The Best Vacation Destinations in May

The 10 Best Vacation Destinations in May (2024)

May is an excellent time to travel if you want the best of both worlds. At this time of year, many fascinating vacation destinations are blissfully warm and sunny without being too hot and overwhelming. 

At the same time, popular hot spots are starting to get a little busier, creating a great vibe without becoming overcrowded and noisy. For many people, it really is the perfect month to get out there and explore!

Whatever type of vacation you’re planning, the best holiday destinations in May have it all – from the Norwegian fjords lined with lush, green landscapes to the incredible cultural festivals of South Korea. 

From the phenomenal opportunity to swim with pigs in the Bahamas to the chance to sail over the bizarre landscape of Turkey in a hot air balloon – May is brimming with unique possibilities to visit somewhere new.

To help you plan an epic springtime vacation, we’ve put together a list of the best places to visit in May in the world. Use our handpicked destinations to inspire your travels and create memories you’ll be reminiscing about for decades to come!

The 10 Best Places to Visit in May

1. Cruise Through the Fjords in Norway

Best Cities to Visit in May: Fjords in Norway

When it comes to dramatic scenery, it’s tough to beat the Norwegian Fjords in May. Picture yourself surrounded by jagged cliffs, dense forests, cascading waterfalls, and impossibly still waters that reflect the vibrant colors of spring.

Navigating through the narrow, winding fjords aboard a luxurious cruise ship provides a unique perspective on Norway’s natural wonders. As you sail through Geirangerfjord (a UNESCO World Heritage Site) and witness the majesty of Nærøyfjord, the sheer beauty of these fjords will leave you speechless.

So you don’t miss a second of the grandeur laid out before you, I definitely recommend you splash out on a balcony cabin. Check your chosen cruise’s itinerary to determine if you’re best off choosing a port or starboard cabin before committing! 


2. Attend the BaliSpirit Festival in Ubud, Bali

If you’re seeking to boost your health and improve your well-being, Ubud is one of the best places to visit in May. At this time of year, the vibrant city hosts the BaliSpirit Festival – an enigmatic event bursting with more than 300 workshops and sessions just waiting for you to get involved.

The program changes slightly each year but usually includes an enticing mix of music, martial arts, breathwork, meditation, healing circles, dance groups, and yoga workshops. Every event is thoughtfully designed to enhance your mind, body, and soul, leaving you feeling completely rejuvenated.

Plan to stay in Bali for a few days on either side of the festival. There are always amazing events that take place before and after the event to enhance your experience.


3. Marvel at South Korea’s Bamboo Forests 

Best Places to Visit in May: South Korea’s Bamboo Forests 

South Korea is undoubtedly one of the top places to visit in May if you’re searching for somewhere with perfect springtime weather. At this time of year, highs reach a pleasant 73°F (23°C), with clear blue skies and plenty of sunshine. 

As May marks the end of the country’s peak season, there’s also a great chance you’ll snap up some fantastic deals on flights and accommodation, too.

Several events take place throughout South Korea in May, including Damyang’s annual Bamboo Festival. This one-of-a-kind event gives you the chance to try out all sorts of fun activities that highlight local bamboo. 

There are workshops showing you how to turn it into baskets for fishing, as well as how to draw with it. If that’s too much work, you can relax and sip traditional Korean alcohol brewed in bamboo stalks instead.


4. Explore Bryce Canyon National Park, USA

What Places to Visit in May: Bryce Canyon National Park

Bryce Canyon National Park looks even more magical than usual in May, when the bizarre landscape is dotted with colorful wildflowers. This iconic attraction is located in southwestern Utah and is made up of mesmerizing horseshoe-like canyons scattered across the Paunsaugunt Plateau. 

These alienesque formations were carved out of limestone through centuries of rain and erosion, creating a spellbinding landscape just begging to be explored. Wander around, and you’ll discover all kinds of fascinating fins, windows, slot canyons, and spires. 

Thanks to its minimal light pollution, Bryce Canyon National Park is also a superb place for stargazing! 


5. Swim with Pigs in the Bahamas, Caribbean

What Places Have Shoulder Season in May: Bahamas, Caribbean

For the ultimate beach vacation, the Bahamas is one of the top places to travel in May. This idyllic destination is free from the winter hordes that settle in during the colder months, and the hurricane season that begins in June is still far away. What’s left is a tranquil paradise with weather perfect for lounging on the beach.

And why take a dip in the ocean on your own when you could do it with a friendly pig? Big Major Cay (also known as Pig Island) is home to around 20 pigs that lounge on the golden sands and take regular dips in the water to cool off. 

It’s not an easy thing to do (you’ll have to take a flight or a long speedboat ride to get there, depending on your starting location), but it’s definitely worth it for the chance to do something so amazing!


6. Attend the Cannes Film Festival in France

Where to Vacation in May: Cannes Film Festival

Cannes is one of the best places to go in May if you’re in search of some serious glitz and glamor. Every year since it first began in 1946, the Cannes Film Festival has attracted thousands of prestigious film professionals from around the world, all eager to attend sophisticated events and get the scoop on the latest trends in the movie industry.

Although the main festival is invite-only, you can get a feel for the luxury and opulence by bagging a ticket for “3 Days in Cannes.” This distinguished event invites you to see all the films included in the main festival in a refined setting, providing you with the best experience possible. It’s the closest you’ll get to the real thing without being a professional.


7. Spot Wildlife at the Chobe River in Botswana

Must Visit Places in May: Chobe River

May marks the beginning of the dry season in Botswana, making it an excellent time to spot wildlife. Not only that, but this month falls just before the peak season, providing you with almost optimal conditions without the sky-high price tags that follow in the later months. 

At this time of year, the water begins to evaporate from the lakes, forcing large herds of animals to head for their one reliable water source – the Chobe River. Sign up for a boat safari, and you’ll have the chance to spot families of crocodiles and hippos wandering up to the river bank to drink and bathe. 

If you’re lucky, you may even see large groups of elephants descend on the river to cool off and play. 


8. Go Hot Air Ballooning in Cappadocia, Istanbul

Best Cities to Visit in May: Cappadocia, Istanbul

Looking for where to travel in May to have a once-in-a-lifetime experience you’ll be telling everyone you ever meet about? Then make plans to visit Cappadocia in Turkey. This is the perfect time of year to sail over the Göreme Valley in a hot air balloon and gaze down at the stone fairy chimneys far below.

The conditions have to be absolutely perfect for hot air ballooning, giving you about a 50-50 chance of getting up there on a single booking. Because of this, I definitely recommend you stay in Cappadocia for 3 to 4 days. This way, you’ll have multiple chances to get in the air and won’t be disappointed if your first booking is blown out.


9. Celebrate Fruhlingsfest in Munich, Germany

Best Places to Visit in May: Fruhlingsfest

Oktoberfest isn’t the only beer festival celebrated in Munich. The German capital holds Fruhlingsfest in May, which is essentially the springtime version of Oktoberfest. This lively festival boasts its own fairground packed with rides and loads of stalls selling steins filled to the brim with beer. 

The only real difference is that Fruhlingsfest is much quieter and more relaxed than Oktoberfest – a definite win for some people who prefer their festivals to be a little less rowdy.

It’s not all about beer. The festival also features flea markets, Bavarian music and dancing, and family-friendly exhibitions that change each year. It takes place for two weeks at the Theresienwiese, giving you plenty of opportunities to check it out.


10. Surround Yourself with Nature in Cape Verde

What Places to Visit in May: Cape Verde

Cape Verde is one of the best May holiday destinations if you want to get away from it all and be guaranteed glorious weather. Located off the western coast of Africa, this remote island is largely untouched by mass tourism, leaving little else but pristine beaches, volcanic hot springs, sleepy fishing villages, and forest-clad mountains. 

While you could easily spend your vacation doing nothing at all, you’d be missing out on the opportunity to see one of the most beautiful islands in the world. Here, you can have an incredible time scuba diving and snorkeling in crystal-clear waters, hiking to the top of ancient volcanoes, digging into freshly caught seafood, and exploring pretty pastel-colored towns.

There you have it! The 10 best places to visit in May. What’s your favorite May travel destination?


Looking for more travel inspiration? Check out our favorite travel books!


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Author

  • Nicola Quinn

    Nicola is a freelance writer with an insatiable hunger for travel. She swapped her home in the UK for the sunny Canary Islands when she was just 11 and she has been based there ever since.

    From crawling on her hands and knees inside pyramids in Egypt to swimming with baby sharks in Bali and searching (fruitlessly!) for the Northern Lights in Iceland, Nicola takes every chance she gets to explore new places.

    The incredible experiences she has around the world fuels her writing and inspires her to plan even more adventures for the future.

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