With Labour Day holiday and Mother’s Day around the corner, May is the perfect month to squeeze in a well-planned family trip to slake that thirst for a vacation. But where to go? In the Northern Hemisphere, Summer begins in June, which is the opposite of those in the Southern Hemisphere. Therefore, May is a shoulder season month that sees lower hotel rates, fewer crowds, and plenty of daylight for sightseeing in the Northern Hemisphere. So, here are our picks for the best destinations to visit in May.
Early May is still in time to catch the seven million tulips, hyacinths and daffodils blooming in the world’s most beautiful spring park, the Keukenhof in the town of Lisse. A visit here has become a bucket-list-topping item for flower lovers and world travellers alike. May is the period when Keukenhof is fully bloomed, just right for your perfect Instagram photo hunt.
For foodies, May is also the perfect time to visit the Netherlands as it is the beginning of the Hollandse Nieuwe Herring season. The Dutch love their herring, which they call ‘Hollandse Nieuwe’ or 'New Dutch herring'. The herring — traditionally cleaned and salted aboard the boats and to be slipped straight down the throat — is quite mild and soft, often served on soft bread with chopped onion and sliced pickles on the side. Well, you just cannot leave the Netherlands without eating their herring.
Perched on the mighty waters of Norwegian Sea, the Lofoten Islands comprising of several islands on Norway’s northwest coast, the archipelago is renowned for its picturesque beauty, magnificent mountains, abundant wildlife, pristine beaches and fjords, the northern lights and the midnight sun. Dubbed as “one of the most stunning places on earth”, Lofoten Islands is breathtaking in May, which falls just before peak season, giving travellers a preview of the region’s Midnight Sun — a two-month-long period when the sun stays above the horizon 24 hours a day.
Even before the Midnight Sun season, the nights are short and the days are long, the weather is comparatively good and steady, and the temperatures are pleasant but somewhat lower than the rest of Norway. Thus, if you are looking for some remarkable nature experiences in May, Lofoten is the best place to visit.
Stockholm is one of the most beautiful cities in Scandinavia. The Swedish capital has a mild Scandinavian climate in late spring and early summer, with no snow showers and very little rain, giving it a very pleasant weather in May. You can expect an average daytime high of 16°C, rising by a couple of degrees on hotter days. Even the coldest day in May shouldn’t drop below 10°C, it’s like you are in an air conditioning room all day with an amazing 17 hours of daylight, so exploring the museums and wandering around the cobbled alleyways of Stockholm will be a breeze.
Made up of 14 islands linked by more than 50 bridges, Stockholm is dubbed as 'beauty on water' by Stockholmer. From the gorgeous Old Town to classics like the Vasa Museum and modern newcomers like ABBA the Museum and Fotografiska, Stockholm is full of charms for people of all ages. If you arrive as early as the last day of April, you can experience their unique Walpurgis Eve, when spring is celebrated with songs and bonfires at public gatherings all over the country. For the more politically active, these celebrations are followed by May Day demonstrations and parades on first of May.
No doubt, it would take a lifetime to experience all of Japan’s landmark buildings, world-class shopping areas, Michelin-starred restaurants and cultural scenes, as Japan is captivating year-round! The beginning of May is the “Golden Week” in Japan and every touristic spot gets extremely packed, so go there starting in mid-May to avoid the high season for Japanese tourists.
May is said to be the very last of the spring season in Japan, the weather is pleasant just after the cherry blossom season, yet various spring flowers still flourish in Tokyo. Try to catch gorgeous wisteria hanging at the Kameido Tenjin Shrine Wisteria Festival — a popular flower festival held annually in Koto Ward with over 100 wisteria flower bloom beautifully at the historical shrine site from late April to early May. Later in May, you can catch the peak of matsuri season. From 9 to 15 May, you will be able to join the Kanda Matsuri that only held on odd-numbered years. The Kanda Matsuri was so intense that during the Edo period the shogun decreed it cannot take place every year. Right after the Kanda Matsuri, you can then join the world-renowned Sanja Matsuri — considered as the wildest and largest festival in Japan. Join in the high-spirited atmosphere and immerse yourself in the traditional Japanese matsuri vibes.
Marrakech, the charming imperial city of Morocco, provides travellers a rare opportunity to open up all senses to soak in everything this cultural melting pot has to offer. Known as ‘The Red City’ due to its thick walls surrounding the old city, Marrakesh promises travellers a rare opportunity to see an ancient city embrace modernity — and more dynamic than you expected.
Spring brings a fresh burst of colour to the Red City, with the surrounding valleys displaying a variety of vibrant blossoms. In May, sunshine prevails, with the average temperature ranging from as low as 15 Celsius to as high as 29 Celsius, making ideal conditions not only for exploring Marrakech medina or haggling bargains in the sprawling souk, but also hiking up the snow-capped Atlas Mountains or taking a camel treks through the Sahara Desert.
Morocco quickly rose to travel-destination-fame these few years with its stunning ancient palaces and thousands of years old cultural places. And, May is the only month in Morocco with desirable weather and affordable hotel rates before things get really scorching in the summer (June to August). So, if you’re planning a trip to Morocco, May is definitely the time to go.
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