April may have been a busy month with Easter celebrations and Half Term, but May is just around the corner and luckily there are two Bank Holidays to look forward to! So if you didn’t manage to get away last month, now is the perfect time to book a last minute holiday.
A city break is the perfect opportunity to escape the rat race for a few days (and the rainy weather!), see those famous landmarks you’ve always dreamed of, and discover great new places to hang out.
From the bright lights of New York, to the futuristic city of Valencia, here’s our guide to the best city breaks in May.
Step into a world of science fiction in Valencia. The contemporary Spanish port city is the third largest after Madrid and Barcelona. Offering visitors a taste of modern city life with the addition of a few beaches (La Malvarrosa is the main one near the city) it’s easy to enjoy the best of both worlds, especially with highs of 23°C in May.
Known for the vast array of art nouveau, gothic, renaissance and futuristic architecture, you will be spoilt for choice when it comes to sightseeing. One of Valencia’s most famous designs is the Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias, designed by local architect and engineer Santiago Calatrava.
Get your retail fix in any of the shopping malls such as El Corte Ingles, similar to Selfridges in the UK. There’s also a plethora of markets and outlets in Valencia to pick up handmade goods at bargain prices.
And if food is the way to your heart, Valencia is filled with amazing places to enjoy Mediterranean cuisine such as fresh fish, locally grown vegetables and classic paella. The famous Plaza de la Reina in old town Valencia is an ideal place for light tapas or dinner, bordered by trees, café’s and shops. Or why not try the historic Central Market where you can sample fresh meat, cheese and wine at your leisure?
New York, New York! The city where anything is possible. In May expect highs of 20ºC – a comfortable heat to hit the streets. Whether you choose to spend time exploring Times Square in Manhattan, tick the Empire State Building off your bucket list, or splash the cash in Macy’s, no two days need to be the same.
This bustling metropolis is home to Fifth Avenue, Ground Zero, Madison Square Garden, Central Park and so many more iconic places, so your city break itinerary will be filled from the moment you get there. And with some of the best food in the world from famous bagel shops like David’s Bagels to pancake house iHop, there’s no shortage of ways to indulge.
When night falls, find a cocktail bar in the trendy area of Soho, watch a world class Broadway show or head back to Times Square where neon lights and big screens will transport you to the movies.
14 islands connected by over 50 bridges make up the archipelago of Stockholm. The stylish, design led Swedish capital is the kind of city easily explored in a few days, making it the perfect destination for a city break. In May, temperatures hover at a mild 16°C meaning you can leave the heavy coats behind.
Stockholm is one of the cleanest and most pedestrian friendly cities. Many people cycle to get around and it’s simple to hire a bike for any duration of your stay so you can hop and hop off whenever you like. As a city of arts and culture, you’ll want to check out its many museums including Fotografiska, Nordic Museum and Vasa Museum. The Royal Swedish Opera House, Stockholm City Theatre, Gamla Stan (Old Town) and Stockholm Public Library are also worth visiting.
One of the best days out in Stockholm is at Djurgården – a tranquil island in the middle of the city home to a host of museums, parks and lakes. The cycle route takes you around the entire island, with perfect pit stops for picnics. You can also get there by bus, tram or ferry from central Stockholm.
Eating out here will leave you spoilt for choice. Going for a ‘fika’ come afternoon is typical in Sweden and translates to coffee and cake (try Fabrique or Café Pascal). And for dinner, Michelin starred restaurants such as Frantzén are dotted around the city with some of the best Scandinavian food around.
Portugal’s colourful capital city is the ideal place to put your explorer hat on. With rolling cobbled streets down to the River Tagus, pretty coloured houses and the smell of pastel de nata wafting through the streets, you’re bound to fall in love with Lisbon.
If you enjoy being in nature, take a pit stop in one of the many neighborhood parks for a quite read or sunbathe as temperatures reach up to 23°C. While the beaches are in the small towns of Estoril and Cascais, laidback locals reside by the riverside to socialise, play music and cool down. And when it comes to retail therapy, Baixa district and LX Factory offer all of the high street and designer chains, independent vintage shops and boutique interior stores you could ever dream of.
Lisbon is the kind of city solo travelers can enjoy too, with friendly local people, accommodating bars/restaurants and affordable things to do. Hop on a tram up to Alfama for the best views in the city, sample fresh seafood in the Time Out Market, or simply watch the world go by in Rossio Square.
St Helier is the capital of Jersey in the Channel Islands, and is a stone’s throw from the UK. Known for its beautiful beaches, British/French culture and walking trails, St Helier will make you feel as though you’ve travelled further than you actually have.
A holiday here is all about the outdoors. Expansive landscapes, rugged cliff tops and sweeping dunes will make you feel as though you’re in the Algarve. The beaches in May are pleasant and perfect for a leisurely stroll with temperatures reaching highs of 14°C. Jersey National Park covers approximately 30 miles of Jersey coastline, Les Écréhous, Les Minquiers and Pierres de Lecq or Paternosters, so you can explore beyond St Helier on your trip to the island.
With a brilliant street food scene and Michelin starred dining (try Ormer and Bohemia), shopping neighborhoods (King Street and Halkett Street), and a scenic waterside marina, there’s plenty to discover in St Helier.
Steeped in history dating back to the Viking settlement, Dublin is one of the most culturally rich cities and makes up more than quarter of the Republic of Ireland. This booming city has developed a lot since then, and is a great location for both an educational and fun city break.
Lush green parks, traditional pubs and a creative community are just of the things you can expect here. Attractions range from the renowned Dublin Castle and Trinity College (home to the Book of Kells), to the prestigious National Gallery and Christ Church Cathedral. With a strong literary past thanks to the likes of Oscar Wilde and George Bernard Shaw, Dublin is a UNESCO City of Literature. All over the city you’ll find heritage plaques dedicated to famous writers, and there’s even a literary pub crawl!
Music is also at the heart of Dublin, with some of the world’s most famous musician’s hailing from the Irish capital. U2, The Script, Thin Lizzy and Sinead O’Connor are just a handful of household names. There are regular music events, gigs and festivals to get involved in too. Why not visit the Dublin Dance Festival in May? And when it comes to eating out, there’s everything from Dublin Bay’s beach restaurants to the weekly Temple Bar Food Market.