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Opodo Travel Blog
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What does your perfect winter holiday look like? Are you looking for time to kick back and relax? Do you want to get as far away as possible from your day-to-day routine? Or are you hoping for an unforgettable adventure? The good news is you can have it all in one place! Discover why Morocco is the perfect winter destination for your holiday. 

Take care of yourself in Marrakech

Where winter means indulgence

Winter holidays are one of the best times to relax and take care of yourself. To treat yourself to a truly indulgent experience, Marrakech has it all. Whether you’re staying for a weekend or taking a longer trip, take some time to enjoy Morocco’s wellness traditions.

Sleep in a riad

If you’re looking for a cosy and authentic experience, consider staying in a riad. These traditional Moroccan houses have interior courtyards, often with a water fountain and sometimes orange or lemon trees. As all the rooms face the courtyard, you won’t be bothered by the hustle and bustle of the vivid red city once you step through the riad’s doors. 

Moroccans are famously warm and welcoming, and riad owners  – who often live in the riad itself – will make you feel right at home. Just picture yourself enjoying a warm cup of mint tea in the riad’s courtyard while listening to the gentle trickle of the fountain in the background. Travel tip: If you book your stay in a riad in Marrakech at the same time as your flights, you can save up to 40% on your holiday!

Riad in Morocco

Relaxing in Marrakech

What’s the food like in Marrakech? Try the local cuisine and your taste buds will be taken on a delicious adventure. From couscous to tagines to honey pastries, there’s plenty to sample here. Take advantage of your visit to Marrakech to savour specialities such as Seffa, a cinnamon and almond couscous, or tanjia Marrakchi, a tagine of meat and spices traditionally cooked in the oven of a hammam.

Don’t wait, and book your flight to Marrakech from London or Manchester!

To bring a little taste of Morocco home with you, go to Jamaa El Fna square to visit its famous market. You can buy spices and traditional Moroccan leather goods here. 

To have a fully authentic experience, go for a treatment at a hammam during your stay in Marrakech. The ancient rituals that take place within the walls of a hammam are ideal for experiencing complete relaxation. You’ll start with cleansing your skin with Moroccan black soap to prepare it for exfoliation, followed by a massage with natural products. All of this takes place in a luxurious setting and will take you on a true journey of the senses, leaving you relaxed and full of energy. 

hammam in Marrakech

Get away from it all in nature in Morocco

Where winter means exploration

After the busy holiday season, you may need to recharge your batteries. What better way to do so than by exploring the great outdoors? Here are 3 perfect places to get a total change of scenery in Morocco.

Magical nights in the Sahara

One of the most fascinating experiences in Morocco is spending the night sleeping under the stars in the largest sand desert in the world. To get there, the easiest way is to fly to Marrakech and travel to the city of Ouarzazate, which is deservingly nicknamed “the door of the desert”. Before exploring the immensity of the desert, take the time to admire the Taourirt Kasbah which inspired great filmmakers to create stories set across time and space, from a journey back to Roman times (Gladiator) to a trip to a galaxy far, far away (Star Wars). 

 Taourirt Kasbah - Ouarzazate Morocco

With undulating sand dunes as far as the eye can see, shimmering oases and lush green palm groves, the Sahara is considered the most beautiful desert in the world. What better place to completely get away from it all on a camping trip? You can get to your campsite either by 4×4 or, for a more traditional way, on camels. Once you get there, you’ll be warmly welcomed by your hosts. When night falls, you’ll be able to take in the seemingly infinite starry sky. Set an early alarm in the morning for an unforgettable sunrise. 

While the days are milder in the desert in winter than other times of the year, the nights are also colder and can get surprisingly chilly. Remember to pack warm clothes as well as sunscreen!

Skiing in Morocco

The desert is certainly stunning, but maybe you just can’t imagine a proper winter holiday without some snow. If so, good news – did you know that you can ski in Morocco? There are two resorts where you can enjoy powder snow: Oukaimeden and Michlifen.

Oukaimeden is the largest ski resort in Morocco. This resort in the High Atlas mountains features 8 red and 2 black ski slopes – more than enough to delight thrill-seekers.

Oukaimeden ski slopes - Morocco

Located near the ancient imperial cities of Fez and Meknes, Ifrane and its ski station Michlifen are called the “Little Switzerland” of Morocco. With its 5 slopes of varying difficulties, Michlifen is suitable for beginners as well as more experienced skiers.

Ski slope in Michlifen - Morocco

Hiking in the Rif mountains

In northern Morocco lies the Rif mountain range, which stretches from Tangier to Nador. An ideal place for hiking enthusiasts, you can see an amazing variety of landscapes here, from snow-covered peaks to pretty pine forests, gentle valleys to sloping hills, and lots of forests with cedar and oak trees – a very different ecosystem than the desert and ski slopes. 

Hiking path on Rif mountains - Morocco

Most hiking routes start in Tangier or Tetouan and cross some of Morocco’s most important natural parks, such as the Talassemtane National Park. This is where you can see the curious “God’s Bridge”, a natural rock arch that spans a canyon over the Fada river. Another must-do for hiking enthusiasts is climbing Jebel El Kelaa mountain. Although the beginning of the path is the most difficult part, the ascent is relatively easy, making it perfect for hikers with less training. If you start early, you can complete the hike in one day. The reward for this effort is the spectacular view of the Rif from the summit.

Situated in the heart of the Rif, Chefchaouen is the perfect place to finish your hike or to stop for a break. Its famous blue streets will charm even the most seasoned travellers. 

Get off the beaten track in Essaouira

Where winter means beachside fun

Do you want to get off the beaten track in Morocco? Try stopping by Essaouira, Morocco’s jewel on the Atlantic. To get there you have two options:

Must-see places in Essaouira

There are two main spots you can’t miss out on in Essaouira: the medina and the harbour. The medina is the historical city centre. It is surrounded by 18th-century ramparts called the Skala de la Kasbah, which have been classified as UNESCO World Heritage since 2001. 

Ramparts - Essaouira

A stroll on the ramparts will give you a spectacular view of another of the city’s highlights: the harbour and its iconic blue fishing boats. While you’re walking around, you might get the sense that you’ve seen this place before. That’s because the ramparts of Essaouira were the setting for Astapor in the third season of Game of Thrones!

You can also do a bit of shopping while you’re in Essaouira. Products like henna and argan oil are very common in Morocco. In Essaouira, several argan oil cooperatives are open to the public so you can discover how these traditional products are made. To buy henna or argan oil at the cheapest price possible, brush up on your bargaining skills and then head to the medina.

Beach activities in Essaouira 

Essaouira is the place to go if you like fish and seafood. We recommend selecting fish at the fish market in the medina and then taking it to be cooked at one of the restaurants under the nearby arcades. There, you can enjoy local specialities such as fish couscous. 

Why should you go to Essaouira in the winter? You can not only enjoy mild temperatures (on average between 13º and 20º here), but you can also find the best waves of the year in Essaouira in the winter months. There are plenty of famous surf spots around Essaouira, including: 

  • Safi, a favourite spot for professional surfers thanks to its world-class wave, Rass Lafaa.
  • Sidi Kaouki, a small fishing village south of Essaouira, is a popular spot for intermediate-level kitesurfers.
  • Cap Sim is the perfect place to avoid crowds. Less well-known than the other two spots, it’s famous among the locals for its mythical cave.
Waves in Morocco Safi - Surf

If surfing or kitesurfing isn’t really your thing, you can go horseback riding instead. Who’s up for a gallop on the beach?

Are you convinced? Check out direct flights from London to Essaouira!

Morocco definitely makes a fantastic winter destination for a holiday. What are you waiting for? Check out our flight deals to Morocco now!

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