Where to go in
May

It’s safari time in Africa, the sun’s out in Europe and it’s the dry season in South America. Welcome to May, everyone! We’ve pulled together the best places for a holiday in May, so you don’t have to. Enjoy…

Highlights

Where’s hot

Europe is well and truly on the map for sun-seekers with Southern France, Portugal and Cyprus particularly pleasant in May. For those wanting to go long-haul the Seychelles is in its prime, whilst the Bahamas is a great option before the crowds arrive…

TOWN, Country Temperatures Min° Max° Wet Days
Fort-de-France, Martinique 24 32 18
Bali, Indonesia 25 32 9
Nassau, Bahamas 23 30 9
Victoria, Seychelles 26 30 9
Marrakech, Morocco 15 30 2
Tozeur, Tunisia 16 30 3
Amman, Jordan 15 29 0
Basse-Terre, Guadeloupe 20 28 23
Praia, Cape Verde 22 28 0
Beijing, China 14 28 6

Where to go

Explore Europe’s cities and coastline, go on the lookout for the best wildlife in the world or just laze on a Caribbean beach. May has it all and more, read on for our favourite holiday ideas…

  • Botswana
  • Zambia
  • The Seychelles
  • Nepal
  • Indonesia
  • Thailand
  • The Netherlands
  • Croatia
  • Switzerland
  • San Francisco
  • The Bahamas
  • Bolivia

Africa

Botswana

May is one of the best months to visit the Okavango Delta, Moremi and Chobe National Park. At this time of year, there will be less vegetation and game viewing is excellent. The skies are clear, the weather is dry, and there will be fewer mosquitoes to contend with too. And other than Chobe, most areas will never get too crowded even though this is the peak season. Temperature highs are around 28°C, but be sure to pack some warm layers as temperatures drop at night and it can be particularly chilly for those early morning safaris.

Further Reading – Anita Hendrieka

Zambia

This landlocked country in East Africa boasts diverse wildlife and shares the famous Victoria Falls with neighboring Zimbabwe. For game viewing, May is the time to come as it marks the start of the dry season. The park’s animals congregate around the rivers and waterholes, making them very easy to spot. If you want to see the Falls, both the Zambian and Zimbabwean sides of the river are a must. You can easily cross the bridge from one to the other or take a taxi. Both countries offer different experiences, with the wilder and more rugged viewpoints found in Zambia (including the notorious Devil’s Pool).

Further Reading – Along Dusty Roads

The Seychelles

The unique weather makes Seychelles such a popular destination for couples, honeymooners and those in search of guaranteed sun. It’s superb all year round, but May is particularly special as it’s the transition period between hot, humid northwest trade winds and the cooler southeast winds. You can expect the temperature on the largest island, Mahe, to be 28°C on average and with highs of over 31°C during the afternoon peak. For beach lovers and luxury seekers alike, this is the ideal pre-summer escape.

Further Reading – Getaway

Asia

Nepal

The weather starts to hot up in May, with humidity starting to build up too in the run-up to monsoon season which is due in June. This is a great time to travel if you want to beat the summer storms and enjoy great views of the mountains (which become obscured by cloud cover during the rain). It can be very hot in Kathmandu and average day time temperatures can be above 30°C. But with longer days, this is the perfect time to go trekking or to visit Chitwan National Park, go mountain biking in Kathmandu Valley, or to relax on the lake in Pokhara.

Further Reading – Aussie on the Roads

Indonesia

Marking the start of the dry season, May is one of the best times to tour Indonesia. In the Borneo region, this is the driest time of year whilst on the beautiful island of Bali, the weather is at its warmest. In Jakarta, you can expect highs of 31°C (and average lows of 25°C). Making it the perfect time for beaches and relaxation.  Some of the best beaches within easy reach from the capital are Anyer Beach, Bidadari Island and Pari Island. Whilst in Bali, there’s the famous Kuta Beach (suitable for 18-35 holidays), the fabulous Balangan Beach (great for surfers), and Seminyak Beach (featuring some of the best resorts).

Further Reading – Seth Lui

Thailand

Although it’s pretty humid in Thailand due to the start of monsoon season, the rain can be somewhat refreshing after a dry, hot April. The heat subsides to around 26°C in Bangkok, 24°C in Chiang Mai, 25°C in Ko Chang, and 23°C in Trang. This makes it a good time to do some sightseeing, and it’s also a very atmospheric time to watch rice farmers tending to their fields in the north-east near Ubon Ratchathani and Nakhon Phanom. May also hosts the Bang Fai Rocket Festival in Yasothon, and the rain transforms the mountains to a wonderful shade of green so be sure to pack your camera!

Further Reading – On Time Travel

Europe

The Netherlands

From tasting the local rijsttafel and exploring the bustling Red Light District of Amsterdam to seeing the traditional Dutch homes that line the canal in Utrecht or visiting the marine museums and galleries in Rotterdam, the Netherlands is wonderful in May. With so much to see and do, beyond the capital. Whilst the weather can be somewhat unpredictable, you can expect it to be somewhere between 8°C and a very comfortable 17°C at this time of year. Of course, getting hotter as you go further into the month.

Further Reading – Independent

Croatia

The start of the month sees generous sunlight hours (14 hours a day) with highs of a lovely 19°C. As we go further into May, it will start to get hotter and somewhere like Dubrovnik by the coast will see average temps going into the twenties. This is a great time to see the city as the climate is comfortable and you will have enough sunshine for island hopping. Take a boat from the city to explore the beautiful islands of Kolocep, Sipan, Korcula, Lopud, Mljet and Lokrum for their beaches, incredible hiking and local cuisine. This is also the perfect time to go sightseeing in Split, Zadar, Pula and Zagreb.

Further Reading – Hand Luggage Only

Montreux, Switzerland

May is a great month to be visiting the traditional resort town of Montreux. Nestled between the peaceful Lake Geneva and verdant hills, this is a destination for couples or families in search of magical views. Find a lakeside hotel or apartment and you will awaken to the most spectacular panoramas every day. Daily temps are up to 19°C so you can enjoy comfortable walks and tours of the city. Be sure to walk along the famous promenade which is lined with sculptures, flowers and trees. For a day trip that will appeal to all ages, book a boat tour of the nearby sland castle, Château de Chillon.

Further Reading – Hand Luggage Only

Americas

San Francisco, USA

Spring is fantastic in San Fran, due to the mild climate and lack of rain (when compared to other parts of California). This hilly city is perhaps best known for the Golden Gate Bridge, the notorious former prison at Alcatraz, and the postcard row of ‘painted ladies’ (Victorian and Edwardian painted houses). But this destination is also an excellent choice for foodies, as the restaurants are truly outstanding. Some of the iconic food and drink you must try include Dungeness crab, bay shrimp, the ‘Joe’s Special’ scramble, bread bowl clam chowder, Dutch Crunch bread and Anchor Steam Beer. San Francisco is a melting pot of cultures, so there’s something to suit all taste buds.

Further Reading – LOREM IPSUM

The Bahamas

Beat the tourist crowds of peak season (from November to April) and book your holiday in May time before the hurricanes arrive. This shoulder month is a great time to relax on the beaches or do some sightseeing, and at a lovely 24°C averaging in the day, you will find it to be wonderfully pleasant for the whole family. This coral-based archipelago is superb for snorkelling and diving, and some of the best beaches to check out are Gold Rock Beach on Grand Bahama Island, Cabbage Beach on Paradise Island, and the famous Pig Beach where visitors will have the chance to go swimming with pigs in crystal clear waters.

Further Reading – LOREM IPSUM

Bolivia

May-Oct is the best time to visit Bolivia as this is the dry season, making it ideal for discovering the nation’s varied terrain. Spanning the Andes Mountains and the Atacama Desert to the Amazon Basin and rainforest. Due to the difference in topography, the climate can vary but you can expect the capital of La Paz to reach highs of 17°C in May, Santa Cruz to range from 9-21°C, and areas of the Yungas Valley (Amazonian lowlands) to range from 12-25°C. If you want to see the mirror effect of the iconic Salar de Uyuni, go later into the month to avoid any chance of rain.

Further Reading – LOREM IPSUM

Holiday types

Holidays in May are perfect for city breaks, as well as families wanting an easy beach holiday with the kids. For wildlife lovers, you won’t get much better than a safari in Botswana or Namibia. Pick your favourite from our top ideas below…

Family Holidays

For a care-free holiday with the kids, book an all-inclusive stay at one of the many luxury resorts in Cyprus. Some of the best areas for families include Nicosia, Protaras, Kyrenia, Paphos and Larnaca.
Portugal has much to offer, including an amazing coastline with gorgeous seaside towns, great golfing and spa resorts, as well as some fantastic cities such as Lisbon, Braga and Coimbra.
Rent a cottage in Devon to keep costs down and keep travel time to a minimum. The daytime temperature can be as high as 16°C, so this is a great time for walks on the beach, sandcastles and beachcombing. The kids will love it here!

Activity

Either side of Peru’s dry season (May or October) is the perfect time to take on the Inca Trail. Not only will the weather be drier, but there will be fewer crowds at this time.
The South of France offers the best weather for cycling in May. Coming in at highs of around 17°C at the start of the month, it will never get too hot when you’re behind the handlebars.
White water rafting in Slovenia is one of the most exciting activities to do in spring. Head to the Soca River (a class 3 river) or go rafting in Bled down the Sava River with the most pristine rapids.

Honeymoon

Enjoy gorgeous weather (highs of 22°C in May) in the spectacular city of Istanbul, Turkey. Take a walk around the Old Town in the day and don’t miss the amazing sunset over the city’s skyline.
For the most romantic views, book your honeymoon in Santorini where the weather is nice and warm at this time of year. Don’t miss the sunsets of Imerovigli and the hot springs of Therasia.
Spend 10 days relaxing in a luxury resort in Mexico. From the sun-drenched shores of Los Cabos to the incredible 5-star hotels of the Riviera May, there are so many great places to stay.

City Breaks

New York is beautiful in springtime, and Central Park is a must at this time of year. Enjoy shopping in the city’s top department stores and take part in the annual Fleet Week.
Valencia in Spain is great for sightseeing and culture vultures. With hot weather even in May and so much to see and do for all ages.
An underrated destination compared to other Italy cities, Bologna is the place to come for traditional Italian cooking. Find the most authentic dishes and tasty street eats around every corner.

Nature Breaks

Borneo is one of the last places on our planet where you can still see orangutans in the wild, and May is the perfect time for booking your trip.
Enjoy a safari in Namibia in May, when the weather is at its best and game viewing is top-notch. Later into the month, wildlife viewing gets even better, particularly in Etosha National Park.
For dolphin watching, head to the Azores archipelago in Portugal where various dolphin species can be spotted. Including the Common dolphin, Bottlenose dolphin, and Risso’s dolphin.

Events and festivals

There are plenty of quirky events and festivals happening in May, from dance to migrations. It’s a fantastic month for food lovers with Cinco de Mayo in Mexico and food trucks galore in Amsterdam…

Sunfest

Miami, USA

3 May

The biggest South Florida party at Downtown West Palm Beach, with more than 50 bands and music acts each year across three big stages and amazing views along the waterfront. Lodging packages are also available with nearby hotels.

Cinco de Mayo

Mexico

5 May

Cinco de Mayo is a holiday that is celebrated in the state of Puebla, honouring the victory of the Mexican army over the French back in 1862. Traditions include military parades, dancing and street food, battle recreations and more.

The Rolling Kitchen Festival

Amsterdam, The Netherlands

9 May

The ultimate food lover’s dream, this incredible event is all about celebrating street food from around the world. Dozens of food trucks have delicious dishes on offer, and there’s something to suit every taste.

White Nights Festival

St Petersburg, Russia

26 May

Organised by the Saint Petersburg City Administration, this festival brings a series of classical ballet, opera and orchestral performances to the local residents. All taking place in the famous Mariinsky Theatre and the Mariinsky Concert Hall.

Conquest of Istanbul Celebrations

Istanbul, Turkey

29 May

The Conquest of Constantinople is celebrated throughout the city with street parades and traditional music. Each year, there is a huge ceremony which sees thousands of locals gather outside enjoying the festivities and entertainment.

Migration of the Berbers

Morocco

May

Witnessing Morocco’s last Berbers begin their bi-annual migration (a tradition that dates back more than 4,000 years) is truly a once in a lifetime opportunity. This is a great time to take a trekking tour of the Atlas Mountains.

Places to avoid

So we’ve given you the good news, what about the stinkers? Here are the places you shouldn’t visit in April. Bad weather, overcrowding or just not much going on; there are lots of reasons to avoid certain destinations in April.

Here are the ones we’d suggest waiting until another time of year to visit…

  • India & Sri Lanka – monsoon season is underway so you’re taking a big risk of rain stopping play if you choose these places and much of Asia.
  • Egypt – it’s all getting a bit too hot and humid in Egypt so save your Nile cruise for another time.

Here’s what we would do

Botswana

May is all about safari for us, so we’d head to Botswana for the wildlife trip of a lifetime.

It’s also the ideal time for game viewing, which is what most people come for. If you want to see wildlife then this will be a holiday dream come true.

It’s not all about animals though, with incredible landscapes in the Okavango Delta and Makgadikgadi Pans that will take your breath away.

There’s no experience quite like an early morning safari and spotting animals as the sun rises. And there’s no better time to do it here…