When looking at the best places to travel in May, the warming weather in many destinations plays a key role in why and where many people decide to travel. May can often be seen as a bit of an in between month, as it shares some similarities with summer in terms of weather, but will often see a far lower volume of travellers (depending on the region). If you are looking to avoid the busy crowds of the peak summer tourism season, you should certainly check out this list of the best places to travel in May.
As mentioned above, May falls within the shoulder seasons for many destinations and serves as a time when tourism infrastructure is just beginning to open up. For this reason you will often see travellers book trips to popular summer hotspots, such as those in the Mediterranean, in an effort to save some money and visit key destinations. If you are thinking of travelling to Spain, Italy, or Greece without the high volumes of traffic that can be experienced in the peak season, then May just might be the best time for you to do it.
Alternatively, anyone who is familiar with the Himalayas will know that May is one of the busiest seasons for hiking and trekking in the region due to the incredible weather that can be experienced at this time. We certainly aren’t saying that you should avoid travelling to places like Nepal, Bhutan, or Pakistan during these months – far from it! Just be sure to plan ahead and expect to find major tourism centres abuzz with plenty of international travellers.
Travelling south of the Equator, some of the best places to travel in May can be found in Africa and the Americas, albeit for different reasons. Botswana, for example, is the perfect destination to undertake a wildlife viewing adventure, as the mild and dry conditions force the diverse array of wildlife to congregate around water sources. Jumping over to Guatemala, the start of the rainy season brings about the bloom of coffee flowers, which makes for a beautiful, if wet, experience in the highlands of Central America.
Whether you find yourself chasing a unique springtime travel experience or are simply looking to beat the crowds of summer, the below list of the best places to travel in May is a great place to get some inspiration for your next adventure.
The Best Places to Travel in May by Continent
The world is a vast place, so trying to pinpoint the best destinations to travel for a specific month can be a challenging exercise unless you have a set of criteria to follow. Doing so on a continental level doesn’t offer much in the way of clarity, as climate and weather patterns can differ drastically between neighbouring regions (let alone entire continents), but it does allow us to break things down in a more manageable way.
In terms of determining the best places to travel in May, each continent has its own unique destinations that are a great fit in one way or another, whether it comes down to weather, seasonal activities like festivals, lower volumes of tourists, or wildlife viewing opportunities. Continue reading to discover which continents and countries are the best places to travel in May.
Best Places to Travel in Europe
Europe will always be a favourite of international travellers no matter the time of year, as it is a known commodity with a strong infrastructure, iconic cities, breathtaking landscapes, and world class culture. For those looking to avoid the peak season in Europe May has always been the ideal time of year to travel, as many hotels and restaurants begin to reopen after the off-season and tourist numbers are relatively low, particularly in many parts of the Mediterranean. If you want to experience the best Europe has to offer while staying on a budget, then May might just be your best bet to do so!
For those who can’t wait to travel to Bavaria in the autumn for Oktoberfest, May is the perfect time to visit Munich for Frühlingsfest. This springtime festival shares many similarities with its well-known beer drinking counterpart Oktoberfest, although you will encounter far less visitors.
Where to Fly Into: Munich (MUC)
Average May Temperature in Munich, Germany: 14℃
Favourite Tour in Munich, Germany: Bavarian Lakes Cycling Tour
You might think that March would be the best time to visit Dublin in order to experience St Patrick’s Day, but while that is an amazing experience in and of itself, visiting the Irish capital in May is perfect for those who want more of a laid back experience. Moderate weather and the annual International Literature Festival make May a great time for culture seekers to get out and explore Dublin.
Where to Fly Into: Dublin (DUB)
Average May Temperature in Dublin, Ireland: 11℃
Favourite Tour in Dublin, Ireland:
Rolling hills, sprawling vineyards, historic buildings, and delicious regional food - what's not to love about Tuscany! It's easy to see why countless visitors flock to this picturesque region in Italy year after year, so it is best to do so in May when the weather is warming up and the crowds are still relatively small.
Where to Fly Into: Pisa (PSA)
Average May Temperature in Tuscany, Italy: 17.5℃
Favourite Tour in Tuscany, Italy: Val d' Orcia Cycling Tour
Best Places to Travel in Asia and Oceania
Both Asia and Oceaniaare home to some stunning destinations that can be explored year-round, but when it comes to travelling in May, there aren't many places that are better than the rugged Himalayan Mountains, the sunny Australian Coast, and the historic cities of Israel. Whether you are looking for world class treks, UNESCO World Heritgae Sites, or wildlife viewing opportunities found nowhere else on earth, Asia and Oceania harbour plenty of destinations that are perfect for May travel.
Tel Aviv, Israel
The stunning beaches and vibrant culture of Tel Aviv really come alive in May, as locals and tourists alike flock to this incredible seaside destination in the Eastern Mediterranean. Whether you spend your time exploring the city, eating in one of the many restaurant terraces, visiting historical sites, or getting out into the nearby mountains for a multi-day hiking trip, Tel Aviv has no shortage of things to do in May.
Where to Fly Into: Tel Aviv (TLV)
Average May Temperature in Tel Aviv, Israel: 20℃
Favourite Tour in Tel Aviv, Israel: Inn to Inn Through the Judaean Mountains
Queensland takes up a large portion of Australia's land mass and features plenty of regional variation when it comes to weather, but visiting in May – particularly along the coast in Cairns or the popular Brisbane further south – is a great time to experience incredible weather and wildlife viewing opportunities.
Where to Fly Into: Cairns (CNS)
Average May Temperature in Queensland, Australia: 23.5℃
Favourite Tour in Queensland, Australian: Queensland Wildlife Photography Tour
The Himalayas, Bhutan and Nepal
The clear and dry weather of the Himalayas in May makes it a popular time for hikers and trekkers to visit both Nepal and Bhutan, but you shouldn’t let the increased number of tourists deter you from exploring the region. If you want to experience some of the most breathtaking mountain terrain anywhere on the planet, then May is the time to visit Bhutan and Nepal!
Where to Fly Into: Kathmandu (KTM)
Average May Temperature in the Himalayas, Bhutan and Nepal: 22.5℃
Favourite Tour in the Himalayas, Bhutan and Nepal: Best of Western Bhutan and Kathmandu
Best Places to Travel in Africa
When it comes to travelling to Africa in May, there are plenty of amazing destinations that highlight landscapes and wildlife. In Morocco, May presents the opportunity to explore the Atlas Mountains and Sahara Desert without experiencing the crippling heat of summer, while in the sub-Saharan African countries of Tanzania and Botswana, visitors will have the chance to witness incredible wildlife migrations.
Almost anyone looking to climb Mount Kilimanjaro would tell you to avoid doing so in May, as this is a very wet time of year in Tanzania; however, this doesn’t mean that you can’t get out to explore the surrounding area! If you don’t mind a spot of wet weather, visiting Moshi in May will allow you to enjoy the beautiful landscape, wildlife, and culture of Tanzania without the crowds of peak season. In fact, May presents some of the best opportunities to witness the great migrations across the Serengeti, so don't forget to pack your binoculars!
Where to Fly Into: Moshi (QSI)
Average May Temperature in Moshi, Tanzania: 23.5℃
Favourite Tour in Moshi, Tanzania: Kilimanjaro to Indian Ocean Guided Cycling Tour
Sahara Desert, Morocco
If you have ever dreamt of taking in the vast expanse of the Sahara Desert, walking through the bustling markets of historic Moroccan cities, or riding a camel through breathtaking landscapes, then May should definitely be on your radar. The summer heat in this part of the world can be nearly intolerable when it comes to exploring the outdoors, so make sure to plan your trip for May when it is warm, not sweltering.
Where to Fly Into: Marrakech (RAK)
Average May Temperature in Sahara Desert, Morocco: 25.5℃
Favourite Tour in Sahara Desert, Morocco: Erg Chigaga Sahara Camel Trek
Okavango Delta, Botswana
If you are looking to experience a breathtaking display of wildlife, then a visit to Botswana in May is the perfect adventure for you. The dry conditions at this time of year will see plenty of animals flock to the various water sources in the area, making it one of the best times of year for wildlife viewing. Take note that this will also bring plenty of crowds!
Favourite Tour in Okavango Delta, Botswana:
Best Places to Travel in Central and South America
Central America and South America feature such a diverse range of landscapes and climates, meaning there is almost always an incredible destination to visit no matter the time of year. May generally falls within the shoulder seasons in this part of the world, so you can count on avoiding the peak tourism rush and saving a bit of money by travelling a this time of year.
Atacama Desert, Chile
May in the Atacama Desert will see visitor numbers drop thanks to cooler (but still warm!) temperatures, making it the ideal time to visit popular attractions in the region, such as the hissing El Tatio Geysers!
Where to Fly Into: El Loa Airport (CJC)
Average May Temperature in the Atacama Desert, Chile: 11℃
Favourite Tour in the Atacama Desert, Chile: 8-Day Atacama Desert Self-Drive Tour
Machu Picchu, Peru
Anyone who has been to Machu Picchu in May knows that it is an absolutely incredible time to visit the ancient Inca citadel. Following the rainy season you will be treated with pleasant weather, beautiful verdant green vistas, and lower tourist volumes ahead of the summer tourism rush. Just make sure to book your trip well in advance if you plan on completing the iconic Inca Trail.
Where to Fly Into: Cusco (CUZ)
Average May Temperature in Machu Picchu, Peru: 19℃
Favourite Tour in Machu Picchu, Peru: Machu Picchu and the Sacred Valley Tour
There is no avoiding the fact that May falls squarely within the rainy season in Guatemala, but as we've seen with other destinations on this list, that doesn't necessarily mean you should avoid a trip to this beautiful Central American country! The logistics of travelling to remote areas will be a bit more difficult at this time of year, but you will also be able to explore the historic colonial era streets of Antigua with few tourists around. Another added bonus is the previously mentioned coffee flowers that bloom in May, which make for an incredible sight (and smell!) if you are able to experience it.
Where to Fly Into: Guatemala City (GUA)
Average May Temperature in Antigua, Guatemala: 21℃
Favourite Tour in Antigua, Guatemala: Hidden Wonders of Guatemala Family Tour
Best Places to Travel in North America
Travelling through North America in May opens up plenty of opportunities when it comes to exploring the outdoors, as weather conditions across the continent really start to improve when compared to the previous spring months. While some of the more mountainous and high altitude regions will still be inaccessible due to lingering snow, pretty much everywhere else is fair game in regards to planning an exciting adventure.
Vancouver Island, British Columbia
Tucked away in the southwest corner of Canada, Vancouver Island is an incredible place to visit if you enjoy the outdoors, as it offers a combination of dramatic coastal terrain and a rugged interior that you could spend weeks exploring without getting bored.
Where to Fly Into: Victoria (YYJ)
Average May Temperature on Vancouver Island: 15℃
Favourite Tour on Vancouver Island: Tofino Yoga and Surf Retreat
Yosemite NP, California
California is an amazing place to visit pretty well year-round; however, some of the higher altitude parts of the state will still be inaccessible until the summer months. For this reason you might think that travelling to Yosemite in May wouldn't be ideal, but in reality it is the perfect time to visit if you want to take in the breathtaking beauty of the park’s waterfalls while they are at their most impressive.
Where to Fly Into: Fresno-Yosemite (FAT)
Average May Temperature in Yosemite NP: 14.5℃
Favourite Tour in Yosemite: Yosemite Falls Backpacking Tour
The Adirondack Mountains, New York
While many people focus on the big apple as being the top destination in New York State, the Adirondack Mountains in Upstate New York are an incredible place to visit if you love the outdoors. Sprawling forests, rugged terrain, and serene lakes characterize the landscape in this picturesque outdoor setting.
Where to Fly Into: Albany International Airport (ALB)
Average May Temperature in the Adirondacks: 13℃
Favourite Tour in New York: Cycling the Adirondack Mountains
Travel Opportunities During Other Months
Pleasant weather and a relatively low level of travellers in many places around the world means that May is a great time of year to get away and enjoy a variety of destinations. But what if you can’t find the time to get away and travel this spring? 10Adventures offers a wide range of incredible adventure tours to fit your travel style no matter the time of year; allowing you to plan, execute, and enjoy the trip of a lifetime.
Not keen on making travel plans this May? Keep an eye out for next month’s list of the best places to travel in June, or take a look at our articles from previous months to get some travel inspiration:
Best Places to Travel in December
Best Places to Travel in January
Best Places to Travel in February
Best Places to Travel in March
Best Places to Travel in April