Top 10 Countries for an Unforgettable May 2024 Escape

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Whether you are a student saving up for a summer trip abroad or you have been “adulting” and feel the itch to go explore and experience, May 2024 is the perfect time to escape to a new land. Most of Europe is warming up and anticipating the hit of summer while many other places around the world are drying off from rainy season and getting prepared for the holiday crowds to come in June. But why May? Well, the main reason would be the fact that there are so many places in the world having important cultural festivals and events, and in many places May is not yet the tourist high season so you can still get a good feel for the local culture and life without the frustration of being an outsider. Timing in travel is everything, and your first step to planning an unforgettable May 2024 escape is choosing the right destination. This can mean different things for different people. For some it’s a getaway to a familiar, or favorite, place to escape the stresses of the everyday life back home. For others it’s to go some place completely new and exciting, such as a tropical island, an African safari, a backpacking trip through Europe, and the list goes on. Whatever it is you’re looking to do and wherever it is you’re looking to go, you need to be sure and do a little research on what each destination has in store for the month of May. An easy start is to Google “events in _____ during May” and see what comes up. You’d be surprised at what you might find off the beaten traveler’s path. Just 2-3 lines of info on an event could potentially put that destination at the top of your list.

Overview of Mayhem in May

Knowing that it is coming closer and closer to that time of year where everyone is scrambling to book in a break over the summer months, why not take your annual holiday a little early this time? During May, the Northern Hemisphere is an absolute picture. It’s spring time and the weather is noticeably warmer, yet it’s not too hot or humid. The grass is green and flowers are blooming. The locals are emerging from their wintery states of hibernation and life is starting to be lived again to the fullest. Picnics, walks in the park, outdoor festivities and celebrations are typical during this time of year and the mood is generally bright and happy. What better time of year for a holiday in Europe? During May, you’d be catching the very beginning of the European summer season. Festivals have not yet begun so prices are still relatively cheap and everything is not yet fully booked, yet the weather is already perfect for a summer holiday. May is also the time of year for some fascinating events and festivals in interesting places around the world; perfect material for a great travel experience. This handy guide will navigate you through the best locations around the world for a holiday during May 2024 and will conveniently give you an itinerary for each of those locations for the perfect holiday.

Importance of Choosing the Right Destination

With such a wide selection of destinations to head to in May, it is critical to make the right choice when planning your overseas vacation. New and seasoned travelers alike should be aware of both the positive and negative aspects of each destination when considering where to go for their vacation, in order to choose the best option. Some destinations may be popular for a particular reason, such as tourists being there for a major sporting or music event, but it is important to consider whether that event will have a positive or negative effect on your vacation. These affect the price and availability of accommodation, crowds, and potential noise disturbances during the night when you may be wishing to rest after a day of sightseeing. Also, by choosing a destination that is less popular among the general tourist population, you increase your chances of experiencing that country’s culture and way of life, which is what traveling is all about. High tourist density in an area can turn a vacation into a somewhat “touristy” and less authentic experience. Travelling in May can be a risky choice for some destinations due to the unpredictability of the weather associated with that time of year. Countries in Europe are a prime example. Whilst it is the perfect time to go weather wise for many countries such as Italy and Spain, Northern European countries are only just starting to experience warmer weather and it is still too cold to enjoy a typical summer holiday. For example, France, while it may be an excellent place to visit during the warmer months, will still be too cold to experience what the country is known best for, the French Riviera and Provence. Another factor to consider is seasonal pricing for tourist facilities, based on “high” and “low” season, which varies between countries. By researching thoroughly into the weather conditions of your desired destination and the seasonal prices for accommodation and transport, you can avoid any unexpected pitfalls and disappointments.

Europe’s Hidden Gems

There has been a long-time love affair with vacationing in Europe. For a variety of reasons, many covers it offers the most amount of diversity in the smallest land mass. Europe really has it all; rich culture, historic landmarks, world class art and architecture, incredible natural landscapes, and of course fine food and wine. As one of the top tourist destinations in the world, it is surprisingly easy to escape the crowds and find your own slice of paradise. With its ideal Mediterranean location with warm weather and clear skies, it’s difficult to bypass the opportunity to explore the Greek Islands. Greece is an affordable country to visit and prides itself on its hospitality and friendliness to tourists. It offers a relaxing lifestyle where a smiling “no worries” local is never far away. Apart from its capital, each island has its own unique charm to explore. It makes for a good escape and is not difficult to find festivals in the months of May depending on your taste of tradition. But the main idea is just to make sure you make it there before the rest of the world does! In visiting Europe’s hidden gems we have to explore less familiar areas of popular countries. Spain’s most famous festival is La Tomatina but, for the un-expecting tourist stumbling across any festival will be just as memorable. In the small town of El Gastor in Southern Spain, the locals celebrate Ruta de la Luna Llena (the Full Moon Route). On the night of a full moon, locals from all over the region prepare food on BBQs outside their houses and placed on long tables in the streets. They are to give free food to anyone wandering by and the festive atmosphere will last until the early hours. The town of Baza has a similar festival on the 1st of May where everyone prepares a huge paella in the main square. These are events that cannot be found in travel guides. Evidently, they are the result of very tight-knit communities and are a rare find for the culturally curious tourist. This is not likely to happen if you plan to visit some of the more tourist dominated towns and cities in Spain.

Exploring the Beauty of Greece

In May, the popular islands such as Crete, Rhodes and Corfu are beautiful, but for a more peaceful and traditional experience, head for the smaller islands or the Greek mainland. The island of Kefalonia is a place of unspoilt, natural beauty. It is not a tourist-dominated island and it is perfect for exploration. Take a map and drive around, get lost and take in the stunning views. Visit the castle at Assos and then head to the beach for a swim. In the evenings, find a traditional taverna and enjoy an authentic Greek meal. The island is stunning and a perfect place to relax. The nearby island of Ithaca is accessible by a short ferry ride and has similar charm. Legend has it that this is the birthplace of Homer’s Ulysses. A perfect setting for a wanderer in search of adventure.

Greece has always been a classic tourist destination. From the Romans to the British – most of Europe has, at some point, ventured to this seemingly magical country to take in its history and culture. The good news is, with the summer well on its way, May is the perfect time to visit Greece. Temperatures have reached a pleasant warmth, but it is not yet too hot. The streets are alive and yet the cities and islands are not overrun with tourists.

Vibrant Festivals in Spain

The festivals of Spain are an integral part of the country. They are a way of life and a reflection of Spanish folklore and culture. A festival can be found in some corner of Spain for almost every week of the year and you are able to experience everything from religious processions and fervent expressions of local identity to explosive, extravagant fiestas. The Spanish are a sociable, extrovert people and the majority of the festivals are community-based and inclusive, and everyone, foreigner and local, are welcome. A few festival highlights are Fallas in Valencia, famous for its fire festival where humongous papier-mache statues are set alight and there are continuous processions and dancing in local costume. La Tomatina, also in Valencia, is a festival purely for fun. It is essentially a massive tomato fight in the streets and it attracts thousands of visitors every year to experience this once-in-a-lifetime event. The fiesta of San Fermin is one of Spain’s more famous festivals and is popularly known as the running of the bulls. It takes place in Pamplona but its fame has spread worldwide and people come from across the globe to run through the streets in front of the bulls. This would take place in May and is a very unique Spanish cultural experience.

Charming Villages in Italy

In North Italy, located at the head of the Ossola Valley is the village of Vogogna. Vogogna is set beneath the magnificent backdrop of the Alps and is surrounded by beautiful forests and meadows. This village is of particular historical interest possessing the Val Bognanco region which was under the jurisdiction of the Visconti family and was later exchanged to the Borromeo family in 1539. Today, Vogogna still maintains some of its medieval castle and Visconti government house.

Tucked away in the hills of Tuscany is the fairytale village of Montefioralle. Regarded as the most ancient and unchanged village in Chianti, it is still enclosed in its original walls and is considered as a Tuscan Heritage site. This tiny village is a peaceful retreat yet hosts many popular events such as the annual wine festival “Vino al Vino”.

Another charming village virtually unknown to tourists is Brisighella, located in the northern region of Emilia Romagna. This medieval village still retains much of its original shape, set under an imposing 13th-century manor and the shrine of the Baccagnano. An improbable feature of Brisighella is the continuous covered walkway which links the Clock tower with the Osservanza and the Monticino churches. This ancient cobblestoned path constructed in 1310 was built to allow the ruling Manfredi family to move freely and under cover to the fortress in times of political instability.

A few charming Italian villages include Ravello, Positano and Amalfi. These villages can be found on the Amalfi coast, overlooking the Mediterranean Sea. With architecture full of terraces and courtyards, and the view, it is no wonder these villages are so popular with tourists. They have adapted to tourism well and offer a number of hotels, and are within easy reach of Naples and Salerno.

Nestled adorably on top of lush green mountains or snuggled in tranquil valleys, Italy’s small villages are a glimpse into the country’s past with their narrow alleys, stepped lanes, and medieval buildings. Dubbed “borghi” in Italian, these villages are often designed to blend harmoniously into the surrounding environment. With a change in travel trends, these small Italian villages are quickly becoming popular with tourists as they seek a relaxing, simple experience away from the hustle and bustle of Italy’s larger cities. However, once arriving in these villages, tourists may feel that it is not foreign at all – it will remind them of something out of a fairytale, home.

Exotic Asian Destinations

R1- Japan: Japan is an island country in East Asia located in the northwest Pacific Ocean. It is bordered by the Sea of Japan to the west and extends from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south. Japan is the eleventh most populous country in the world and with visitor numbers already dropping last year due to the pandemic and would continue to do so well into the next half year, making it a safe choice for the pandemic-wary travelers. Japan had a splendid culture with a style of architecture, arts, crafts, dances, and music, from the ancient period which have the peculiar characteristics and thus are the markers of its culture ever since. Japanese food leans heavily on the use of fresh, seasonal vegetables, fresh fish, noodles, and rice, so the majority of the tourists would not have a problem adjusting to their traditional food, at the same time tourists can also find restaurants serving other dishes that cater to their preferences. Japan has always been known for high cleanliness and hygiene standards in public areas and tourist facilities, and this is thus the reason Japan would be considered as a cleaner and safer destination even in the post-pandemic world. This can also lead to Japan being a safe country in these worrying times with a good healthcare system. So overall Japan is a safe bet for a place to visit in post-COVID and thus is worth considering for next year’s travel.

Have you ever had a dream? A dream to visit a land that is rich in heritage, blessed with virgin natural beauty and vibrant cultures, where the journey from the ultra-modern with keeping a perfect poise with its ancient values has been a way of life! That dream and aspiration brings the travelers to the lands of Asia, a continent of great diversity, where a modern facade has built over a bedrock of the ancient. Asia is the world’s largest and most populous continent. Covering 8.6% of the Earth’s total surface area (29.4% of its land area) and with approximately 4 billion people, it hosts 60% of the world’s current human population. Asia has a vast variety of travel destinations, there are many countries to visit, so why Japan, Thailand, India, and Indonesia and the reason I am not touching China, Koreas, and SE Asia is because a post-Covid world would still be wary of visiting places that were the epicenters of a disease and many others would rather avoid the paranoia of a resurgence of a similar or different disease. So Japan, Thailand, India, and Indonesia though all having past issues of the pandemic, are the countries that are worth considering visiting for beauty, culture, food, and hospitality in a world after the pandemic.

Cultural Wonders of Japan

The Japanese are passionate about their culture and very proud of it. It is certainly one of the most unique in the world, despite being influenced by many other cultures. They have managed to create their own culture that differentiates them from the rest of the world and Asia. One might say the Japanese are a rare breed and it’s likely the culture and society are a huge factor in what makes them so. There is no shortage of culture throughout the country and there are many modern and traditional cultural attractions for tourists to visit. Japan is rich in culture, tradition, and history that is reflected in many modern and traditional cultural attractions and events. One of the best times to view Japanese traditions and culture is during the spring months when the cherry blossoms (sakura) are in full bloom throughout Japan. Hanami, or cherry blossom viewing, is a long-standing Japanese tradition and is held all over Japan during the spring. The cherry blossoms are part of the fabric of Japanese culture, and the Japanese are very fond of the cherry blossoms, which is somewhat of a symbolic flower to them. This is because of their short-lived beauty, which is comparable to the transient nature of life. The beauty of the cherry blossoms and their tendency to bloom en masse and then fall from the trees has often been associated with mortality and graceful and natural death.

Tropical Paradise in Thailand

One of the best 10 countries in the world to escape to is Thailand. Thailand’s location is in Southeast Asia, and neighboring countries include Malaysia, Burma, Laos, and Cambodia. This destination is the number 1 holiday destination, as it provides something for everyone with tasty food, a lovely tropical climate, and a fascinating culture. Specifically, in May 2024, visitors can experience the beginning of the Green Season where rain will occur after lunch until the evening. However, it doesn’t last all day, so there are still plenty of chances to do outdoor activities. On the other hand, Thailand is the only Southeast Asian country to never be colonized by a European power, and this has helped in preserving much of its heritage from the impacts of globalization. This can be seen from the rich culture which is not only in Thailand’s architecture, clothing, and other material culture but in the way Thais behave. Thailand is also a tropical country and is replete with magnificent Buddhist temples, most of which are classified as wats – the standard Thai term for temple. Thailand’s main attractions are able to provide foreigners an unforgettable experience. First of all, visitors often consider the food as one of the highlights of their trip, as there is a plentiful variety of street food, traditional Thai cuisine, and foreign food. Secondly, it has been mentioned before that Thailand has a rich culture, and this can be seen through their traditional Thai dance shows and martial arts also known as muay thai – usually happening at night in theater or bar. Foreigners always find a way to blend with Thais and join the dance at the end of the show. Thirdly, it has to be the tropical beaches and islands. Visiting tourists are pretty much spoiled for choice. They can choose to head to the Andaman Sea to visit the famous Phi Phi Islands or Krabi. On the other side of the peninsula is the Gulf of Thailand, with the popular tourist hotspots Koh Samui, Koh Phangnan, and Koh Tao. Beach activities usually involve diving, snorkeling, sunbathing, and for the more adventurous, it might involve rock climbing up sea cliffs at places like Krabi, or even trekking to find some hidden beaches like Laem Singh beach at Phuket when the tide is low.

Rich History of India

India is an ancient land, which is reflected in its varying cultures, traditions, and vibrant festivals. India is the birthplace of four of the world’s major religions – Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, and Sikhism. There is also a great cultural heritage that can be seen, which has continued through the ages from the Harappa civilization to the present day. India’s history and culture are dynamic, spanning back to the beginning of human civilization. It begins with a mysterious culture along the Indus River and in farming communities in the southern lands of what is now Pakistan. The history of India is punctuated by constant integration of migrating people with the diverse cultures that surround India. Available evidence suggests that the use of iron, copper, and other metals has been used in this land and people have flourished for well over a million years. Findings of Dolmens from South India to as far as the northern reaches of South Asia are a standing testimony to the fact that India has been closely connected with various cultures of the western world.

Serene Beaches of Bali

Bali is undoubtedly the quintessential beach paradise for holidaymakers seeking solace and refuge from city life. The island offers mesmerizing beaches, compelling culture, and exotic beauty, guaranteeing a holiday escape that suits all walks of life. Bali is surprisingly not sheer endless beaches, although this has long been what Bali is famous for. There are dynamic coastlines, with stark cliffs dropping into the crashing waves and a few isolated coves with golden sand. The beaches of Bali are special, and each has its own characteristics, and the location of Bali means that the beaches are quite different depending on whether they are on the west or east coasts. For swimming and sunbathing, the white sandy beaches of the southern Bukit Peninsula are particularly enticing. A visit to the beach is a major part of the whole Bali experience, and certain areas have developed for tourists. Kuta has certainly become famous for its sunsets and its white sandy beach. Sanur has embraced tourism, but Tanjung Benoa is more indicative of a real Balinese fishing village. High on almost every tourist’s list is a visit to the well-known beach of Kuta. It is on the west coast of Bali and is known for its party atmosphere and, of course, infamous traffic jams. However, it does have some of the best waves in the world for surfing. With a reef break, the waves are fast and tubular and are frequented by surfers from all over the world from sunrise to sunset. This is the perfect place to watch or to try it out for yourself. Make sure to swim between the flags to avoid dangerous currents, as the waves can get quite big. A little up the coast is the more subdued Legian, an area that blends into Seminyak, which is the perfect place to catch a glimpse of Bali’s famous sunsets. Bali’s east coast is an entire world away from the pace and development of the South. Agung, Bali’s highest and most revered mountain, dominates the surrounding land, giving way to a more traditional, cultural, and scenic side of Bali. The white sandy beachside village of Candidasa is the gateway to the beautiful east coast. Full of royal palaces, temples, and places of historical interest, Candidasa is also a great place to base yourself to explore Bali’s stunning and less visited east coast. Accommodation offers a good mix of budgets, and if you can visit in April, you might just be lucky enough to catch a performance of the famous Legong dance. At the bottom of Mount Agung is Padang Bai and the Blue Lagoon, a perfect spot for snorkeling and diving as the area has been untouched by mass tourism. Trekking up north and climbing, you will find yourself in Amed and a view that will take your breath away. A strip of simple fishing villages with breathtaking views of the ocean, Amed is fast becoming a top place to stay and dine when in the east. The drive beyond Amed to the village of Tenganan is a special treat. Tenganan is a village where Bali Aga people live, and you can walk through the village to see where they make the famous double ikat textiles, which are only produced here and in Japan. Tenganan has a particularly unique compound layout and is bound by a communal belief in the god Indra. The village is now primarily a tourist attraction, but it is still a great way to spend a day conversing with the indigenous people and admiring their craft. The winding roads of the east will eventually take you to one of Bali’s holiest places and the most easterly point, Pura Luhur Lempuyang. This group of temples perched high in the mountains is a scenic wonder and a refreshing change from the beach. A final stop on the trip has to be Padang Bai’s neighbor, the beach and village of Pantai Silayukti. This picture-perfect location is a great way to spend the day swimming, snorkeling, or just laying on the sand.

Adventurous Escapes

One of the best ways to experience a different country is by immersing yourself in adventure. Whether it’s taking a speedy swoop down the coral coast on a quad bike or taking a whirl in a jet boat, New Zealand has an activity to get your blood pumping. South Africa is an exquisite location if you love animals and a little bit of luxury. It offers some amazing safari experiences where you can get up close and personal with the country’s wonderful wildlife. Canada is renowned for its stunning scenery, and what better way to experience it than by taking a hike through the many national parks, each one offering a diverse landscape to the last but all with one thing in common: breathtaking views and some great trails. With many countries to choose from, you’re never short of places for incredible adventures, but New Zealand, South Africa, and Canada certainly offer some of the best. New Zealand is a place where you can do things you couldn’t do anywhere else. There are many activities in unique surroundings, from black water rafting in underground caves to snowshoeing through remote high country stations. But if you’re after adrenaline and something to get the heart racing, New Zealand has an endless list of extreme activities. Dubai might be the world’s golfing capital and the Maldives might have perfected the romantic hideaway, but nothing beats New Zealand for adventure credentials.

Thrilling Safari in South Africa

Explore the life of the jungles in its most natural form by visiting the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park and the Kalahari Gemsbok National Park, which is a home to the migratory wildebeest and springbok between South Africa and Botswana. The Kruger National Park is an enormous wildlife reserve that is home to the Big 5 – lion, leopard, buffalo, rhino, and elephant, as well as impala, giraffe, and many more. South Africa boasts a world of wildlife experiences, and it is here that you will find an animal encounter to remember, whether it is whale watching, viewing meerkats, visiting a monkey sanctuary, or being daring and going great white shark cage diving. This destination is perfect for anyone wanting a once-in-a-lifetime wildlife experience in a truly diverse and scenic environment. Exhilarating outdoor fun can be expected and found in Drakensberg – South Africa’s highest mountain range. With basalt peaks and clean rivers, it is an adventure and nature lover’s paradise. Hike, bike, horse ride, and row your way around the numerous and well-mapped trails. Hot air ballooning and helicopter flips can also be arranged for a special scenic view of the area. Drakensberg is a place of rich culture, age-old San rock art, and best of all, adventure activities. So for those craving a bit of excitement to accompany their relaxation, an elephant back safari, river rafting, quad biking, and canopy tours are also available in the area.

Majestic Landscapes of New Zealand

A country full of natural wonders, New Zealand is a destination that will not disappoint. However, its scenic beauty and tranquility may be the perfect escape for those seeking relaxation and peace of mind. A perfect locale for anyone trying to escape their busy life, New Zealand has a little something for everyone, though it is most famous for its clean, green landscapes. New Zealand’s warmest months are December, January, and February. Mid-summer temperatures range from 20-30°C (70-90°F), and in winter between 10-15°C (50-60°F). The climate is ideal for outdoor adventures with plenty of sunshine, mild temperatures, and moderate rainfall. High snowfall in the winter makes for great skiing and snowboarding. For the adventurous traveler, New Zealand is the perfect playground. The rugged mountains, forests, rivers, and lakes present many opportunities for adrenaline-fueled fun. Whether on land, water, or in the air, you’re never far from a unique experience. And with stunning landscapes and coastline, New Zealand is a photographer’s dream.

Breathtaking Hikes in Canada

Another famous hiking area in Canada lies 6 hours drive North of Toronto within the heartland of Ontario. The area is called Killarney and it is often considered to be the crown jewel of Ontario’s provincial parks. Killarney is famous for its pink granite hills and its many pristine freshwater lakes. The La Cloche Silhouette trail takes hikers in a loop around the park where there are many spectacular views and some of the best wildlife watching in Canada. It is not an uncommon sight in Killarney to see a bull moose wandering along the trail. Owing to its central location and great diversity in ecosystem, a hiking trip in Killarney can be combined with a canoe trip in the neighboring French River park for a complete outdoor experience.

The Canadian Rocky Mountains are renowned by hikers as being North America’s most majestic range. These peaks are wild and rugged and offer some of the finest alpine hiking in the world. The Rockies are comprised of an intricate system of provincial and national parks that have been designated as UNESCO World Heritage sites so as to preserve their natural beauty. The Kananaskis and Lake Louise areas offer day hikers and backpackers a rich variety of experiences, from gentle hikes to raging whitewater. The Tonquin Valley located just North of Jasper is a wilderness enthusiasts’ paradise where one can hike for days and see no one other than the marmots and the pika. With access being easy and the trails being plentiful, the Canadian Rockies represent perhaps the best hiking experience in Canada. The world’s second largest country, Canada, is filled with enormous green landscapes and peaks that stretch high into the sky. Canada has become a hotspot for hiking and trekking enthusiasts simply because of every bit of fun this country offers. Whether it’s the wildlife, or the mountain air, or the amiable nature of the Canadians – something beyond just the hiking keeps people coming back for more.