Petra in May: Complete Traveler’s Guide

Petra is every bit worth its bucket list status. In May in Petra, spring weather brings visitors from all over the world who want to explore this world wonder. Temperatures are typically warm with the odd cool days. May is the ideal time for a visit Petra. With weather being warm and comfortable, the only downside is that everyone else wants to enjoy Petra at the same time as well. With these pro tips, you will be able to make the most of your visit despite it being high season.

As you plan your time in Jordan, you ideally want to plan at least one full day (and a night) to explore. I personally suggest a few days to explore Petra because it is a lot to take in all in one day. There is a rare possibility of rain, but much less than in the winter months.

Below you will find everything you need to know about visiting Petra in May including the typical weather, what to pack and how to plan for your visit.

Spring in Petra: Petra’s March Weather

Spring is Jordan is one of the best times of the year to visit (along with fall). Expect warm weather with average daytime temperatures around 22°C (72°F) with lows around 14°C and highs reaching 30°C.

Rain is a minor consideration in Petra in May On average Petra receives just 1 day of rain in May. Keep in mind that Petra can be closed suddenly by authorities in order to keep visitors safe from the flash flooding that occurs in the Siq.

Read more about Jordan weather in May.

Petra - view and what to wear

Packing for Petra in May: Essentials List

I have an entire post about what to wear in Jordan, but these are the essentials. After you read this post I suggest you click on the link and see what else you are going to want while you are in Jordan.

  • Sweater: Given the early start for many visitors to Petra, grab a sweater for the morning. Otherwise t-shirts and breathable pants are ideal inside the site.
  • Sturdy hiking boots or comfortable shoes: I choose boots with a solid grip for navigating Petra’s rocky terrain. However, if you do not love hiking boots, comfortable shoes are fine. May is a very popular time for hiking.
  • Sunscreen: Start every morning with sunscreen. I also find it helps with the dry climate.
  • Backpack: A comfortable, lightweight pack works for the day whether trekking from Little Petra or exploring from the Siq. Ensure you have water and snacks as well. There is a restaurant in the site and places to buy drinks.

Petra Open and Closing Hours in May

Petra is still quiet and peaceful in the early hours but expect it to be very busy at midday. Explore the siq without jostling through crowds and enjoy minimal people at the Treasury and Monastery if you get up early!

In May Petra is open from 6am to 6pm offering longer hours compared to the winter season. With the sun rising before 6am and not setting until shortly after 7pm, you will have plenty of daylight to explore.

What to Do in Petra in May

Take your time wandering the Siq, or better yet, hire a guide to show you its hidden secrets. Take a selfie or two at the Treasury and enjoy a cup of tea as you watch others in awe as they emerge from the Siq.

Continue down and explore the Colonnaded Street, the Great Temple, and consider Al Khubta trail for the best views of the treasury above. For those who have multiple days in Petra, consider the backdoor trail from Little Petra to Petra which offers a backdoor trip to the Monastery avoiding having to climb the 800 stairs required to visit it. 

Candlelit Wonders: Petra By Night

Imagine walking through the narrow Siq to the Treasury, illuminated only by the soft glow of candlelight. This is Petra By Night, an event that captivates visitors every Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday evenings. As you meander along the candlelit path, the shadows and light create a mystical atmosphere, enhancing the spellbinding features of the ancient city. The star-studded winter sky adds an extra layer of magic to the experience, while the cold night air makes the warm tea served by local vendors taste even more comforting. 

Beyond Petra

There are plenty of other sites beyond Petra, including Wadi Rum, Jordan’s famed desert. Shobak Castle lies to the South and Kerak Castle to the North. The Gulf of Aqaba is less than 2 hours by car and offers stunning coral views just off shore. There is also a resort vibe in Aqaba with Tala Bay and Ayla competing for visitors looking for some relaxing vibes.

Savory Warmth: Indulging in Local Cuisine

After spending the day exploring this world wonder, finish your day with a traditional Jordanian meal. Mansaf, the national dish of Jordan, is a hearty invitation to savor tender lamb cooked in a fermented dried yogurt sauce, served over a bed of aromatic rice. You can usually find Mansaf at local family-run restaurants within Wadi Musa, the town adjacent to Petra.

For another warm and flavourful treat, seek out maqluba, an upside-down dish layered with rice, vegetables, and chicken or lamb. 

On chilly mornings or when the stars twinkle above the desert expanse, wrap your fingers around a cup of sweet tea or  Turkish coffee. These hot beverages, steeped in tradition, are ubiquitous in cafés throughout Petra and offer warmth from within. Each sip feels like a moment of connection to the ancient city and its culture.

For the sweet tooth, enjoy knafeh, a warm dessert layered with cheese and soaked in a sweet syrup, often sprinkled with pistachios. This sticky treat is a favorite among locals and visitors for its comforting textures and flavors, providing a sweet finale to your day of exploring.

Read more about where to eat in Wadi Musa.

May in Petra: Other Considerations

May is the perfect time to visit Petra. Spring weather dominates and this ancient city wows at every turn. May typically offers warm to hot afternoons and ideal trekking conditions. However, with the good weather comes the crowds. May is high season in Jordan, however, it is a country visited by just a few million each year, while you will find crowds, it is not unmanageable. 

When planning your trip to Petra in May, make sure to secure accommodations. This is not something to leave to the last minute when you visit in the high season. It is also better to book airfare in advance, especially if you are coming in on the increasing number of low cost carriers from Europe. The same goes for car rentals, typically everyone charges the same amount but when inventory drops, everyone raises their prices.

More Helpful Information:

Petra in April

Petra in June

How to get to Petra from Amman

Best Places to Stay near Petra