souks; the Place an-Nejjarine with its Nejjarine Museum of Wood Arts and Crafts; Qaraouyine University, founded in 859; and the tanners’ quarter with its giant vats of dye and accompanying smell (some would say “stench”) of curing skins. Fez el Djedid is new Fez, established in the 13th century, and home to the Royal Palace, the Mellah, the Jewish quarter, and more souks. Ville Nouvelle, built by the French, is the youngest part of the city. It has wide boulevards and tree-lined avenues.