Weather: Morocco, Algeria

A Spaniard need only cross the Strait of Gibraltar to arrive in Morocco, so it naturally follows that the north coast of this mountainous nation shares a similar Mediterranean climate, with bright, warm summer days and a cool winter laced with rainy spells every two or three days. The story's much the same inland to the Atlas Mountain foothills and along the Atlantic coastline down past Essaouira to Cap Rhir. If anything, the Atlantic coast is even more temperate than the Mediterranean: the winter rains are lighter, and it's somewhat milder in winter and cooler in summer, when sea fog can sweep in. The big caveat is the influence of the Sahara, lurking just over the Atlas range. When Saharan air pours over the mountains on a southerly wind, the weather quickly turns dry and hot – very hot, at times. In July, when the average highs barely top 26°C/79°F along the coast, a dust-laden chergui wind can push temperatures to above 43°C/109°F. By contrast, the High Atlas can be as wintry as any other high peaks, with howling winds and snow that can block passage for days. The Moroccan regime holds true in Algeria, except, of course, that there's far more land on the hot side of the Atlas.