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25 Best Places To Visit In Europe In May

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May is a wonderful time to visit most of Europe. The sun is shining and feels warm on your skin. The grass is green, flowers have bloomed, and patios have started to open. There is a feeling of expectation and excitement that the thought of summer brings. However, the crowds have yet to arrive. It is still considered shoulder season so you should be able to find lots of deals on flights and hotels. In other words, you get the best of all worlds – beautiful temperatures, travel savings, and the opportunity to visit stunning historical sites or walk along beaches without jostling for space. So where should you go? You have a lot of amazing choices! Here are the 25 best places to visit in Europe in May.

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Other Destinations

You may still be tossing around ideas about where or when you want to travel. In case you haven’t quite decided, here are a list of other destinations that would be ideal at different times of the year.

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Best Places To Visit In Europe In May

I have asked some of the best travel bloggers for their recommendations for the best places to visit in Europe in May. Below you will see why each destination is a fantastic place to go and what weather you can expect. If there are annual events or festivals that make it an even better destination in May, then those are mentioned as well. In addition, if someone stayed or knows of a a fabulous hotel, that has been included.

best places to visit in Europe in May
Provence, France (Photo courtesy of Nadine from Le Long Weekend)

Provence, France

By Nadine from Le Long Weekend

The South of France is a beautiful place to visit at any time of the year, but come May, the landscape puts on a special kind of show. Poppies bloom in every empty field, crack in the pavement, and between the ochre-coloured stones of ancient village houses. The poppies are joined by delicate almond blossoms, and vibrant yellow rapeseed, creating a spectacle for the senses. It’s a true delight to witness, like something straight from a Van Gogh painting.

Besides the flowers, May is the ideal time to hike the region’s trails, including those in the incredible Calanques National Park which are studded with stunning beaches and breathtaking vistas.

Visit the bustling farmer’s markets which are brimming with fresh spring produce and locally made artisanal items. Explore the hilltop villages of the Luberon that aren’t yet overtaken by tourists, and which offer a true insight into what life in Provence used to look like.

May is also an excellent time to visit the Camargue, as visiting Flamingos are in high numbers at this time of year. If you can, try to time your visit with the annual festival held in Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer and witness religious processions in the streets, or the Lubéron Jazz Festival which is held later in the month.

Weather And Directions

The weather in May is typically sunny & warm, with daytime temperatures averaging around 72°F.

The main airport in Provence is in Marseille, with incoming flights from all over the globe. Alternatively, you can get the TGV high-speed train from Park to Avignon, Aix-en-Provence, or Marseille and continue your journey by car, private transport or train.

Hotel Recommendation

Nadine says, “If you’re looking for somewhere truly special to stay, look no further than La Bastide de Marie which is situated in the Luberon and ideally located for exploring the region’s villages, poppy fields and vineyards.”

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Krakow, Poland

By Martha from May Cause Wanderlust

Kraków is one of the best places to visit in Europe in May for many reasons. The weather is very pleasant with lots of sunshine, but not so hot to be overwhelming when exploring the city. May avoids peak season, so there’s less likely to be crowds at the main attractions.

In addition, there are several amazing festivals in Kraków to attend in May including the Kraków International Film Festival, Kraków Month of Photography Festival and Juwenalia Student Festival where for a few days, the city is transformed into one big party.

And finally, Kraków is a really vibrant city with a rich history and buzzy nightlife. There are a staggering amount of things to do in Kraków.  These include exploring the old town, which is an UNESCO World Heritage site. Its main square, Rynek Glowny, is incredibly pretty and the largest medieval town centre in Europe.

Consider walking Planty Park, a gorgeous belt of green surrounding the old town. It really adds a sense of freshness to the city. Take a tram ride out to Podgorze neighbourhood, which has several memorials to the victims of the Holocaust. There are also museums about those who helped, such as Oscar Schindler, whose enamel factory was here. At the end of the day, watch the sunset over the River Vistula and Wawel castle.

As well as these activities, you could take day trips out of the city. For example, the Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum is only 1.5 hours away by bus. This is a difficult place to visit but one that is important to see if you wish to understand the horrors of WWII and the Holocaust.

In addition, the Wieliczka Salt Mine is an extraordinary destination where you will see works of art crafted from and into the walls of a salt mine.

Weather And Directions

To get to Kraków, you can fly into Kraków’s John Paul II International Airport, which is approximately 20 minutes’ drive to Kraków city centre, or Katowice Airport, which is more like an hour and 20 minutes. There are also direct trains from Berlin, Vienna, Prague, Budapest, Bratislava, and Kiev.

Average day temperatures are 68 degrees Fahrenheit with lots of sunshine.

Hotel Recommendation

For old world charm with an exceptional breakfast in an amazing location on the main square, consider Hotel Wentzl.

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best places to visit in Europe in may
Santorini, Greece (Photo courtesy of Kerry from Vegg Travel)

Santorini, Greece

By Kerry from Vegg Travel

Santorini, the iconic volcanic Greek island, is stunning and one of the best places to visit in Europe in May.

There are several “must do’s” to add to your Santorini Itinerary. Firstly, catch the beautiful sunset over the Caldera. While the town of Oia is the most famous place to watch this with the pretty houses and blue dome churches, it is usually horribly overcrowded. Visiting in May means you’ve got a much better chance of seeing the sunset in peace.

Secondly, take a boat trip to the volcanic crater and hot springs in the middle of the ocean and learn about how this intriguing island was formed.

Finally, take a journey to the Akrotiri lighthouse on the southern tip of the island for incredible views. The drive is spectacular. You go through traditional Greek villages and pass several of the famous beaches – Red beach and White beach – tempting you to stop and lounge the day away.

Santorini isn’t a cheap island and staying anywhere with a Caldera view can be expensive. Visiting slightly out of season means that you will get much better prices on accommodation and flights, as well as fewer crowds and less intense weather.

Weather And Directions

In May, the weather is beginning to heat up and you can expect an average temperature of around 75 degrees Fahrenheit. You don’t even need to worry too much about rain as on average Santorini only has 3 days of rain in the whole month of May.

There is only one airport on the island and it’s easy to organise transfers, pick up taxis or rent a car to your hotel. Santorini is small, so you won’t spend longer than an hour driving from the airport to the other side of the island.

Hotel Recommendation

Kerry says, “Consider staying in Imerovigli which has some of the best sunset views in the island and which is relatively central for easy travel around the island. The Regina Mare adults only hotel has beautiful modern rooms, a great pool, top room delivered breakfast and fantastic staff.”

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best places to visit in May in Europe
Berlin, Germany (Photo courtesy of Ali From Berlin Travel Tips)

Berlin, Germany

By Ali from Berlin Travel Tips

Berlin really starts coming back to life in the spring, so May is one of the best months to visit. The weather is finally getting warm but usually isn’t too hot yet. This is important in a city with very little air conditioning!

Berlin is gorgeous in May, and early in the month you can see cherry blossom trees around the city. One of the best places for cherry blossoms is the park near the Lichterfelde Süd Sbahn station where tons of them were planted along the former border between West Berlin and East Germany. Or for someplace a little closer to the center of the city, check out the areas near Mauerpark and near the Bornholmer Str Sbahn station.

Since it’s shoulder season, you can visit the places on your Berlin bucket list without crowds. The weather in May means you should have a pleasant time doing so.

Check out the TV Tower, which gives you great views of the city from above. Then wander west to Museum Island, a Unesco World Heritage Site, where some of the most important museums in Berlin are located. The Berlin Cathedral is also located here. It’s still a functioning church, but you can take a tour and climb to the top for views.

Next check out Brandenburg Gate, which once stood at the border between East and West Berlin. Today it symbolizes unity. Beyond the gate is Tiergarten park where spring bloom will be in full force if you’re visiting in May.

Weather And Directions

The temperatures in May are often in the 60s during the day and 50s or a bit lower at night. You’ll get plenty of sunny days, but come prepared for the possibility of rain.

The BER airport is located about 16 miles from central Berlin. Since public transportation is extensive and easy to use, your best option is to take the train. The airport express train (FEX) and the regional trains RB14 and RE7 reach several stations in central Berlin in 20-40 minutes.

Hotel Recommendation

Ali says, “The 25Hours Hotel in Charlottenburg overlooks the Berlin Zoo. Its 10th floor bar is called Monkey Bar and is a popular spot for a cocktail because of the gorgeous views of the Zoo.”

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best destinations in Europe in May
Budva, Montenegro (Photo courtesy of Anya from The Road Is Calling)

Budva, Montenegro

By Anya from The Road Is Calling

Budva is known as a beach holiday destination. However, to experience the cultural and scenic side of Budva without crowds, you should plan your trip in May.

It is the most popular location in Montenegro for the impeccable purity of the water and gorgeous beaches. In addition, it has a well-thought-out and well-developed tourist infrastructure.

Here, you’ll find absolutely everything you need for a full and interesting vacation – an 11-km wide coastline made up of sand and pebbles, many hotels and villas for every budget, an abundance of restaurants, bars and entertainment venues, sports centers, and quirky shops. At the same time, this city has its own Old Town with medieval charm.

In addition, Budva is a fantastic home base to explore the entire country at your own pace. There are many road trips that start there and in May, you can avoid the traffic on local roads that sometimes clogs the streets.

Consider driving 30 minutes to Kotor to see the old medieval town totally surrounded by fortified walls. It is a UNESCO World Heritage site that is filled with winding cobblestone paths, medieval architecture and historic monuments.

Alternatively, drive 50 minutes to Lake Skadar National Park, a stunning lake shared by Montenegro and Albania. It is the largest lake in Southern Europe with the largest bird reserve in Europe.

Take a boat from Budva or Kotor and explore the Bay of Kotor with incredible fjords, and sunbathe. At the end of May, when the sea temperature is around 68F degrees, you can even swim. 

Weather And Directions

The average daytime temperature in Budva in May is usually 75F degrees (although in the second part of the month it can even reach 86F) and at night it drops to 50-55F. That, in turn, makes days pleasant for excursions and going to the beach.

The best way to reach Budva is by car or public bus from Podgorica or Tivat. Both these cities have international airports and accept visitors on a daily basis. Since Montenegro is a very small country, distances are very short too. It takes only 1 hour to drive from Podgorica and half an hour to reach Budva from Tivat.

Hotel Recommendation

Anya says, “As for the hotel, a 5-star Dukley Hotel & Resort is one of the best places to stay. It is located in a secluded area in Budva, overlooking the sea. And its private sandy beach is only 1 minute away.”

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best places to visit in May in Europe
Scottish Highlands, Scotland (Photo courtesy Kris from Travel Hacker Girl)

Scottish Highlands, Scotland

By Krix from Travel Hacker Girl

The Scottish Highlands are any nature lover’s paradise. It’s wild landscapes, majestic scenery, picturesque fishing villages and medieval castles will take your breath away.

The Highlands are known worldwide for their whisky distilleries. There are 47 to be exact, so you have plenty of choices. Most of them offer tours, where the guides are on hand to walk you through the intricacies of whisky making. They even give you tasters. Strathearn Distillery, Glen Ord Distillery and Edradour Distilleryare are just a few good examples of Scottish Distilleries offering informative tours.

Of course, there is no trip to the Highlands without visiting a medieval castle. Urquhart Castle has a visitor centre and the tower offers great views of Loch Ness and the surrounding area. Alternatively, you can go for a boat ride to search for the famous Nessie Monster.

May is the best time to visit the Scottish Highlands as you are more likely to encounter the best weather conditions Scotland has to offer. In addition, you will be able to avoid the nasty midges. They are tiny flying insects that bite and appear from June-August.

Because wild camping is legal in Scotland a lot of people rent a camper van and tour. Spaceships is a good company with several motorhomes. Just make sure to pack your wild camping equipment as you can also stay at regular campsites along the way.

Directions And Weather

You can fly into Edinburgh or Inverness Airport and then rent a car to explore all that the area has to offer.

Scotland is not exactly famous for its sunny weather. As the old saying goes, ‘there’s no such thing as bad weather, only the wrong clothes!’ So be prepared for some rain and cool temperatures ranging from 45°F to 55°F during May.

best places to travel to in Europe in May
Florence, Italy (Photo courtesy of Pamela from The Directionally Challenged Traveler)

Florence, Italy

By Pamela from The Directionally Challenged Traveler

The perfect time to travel to the idyllic city of Florence is in May. The weather is lovely and there are also a lot of festivals that take place in the city. From May Day celebration on the first of the month to the month-long arts and music festival Maggio Musicale Fiorentino.

Florence is one of the most beautiful cities in Europe. Also, it has been named one of the world’s best places to live by Lonely Planet, CNN, and Forbes.

There are plenty of things to do in Florence including enjoying beautiful art and architecture, and delicious food and wine.

Art lovers will enjoy visiting famous museums like the Uffizi Gallery, Museo dell’Opera del Duomo, Palazzo Pitti, Galleria degli Uffizi, and others. The famous David by Michelangelo is found in the Accademia Gallery. Many of these museums and art galleries are stunningly beautiful themselves.

In addition, as you walk around the city, you will easily stumble upon beautiful churches that you can explore like San Lorenzo, Santa Croce, Santissima Annunziata, and more.

If you want to experience real Italian life, you should go to Mercato Centrale. It dates back to when Florence was the capital of Italy in the late 19th century. You’ll find a wide array of food – including handmade pasta and cheeses. While the food is at the center of the market, you will also hear Italian music playing and artwork on display throughout the market. 

Weather And Directions

In May, the temperatures are warm, around mid-to-high 60’s Fahrenheit, and the crowds are minimal.

Most people visit Florence by flying into Pisa International Airport or Fiumicino Airport in Rome and driving or taking the train to Florence.

Hotel Recommendation

Pamela says, “Since you’ll be exploring a lot in the city, your accommodation should be in a great location. The Hotel Bigallo is located across the street from the breathtaking Basilica, right in the center of Florence.”

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Korcula Island, Croatia

By Martina from Places Of Juma

Korcula Island in Croatia is definitely one of the most beautiful and worthwhile places to see in Europe, especially in May. Most visitors come from June to August to spend their summer vacations. However, in May, you will experience a quiet atmosphere. You will find breathtaking beaches and natural bays, and enchanting villages and old towns. Accommodation is also much cheaper than summer.

The absolute highlight is Korcula town with its historic fortified old town that is on the Unesco World Heritage List. Visitors love its medieval charm. Thanks to its walls and towers, it is often referred to as “little Dubrovnik”.

The numerous beautiful beaches are another highlight and the reason why Korcula Island is so special in Europe. You can already spend great beach days from the end of April-beginning of May. From sandy beaches to pebbly coves and rocky beaches, there is a wide range of places to explore and swim.

Korcula is a true paradise for those who want to feel the warmth of the sun and the lovely waters in the Adriatic Sea.

Weather And Directions

In May, the weather is lovely at approximately 73F.

Korcula Island is located in the Dalmatia region and can be easily reached by ferry from Split on the mainland. From the airport Zračna luka Split-Kaštela, you take a bus or the taxi to the Split Ferry Port (35 minutes) and then a ferry to the island (3 hours).

Hotel Recommendation

Martina says, “One of the most beautiful resorts on the island is Lumbarda, a pretty vacation resort for wine lovers. On the sandy hills above the sea, some of the best wines on Korcula are produced there.

Another option is Tara’s Lodge Hotel directly on the beach and with a beautiful outdoor pool.”

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best places to go to in Europe in May
Valletta, Malta (Photo courtesy of Ben From Ticket 4 Two Please)

Valletta, Malta

By Ben From Ticket 4 Two Please

Valletta, the European Union’s smallest capital city, may be small in size, but it is vast in culture and history. 

With approximately 2 million tourists visiting the Maltese islands every year, it is important to arrive in the country at a time when you are going to get the most from it. For this, visiting Valletta in May is a great option. 

There are several must-see places to enjoy in Europe’s 2018 Capital of Culture, but you should start in the Upper Barrakka Gardens. Twice daily (Midday and 4pm) throughout May, the Saluting Battery tradition of greeting international shipping vessels is upheld. A single cannon is fired across the harbour to offer a uniquely Maltese welcome. It makes for an excellent introduction to Maltese life. 

As Valletta is less than 1km wide and only 1.5km long, it is fairly easy to explore the entire city on foot. In May, the temperatures won’t be too high so you will be able to navigate the cobbled, steep city streets without getting too hot and tired. Start your walk at the top of Valletta at the New City Gate and head down towards Fort St Elmo on the coast. This route will take you past many of Valletta’s architectural highlights. 

Finally, you wouldn’t be paying a true visit to the Maltese archipelago without heading out to sea. There are numerous daily boat excursions setting sail from Valletta that take you out to the stunning Blue Lagoon. In May, the weather is calm enough to enjoy the sail over to the Island of Comino, but without the multitude of boats that make the journey in July and August. 

Valletta is one of the forgotten places to visit in Europe and May is the perfect time to take advantage of this.

Directions And Weather

Luqa International Airport is the only airport that serves the Maltese Islands. From the airport, it is a 20-minute drive to the centre of Valletta. A well populated taxi-stand and several bus options make it relatively simple to get to the heart of Valletta from the airport. 

The average temperature for Malta in May is around 77 Fahrenheit. Accordingly, you will be able to experience the famous Mediterranean warmth without it being too hot to explore. However, your packing list for Malta and Gozo should always include something to keep you warm in the cooler evenings. 

best destinations to travel in May in Europe
San Sebastian, Spain (Photo courtesy of Kat From Biker Girl Life)

San Sebastian, Spain

By Kat From Biker Girl Life

If you’re looking for one of the best places to visit in Europe in May, then head to San Sebastien in Spain

This vibrant city is wonderful in May. It’s the perfect weather to explore the city, full of small winding streets, great bars, jazz music, fashionable shops and jazz – lots and lots of jazz! There are also some wonderful beaches and great hikes in the area.

One of the best things about visiting in May is the Olatu-Talka Festival, which usually takes place the last weekend in May. This local festival was started in 2010 as a way for the city to become a European Cultural Capital.  

The festival was such a success that the locals decided to make it an annual event (and the city is now a Capital of European Culture)!

Each year, the format of the festival changes. People send their suggestions and ideas to the organisers, who then choose the best ones. Concerts, workshops, markets and local fairs are set up across the city. Locals are encouraged to take part and showcase any hidden talents- it’s a fun atmosphere and there’s so much to see over the weekend.

Whilst you’re in the area, be sure to catch the funicular cable car on Ondarreta beach. You can go up to the top of Mount Igueldo, where you can enjoy fantastic views over the harbour, the town and the Bay of Biscay. There’s also an amusement park with a roller coaster, water rides and bumper cars.

For surfing and good beaches, head to La Zurriola right in the heart of San Sebastian. Alternatively, try Mundaka just along the coast, which holds international surfing competitions. 

Lastly, don’t miss the chance to wander around the historic old town, Parte Vieja. If you’re motorcycling in Spain, you can take advantage of the free parking. There are plenty of narrow cobblestone streets, tapas bars, restaurants, shops, churches and galleries to explore.

Weather And Directions

San Sebastian is lovely in May, with an average temperature of 65 degrees Fahrenheit and around 13 hours of sunshine each day.

The nearest airport is Biarritz Pays Basque Airport, only 32km from the city. Bilbao is also quite close, at just 117km.

Hotel Recommendation

Kat says, “Hotel de Londres y de Inglaterra is an excellent choice which is right on the seafront.”

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best places to visit in Europe in May
Prague, Czech Republic (Photo courtesy of Samantha from The Wandering Wanderluster)

Prague, Czech Republic

By Samantha from The Wandering Wanderluster

The month of May is a wonderful month to travel in Europe. Prague, in the Czech Republic is a beautiful city and one of the best places to visit in Europe in May when the city is in full spring bloom.

Peak tourist season begins in June, so by visiting in May you’ll not only benefit from shoulder season hotel and flight prices but comfortable temperatures. It is an ideal time for strolling around the city in a light jacket and taking in the sights with fewer crowds. There is so much to see and do.

May is known as the most romantic month of the year in the Czech Republic. On the 1st of May, couples celebrate the Czech version of Valentine’s Day. It is tradition to kiss for good luck under a blossoming cherry tree. While the spring cherry blossoms in Prague typically bloom in March and April, it is not unusual to see the trees across Petrin Hill and in many of the parks still flourishing in early May. 

May also marks the beginning of the festival season, when many of the bars and restaurants officially open their outdoor seating areas. Enjoy a gastronomical experience while appreciating the spired skyline from a rooftop bar or Villa Richter’s terrace amongst the growing vines. Take a shopping trip to a local farmers market along the river at Náplavka, a place where many food and family friendly festivals are often held throughout the month. 

Beer lovers will want to schedule their trip to coincide with the annual Czech beer festival that takes place in mid-May in Letna Park. It is a unique opportunity to try a variety of different beers from a number of breweries from all over the Czech Republic under one tent.

Weather And Directions

In May, expect temperatures in the mid 60s.

It is only a 30 minute drive from the airport to the center of Prague.

Hotel Recommendation

Samantha says, “Stay at the newly renovated Mosaic House Design Hotel to enjoy not only a comfortable and stylish stay but a central location. It is just minutes walk from top sights including the Dancing House, Náplavka River Side, and Nove Mesto shopping districy. In addition, it is a 10 minute walk to historic sights including the Old Town Square and Charles Bridge.”

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best places to travel to in Europe in May
Dijon, France (Photo courtesy of Leyla From Women On The Road)

Dijon, France

By Leyla from Women On The Road

Dijon is a stunning city with beautiful architecture and captivating history on every street. It is one of the best places to visit in May in Europe.

The most delightful thing to do in Dijon is follow the Dijon Owl’s Trail, a marked city route designed to guide you to its most worthwhile attractions. There are many including the architectural complex of the Palace of the Dukes of Burgundy. Consider sauntering along the winding cobblestoned streets and admire its half-timbered houses. A free shuttle bus will ferry you if your feet need a break.

An equally lovely stop is Les Halles, the city’s covered market (it is also one of the stops marked along the Owl’s Trail). The market has quite a history: it was almost razed in that crazy wave of “modernization” that hit many cities during the 1970s. Rather than ending up as a parking lot, it was listed as a National Monument and saved.

Dijon is known for its food so you’ll find plenty of local specialties to sample in the market, including great cheeses and meats. Grab a selection and head out to the Darcy Gardens for a picnic.

Dijon is also beautiful from above, and you’ll get a wonderful sense of it by climbing the 15th-century Philippe le Bon tower – all 316 steps of it. The tower itself is relatively plain, although several small statues dot the walls as you go up. You can stop and admire them while catching your breath.

Once you reach the top, you will feel the beautiful spring air. You will also see vibrant colors, such as the red roofs that stand out distinctly among the dozens of churches and manor houses, a reminder that Dijon was once the capital of Burgundy.

Two wonderful festivals take place in May within an hour’s drive of Dijon: Les Montgolfiades, a three-day hot air balloon extravaganza in Chalon-sur-Saône, and the Medieval Festival in Semur-en-Auxois, a pretty medieval town.

Despite the exciting attractions outside the city in May, Dijon will be difficult to leave.

Weather And Directions

In May, it is sunny at least a third of the time, with average temperatures of 63°F, although it can get distinctly warmer. The weather is perfect for walking around – which you’ll do a lot of in Dijon – but without the hordes of tourists that will ultimately descended upon the city in the summer.

Most people who arrive by air land in Paris or Lyon (two hours by train to Dijon) or Geneva, Switzerland, which takes a little longer.

Hotel Recommendation

Leyla says, “Vertigo Hotel is a cool, modern and very offbeat hotel right near the Porte Guillaume, a stone’s throw from the old town.”

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best places to go to in May in Europe
Budapest, Hungary (Photo courtesy of Kat from World Wide Honeymoon)

Budapest, Hungary

By Kat from World Wide Honeymoon

Budapest is one of the best places to visit in Europe in May. It is shoulder season which means you’ll face fewer tourists in the popular spots in the city, and hotel prices will likely be far lower than peak season. Also, the weather is a pleasant compromise between the cold winters and hot summers the city often sees.

Something you’ll have to do during a trip to Budapest is visit the bathhouses. These natural thermal baths are all over the city. They are the perfect thing to do whether you want to relax mid-day or party it up at night. Szechenyi Baths is easily the most popular and largest bathhouse in the city with ornate neo-Baroque architecture. Gellert is also very popular, and for a fun rooftop hot tub, visit Rudas Baths

You’ll also want to walk across the Chain Bridge and wander up to Fisherman’s Bastion on the Buda side of the Danube River. This scenic walk offers stunning views of the city.

To wrap up a perfect day in Budapest, you should catch a stunning sunset while sailing on the Danube river. Watch as the Hungarian Parliament Building and Fisherman’s Bastion light up and twinkle in the evening.

Budapest has quite a few festivals during the month of May that are fun to attend like the Gourmet Festival Budapest celebrating Hungarian food. In addition, Budapest Folk Fest is a four day festival dedicated to Hungarian folklore heritage.

Budapest is easily a must-visit destination for any European vacation, but in May, it is one of the best times to go.

Weather And Directions

With average temperatures hovering around 68-70ºF during the day and 50-57ºF at night, you’ll enjoy walking around the city in May.

This central European city is also easy to reach thanks to the Budapest Ferenc Liszt International Airport that is only 30 minutes away from downtown by car or public transport. 

Hotel Recommendation

Kat says, “For a fantastic stay in Budapest, the Continental Hotel Budapest has gorgeous rooms, a rooftop pool and terrace, and beautiful architecture.”

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best places to visit in May in Europe
Plitvice Lakes National Park, Croatia (Photo courtesy Anne from Packing Light Travel)

Plitvice Lakes National Park, Croatia

By Anne from Packing Light Travel

One of the best places to visit in Europe in May is the Unesco listed Plitvice Lakes National Park in Croatia. Water levels are at their highest, trees flaunt a variety of rich green hues, and spring-blooming plants add complementary colours to the landscape. Daytime temperatures make it very pleasant for hiking the many trails crisscrossing the park. In addition, there are fewer visitors compared to the busier summer months.

The distances from Zagreb or Split make a day trip possible, but the park is best appreciated with a two-day visit. You can explore the higher trails that offer stunning views and hike the more popular boardwalks and trails before and after day trippers arrive and depart. It also allows you to enter when the park opens and stay until it closes, with opportunities to photograph in various shades of light. There are 22 kilometres of trails throughout the lake system and an additional 36 kilometres of hiking trails.

One-day and two-day tickets are available online or at park entrances. During busier periods, online tickets may be sold out and therefore, not available at the entrances. The admission price includes transportation on the panoramic train and the electric boat on Lake Kozjak.

Weather And Directions

In May, daytime temperatures hover around 60 degrees Fahrenheit.

Two international airports place travellers within easy reach of the park. It is a leisurely 140-kilometre drive from Zagreb airport or 213-kilometres from Split airport.

Hotel Recommendation

Anne says, “Having a vehicle makes it easier to enjoy the local hospitality and home-cooked meals offered by the many private accommodation providers located outside the park. However, there are four hotels within the park, so this is another option, along with Borje Camp that opens in May for the season.”

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best destinations to go to to in Europe in May
Hamburg, Germany (Photo courtesy of Jordan from Hamburg And Beyond)

Hamburg, Germany

By Jordan from Hamburg And Beyond

After a cold and wet winter, Hamburg comes alive again in May and is one of the best places to visit in Europe.

Located in Northern Germany, this port city celebrates its birthday with a big boat parade in early May. Over 830 years old, “Hafengeburtstag” or “Harbor Birthday” in English, is a giant festival along the Elbe River that includes over 1 million spectators and 300 ships. Besides the parade of ships, there’s live music, traditional Northern German food like fish sandwiches and beer, and a wide array of entertainment options.

There’s so much more to Hamburg in May than just Hafensgeburtstag. Rising high above the Elbe River, make sure to go up to the Elbphilharmonie’s viewing platform. This state-of-the-art concert hall in the shape of a wave offers unparalleled views of the river and the entire city.

If you’re musically inclined, try to catch a performance. The tickets are reasonably priced and the musical acts include world-class performers.

Head out to the Speicherstadt, the old warehouse district in Hamburg and a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Germany. With the old cobblestone streets and brick buildings, it’s photogenic and filled with cute cafes and outdoor restaurants. 

Directions And Weather

If flying into the city, Hamburg Airport is a short 20-minute train ride from the city center and reasonably well-connected to other European destinations. However, if coming from another continent, it’s easiest to connect to Hamburg through London, Amsterdam, Paris, or Frankfurt.

While the dreary winter weather is over by May, there still might be a bit of a chill in the air. The average temperature is around 60 F and you may get the occasional rain shower.

Hotel Recommendation

Jordan says, “If you feel like splurging for a weekend, book a room inside the Elbphilharmonie at The Westin hotel for a luxurious experience.”

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best destinations to visit in May in Europe
Larnaca, Cyprus (Photo courtesy of Ciara from Wellness Travel Diaries)

Larnaca, Cyprus

By Ciara from Wellness Travel Diaries

Anytime of year, the beautiful island of Cyprus welcomes visitors and locals to embrace its magnificent sunshine. It is filled with gorgeous coastlines, a ghost town, vibrant beaches, and ruins. However, if you’re looking for one of the best places to visit in Europe in May, taking a road trip through Cyprus to visit the magnificent beach city of Larnaca is a must.

In May, Larnaca’s weather is absolutely stunning. There are less tourists because the island only begins to open up from the winter season in May. Car rentals are also cheaper than summer making it even more affordable to effortlessly travel around the city and Cyprus.

In Larnaca, you’ll find a delightful beachfront promenade packed with tasty eateries, and shops right across from the beach. There’s vegan food, gluten-free choices, fresh seafood and more. Stay in this area to explore the Medieval Castle that sits right on the water. Climb to the top for a scenic view of the beach and promenade.

Wander to the heart of the city to experience even more of the city. Here you’ll find museums and shops.

Considering taking a day trip to the famous Cape Greco — a national park. You will be able to witness lush wilderness, cliffs and bask in the incredible views of the clear blue seas.

Weather And Directions

During the month of May, Larnaca offers sunshine, warmth, and temperatures around 80 degrees.

Fly into Larnaca International Airport — the biggest airport in the country. You are only a few minutes away from the center of Larnaca.

Hotel Recommendation

Ciara says, “In the heart of the city, you will find the Josephine Boutique Hotel. It’s the perfect destination for city dwellers looking for beachy vibes.

If you’re craving a hotel closer to the water, head over to the Napa Mermaid Hotel & Suite. It’s not in Larnaca, but it’s a quick drive to town.

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best places to visit in Europe in May
Vilnius, Lithuania (Photo courtesy of Helen from Helen On Her Holidays)

Vilnius, Lithuania

By Helen from Helen On Her Holidays

Vilnius is the capital of Lithuania and one of the best places to visit in May in Europe. The city comes back to life after the long Baltic winter, everyone is outside enjoying the first warm days of summer and the skies are filled with hot air balloons.

Vilnius is a very beautiful city with a gorgeous old town and lots to do. At one end of the old town, you’ll find Cathedral Square. The cathedral itself is breathtaking – a classical, bright white wedding cake of a building with a separate tower. In front of the tower there’s a “miracle stone”. Close your eyes and spin around three times while making a wish and it is sure to be granted.

Vilnius Cathedral is watched over by Gediminas Tower, which is the only remaining part of Vilnius’s castle. There are great views across the city from the tower.

No visit to Vilnius is complete without a visit to the Republic of Užupis. Užupis is an area of Vilnius which declared itself independent in 1997. The tiny nation has its own flag and constitution. The constitution is displayed on a wall near the centre of Užupis and is well worth a read.

Street Music Day is an annual event which takes place each May. From around lunchtime until late evening, seemingly every street corner in the city centre becomes its own concert venue. The range and quality of performers is astounding – walking down central Pilies Street, you can see folk musicians playing traditional instruments, rock bands, jazz bands and acoustic singer-songwriters. It’s a really magical and joyful sight.

Weather And Directions

In May, the average high is a very pleasant 64 degrees Fahrenheit.

Getting to Vilnius is easy. The city has a very convenient airport just 6km from the city centre. Buses and trains link the two.

Hotel Recommendation

Helen says, “Hotels are generally very reasonably priced, but the Artagonist Art Hotel is a particularly good choice for its central location, quirky, artist-decorated rooms and fantastic breakfast.”

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best places in Europe to visit in May
Yorkshire, England (Photo courtesy of Sinead from York With Kids)

Yorkshire, England

By Sinead from York With Kids

Yorkshire is one of the best destinations to visit in Europe in May as lighter, warmer days are ideal for exploring all the outdoor attractions Yorkshire has to offer.

In the Yorkshire Dales, visit the 230-foot-high natural stone amphitheatre, Malham Cove and enjoy local walks to Gordale Scar gorge, Janet’s Foss waterfall and Malham Tarn (Yorkshire dialect for a lake).

May will see Yorkshire’s waterfalls in peak flow so make a stop at Aysgarth Falls and Hardraw Force, England’s highest single drop waterfall.

May is also the peak month for wildflowers at Muker in the northern Dales where visitors can walk on specially laid paths that wind through seven meadows awash with colourful wildflowers.

For a change of pace, visit the vibrant City of York, famous for its cobbled streets, Georgian and Victorian architecture and Viking history. Tour York Minster, the largest gothic cathedral in northern Europe or explore one of the city’s museums such as the Jorvik Centre or York Castle Museum. For a special treat, walk York’s medieval era walls, the longest city walls in England, the slopes of which are bathed in pink cherry blossoms in May.  

Directions And Weather

Visitors can fly into Leeds Bradford International Airport, a 1 ½ hour drive from the heart of the Yorkshire Dales and just 1 hour by car to the City of York.

In May, you can expect pleasantly warm sunny days (with an average temperature of 60 degrees Fahrenheit) though pack some wet weather gear for occasional spring rain showers.

Hotel Recommendation

Sinead says, “In the Yorkshire Dales, The Lister Arms in rural Malham offers a cosy, country stay whereas in York, Dean Court Hotel has an unbeatable location tucked inside the city walls directly opposite York Minster.”

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Best cities to visit in May in Europe
Vienna, Austria (Photo courtesy of Anca from Dream Book And Travel)

Vienna, Austria

By Anca from Dream Book And Travel

Austria’s capital is famous worldwide for its classical music, coffee and cafe culture, its rich history, grand architecture and gourmet traditions. In May, Vienna is one of the best places to visit in Europe.

First of all, the fine weather allows you to enjoy the city’s best treats such as outdoor seating at restaurants and cafes, lively parks and beer gardens, a horse-drawn carriage ride, a visit to the Prater (an amusement park) or a cruise along the Danube. 

Secondly, the Wiener Festwochen (festive days of the city) is held which is meant to kick-start the tourist season. A contemporary art festival dating back to the 1950s, the Wiener Festwochen combines theatre, dance, music, fine arts, installation, workshops, and new art forms to illustrate the complexity, globalization and individualization of artistic discourse.

Outdoor and indoor venues across the city host these events, allowing you to not only experience locations otherwise not included in typical tourist itineraries but also to mingle with locals who thoroughly enjoy this festival.

For those who prefer the more classical arts, concert venues and opera houses are still open before the final curtain falls for the summer break which happens at the end of June. In addition, you can experience the Viennese cultural scene authentically before all venues switch to touristy productions for the summer season.

Directions And Weather

Vienna is easily reachable from around the world through its first-class international airport. There is excellent public transport that connects it to the city center (about 20 km)

Vienna is a particularly well suited destination for a spring getaway. With an average temperature of about 16.5C (61.7F), the month of May is the best time to visit Vienna. Most days are sunny and pleasant during this time but do bring warm clothes as there are sometimes windy, cold, and rainy streaks that last for a couple of days at a time.

Hotel Recommendation

Anca says, “If you are looking for amazing and atmospheric hotels close to the city center, we recommend Hotel Stefanie, Vienna’s oldest hotel, or Hotel Beethoven Vienna, located close to the famous Naschmarkt, the city’s most celebrated market. 

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best destinations in Europe to visit in May
Marbella, Spain (Photo courtesy of Cristina from My Little World Of Travelling)

Marbella, Spain

By Cristina from My Little World Of Travelling

Located in Southern Spain, Marbella is one of the most visited towns in the Costa del Sol and one of the best places to visit in Europe in May. You will enjoy fewer crowds, as July and August are the busiest months, and the weather allows you to enjoy the beaches and explore. 

There are many things to do in Marbella – from relaxing on the beautiful beaches to exploring its Old Town where you will find Plaza de Los Naranjos, a lovely square surrounded by restaurants and cafes. 

From this square, there are narrow whitewashed streets that take you to beautiful little corners and Nerja’s church. Carmen street is a must-see where you will see blue plant pots with bright flowers hanging on the wall and an incredible view of the church. 

Other great activities include going on tapas tours to try the local cuisine such as “pescaito frito” (fried fish) and walking along the lively beach promenade.

Weather And Directions

In May, the average highest temperature is 75ºF and the lowest is 57ºF. There are barely any rainy days. 

The nearest airport to Marbella is Malaga-Costa del Sol Airport which is about a 45-minute drive by car or bus. 

Hotel Recommendation

Cristina says, “If you’re looking for where to stay in Marbella, there is a good variety of accommodation, so it really depends on your preferences. For a unique and cosy experience, stay at The Pearl Luxury B&B, located in the laid-back area of Las Chapas.”

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St. Petersburg, Russia

By Anna from Travel Cultura

In the calendar, May holds the last days of spring. However, in St Petersburg, May is only the beginning of spring when warm weather finally arrives, trees turn green, and flowers start to bloom.

May is also the beginning of the “season of white nights”. It is the multi-month period ending in August when the sun almost never sets because of its proximity to the Arctic Circle.

One of the best things to do in St. Petersburg is to wander in the historic centre of the city and explore the landmarks of Saint Petersburg – the Winter Palace, Palace Square, Church of the Saviour on Spilled Blood, the Summer Garden, the Bronze Horseman, and others. You may also want to take a boat tour on rivers and channels and see the best of Saint Petersburg from the water.

Cultural life in Saint Petersburg is always vivid, but in May, many events take place outdoors. The Labour Day demonstrations are held on May 1. May 9 is another important date for all Russians as it is the Day of Victory in World War II. In addition, on May 27, Saint Petersburg celebrates its birthday.

Each of these holidays is joyful for locals of and visitors to the city. There are outdoor concerts, exhibitions, and fireworks in the evening. There is even a Victory Parade on Nevsky Prospect and Palace Square.

St. Petersburg is an incredible destination and one of the best places to visit in Europe in May.

Weather And Directions

The weather in May evolves significantly. There is snow at the beginning then hits +68oF (+20°C) by the end of the month. But whenever you plan to visit Saint Petersburg in May, bring layers and a wind and waterproof jacket.

Hotel Recommendation

Anna says, “To fully enjoy your stay in Saint Petersburg, opt for a hotel in the centre of the city. One of the best options is Moika Kempinski which is situated in the heart of Saint Petersburg. You will be close to all the main sights of the city. Or check Akyan Hotel which is smaller and cosier (and has a great location too!)”

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best cities to visit in May in Europe
Cannes, France (Photo courtesy of Kat from Wandering Bird Motorhome Adventures)

Cannes, France

By Kat from Wandering Bird Motorhome Adventures

If you’re looking for somewhere spectacular to visit in May, head to Cannes and the French Riviera. It is one of the best places to visit in Europe.

This incredible stretch of coastline is one of the most famous in Europe and boasts beautiful beaches, wonderful weather and marinas with some of the biggest superyachts you’ve ever seen.

Most people come to the area to soak up the sunshine but, if you visit in May, you can spend most of your time looking for celebrities. May is when the Cannes Film Festival runs and it’s not uncommon to see actors, producers and other famous faces from the movie industry strolling down the streets. The film festival is held at the Palais des Festivales and the red carpet is left out most of the year, so if you visit when the festival isn’t on, you can get a fabulous photo of yourself on it! 

The main place to go to star spot is La Croisette- a beach and promenade where everyone goes to ‘be seen’. You’ll pay top price for a hotel here (with private beach) but if you want to be in the action, this is the place to be. 

Don’t miss a day trip to the Lerins Islands (particularly Île Sainte-Marguerite) just off the Azur Coast. There are a group of 4 pristine islands, each with their own character. In May, it’s not too busy so you can see them at their best. 

And, for food lovers, the covered market of Marché Forville is unmissable; it’s full of delicious local produce and fresh seafood. 

Weather And Directions

In May, the weather averages around 68 degrees Fahrenheit and you’re more likely to get sunshine than not.

The closest international airport for most tourists is Nice but if you have the money or private jet, you can fly into the small airstrip at Cannes itself. If you’re motorhoming in France, remember that it’s illegal to park on the seafront- you’ll need to find a campsite.

Hotel Recommendation

Kat says, “Finding nice and inexpensive accommodation in May might be a challenge. However, take a look at Hôtel des Orangers that is close to the beach.”

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Antwerp, Belgium

By Missy from Travels With Missy

Antwerp, Belgium is one of those rare undiscovered gems of a city. Not many people know of it or bypass it for other more popular destinations in Belgium, such as Bruges or Brussels. But this city sparkles in comparison to its neighbouring touristy cities and will reward visitors with dazzling architecture, fantastic shopping and compactness.

May is one of the best months to travel to Antwerp. After a long grey winter, May is when the city begins to shine again. The beer gardens and terraces come alive, the flowers are blooming and the weather can reach the 80s as the month draws to a close. The bus loads of tourists haven’t arrived and the city is at its most beautiful. 

Antwerp makes a fantastic city break with excellent museums such as the Red Star Line Museum which focuses on the role Antwerp Port played with European immigration during the late 19th century. Its interactive displays and heartbreaking stories will leave you astounded at the lengths people went to make America their new home. 

Located just off the shopping street, Meir, you will find the former home of Peter Paul Reubens. Rubenshuis is the incredible palazzo in the centre of Antwerp where you will see an abundance of Renaissance-era paintings. Rubens was Antwerps most famous resident in the 16th century and used his home as a studio as well as living quarters. The recent refurbishment of Rubens’ former gardens is an incredible way to spend an afternoon. 

The end of May marks the beginning of the “summer bars” in Antwerp. Set up across the city, you will find ‘Zommerbars’ pop up along the river Scheldt or in nooks and crannies around the city. The locations change from year to year, but you can find staples such as Bar Chapel returning for each year. The summer bars are fantastic places to grab a drink and indulge in artisanal beers and food. 

Directions And Weather

Most visitors will arrive by train to Antwerp Centraal Station, voted one of Europe’s most beautiful train stations. With easy connections from Brussels and Amsterdam, you can connect via Brussel Zaventem Airport or Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport and catch a direct train from both airports to Antwerp.

You can expect warm weather, reaching the 80s as the month draws to a close.

Hotel Recommendation

Hilton Antwerp is located in the heart of the old town and is a wonderful base for those who want proximity to great restaurants, bars and culture. Located underneath the spire of the Antwerp Cathedral, the Hilton Antwerp is a 4 star hotel and is a short tram ride from Antwerp Centraal Station.

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best places to visit in Europe in May
Palmero, Sicily (Photo courtesy of Erin from Pina Travels)

Palmero, Sicily

By Erin from Pina Travels

Being the most southern point in Italy, Sicily is known for being super hot throughout summer. This is why Palmero is one of the best places to visit in Europe in May. You will enjoy beautiful weather and it is just the start of tourist season. There are less crowds in the city, making for a more relaxing trip.

May is also when the Settimana delle Cultura is held. It’s an annual week-long festival that highlights cultural activities, concerts, exhibitions and much more.

While visiting this historic city, be sure to visit Palermo’s famous architectural sites. Quattro Canti, a Baroque square that was built in the early 1600s, is in the centre of the city. This square is at the intersection of two streets, and on each corner is a facade that features an in-built fountain and statue of a patron saint. From there, it’s a short walk to Fontana della Vergogna. This beautiful fountain was built in Florence, and then transferred to Palermo in 1574.

Another essential spot to visit is the Palermo Cathedral, which was built in 1184. For just a few euros, you can climb several steep flights of stairs to the roof of the cathedral, where you’ll take in gorgeous views of the city.

And of course, you can’t visit Palermo without trying some of the region’s local cuisine. Head to one of Palermo’s many food markets, and be sure to try Sicilian dishes like Pasta con le sarde, arancini, cannoli, and granita.

Weather And Directions

Throughout May, the temperature is in the 70s, and the sun is shining with very little rain.

To reach Palermo, fly into Falcone Borsellino Airport (PMO), also known simply as “Palermo Airport.” Once you land, it’s an easy 45 minute drive by rental car or taxi from the airport to the city centre.

Hotel Recommendation

Erin says, “There are plenty of reasonably priced accommodations to choose from, like the Grand Hotel Piazza Borsa.”

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Seville, Spain

By Sophie and Adam from We Dream Of Travel

Located in the Andalusia region of southern Spain, Seville is easily one of the best places to visit in Europe in May. Expect warm weather, beautiful architecture, lavish gardens, and a festive atmosphere.

The balmy temperatures make it ideal for spending a few days in Seville, exploring the city, discovering more about its rich history and opulent palaces, meandering through its many exotic gardens, and indulging in tapas in open plazas.  

One of the main highlights of Seville is Real Alcázar.  Perhaps the most iconic site in Seville, Alcázar was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987.  It is the oldest royal residence in Europe that is still in use and contains over a millennia of history. No trip to Seville is complete without visiting the Royal Palace.

From there take a stroll to Plaza de España. Tucked away at the edge of María Luisa park, this spectacular plaza and surrounding buildings date back to 1928. With its red brick facade and intricately decorated alcoves, it remains one of the most impressive plazas in Spain. The warm weather in May makes it the perfect place to enjoy an afternoon.

Additionally, the beginning of May sees Seville’s most anticipated fiesta of the year; the iconic Feria de Abril. Despite its name, which means “April Fair”, the festival often takes place in early May as it is always two weeks after Semana Santa. During this time, the city comes alive with flamenco dancing, horseback parades, finely dressed “Sevillanas” and an abundance of sherry!

 It is worth planning a visit to Seville in May just for this event! 

Directions And Weather

For most, the best way to get to Seville will be via plane, although it is also well connected by bus and train. The airport, Aeropuerto de Sevilla-San Pablo, serves both domestic and international flights, and is just a 20-minute drive from the city.

One of the best things about Seville in May is the perfect weather. At this time of year, Seville has average day time highs in the 70s Fahrenheit (20s Celsius) and only about six days of rain throughout the month. 

Hotel Recommendation

Sophie and Adam say, “To avoid disappointment, ensure you book accommodation in Seville far in advance as May is one of the more popular times to visit. Melia Sevilla is an excellent option. It is ideally located next to María Luisa Park and Plaza de España, in the heart of the April Fair festivities. Plus, if you need a break from all the action, you can relax beside its rooftop pool.

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Last Word

May is a fantastic time to visit Europe. Typically, there is beautiful weather for exploring and the summer crowds have not yet arrived. In addition, it is shoulder season for most destinations so you should be able to find excellent deals on flights and hotels. One of the biggest problems with traveling in Europe in May will be choosing where to go first. Hopefully, we can all have those kind of problems soon!

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