With multiple bank holidays in May, this is a great month to travel to make the most of your annual leave. Greece is one of our top picks, with its laidback charm at a real high before the summer crowds arrive. Further afield, Botswana’s waterways are filling up, Argentina glows with autumn foliage and Barbados promises sun.
Below are our top picks for where to travel in May.
Perfect conditions ahead of the summer crowds
Sun-drenched beaches, azure waters and cobbled streets lined with white-washed buildings. Greece has an indescribable charm. Sit back and watch the waves wash up onto the beach as you tuck into delicious gyros or souvlaki, served with lashings of tzatziki and a cold beer. This is relaxed beach life at its finest and it's the simplicity that we love the most. From the striking blue domes of Santorini to the glamourous beach clubs of Mykonos, each island has its own unique allure. Travel to Greece in May to experience all this without the summer crowds.
The ultimate February half term beach break
Throw yourself feet-first into Barbados’ relaxed and easy-going vibe. A vibrant island boasting lively street parties, delicious Caribbean flavours and fantastic surfing, it’s got lots of appeal for families. Plunge beneath the surface of the ocean to dive with turtles, stingrays, barracudas and seahorses. Be sure to check out the thriving dining scene on the west coast, which plays host to some of the best restaurants in the Caribbean. Barbados is a brilliant choice for May half term – the days are sunny with limited rain and it’s slightly less busy than the peak months of February to April.
The iconic waterways are filling up
With visitor numbers deliberately kept low, Botswana offers the most off-the-grid safari anywhere in the world. The focus is on high quality, low impact tourism. Abundant game, unparalleled guiding and luxurious camps in really wild surroundings give Botswana's safari offering the edge. Whether you're gliding along the Okavango Delta by mokoro or mingling with meerkats in the Makgadikgadi Salt Pan, there is no end to the unique and enriching experiences on offer. In May, Botswana’s famous waterways are filling up nicely, making it an ideal time for a whole host of water-based safari activities.
Autumnal colours and warm weather
Argentina is a land of extremes, from Patagonia’s majestic glaciers in the south to the arid desert landscapes in the northwest, via the cascading waterfalls of Iguazu and the vast grassy plains of the Pampas. Defined by its fiery passion, lively tango beats and full-bodied red wine, Argentina has a way of luring you in and leaving you wanting more. May in Argentina is a particularly beautiful time – when the foliage takes on beautiful autumn hues, the weather is warm and dry and the adventure potential is endless.
Warm & dry weather...perfect for sunbathing!
Mauritius has always been the perfect retreat for a luxury family holiday, a romantic honeymoon or a sunny break. With its diverse range of cultures, from French Creole to Indian, and from Muslim to Chinese, these influences are apparent all over the island. Combine this with a stunning range of first-class luxury hotels, delicious cuisine, fabulous sandy beaches and crystal clear waters, and you have the perfect recipe for an amazing holiday!
Dry & sunny; the beaches are less crowded
Southern Italy is brimming with never-ending postcard-perfect scenery, charming piazzas and wonderful beaches. From the historic towns of the heel of Italy to the glamorous Amalfi Coast, this region is home to fascinating cultural spots and stunning coastline. May is the time to visit Southern Italy as it's not too hot and the beaches are less crowded. For a memorable holiday, you can stay in Monastero Santa Rosa, a beautifully renovated 17th-century monastery with incredible views out to the sea from its cliffside perch and one of the best spa in the region.
Glorious weather & fewer crowds
Guatemala with its riot of markets, smoking volcanoes, crater lakes and Mayan jungle temples is one of Latin America's most photogenic countries. If you visit in May the weather is glorious and there are fewer crowds, making it the ultimate time to visit the country's legendary ruins and marvel at them as they rise majestically out of the rainforest. Imagine staying in a secluded jungle retreat located in an unspoiled location and enveloped by a forest of parakeets and howler monkeys, with a commanding view of the turquoise waters of Lago Peten Itza...utter bliss.
Really good hiking weather
Want to do something adventurous? Trek through the Himalayas and discover Ladakh’s spectacularly rugged mountains for yourself. Explore this beautiful Buddhist ex-kingdom's impressive collection of ancient monasteries surrounded by fluttering prayer flags. Experience a peaceful moment at whitewashed stupas, while spinning prayer wheels release merit-making mantras. Marvel at Gompa interiors where giant golden Buddhas reside and complexly colourful murals adorn the walls. Ladakh is a little corner of Tibet marooned in the furthest reaches of India.
Clear skies & warm weather make it ideal for exploring
Turkey is a fantastic destination for those who want to combine culture, sightseeing and adventure with the opportunity to relax in luxury. We suggest combining a couple of nights in Istanbul with a visit to the beaches of the Aegean – you can even include a stop to the wild and romantic landscapes of Cappadocia to see the fascinating troglodyte cities by hot air balloon. This cultural melting pot is a great place to visit throughout the year but we especially love May because the weather is mild.
Less busy than the summer months
Croatia is a place where history, culture and stunning landscapes collide. This sunny destination is also made up a 1,000 islands so there are numerous secluded coves fringed by pine forests, sandy beaches lapped by sparkling blue waters and picturesque ports with exquisite seafood. Such beauty draws many tourists in the summer months so some might prefer to get ahead of the game and head to Croatia in May and discover this enchanting location without too many people there.