As the mercury rises in the Northern Hemisphere much of Europe becomes an ideal destination before the crowds of summer. The Mediterranean is pleasantly warm with the cruising season in Croatia and Turkey starting and much of the Far East is looking beautiful. The further north you go the more hours of sunlight you can enjoy during the day and St. Petersburg in Russia is a great place to enjoy this with the White Nights Festival. You can make the most of long days in Iceland too.
There's a number of unique experiences to be had in May, chief among them the bi-annual migration of the Berbers in Morocco. To help you plan your May 2019 holiday we've put together some of the best destinations and experiences to be found at this time of year as well as our choice of top beach and wildlife destinations the month has to offer.
Where? Puebla, Mexico
When? 5th May 2019
Cinco de Mayo celebrates the date of the Mexican army’s victory over France at the Battle of Puebla during the Franco-Mexican War in 1862. In the city of Puebla the day is celebrated with re-enactments, traditional dance and music, and plenty of food. Across the border, Cinco de Mayo has become a big event in America and now represents a celebration of all things Mexican.
Where? Atlas Mountains, Morocco
When? mid to late May
Twice a year the nomadic Berber tribes journey across the Atlas Mountains from the edge of the Sahara in search of greener pastures for their herds of livestock. Travelling with goats, sheep, camels and donkeys as well as all their belongings, the tribes take a scenic route that takes a few weeks, camping en route. It's a unique adventure for intrepid travellers and a great time to visit Morocco.
Where? Bergen, Norway
When? 22nd May – 5th Jun 2019
Founded in 1953, Bergen's largest arts festival brings together prominent artists from around the world. Over 200 music, ballet, opera, theatre, dance, literary and performing arts events are held during the two weeks and it's the most important festival of its kind in Norway. Performances are held in a variety of venues including theatres, churches and villas.
Where? Saint Petersburg, Russia
When? 26th May – 23rd Jul (TBC)
As spring progresses in the northern hemisphere, countries in the far north begin to experience long days of sunlight with a few hours of eerie twilight at night. There's nowhere better to enjoy this natural phenomenon than in Russia where the city of St. Petersburg celebrates with all-night openings of their top museums and galleries accompanied by special exhibitions, street art and performances.
It's well into spring come May across the Mediterranean with the mercury starting to creep up and the tourist season kicking off. The wet season is slowly creeping up on Southeast Asia which means the weather can be a mixed bag with the odd shower likely wherever you go though plenty of coastal areas will experience near-perfect weather. Cancun and the Caribbean Coast is drawing to the end of the dry season.
The east coast of peninsula Thailand is an ideal beach destination at this time of year with high temperatures and little rain expected. Islands such as Koh Samui and Koh Phangan are where you should head for the best weather, or Krabi on the mainland, as the west coast will be experiencing a little more rain.
The Mediterranean is beautiful at this time of year - temperatures have warmed up nicely and resorts have opened their doors for the start of the peak tourist season. With most of the northern hemisphere still at school, many resorts can be a little quieter in May so it'll be more of a laid-back experience.
May is the second month of the main rains across equatorial East Africa, so Kenya and Tanzania are not ideal at this time of year with the watered vegetation providing cover for the animal residents, making safaris more challenging. However, further south the dry season has begun so game viewing is better. Across the Galapagos it's business as usual as endemic species court, breed and nest as they do throughout much of the year.
It's the beginning of the dry season in South Africa which makes it the ideal time to search for the Big 5 in the Kruger National Park where the vegetation is thinning and wildlife gathers around watering holes. It's not yet too dusty, the skies are generally clear and the crowds have yet to hit.
It's the last month of the year that India's national parks are open before the monsoon rains draw in. Temperatures are becoming very hot in the northern regions of India but the vegetation will be at its thinnest after months of no rain so prowling tigers will be more visible, perfect for a safari.
Here's a selection of our tours that perfectly suit travel in May from the museums of Russia to the towering sand dunes of Namibia.
On our Handpicked range we bring you the most iconic experiences in destinations where you’ll join travellers from other travel brands on your tour, safari or sailing holiday. Collaborating with our carefully handpicked portfolio of local partners, these holidays represent exceptional value and there’ll be plenty of cultural experiences shared with other like-minded travellers.
Group sizes and accommodation standards vary by destination where typical group size is 28 travellers and hotels, boats and safari lodges are of a 3-4 star standard.
On The Go's Signature group tours place local interaction and authenticity at the heart of your cultural travel experience. Upping the comfort stakes, this range is a clear cut above our Budget range.
Appealing to a wide age demographic from the 20s to 60+, we maximize your days with excitement and awe and then bring you home to a comfortable 4* hotel with western amenities, air-conditioning, WiFi and, where appropriate, a swimming pool. Hotels can sometimes be of 3 or 5 star standard too, ensuring you get the best value for your holiday.
Visiting all the main attractions you’ll be accompanied throughout by our highly qualified English-speaking local guides too. Group size is typically 18 with a maximum for 28, apart from festival tours, where group sizes can be larger due to the one-off nature of these events.
Our Budget range is the perfect choice for independent spirits travelling on a shoestring. As well as guided sightseeing of the key highlights, there’s also ample free time to explore independently or partake in optional excursions that maximise your time in each destination. Few meals are included, allowing you the freedom to choose exactly where you eat and spend your evenings out, with the added bonus of enabling you to stay in control of your spending.
Many tours in this range include a local payment and this pricing system helps keep costs down so you can be sure we’re delivering the best possible value. You’ll be travelling by both private and public transport – think buses, trains, feluccas and even camels. Accommodation ranges from dome tents to a surprise 4-star hotel at a 3-star price. And with a maximum group size of 32, these tours are designed to create a social and fun travel experience.
On our Independent range you won’t be joining other travellers, but will be on your own private itinerary. Accommodation, pace of travel and the style of trip is tailored to your individual needs. From pre-priced packages available off the shelf to fully curated tailor-made holidays, this range also includes our selection of one-night stopovers, day-tours and short breaks.
Our Independent range gives you all the great service aspects of our Signature range with the flexibility to create a truly unique and bespoke holiday or adventure to a variety of destinations around the world.