Whether for wildlife, for culture or for outdoor adventures, we’ve rounded up the 10 best places to travel in May. It’s a time where crowds are fewer, hotels and resorts emptier and weather is lovely just about everywhere. From a long weekend break in Europe to extended escapes in far flung destinations like Thailand or South Africa, read on to find out which holiday hotspots made it on to our list of where to go in May.
Average Temperatures: between 12°C – 22°C
Flight From The UK: 2 hour 30 minutes to Naples, an hour’s drive away
With the scent of oranges and lemons in the air, mild Mediterranean temperatures and very few rain showers, Sorrento is stunning to visit in late spring and early summer. While the waters of the Neapolitan Rivieria may still be a little cool for swimming, it’s the perfect time for hiking trails such as the famed Path Of The Gods, or for exploring archaeological wonders including Pompeii.
Where To Stay: Overlooking the Gulf of Naples, Bellevue Syrene is a boutique Relais & Châteaux property with light-filled rooms and complimentary daily afternoon tea and evening aperitif.
Average Temperatures: between 16°C – 23°C
Flight From The UK: 3 hours 45 minutes
The beginning of May is the first month of the year that the Greek islands really start opening up for the summer season, and Mykonos is no exception. Restaurants and bars are flinging open their doors, the hills around the islands are full with wildflowers and there’s enough sunshine hours to work on your tan on sands lapped by the Aegean Sea. But the very best part about holidaying in Mykonos in May? You’ll be avoiding the raucous crowds that descend on the island in summer.
Where To Stay: Elegance and exclusivity define any stay at Kouros Hotel & Suites with a clifftop location minutes from Mykonos Town, Greek-inspired fine dining and sea view infinity pool.
Average Temperatures: between 25°C – 31°C
Flight From The UK: 11 hours 30 minutes to Bangkok
Quieter beaches, wider availability in hotels and resorts, and rising temperatures are just three reasons to visit the southern islands of Thailand in May, with our pick of the bunch being Koh Phangan. Once the go-to destination for party lovers and backpackers, there’s now a more glam, grown-up vibe with great opportunities for scuba diving and longtail trips to secluded coves. Pair your stay with a few nights in Bangkok at the beginning for a classic city-and-beach getaway.
Where To Stay Bangkok: For five-star stays in the Thai capital you can’t go wrong with Anantara Riverside Bangkok Resort exuding waterfront luxury in the heart of the city.
Where To Stay Koh Phangan: Anantara Rasananda Koh Phangan for the ultimate in barefoot island living with a collection of suites and villas each with a private plunge pool.
Average Temperatures: between 16°C – 32°C
Flight From The UK: flights to Johannesburg and Cape Town are around 11 hours 30 minutes
Been dreaming of a South African safari experience? May is one of the best times for sightings of the Big Five – lion, leopard, rhino, elephant and buffalo – thanks to the drier conditions that lead the wildlife to congregate around watering holes. But keep in mind, this is the start of the winter months in the southern hemisphere and warmer layers are recommended for morning and evening game drives.
Where To Stay: Safari escapes don’t get much more romantic than Lion Sands Treehouses. Sleep under the stars in a luxury treehouse complete with lantern-lit dinners within the Lion Sands Game Reserve.
Average Temperatures: between 23°C – 28°C
Flight From The UK: 17 hours with one stopover
While Bali is a great beach destination year-round, holidaying in May is a more relaxed and generally less expensive time to travel to this popular Indonesian island. Not only will you get to enjoy consistently dry and sunny weather – ideal for sunrise hikes to the top of Mount Batur – it’s also one of the best months for snorkelling and diving along the north coast and for surfing on the west coast beaches. Why not head into Ubud – the cultural heart of the island – which is particularly verdant and lush during this time of year and turn your trip into a twin-centre holiday.
Where To Stay Bali: Alila Seminyak, a fantastic beachfront retreat mere moments from the famed Potato Head Beach Club.
Where To Stay Ubud: Alila Ubud, architecturally inspired by a traditional hillside Balinese village, and located high above the Ayung River with stunning views all around.
Average Temperatures: between 15°C – 28°C
Flight From The UK: direct flights around 3 hours 35 minutes
Take advantage of the cooler, more favourable spring weather with a holiday to Morocco in May. This is one of our favourite times to explore the souks of Marrakech, to go hiking through the Atlas Mountains or to spend nights out in the Sahara, all before the high summer temperatures – plus in 2022, May marks the end of Ramadan. And if you head to the city of Kelaat M’Gouna you can catch the annual ‘Festival Of The Roses’ celebrating the harvest season of the bright pink roses that are grown in the area.
Where To Stay: Selman Marrakech is a unique property at the foothills of the Atlas Mountains. Take dips in the 80 metre swimming pool or partake in equestrian experiences.
Average Temperatures: between 25°C – 28°C
Flight From The UK: direct flights are around 11 hours 30 minutes, though you’ll most likely need to stopover in Dubai or Doha
An archipelagic nation of over 100 islands in the Indian Ocean, the Seychelles is as close as any worldly destination comes to paradise. And if you’re looking for calm seas, warm temperatures and excellent visibility for snorkelling and diving, May is the month to book your flight to this tropical hideaway – just remember, if there are any showers, they’re likely to pass over quickly. Plus, this is the time of year when many of the island's birds are breeding and nesting, making it great for twitchers.
Where To Stay: Seclusion and exclusivity is guaranteed at Four Seasons Resort Seychelles at Desroches Island, a luxurious Robinson Crusoe-style retreat where all villas come with a pool and direct beach access.
The Deep South, USA
Average Temperatures: between 17°C – 29°C
Flight From The UK: fly direct to New Orleans in 10 hours, with in-direct flights to Memphis around 11 hours
From Louisiana to Tennessee the month of May is one of cultural celebrations throughout America’s Deep South. Our pick of the festivals include Jazz Fest in New Orleans, a celebration of local music and culture with everything from gospel and blues to R&B and folk being performed on stage – this year’s line up includes Lionel Richie, The Who and Norah Jones, among others. A couple of states over in Memphis, the month-long Memphis In May festival includes food-focused events like the World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest!
Where To Stay New Orleans: Check-in to the boutique Le Meridien New Orleans and you’ll be mere steps from the legendary French Quarter. Did we mention there’s also a stunning rooftop pool?
Where To Stay Memphis: First opened in 1869, The Peabody Memphis is a legendary southern hotel famed for its gracious hospitality and five resident ducks – catch them parading through the lobby twice a day!
Average Temperatures: between 23°C – 31°C
Flight From The UK: direct flights to the capital, Bridgetown, around 8-9 hours
With year-round blue skies and even bluer seas, when it comes to Barbados, there’s really never a bad time to go! But if we had to pick one month from the whole year to visit this popular Caribbean island, it would be May. While an often overlooked time to travel, this ‘shoulder season’ brings with it plenty of sunshine, tropical temperatures, low humidity and better value flights and accommodation – and while there may be the occasional shower, it’ll be short and sharp. And if you’re a wildlife lover, this is one of the best times to spot leatherback or Hawksbill turtles.
Where To Stay: A much-loved favourite on the north-west coast, Cobblers Cove delivers elegance, charm, island-style dining at the award-winning Camelot Restaurant and an iconic coral pink exterior.
Average Temperatures: between 29°C – 40°C
Flight From The UK: non-stop flights to Muscat take around 7 hours 30 minutes
A country of culture, adventure and natural wonders, visit Oman during May and you’ll be experiencing a transitional month where temperatures are slowly edging towards the highs of peak summer. As well as enjoying the benefits of more affordable accommodation and tours, this is a good time for swimming in the cooling emerald wadis or lazing on the beaches along the coast. Visit Ras Al Jinz (just three hours south of Muscat) and you may be able to see nesting sea turtles.
Where To Stay: An effortlessly sophisticated beachfront retreat, holidays to Al Baleed Resort Salalah By Anantara are all about treatments at the spa, gourmet dining and excursions to spot dolphins.