Where to go in May

The merry month of May is a marvellous time for travelling abroad, with the weather warming up brilliantly around the Mediterranean, sensational sunshine in the south-western United States, and perfect warm, dry conditions for game viewing in southern Africa.

Asia and the tropics (including the Caribbean)  is embarking on its hot, wet monsoon season in May, but those willing to take an umbrella and face the chance of the odd drenching between spells of sunshine, and can pick up some incredible holiday bargains.

For Europeans and Britishers (who have a May half-term school holiday to take advantage of) May is all about the Med! From southern Spain to the Rivieras of France and Italy, Greek islands and the coast of Turkey, through to tempting Tunisia in north Africa, temperatures are on the rise and the days are warm and sunny at around 25°C (77°F) on average – far more comfortable for gadding about and sunbathing than the soaring highs of summer. A bonus is that being so early in the season the resort hotels are all fresh and enthusiastic to start a new summer, so you will be welcomed with open arms.

The Spanish “costas” are extremely popular for sand, sea and sun holidays because of the fine weather, but also because they offer a top tourist infrastructure – fantastic nightlife, plenty of entertainment, and still preserve a touch of tradition. The Costa del Sol (“Sun Coast”) in Andalusia is the hottest spot in Spain in May – perfect for picking up a pre-summer tan or enjoying a round of golf, but not scorching.Many tourists travel to the party islands of Ibiza and Mallorca, but those seeking a low-key holiday should visit the intriguing, serene island of Minorca.

The Greek islands are magical in May, and the Mediterranean and Aegean coasts of Turkey are hard to beat, with safe, beautiful beaches and bargain rates for family holidays – try out resorts like Marmaris, Icmeler and Olu Deniz.

Of course it doesn’t all have to be about the beach! May is ideal for sightseeing, walking holidays and city breaks in the UK and Europe, although the further north you go the chillier it will be.

In the United States it is a little wet in Florida in May (prone to thundershowers in the afternoons), but to the west the coast of California and the Napa Valley wine country is mild and pleasant. It’s a good time to slot in a visit to glitzy, ritzy Las Vegas in Nevada, before the temperatures soar for the summer season.

The “shoulder season” of May is tranquil and comfortable for game viewing in the reserves and national parks of southern Africa destinations, such as Namibia and Botswana.

The favourite escape for those in the Antipodes during May is to the south Pacific islands. By May the rainy season has dried up somewhat to provide relatively cool, sunny conditions for exploring Fiji, Tonga, Samoa and the Cook Islands.