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Travel Ideas in May

Best places to travel in May 2021 & 2022

Across the northern hemisphere, May brings spring blossoms, sunshine, and warmer weather, but the summer crowds haven’t arrived to most destinations. In the southern hemisphere, the rains are ending and the weather is starting to cool down a bit.

If you want to get outside to enjoy the ample sun, you might hike in Scotland, look for wildlife in US National Parks, or take a water safari in a mokoro canoe in Botswana’s Okavango Delta. It’s also a popular time for festivals, whether you’re in Venice to watch the mayor pledge himself in a symbolic wedding to the sea, watching jazz performances in Saint Lucia, or sampling single-source organic chocolate in Belize.

Festivals and events around the world in May

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Italy

In the cities or the countryside, May is a particularly glorious time to visit Italy. The weather is reliably warm and sunny, but you’re early enough to avoid the worst of the summer crowds. Additionally, May is known as the Month of the Rose, and gardens across the country are at their peak.

The calendar is also packed with festivals. In Assisi, Calendimaggio is a medieval and renaissance festival of performances and processions. On Ascension Day, Venice celebrates Festa della Sensa with regattas and rowing races. The festival culminates with the mayor tossing a gold ring into the water — a symbol of the city’s annual ‘wedding to the sea’.

Villa Carlotta, Lake Como
Villa Carlotta, Lake Como

Thailand

Thailand’s weather is reliably dry and hot throughout May, but the majority of the crowds have headed home, making this an excellent time to visit. Throughout the month you’ll enjoy summery temperatures and uncrowded beaches, as well as mostly blue skies, with just a small chance of rain.

If you tire of the beach, you might take a guided walking tour of Bangkok’s street food or go to Dragon Island, where you can explore the bizarre rock formations, sheer limestone cliffs, hidden grottoes and untouched beaches. For an in-depth look at Thai life, head north to Chiang Mai and spend a day with a local family.

Khao Lak
Khao Lak

The US

Across the northern half of the country, spring has settled in with pleasantly warm temperatures. April rains have left much of the landscape lushly green, from the prairie grasslands of the Midwest to the woodlands of New England. It’s a fine time for exploring outdoors, especially in the national parks, where the wildlife is active.

In the southern half, spring is starting to shade into summer, but days are still comfortable and you can expect dry weather and sunny skies. (The exception is Hawaii, which sees Pacific storms and lots of rain.)

Despite the comfortable weather, the crowds are generally thin until Memorial Day (the last weekend in May).

Newport, Rhode Island
Newport, Rhode Island

Croatia

Though Croatia is a year-round destination, May is a particularly lovely time to experience all that the country has to offer. The weather is warm and sunny, but not too hot for hiking, kayaking and other outdoor activities. You’re also visiting before the summer crush that occurs as spring turns to summer.

May is also when Split celebrates its patron saint, Domnius, with processions, traditional klapa music, a rowing contest, and a street fair. For a more rural experience, consider a guided tour of the Šibenik Islands, where you’ll find more traditional villages. Or enjoy the country’s landscapes with a bout tour of Krka National Park.

Skradinski buk, Krka National Park
Skradinski buk, Krka National Park

China

May is the only month that’s pleasant across the whole of China, making it the best time for a grand tour of the country. Temperatures are warm, but not yet sticky and hot. In Yunnan, the flowers are in full bloom and rhododendron bushes cover the mountain slopes in shades of pink and white. Be aware that the first few days of May are a national holiday and very busy, so plan around those dates.

Your visit might include a walk along one of the less-busy sections of the Great Wall or a leisurely cruise down the Li River. To sample the many nuances of China’s cuisines, consider a guided food tour in Shanghai or Chengdu.

Jinshanling , Beijing
Jinshanling , Beijing

Scotland

May in Scotland brings warm weather, and the snow has melted everywhere except the highest peaks. Flowers are in full bloom and the countryside is brilliant green, but the midges haven’t arrived yet. This is also the start of many Highland Games, which run through the whole summer.

Now is a good time to hike through the waterfalls and lush valleys of Skye, or cruise the waters around Islay to look for wild goats, seals, and, if you’re lucky, dolphins and porpoises. You can also look for wildlife in the ancient Caledonian forest of the Rothiemurchus Estate.

Common seal
Common seal

Botswana

May marks the beginning of the dry, cooler period in Botswana. Humidity falls, leaving comfortably warm conditions. Nights and early mornings can have a chill in the air, so you might need an extra layer for dawn safaris and after sundown.

As temperatures gradually dip, animals become more active. You’ll see them in peak health thanks to the abundance of water on the ground. As well as game drives, you can take boat or mokoro (traditional canoe) trips to explore wildlife along the Okavango Delta’s reed-lined waterways. Botswana’s reserves are never crowded, but you’ll see even fewer visitors than later in the season, and might be able to take advantage of lower prices.

Family of lion in the Okavango Delta
Family of lion in the Okavango Delta

Jordan

Under a warm sun and clear skies, Jordan blooms in May. Early spring rains have turned the valleys green and you’ll see wildflowers soaking up the sun across the country, even in the desert. This is a popular time to visit thanks to the moderate weather, so be sure to plan well ahead to secure the best options, especially if you want to see Petra.

The comfortable weather also makes May an excellent month for hiking in the nature reserves, where the flora and fauna are abundant. If you prefer to drive, you can take a guided Jeep tour of the Mars-like Wadi Rum.

Red Sands of Wadi Rum, Jordan
Red Sands of Wadi Rum, Jordan

Saint Lucia

May is one of the best times to enjoy this Caribbean island. Those who visited for a winter break have gone home, but the rains haven’t begun and you’re well before hurricane season. The temperatures are pleasantly warm year-round, but during May, the hotels offer excellent value and the beaches are largely free of visitors.

May is also when the island hosts the Saint Lucia Jazz and Arts Festival. Local and international artists come together for ten days to offer performances of jazz, R&B, and calypso in venues across the island.

Rodney Bay, Saint Lucia
Rodney Bay, Saint Lucia

Belize

The type of weather you get in Belize is dependent upon where you’re visiting, but May is warm, dry and sunny in the Cayo District and on the Cayes. It’s before the rainy season starts in June but well after the Easter rush, so you’ll have fewer visitors to contend with.

The third week of May is also the Toledo Cacao Fest, a week-long festival dedicated to all things chocolate. You can attend tastings, cooking competitions, and street fairs that put the spotlight on the country’s small but burgeoning cacao industry. If tastings aren’t enough and you want to learn more about Belize’s chocolate, we can arrange for you to tour an organic chocolate farm.

Coast of Belize
Coast of Belize
Travel Ideas in January

Places to travel in January

As Christmas slopes into the distance, journeying to find some sun is an appealing prospect for January. We recommend beach time on a Caribbean island, a secluded Cambodian archipelago or Vietnam’s sandy shores. It’s also summer in Australia, a season celebrated with outdoor cinema screenings, festivals and sporting events.

In Africa, the January rains break the Kalahari heat and the quenched plains spring to life. Journey to Botswana to watch new-born zebra take their first steps, as migratory birds feast on the fresh grasses. If you’re after cooler climes, temperatures in India have cooled enough to make exploring its fortress cities comfortable. Or, embrace winter in Paris, where crisp, clear skies showcase the monument-filled skyline and fewer visitors make for an ideal Louvre museum experience.

Places to travel

Travel Ideas in February

Places to travel in February

Whether you’re wrapping up warm to experience wintry activities like a troika (sleigh) ride in Russia, or looking to escaping the colder temperatures at home with a cruise along the Nile under sunny skies, February can make an excellent time to travel. A safari in Tanzania gives you a chance to see new-born antelope take their first wobbly steps, while warm temperatures in Argentina make it an ideal time for trekking in Patagonia.

We’ve shared some of the most popular destinations to visit in February below, as well as a few countries that you may not have considered, where you can visit key sights without the crowds.

Places to travel

Travel Ideas in March

Places to travel in March

As winter turns to spring across the Northern Hemisphere, Japan’s blooms start to emerge, and milder temperatures coupled with the showings of early plum blossom make it a good-value time to travel here ahead of the peak season. Portugal also begins to warm, making it a good time for coastal hikes and city sightseeing without the summer crowds.

In South Africa, the wine harvests are in full swing and Kruger wildlife is at its healthiest among the fresh, green vegetation following the rains. Warmer temperatures and sunny skies show the beaches of Sri Lanka and Morocco at their best. Meanwhile, cooler climes in New Zealand makes March an excellent month to explore, with quieter walking trails, near-empty coastlines and a good chance of sunshine.

Places to travel

Harrismith Beach, Barbados

Places to travel in April

If you’re looking to go on safari, April is the best month to tiger-spot in India’s national parks, where you’ll also see a supporting cast of elephants, deer, and birdlife. For a coastal escape, you’ve got your pick, including Mexico’s Mayan Riviera and secluded Maldivian islands.

If you’re seeking adventure, this is the time of year to take an in-depth tour across Vietnam, or explore the highlights of Morocco at their best. April is also a month of festivities around the globe, from the Festa di San Marco in Italy and cherry blossom celebrations in South Korea to Caribbean regattas and music festivals.

Places to travel

Travel Ideas in May

Places to travel in May

Across the northern hemisphere, May brings spring blossoms, sunshine, and warmer weather, but the summer crowds haven’t arrived to most destinations. In the southern hemisphere, the rains are ending and the weather is starting to cool down a bit.

If you want to get outside to enjoy the ample sun, you might hike in Scotland, look for wildlife in US National Parks, or take a water safari in a mokoro canoe in Botswana’s Okavango Delta. It’s also a popular time for festivals, whether you’re in Venice to watch the mayor pledge himself in a symbolic wedding to the sea, watching jazz performances in Saint Lucia, or sampling single-source organic chocolate in Belize.

Places to travel

Herd of elephants in South Africa

Places to travel in June

The solstice at the end of June brings long days to destinations in the northern hemisphere, making it an excellent time to get outdoors. You can roam through Canada’s wilderness, hike in Germany’s Black Forest or soak up the sun in the French Riviera.

This is also a popular month for festivals. For example, Greece’s Athens and Epidaurus Festival lets you watch ancient plays performed in ancient venues, while in Peru, you can attend a festival celebrating the Inca sun god, Inti. The month also marks the end of the rainy season in places like Uganda and the Zanzibar Archipelago, where you’ll find well-watered landscapes bursting with life, but mostly sunny skies.

Places to travel

Travel Ideas in July

Places to travel in July

July gives you many destinations to consider if you’re looking to experience them in their prime. Explore the great outdoors while the sun shines in the US’s northern states, Austria or Switzerland. Balance beach relaxation with culture or wildlife in Costa Rica, French Polynesia or Vietnam. Or, in Kenya, be among the first of the season to see the Great Migration herds arrive as they make their frenzied crossing of the Mara River.

July is also one of the only months you can cruise the Arctic or hike in the mountains of Ladakh. And, in Japan, you can escape the summer humidity in the Japanese Alps.

Places to travel

Mirissa Beach, Sri Lanka

Places to travel in August

Many destinations are ripe for a summer break in August. For a trip focused around wildlife, consider a safari in Tanzania, which experiences its dry season, a trip to Borneo to see turtles hatch, or a visit to Brazil’s Pantanal for a shot at seeing a jaguar.

Elsewhere, beaches are at their best on Sri Lanka’s north and east coasts, Iceland’s interior has thawed out ready for you to explore on foot and by superjeep, while northern Australia is dry, sunny and comfortably warm for hikes. Alternatively, you might like to soak up the culture in Luxembourg or the Netherlands, stay on a hacienda in Ecuador’s countryside or enjoy a family escape to Mauritius.

Places to travel

Lion, Etosha National Park

Places to travel in September

Whether falling in autumn or spring, September can showcase countries at their most scenic, from the green, lamb-dotted valleys of New Zealand and the wildflower-coated countryside of Argentina to Russia’s rust-hued city parks.

In Canada, the salmon run sees bears gather for a feeding frenzy along British Columbia’s rivers. Bhutan’s clear skies are ideal for hiking among its mountains, while similar conditions in Bolivia make for excellent photography around its salt pans. Spain and Turkey are pleasantly warm without the crowds of summer. And, in South Africa, you can combine regions while they’re at their best. It’s also an excellent time for seeing Namibia’s wildlife and stargazing among its desert dunes.

Places to travel

Amalfi coast, Italy

Places to travel in October

Whether you’re looking for spring blooms, autumnal foliage or prime wildlife-viewing opportunities, you’ll find plenty of destinations to choose from if you’re planning to travel in October. Below are just some of the places we feel are at their best at this time of year, along with our suggestions on the best things to do there.

You could make the most of excellent hiking conditions in New Zealand, go whale watching in South Africa, or indulge in fresh produce during harvest time in Vietnam, Japan or Italy. And, in many of our chosen countries, you’ll be visiting outside the busiest times of year.

Places to travel

Travel Ideas in November

Places to travel in November

Sunny beaches in Thailand, wintry cities in France and blazing foliage in Japan — you can choose from a wide variety of destinations if you’re planning to travel in November. Below, we’ve selected some of the best places to visit, as well as some suggestions of what to see and do while you’re there.

Popular cities in Europe empty out, giving you free run of museums in France, Spain and Italy. Crowds also thin in Peru, so you’ll have more elbow room to enjoy Machu Picchu and the Sacred Valley. Thailand and Vietnam both have sunny weather suitable for a beach break, while Morocco’s hot temperatures decline, making it a great time to explore the main cities.

Places to travel

Twelve Apostles on the Great Ocean Road, Australia

Places to travel in December

In December, you can relax in a natural hot spring in Japan before visiting snow monkeys that do the same, enjoy a private tour of the Louvre without the usual crowds or nibble king cake in Portugal. The month offers a wealth of options across the globe, so we’ve listed some of the most popular destinations. We’ve also suggested a few you might not have thought of, where you can take advantage of quieter cities to enjoy sights that are often very busy.

Hike through caves in Vietnam, ply the Amazon’s tributaries by boat in Peru or just relax under sunny skies in Australia or the Algarve.

Places to travel