May brings not two but three bank holidays this year – that’s your cue to make the most of the time off. Get planning now to find an appealing escape, whether you’re after adventure, relaxation or a mix of both.
You could take a great Canadian road trip through landscapes of mountains and national parks, meander through Montenegro in the spring sunshine – pairing the country’s natural beauty with historic towns – or discover the Algarve’s scintillating Atlantic coastal footpaths.
Get a taste of Italian island life in the Bay of Naples before the summer crowds arrive or, closer to home, there are a couple of brilliant options: discover the Isle of Wight‘s program of spring festivals or lose yourself in the majesty of the Lake District with some handy hikes.
Wherever you decide to have a holiday in May, these ideas are sure to inspire you.
If BBC1’s Race Across the World has been whetting your appetite for a Canadian adventure, try this custom-made 10-day driving holiday offered by Wexas. You’ll start in Vancouver before driving into the spectacular scenery of the Rockies as you head to Whistler and the Blackcomb Mountains. There are more jaw-dropping landscapes in store as you drive to Jasper and Banff national parks before flying home from Calgary. The starting price of £2,015pp includes flights, eight nights’ B&B accommodation and car hire, plus excursions such as gondola rides, lake cruises and a glacier walk.
Portugal‘s wild west coast is revealed in all its glory on this seven-night self-guided Algarve Coast and Hills walk offered by Inntravel. You’ll be based in the Quinta das Achadas, a 19th-century farmhouse near Odiaxere, from where you can drive to hiking circuits that take in the dramatic Atlantic coast, meadow-filled valleys and thick forests. Prices start at £860pp and include car hire, seven nights’ B&B accommodation, two dinners and three picnics. Flights or rail travel to Portugal are extra but can be arranged.
May brings pleasantly warm days and carpets of spring flowers to Italy, especially the further south you go. Enjoy the relative peace of shoulder season on the laid-back island of Ischia in the Bay of Naples. Oliver’s Travels has a stylish two-bedroom villa, Casa Coltelleria, which has dreamy sea views to go with its large sun-drenched terrace and outdoor hot tub. The beach, village and restaurants are all within walking distance. The villa sleeps four comfortably and is available for seven nights’ self-catering from 7 May for £2,237.
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Isle of Wight
There’s a bit of a festival fever going on in the Isle of Wight throughout May, with everything from a walking festival and regattas to the Cowes Fringe Festival. Halfway between Cowes and Newport along the River Medina is Calm Waters, a stylish four-bedroom house overlooking Binfield’s marina. It sleeps eight and has a hot tub from where you can take views of the marina. Booked through Island Cottage Holidays, it costs £850 for seven nights from 5 May, down from £937. Hop across the Solent with wightlinkwhich has introduced England’s first hybrid-energy car ferry.
For a small country, Montenegro punches above its weight. Combines magnificent mountains with exquisite historic towns, Adriatic beaches and peaceful nature reserves. On this eight-day driving holiday with Regent Holidays, you get many of the country’s greatest hits: Venetian-style Kotor, baroque Perast, Mount Lovcen and the old capital of Cetinje, plus the wilderness of Lake Skadar and the vast beaches of Ada Bojana near the Albanian border. The starting price of £1,160pp includes flights, car hire and seven nights’ B&B accommodation.
Surround yourself with the beauty of the Lake District when you stay at Stonethwaite Cottage. This stone cottage near Borrowdale sleeps seven in four bedrooms, and has a secure garden area for dogs – not to mention wonderful countryside views. It’s handy for hiking near Derwentwater and Lake Buttermere, and Keswick is only a 15-minute drive. Available through Sykes Cottagesit costs £875 for seven nights’ self-catering from 5 May, down from £987.
Mary Novakovich is editor at large at 101holidays.co.uk