Travel

Must see destinations in May

Vernazza-Cinque-Terre
Vernazza, Cinque Terre, Italy

May is a great month to vacation, although it does start to get busier again towards the end of the month. Prices will still be lower and fewer tourists than June to September in most places. I wrote posts about the best places to visit in March and April. These are still good in May too.

I’m only going to focus on three that I thought stood out during the month. If you’ve read my other posts, I usually include two cost saving tip reminders.

Two weeks is the sweet spot: When not fully booked, airlines, hotels, and cruise ships often offer huge discounts two weeks before the travel date.

Be flexible: The time of day and the day of the week you travel can have a huge impact on costs either higher or lower.

Some places to visit in May

I tried to pick places that people may not consider as their top destination spot.

Cinque Terre, Italy

Manarola Cinque Terre, Italy
Manarola Cinque Terre, Italy

If you’ve read my other posts, you also know that I try to sneak Italy in somewhere! May is one of the best months to visit Cinque Terre because the crowds are not there. And later in the month, the temperature is close to what it is in July or August so that you won’t feel like you’re missing out.

It’s made up of five towns, Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, and Riomaggiore. Stay in any one, and walk, bike or drive around to see the beautiful sights around all of them.

Some attractions

Beaches: May is the start of beach season in Cinque Terre. There are a variety of beaches depending on what you’re looking to do and see.  Monterosso beach is ideal for swimming and has some bars and restaurants. Vernazza beach is a stony beach with calm waters that’s ideal for swimming and fishing. There are also a few beaches just minutes away. Best Beaches has a high-level overview of all the beaches in and around the area.

Sporty: You can be very active in Cinque Terre. Go sailing, paragliding, fishing or play water sports. If it’s warm enough, you can scuba dive or snorkel. There are multitudes of hiking and biking tours you may want to take to see the beautiful sites. The Footpath Monterosso – Vernazza and Parco Nazionale Cinque Terre are just two of them.

Monterosso, Cinque Terre, Italy.
Footpath in Monterosso, Cinque Terre, Italy

Sites to see:  There is an abundance to see in Cinque Terre. I’m just going to name a few. Check out the castle and cathedrals in Vernazza, the Monumento a San Francesco d’Assisi in Monterosso, the Castello di Riomaggiore, Chiesa di San Pietro in Corniglia or Chiesa di San Lorenzo in Manarola.

Food scene: It is Italy, so I’m going to say the food is excellent (no bias!). I chose a few standouts because you can get gluten-free, vegetarian or vegan options on top of everything else so that anyone can enjoy them. Nessun Dorma Cinque Terre in Manarola has an excellent wine bar and views on top of the delicious food. Gastronomia San Martino in Monterosso is a great place to eat and not break the bank. It’s cafeteria-style service and a great value. Belforte in Vernazza has spectacular views, friendly staff, and a good wine list. It’s shown in the picture above.

Average temperature: High 64F/16C, low 57/14C) (later in the month it averages a high of 72F / 22C)

For more information, read what other travelers have said on TripAdvisor.

Valletta, Malta

Malta - Valletta
Valletta, Malta

I’ve been to Malta a few times, especially when I was young. It’s close to Sicily, so we would vacation there when I still lived in Italy. I’ve been back once in later years, and it was in May. I will definitely go back. It’s a small but beautiful place with a lot to do. You can stay pretty much anywhere in Malta and enjoy the beauty. Valletta is the Capital City, and the place I had visited in May.

Some attractions

Beach: Valletta doesn’t have any beaches, but for some people, the temperate in May is not quite beach ready anyway. If it is, since Malta is not large, you can take a bus to any of the beaches. It is worth it; they are all beautiful.

Sporty: Go sailing or play water sports. Take walks or bike ride to see all the historic sites Valletta has to offer.

Because you must: The Blue Lagoon. It’s a ferry ride away in Comino. May is the perfect time to see it because in the summer it gets way too busy. Popeye Village. How could you turn down going to the place where the movie Popeye was filmed? It has a winery, pool, museum and things for kids to do so it’s fun for everyone.

Malta - Popeye Village

Sites to see: Check out St. John’s Co-Cathedral, the Upper Barrakka Gardens, shop, go to one of the museums or take a cultural tour.

Food scene: There are tons of restaurants in the city of different varieties. For cheap eats, I enjoyed Piadina Caffe. If you want to customize your dining experience, try the Karlito’s Way private food tour.

Nightlife: There are casinos, clubs, bars, theaters and an opera in and around Valletta depending on what you enjoy. For good food and wine, I enjoyed Trabuxu Wine Bar. The Pub is a small British pub that’s friendly and has great drinks. If you’re into Hollywood stories, it’s the place where actor Oliver Reed died of a heart attack having a drink while filming the movie Gladiator.

Average temperature: High 72F / 22C, Low 63F /17C

For more information, read what other travelers have said on TripAdvisor.

Provincetown, Cape Cod, USA

Provincetown
View from a boat ride in Provincetown, Massachusetts

Peak time here starts around Memorial Day weekend (May 29), so take it from me and go before then to take advantage of less busy beaches and lower Airbnb and hotel rates. Cape Cod is fantastic with a couple of people or a big group, and for a variety of ages and interests.

Some attractions

Beaches: It’s not normally beach weather in May, but there are plenty of beaches in Cape Cod, and you can do other things instead of swimming. In Provincetown, Race Point Beach is my favorite. It’s great to swim, walk, kayak, canoe and whale watch in the Spring. You can also camp out there. It’s beautiful with amazing views. For a full list of beaches in Cape Cod, read capecodchamber.org.

Sporty: You can also surf, swim and snorkel at one of the beaches, weather permitting; as well as paddleboat, jet ski, play water sports. The Cape Cod National Seashore is a beautiful National park to hike, drive the dunes, whale watch and much more. There are many other hiking and biking trails in Cape Cod.

Provincetown whale watching
Once in a lifetime opportunity to whale watch in Provincetown

Things to do: There are things to do for every interest. You can keep busy dolphin and whale-watching, going to art galleries and museums like the Chatham Marconi Maritime Center, and checking out the many nature and wildlife areas, such as Beech Forest Trail. There are also many historical sites including the Race Point Lighthouse.

Food scene: It is New England, so the seafood is excellent! It’s also a foodie haven. I found it a little harder to find an abundance of places that catered to vegan and gluten-free options than some other places I have visited. Fortunately for me, it’s not an issue, but I like to recommend places that everyone can experience. So, I chose a couple of standouts that had gluten-free, vegetarian or vegan options. For cheap eats, I enjoyed Far Land Provisions. It’s an all-day deli with home cooked food, and it’s open all day. They also sell groceries if you’re staying somewhere with a kitchen. For higher-end dining, I’d recommend the restaurant and lounge at Sage Inn. Great drinks too if you’re looking to do something at night.

Average temperature: High 62 F / 17 C, Low 48F /9C

For more information, read what other travelers have said on TripAdvisor.

Some resources to help you with better pricing for your trip:

Flight from JFK_1
View from JFK airport

These are a few areas I have been to in May. Do you have any others to add to the list?

 

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43 comments

  1. Aldo! This is amazing! I didn’t know this about the two week thing. My planning between trying to save, arrange things with other people, and the flight sales always end up impossible! This looks amazing and I’ve always wanted to go to all of these places. Italy and NY keep popping up lately on all sides! Probably because Argentinians are a bunch of Italians who take vacations in NY LOL! 😀

    1. Thanks a lot Kristin! Two weeks is usually my sweet spot for booking travel. Some places will always be higher than others because of their popularity, like NYC 🙂 but going there or to Italy off season can help save money too. Both are popular spots, and both are amazing! I hope you get to go to both places one day.

      1. I hope so too! I made two pizzas this week and started taking Italian on Duolingo so I guess I’m in a really Italian mood hahaha. So random for me. Sounds crazy because most people are Italy obsessed and I’m a globe lover in general but Italy didn’t call my attention until recently! 🙂 PS – What are their off seasons and do you recommend them?

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