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The Sunday Times Travel writers Mark Hodson and David Wickers.

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Where is hot in May

Where is hot in MayHot holidays in MayFrance holidays in May

By Mark Hodson, The Sunday Times Travel Writer and Editor of 101 Holidays


Q.  Where is hot in May?


A.   May is a perfect time to visit the Mediterranean. It’s warm enough for sunbathing but not too hot for sightseeing, with long days of sunshine and temperatures in the mid-20s and 10 hours of daily sunshine. Also consider the Caribbean where the weather is great (31ºC, 9 hours of sun), but prices are now at low season levels.


The holiday season in the Mediterranean typically runs from April until late October. Tour operators make most of their profits in July and August, when prices are highest, and they usually struggle to fill beds at the beginning and the end of the season. But these are the times when the Med is arguably at its best.

Hotels roll out early-season booking deals in April and May, with savings of up to 40%. Every week I select the best deals and send them free to your inbox. You can sign up here.

>> If you’re travelling with children, see family holidays in May half term. If you’re travelling alone, see solo holidays in May.

    • Crete, Greece

    Average temperature in May: 23ºC
    Hours of daily sunshine: 10
    Flying time from UK: 4 hours

    The most southerly Greek island, Crete promises guaranteed sunshine in May with long days of unbroken sunshine, low humidity and pleasantly cool evenings. The only caveat is that sea temperatures won’t be high. It’s fine for kids, but adults may find the water a bit nippy. Check out these lovely boutique hotels in Crete. See the latest offers on accommodation from i-escape.

  • Also consider: the smaller Greek islands of Skiathos and Paxos (accessible only by boat) which offer an even more laid-back experience. On the other hand, if you want a stylish modern hotel, you’ll find great deals on the island of Kos. For a high-quality all-inclusive, head to the IKOS Dassia in Corfu.
  • Kalkan, Turkey

Average temperature in May: 24ºC
Hours of daily sunshine: 10
Flying time from UK: 4 hours

The Turquoise Coast of Turkey will be hot in May and uncrowded. Prices are low at the moment, so this is a great place to grab an early season bargain. Head to the charming resort of Kalkan (or nearby Kas). Simpson Travel has a great collection of hotels and villas along this picturesque coastline. See its latest offers.

Also consider: if you like water sports, head to Mark Warner’s new Paleros Beach Resort, where all activities – including water skiing – are in the price. It also has deals in May.

  • Sardinia, Italy

Average temperature in May: 23ºC
Hours of daily sunshine: 9
Flying time from UK: 2 hours 30 minutes

The Italian island of Sardinia will be lovely in May and you’ll have the pristine sands and clear water seas almost to yourself because the Italians don’t tend to visit until August. You’ll find some fabulous hotels including Forte Village and lots of historic towns and villages to explore. It’s a similar picture in Sicily where we recommend the beachfront Verdura Resort. See the latest offers in both.

Also consider: the south of Italy, including the peerless beauty of the Amalfi Coast and the often-neglected region of Puglia which has great beaches. See more holidays in Italy.

  • Mallorca, Spain

Average temperature in May: 22ºC
Hours of daily sunshine: 9
Flying time from UK: 2 hours 20 minutes

It will be getting warm in the Balaeric Islands. I recommend Mallorca at this time of year, as it’s particularly beautiful slightly out of season. Away from the package resorts, you’ll enjoy rolling countryside swathed in wild flowers, quiet coves and outstanding restaurants. Rent a luxury villa or opt for a short break in Palma. See Oliver’s Travels for villa deals.

Also consider: the island of Menorca which has some wonderful places to stay including villas, townhouse hotels and converted farmhouses. Or get to know the lesser-known region of Extremadura on a self-drive tour from Seville to Madrid, staying in historic Paradors. See the latest offers.

  • Faro, Portugal

Average temperature in May: 23ºC
Hours of daily sunshine: 10
Flying time from UK: 3 hours

The Algarve is rightly known for excellent hotels, friendly resorts and a long season that stretches from spring through to autumn. An alternative to staying in a resort is to rent a car at Faro airport and explore the back roads and dramatic countryside away from the crowds. You can stay in some of Portugal’s network of pousadas, which are historic buildings converted into good-value hotels. This fly-drive holiday starts at just £445 including flights.

Also consider: the Alentejo which is an unspoilt region that looks like the Algarve 40 years. Inside tip: this is where the Portuguese go on holiday.

  • Corsica, France

Average temperature in May: 21ºC
Hours of daily sunshine: 9
Flying time from UK: 2 hours 10 minutes

The French island of Corsica is unspoilt by tourism with sublime beaches, great food and rugged mountain countryside to explore, whether by car or on foot (best not to try this in August unless you want to risk sunstroke). You’ll usually find some great special offers at this stage of the season. You can also take a short break.

Also consider: flying for another hour and you’re in the exotic city of Marrakech enjoying temperatures of 27°C and low humidity. After you’ve done the sights and the souks, cool off in the Atlantic beach resort of Essaouira with its surf beaches.

  • Kotor, Montenegro

Average temperature in May: 22ºC
Hours of daily sunshine: 8
Flying time from UK: 2 hours 50 minutes

Tiny Montenegro has a pretty Adriatic coastline and an interior of mountains, lakes and rivers. May is a perfect time of year if you want to visit historic walled towns and Roman villas, and perhaps enjoy some hiking and mountain biking. Kotor has a Unesco-listed Old Town – stay at this boutique hotel or this waterside palazzo.

Also consider: the beautiful walled city of Dubrovnik in neighbouring Croatia. May is a good time of year to avoid the crowds and cruise ships.

Ancient temples

  • Bali, Indonesia

Average temperature in May: 30ºC
Hours of daily sunshine: 10
Flying time from UK: 15 hours via Singapore

Heading east, Bali is a great option in May with warm sunshine but not the heavy rainfall seen in some winter months. There is plenty to keep you busy for a week or two with surf beaches, Hindu temples, yoga retreats, rice terraces, volcanoes and great food. Once you get there, it’s remarkably good value. Spend at least some of your time at a secluded retreat in the cultural centre, Ubud. See these offers on luxurious long-haul travel.

Also consider: Thailand where you can kayak at sunset, enjoy a close encounter with elephants and join a tasty street food tour in Bangkok. Get away from the crowds at the wonderful Koyao Island Resort.

  • Barbados

Average temperature in May: 31ºC
Hours of daily sunshine: 9
Flying time from UK: 9 hours

May is a great month to visit the Caribbean – before the hurricane season poses a threat, but after the peak winter season. You can often get great deals on flights and packages. Temperatures are consistent across the region with Barbados offering an excellent range of hotels with sunset views. You could go upmarket in Antigua or diving in the Cayman Islands. If you crave silky white sandy beaches, head to tiny Anguilla. Find out more about Caribbean weather in May.

Also consider: the quirky pristine island of Bermuda can be chilly and damp in the depths of winter but May is perfect, with long sunny days, blue skies and pink beaches. Stay at Cambridge Beaches and – if you’re on a budget – Grotto Bay Resort.

  • Mauritius

Average temperature in May: 28ºC
Hours of daily sunshine: 8
Flying time from UK: 12 hours

The Indian Ocean is a great option for beach lovers. The Seychelles, Mozambique and Mauritius are all at their best in May with more than eight hours of daily sunshine and temperatures around 29°C. A calm sea means excellent visibility, so it’s a great time of year for diving, snorkelling or simply gazing at the water from the safety of a beach lounger. Flying to Mauritius from the UK is easy: a direct overnight flight with no jet lag. It’s also popular for weddings abroad. See the latest special offers.

Also consider: it’s monsoon on the south-west coast of Sri Lanka – the main tourist beach destination – but it’s a perfect time to visit the lesser-known and more spectacular beaches of the east coast.

  • Beijing, China

Average temperature in May: 27ºC
Hours of daily sunshine: 9
Flying time from UK: 10

May is a sensible time to make the trip to China: Beijing reaches 27°C but without the humidity and rainfall of June-August, making it perfect for exploring the Great Wall and the Forbidden City without working up too much of a sweat. See the latest offers from Cox & Kings.

Also consider: Brazil for paradise beaches, natural wonders and some of the world’s most exciting cities – including Rio de Janeiro where the temperature will be around 26°C.

  • San Francisco, USA

Average temperature in May: 20ºC
Hours of daily sunshine: 11
Flying time from UK: 11

It’s a wonderful time of year to visit America including the Pacific Coast Highway in California and the great National Parks of the West. You could arrive in style on a transatlantic cruise or explore the backroads of the States in a motorhome. San Francisco is particularly sunny in May. For deals, we recommend American Sky.

Also consider: New York which sparkles in springtime before the oppressive heat of summer.

>> You can also find the best half-term holidays, more ideas for where to go in May plus expert tips on where to honeymoon in May.

All villas have a private poolFun in the sun with new friends in MajorcaVillas with a viewCornwall has amazing beaches

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Last updated: 23 September 2019

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