Best places to go for a holiday in May

BEST COUNTRIES

NEPAL

WHY YOU SHOULD GO?May is one stunning time to be in the high country of Nepal. While it's beginning to get muggy and hazy in the country's lower reaches, up in the mountains, around Everest Base Camp and the Annapurna Circuit in particular, the skies are blue, the air is crisp and clear, the temperatures are moderate, and the crowds of peak season have mostly fled in anticipation of the rainy season to come.??

DON'T MISS?This time of year in Nepal is all about trekking through high country. Make your way to Base Camp for that ultimate bucket-list experience; check out Chitwan National Park, or the Annapurna Circuit; soak up the crisp mountain air at a lovely time of year.?See welcomenepal.com?

See also:?The best-kept trekking secret in Nepal

CZECH REPUBLIC

Prague - Charles bridge, Czech Republic Credit: Shutterstock Satsep2deals - Saturday Deals September 2 - Julietta Jameson

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WHY YOU SHOULD GO?It's not like there's ever a bad time to visit cities such as Prague, Cesky Krumlov and Litomysl, with their blend of Bohemian charm and architectural influences from the east and west. May, however, is particularly good: the days are long and beginning to warm up, but the crowds of summer have yet to arrive.?

DON'T MISS?There are a few big events in Prague in May that you won't want to miss. For culture vultures, the Prague Spring Music Festival is three weeks of classical performances throughout the city. For something a little lower brow, meanwhile, the Czech Beer Festival is 17 days of boozing and feasting. See czechtourism.com?

See also:?Twenty reasons to visit Prague

SPAIN

SunJan21trav10 Traveller top 10 Spain ; text by Steve Meacham credit: SHUTTERSTOCK *** EDITORIAL USE ONLY *** Aerial view of Alhambra Palace in Granada, Spain with Sierra Nevada mountains at the background

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WHY YOU SHOULD GO?Don't go to southern Spain in summer – you'll fry. Similarly, if you visit northern Spain in winter, you'll find it surprisingly cold. Spring is the sweet spot across the country, before the bulk of the cruise ships and bucks' parties and tour buses have arrived, but the weather is good and the people are out enjoying it.??

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DON'T MISS?It already feels like summer in Barcelona in May, when the city beaches are filling up and the tapas bars and restaurants nearby are rowdy until the wee hours. Also, take the chance to visit historic Seville in May, when there's plenty of sunshine, but the temperatures haven't yet reached sweltering. See spain.info?

See also:?Twenty things that will shock first-time visitors to Spain

MOROCCO

Jamaa el Fna market square, Marrakesh, Morocco, north Africa. Jemaa el-Fnaa, Djema el-Fna or Djemaa el-Fnaa is a famous square and market place in Marrakesh's medina quarter. SunNov5Marrakech - Marrakech - Mike O?Connor Credit: Shutterstock

Photo: Shutterstock

WHY YOU SHOULD GO?There's much to love about Morocco, from the ancient and seemingly untouched alleyways of Fes, to the markets of Marrakech, the beaches of Essaouira, and the golden expanse of the Sahara. These destinations, however, don't particularly shine at the height of summer, when the temperature is uncomfortably hot, and the crowds are heavy. Go, instead, in May to beat the heat while still enjoying some sun.

DON'T MISS?Each May, the desert town of Kelaat M'gouna hosts the Festival of the Roses, when these treasured blooms are harvested from the surrounding countryside and locals take to the streets to sing, dance and feast in celebration. It's a colourful, joyous occasion.

See also:?A phone-free, internet-free escape into the real world

BEST CITIES

LOUISVILLE, KENTUCKY

WHY YOU SHOULD GO?This charmer of a city is fun at any time of year; in May, however, it hosts the famous Kentucky Derby, which means more than 150,000 people piling in to Churchill Downs on the first Saturday of the month, dressed in their finest, ready to watch the ponies and take in the atmosphere. Prepare for a big day.?

DON'T MISS?While the Derby is the highlight of the racing calendar, it's actually part of a "Triple Crown" of thoroughbred sport, all of which takes place in May. True racing fans should check out the meets in Baltimore, Maryland and Elmont, New York for the full experience.? See kentuckytourism.com?

See also:?Twenty things that will surprise first-time visitors to the US

CUSCO, PERU

CUZCO, PERU - MAY 23, 2015: View of Cuzco from convent Santo Domingo in Cuzco, Peru.

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WHY YOU SHOULD GO?While the May nights are chilly in the ancient Andean town of Cusco, the days are sunny and temperate, and the large crowds who arrive in June and July have yet to descend. There are a few great festivals to check out too, including the Festival of the Cross, a Catholic celebration, and Q'oyoriti, a traditional Quechua celebration held at the foot of a glacier.?

DON'T MISS?Now is the time to beat the crowds at Machu Picchu – or at least, to beat the bulk of them. You'll still find the full complement of hikers on the Inca Trail, but May is just the beginning of the season for this world-renowned sight, and while the skies are clear and the grass is lush and green, the crowds at the main site are manageable. See visitperu.com?

See also:?The bucket-list destination that will break you

BRIGHTON, BRITAIN

WHY YOU SHOULD GO?Britain?feels like it's coming alive in May, as the days get longer and warmer and the citizens shake themselves out of hibernation and prepare for the summer ahead. Coastal Brighton, in southern England, is a particularly good place to be: May in this laidback town is festival time, which means a whole month of partying.

DON'T MISS?The Brighton Festival and the Brighton Fringe (England's largest arts festival) turn the city into one giant stage throughout May. Catch artists and performers of all genres and calibres, and soak up the fun of a city in celebration mode. See visitbrighton.com

See also:?The city 'where retirees went to die' makes a comeback

RIO DE JANEIRO

Aerial view of famous Copacabana Beach and Ipanema beach in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

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WHY YOU SHOULD GO?Conventional wisdom might have it that the best time to visit Rio is during Carnival, in March. But conventional wisdom would also have you sharing your Rio experience with millions of other revellers, and paying the price on accommodation. In May it's much calmer. The weather is also excellent – crisp and clear instead of stinking hot – the sea is warm, and the people are in their usual good spirits.??

DON'T MISS?May marks the beginning of Brazil's domestic football competition, and to truly appreciate the mania that accompanies this sport, you have to get to a game. Rio is home to several major clubs – Botafogo, Flamengo, Fluminense and Vasco da Gama – and seeing any play will be an experience you'll never forget. See riodejaneiro.com?

See also:?The 20 must-do highlights of Rio de Janeiro

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