Pining for some spring sunshine? We know the feeling. Luckily, we’ve got the answer – a handy guide to the best places to visit in April and May, whether you want to stay close to home or fly off somewhere exotic. It’s not just about the hottest temperatures – we’ve also factored in things like local events and what you might want to do in each destination.
Where to go in April
April can be a tricky month if you don’t want to fly too far. A lot of European resorts are still a bit on the chilly side, with hotels and restaurants often staying closed until Easter. That said, there are a few destinations where you can bask in a bit of spring sunshine without a long-haul flight.
The Canaries are a pretty safe bet for sunshine in April. Whether you’re thinking of sunning yourself on Fuerteventura’s beaches, exploring Lanzarote’s volcanic landscapes or wine-tasting in Tenerife, you can expect highs in the early to mid-20s and eight to nine hours of sun a day. The sea might still be slightly chilly, but it’ll be warm enough for swimming in the pool and dining al fresco. Evenings are a bit cooler, so bring a jumper or light jacket to wear once the sun goes down.
Greek Easter usually takes place a few weeks after ours, but this year they both fall in mid-April, so you can experience one of Greece’s biggest celebrations without having to take the kids out of school. The Westin Resort Costa Navarino has some fantastic festivities planned, including classical music performances held in the hotel’s beautiful chapel, traditional Easter feasts, and stacks of fun activities for little ones. Our favourite part is the chance to join local women to prepare traditional Easter bread (called lambrokouloura), which will be served up at the following day’s breakfast buffet.
If you’re happy to venture further afield, there are some fantastic long-haul destinations that are ideal in April. Bear in mind that the rainy season will be in full swing in some places, so if you want wall-to-wall sunshine, it’s best to avoid those (but if you’re happy with the odd shower here and there, holidaying in the rainy season is great value).
Switch April showers for blue skies and an overwater villa in the Maldives. The wet season (which isn’t actually all that wet – usually just the odd early-evening or overnight downpour) doesn’t kick in until May, so head to the Maldives early in April for dry, sunny, 30-degree days.
If you’re looking for a family holiday, Mexico is one of the best long-haul options for April – it’s not too hot for little ones (averaging 26 degrees), the sea is warm enough for splashing around and snorkelling, and there are some great family-friendly hotels and attractions.
Where to go in May
May is our month of choice for a beach holiday with a side order of sightseeing. The Med is warming up nicely, but (crucially) isn’t scorching hot yet, so you can still spend hours wandering around archaeological sites and UNESCO-listed old towns without getting all hot and bothered. And because you don’t need to fly as far, May is an ideal time for shorter breaks. Go midweek for the best-value flights, or opt for a long weekend or bank holiday break to minimise time off work.
With a whopping 11 hours of sun a day and average highs of 24°C, May is a pretty perfect month to visit Cyprus. Aphrodite’s Island has a beautiful coastline and some of the best beach hotels in Europe, so it’s ideal for fly-and-flop breaks. Not tempted by a week on a sunlounger? Cyprus has a more adventurous side too – base yourself at our newest hotel, Casale Panayiotis, to experience it.
The most southerly of the Greek islands, Crete is basking in the mid-20s come May. Settle yourself in the north coast resorts of Adele or Missiria for easy access to the postcard-pretty town of Rethymnon – spend mornings by the pool or on the beach, then head into Rethymnon’s old town for an afternoon of pottering around its medieval, Venetian and Ottoman buildings. Once you’ve had your fill of culture, retire to one of the harbour-side cafes for a Greek coffee or a glass of Cretan wine.
If you’re looking for a city break in Italy, May is prime time – warm enough to sit out in a piazza with a glass of wine, but not so hot you’ll be sweating sun cream all over your guidebook. Being a big country, the weather varies quite a bit between the north and south. Venice and Verona will still be in the high teens in May, while Florence and Rome will be hitting the mid-20s by the end of the month. Sicily is beautiful in May – base yourself in Taormina and combine poolside lounging with trips to historic Syracuse and the Baroque towns in the Val di Noto.
Little Malta sometimes gets forgotten by holidaymakers – but that only makes us love it more. Its stunning, World Heritage-listed capital is chock-full of centuries-old palaces, cathedrals and churches, while townhouses are accessorised with colourful enclosed balconies. Sandy beaches are few and far between, so if you want a break from your hotel pool, catch the ferry over to neighbouring Gozo, where you’ll find soft sands and some of the clearest waters in the Med.