Best vacation ideas for May 2021 & 2022
Where to go on vacation in May
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 taking place in April. You can make the most of long days in Iceland too. Central Asia is known for its extremely hot summers and bitterly cold winters. May is the perfect time to explore the Caucasus and Central Asian nations, with temperatures more hospitable and perfect for exploring.
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 2021 or 2022 vacation, 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.
Best Festivals and Events in May
Cinco de Mayo
Where? Puebla, Mexico
When? 5th May 2021
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.
Bergen International Festival
Where? Bergen, Norway
When? 26th May – 9th Jun 2021
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? Throughout May
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 its top museums and galleries, accompanied by special exhibitions, street art and performances.
Best Beach Destinations in May
Spring is in full swing across the Mediterranean come May, 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. There's plenty of coastal areas that 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 holiday 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.
Best Wildlife Destinations in May
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 Kruger National Park. 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.