When I booked a ticket to go visit my friend Amanda from MarocMama.com in Morocco in December, I was already looking forward to a bit of warmth and sunshine away from the greyness that is Belgian winter. Little did I know that I’d also need to pack my winter coat!
The weather in Morocco in winter
While it can still go up to 20°C/68°F in Morocco in December, the nights can be chilly, with temperatures between 3°C/37.4°F and 10°C/50°F. How warm it is, also depends on where you go. If you visit Marrakech in December, like I did, you’ll enjoy the more moderate temperatures.
Once you leave the city and head up into the Atlas Mountains, however, it gets cold. As in freezing cold.
We drove through the mountains one day and actually saw snow. The car indicated a temperature of 0°C/32°F.
In Essaouira, by the coast, it seemed warmer, but you have to take into account that it can get pretty windy there. Luckily, you don’t really notice the wind when you’re walking around the Medina.
So yes, Morocco is a warm winter destination in comparison to most of Europe, but don’t go expecting tropical temperatures :-)
Also good to know: there’s practically no central heating. When there’s heating, it usually comes from gas fires or air conditioning devices that also work as a heater. So for the evenings, it’s best to pack something warm, even when you’re planning to stay in your hotel.
What to wear in Morocco in December (and other useful things)
A note on Moroccan clothing
Before I show you all the things I’d planned for my trip, I briefly want to touch upon the “Morocco dress code”, if you wish, and how not to stand out too much as a woman.
What I noticed on my trip is that day-to-day Moroccan dress is mostly functional and comfortable. Lots of women wear the typical hooded djellaba or outer dress, as do the Moroccan men. Walking around in the Medina of Marrakech, clothing didn’t seem to be that big of a deal.
Some of the stores tell a different story, though. Small boutiques sell the most beautiful Moroccan kaftan dresses, in bright colors and often with some intricate embroidery.
Talking to my friend, she explained that the Medina – the old town of Marrakech where tourists tend to spend most of their town – is the most traditional and conservative part of the city and that it’s thus normal to see more people wearing traditional Moroccan clothing.
We saw the same driving through the countryside and passing small villages, while Marrakech’s new town and the center of Essaouira showed more of a mix of typical Moroccan outfits and “western wear” like jeans.
I found it hard to get a sense of what could be Moroccan fashion as it felt so much like a patchwork of old and new, of western and traditionally Moroccan.
How to dress in Morocco as a woman
If you know a bit about Moroccan culture, it won’t come as a surprise that Moroccan women’s clothing isn’t exactly revealing. While you can technically wear what you want as a tourist, that’s not always the best idea – especially not when traveling in Morocco as a woman.
If you’re a woman and you’re wondering what to wear in Marrakech and the rest of the country, I recommend having your legs, shoulders, and cleavage covered. Super tight clothing and see-through stuff is best avoided as well, but skinny jeans are okay. If you just follow these simple guidelines, you’ll get fewer stares and you’ll feel more comfortable as well.
While that might go against what you want to do in summer, when Morocco becomes blazing hot, it’s not really something to think about in winter. Temperatures are mild then and I not once felt the urge to grab a pair of shorts or to walk around in a tank top. From that perspective, winter might be the best time to go to Morocco.
A note on buying Moroccan wear
Walking around the Medina, you’ll be enchanted by all the fabrics and colors. You’ll see the locals in their Moroccan outfits and think “Damn, those Moroccan gowns look so comfortable” and you’ll probably be tempted to buy one.
Two things to consider:
- Will you really wear this once you leave Morocco?
- Does it even fit in your suitcase?
Chances are you’ll answer “no” to one or both of those questions.
My Morocco packing list
Below you can find all the things I packed for one week in Morocco. All of this fit into my carry-on trolley and my Eastpak laptop backpack.
Once you start packing for Morocco, also check whether you need an electricity socket adapter and consider bringing a MiFi device. I didn’t need an adapter, but I was happy to have my portable WiFi device with me. That might just be a blogger thing, though :-) The places we stayed at did all have WiFi.
- zomig (for migraine attacks)
- immodium (against diarrhea)
- montelukast (against allergies)
- cetirizine (against allergies)
- motilium (against nausea)
- spidifen (painkiller)
- symbicort (inhaler)
- birth control pil
- special bandages against blisters
- cold meds (because I had a cold)
2. Clothes and accessories
- my fleece zippered Quechua jumper
- 2 sweaters
- 1 light cardigan
- 2 pairs of loose trousers
- 1 pair of sweatpants
- my Icebreaker Lightweight 200 g legging for when we went to have dinner in the desert
- my Icebreaker lightweight Oasis Henley 200 g base layer for when we went to have dinner in the desert
- 5 t-shirts
- 3 tops as base layers
- daily fresh socks, including one pair of Icebreaker merino woolen socks for when we went to the desert
- compression socks for on the plane
- basic underwear and bras
- my North Face ski jacket
- 1 regular winter hat for in the desert
- my Ray Ban sunglasses
- 1 pair of sneakers
- 1 pair of leather Moroccan slippers Amanda got me a while ago :-)
- a scarf that matched all of my outfits for Morocco
3. Other things
- 3 packs of paper tissues
- my Pacsafe Citysafe travel handbag
- a daypack in which I put my Pacsafe handbag for extra security and space
- a notebook and two pens
- my absolute favorite flight pillow
- my laptop + charger
- my Kindle
- my Samsung S8 + charger
- USB-cables to connect all the electronics to each other
- my Skyroam portable WiFi device
- facial creme
- lip balm
- hair brush
- basic make-up and make-up remover
- toothpaste + tooth brush
- some other basic bathroom items
- travel sized toiletry containers
Don’t forget travel insurance
Plan for the best, prepare for the worst. Travel insurance has you covered in case (part of) your trip gets cancelled, you get sick or hurt abroad and even when your electronics break or get stolen. I’ve had ongoing travel insurance ever since I started traveling to make sure I’m covered for every trip I go on.
Rather be safe than sorry too? Check out World Nomads. They cover a wide range of activities for people from 140 countries.
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