What’s the best thing about the month of May for going on holiday (if you live in the UK)? There are two bank holidays! That means if you time a long holiday right, you can use a fewer days of annual leave than you would another time of the year, meaning more holidays for the summer! It’s also a great time to fly away for warm weather. Much of Europe is now seeing sunny 20+ degree temperatures and prices are much cheaper than flying away in the incoming summer months.
Read on for our top recommendations for ‘Where to go on holiday in May’, including warm weather favourites, faraway adventures and the best European city breaks for the month.
Where to go in May for sun and warm temperatures
For guaranteed sun in Europe and beyond for the month of May, we’ve assembled the top places to have a beach holiday.
Puglia is the long strip of land that stretches out to the south-east of Italy, staring directly across the Adriatic Sea at Montenegro and Albania. Its famous for it’s unique ‘Trulli’ houses situated along an exquisite coastline of resorts, perfect for a beach holiday. Arrive in May and you’ll find that this beautiful corner of the country has already warmed up and the cold days of the winter are long-gone! Its traditional Masseria (farmhouse) hotels are also very reasonably priced at this time of the year.
In addition to the amazing beaches, coves and caves (our favourite is Togo Bay), like much of Italy, Puglia is alive with historic cities and Roman ruins. The medieval ports of Bari and Brindisi, as well as the city of Lecce, all make excellent day-trips for when you need a break from the hot sun. Combine all of the above with some fine Italian food and wine and you have a May holiday you’ll never forget. We recommend visiting for at least a week!
Best for: Couples, families
High temperature: 24 degrees
Secluded and standing alone in the Mediterranean ocean, Sardinia undeniably has some of the best beaches in Europe. The white-sand coastlines stretch for miles, and inland you’ll find vast forests and hills. It’s one of the best places to get lost in the wilderness and far from the tourist populated centres of mainland Europe! Cuisine is inspired by its Italian neighbours, with cheese, wines and bread being the eats of choice, many of which are locally made.
As Sardinia is an island with a lot to offer, unsurprisingly it gets very busy in the summer months. May is a time where you can enjoy low-20’s temperatures that are idyllic for going on long walks and enjoying the beaches without overheating. As eluded to, the best things to do here are relate to the beautiful scenery. Tour the coastline for impressive coves and lagoons, ride horseback in the wilderness and hike through the nature parks. For those looking for a historic experience on the island, there are over 7000 bronze age ruins, towers, caves and mines to explore.
Best for: Couples, families, adventurers
High temperature: 22 degrees
Dubrovnik has become an increasingly popular Croatian city in recent times. It’s the filming location of ‘King’s Landing’ in Game of Thrones and the beautiful backdrop of ancient castle walls is the first thing visitors see when arriving on a cruise. As impressive as the city is, we actually recommend a one-week holiday staying just outside the Dubrovnik. The seaside resort of Cavtat is a less busy hub to base yourself in. Being outside of the city walls, you’ll find large luxury hotels with private beaches and swimming pools, perfect for a relaxing holiday.
You can catch a boat over to Dubrovnik city for a spot of sightseeing or an evening out, or embark on a plethora of day trips. Wine tasting, island hopping tours and excursions to neighbouring Montenegro will keep you on your toes all morning, and you can retire to your hotel swimming pool to wind down into the evening. Staying outside of Dubrovnik is also cheaper – your money will go a lot further!
Best for: Couples, friends
High temperature: 23 degrees
Famously known as one of the world’s hotspots for clubbing, all night long parties and international DJ’s in the summer, Ibiza has an intruiguing character away from the party scene. Somewhat boho-hippie alongside a more traditional Spanish beach holiday, the island has distinct characterises depending on where you visit. If you’re inbound for a beach holiday, the entirety of the month of May is ideal. If a vibrant nightlife is what you’re after, arrive towards the end of the month to catch the San Antonio opening parties, with flights and accommodation at much cheaper prices than June – August.
A trip to the quaint Ibiza Old Town in the east is recommended for everyone, but you’ll also find markets, nature trails, boat trips and other excursions to check out when you’re not relaxing. However, when it does come to relaxing, Ibiza’s marvellous choice of white-sand beaches can’t be rivalled! For more inspiration on things to do, see our ‘Top things to do when you’re not partying’ guide here.
Best for: Couples, singles
High temperature: 22 degrees
For classy holidays in the sun, nothing quite matches the sophistication and luxury of the French Riviera. Famous for decades as a holiday spot for Europeans from all over the continent, the south of France has adapted with modern times and is better than ever in our opinion. Go for long walks on a promenade, indulge in exquisite French food al fresco with a view, or rent a car and tour the coast.
The Riviera has towns and beaches matching many budgets, however May is a particularly good month to visit as you avoid the peak prices of the summer. Top up your tan on the beaches of St Tropez, walk the iconic Promenade des Anglais in Nice and live a life of luxury alongside Yacht owners and the rich and famous in Monaco. This Cote d’Azure is a paradise for food and wine lovers!
Best for: Luxury holiday seekers, families, couples
High temperature: 21 degrees
If European beach holiday temperatures are still too tame for you in May and you want heat soaring into the late twenties, venture further afield to the beach paradise of Mauritius, which is located off the east coast of Africa. Whilst May is a winter month on the island, it’s still very hot with little rainfall, and in our opinion, it’s much more attractive than the later months of the year, where prices rise and heat becomes unbearable for some.
As you’d expect from its famous reputation, Mauritius is a luxury beach paradise and popular honeymoon destination. Many travellers arrive on the shores for the powder-sand beaches, Instagram worthy luxury accommodation and picturesque tropical views, however it’s also a place for adventure! Visit safari parks, trek mountains and be in awe at tropical fish in clear waters. Mauritius might be a more expensive option for May sun, but it’s a memorable one…
Best for: Luxury holiday seekers, couples
High temperature: 30 degrees
If you’re feeling like a longer adventure holiday in May, visiting multiple places and exploring what a country really has to offer, here are our top recommendations.
If an outdoor adventure excites you, Canada in May is inviting you to explore! Flowers are blooming, once frozen rivers have now thawed and the wildlife have returned to forests, mountains and islands. One of the best ways to see Canada’s nature is on a self-drive road trip. Rent a car and stay in quaint local cottages in the mountains or voyage in a camper van and be at one with nature.
As well as epic road trips in the wild, the country has some amazing cities to explore; from the urban and edgy Montreal to a typical big city break with lots to do in Toronto, and picturesque villages of Quebec. As it’s is such a large country, we recommend focusing on one area and exploring it to the fullest! Top locations to visit include:
- Quebec and Montreal City
- Toronto, Niagra Falls and Ottowa (which has an amazing spring festival)
- Vancouver and the Canadian Rockies of British Columbia
- The impressive National Parks of Banff and Jasper, accompanied by Calgary city
Best for: Adventurers
High temperature: 19 degrees (Toronto)
The weather in China in May is neither too hot or too cold, making it ideal for an multi-stop adventure! Being the start of summer, this is where nature comes alive and you’ll get to appreciate the true beauty of the countryside. As it’s one of the largest countries in the world, you should definitely plan out your trip and decide on the key places you want to visit.
For vast city-scapes and a mix of tradition with modernism, Shanghai and Beijing can’t be missed. Venturing further off the beaten track you’ll be amazed by places such as Shangri-La, Guilin and Zhangjiajie, which looks like a scene out of the Avatar movie. And we can’t forget the Great Wall of China! The whole country is a mystical land of mountains, lakes, temples and sanctuaries, so it’s well worth heading out into the wilderness on an organised tour. We recommend picking one area of China to visit in a 2- or 3-week holiday.
Best for: Adventurers, culture seekers
High temperature: 27 degrees (Beijing)
Being a country that spreads quite a distance north to south, it’s rare to get a month in Vietnam where you get decent weather throughout. May is that golden month! You’ll find hot but comfortable temperatures throughout the whole country and can visit anywhere without preparing for constant rain or chilly beaches. Take this opportunity to plan a multi-destination trip to Vietnam and learn exactly what this enchanting country has to offer.
See the cultural hub of Hanoi for some of the best food on offer, before travelling onwards to the iconic Ha-Long Bay for a cruise between the tall limestone cliffs. Visit the well-maintained beaches of Da Nang in Central Vietnam and beautiful village of Hoi An, then descend to the south for plenty of culture and history tours in and around Ho Chi Minh and the mighty Mekong River. Vietnam is super cheap and has an amazing diversity of cultures and things to do.
Best for: Adventurers, culture seekers, backpackers
High temperature: 32 degrees (Hanoi)
The best May City breaks
Ideal for a bank holiday weekend (and there’s two of these in May!), European city breaks each have a unique attraction and enough things to do and see, so you’ll never feel bored.
Istanbul has always been one of the most historic cities on earth, with a past that span’s entire millennia. Today its evolved into a multicultural gateway between Europe and the Middle East. It appears bustling and busy on the outset, but spend a few days here and you’ll learn from a land rich in culture. Your taste buds will also thank you – the food here is excellent! Think large mezze sharers, aromatic curries and succulent meat skewers.
You’ll spend your time in here wandering grand bazaars, marvelling at the architecture and visiting the many museums and galleries. There’s also an active nightlife and plenty of hidden bars and cafes, where you can enjoy a local beer, watching the busy streets and its people. Visit Istanbul if you’re interested in its magnificent history and want to immerse yourself in a completely different culture to other European destinations.
Best for: Culture seekers, friends, couples
High temperature: 22 degrees
The number one reason to visit Athens is for its centuries of ancient history. Although the city is somewhat rough around the edges in modern times, it oozes layers of culture and you’ll find remnants of its ancient past everywhere you go. Many of the key historic monuments, temples and other buildings featured in Greek mythology can still been seen today! May welcomes warm temperatures perfect for sightseeing. You have plenty to see and do during the day, and can retire to your hotel pool later in the day to relax in the sun.
The top things to see in Athens centre around the Acropolis and Parthenon monuments, but you’ll also be able to explore ancient arena’s, the Temple of Olympian Zeus and a goldmine of impressive architecture everywhere you go. Even if you’re not familiar with Greek history, the amazing backdrops of the city will take your breath away.
Best for: Couples, culture seekers, friends
High temperature: 22 degrees
Rome is a city that everyone has to visit, no matter your age or interests. It’s one of the most historic places on earth and in addition to being a goldmine for sightseeing and history lovers, the nightlife and foodie scene is excellent! We recommend a visit in May as the weather is very pleasant for sightseeing, but you also miss the vast crowds of tourists that descend on Rome in the summer months. Walk the legendary staircases of the Colosseum without being annoyed by big queues and large groups.
When it comes to Rome’s top attractions, it’s all about prioritising as there are so many! The must-sees are the Colosseum, Trevi Fountain, Palatine Hill and a plethora of beautiful churches. We also recommend checking out Vatican City, the famous home of the Catholic Pope. Although it’s technically a different country, you can walk here from the centre of Rome. For a full city guide of what to see in Rome, browse our itinerary here.
Best for: Couples, culture seekers, friends, families
High temperature: 24 degrees
If you’re looking for a quick and easy city break not too far from home, the Irish capital of Dublin is calling your name. Even if you’ve been before, this compact and welcoming city is always full of cheer and May is the first month where you’ll start to see bright sunny weather, perfectly suited for drinking a pint of Guinness in a beer garden or touring the beautiful countryside.
Catch cheap flights to Dublin and grab a cheap accommodation deal before the influx of tourists descend in the summer. The top things to see in here are the Jameson Distillery Tour, an excellent zoo, historic central streets and buildings, museums, and snuggling up in a cosy Irish Bar. We also recommend venturing out of the city to the Bohemian yet medieval town of Galway. It’s traditional Ireland at its best.
Best for: Couples, friends
High temperature: 15 degrees
We hope we’ve helped inspire you to pick a new holiday destination for the month of May. Whether you’re looking for a full week’s family holiday in the sun, a romantic city-break or a long adventure in faraway lands, we have you covered for ideas! For holiday ideas for other months of the year, check out our Inspiration area here.