April showers bring May flowers, and that's the case for most of the best places to visit in May! Summer is around the corner which means it is shoulder season in most countries. In most cases, you will avoid the sometimes overwhelming crowds that come with the busier periods. If you are looking for some travel inspiration and would like some ideas on spring travel destinations, you’re in the right place! Keep reading to find out what the travel experts recommend for the month of May.
Best Places to Visit in May - Europe
Southern Spain is known for its tropical climate, which makes it perfect for springtime. However, that’s not the only reason why I’d recommend Córdoba, Spain in May. Yes, it’s warm, beautiful, and tranquil. But Córdoba has something else to offer in May: The Patio Festival.
Though this is still a relatively new tradition, every year local Córdobans decorate their homes from ceiling to floor in beautiful flowers. This preparation begins in April, during which you can also tour the festival’s winners from the year before. Then, in May, Córdoba opens its doors to the festival, showing off their flowers and competing for the city’s most beautiful patio.
You’ll find flowers crawling up and down outdoor walls, indoor walls, staircases, ceilings, hanging from chains, and sitting on furniture, all in a celebration of spring and beauty. And don’t forget your camera, because, with the warm sun and the bright walls that are common in Córdoba, it’s not difficult to capture several beautiful shots of these proud masterpieces.
Then, once you’re done touring these local homes, Córdoba in May is so beautiful that you won’t mind walking around and seeing the rest of the city, including Córdoba’s famous Mezquita. That being said, you don’t want to miss out on this experience! Read more about Córdoba, Spain and find out why it is one of the best places to visit in May.
It is always a good time to visit Vienna, every season has its own beauty, but Vienna is charming whichever month you choose to come by. May could have the best weather in Vienna, it's spring which means there's a very slim or no chance of rain and it will not be as hot as July when summer is at its peak. The flowers are in full bloom, and the skies are a perfect blue.
Being one of central Europe's smallest cities, Vienna is relatively easy to navigate. With its very efficient transportation system, you can see a lot of the most picturesque spots, visit various museums, and even tour a UNESCO Heritage site; the Schönbrunn Palace. The Palace grounds are vast and hold a zoo, an aquarium, a maze, an orangery, a wagon museum, and a Gloriette up on a hill where you can dine a la royalty. If you find that walking is tiring, you can take a ride around in a Liliputbahn - up the hill and back again. Get a panoramic view of Vienna from above the Gloriette's deck then enjoy a cup of Viennese Mélange and a slice of apple strudel at the café.
If you fancy seeing a few of the 1441 rooms in the palace, take a tour that will take about 40 minutes and be awestruck at the architecture and the gold-plated walls that Austrian monarchs used to design their abode. Some of the palace's rooms have been opened to offer accommodation for guests. Imagine waking up to the sight of the palace's garden adorned with tulips, roses, and other blossoms!
The Volksgarten is another must-visit when in Vienna, where the roses are in full bloom in May. One can do hanami, flower viewing, and enjoy the fresh smell while being serenaded by a busker playing classical music on his/her violin. The Volksgarten is surrounded by must-see buildings in Vienna; the Rathaus (city hall), Burgtheater, the Parliament, the Hofburg Palace, and the twin museums among others.
Head to one of Vienna's taverns, on the outskirts, this is where the vineyards are and where you can get a taste of authentic Austrian cuisine. I suggest Kahlenberg, as it is a hill, and the view of Vienna is nothing less than amazing. When dining, try Tafelspitz, Schweinsbraten, Kaiserschmarrn, Stelze, and of course, wiener schnitzel with sauerkraut and wash them down with some house wine.
And most of all, experience Austrian culture through one of its Opera houses. There are a handful of theatres, and opera houses in Vienna and programmes vary. There are still so many things one can do in Vienna, like museum-hopping on the first Sunday which happens to be free for all. If you don't get to see everything if you visit in May, there's still the rest of year for you to do so. Read more about Vienna, Austria and find out why it is one of the best places to visit in May…
May is the perfect month to visit Madrid in Spain because the sun is returning from a long, cold winter. Madrid really only experiences two seasons, winter and summer, and both are quite extreme. May is that shoulder month when the city is going into summer without it being too hot. During peak summer you will find Madrid unbearably hot, but May temperatures rarely reach 25C (77F). Madrid tourist attractions can become very busy in the summer, however, in May you can take in the city sights and top museums without too many crowds or long queues.
During May Madrid's many parks and tree-lined streets start to become lush and vibrant, that's when the blossom trees and wildflowers bloom. Locals rejoice in the change of weather, and you'll see Madrid's streets bustling with activity. Most cafes, bars and restaurants will dust off the outdoor seating resulting in plazas and terraces becoming full of people enjoying the sunshine.
There are also two very important local fiestas in Madrid during May, Dos de Mayo on May 2nd and San Isidro on May 15th. Both are local holidays and involve fun activities in Madrid. Expect to see traditional "Madrileño" (the name given to a Madrid local) clothes, dancing, music, street parties and parades. Read more about Madrid, Spain and find out why it is one of the best places to visit in May.
May is the month when Budapest comes alive after a long grey winter. The city’s numerous garden bars open after a long hiatus, cafés put out sidewalk tables, and residents begin to hit the city center’s two best parks, Margitsziget (Margaret Island) and Varosliget (City Park) for lazy weekend afternoons.
Visiting Budapest in May means you’ll hit shoulder season, dealing with far fewer crowds than late spring and summer, but with much nicer weather than earlier in the year. This means you can get to know the city surrounded by locals, rather than tourists. And you won’t have to wait for long when visiting some of the city’s most notable attractions, such as the Hungarian parliament building or House of Terror Museum. In early May, you can still catch the opera season in the spectacular Hungarian State Opera House, before they pause for the summer.
Average highs are in the low 20s°C (around 70°F) throughout the month, meaning May brings a comfortable temperature for exploring the city, with some rainy days as well. While the full-blown summer festival season hasn’t yet begun, Budapest always has something going on, and there are usually small food-focused festivals happening in different neighbourhoods around the city. Facebook events are the best place to look for the current schedule of what’s happening each weekend.
Copenhagen is without a doubt one of the best places to visit in May.
Most people associate cold and miserable weather with Northern Europe, but May is the exact opposite. With 15 hours of daylight each day and temperature climbing up to above 20 degrees, May in Copenhagen is just beautiful. As spring is in full bloom, you will have a great opportunity to take beautiful pictures. Some of the best photo spots are Kongens Have and Gavnø Slot, the location of Denmark's biggest tulip festival. It's also worth to head out to the Danish countryside which is covered in swathes of yellow just before the rapeseed harvest. Another advantage is that in May many attractions open its doors which may otherwise be closed in the winter months.
Although tourism is picking up in the city around that time, you still get to escape the bulk of the tourists. There is also plenty to do in Copenhagen in May. The city hosts several festivals, such as the Copenhagen Architecture Festival and Copenhagen Art Week. Festivities culminate at the end of the month in Distortion, Europe's biggest electronic music festival. Alternatively, check out the Copenhagen Beer Festival or the Salsa Festival which takes place in early May.
Those looking to get sporty may also want to join the Copenhagen Marathon which draws more than 8,000 participants every year. Read more about Copenhagen and find out why it is one of the best places to visit in May.
Let's face it, Florence is gorgeous any day, any season, at any time. However, if you can afford to choose the best time to go, I suggest it be May. The freezing cold winter is gone, and the blazing heat of summer hasn't yet arrived, making it the perfect time to enjoy the beauty of Florence's landmarks. You can walk through the streets of its city centre and visit its beautiful parks.
In May, Spring is in full tilt, the whole region is blossoming, and travellers will enjoy the intoxicating scent of flowers and trees. In Florence, they celebrate nature by organizing all types of events in the city's public parks. Before the summer heat prevents them from enjoying the outdoors, the citizens want to take in nature as much as possible.
If you are going in May, make sure you attend some of the local festivals, live shows, food and wine fairs, and handicraft exhibitions while reconnecting to the old traditions that made Florence so famous and appreciated all over the world. And if you have some extra time, do venture outside the city to soak in Tuscany's countryside like the famous Chianti region and in some of the local towns and villages such as Siena, Lucca, Pisa and San Gimignano. Read more about Florence, Italy and find out why it is one of the best places to visit in May.
Paris is worth visiting all year-round, but May is the nicest. It’s the month in which Paris comes back to life. Spring is in full blossom, and days are getting longer and warmer. A time when the terraces are getting full again, and Parisians strive to take their Apéro outside, desperate to catch the last rays of evening sun.
In May, life on the streets of Paris begins again, and if life is about joy, then there is no place to enjoy life more than in Paris. Cancel your dinner plans in a fancy restaurant and pack a picnic instead. The river Seine with views over Notre Dame is the perfect place to have an outdoor dinner. If picnics are too casual for your taste, book a table at the “7e Ciel”. This rooftop bar is located in the famous Montmartre district and grants you with one of the most stunning views over Paris that you can possibly have.
May is also a great time to visit the gardens in and around Paris. The Jardin du Luxembourg or the Tuileries are classic options for a lovely afternoon stroll. But don’t miss the Parc Floral with its thousands of blooming plants and the free jazz concerts or the Albert-Kahn Museum. The highlight of this museum is the 4-hectare gardens that are a patchwork of different garden styles and sections. Read more about Paris and find out why it is one of the best places to visit in May.
Cyprus is a great destination to visit in May. The weather starts to heat up, making it possible to start enjoying its’ many spectacular beaches. Other things to do in Cyprus beyond enjoying the resort towns include visiting the country’s three UNESCO World Sites, exploring the historic town of Nicosia and its Venetian Walls, and crossing the UN buffer zone to explore northern Cyprus.
My personal suggestion is to base yourself in Agia Napa, Larnaca, or Nicosia, and then use the country’s fabulous intra-city bus system to do day trips to Paphos, Limassol, and the Troodos Mountains. Paphos is lovely, but I prefer the soft sand beaches on the island’s eastern side to Paphos’ rocky shores and Limassol’s party atmosphere.
For history lovers, make sure to take a trip to Limassol where you can see fabulous Roman ruins and even swim at the beach where ancient Cypriots believe that the goddess Aphrodite emerged from the sea.
Cyprus is great for visiting in the shoulder season because you get better deals, and the summer months get overwhelmingly hot. Thus this is a great country to plan to escape to in May before the real summer heat turns up.
Best Places to Visit in May - North America
May in Denver, Colorado is one of my absolute favourite times of the year. Warm sunny days have the flowers blooming everywhere, including the crab apples which are Denver’s equivalent to the cherry blossoms in other locations. Since the weather can be a bit bipolar with snow mixed in with warm days and cool evenings, you’ll need to pack for a little bit of everything.
Cinco de Mayo opens the festival season, taking over Civic Center Park right in the middle of downtown Denver for two days. And if you are a sports lover, Denver is home to all eight professional sports. May finds the Colorado Rockies in full swing, and soccer fans are at the Dicks Sporting Goods Field watching the Colorado Rapids.
Check out Denver’s growing food scene and dine outside on one of Denver’s many restaurant outdoor patios for a little people watching or dinner with a view of the snow-capped Rockies. And since the weather is so lovely, it’s the perfect time of year to enjoy one of Denver’s many pub-crawls, walking tours, see street art in RiNo, or explore the city on foot. Don’t miss stopping by the Colorado State Capitol for a photo on the “Mile-High” marker or popping inside for a free guided tour and one of the best views of the city from the Capitol dome.
If you love dogs, join the Furry Scurry in Wash Park, benefiting the Dumb Friends League (an annual event) and walk to support pup adoption and care. Or check out one of the many museums, parks and of course, the Denver Botanical Gardens which is decked out in spring blooms. Take a hike along the Platte or Cherry Creek, or head out to Colorado Springs or Boulder for day trips. Whatever you do, May in Denver is guaranteed not to disappoint. Read more about Denver and why it is one of the best places to visit in May.
May in Hawaii is the perfect time to visit with most of the rainy season and the peak winter season done. The cost to travel to the islands is also much lower. Not only are flights and hotels typically cheaper between the winter and summer season, but you'll also find a variety of fun festivals, and events celebrated in May. Starting with Mayday is lei day festivities all around the various islands.
The weather is warm and typically sunny for this time of the year, making it almost perfect throughout the islands. There's plenty to see and do outdoors while exploring or doing some fun recreational activity. So, if you're looking for a perfect time to visit Hawaii, check out travel plans and better prices during May. Read more about Hawaii Island’s West Side and East Side.
Best Places to Visit in May - South America
Cusco is touristy all year round, but if there is a perfect time to visit, I’d say it’s May.
It may be winter, but it is the dry season. Cusco is famous for numerous multi-day hikes where you’ll camp high up in the Andean mountain ranges and down in the humid cloud forest. One thing any hiker will agree is that no one likes to hike in the rain and sleep in the mud.
It is not yet the peak season. Because of the drier climate, June to August is the peak season. Case in point: the famous Inca Trail is fully booked up to 6 months in advance if you plan to hike it in August. May is perfect as it is not the raining season, and not yet the peak season. No need to squeeze with other tourists!
Prices are reasonable. Being a shoulder season means hotels are not fully booked, and restaurants are not entirely filled. This leads to establishments reducing prices to lure customers, more attention to personalized service and a win for you.
You can participate in local festivals. In May, there are 3 festivals that the people of Cusco (and its surrounding regions) celebrate: Q'oyoriti, Cruz Velacuy (Fiesta de Las Cruces) and Senor de Torrechayoc. During festivals, locals flood the cities with colours and music, dancing in costumes and partying. But unlike world-famous events, only locals participate in these festivities which means hotels wouldn’t get sold out.
These are some of the reasons why I think Cusco is one of the best places to visit May. Need more ideas on what to do in Cusco? Read more here.
Best Places to Visit in May - Oceania
Idyllic Fiji in the tropical South Pacific is warm all year round. This sun-kissed destination is perfect for escaping cold weather, but it is best to avoid the wet season from November to March. The torrential downpours during this time can reach extremes, with cyclones visiting the islands from time to time. The dry season from April to October is much preferred. The warm, sunny weather is lovely for lazy days around the pool, snorkelling or sailing.
Fiji is particularly loved by travellers from nearby Australia and New Zealand, so it is best to avoid their school holiday time from about mid-June to late July. Accommodation will be much more expensive during this time and everywhere will be a lot more crowded.
May is one of the best times to visit Fiji. The weather is likely to range between 20°c at night and 30°c during the day, with 7 rainy days on average.
Fiji is popular with both honeymooners and young families keen to soak up some sun and have a water-loving holiday. Play some pool volleyball, try paddle boarding or take a boat trip to a deserted speck of an island. Stay at convenient Denarau surrounded by 5-star hotels, head down to the more isolated Coral Coast where the great value resorts have so many activities on offer you don’t need to step off the property. Or head offshore and stay on an island for that true tropical feel. Read more about why Fiji is one of the best places to visit in May here.
Best Places to Visit in May - Eurasia
Contrary to popular belief, it’s not Winter year-round in Russia. We get nice warm weather from time to time. If you are planning to visit Russia’s capital, May is one of the best months to do so. Spring is in full bloom, the city is drowning in flowers and greenery, and the weather is enjoyable for staying outside. It’s not as hot as it gets in July and August, but just right for long walks and dining on patios of popular Moscow restaurants.
Besides the weather, there’s another big reason why you should come to Moscow in May, and that is Victory Day celebrations. On the 9th of May, which is officially a public holiday, Russians celebrate victory in the Second World War with parades, festivals, and fireworks. Along with New Year’s, Victory Day is one of the most widely celebrated occasions in the country. And while you’ll feel the atmosphere in any Russian city and village, Moscow is hands down, the best place to be on this day.
There’s a Victory Day parade on the Red Square which is impossible to get into, but you can try to find a spot just outside of the square along the route of military machinery, to see tanks. There are also good spots in the city center to watch airplanes during the parade.
You can also take part in the Immortal Regiment movement which was started by the people to honour the memory of their relatives who fought in WW2. People march through Tverskaya street and onto Red Square with portraits of their family members who took part in the war.
Overall, the atmosphere on the 9th of May is one of happiness and unity. You’ll find festivals all throughout the city with performers, singers, dancers, and chow wagons serving the famous buckwheat and hot tea absolutely free of charge. Read more about Moscow and why it is one of the best places to visit in May.
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