Spring is in full bloom in May. And in southern sections of Morocco, you'll start experiencing summery weather—ideal if you're at the beach, and perhaps less so if you're sightseeing with sizeable crowds in a city like Marrakech, where the highs can hit the upper 80s.
Generally speaking, May in Morocco is warm, fairly dry, and windy, with balmy evenings. After spring rains in March and April, the foliage is a vibrant green in the mountains, making outdoor adventures particularly inviting. In the Atlas Mountains, the average temperature in May is a comfortable 72° Fahrenheit. On the northern coast, in Tangier, the average temperature is cooler at 63°.
Note that sandstorms may occur in spring, affecting villages and cities around the desert. If you're caught in one, cover your face with a scarf and seek shelter to wait out the storm.
Crowds & Costs
May is a very popular time to visit Morocco. Expect crowds at major sightseeing attractions, especially on weekends, and book well in advance if you have strong preferences about hotels or specific tours. Now is a good time to hire a private guide (as opposed to joining a larger tour) if you're sightseeing in imperial cities: a local can help you navigate the city while steering clear of the biggest crowds.
Where to Go
If you want to go to the Sahara, May is your last chance before the temperatures soar too high (it's not recommended for travelers visiting in June, July, August, or September). As the month goes on, it gets hotter and hotter in the desert, so it's best to schedule your trip as early as possible in your itinerary.
May is a perfect time to visit the coast, where temperatures are pleasant and (depending on where you go), the summer crowds haven't arrived yet.
What to Do
Squeeze in a desert tour (including a camel ride and camping in the desert) at the tail end of spring, and be sure to bring sunscreen and plenty of water.
Don't miss the harvest in the Valley of Roses. There's a big festival this month that brings plenty of tourists to the region—see below for more information—but apart from that, it's a relatively quiet (and fragrant) place in spring.
Consider leaving the crowded cities and taking a journey into the Atlas Mountains, the Rif Mountains, or to the coast. Morocco gets busy in May, but the heaviest concentration of tourists is always in the historic centers of the imperial cities.
If you do plan to sightsee in a popular destination like Fes, get an early start, and consider side-tripping to smaller sites like Meknes or Volubilis, where you'll see slightly fewer tourists and enjoy some fresh air and wide open spaces along the drive.
Festival of Roses — In the aptly named Valley of Roses, the town of El Kelaa M’Gouna hosts this lively celebration coinciding with the harvest of Damascus rosebuds, the basis for rose water. Expect Berber dancers, traditional food, and, of course, plenty of rose-related products to buy. Check ahead for specific dates and times, as these vary every year.
Mawazine / Rhythms of the World Concert — The city of Rabat hosts this headline-grabbing musical festival every year. Depending on the lineup, you'll be able to catch performances by Moroccan artists as well as sets by superstars like Rihanna or Robert Plant. Check ahead for specific dates and ticket information.
Honey Festival — Join in the annual celebrations at Argana, just north of Agadir, at what's considered the largest and oldest collective beehive in the world.
Traveling to Morocco in May? Check out these great itineraries.
Marrakech, Quick Desert Tour, Essaouira. May is the last reasonable time to visit the Sahara Desert before the sweltering months of summer. Take advantage of your timing with this weeklong itinerary that takes in Marrakech, the High Atlas Mountains, and the desert before cooling off at the beach in Essaouira.
Imperial Cities, Desert Adventures & Atlas Hiking. If you have a few extra days to spend in Morocco, try this eleven-day itinerary that offers both cultural sightseeing and outdoor adventures, including visits to the imperial cities, several days in the Sahara, and hiking in the High Atlas Mountains. May's great weather means you'll be comfortable in all the spots this itinerary touches.