Swim with whale sharks (Western Australian Tourism Commission)

Where to go in May

Cheer up, blossom! Head to Japan in May for the finest cherry blooms, or hike the Inca Trail to see Peru's mountains at their most verdant

Sandwiched between Easter and the big summer exodus, May is off-season in most parts of the world, making it a great time to travel away from the crowds. Avoid half-term holidays to make the most of the bargains…

Events & festivals

RACE DAY – Raced in the fabulously picturesque Hong Kong Harbour, visitors can watch the incredible spectacle of the International Dragon Boat Races. Teams from all over Asia travel to the bustling city to compete in this popular event which always attracts large crowds who line the harbour, cheering on the many boats.

DORSE-X APPEAL – Very early risers on May day can head for the Cerne Abbas giant in Dorset, where Morris Men dance at dawn (5.15am) on an ancient maypole site above the head of the 55m-high giant, before heading back down to dance and celebrate outside the local pub. Just be careful; the giant is a renowned as a potent fertility symbol, and it is said the sun rises directly over the line of his penis on this day, making it a likely day to conceive!

HORSING ABOUT – Caravaca de la Cruz celebrates the Festival of the Holy Cross in Caravaca, Spain. The most famous event is the race of the "Wine Horses" (caballos de vino) when riderless horses, wearing beautifully embroidered coats, race from the bottom of the town up to the castle. The tradition dates back to around 1250, when templar knights raced across territory ruled by the Moors to bring wine to those that guarded the relic of the True Cross.


MARINE LIFE – Swim with whale sharks, dolphins and manta rays in Western Australia’s Ningaloo reef. The whale shark season is April to July. Or don a mask to snorkel with spotted dolphins in the warm, clear waters of Bimini Island, Bahamas.

There is no bad time to visit the Galapagos Islands, with each month having its benefits. However, May is low season, so there is more availability and lower prices. This is the end of the “warm” season, so the sea is still warm and it can be the best time for snorkelling.

This is now the peak time for seeing grey whales in Canada off Vancouver Island's west coast as they migrate north to their summer feeding grounds, while brown bears congregate for the first time in the year, north of Vancouver to feed on succulents and to fish for salmon


WALKS GALORE – May is one of the best months to do the Inca Trail in Peru – vegetation should be green after the rainy season and it should be mostly dry; but not as cold or as busy as June to August, which are the peak months. In fact, it’s a great time generally for walking and trekking. Throughout Europe, the weather should be mild enough to be comfortable, and it will still be low season.

SURF'S UP – Learn to surf in style on North Island, New Zealand where the water is warm, the climate subtropical and the beaches calm in May. The choppy seas make for an exciting, but not too terrifying place to learn to ride the waves.

Natural phenomena

CHERRY AMOUR – Cherry blossom in Japan. Dates vary depending on location as well as weather. However, May is when you are most likely to see tens of thousands of sakura trees blossoming on the island of Hokkaido in the north of Japan. During Matsumae Cherry Blossom Festival, paper lanterns are hung around the park, and Matsumae Castle is illuminated at night.

SIMPLY GRAND – The Grand Canyon – one of the most-visited natural phenomena in existence – is a travel experience not to miss. So why not go in May when the weather is pleasantly warm and the crowds small? Marvel at its jaw-dropping beauty as the sun sets over stunning and surreal rock formations. 

The weather is nice in...

CRETE, Greece 17-26°C

BALI, Indonesia 25-32°C


VICTORIA FALLS, Zimbabwe 25-27°C

JERUSALEM, Israel 15-28°C

Even though May is often classified as 'off-season', technically it's one of the most pleasant months climate-wise, as winter hasn't hit the southern hemisphere just yet, and spring has sprung in the north. Visitors to Bali, Indonesia can enjoy land, sea and air tours in the pleasant climate. This is also a great month to head over to the United States of America. Sunny warm days and cool evenings mean you can enjoy everything from the hustle and bustle of New York City to the solitude of the Grand Canyon.

Conventional wisdom says:

Travel means venturing far from home.

Wanderlust says:

You don't have to travel far to have an exhilarating experience in a new surrounding, a long drive to the Scottish west coast will offer you plenty of cultural delights.

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