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May, the month when Europe wakes up from its winter slumber, tables and vino glasses start appearing along cobbled streets in the most remote enclaves of southern France, and beaches in the Caribbean and the Med begin to buzz.
But choosing where to go on holiday isn’t always easy – which is where we come in.
Below is your no-fuss guide to the best cities and regions to visit during this month, and at great prices, as well as our favourite spots to hit while you’re there.
In addition to its jaw-dropping architecture and notorious party scene, Prague is known for its many urban gardens. In May, they shine their brightest, with flowers blooming at every turn, perfuming the city with gorgeous smells and vibrant colours. Adding to the energy is the annual Spring Music Festival, which runs from May through to June, including concerts from jazz, rock and classical artists.
Bali evokes images of the quintessential Asian tropical paradise, and for good reason. One of many islands making up Indonesia, Bali’s beaches are truly heavenly. Make sure to stop at Ubud too, the cultural epicenter. Along with being known for its art, it’s a great culinary getaway. Taking a May trip here means not only will you avoid the rain, but also the majority of tourists who tend to flock around Easter and then again in July.
May marks the end of Japan’s spring, when the weather is starting to warm up a little. It’s a picture-perfect time to visit and enjoy hanami (cherry blossom viewing), where the country’s famous pale pink cherry blossoms are in full bloom. Besides the Ashikaga Flower Park and the wisteria tunnel at Kawachi Fuji Gardens in Kitakyushu, Kyoto’s culinary scene is out of this world. Think fresh seafood, pickles, dried goods, mochi, sushi and lots of matcha snacks.
Long regarded as Lisbon’s quieter sibling, Portugal’s second city is currently undergoing a magical moment of rejuvenation. Think Romanesque and Gothic architecture, a multitude of places to try the region’s delicious seafood, an array of nightlife options – and that’s just for starters. The pace is much slower than tourist-heavy Lisbon, where you can enjoy an espresso by the riverfront or wander languidly through the pretty streets admiring shop windows.
There seems to be a million and one good reasons to visit Seoul in May. Firstly, there’s the pleasant weather, with highs of 23°C, just the right climate to enjoy the large number of festivals taking place throughout the capital, including traditional Korean dance and music performances. The city’s mix of old and new is breathtaking, and with endless history to dig your teeth into, we’re pretty sure you won’t want to leave.
Summer is the time to visit D.C. As the city is infinitely walkable, it’s a great spot to ramp up those steps as you navigate from site to site, with an abundance of shops and foodie stalls dotted along the way. Don’t miss the Washington Monument and Georgetown, the tree-lined historic neighbourhood featuring hipster cafes and bakeries.
With over 140 languages spoken on the streets of Canada’s largest city, Toronto is a patchwork of historic neighborhoods and multicultural enclaves, with a downtown sporting the country’s tallest skyscrapers. In May, when weather is mild, festivals begin to populate the monthly calendar such as Canadian Music Week. Fancy yourself as a foodie? Visit Gerrard India Bazaar, the biggest South Asian market in North America. Neon-lit signs, candy-coloured shopfronts and the smell of rich curry make this a great place for feasting your way through the night.
May is the perfect time to visit the funky mountain town of Asheville, North Carolina. Nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Asheville offers a crisp breath of fresh air, whose heat and humidity will be ratcheting up by May. The spot is a magnet for lovers of music, beer and the great outdoors. Time your trip right and you’ll catch the LEAF Festival for local and world music (May 10-13).
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