May is a tremendous time to travel! It’s one of those months you can find about anything you want, as long you’re still not craving winter. Not that it should be a problem, as most of us are more than happy to welcome the warm weather of the Northern Hemisphere. Destinations such as Tuscany, Madagascar, Bali, and Iceland have ideal weather in May.
It’s the perfect month whether you want to go on safari in Africa, sunbathe in Southeast Asia, or explore the ancient world. Many of our favorite beach destinations are starting to warm up, so there are plenty of great beaches and tropical destinations with warm weather.
May is also a great time to travel if you seek fewer crowds and cheaper prices. Families with children are still in school, and it’s not quite summer, so it’s a good time to avoid the crowds with warmer weather. Here are some of the best places to visit in May.
The Best Places to Visit in May!
The southern coast of France sees no shortage of travelers, and it’s far from a unique destination. However, the Luberon mountains, hilltop villages, rolling lavender fields, and a staggeringly beautiful coastline have kept Provence popular for centuries. Its scenic landscapes have inspired artists such as Van Gogh.
The history here is rich, and its stunning landscape is blessed with vineyards and fine restaurants. Its coastline is a stop for the world’s most elite jet-setters and celebrities who descend on the coast for the Cannes Film Festival and the Monaco Grand Prix. We’ve never seen so many mega-yachts. Our favorite destinations in Provence are Eze, Gordes, Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat, Casis, Saint-Tropez, Carrières des Lumières, and Roussillon.
Provence’s greatest weakness is its popularity, as both French and international visitors rightfully love the destination. Unfortunately, that means bumper-to-bumper traffic on its highways and sky-high prices for accommodation in the high season. While May remains busy, the weather is great, and it manages to avoid the worst crowds and prices.
Bali is an island destination that hardly needs an introduction. Bali is a vibe. Most importantly, it’s an island of many contrasts. Bali, a Hindu island, contrasts with Indonesia, a predominantly Muslim nation and conservative in values. So, traditional Balinese culture is starkly different from their neighbors. It’s often referred to as the “Island of the Gods,” and anyone who’s spent time on the island can attest to why.
The island has some staggering landscapes thanks to its towering volcanos, terraced rice fields, hidden waterfalls, ancient temples, and dramatic coastline. May is the beginning of the dry and surfing seasons, too (head to the Bukit Peninsula for big offshore swells) until September. Humidity will also be lessening from May onward as the dry season continues. Bali is a dream destination for many, and getting there is worth the long flight! Our two favorite spots in Bali are Uluwatu for its gorgeous surf spots and Ubud for its tremendous yoga studios.
South Coast, Iceland
No destination feels more like visiting another planet than Iceland, and we’d say that includes Antarctica! The truth is Iceland’s landscape can be found nowhere else. A mixture of hot springs, glaciers, wet deserts, lava fields, and a dizzying amount of waterfalls makes Iceland an adventure destination dream. Add to that Iceland’s charming and quirky culture with a love for hot springs that keeps visitors returning for more. Some of our favorite hot springs include Hvammsvik, Vök, and Reykjadalur.
The southern coast contains most tourist highlights, including Skogafoss, Reynisfjara, Seljandfoss, and Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon. Most visitors will even deeply appreciate Reykjavik, the capital city, with its burgeoning arts scene, restaurants, bars, and shops. May is the time to travel to Iceland for shoulder season rates granted nothing in Iceland is cheap.
While May doesn’t bring guaranteed sunshine, there is no month you don’t stand a chance of rain or clouds. The mild temperatures of May see the return of the puffin to the shores of Iceland. Whale-watching tours will also be more pleasant in warmer weather and run often.
On islands unlike any other, Madagascar offers travelers a unique adventure. Off the southeast coast of Africa in the Indian Ocean, the island’s species have evolved in isolation for more than 80 million years. The result is baobabs, octopus trees, chameleons, and, most famously, lemurs. The lemurs are often more active in May, making it an excellent time for wildlife viewing in the country’s national parks, such as Andasibe-Mantadia and Ranomafana.
May is an ideal time to visit Madagascar, as the island nation experiences pleasant weather during the month. The end of the rainy season means lush green landscapes, vibrant flora, and flowing rivers, creating a stunning backdrop for travelers. The coastal regions offer fantastic opportunities for snorkeling and diving, with clear waters teeming with marine life.
The unique Malagasy culture, blending African, Asian, and European influences, is celebrated through traditional festivals and events in May, allowing visitors to immerse themselves in the vibrant local customs. Madagascar in May promises a delightful fusion of natural beauty, wildlife encounters, cultural experiences, and adventure.
Tuscany is a destination that needs no introduction. It’s renowned for its enchanting landscapes and rich cultural heritage. It has captivated the hearts of travelers for centuries and has been romanticized in countless movies and books. Like many places, it’s popular for good reason, and it’s impossible not to appreciate Italy’s most famous region.
Nestled in the heart of Italy, its picturesque rolling hills are adorned with vineyards, olive groves, hilltop villages, and cypress-lined roads. It’s not just the countryside that draws in visitors, but its art and architecture in cities like Florence, Siena, and Lucca. It’s Italy, so Tuscany delivers world-class wines, olive oils, and delicious rustic dishes.
The biggest downside we’ve always found to Tuscany is it’s loved too much. Summer can bring huge crowds, and the locals flee the city centers for their holidays, so visiting in the shoulder seasons is best. May and October are the best months to visit Tuscany, as the weather is still warm.
Peru is the quintessential destination for those looking to explore the Andes Mountains. No visitor’s trip to the country is complete without the classic Machu Picchu, one of the world’s most incredible wonders, along with many other Incan sites and trails for visitors to explore. However, there is much more to Peru than the former Incan Empire. The country has a fantastic coastline with surf, the Amazon River, a vast swath of rainforest, and historic colonial towns.
Peru experiences dry winter months in comparison to its rainy, hot summers. May means rain showers fall less frequently, but the greenery of the wet season remains. Orchids sprout from nearly every crevice in the jungle and mountains. It’s a dry and sunny month for Peru’s coastal regions and the deserts. May is when we visited Machu Picchu, and we can confidently say it lives up to the hype.
Lima sees highs of 24°C and lows of 18°C. The rainy season starts to ease off in the Andes in places like Lake Titicaca and Cusco. There’s a high of about 19°C and still quite a lot of cloud cover, but the natural scenery is beautiful here. The Amazon Rainforest is still hot and humid, with highs of 31°C; rain occurs in the afternoon either in downpours or all-out storms.
Turkey is one of our favorite places to travel to in May. The weather in Turkey is ideal in May for traveling around. Istanbul experiences mild days perfect for sightseeing and visiting sights such as the Grand Bazaar, Spice Market, Hagia Sofia, and Galata Tower. It’s also a pleasant time to head to central parts of the country, such as Cappadocia, without the summer crowds.
However, the real gem in May is the Turkish Coastline. Turkey is home to stunning beaches, marine parks, seaside towns, resorts, and tranquil coves. Beaches such as Ölüdeniz, Iztuzu, and Kabak Beach are some of the most breathtaking in the world. One of the best ways to experience the Turkish coast is by one of their traditional double-masted boats called a gullet. May marks the start of beach time along the Southern Coast, so pack a swimsuit and sunscreen.
May is when sunshine blesses Turkey as the country gets warmer and warmer. By the end of May, the onset of summer starts to get noticeable in places like Istanbul, where temperatures hit an average of 20°C, but humidity is high (75%!). Cappadocia remains cold, with averages of below 10° C for most of the month, so if you want a sunrise balloon ride, you must bring a down jacket for the morning.
The Algarve, Portugal
Head to southern Portugal, The Algarve, for some of the best European weather in May. The region is famed for its Golden beaches, seaside cliffs, golf resorts, charming, colorful cities, reliable sunshine, and excellent surf, placing the Algarve in Portugal on many travelers’ bucket lists. It’s a destination that offers something for everyone, from the buzzing Lagos to the undeveloped west coast.
May is lovely in Portugal, and it’s also the shoulder season! Enjoy Portugal before the summer heat and crowds, and for the first time in the year, visiting the beach in a swimsuit is a viable option. Average temperatures across the country are a very pleasant 24°C and, with 14 hours of sunshine daily, you’ll have plenty of time to enjoy the top sights and the beaches, especially towards the Algarve.
If you like hiking, this is an excellent time of year to do that, too. You shouldn’t need to bring waterproof stuff since only a couple of days in May are affected by showers. May is one of the best times to visit Portugal to avoid summer’s European crowds (and heat).
Jordan is a country that has been drawing travelers for over a century. It’s even the setting for my favorite travel movie, Lawrence of Arabia. The movie paints a vivid portrait of the country’s Bedouin culture and desert landscapes — visitors can still experience it in the popular region of Wadi Rum.
It’s not only the Bedouins who have left their mark on Jordan, as the country is rich in historical sites from the Romans, Edomites, and Israelites. Most notable is Petra, one of the world’s most spectacular sites and one of the New Seven Wonders of The World. After all of the exploring, no spot is better to unwind than floating in the mineral-rich waters of the Dead Sea.
The winter (and early spring) rains have watered the nature of Jordan to such an extent that the country is popping with verdant flora and colorful flowers. It’s not too hot and is one of the best places to visit in May. The reliable weather draws many tourists, and the sights can be busy.
Amman and Petra are comfortable at 27° C, while the Dead Sea and Aqaba reach a steamy 35°C in May. The downside is it’s high season – you’ll want to reserve rooms in advance if you want your first pick at Jordan’s top sights (especially near Petra and Wadi Rum).
Kumano Kodo, Japan
Ask any well-heeled traveler about their favorite destinations, and you’ll hear about Japan regularly. May in Japan is dry and warm, so it’s the perfect time to enjoy the country’s outdoors. Outside of the highest elevations, the snow has long since melted, and it’s the ideal time to enjoy the country’s storied treks.
Most notable is the Kumano Kodo, a pilgrimage trail that connects Japan’s most spiritually significant shrines and temples. Along the trail, trekkers pass ancient shrines and towering cedar trees while staying in the comfort of traditional Japanese hotspring guesthouses, ryokans. They are tranquil oases ready to soothe trekkers’ tired feet and nourish them with traditional Japanese dishes.
May is most known for its better weather, the proper start of spring. May can be punctuated by heatwaves 30°C+, so it’s good to be prepared. Regardless, it’s known for offering travelers some of the most reliable weather of the year before the summer heat and monsoon rains. It’s not just the outdoors worth exploring, as cities such as Sapporo, Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka, Nara, and Kanazawa are well worth exploring.
Morocco makes for a tremendous introduction for travelers to the MENA region. Morocco is a land of sand and coastline. Desert landscapes and mountains dominate the country’s interior, and its cities serve as culture hubs. The medina streets of Marrakech and Fez are a dusty labyrinthine of marketplaces that have long fascinated travelers. However, more standout destinations include the blue city of Chefchaouen, the towering sand dunes of the Sahara Desert, and the historic coastal city of Essouraia.
May is Morocco’s last pleasantly warm month before the summer heat arrives. The nationwide average temperature is 29°C, and temperatures remain pleasant along the coast. However, the desert nature of the south means that the daytime high can soar above 30°C, and Marrakech sees daytime temperatures of 27°C. If you go to places like Chefchaouen, you’ll have dreamy weather!
We love Greece! It’s one of our favorite places on earth; we even had our wedding on Paros. Spring is the best time to visit many of the country’s most famous historical sites, as they can be crowded and extraordinarily hot in the summer. It’s an excellent time to see the Acropolis, Matera, Mycenae, Panathenaic Stadium, and Knossos Palace. It’s not just the historical sites but also a tremendous time to explore the country’s more popular islands like Mykonos, Santorini, Crete, and Corfu.
While it’s not ideal for swimming at the beach, May sees a definite temperature increase in Greece with sunny days. It is ideal weather for exploring the islands and relaxing on the beach, although the water is still too cold to swim comfortably. The only downside of traveling the Greek Islands in May is that the summer high season has yet to kick in, meaning many tourist-focused businesses may not be open. Although, the most popular islands have seen longer and longer tourist seasons.
Greece’s summer tourism picks up in June and will last until September, so getting there in May will ensure cheaper accommodation, rental car prices, and fewer crowds. It’s honestly an excellent time to explore the Greek Islands. Don’t be fooled, though. Evenings are still around 14°C, so bring a lightweight jacket on your trip!
The Galapagos Islands are the ultimate bucket list-worthy travel experience and one of the best places to visit in May! The wildlife you can see on the relatively untouched islands is fantastic. That’s just what’s on land, as when you step off the gorgeous islands, you’ll find deep blue Pacific water abundant in marine life. It’s a place unlike any other on earth, and it’s easy to understand how the islands inspired Charles Darwin.
The warm season means higher precipitation, lush vegetation, warmer temperatures, and vibrant sunsets. It’s a good time to visit, though the Galapagos wildlife can be seen year-round. The Galapagos climate sees hot and sunny days with the odd heavy shower between January and June, meaning May is a fantastic time to visit.
British Virgin Islands
There’s no shortage of beautiful islands in the Caribbean, yet the British Virgin Islands stand out. This is the perfect time of year to travel to this tropical location because it’s between hurricane and peak tourist seasons. Cane Garden Bay’s shoreline and Anegada Island’s white sand beaches are breathtaking. Then there’s The Baths National Park—it’s like something out of a dream with its boulders and sea pools.
Which may just be one of the most stunning beaches in the world. To soak in the beauty of these islands, hopping on a yacht or taking a boat tour from the nearby U.S. Virgin Islands is a great option. And if you prefer a more laid-back vibe, lounging by the beach or a swanky hotel pool is always on the menu.
The Cotswolds may be England’s most endearing destination, inspiring countless authors, directors, and painters. Babbling brooks, rolling pastures and charming stone villages are certain to offer travelers an escape from the modern world. Some of the region’s most charming cottages lie at Bourton-on-the-Water, Chipping Campden, and Burford.
If you love the outdoors, you’ll enjoy exploring the scenic countryside of hills, Iron Age ruins, and picturesque manors. This region is known for its Michelin-starred eateries, antique shops, and cozy tea rooms. May is a wonderful month to explore the Cotswolds as spring arrives with warmer weather and flowers.
Oaxaca is an international destination on the rise as it’s one of Mexico’s cultural, historical, and gastronomical hubs. The colonial city of Oaxaca is fascinating and is certain to tantalize visitors with its thriving restaurant scene. Its proximity to Siera Norte offers a chance to enjoy some of Mexico’s best landscapes with a huge forest and mountains through hiking, biking, or horseback riding.
Oaxaca has an amazing tropical coastline to the south of the state with excellent surf and beaches. Surfers will love Puerto Escondido, and those searching for a more relaxed beach vacation should check Bahias de Huatulco, Mazunte, or Zipolite. It’s the last month of the dry season in the area and provides the perfect time to catch the shoulder season without the crowds of spring break.
Yellowstone National Park, USA
Of all the national parks in the United States, Yellowstone is one of the most well-known, and May is the best time to visit. This is the time of year when there are fewer crowds, and the temperatures are never too hot or too cold. Both of these factors make for perfect conditions to enjoy the trails!
As you explore the park, you’ll see beauty like nowhere else. Thick forests, valleys, lakes, streams, and, of course, the geysers that the park is famous for are some of the sights you’ll see, but be sure to keep a watch for bison, elk, and other wild animals that live in the park. Old Faithful is the top attraction in Yellowstone, but there are many other things to see in the park, including Mammoth Hot Springs, Grand Prismatic Spring, and Upper Geyser Basin.
Munich is one of Europe’s best cities and is the gateway to exploring Germany’s iconic Bavaria region. May is a tremendous time to visit for reliable weather and various festivals, including Auer Dult, the Vespa Parade, and the Frühlingsfest Spring Festival. It’s the perfect time for exploring the city’s many attractions, including Marienplatz, Nymphenburg Palace, Munich Residenz, Deutsches Museum, and Frauenkirche.
Bavaria is the home of German cliches, and we love it. Come prepared for the lederhosen, hearty dishes, and huge beer steins. Travelers love the region’s Romantic Road, which links the most picturesque towns and villages with historic timber homes. All of this takes place in the foothills of the Alps with its lofty peaks and thick forests.
If you’ve heard of Mont-Tremblant, you’ve likely heard about its fantastic ski resort and manicured village atmosphere. However, Mont-Tremblant is an equally amazing place to visit in May when the ski crowds have headed home, and the uncrowded natural landscape is all yours to explore! The ski resort is still an outdoor mecca and offers tremendous downhill mountain biking. It’s not just biking; hiking, horseback riding, and golfing are also available.
Washington, DC, is one of the most significant capital cities in the world. The National Mall has notable pieces of history and architecture, such as the Washington Monument, Lincoln Memorial, and Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial. The Smithsonian Institution is the world’s largest museum and research complex, with enough exhibits to explore for weeks.
Of course, no trip is complete without exploring America’s sources of power with The White House, Congressional Building, and Supreme Court. It’s not just America’s significant landmarks and institutions worth visiting, as Washington is brimming with restaurants, bars, and events. You can even catch a Major League Baseball game at the Washington National’s home stadium.
Many festivals also occur during this time of year, including First Jazz in the Garden and the Northern Virginia Fine Arts Festival. The best thing about visiting Washington in May is the lack of tourist crowds and lower hotel prices. Daytime temperatures that reach the mid-20s and plenty of sunshine are ideal conditions for spring blooms, and that’s exactly what you’ll see during a visit to Washington, DC, in May.
If sunny days with temperatures reaching the mid-20s are a must for your spring vacation, Malta is a great choice and one of the best places to visit in May. This archipelago between Sicily and Tunisia is also a great place to visit for its vibrant culture with European and African influences.
Spend sunny days on the beautiful, sandy beaches or visit top attractions such as the 16th-century St. John’s Co-Cathedral, Blue Grotto, Mosta Rotunda, National War Museum – Fort St Elmo, and Ġgantija. Be sure to spend at least one day in the capital city of Valletta, where you’ll find some of the country’s top restaurants. If you visit during the first week of May, you can attend the Valletta Green Festival.
Laguna Beach, California
When most people think of warm places in the United States, California is one of the first places that come to mind, but perhaps you haven’t considered Laguna Beach for your next spring vacation. There are fewer crowds in Laguna Beach in May, so you can expect a relaxing getaway where you can lounge on Main Beach or Crescent Bay Beach all day. Or you can visit the area’s top attractions, including Crystal Cove State Park, Pacific Marine Mammal Center, Laguna Art Museum, and Laguna Coast Wilderness Park.
In May, the temperatures are just right in Catalonia to enjoy the sights, and most days are sunny. Daytime temperatures reach an average of 20°C, so it’s not too hot nor too cold. However, since this is considered a shoulder season for the area, you won’t see the big crowds around during the hot summer months!
The top place to visit in the Catalonia region is the bustling city of Barcelona, but there are many other great places to explore there, too! Check out Girona and its medieval wonders and dine at El Celler de Can Roca, which is said to be the top restaurant on earth.
Go to Costa Brava and spend the day on a beautiful sandy beach. Other top attractions in Catalonia include La Sagrada Familia, Palau de la Musica Catalana, and the Magic Fountains of Montjuic. If you happen to be in the area during the second week in May, the Girona Flower Festival is a popular event to check out.
Kakadu National Park, Australia
Kakadu National Park is a big one. It’s the biggest in Australia! It’s also one of the most distinctive places on the planet, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and a great place to visit in May due to the fantastic weather that sees temperatures reach the low 30s and little rain.
The park is rich in culture and natural wonders. Indigenous peoples have lived in the area for over 40,000 years, and the ancient rock art you can see in the park makes it one of the best places to learn about that long history. As you explore the park, you’ll see spectacular waterfalls, incredible landscapes, and many wildlife species, including wallabies.
If you’re looking for the ultimate beach vacation combined with lively nightlife venues and fascinating attractions, look no further than Miami, Florida. In May, the temperatures climb into the high 20s, so lying on the beach all day is an option! No worries about crowds because Spring Break is long past, and the summer crowd hasn’t arrived yet.
Want to check out some local festivals? In May, the GroundUp Music Festival, Miami Grand Prix, and Tamiami International Orchid Festival are top events you might want to check out. When not basking in the sun on South Beach, check out the city’s many attractions, such as Vizcaya Museum & Gardens, Wynwood Walls, Phillip & Patricia Frost Museum of Science, and Pérez Art Museum Miami. If you’re looking for a road trip, rent a car in Miami and drive along the Florida Keys from Key Largo to Key West!
Head to Thailand for tantalizing food, wonderful people, and lovely beaches. Destinations like Phuket, Bangkok, Khao Lak, Koh Samui, and Chiang Mai have ideal weather in May. It’s a reliable time to snorkel around Phuket, lay on the beaches of Khao Lak, or enjoy the jungle mountains. It’s one of the best times of year to travel around the country and explore all it has to offer. The weather is generally hot and dry across the country.
The Boon Bang Fai Rocket Festival is a popular event in May. As the weather is stable across the country, May is a great time to visit some of the lesser-traveled mountainous regions in the North. It’s hard to pick a better time to visit the “Land of Smiles,” but this does mean traveling during peak season with slightly higher prices and crowds.
Best Places to Travel in May – Quick Answers
What Big Holiday is in May?
There are multiple US holidays in May, including Memorial Day, Mother’s Day, Cinco De Mayo, and dozens of other “national” days you are probably unaware of. In general May is a good time to travel as it avoid major holidays and children are still in school. June to August remain the busiest times to travel for most of the Northern Hemisphere.
Where are the Best Places to Travel in May for a Beach Holiday?
Consider the Philipines, Bali, Portugal, Amalfi Coast, The Carribbean, Hawaii, Greece, and Malta. There are many great places to visit in the US for a beach vacation in May, including Southern California, Florida, and North Carolina.
Where is the Warmest in Europe in May?
The Mediterranean countries have some of the warmest weather in Europe and, in general, are among some of the best places to travel in May. We recommend the southern coastline of Portugal, Spain, France, and Italy along with the Greek Islands.
Where is Hot and Cheap in May?
Southeast Asia, in general, is hot and cheap in May. Consider visiting The Philippines, Thailand, and Bali. You may want to avoid Central America as May is the start of their raniy season, but it cans till be pleasant before the rains fully arrive in June/July.
Where is Sunniest in May?
Sunshine hot spots include Southern European countries like Spain and Malta. You can’t go wrong with Miami, Jamaica, and Mexico’s Caribbean Coast.
Where are the Best Countries to Visit in May?
Thailand, Iceland for stunning scenery without the summer crowds, Morocco, Spain and Greece.
Is the Caribbean Okay to Visit in May?
The Caribbean region offers the most favorable weather conditions and is considered the prime season for tourists in May. It’s outside in the rainy season, and you can expect dry and sunny weather.
Where Should We Honeymoon in May?
Greece, Portugal, and Bali are all solid honeymoon destinations in May.
Are Holidays Cheaper in May?
May is a shoulder season month in many destinations throughout the world. In Europe and North America, May is cheaper, and you’ll see fewer crowds. This is before the kids are off from school and the summer holidays truly start. From Memorial Day onwards, expect summer season to come into full swing.
Plan For Your Trip
- Protect Your Trip: We don’t travel without travel insurance, nor should you. You never know what can happen while traveling, so it’s best to be prepared. HeyMondo provides excellent short-term and long-term travel insurance plans.
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- Book a Rental Car: We use Discover Car to book all our rental cars! You can also read our top tips for renting a car abroad here.
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- The Best Places to Visit in February
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- The Best Places to Visit in April
- The Best Places to Visit in June
- The Best Places to Visit in July
- The Best Places to Visit in August
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