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Best time to visit Morocco’s majestic Atlas Mountains

Known to local Berbers as ‘Idraren Draren’ – the Mountain of Mountains – North Africa’s highest mountain range, the Atlas Mountains, runs across Morocco for nearly 1,000km, separating the Atlantic and Mediterranean coastline from the Sahara Desert. Its diverse terrain is dotted with Berber villages, canyons, waterfalls, and spectacular valleys with snow-capped Jebel Toubkal its highest peak at 4,167m (13,671ft) above sea level.

The foothills of the Atlas Mountains are home to Kasbah Tamadot, Virgin Limited Edition’s tranquil retreat located just an hour’s drive from Marrakech. Considering a visit to this spectacular region of Morocco but not sure when to visit? Our handy guide breaks it all down.


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Visit in Spring

In early Spring, the slopes of the Atlas Mountains are softly coloured with white and pale pink almond blossoms, and wildflowers – ranging from poppies to wild orchids – making for a striking natural landscape. With temperatures averaging 18.2°C/65°F during the day, this time of the year is ideal for hiking, mountain-biking or tackling the trek up Jebel Toubkal.

The ninth and holiest month in the Islamic calendar – usually around April or May- marks the start of Ramadan. A time for spiritual rejuvenation, Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset through this month, marking the end of this period with Eid-el-Fitr, three days of celebration and feasting. During Ramadan many shops and restaurants will have altered hours – something to bear in mind when travelling – however, seeing worshippers head to their local mosques for evening prayers before sitting down together with family and friends to break the fast – known as f’tour – is quite something to observe. It’s also the perfect time to sample some of the traditional foods popular during this time of the year such as chebakia, a honey- coated fried flower-shaped sesame biscuit, and harira, a flavourful lentil and tomato soup.

Visit in Summer

In Summer, the Atlas Mountains offer much needed respite from the heat in Morocco’s cities, with temperatures here often 15˚C lower than the rest of the country. While during the day it may still be too hot for long and strenuous hikes, gentler walks first thing in the morning can be combined with relaxing afternoons lingering in the shade by the pool at Kasbah Tamadot.

Cool evenings and clear skies make for incredible stargazing opportunities – just make sure to layer up as temperatures do drop significantly at night-time.

Visit in Autumn

Between October and December, across the Ourika valley – just a short drive from Kasbah Tamadot - local Berber women head out several hours before sunrise to harvest Morocco’s red gold: saffron. Spending several hours picking the purple crocuses lining the valley’s fields before gathering around small wooden tables to carefully separate the red stigma from the crocus flower, while enjoying their social time together, it is quite the process to observe.

With the Summer heat subsiding and temperatures averaging between 27.5°C/81.5°F and 14.7°C/(58.5°F), Autumn makes for a great time to explore Marrakech and its many sights. From perusing its labyrinth of souks brimming with spices – including the precious saffron -, pottery and stunning fabrics , to taking in the city’s world class museums such as the Museum Macaal (Museum of African Contemporary Art Al Maaden) or the Berber Museum, located within the beautiful Majorelle Garden, there is plenty to while away the day before heading back to Kasbah Tamadot for a relaxing evening.

Visit in Winter

For those who don’t mind a temperature drop, a visit to the Atlas Mountains makes for the perfect time to hunker down at Kasbah Tamadot to relax and recharge. Wrap up and warm up with a traditional Moroccan mint tea while admiring the beautiful snow-capped mountains from the rooftop terrace on a sunny but crisp winter day, or snuggle up and finally catch up on reading on one of the property’s many cosy nooks.

Planning a visit to the Atlas Mountains? While renovation – following the September 2023 earthquake in Morocco – continues, our beautiful Berber Tents are currently available for stays and from 1st July, we will be ready to welcome guests to our brand new Riads. We cannot wait to fully reopen later in this year in the autumn.

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