May is one of the best months to visit Europe. The weather is perfect, with warm, long, sunny days and not much rain. Since it’s still a shoulder season, there are fewer people around and significantly lower prices. Some of the best destinations in Europe are perfect to explore and enjoy to the fullest then.
If you are looking for places to visit in Europe in May, we put together a list of the best European destinations to go to in May to help you make the decision. Read on and plan your perfect trip!
Prague is one of the most beautiful cities to visit in Europe, and May is an excellent month for a trip to the Czech capital. Even if the place is popular among tourists all year long, May is still less busy than the summer months, especially if you visit Prague outside of weekends.
The weather in May in Central Europe is very pleasant, not overly hot, with 15-25°C and plenty of sunny days. The days are also getting longer, so you can pack your itinerary with numerous amazing things to do in Prague, both indoors and outside. Another reason why it’s worth visiting Prague in May is spring, which is in full bloom, making the city and its many green spaces even more beautiful.
When planning your trip, be sure to spend at least a few days in Prague, as the city is full of fantastic attractions and places you don’t want to miss.
You can see the unique astronomical clock, Orloj, from the early 15th century (the oldest clock of that kind that is still working), giving a show every full hour. It is located on the side of the Old Town Hall, so while you are here, you can also explore the surrounding area, which has numerous stunning buildings in different architectural styles, from Gothic to Cubism (which developed only in this region).
Once you are done with the Old Town, cross the Vltava bridge to Mala Strana - the best way to get there is via Charles Bridges - a pedestrian-only stone structure finished in the early 15th century. Not only is the bridge itself, with many statues lining its sides, one of the biggest attractions of Prague, but you can also admire a stunning panorama of the city, with its impressive castle - Hradcany. That’s where you should head next, to visit its premises as well as the magnificent St. Vitus Cathedral and colorful Golden Lane. Since Hradcany is located on the hill, you can probably see the best view of Prague from there.
While these are the highlights of the Czech capital, Prague offers many more attractions - great museums, beautiful churches, and many vibrant neighborhoods, each unique in its own way. Since the weather in May is almost guaranteed to be good, you can also enjoy some green areas (like Letna Park with yet another fantastic view of the city), go for a boat ride on the Vltava, or relax in one of the many outdoor beer gardens. After all, the Czech Republic is home to some of the best beers in the world.
With the perfect location right in the heart of Europe, you can combine your trip to Prague with other interesting places nearby. One of the best ways to travel between Central European cities is with Sidetrip Transfer Tours. Not only will you get from Prague to another destination hassle-free, but you will also be able to visit smaller towns, villages or countryside highlights along the way.
Berlin is one of the most popular places to visit in Europe, and May is a really good month to go there. The weather is decent, with temperatures of 15°C and more. The chances of rain are not as big, but if you are unlucky with gloomy days, you can enjoy some indoor activities the city offers.
May is also when the scenery changes, with flowers and trees blooming, giving the place a more welcoming look. Tourism-wise, this is still not a peak season for visiting Berlin, so while there will be plenty of other tourists around, it will not be overwhelming, and you can enjoy what Berlin offers.
The German capital played a crucial part in recent history when the city was divided by the wall until 1989. Its destruction was the catalyst for changes in Central and Eastern Europe and the unification of the country. Still today, you can find many places related to this event, the most popular ones being Checkpoint Charlie - a former checkpoint between East and West Berlin, and East Side Gallery - the original part of the Berlin Wall that was transformed into a street art gallery with a meaning.
Some other highlights of the city you can’t miss include Brandenburg Gate, Reichstag (the German parliament that you can visit to see the panorama from its rooftop), the TV tower on Alexanderplatz (it’s worth going up for the views), or the elegant buildings along Unter den Linden boulevard. If you like museums, head to Museum Island, which has some of the best institutions of that kind in Germany (unfortunately, the best one, Pergamon Museum, is currently closed for extensive renovations).
Berlin also attracts visitors with its alternative lifestyle the city is known for, and you can easily experience it too. Each of the city’s neighborhoods is different and offers something unique, but if you want to feel the famous Berlin vibe, head to areas like Kreuzberg, Friedrichshain, or Prenzlauer Berg, where you can find numerous restaurants with international food, many great cafes, plenty of street art around, and some great artistic initiatives. While the center of the city is where you can visit the main attractions, the vibrant neighborhoods are what makes Berlin so special.
From Berlin, you can continue your trip across the border to either Poland or the Czech Republic. While visiting Poland can be best done using trains or buses, we recommend Sidetrip's transfer tour for getting from Berlin to Prague. This allows you to see more than just the capital cities on your trip. You will stop in three amazing places during your transit from Berlin to Prague - Moritzburg Palace, Dresden Old Town, and Elbe Sandstone Mountains. They would be difficult to see in a day and hard to reach without a car, yet you can see them all.
Even if Lisbon, the beautiful capital of Portugal, is located on the edge of continental Europe, this place is definitely worth visiting. And May is a great time to do it. The weather is perfect for sightseeing and discovering all the best Lisbon attractions. It’s not too rainy anymore, and it’s not too hot yet. You can expect an average temperature of over 20°C in May, with around ten hours of sunshine per day and only a few rainy moments.
You need at least a few days to explore Lisbon as there is so much to see and do there! Most of the highlights are located in the central part of the city, between the Bairro Alto and Alfama districts. That’s where you can visit São Jorge Castle (first fortifications in its place date back to the 1st century BC!), ride up the historical Elevador de Santa Justa, or marvel at the stunning Praça do Comércio - one of the largest squares in Portugal!
Another district where you should head for even more Lisbon highlights is Belem, with the famous Belem Tower and impressive Jerónimos Monastery. But the capital of Portugal is also an excellent place to enjoy some more laid-back activities. Be sure to ride the historical tram no 28, which squeezes through narrow and steep lanes of the Old Town. Try the famous local pastry - pastel de nata - in a traditional bakery. In the evening, attend the fado (a traditional Portuguese dance) show before enjoying the nightlife in the Cais do Sodre neighborhood.
Once you are tired of all the excitement Lisbon has to offer, you can relax on one of the beaches near the city. There are plenty of them to choose from; they are easy to get to, and with the pleasant May weather, spending a day at the ocean is a real treat.
Another reason to visit Lisbon in May is the Open House event that usually takes place over the weekend in the middle of the month. That’s when you can step inside some incredible places that are normally close to the public.
You can see the interiors of buildings of public use, palaces, churches, or theatres and learn more about their history and significance on the guided tour. This event should be interesting not only to architecture fans but also to everyone who appreciates beauty and wants to discover hidden gems.
Slovenia is one of those countries that offer diverse attractions for everyone. You can find here fantastic nature, numerous cultural sites, charming towns and cities, and more. Since Slovenia is compact enough, you can base yourself in its capital - Ljubljana, and not only enjoy this vibrant city but also explore the rest of the country from here.
Like the rest of the country, Ljubljana is not overwhelming; you can see it all in one day. Start with taking the elevator up to the castle to learn more about the history of the country and see a beautiful panorama of the city and the Alps in the background. Then simply wander around the Old Town, located below the castle, and enjoy all it has to offer - a laid-back embankment of the Ljubljanica River, narrow winding lanes lined with beautiful buildings, and numerous cafes and restaurants where you can relax and enjoy the atmosphere of the city.
If you like architecture, you are in for a treat. In Ljubljana, you will find many works of the most famous local architect, Jože Plečnik, who was recognized worldwide for his impact on 20th-century building design.
When wandering around, you might notice a surprisingly large number of dragons all over the place. That’s because this creature is the symbol of Ljubljana; you can find it even in the city’s coat of arms. The most popular dragons (four of them) guard the Dragon Bridge at the edge of the Old Town; it’s impossible to miss them.
Once you are done exploring Ljubljana, it’s time for day trips around the country to see more of beautiful Slovenia. Depending on how many days you have left, you should start with visiting iconic Lake Bled, surrounded by the impressive Alps, with the small church island right in the middle, as well as nearby Lake Bohinj.
Another place not to miss is the jaw-dropping Postojna Cave (one of the largest caves in the world open to the public) and Predjama Castle, built into the rock. You can also go to the Adriatic Coast and enjoy the seaside towns of Piran, Izola, and Koper, or visit charming towns not far from Ljubljana, such as Kranj, Skofja Loka, or Celje.
There are many options for great day trips from Ljubljana, and May, with its pleasant weather and not too many tourists, is a perfect time to discover the country.
Amsterdam, the intriguing capital of the Netherlands, is a popular destination all year long, but May is one of the best months to visit the city. Not only is the weather already decent enough to spend hours outside (you can expect around 15-20°C, but it can get rainy), but this is when you can witness the breathtaking view of blooming tulip fields.
The best time to see those colorful flowers in their full glory is between mid-April and mid-May, so consider this period for your trip to Amsterdam. And while blooming tulips are already a good enough reason to visit Amsterdam, there are so many amazing attractions the city offers that your time there will be filled with things to do and see.
Amsterdam is home to some of the most impressive museums in the world, so if you like art, you are in for a treat. The most important one is Rijksmuseum, which has an incredible art collection, including works of some of the most famous artists like Rembrandt. But there are other places you should consider too, such as Van Gogh Museum or Stedelijk Museum.
If you like history, don’t miss Anne Frank House to see where the brave girl and her family hid during World War 2. Amsterdam museums are a perfect alternative when the weather doesn’t cooperate, but if you are lucky and the day is nice, you should go for a canal cruise and see the city from a different perspective.
However, the best thing to do in Amsterdam is simply wander around, get lost in the maze of lanes and canals, and admire beautiful houses that look made of gingerbread.
If you get tired of the hustle and bustle of Amsterdam, you can jump on the train and easily visit one of the interesting towns and cities in the Netherlands that are always in the shadow of the capital. Since the country is relatively small and train connections frequent, it doesn’t take long to move around.
Some of the places worth seeing beyond Amsterdam are Utrecht, Haarlem, Leiden, Gouda, Delft, or Rotterdam. You can reach them all by train in less than one hour.
Another one of the best places to visit in Europe in May, where the weather is perfect yet there are still not too many people, is French Rivera. This part of the Mediterranean, stretching between Cassis near Marseille and the Italian border, guarantees perfect weather with temperatures of over 20°C and enough sunny days to enjoy both sightseeing and relaxing at the beach.
While you can expect fewer people than in the summertime, two major events are taking place in May, when the area can get busier than usual. At the same time, those events are good enough reasons to visit French Rivera.
For ten days in mid-May, Cannes hosts the famous Film Festival, where some of the best movies are shown, and you can spot well-known actors and directors walking down the red carpet. Then, at the end of May, Monaco is home to the Formula 1 race, so if you like fast cars competing in the jaw-dropping scenery, this is the place to be.
However, if those events are of no interest to you, there is nothing to worry about. You can easily escape the hustle and bustle and hide in one of the smaller, charming towns, where you can enjoy the joys of the slow life in beautiful surroundings.
Some of the greatest places to visit in French Rivera, which are a perfect combination of history, culture, and leisure, are Nice, Saint Tropez, Antibes, Villefranche-sur-Mer, Cannes, Menton, and Monaco. You can also go a bit away from the seaside and see even more lovely small towns, such as Grasse, or Vence.
Once you are done with all the sightseeing, you can relax at the beach - the pleasant weather will allow you to spend some quality time there. However, the Mediterranean Sea might be still a bit cold to swim in.
Kotor is one of the most beautiful places to visit in the Balkans that is so easy to fall in love with. While in the summertime, the small, walled Old Town can get unbearable with crowds, May is still a good time to visit Kotor. There will be other tourists around, especially when the cruise ships arrive, but it won’t be overwhelming. And once the ships are gone in the late afternoon, you can fully enjoy Kotor and all its attractions.
The Old Town might be compact, but it is dotted with interesting places, beautiful churches, and impressive palaces that used to belong to wealthy families between the 15th and 18th centuries. Wandering around is an absolute pleasure, and it’s so easy to feel like time has stopped within these walls.
But the real highlight of Kotor is its location and especially the view from the top of St. John’s Fortress. To get to the top, you need to climb 1350 stairs, but it’s worth the effort as the panorama you will see is simply breathtaking. Fortunately, you don’t need to go all the way up to see it; there are already perfect views from the middle of the climb.
If, during the day, the cruise ship crowds in the Old Town get overwhelming (which might happen if more ships arrive), you can easily escape them by taking a walk along the Bay of Kotor. This area is usually pleasantly empty; the views are still stunning, and you can cool down in the water or relax on the beach (these, unfortunately, aren’t the best in the area).
You can also go for a day trip to nearby Perast, known for the artificial island with a church right in the middle of Kotor Bay, or to Lovcen National Park, which has some incredible views of the mountains.
One of the highlights of Italy is Cinque Terre - a picturesque area along the Ligurian Sea, famous for the five colorful villages that look like they are glued to the mountains. This is one of the most popular places to visit in Europe, and while it can get very crowded in summer, May is a perfect time to visit Cinque Terre. The weather is not too hot, usually around 20-25°C, so getting between the villages isn’t too much of a challenge.
Each of the colorful villages - Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza, and Monterosso al Mare - is worth visiting, but if you have time only for one of them, Riomaggiore is the most beautiful (and popular) one.
The best way to get between the villages and fully appreciate the area and its breathtaking views is on foot. An 11-km long hiking trail connecting Riomaggiore and Monterosso al Mare goes along the coast, with stops in all five villages. You can still do it if you visit the area for a day only. An alternative to hiking is the train, as each village has its train station, making it easy to move around.
Since you are at the seaside, you might want to enjoy some beach time too. Unfortunately, the only village with a beach (actually, three of them) is Monterosso al Mare, so plan your visit to Cinque Terre to have some extra time there. The temperature in the Ligurian Sea in May is usually around 17-18°C, so some visitors might be tempted to go for a swim.
If you are looking for a place for relaxing beach holidays, Cyprus is one of the best places to visit in May. The so-called island of Aphrodite, located in the very east of the Mediterranean Sea, attracts visitors with sunny weather and temperatures up to 30°C. It’s one of the warmest places in Europe, where you can expect hardly any rain in May, making Cyprus a perfect place to visit and enjoy all its attractions.
Those who enjoy the seaside and relaxing at the beach are in for a treat. Cyprus offers a variety of beaches, from sandy ones to those covered in pebbles and dark volcanic sand. The most beautiful ones, like Nissi Beach, are located near Ayia Napa, on the southeast side of the island.
On the other side of Cyprus, you can expect a more diverse landscape, including rocky formations near the sea. But you can find places perfect to sunbathe and swim everywhere along the coast.
If you get tired of spending time at the beach or want to diversify your holidays with sightseeing, there are so many interesting places to see in Cyprus. With its ancient history, you can find many impressive remnants from BC times all over the island. The most amazing ones are in Kourion near Limassol and in Paphos.
The island is also an excellent place for hiking, both along the coast and inland, in the beautiful Trodos Mountains. You should plan a visit to Nicosia, too.
The capital of Cyprus is divided into Greek and Turkish Cypriot quarters. Be sure to have your ID or passport with you as you will need it to cross between these two sides of the city.
Unlike other destinations recommended in this article, Ireland isn’t known for good weather in May. On the contrary, it’s only around 15°C, and the country gets about 20 days of rain (which is still the low number for this region).
Nevertheless, May is probably the best time to visit Ireland. This is when spring fully comes, making the country pop with intense green colors. As soon as you arrive, you will understand why Ireland is often called “the Emerald Island” as the shade of colors around it is unlike anywhere else.
May in Ireland is still a shoulder season, so prices are slightly lower than in summer, and there are fewer tourists than in the following months, making it easier to visit some of the main attractions. And Ireland has a lot to offer!
Don’t miss the magnificent Cliffs of Moher and nearby Aran Islands, drive the scenic Ring of Kerry, visit impressive medieval castles, explore vibrant cities like Dublin, Galway, or Cork, and fall in love with the idyllic Irish countryside.
But, most of all, enjoy Irish culture with its pubs, live music, popular drinks, and slow pace of life.
We mentioned only ten places that are perfect to visit in Europe in May, but there are many more of them. May is one of the best times to explore this part of the world as the days get longer, the sun shines stronger than before, and spring is in full bloom.
Since this is still a shoulder season, there are fewer tourists than in the summertime, making sightseeing much more enjoyable. So don’t think twice; plan your trip to Europe in May!