• 1 May 2020

While physically travelling is currently off the table as the world tackles Covid-19, it doesn’t stop us from dreaming about seeing more of the world in the future! Now is a great time to start planning a trip to travel in May this time next year. 

May is a fantastic month for travel. The northern hemisphere is officially shaking off the last few chills of winter, springtime is blooming and the promise summer is in the air. The days become longer and the weather warms up. May is also shoulder season so you can enjoy more time to explore top destinations with fewer crowds!   

Once the world is open to travel again, here are a few tips on the best places to go in May 2021:

Where should I go in May?

There are tons of options for a May vacation – from beach getaways to European city breaks and countryside retreats.  

Where is hot in May?

  • Greece 

From the ancient history of Athens to the glistening beaches and whitewashed houses of the islands, Greece tops our travel list of warm places in May. Travel to Athens to see Ancient sites like the Acropolis and the Temple of the Olympian Zeus. During May, the weather is just warming up but you will avoid the sweltering heat of the high season. It is a great time to spend hours sightseeing, absorbing the local culture and to indulge in delicious Greek cuisine – try souvlaki, moussaka, spanakopita and more! 

Head to the Greek islands for warmer weather and sunshine. While it’s not yet time for super hot sunny days, there is a good chance of beach weather and little chance of rain with the bonus of fewer tourists! Enjoy time exploring the beaches and sun-soaked ruins of Santorini, Crete, Mykonos – these are some of the hottest Greek islands in May

Related: Enjoy a Greek adventure on a tour of Athens, Mykonos and Santorini.

Take in the beautiful views on the Greek island of Santorini.
  • Italy 

May in Italy is the perfect time for sightseeing in the cities, meandering through the countryside and spending time on the coast. The sun is out but it’s not uncomfortably hot and the big crowds of high seasons have not yet arrived. See top sights in cities like Rome, Florence and Venice. 

Southern Italy’s hotspots, including the Amalfi Coast and Sicily, start to come alive around the end of April and early May. Spring is in full bloom, sunshine warms the coast and the ocean is warm enough for a swim! 

Head into the hills of Tuscany in May for art, culture, wine, delicious Italian cuisine and stunning Spring landscapes. Enjoy the Tuscan countryside as it warms up before the high temperature and large crowds of summer arrive. 

Related: Soak up the warm weather and see the highlights on a taster tour of Italy

See Rome’s most famous sights before the high season crowds arrive.
  • The Bahamas

Make your way to the Bahamas which boasts some of the best weather in May in the world! May is shoulder season in the Caribbean and the Spring Break revellers have just left so this is the time to get all of the benefits of a beach getaway minus the crowds! There is a slight chance of rain but it is before Hurricane season sets in around June. Look forward to balmy beach days and relaxation! 

Sun, sea and relaxation – everything that a trip to the Bahamas should be about!
  • Spain and Portugal

Ahead of the height of summer, Spain and Portugal are two of the best warm places to go in May. Think blue skies, sunshine and peace from the hectic crowds of summer. Explore the quirky beauty of Barcelona and the Catalonia region in Spain. Along the coast, the weather is warm and beaches are tranquil (before many become jam-packed in summer).

Related: Experience a taste of Spain on a week-long tour of the country

Admire Barcelona’s views from Park Güell – one of Antoni Gaudi’s fantastical designs in the city.

Hop over the border into Portugal for more pleasant weather and adventures! The Algarve is starting to really warm up making it a great option for a beach holiday. Towns along the Algarve plus city centres like Lisbon and Porto enjoy fewer tourists. This makes it a great time to discover the sights at your own pace. 

The Algarve Region on Portugal’s southern coast is a stunning beach getaway destination.
  • Egypt 

Looking for heat? Head to Egypt! In May, the weather is hot but it is not the uncomfortable, sweltering heat experienced in the dead of summer. Daytime temperatures can reach +-30°C (around 90°F). This makes May a good time for sightseeing and makes a trip to Egypt one of the best hot holidays in May. Discover the Pyramids of Giza and Luxor, float along the Nile River on a felucca boat and absorb the colourful culture and history in cities like Cairo and Alexandria.  

Experience ancient temples, pyramids and more on a trip to Egypt.

Where can I avoid the crowds?

May falls in the shoulder season, just before the rush of summer and high season, in many countries. This is a prime opportunity to avoid the large crowds that come with travelling at peak times. Many of the countries above enjoy fewer crowds during May, here are a couple more spots to add to your list: 

  • Norway’s Fjords

The fjords of Norway are magnificent to behold! Thanks to their striking natural beauty, the fjords attract visitors from around the globe. Visit in May to avoid large crowds and take in the sights at a more leisurely pace. In Norway, May is springtime and the scenery is picturesque! Rushing waterfalls, rolling green hills and spring blooms surround – add this to the dramatic cliffs and winding waters of the fjords and you are in for a treat!

Escape the crowds and marvel at the dramatic views of Norway’s famous fjords.
  • Machu Picchu, Peru

Keen on travelling further south? Machu Picchu should definitely be on your list of places to travel in 2021 and beyond! This is one of South America’s most popular tourist attractions so it is likely to be busy throughout the year. Visit in May and you can expect slightly smaller crowds along with pleasant weather. Bright days, clear skies, sunshine and cooler evenings. Hiking the Inca Trail and visiting Machu Picchu? Set off on your trek in late March to May and from September to early November for less crowded trails and good weather. 

Related: discover the mysteries of Machu Picchu on a Best of Argentina to Peru tour.

Discover the mysteries of Machu Picchu in Peru.

Where to go in May for festivals and culture?

Travel is all about experiencing new things! So why not experience a festival and embrace new culture on your travels in May? 

  • Prague, the Czech Republic 

There is not really a bad time to visit Prague – whether the streets are sun-drenched or blanketed in snow, the city offers many things to see, do and experience! Visit in May for the Prague Spring International Music Festival, which is three weeks filled with incredible music and spring colours, and the Czech Beer Festival which lasts 17 days! Prague is a real highlight of Eastern Europe! 

Related: See Prague, Vienna, Amsterdam and more on a tour of Eastern Europe.

Say “Na Zdravi!” (Cheers!) with friends at the annual Prague Beer Festival.
  • Southern England

As Spring arrives, England is usually getting ready to discard its winter jacket and embrace the arrival of summer (although you should always be ready for a spot of rain!). High season only begins in June and July so you can look forward to fewer tourists. With the countryside in full bloom and warmer, sunshiney days becoming more frequent, May is a lovely, festive time to explore Southern England. Marvel at the colours of the annual Chelsea Flower Show and travel to the coast for the Brighton Festival – England’s largest multi-arts event. Experience more of Southern England’s charm; stroll along the seaside in coastal towns in Cornwall, visit historic spots such as Bath, Cambridge and Oxford and explore the vibrant streets of the nation’s capital – London. 

Related: Jolly good! Enjoy the best of Britain on a taster tour of England.

Brighton Festival is full of exciting sights, sounds and colour! See the Brighton Royal Pavilion illuminated during the festivities.
  • The French Riviera  

Now, this is a destination filled with glitz, glamour and the rich and famous! While the French Riviera enjoys its high season during the summer, the weather is heating up and the area is incredibly popular for its May festivities: the illustrious Cannes Film Festival and the Monaco Grand Prix. The crowds will definitely be large but the experiences are once in a lifetime! Keep an eye out for celebrities and famous race-car drivers if you visit the French Riviera in May!   

Embrace the glitz and glamour of Monaco on a trip along the French Riviera.

With all of these great options for where to go in May (and beyond), that travel bucket list should be a few items longer now! Ready to start planning where to go on holiday in 2021? Check out our fun-filled shorter European tours which give you a taste of these incredible destinations.

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