Santorini, Greece

Mild. Temperate. Those are the words used to describe the agreeable climate in many parts of the globe come May. In so many destinations, it’s an oh-so-lovely time to be hiking, rafting, sightseeing, or simply people-watching at an outdoor café.

The American West for River Rafting

Choosing the right river is the first step to planning a rafting adventure. Photo courtesy O.A.R.S.

 

Though water levels and weather vary from river to river, May is generally a great time for rafting in the American West (except for the Northwest, where it’s still cool and sometimes wet): It’s not yet too hot, and many free-flowing waterways—think Cataract Canyon, the Tuolumne, and the Salmon—are at their peak. — Mindy Gleason, Trusted Travel Expert for American West River Rafting

Anguilla, British West Indies, Caribbean

On May 30, Anguillan Independence Day, you can mix with locals for a trooping of the colors, a parade, and an around-the-island regatta. All of Anguilla turns out for this hotly contested race of traditional craft. By May, the Caribbean has entered its shoulder season, meaning that the spring break crowds and prices are gone. Plus, it’s not yet hurricane season, which technically kicks off in June (though it’s rare to see a hurricane that early in the year); May typically gets mild, sunny days with a few showers here and there.

 

Los Cabos, Mexico

Lovers Beach Cabo San Lucas Mexico

I love May, when the weather is mild and there’s no chance of rain. Plus, villa rates are lower than in high season (December through April), and it’s less busy. — Julie Byrd, Trusted Travel Expert for Cabo Villa Vacations

Quito, Ecuador

Quito is called the City of Four Seasons for a reason: The weather can change in the blink of an eye. May falls during the shoulder season, when the temperature is mild, usually reaching the high 60s, and there are fewer travelers. — Allie Almario, Trusted Travel Expert for Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands

The Cotswolds, England

Buckland Manor, Cotswolds, England

By May spring has taken hold, so flowers are blooming across the Cotswolds—fruit-tree blossoms, clematis, and wisteria are everywhere. The air smells so fresh, and there are so many shades of green. Hotel rates are also lower than in the summer high season. Jonathan Epstein, Trusted Travel Expert for England, Ireland, and Scotland

Scotland

In May the weather is mild and even warm on occasion, and you won’t have to deal with the August crowds. Since this month falls before peak season (June to September), you can find some bargains, and the hills and roadways are dotted with blooming gorse, a bright-yellow flower. Jonathan Epstein, Trusted Travel Expert for England, Ireland, and Scotland

Barcelona, Spain

La Rambla, Barcelona, Spain

Terraces and cafés open and residents head outdoors to enjoy this amiable and architecturally dazzling city before the heat sets in. Spring is the perfect time for strolling and picnicking in the sparkling Mediterranean light. — Virginia Irurita, Trusted Travel Expert for Spain and Portugal

Umbria, Italy

Lots of delicious local crops are in season, from cherries and strawberries to fava beans, wild asparagus, and artichokes. It’s also festival time, when the reserved Umbrians really let down their hair for small but rollicking historical and religious celebrations. This year, Gubbio’s Corsa dei Ceri happens on May 15, Spello’s Infiorata on May 28 and 29. — Maria Gabriella Landers and Brian Dore, Trusted Travel Experts for Italy

 

Sicily, Italy

Sicilian coastline, Ortigia

May is an ideal time to visit, as the countryside is filled with wildflowers, the seas are getting warmer, the weather is more stable (and without the heat of summer), and the tourist areas are relatively calm. In towns such as Siracusa, there are live performances of the ancient Greek Tragedies in the actual theaters where these cultural events were staged thousands of years ago. Marcello Baglioni, Trusted Travel Expert for Italy: Sicily

Santorini, Greece

The weather is warm in May but not hot, and hotel rates are more competitive than in summer. What’s more, the crowds are thinner, which has the added benefit of ensuring the service will also be better (during the hectic summer months, service suffers). Christos Stergiou, Trusted Travel Expert for Greece

 

Aegean Coast, Turkey

Gulet, sunset Bodrum, Turkey

In May the sun is out but it’s not sweltering; the sea is calm; and summer crowds haven’t arrived. Plus, rates are up to 50% lower than during the high season of July and August. — Karen Fedorko Sefer, Trusted Travel Expert for Turkey

 

Jerusalem, Israel

The optimal time to visit Jerusalem is after Passover—which ends on April 30 this year—but before summer: During this window, the weather is pleasant and the hotel rates are lower. Particularly wonderful is the transition from Memorial Day to Independence Day (May 11-12 in 2016)—a two-day holiday when the country goes from national mourning into instant celebration—and to be at any of the thousands of kibbutzes that dot the country for the festival of the first fruits for Shavuot (which happens in June this year, but often falls in May). — Joe Yudin, Trusted Travel Expert for Israel

 

Fiji

Warriors in Fiji

May falls during the islands’ drier “winter,” but outside the peak months of June and July, when Aussie and Kiwi vacationers drive up airfares and hotel rates. During the winter, temperatures are at their coolest (with highs hovering around 80), and the occasional rain showers are brief. With less humidity there are also fewer mossies (mosquitoes). — Lynette Wilson, Trusted Travel Expert for Fiji and Papua New Guinea

 

Zambia and Zimbabwe

In May, everything is still green from the rains and the temperature is delightful, but it’s dry enough that you can see the animals. (Note that wildlife viewing during this time is not as intense as later in the season, when it is very dry but not as beautiful.) — Cherri Briggs, Trusted Travel Expert for Safaris: Southern Africa