As that sweet, floral-scented month that transitions you from spring to summer, May has a lot to offer no matter where you find yourself. While it’s hard to find a place that isn’t beautiful in May, some destinations are particularly picturesque this time of year. Head up into Scandinavia to experience the wild north as it breaks out of its winter shell and blossoms into fields of wildflowers.
If you’re craving damp heat and thick, lush greenery, take a trip to Borneo and hike the well-worn paths. The best part? You’ll be sure to find great deals this month—spring getaways have come and gone and the summer season is still on the horizon, meaning prices will be low and crowds fewer and more far between.
The Swedish capital springs to life in May, with cherry blossoms blooming overhead like a candy-coloured cloud in Kungsträdgården park and cafe patios spilling over with sun-seeking locals. The cheerful atmosphere invites visitors to make the most of their day outside—the little houses and gardens of Tantolunden park yield hours of exploration and a walk along the Norr Mälarstrand trail gives you great views of the Old Town (particularly stunning at sunset).
Djurgården, a vibrant green island just a ferry ride away, is a good choice for a day that forecasts fickle weather—if it’s nice, you can wander the open-air Skansen museum, and if you catch some rain, you can duck into the indoor Vasa museum. Break up your adventures by stopping for a fika, a Swedish tradition of pausing to share a coffee and a sweet treat (maybe a semlor, or cardamom bun) with friends in the middle of the day.
Those visiting the American metropolis of LA will find Carlsbad just one and a half hours away. Kids will love the Legoland theme park and parents can use the online height requirement calculator to plan in advance which rides they should try with little ones. Weather is variable but generally sunny and can reach highs in the low 70s—if you catch a nice day, take a walk along the Carlsbad Sea Wall that overlooks the always-bustling Tamarack Surf Beach.
Above all else, this coastal California town is probably best known for its vast Flower Fields, over 50 acres of multicoloured buttercups and other flowers that bloom every April. Be sure to plan your trip before May 12th, when the fields close to the public.
This Southeast Asian island may not get as much attention from tourists as neighbouring hotspots like Bali, Vietnam, and the Philippines, but that’s actually to its advantage. Borneo has a wealth of uncrowded hiking paths and sleepy beaches, and as it is the third largest island in the world (Greenland and New Guinea take the lead), there is so much ground to cover that first-time visitors will feel spoiled for choice.
We recommend a trip to Sarawak, where you can take advantage of the relatively dry weather (May is often bookended by monsoons). Gear up for a full day hike, like the challenging Mount Santubong trail, where you will pass by waterfalls, hanging bridges, and a wide array of local flora and fauna.
With minimal humidity, temperate days, and cool nights, Sicily is the ideal Italian May getaway. Start in Palermo, the capital, where you can admire the intricate gold-laced artwork in the Palatine Chapel, check out the views from Monte Pellegrino, and taste your way through local cheeses at the Ballaro market. On a warm day, step outside the city to wander the white-washed Scala dei Turchi (Turkish steps) further south, impressive rock formation “staircases” and stop for a picnic on the beach leading up to the steps.
If you’re keen to see Mount Etna, try out the Circumetnea, a local commuter train that takes you around the base of the volcano and offers views of the black lava rock. Most importantly, don’t forget to tack a food tour onto your visit—embrace the beckoning summer by biting into some mouth-watering artichoke hearts or a chilled cannoli.