Where to go in May
Crowds and hot sun radiating off the limestone-paved streets of Dubrovnik’s Old Town is not a good combination. But May is the sweet spot, before summer sends visitor numbers and temperatures soaring.
With the sea temperature nearing 19°, you can enjoy a dip in the shimmering Adriatic, ride the cable car at Mount Srd for sweeping sunset views, or stroll the medieval City Walls, without shuffling behind the hordes. And the Gothic-Renaissance Rector’s Palace and historic main thoroughfare are yours to explore at your leisure.
Guesthouse rates are also cheaper in 'shoulder' season, before prices reach their peak in July.
There’s something seductive about a tropical downpour, but if you want to visit before the rainy season in Havana, go in May.
Whatever the season, life marches languidly on in the Cuban capital, where you can easily occupy several days before exploring the rest of the country.
Cruise the streets in a 1950s American jalopy, knock back a mojito or three, walk along the Malecon, the seaside esplanade that stretches 8km, and explore the photogenically dilapidated streets where time truly stands still.
You can tick off Bologna's top-five recommended sites in less than a day. So a bit of a damp squib for visitors and best avoided, then? No, far from it.
Bologna is an old city with a youthful atmosphere, thanks to its large student population. (The university was founded in 1088.) May is the perfect time to wander its ancient crowd-free streets and just eat: not for nothing is it called La Grassa (the fat one).
Here you’ll find stuffed pastas, delicious local cheeses with cold-cuts of meat, great-value wines and, perhaps most famous, tagliatelle al ragu, a dish that has morphed in its travels into spaghetti Bolognese. Come with an inquisitive mind but, above all, elasticated-waist trousers.
The 'windy city' gets its nickname from the hot air of politicians, not the breezes blowing in from Lake Michigan. Nonetheless, winters in Chicago can be long and cold, but by May spring is well in the air and the joggers on Lake Shore Drive aren’t bundled up like Egyptian mummies.
There’s a lot to do here. Take a photo in the reflective-metal 'bean', a sculpture by Anish Kapoor that is correctly titled Cloud Gate and which has become an unofficial city symbol.
The Art Institute of Chicago is an absolute must, as is an architectural boat tour for a bottom-up perspective on the skyscraper skyline. And then there’s the amazing food scene in one of America’s most Michelin-starred cities.
A half-hour train ride east of Edinburgh brings you to the lovely seaside town of North Berwick, a favourite escape for residents of the Scottish capital.
It’s a popular jumping-off point for bird-watching tours by boat, and this month is a great time to catch puffins on the Isle of May, which is home to the east coast’s largest colony – a quarter of a million seabirds breed here.
Take a four-hour guided photography excursion, of which two hours are on the isle itself, then warm up back in North Berwick with afternoon tea.