Best places to travel in May 2021
If you’re planning a May break, the sun is always out over Bali’s soft-sand beaches at a time of year before the crowds hit their peak. Planning in advance pays off, as some of our favourite hotels are quick to book up. On a cruise in Canada, off the west coast of Vancouver, you can spot migrating gray whales and their young, along with minke and killer whales. And for a trip in the mountain air, hike along the wildflower trails of the High Atlas in Morocco. The comfortable temperature allows you to enjoy the scenery by day and camp out in Bedouin-style tents by night.
Popular countries to visit in May
Our specialists share their ideas, personal recommendations and inspiration about the best places to visit in May
May is one of our favourite times to visit Indonesia, you’ll find the beaches of Bali and Lombok drenched in sunshine and the rainforests in their drier season. In China’s cities and towns, dragon-boat festivals line the rivers, and the flower fields of Yunnan are a riot of blooms. It’s also a good time to visit Saint Lucia, with more affordable room rates and a chance to catch the annual Jazz and Arts Festival.
Tours we recommend in May
Trip suggestions that we know capture a route at its best if you’re planning to travel in May.
See the many treasures of the Hermitage, one of the world's best art galleries.
Visit the Peter and Paul Fortress, the city's first permanent building.
See the Catherine Palace and marvel at the phenomenal wealth of the Tsars.
Explore the beautiful canals and grand buildings of one of the world's prettiest cities.
Explore the ancient medina of Marrakesh with a private guide, visiting historic palaces and peaceful gardens.
Watch street performers and sample Moroccan street food in Jemaa el Fna square.
Try your hand at bartering in the souq and watch craftsmen at work.
Go trekking with a private guide in the High Atlas Mountains and visit a Berber village.
Visit Petra - a Modern Wonder of the World.
Travel the King's Highway between Amman and Petra.
Walk down Petra's magical Siq Canyon.
Experience bustling Amman by night.
Explore the Treasury and Monastery in Petra.
Immerse yourself in the souqs of Marrakesh and see craftsmen busy at their trade.
Learn about Marrakesh’s past by visiting its grand palaces, mosques and gardens with a guide.
Stay in a traditional riad, each of which has its own distinctive character.
Soak up the laid-back, bohemian atmosphere of Essaouria’s historic medina and fishing port.
Go hiking in the High Atlas Mountains and visit traditional Berber villages.
Explore the cosmopolitan city of Naples on a guided walking tour.
Visit Naples Archaeological Museum and see original relics from Pompeii.
Relax at Ischia’s thermal baths and beaches.
Enjoy panoramic views of Ischia on a private hike followed by a tasty lunch.
Enjoy the museums, restaurants and shops of Cape Town.
Take a cable car up to the top of Table Mountain for incredible views of the city below.
Visit Robben Island, where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned during apartheid.
Enjoy a full day guided tour of the Cape Point and Peninsula and see the jackass penguin colony on Boulders Beach.
Indulge in fine food to accompany the great wines of Franschhoek and the surrounding vineyards.
The chance to see traditional buffalo racing in west Bali.
Snorkel in the clear warm waters of the north coast.
Relax with a stay at a tented camp on the slopes of Mount Batukaru.
Visit the iconic temple of Pura Ulun Danu Bratan at Lake Bratan.
Explore the markets and galleries around Ubud.
Snorkel the turquoise waters of the Indian Ocean and the colourful coral reefs around the Seychelles.
Stroll along the stunning beaches of La Digue.
Explore the fascinating Vallee du Mai.
Hire a bike and visit a secluded beach for a picnic.
Cycle to Anse Source D'Argent on La Digue - one of the Seychelles' most famous and beautiful beaches.
Take an ox cart ride around La Digue.
Swim and snorkel from the idyllic L'Archipel beach, a crescent of perfect white sand.
Visit the Tin Mal mosque in the High Atlas.
Barter for goods in Taroudant souq.
Observe the traditional lifestyle of the Chleuh Berbers.
Explore the rocky landscapes of Tafraoute.
Enjoy dramatic Atlantic views from the pool side.
Enjoy a shared tour of the magnificent Cape Point and Cape Peninsula.
Take a private tour of Robben Island to learn about South Africa’s apartheid history.
Go wine tasting at the various estates in and around Franschhoek and Stellenbosch.
Enjoy game drives in a private nature reserve, looking for zebra, wildebeest and antelope.
Relax and stroll on the beach in the laid-back coastal town of Paternoster.
Visit the huge Roman site at Jerash.
Travel the King's Highway between Amman and Petra.
Walk down Siq Canyon before emerging into Petra.
Enjoy an extended tour of Wadi Rum.
Relax by the Dead Sea.
Relax and enjoy one of the most beautiful beaches on Mauritius.
Explore the island's coastline by kayak or canoe.
Savour the decadent cuisine and attention to detail in one of the hotel's seven restaurants.
Take advantage of the many children's activities at the Belle Mare Plage.
Tour Lisbon’s historical heart and sample some local delicacies.
Explore the eccentric palaces and gardens of Sintra.
Visit Roman ruins in the historic city of Évora in the heart of the Alentejo countryside.
Learn how to cook traditional Algarvian Cataplana.
Hike the Algarve coastline near Lagos.
Experience the best of Lisbon on a guided tour through the city's historic districts.
Witness the whimsical architecture of Sintra's palaces.
Hike Morocco’s High Atlas Mountains and visit a local family for a cup of mint tea.
Immerse yourself in the spice-scented souqs of Marrakesh.
Tour the Hassan II Mosque in Casablanca.
Witness the mighty Geysir erupt as you explore the Golden Circle.
Learn about traditional Icelandic cuisine on a private food tour of Reykjavík.
Soak in the astounding scenery of the islands and mountains north of Snæfellsnes Peninsula on a boat trip with a fresh sushi feast served on board.
Explore Langjökull Glacier from tunnels which take you into the glacier itself.
Soak up the art and culture of Durban and sample local Afro-Indian delicacies.
Relax at a countryside retreat in the Midlands, taking leisurely strolls along the river.
Find out about the history of the Battlefields, touring the sites with a knowledgeable guide.
Go hiking, horse riding or mountain biking in the Drakensberg Mountains.
See China’s quintessential sights including the Great Wall, Forbidden City, Terracotta Warriors and the Bund.
Travel by high-speed bullet trains and optional ride on Shanghai’s Maglev train.
Enjoy a cycling tour through the Beijing’s Hutongs.
Explore Xian’s lively Muslim Quarter and the Grand Mosque.
Experience the vast sandy beaches of Mauritius' east coast.
Explore the northern part of the island, taking picnics to sandy coves, and exploring colourful local towns.
Pass through lush sugar plantations as you explore the island.
See colonial architecture in the UNESCO city of Malacca.
Try the monorail in Kuala Lumpur during a guided walking tour of the city.
Visit the vast tea plantations of the Cameron Highlands and try a local brew.
Soak up the sights, sounds and smells of the bustling UNESCO city of George Town.
Picture perfect sunsets over the Indian Ocean.
Snorkel over pristine coral reefs.
Try unique Bali dishes such as Sambal Goreng Petai (chili beef in coconut milk).
Enjoy a traditional massage as you gaze out to the blue waters of the Lombok Strait.
Visit one of the oldest villages in Bali and see their famed double ikat cloth.
Explore the shops and galleries in Ubud and try some of Bali's best restaurants.