Where to Go In May
The end of winter and beginnings of spring make for an excellent month to head south for early spring sunshine, or enjoy excellent value for money in many classic cities. During the month of March, most hotels still offer low season prices, but weather in the Mediterranean can be mild and sunny.
Whilst Holland attracts thousands of visitors to its famous tulip fields in early spring, Amsterdam is at its best during May when the weather is more reliable and the city’s great art galleries and museums open the doors of new exhibitions for the season. The Museum Quarter is an excellent base for those who plan to explore the impressive cultural institutions – the grand façade of the Rijksmuseum forms one side of the Museumplein, an open green space surrounded by galleries. After a morning with Rembrandt and Vermeer in the Rijksmuseum, relax over lunch in the café Le Tambourin, which is located in front of the Van Gogh Museum, and then perhaps venture next door to the modern art collection at the Stedelijk Museum. The southern side of the square is home to one of Europe’s great music venues, the Concertgebouw – speak to the Kirker Concierge for details of upcoming performances and tickets.
May brings warm sunshine to the Iberian Peninsula, and this is an ideal time of year to visit the Portuguese capital. Perhaps Europe’s most charming capital city, Lisbon was once the centre of a vast maritime empire, and this imperial legacy is still evident in the now slightly-faded Baroque architecture and the luminous blue tiles which adorn buildings on every street. Lisbon is built on seven hills, and overlooks the mouth of the mighty Tagus River, which lends a unique character to its winding cobbled streets, which offer occasional glimpses of the sea or sky. The Bairro Alto is a lively old town district of bars, cafes and restaurants where you can enjoy delicious fresh seafood and a glass of light vinho verde or perhaps sample one of the diverse port wines on offer. Hop on one of the local trams up to the castle district for a different perspective, or spend an afternoon at the Gulbenkian Collection – a unique treasure trove of art, artefacts and fascinating objects amassed by Armenian industrialist and avid collector Calouste Gulbenkian.
Spring in Central Europe is a time of celebration, and one of the landmark events in the cultural calendar is Prague’s annual Spring Music Festival. Taking place during May, the Festival includes an array of world-class performances in venues including the Rudolfinum – one of Europe’s most historic concert halls.
The culinary capital of Italy, Bologna should be on every discerning traveller’s wish list, and is a very rewarding destination for a May short break, when the piazzas and markets are filled with locals stocking up on delicious fresh produce. Famous for its historic university, mediaeval stone towers, and arcaded streets, Bologna is also an excellent base from which to explore the Emilia-Romagna countryside and neighbouring towns such as Modena, Ravenna, Ferrara and Parma. The Kirker Concierge will recommend the best restaurants for dinner and the delicatessens where you will find locally-produced Parmesan, prosciutto, and balsamic vinegar to bring home.