May is here … which means summer is so close you can almost feel it! But you don’t have to wait until August to head off on holiday. With not one, but two Bank Holidays in May, it would be rude not to at least head for one of the weekends – or even longer if you so desire. Near or far, we’ve picked ten of the best places to visit in May.
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May is the best time of year to visit the Caribbean, in particular the Bahamas. Prices start to drop at this time of year, so you can enjoy paradise at a more affordable price. The climate is also perfect. It’s hot, but not the burning heat of summer. Humidity is low, and there are virtually no bugs or mosquitos around. With warm water, and no chance of hurricanes, it truly is paradise.
Check out the Pink Sands Beach on Harbour Island, or for idyllic, untouched beaches, check out the Exumas.
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It might not be as glamorous as The Bahamas, but Brighton is pretty awesome in May. The trendy coastal town springs to life for one of the largest annual arts festivals in the country. Brighton Fringe Festival runs at the same time as The Great Escape, Europe’s biggest festival celebrating new music.
Need somewhere to stay? Book a bed and breakfast – the city is full of quirky B&Bs. Particular favourites include The White House and Snooze. If you’d rather have a hotel experience, check out The Artists’ Residence – each of the 23 individually designed bedrooms is designed by a local artist.
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If you want to head Stateside, May is a brilliant time to for a road trip along Route 101. Embrace the tourist cliché, and hire a convertible Mustang, before taking to the road south of San Francisco. Sample wine from the local vineyards, ride a horse along the sand, or explore Monterey Bay in a kayak. Make sure your route takes you to Big Sur, one of the most beautiful sections of the Californian coast.
If you’d like to explore some of California on foot, Yosemite National Park is the place to go. Plan in advance and get a permit to hike Half Dome.
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For a short, affordable city break, take a trip to the Czech Republic. Prague is one of the most beautiful cities in Europe, and it is at its finest in May, when local gardens and hanging baskets are in full bloom. For a touch of culture, check out the Prague Spring Music Festival. It’s a three-week festival of opera, chamber concerts and symphony. Alternatively, if you’d rather just drink beer in the sun, then be sure to stay within walking distance of the Czech Beer Festival! Seventy different brands of Czech beer are available, together with a whole range of local food.
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May is the ideal month to explore Morocco. Temperatures in the Sahara are still tolerable, and the weather in cities such as Marrakesh and Essaouria is warm and sunny, but with refreshing cool nights. Get lost in a maze of markets in the souks of Medina, Marrakesh. Take time to explore the city’s incredible architecture. Koutoubia Mosque is Marrakesh’s most famous symbol, topped with four copper globes.
Alternatively, head out to the Rose Festival at El-Kelaa M’Gouna, a small town in the foothills of the Atlas Mountains. The celebration of the end of the rose harvest involved three days of traditional song and dance, plus sword-fighting, feasting, and even a beauty pageant.
The Greek Islands
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They say May is the very best month to visit Greece. Why? Discounted rooms, a lack of crowds, and warm, comfortable days, with cool evenings. Add in the classic whitewashed stone villages, tiny fishing villages, and crumbling Greek ruins, and heaven really is just a short flight away.
To step straight into a scene from Mama Mia, visit the Dodecanese Islands, a chain of twelve islands, including Rhodes and the volcanic island of Nisyros.
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If you’ve ever fancied trekking in the Himalyas, May is one of the best months to do so. From June onwards the rain picks up, but in May, the going is normally fairly dry, and the views clear and awe-inspiring. As a result, some of the tourist spots can get quite busy, but the mountains offer a wealth of not-so-beaten paths.
The Scottish Highlands
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For an adventure closer to home, take a drive up to the Scottish Highlands. With jaw-dropping views, sensational seascapes, and hundreds of lochs and lakes, the area is one of the most beautiful in Britain. Trek up Ben Nevis, watch dolphins playing off the Moray Close, or go and try to spot Nessie in Scotland’s most famous loch.
If you’re a history buff, make sure to visit some of the incredible castles in the area. From Dunvegan Castle on Skye, to Brodie Castle in Moray and Castle Mey in the North Highlands, you’ll be spoiled for choice.
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Israel’s second largest city is truly at its best in May. Offering both a beach holiday and a city break in one, the Mediterranean city is perfect for a short escape from daily reality. Make sure to check out Jaffa Port while you’re there. One of the oldest harbours in the world, the ‘port of Jaffa’ is mentioned in the Bible. These days the area is mainly used for entertainment, with a host of bars, shops and resaurants.
Check out the not-for-profit Nalaga’at Centre, which is home to a deaf-blind theatre company. There is a café with deaf waiters, and a black-out restaurant where all the waiting staff are blind.
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Whether you’ve planning a two-week holiday, or just fancy a classy city break over one of the Bank Holiday weekends, Tuscany is the place to go. It’s no surprise that so many Brits get married in the beautiful Italian region these days. Crammed full of world heritage sites, ancient cities and medieval country houses, Tuscany is a living, breathing museum.
However the area is also home to some of the most beautiful landscapes in Europe. Hire a villa, and spend a week or two exploring the rolling hills and vineyards, or head to the capital Florence for the long weekend. May is the perfect time to visit. Warm enough to spend your days walking around exploring, but early enough in the year to really have the space to spread your wings.