The best places to travel in May

Joanne Owen

written by
Joanne Owen

updated 24.07.2024

Not sure where to go for a memorable May vacation? You’re in the right place. Covering everything from idyllic islands around the globe, to wondrous closer-to-home destinations, here we present the best places to travel in May, along with recommended top places to stay

Aerial view of Vikos Gorge, a gorge in the Pindus Mountains of northern Greece, lying on the southern slopes of Mount Tymfi, one of the deepest gorges in the world. Zagori region, Greece © Shutterstock

Zagori, Greece — one of the best places to travel in May for lovers of the great outdoors © Shutterstock

1.  Zagori, Greece

Why visit: hiking, retreating and great Greek cuisine
Temperature: 10°C (50°F)-20°C (68°F) 
Average daily budget: $100-$150

If you think you’ve been there, done that when it comes to Greece, think again. There’s a whole lot more to the country than its beautiful islands, not least if you’re looking for unforgettable outdoor adventures, such as those that can be enjoyed in Zagori.

This ruggedly beautiful region of Greece's central mainland is home to the UNESCO-protected Víkos Gorge — the second deepest gorge in the world (only the Grand Canyon is deeper).

As such, sparsely-populated Zagori is a magnificent destination for hikers. For example, the trail to Vikos Gorge traverses a wilderness of untouched forest towered over by great dolomite and limestone cliffs. 

And all the better to visit in May before the heady heat of summer makes hiking more challenging. 

Lastly, if you love Greek food, note that the region's pretty villages are blessed with family-run restaurants serving hearty seasonal dishes.

Where to stay: for traditional charm we rate Orestis House. It boasts gorgeous stone buildings and great cuisine.

Or, for a touch of rustic luxury Aristi Mountain Resort is a boutique beauty. It also has a spa and stunning views

Ubugon Cove on paradise Cadlao island with sharp limestone rocks, tropical travel destination - El Nido, Palawan, Philippines © Shutterstock

Palawan, the Philippines © Shutterstock

2. Palawan, the Philippines

Why visit: tropical bliss in season serenity
Temperature: 26°C-32°C (79°F-90°F)
Average daily budget: $60-$120

If you like it hot, and like to avoid peak-season crowds, shoulder-season May is a fine time to head to Palawan.

Surrounded by 1700+ islets, the main island is the fifth largest in the Philippines, with its lush, jungle-swathed interior surrounded by jaw-droppingly beautiful beaches. 

Though it has a clutch of busier resort areas, Palawan remains largely unexplored. As such, it comes especially recommended for travelers seeking Robinson Crusoe-esque remoteness.

Before pitching up in paradise, don’t miss seeing the highlights around Palawan’s coastal capital. Puerto Princesa’s beautiful bay boasts long-nosed dolphins, turtles and rays, and it’s also a launchpad for exploring the Puerto-Princesa Subterranean River National Park

This UNESCO World Heritage Site features an extraordinary limestone karst landscape, with an underground river that emerges in the sea.  

Editor’s tip: want a perfect beach vacation without the hassle of planning it? Book our customisable Palawan Beach Dream trip.

Into diving? We have bespoke trip for doing exactly that in Palawan, too. 

Where to stay: while you'll most likely want to venture further afield and enjoy a spot of island-hopping, if you're looking for a lovely place in Puerto Princesa, try Ocean Green Eco Lodge, or Blue Moon Guesthouse.

Landscape with Los Cancajos, La Palma, Canary island, Spain © Balate Dorin/Shutterstock

Los Cancajos, La Palma, Canary islands © Balate Dorin/Shutterstock

3. La Palma, Canary Islands

Why visit: spring sun and soul-stirring scenery
Temperature: 18°C to 24°C (64°F to 75°F)
Average daily budget: $100-$150

Can't wait for summer weather, but don't fancy a long-haul flight? Consider heading to La Palma in the Canaries in May. 

With gorgeously warm temperatures and barely any rain, it’s the perfect month to get some sun before peak-season crowds descend. 

Known as La Isla Bonita (The Beautiful Island) and La Isla Verde (The Green Island), the entirety of La Palma has been declared a UNESCO biosphere reserve. 

The pinnacle of La Palma’s scenic highlights is Caldera de Taburiente National Park. Shrouded in Canarian pine woods, and sliced by ravines, it's a picture-perfect paradise for walkers. 

Meanwhile, capital Santa Cruz de la Palma is an attractive history-rich town that’s well worth spending a day or two in. 

As such, the island is one of the best places to travel in May for an all-round experience that covers fun in the sun and outdoor adventure.

Where to stay: traveling as a family? Apartamentos La Caleta boasts a kids' pool, play area, and friendly village vibe.

On a bit of a budget? Hostel Vagamundo is cute, cosy, and well-sited for hikes.

Swallow Falls in Snowdonia National Park, Wales © Shutterstock

Swallow Falls in Snowdonia National Park, Wales © Shutterstock

4. Snowdonia, Wales

Why visit: family adventure
Temperature: 5°C-15°C (41°F-59°F)
Average daily budget: $100-$150

If you’re looking for a UK vacation destination that’s likely to keep everyone happy, head to Snowdonia in Wales in May.

With a glorious national park at its heart, the region isn’t short of exhilarating experiences, as revealed in our guide to what to see and do in Snowdonia National Park.

Take your pick from scaling iconic Mount Snowdon, ziplining repurposed slate caverns, and rafting rapids at Wales’ National White-Water Centre.

Whether you’re heading there to hike, or plan to take it easy aboard the Mountain Railway, May is an ideal time to explore Snowdonia National Park.

First up, you’ll beat the peak season summer crowds, which means no queuing for the railway, and having your pick of the best places to stay. 

Secondly, visiting at this time of the year offers nature-lovers a chance to see the Snowdon lily. This one-of-a-kind flower blooms between May and early June. 

Where to stay: for country style, check out Aberdunant Hall Country Hotel — a 17th-century property in set 200-acres of woodland.

Traveling with kids? Located in a stunning valley, Macdonald Plas Talgarth Resort has modern apartments and pool.

machu-picchu-peru-shutterstock_574021051

Machu Picchu, Peru © Shutterstock

5. Inca Trail, Peru

Why visit: explore ancient wonders before the biggest crowds arrive
Temperature: 6°C-24°C (43°F-75°F)
Average daily budget: $60-$120

May is one of the best months to visit Peru, especially if you're set on hiking the Inca Trail to see Machu Picchu.

Firstly, while the rainy season has ended, the valleys remain green and lush. Secondly, major crowds don’t arrive until June.

That said, you’ll still need to plan ahead. With a maximum number of 500 people — including support staff — allowed on the trail each day, you need to book permits months in advance.

With most guided walks covering just 26 miles (42km) in four days, anyone moderately fit can handle the route. 

Just be aware than there are some steep sections, and you’ll be sleeping at over 3000 metres.

Alongside being a cultural wonder, the trail also offers exceptional wildlife-watching opportunities, thanks to its 370+ species of bird, 47 mammal species and 700+ butterfly species.

Want to dig deeper? Consider booking our customisable Incan Empire trip, or our Female Empowerment tour. And if you're looking for lesser-visited treasures, you might want to discover some awesome alternatives to the Inca trail.

Where to stay: for five-star luxury yards from Machu Picchu, try Sanctuary Lodge.

On a backpacker’s budget? Smart hostel Samananchis Machupicchu has twin, triple, quad and family rooms.

Lavender in Plateau de Valensole, Provence, France © Shutterstock

Lavender in Plateau de Valensole, Provence, France © Shutterstock

6. Provence, France

Why visit: leisurely walks in lavender fields, fine wine and gallic charm
Temperature: 10°C to 24°C (50°F-75°F)
Average daily budget: $120-$160

May is the magical time of year that sees lavender start to bloom in Provence, with especially wonderful views to be had from the Valensole Plateau and Sault.

Talking of views, with warm weather — day-time temperatures can hit the mid-twenties around these parts in May — it’s also a magnificent month to visit charming hilltop villages like Gordes, Roussillon and Bonnieux, and wineries in the Côtes de Provence region.

Into history? Don’t miss Arles, which is known for its ancient ruins, including the Roman amphitheatre and the Alyscamps necropolis.

When it comes to more adventurous activities, take your pick from hiking in Luberon Regional Park, cycling through vineyards, and kayaking in the Gorges du Verdon.

Want to walk your way around the region? Our specialised Southern France walking itinerary has you covered.

Where to stay: for an elegant option in Arles, try Hôtel Le Relais de Poste Arles Centre Historique — a fabulous former 18th-century coaching inn.

Or, for a gorgeous stay in Gordes, Hotel Les Bories & Spa is set in an 8-hectare estate of olive trees, cypresses, oaks and lavender just a 5-minute drive from the centre of town.

Proizd beach near dalmatian Island of Korcula, Croatia © eldar nurkovic/Shutterstock

Proizd beach, Korcula, Croatia © eldar nurkovic/Shutterstock

7. Korčula, Croatia

Why visit: wining, dining and unwinding
Temperature: 18°C-24°C (64°F-75°F)
Average daily budget: $120-$150

Hankering after hotter weather without the hassle of peak-season summer crowds? The relaxed Croatian island of Korčula is one of the best places to visit in May for sunshine that'll warm your skin and soul.

What's more, the island is also famed for world-class wine that’ll warm you from the inside. Top tip for lovers of dry whites — try Pošip. 

Vacationing as a family? The quiet coves on the south coast are perfect for little ones learning to swim, and for mums and dads to soak up some well-earned rays. 

Korčula is also the ideal place for first-time sailors to take the plunge. That said, while the calm waters of the Adriatic have undeniable allure, use the bus network to explore Korčula beyond its beautiful coast.

Dappled with more vineyards, groves, and Aleppo pines than you can shake an olive branch at, the island isn’t short of charming villages that’ll have you hopping off.

Like the idea of multi-island adventuring? Read our guide to island-hopping in Croatia, and discover the top Croatian islands for getaways.

You could also consider booking a Croatian sailing trip.

Where to stay: for Old Town charm, quay-front Aminess Korcula Heritage Hotel takes some beating.

On a budget? Dragan's Den Hostel has dorms and private rooms.

Sunnylvsfjorden fjord and famous Seven Sisters waterfalls, near Geiranger village in western Norway © Shutterstock

Sunnylvsfjorden fjord, near Geiranger, western Norway © Shutterstock

8. Bergen and the Western Fjords, Norway

Why visit: scenic hikes, serenity and contemporary culture
Temperature: 8°C-15°C (46°F-59°F).
Average daily budget: $100-$150

Norway’s Western fjords are undeniably beautiful, especially in May, after spring has brought color to its romantic landscape of dramatic hills, valleys and mountains.

Late May/early June also see Bergen — gateway to the fjords — host its celebrated International Festival, which gives you extra reasons to visit. Expect an exciting programme of music, ballet, folklore and theatre in beautiful venues.

Beyond exploring town, with its Bryggen (old wharf) UNESCO Heritage Site, Bergenhus Fortress, and fish market, you can easily enjoy scenic drives and ferry rides through fjords like Sognefjord and Geirangerfjord.

When it comes to more high-octane activities, head to Hardangervidda National Park to hike, bike, canoe or ride horses.

Spanning the rugged Hardangervidda mountain plateau — known as Norway’s “rooftop” — the park’s landscapes range from moorlands, glaciers and lakes, to mountains, lakes, rivers and streams, all of them breath-takingly beautiful.

Where to stay: overlooking Vågen Harbour, across the water from the UNESCO World Heritage site of Bryggen, Clarion Hotel Admiral is a fine 4-star.

For a 5-star experience, we rate Skostredet Hotel.

Grand Prismatic pool spring in Yellowstone National Park © Lane V. Erickson/Shutterstock

Grand Prismatic pool spring in Yellowstone National Park © Lane V. Erickson/Shutterstock

9. Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

Why visit: pre-peak season hiking, riding and wildlife-watching
Temperature: 0°C-15°C (32°F- 59°F)
Travel time from UK: 12-16 hours, including layovers
Average daily budget: $150-$250

Featured in our round-up of the 100 best places of the USAYellowstone National Park offers a staggering range of landscapes and activities that draw over four million visitors a year.

That considered, you might want to wise up on how to avoid the crowds when you visit. One way to do that is to visit in May, before the masses arrive.

Of course, smaller crowds are all the better for soaking up the park’s glorious diversity in more magical style — from the Mammoth Hot Springs and Old Faithful Geyser, to azure Yellowstone Lake and sub-alpine Hayden Valley.

Whether you opt to hike, bike, horse ride, or go on a safari driving tour, you might just get to see grizzly bears, heavy-bearded bison, horned elk, prairie dogs, eagles, coyotes and wolves.

Want to know more about America’s great outdoors? Read our overview of the most stunning national parks in America, and take a look at the picture-packed Rough Guide to the USA’s National Parks.

Where to stay: browse hotels near Yellowstone National Park’s west entrance.

Neuschwanstein Castle in Bavaria, Germany © VOJTa Herout/Shutterstock

Enchanting Neuschwanstein Castle is within easy reach of Munich © Shutterstock

10. Munich, Germany

Why visit: Springfest fun and fairy tale excursions
Temperature: 10°C-20°C (50°F-68°F)
Average daily budget: $100-$150

Running from late April into May, Munich’s Springfest (Fruhlingfest) offers all the fairground fun and beer-garden action of its bigger Oktoberfest, with the bonus of being less manic.

At the same time, May is also a top time to explore this charming city on foot, with the elegant Englischer Garten being the perfect place to picnic when you fancy a rest.

On that subject, you also also find a spot outside a Marienplatz bierkeller to see — and hear — the incredible Glockenspiel do its thing.

Munich is also a great base from which to take memorable day trips. Don’t miss heading to the fairy tale-esque Neuschwanstein Castle. Surrounded by forests, with the Alps as a backdrop, this 19th-century turreted castle inspired Walt Disney.

Love magical castles? You’ll swoon at our customisable castles itinerary — it culminates with a visit to Neuschwanstein. 

Where to stay: looking for luxury? Look no further than Vier Jahreszeiten Kempinski München.

For serenity outside the city centre, we rate Boutique Hotel Splendid. The garden and terrace are gorgeous, and everything insidoozes old world style.

Hoi An, Vietnam, Vietnam © Shutterstock

Hoi An, Vietnam © Shutterstock

11. Hoi An, Vietnam

Why visit: ancient culture and a lunar lantern festival within reach of stunning beaches
Temperature: 25°C-33°C (77°F -91°F)
Average daily budget: $60-$100

While the weather in Vietnam in May sees the south shifting to the monsoon season, the central coast – including Hoi An — remains characterised by hot sunny days. 

As a result, it’s a top time to head to this UNESCO World Heritage Site to explore its treasures in a month that falls before the peak tourist season, which makes exploring the likes of the iconic Japanese Covered Bridge and Van Duc Pagoda all the more pleasurable.

Hoi An is also known for its vibrant markets, art, and food — don’t miss local specialties like Cao Lau and White Rose Dumplings.

Add to that Hoi An’s proximity to An Bang Beach and Cua Dai Beach, and it amounts to an all-rounder of a destination. In fact, spending time here is one of the best things to do in Vietnam.

if you've decided to visit in May, try to time your stay to coincide with Hoi An’s Lantern Festival. Marked on the 14th night of every lunar month, this sees the city switch off electricity and light lanterns to bring good fortune and honour ancestors.

Editor's tip: if you love food, our Vietnam Culinary Discovery itinerary includes taking a cooking class in Hoi An. 

Where to stay: With an outdoor pool and private beach, Tran Family Villas Boutique Hotel offers the best of both worlds — it's also close to the old town.

Ceilidh dance competition at Scottish Highland Games @ A. Karnholtz/Shutterstock

Scotland's Highland Games @ A. Karnholtz/Shutterstock

12. Scottish Highlands, Scotland

Why visit: glorious walks and spirited games
Temperature: 7°C-15°C (45°F-59°F)
Average daily budget: $100-$150

Mighty mountains and sweeping glens. Rushing rivers and mirror-like lochs extending as far as the eye can see. Little wonder you voted the Scottish Highlands one of the most beautiful places in Scotland.

While this region is the ideal destination for hikers and countryside-lovers at pretty much anytime of the year, the Highland Games inject extra exuberance from May.

Though the focus remains on traditional sports — caber tossing, hammer throwing and tug o' war — family-oriented events are as much part of the fun. 

Other family-friendly Highlands highlights include visiting legend-steeped Loch Ness, the largest of the lochs which make up the Great Glen.

Inspired to visit? Book a customisable trip focused on Scotland's Highlands.

Where to stay: for a fairy-tale-esque family break, try The Little Houses — cute, well-equipped cabins near Fort William.

Or, for back-to-nature luxury, check-out SeaBeds near Glencoe. All the stylish lakeview lodges have hot tubs.

Lionesses hunting, Chief's Island - Okavango Delta, Botswana. TPOTY Ed /Hetherington

Lionesses hunting, Okavango Delta, Botswana © TPOTY Ed /Hetherington

13. Okavango Delta, Botswana

Why visit: wildlife-watching in milder temperatures
Temperature: 10°C-30°C (50°F-86°F)
Average daily budget: $100-$200

Given that Botswana’s Okavango Delta delivers different experiences around the yearit’s nigh impossible to say when’s the best month to visit — it all depends on what wildlife you most want to see.

We recommend it as one of the best places to travel in May as a result of its mild temperatures and clear skies, with rising floodwaters drawing huge numbers of herbivores.

While you stand a better chance of seeing predators later in the season — when vegetation is drier and thinner — skilled trackers will almost certainly be able to find them in May.

May is also a great time to cruise the Chobe River to spot crocs and hippos.

Lastly, falling ahead of the July-October high season, it’s also a good time to time visit to avoid peak-season lodge prices, and peak temperatures.

Where to stay: located on the banks of the Thamalakane River, Maun Lodge offers fine views, and fine food.

For a more back-to-nature experience, try Samochima Bush Camp in Shakawe. Surrounded by forest, the tented accommodation has top facilities and exudes true  tranquillity. 

Mala Strana (Lesser Town of Prague) and Prague Castle © Shutterstock

Mala Strana backed by Prague Castle © Shutterstock

14. Prague, Czechia 

Why visit: culture, classical concerts and beer
Temperature: ·  10°C-20°C (50°F-68°F)
Average daily budget: $100-$150

One of the most beautiful cities in the world around the year, Prague truly dazzles in May.

The city's gardens and parks are full of blooms. Magnolia trees blossom along the river. Grand municipal buildings and residences are festooned with hanging baskets.

And, against such a backdrop, the Prague Spring Music Festival kicks off in mid-May to present three weeks of high-quality symphony, opera and chamber concerts.

With main concerts held in the riverfront Rudolfinum building and the Art Nouveau Municipal House, there's no better way to sample Prague's cultural highlights at one fell swoop.

The same goes for strolling Stromovka park and Mala Strana’s Wallenstein Palace Gardens in May.

Alongside visiting top attractions like Prague Castle, Charles Bridge and the Old Town, consider escaping the tourist trail in Prague.

And, given that Czechs invented the world’s original Pilsner beer (pivo), you'll want to sample plenty of the good stuff during your trip. 

Big into beer? Browse our customisable beer culture in Czechia, Austria and Germany trip.

Want to see more of the country? Read up on hiking and history adventures in enchanting Czechia.

Where to stay: we love Pension Dientzenhofer. This welcoming, family-run guesthouse is located in beautiful Malá Strana — a haven of calm near the Charles Bridge.

For Old Town charm, four-star Hotel Rott is just off Old Town Square.

Dramatic costume of parade reveler depicting elephants, Junkanoo, Bahamas © jo Crebbin/Shutterstock

Parade in the Bahamas © jo Crebbin/Shutterstock

15. New Providence, The Bahamas

Why visit: carnival and blissful beaches
Temperature: 23-31°C (73-88°F)
Average daily budget: $200-$250

With the Bahamas Carnival celebrated in Nassau, New Providence island, in May, it’s a magnificent month to escape the UK’s unpredictable weather to enjoy plenty of fun in the tropical sun. 

This three-day fiesta is filled with fabulous street parties, a flamboyant parade, plus loads of live concerts.

At the same time, May falls outside peak tourist season around these parts. So, while you can expect lots of folks to visit for the carnival, venture beyond Nassau and the big resorts, and you’ll be able to find your own slice of paradise.

Where to stay: while we love the bright, bijou, beachfront accommodation on Love Bay, if you prefer to stay in the thick of resort life, you’ll want to stay on Paradise Island.

Here the likes of Riu Palace deliver 5-star beachfront bling.

Brighton's famous Royal Pavilion is lit up with amazing illuminations including the silhouettes of elephants in the Dr Blighty show performed during the Brighton art festival in England © Shutterstock

Brighton's iconic Royal Pavilion illuminated during the art festival © Shutterstock

16. Brighton, UK

Why visit: a feast of festivals
Temperature: 8°C-18°C (46-64°F)
Average daily budget: $100-$150

Brighton’s beaches might not be in the same league as the Bahamas, but the trendy seaside town springs to life in May for its annual arts festival, one of England’s largest.

Adding to the artsy vibe, the Brighton Fringe Festival and the Great Escape — Europe’s leading festival for new music — run at the same time.

Into architecture? Thanks to the Artists Open House concept, you can peek inside over two hundred normally closed venues, houses and studios owned by local artists. This project runs at weekends throughout the festival

Been there, done that? Discover alternative things to do in Brighton.

Where to stay: offering bright rooms in a listed building near the beach, The Charm Brighton Boutique Hotel & Spa is a great choice for couples.

For affordable sea views in a three-star spot, try Kings Hotel — it overlooks West Pier.

boa-vista-beach-cape-verde-shutterstock_1011175897

Boa Vista beach, Cape Verde © Shutterstock

17. Boa Vista, Cape Verde

Why visit: beaches, water sports and desert adventures
Temperature: 21-29°C (70-84°F)
Average daily budget: $100-$150

Serving sunny dry weather, visiting Cape Verde’s Boa Vista island in May means you’ll get to enjoy everything this alluring windswept island has to offer outside its busy peak seasons.

For reference, these run from mid-June to mid-September, and from mid-December to mid-January.

In all likelihood, it’s the beaches that’ll have drawn you here, with Praia de Santa Monica and Praia de Chaves sitting top of the metaphoric beach tree. 

When you’ve had your fill of stretching out on the sand, the island is a great place to go snorkeling, diving, windsurfing and kiteboarding.

Beyond the beach, explore the otherworldly dunes of Viana Desert, and don’t miss spending time in Sal Rei. Boa Vista’s main town is blessed with colorful markets and restaurants.

Not set on Boa Vista? Read our beginners guide to Cape Verde to help you decide which island to visit.

Where to stay: right on the beach, Villa Cristina Alojamento boasts stylish self-contained accommodation. 

Looking for a resort? Try the 4-star VOI Praia de Chaves.

View over the city of Victoria (Rabat) at Gozo, Malta © Shutterstock

1Victoria (Rabat), Gozo, Malta © Shutterstock

18. Gozo, Malta

Why visit: festivals, outdoor adventure and culture
Temperature: 16-26°C (61-79°F)
Average daily budget: $100-$150

Gozo might be Malta’s little sister, but it’s big on ancient culture and opportunities to get active in the epic outdoors, with May’s pleasant weather making the latter all the more enjoyable.

Take your pick from hiking or cycling countryside trails, coastal cliffs and secret caves. 

Top tip: don’t miss taking a tip to the Azure Window (Dwejra) to see the island’s iconic limestone arch formation and inland sea phenomena. 

May also sees Gozo host its Spring Fair in charming, historic Victoria (Rabat) — home to handsome Gozo Cathedral and loads of restaurants, galleries, and boutiques selling traditional Gozo crafts.

If you’ve come for tradition and history, be sure to spend time in Gozo’s citadel, and the megalithic, UNESCO-designated Ggantija Temples.

And we haven’t even mentioned Gozo’s beautiful beaches! On that subject, head to Ramla Bay to relax on the red sand. Meanwhile, Marsalforn is a magnificent spot for water sports.

Where to stay: located right in Victoria, The Duke Boutique Hotel offers a high-end experience at a mid-range price. 

For a true 5-star experience, try Kempinski Hotel San Lawrenz. The grounds are glorious and the award-winning food isn’t half bad, either. Looking for more options? Explore our detailed guide to the best places to stay in Malta.

Windermere-in-the-Lake-District-sunset-england

Sunset over Lake Windermere, the Lake District © Shutterstock

19. Lake District, England

Why visit: rewarding rambles, leisurely cruises and top food
Temperature: 6-17°C (43-63°F)
Average daily budget: $100-$150

Loaded with beautiful places to explore — from charming chocolate-box villages and sweeping peaks, to wild waterfalls and England’s largest lake — the Lake District is a dream vacation destination for walkers, families and adventure-seekers alike.

If it’s adventure you’re after, head to Langdale Valley. Flanked by some of the Lake District’s most famous peaks — Crinkle Crags, Bowfell and the Langdale Pikes — Great Langdale sits in an awe-inspiring valley. 

It also plays host to incredible walks on the wild side — all the better enjoyed in May when the weather is mild and fellow ramblers are thinner on the ground.

More sedate experiences await around Lake Windermere. At ten and a half miles long and over 200ft deep, this is the region’s crowning glory, best appreciated on a leisurely cruise.

Meanwhile, foodies will want to visit Cartmel. This lovely medieval village of cobbled streets and winding lanes is packed with artisan food stores and boasts a Michelin-starred restaurant, L’Enclume.

Where to stay: like the sound of saying in an elegant lake-view accommodation near Lake Windermere? Try the heavenly Angel Inn .

Traveling with kids? For an atmospheric overnight experience — with convenient self-catering facilities — stay in the former Coachman’s Quarters of Muncaster Castle.

Tuscany winery © Shutterstock

20. San Gimignano, Tuscany

Why visit: la dolce vita
Temperature: 11-22°C (52- 72°F)r
Average daily budget: $200-$250

Located in Italy’s impossibly attractive Tuscan region, visiting San Gimignano — one of the most iconic hill towns in Italy — is one of the best things to do in Tuscany, if not Italy as a whole, frankly.

Given that it’s nigh impossible to find accommodation here in summer — unless you’ve booked an age in advance — visiting in May strikes a sweet spot between pleasant weather and more reasonable visitor numbers.

Also known as Delle Belle Torri, San Gimignano’s skyline is dominated by no fewer than fifteen medieval towers. 

Alongside being drop-dead gorgeous in its own right, San Gimignano is the perfect base from which to venture into the Tuscan countryside to tour world-celebrated vineyards and enjoy wine-tasting experiences.

Editor’s tip: our customisable Wine and Food in Tuscany itinerary includes San Gimignano and will see you visit top regional wineries and food producers in satisfying style.

Where to stay: to stay in style on Piazza della Cisterna — one of San Gimignano’s main squares —  Hotel Leon Bianco dates back to the 11th-century.

Hotel Bel Soggiorno also offers an abundance of historic charm in the old town, and terrific views, too. 

Still undecided? You’ll find more ideas in our month-by-month guide to where to go when.

You might also want to make use of our trip ideas platform.

Joanne Owen

written by
Joanne Owen

updated 24.07.2024

Joanne is a Pembrokeshire-born writer with a passion for the nature, cultures and histories of the Caribbean region, especially Dominica. Also passionate about inspiring a love of adventure in young people, she’s the author of several books for children and young adults, hosts international writing workshops, and has written articles on the Caribbean and inspirational community initiatives for Rough Guides. Follow her @JoanneOwen on Twitter and @joanneowenwrites on Instagram.

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