10 things to do in Marrakech in May

Marrakech during the month of May is full of cultural events and has many outdoor activities to offer thanks to the pleasant warm weather. What are you waiting for?

Ana Caballero

Ana Caballero

9 min read

10 things to do in Marrakech in May

Marrakech, Morocco | ©Esteban Palacios Blanco

If you are planning to visit Morocco during the month of May, you cannot miss the city of Marrakech and its neighboring cities, which during this time become a must-see tourist destination.

In May, Marrakech and its surroundings host several traditional events and festivals such as the Aïd El-Fitr, the end of fasting festival after Ramadan or the well-known Rose Festival.

1. Enjoy the local food during the Aïd al-Fitr - Feast of the end of fasting

Cous Cous with Vegetables| ©LablascovegmenuSeguir
Cous Cous with Vegetables| ©LablascovegmenuSeguir

Following the religious tradition of Islam in Morocco, during the month of May is celebrated the Aid al Fitr, the Feast of the End of Fasting. This festival is one of the most important in the Muslim calendar, as it marks the end of Ramadan, the holy month according to the Islamic religion, during which Muslims fast while there is sunlight for 29 or 30 days.

The Aíd al Fitr is not a one-day holiday, but extends over the first 3 days of Shawwal, the tenth month of the Muslim calendar. Therefore, if you are visiting Marrakech on these dates I recommend that you take the opportunity to taste some of the typical dishes of this celebration:

Useful information

I assure you that there is nothing like the authentic gastronomy of Marrakech, but to live an unparalleled experience you have to know where to go. That's why I recommend you to take a look at this article about the best restaurants in Marrakech. So you can choose the one that is perfect for your tastes.

And if you really want to get it right, you can put yourself in the hands of an expert guide by hiring a gastronomic tour of Marrakech.

Book a gastronomic tour of Marrakech

2. Take a trip to Ouarzazate to see the Festival of Roses

Rose Festival in Ourzazate| ©Ali famille
Rose Festival in Ourzazate| ©Ali famille

Located in the province of Ouarzazate is the oasis of the Valley of Roses. There, during the second weekend of May, the Moussem de Kelaa M'Gouna or Rose Festival is held in honor of the rose of Damascus. This centenary festival lasts 3 days and includes numerous celebrations, among which the following stand out:

  • Banquets
  • Souks or markets with all kinds of products dedicated to roses.
  • Traditional songs and dances
  • Processions of decorated floats crossing a road showered with rose petals
  • A beauty contest where a woman is crowned Miss Roses.

I recommend that you go with time and also take advantage of your excursion to Ouarzazate to make a stop in Ouarzazate, a beautiful fortified city that has been the setting for famous Hollywood movies such as: Lawrence of Arabia, Babel and Gladiator, among many others.

Book a tour to Ouarzazate

3. Enjoy a day trip to Essaouira

Waves lapping the ramparts of Essaouira| ©Doug Knuth
Waves lapping the ramparts of Essaouira| ©Doug Knuth

If you travel to Marrakech in May, you can not miss a day trip to Essaouira. A beautiful city located on the coast of Morocco that stands out for its narrow streets full of charm and its incredible beaches.

Since you are traveling to Marrakech in May, in high season of tourism in this area, my recommendation is to visit Essaouira to hire a guided tour. Thus, not only you will not have to worry about how to get from Marrakech to Essaouira, since you will have an air-conditioned minivan for the transfer to and from Essaouira.

Another great advantage is that you will have a local guide who will show you the secrets of this beautiful city and the most iconic places and, once the tour is over, you will have free time to enjoy Essaouira at your leisure.

Book a tour to Essaouira

4. Live a unique experience at the Transahara Festival

Transahara Festival| ©Sebastian Mulleart
Transahara Festival| ©Sebastian Mulleart

If you are looking for new experiences on your trip to Marrakech in May, you cannot miss the Transahara Festival, an eclectic music festival held in the heart of the Sahara, specifically in the Merzouga area, which usually takes place between the second and third week of May.

Its landscape, famous for its incredible Erg Chebi dunes of golden sand and the beautiful lake, is the perfect setting for introspection and reconnection with nature... and with music, of course!

The Transahara Festival is a wonderful mix of different cultures and artistic expressions that vibrate with music to the rhythm of the desert, you can't miss it!

Book an excursion to Merzouga

5. Discover the Medina of Marrakech with a private tour

Tourist guide in Marrakech| ©Kevin Gessner
Tourist guide in Marrakech| ©Kevin Gessner

If you are going to visit Marrakech in May you should know that spring is the high season of this tourist destination, so its streets will be full of visitors from all over the world who want to discover its secrets.

Therefore, I invite you to walk every inch of the Medina of Marrakech without worrying about possible scams or tourist traps by hiring a private tour of the Medina.

Thanks to the expert guide who will accompany you and show you the most important and emblematic places of the Medina, you will discover authentic artisans and incredible artists who work in this area creating beautiful carpets, lamps, jewelry and clothes. In addition, you will learn the basics of bargaining to get the best prices and exclusive discounts in your favorite stores.

Book a private tour of Marrakech

6. Take a camel ride through the palm grove at sunset.

Camels for the tour in Marrakech| ©Jaume Pera
Camels for the tour in Marrakech| ©Jaume Pera

If you visit Marrakech in May, you can't leave without taking a camel ride. At this time of the year, the best way to do it is to hire a camel ride in the Palm grove at sunset.

In May the weather is hot and dry, but at sunset the temperature is cool and very pleasant, so it is the best time of the day for this activity. In addition, the sunset sky is amazing in May, as the sky is usually very clear, offering beautiful views. These visits usually include:

  • Touareg dress and a cheich, which is a Touareg scarf used to protect the face from the sun.
  • Visit to a Berber house, where you can enjoy a typical Moroccan snack accompanied by traditional mint tea.
  • Air-conditioned minivan

Book a camel ride

7. Book a guided tour of the Atlas Mountains

Atlas Mountains| ©Spixey
Atlas Mountains| ©Spixey

Did you think Marrakech was only desert? Nothing could be further from the truth. The truth is that Marrakech is located at the foot of the Atlas Mountains, which crosses Algeria, Tunisia and Morocco and separates the Mediterranean and Atlantic coast from the Sahara Desert.

It is an incomparable landscape, full of traditional Berber villages that are worth visiting. Why do I recommend you to take a trip to the Atlas Mountains in May? Because Marrakech in May is characterized by good weather and spring-like temperatures. In summer, on the other hand, the temperature can climb up to 40 degrees and in winter the chances of rain are very high.

During the route you will be amazed by the views of the waterfalls and valleys that you will encounter. In addition, you will be able to have tea with a Berber family and learn more about their culture. And, of course, this trip cannot end without a camel ride.

Book an excursion to the Atlas Mountains

8. Orange juice at the Spice Plaza

Orange Juice| ©Bruno Scramgnon
Orange Juice| ©Bruno Scramgnon

Spring is the best time to visit Marrakech. During the day it is deliciously summery hot and in the evening the temperature is deliciously refreshing. And there's no better way to end a long, hot day of sightseeing than with a refreshing, vitamin-packed drink before a delicious dinner on the same terrace.

Head to the Place des Spices and sit on the terrace of one of the best restaurants in the Medina of Marrakech, the Cafe Des Epices.

The month of May is the perfect time for you to enjoy its beautiful terrace with stunning views of the city, its delicious orange juice and the wide variety of dishes you will find on its menu.

Book a tour of the medina of Marrakech

9. Visit the Majorelle Garden, the oasis of Yves Saint Laurent

Majorelle Garden| ©Kamal Hammadi
Majorelle Garden| ©Kamal Hammadi

The average temperature in Marrakech in May is about 28°C and can even rise to 37°C. So if the day is very hot, I suggest you visit a real oasis in the bustle of the city, the Majorelle Garden.

Located in the Gueliz district, was designed by the French painter Jacques Majorelle in 1924, who transformed it into a botanical garden with a variety of trees and plants, as well as birds that found their home in this refuge. In addition, Majorelle built a 2-story villa painted in his famous Majorelle Blue, to be his home and studio.

Most interesting of all, in 1980, it was purchased by Yves Saint Laurent and his partner, Pierre Bergé. Together, they restored the splendor of the garden, somewhat neglected since the painter's death, and this space became YSL's favorite place to design its collections.

Book a tour of the Majorelle Gardens

10. Discover the Malhoun Festival of Patriotic Songs

Malhoun Festival| ©ALM
Malhoun Festival| ©ALM

If you love to learn about the deep-rooted cultural traditions of the places you visit, you can't miss the Malhoum and Patriotic Song Festival. This festival is dedicated to preserving Morocco's musical heritage, as well as promoting traditional patriotic song, through conferences and debates between experts, as well as musical evenings and incredible art exhibitions that you can enjoy.

Here are some of the venues where, in previous editions, the concerts of this traditional festival have been held:

  • The Chamber of Crafts
  • The Dar Bellarj Dar Bellarj Foundation
  • The Royal Theater
  • The Theater of the House of Culture in Daoudiate

What is the temperature in May in Marrakech?

Medina, Marrakech| ©Andrew Nash
Medina, Marrakech| ©Andrew Nash

One of the factors to take into account when deciding what is the best time to visit Marrakech is the weather. In the month of May, we are talking about a semi-desert subtropical climate, so visiting this area of Morocco in spring is the best option.

Best of all, both in Marrakech and in much of Morocco, in May the climate is predominantly dry, so it hardly rains. So you can enjoy the sunshine throughout the trip, allowing you to make the most of outdoor activities without suffering from the heat.

Keep in mind that, due to its distance from the sea and its altitude, there is quite a lot of thermal oscillation, so at night it cools down.

  • Winter
  • December - February
  • Climate: Cool
  • Maximum 13ºC
  • Low 6ºC
  • Spring
  • March - May
  • Climate: Temperate
  • High 37ºC
  • Low 17ºC
  • Summer
  • June - September
  • Climate: Torrid
  • High 42ºC
  • Minimum 21ºC
  • Autumn
  • October - November
  • Climate: Temperate
  • High 28ºC
  • Minimum 15ºC

What to bring in your suitcase to Marrakech to visit in May?

Preparing your luggage| ©Craig Adderley
Preparing your luggage| ©Craig Adderley

As you can see, if you visit Marrakech in May you will enjoy warm weather and it will get hotter and hotter as June approaches.

So, here are some tips for visiting Marrakech on what to wear to make the most of the experience:

  • Comfortable, cool and light clothing (cotton or linen) for the heat.
  • Cool, comfortable and breathable shoes.
  • Hat or cap and sunglasses to protect you from the sun.
  • Protective cream to avoid sunburn.
  • A good repellent to apply every day.

The use of the feminine veil

It is important to keep in mind that Marrakech has a very conservative Muslim culture. For this reason, and especially when it comes to women's fashion, my advice is to choose more demure outfits that cover your shoulders and legs. This way, you will avoid unwanted attention and unpleasant situations.

You don't have to wear a veil in the street, but to enter some mosques you may be asked to do so, so I advise you to carry a fresh scarf in your bag. This way, you won't miss anything during your excursions in Marrakech!