The 9 Best Places to Travel This May
Springtime is finally, finally here! Whip out your warm weather wardrobe and get to planning because we've got the 9 best places to travel this May.
A Brooklyn-based writer and editor, Chelsea's work has appeared in Matador Network, The Huffington Post, the TripAdvisor blog, and more. When not planning her next trip, you'll usually find her drinking way too much iced coffee (always iced—she’s from New England) or bingeing a Netflix original series.
Moroccan summers bring sweltering heat and holiday crowds, but spring means slow sun-kissed days and just-crisp-enough nights. While Marrakech may be the main draw for most first-time Morocco travelers, the country’s culture capital is just as enchanting with its labyrinthine souks, traditional tanneries, upscale hammams, and exotically spiced dishes available on practically every corner. When in Fez, drop your bags at Hotel Sahrai, an ultra-luxe boutique tucked between the main medina and Ville Nouvelle – the city's modern section. Once you’ve admired your light-filled room, take a taxi to Bab Bou Jeloud to start your trip off right. The ornate Moorish gate serves as the city’s main entrance, and if you stand far enough back, it perfectly frames the minaret of the Madrasa Bou Inania (an educational center and mosque) making for one killer IG shot.
Crete is up there with Mykonos, Santorini, and Rhodes in terms of Greece’s most lusted-after islands. While sun-seekers crowd the spot’s pink-sand shores and archaeological sites (the island was the center of Minoan civilization) during summer, spring is far less packed and hotels and airfare are cheaper. If you're staying on the western side of the island in Rethymno, pencil in a dinner at To Pigadi in Old Town. Guests dine on traditional Cretan dishes (think smoked pork and tsitsirika, and vegetable, Graviera, and feta pie topped with yoghurt sauce) in a romantic, candle-lit Venetian courtyard. Alternatively, if you’re staying on the Eastern side of the island, we're crazy for the White River Cottages. The off-the-beaten-path rustic stone houses reside along Aspros Potamos’ rocky hillside, mingling with ancient olive trees and verdant wildflowers.
Come May, Sydney is just about wrapping up its short autumn before heading into winter. But fear not, temps remain in the upper 60s and the city is relatively void of tourists, making it a prime time to touch down. If you’re looking for a posh stay, The Langham, Sydney stuns with enormous Old World guestrooms, crisp color palettes, and Juliet balconies, which look out onto the Western Harbour waterfront. As for budget-friendly alternatives, the quirky QT Sydney comes to bat with theatrical interiors (bright velvet chairs, multi-media installations, and a vintage-style barber shop). Admire Sydney Harbor on a whale watching cruise (During May you'll likely catch sight of humpback pods as they head north to breed in the Coral Sea.) At the end of the day, grab dinner at Dead Ringer in Surry Hills. Chef Tristan Rosier and his team serve up locally-sourced plates like beef tartare with pickled cucumber and potato crisp, and seared duck breast with stonefruit salad and maseria juice.
New Orleans, Louisiana
Total transparency: February through May are peak season for NOLA, which means the crowds can be intense. But, we’re more than willing to overlook it for a May getaway given the festivals and foodie experiences on offer all month. First thing’s first, check into the clubby Q&C Hotel, just down the block from the French Quarter. The cool kid digs are just a 5- to 15-minute drive from the venues you’ll be hitting up for the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival presented by Shell (April 28th-May 7th) and the 25th-anniversary New Orleans Wine & Food Experience (May 25th-28th). Enjoy NOLA-rooted jazz, bluegrass and zydeco music, intimate wine dinners, “parade-style” gallery strolls, and pastry tastings.
Looking to eat a Pasteis de Nata (traditional custard tart) in relative peace? Hit Lisbon in spring. Pre-tourist season, the weather hits its sunny stride, hotel prices drop, and best of all, the lines at Pasteis de Belem are way shorter. From there, throw on some shades and take the number 28 tram through Alfama to properly appreciate the city's narrow alleyways and major sites like the Lisbon Cathedral, Santa Luzia viewpoint, and Estrela Basilica. In the “City of Seven Hills,” you could spend days hiking the cobblestone streets and admiring the gorgeous azulejos. The trek will undoubtedly require a sound and revitalizing sleep. Our hotel of choice? Memmo Principe Real, near the trendy Bairro Alto and Chiado neighborhoods, which promises a stylish contemporary design and rooftop pool with panoramic city views.
RELATED: 7 Best Lisbon Hotels
Canary Islands, Spain
In the Canary Islands, you’re never more than a 2-hour flight from your next adventure. Pick an island, any island – Fuerteventura, Lanzarote, Gran Canaria, or Tenerife – and start your getaway this May, when the winter tourists have officially flown home and the summer crowd is still in the planning stages. On Tenerife, make time to hike your way up (or ride the cable car) to the tippy-top of Mount Teide, the highest summit in Spain which also happens to be an active volcano. If you’re more about the tapas scene than tackling challenging trails, find a table at La Bruma in colonial San Cristobal de La Laguna. The bar is just a 10- to 15-minute walk from the Cathedral, and plates of the day include green apple ceviche, salmon with wasabi, and guacamole with yuca chips paired with a glass of local wine.
Malta’s famed Azure Window may have collapsed as a result of erosion this March, but don’t let that deter you from visiting this eye-popping Mediterranean archipelago. Plan your visit to the main island of Gozo in May as the real tourist masses don’t descend until June. With favorable temps in the 60s-70s – and an average of 10 hours of sunlight a day –it's the perfect time to wander around Victoria (Gozo’s capital) and see the Bronze Age Citadel, then to charter a boat to the crystalline surf of Blue Lagoon on the car-free island of Comino. Wherever your day-trip priorities land, make the luxe, rustic rooms of Kempinski Hotel San Lawrenz your home base.
Dallas summers can be real scorchers, so in favor of not burning to a crisp, why not visit during spring. In the heart of Dallas, the hip Deep Ellum neighborhood has its feet firmly planted in all things foodie. Rumbly tummies should take to chef Matt McCallister’s Filament for regional southern specialties like blackened catfish BLTs and shrimp and grits, or head to Cane Rosso for wood-fired Neapolitan pizzas (the eponymous pie comes topped with sausage, roasted onion and pepper, san marzanos, housemade mozzarella, and parmesan). Once your appetite is satisfied, take a trip to the Dallas Arboretum & Botanical Gardens where 19 meticulously-manicured gardens unfold across 66-urban-acres. The place to stay in the big D is the design-forward Hotel Dallas ZaZa, a funky alternative to middle-of-the-road chains. There's a happening (day and night) pool scene and the stylized, high-concept suites suites (Bohemia, East Indies, Shag-a-Delic, etc.) attract a trendy, youthful crowd.
RELATED: Our 2017 Dallas Travel Guide
May hits a major Bahamas’ sweet spot. Coming off of winter’s mad-Caribbean-dash, the month kick-starts off-season on the island; temps remain in the 70s to 80s, hotel and flight prices take an enticing dive; crowds disperse; and hurricane season is still a ways away (June, to be precise). If you’re looking to splurge on accommodations, the One&Only Ocean Club – tucked away on 35 acres of swaying coconut palms and silky sands with an 18-hole Tom Weiskopf-designed golf course – is our prime pick. If you'd rather rake in a bargain, the boutique Rock House Hotel fits the bill with delightfully-affordable guestrooms and suites and breakfast by the pool. Should you only do one thing outside your hotel (a travesty – but let it serve our point), go diving in the Thunderball Grotto in Staniel Cay (not far from Exuma’s Pig Beach). You'll see eye-popping schools of angel fish and yellow-tail snappers zoom through the underwater cave, which has appeared in several James Bond films.
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