8 of the best destinations for April and May

There are some places where Spring is the best time of year to visit. Maybe the landscape is popping with color, maybe it’s the should seasons when few other travelers share the trails and towns. Perhaps the weather is near-ideal for being active outdoors. Sometimes it’s all of the above—a perfect triad. Whatever the reason, if spring is when you are planning your next vacation, or if you’re flexible and spring is an option, here are eight of the best destinations around the world for April or May travel.

Bhutan in April

The mountainous areas of Bhutan have pronounced rainy and dry seasons. Most tours do not even run in the rainy season as the dirt roads that crisscross the country become miserable mud pits,  and mudslides are a real and common hazard. April is typically very dry with clear skies and beautiful flowers in bloom. You may even see the national flower of Bhutan: the blue poppy. It’s also the planting and ploughing time of year, so many Bhutanese are out working their lands as they have done for generations. In addition, fewer travelers arrive in the spring, and temperatures are pleasant for outdoor activities with highs in the 60s and 70s (F).

Palau in April

Being close to the equator, Palau enjoys a warm climate year-round. But the same cannot be said for the northern hemisphere when April can be gray and cool if winter has not yet run it’s course. This makes Palau a perfect location for a tropical getaway for those who need a break from winter. While it can rain at any time in the archipelago, sunshine is prevalent, and since it lies outside the typhoon zone, severe storms are generally not a concern. Just imagine kayaking and snorkeling in crystal clear, turquoise water and relaxing on pristine, white-sand beaches. You might not even want to wait until April! (February is a great month, too!)

Japan in April or May

Simply put, spring in Japan is stunning. There is little rainfall during this season. In April, if you’re lucky, you might get to see the delicate cherry trees in bloom (although the exact time frame varies each year based on a variety of natural factors). Temperatures in April range from mid-40s to mid-60s (F). In May, while you will most likely miss the cherry blossoms, the entire landscape is greener and more alive, plus the temperatures are about 10 degrees warmer all around.

Spain in April or May

Springtime in Spain is the shoulder season, when towns and tourist areas are just starting to dust themselves off from the winter low season. In northern Spain, where many people partake in the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage, congestion on the trail is low, but everything is open, and Spaniards are eager to welcome travelers. In both northern and southern Spain, temperatures are pleasant for hiking. While occasional rains are not uncommon in the spring, they help to keep the dust down in the drier areas of the country.

Italy in May

Is there really a bad time to visit Italy? We don’t think so, but spring certainly has its advantages. Not only are wildflowers in bloom, especially in southern Italy and Sicily, but the Mediterranean is usually warm enough for a swim, as well. From Tuscany southward you’ll avoid the intense heat of the summer months, and everywhere you’ll avoid the crowds, as most foreign travelers visit between June and August. In the mountainous areas, May is a bit cooler with clear air that allows for great views.

Portugal in May

Almost the same can be said for Portugal as Italy, since their climates and topography are so similar. May is usually a lovely month to visit thanks to the comfortable daytime temperatures (although it is cooler in the mountains). May is also the shoulder-season, thus avoiding both the hot summer and peak tourist season. Wildflowers are blooming, and it’s a time when many local festivals are taking place that you may happen across. The port vineyards in the Douro Valley will just be sprouting their greenery, an exciting time for winemakers!

Botswana in May

Botswana is south of the equator, which means that May is fall and also the dry season. Days are sunny and warm, while evenings and early mornings can be cold—lovely for gathering around the camps’ fire pits with a mug of tea or glass of wine. May is also the start of “peak season” when the floodwaters arrive, attracting an enormous diversity of animals. Predator and prey are often close in proximity, leading to memorable encounters. And while we did say “peak season,” you will still have a very exclusive experience as the remote camps only accommodate 12-20 guests.

Peru in May

May is just on the cusp of high season in Peru, because the rainy season has ended and the hillsides and valleys are at their greenest. As the dry season progresses, the landscape becomes evermore brown. Peru is generally delightful for hiking in the spring thanks to the dry, warm weather. Temperatures don’t fluctuate much throughout the year: daytime temps are in the 60s, while evenings can dip into the 30s. If you want to hike the Inca Trail, it’s best to reserve your trip as early as possible as permits frequently sell out for the popular route.

Comments (3)

  1. Bob says:

    When funds were tighter, when we had kids plus mortgage, and could only afford one holiday per year, after careful discussion that holiday would be taken in April. Our thinking was that we needed a break after a long cold, dark winter and that there was a chance that the weather might just be OK in England in the summer. Though we never made it to anywhere as exciting as these destinations.

  2. Brian says:

    Bhutan is on my bucket list. Friends who have visited say that it is physically and spiritually invigorating. The problem is that my work is busy in April and it is very difficult to get away. If I’m going all that way I want to spend a decent amount of time in the country.

    • Hi Brian,
      If Bhutan is on your bucket list, but April isn’t a good time, Sept-Nov are also great months to travel in that country. Comparable weather, although a few more travelers. Our 12-day itinerary heads out further east than most people travel to and has been our most popular Bhutan itinerary for many years. I hope you get to visit Bhutan soon!

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