WHY YOU SHOULD GO May is one stunning time to be in the high country of Nepal. While it's beginning to get muggy and hazy in the country's lower reaches, up in the mountains, around Everest Base Camp and the Annapurna Circuit in particular, the skies are blue, the air is crisp and clear, the temperatures are moderate, and the crowds of peak season have mostly fled in anticipation of the rainy season to come.
DON'T MISS This time of year in Nepal is all about trekking through high country. Make your way to Base Camp for that ultimate bucket-list experience; check out Chitwan National Park, or the Annapurna Circuit; soak up the crisp mountain air at a lovely time of year. See welcomenepal.com
See also: The best-kept trekking secret in Nepal
WHY YOU SHOULD GO It's not like there's ever a bad time to visit cities such as Prague, Cesky Krumlov and Litomysl, with their blend of Bohemian charm and architectural influences from the east and west. May, however, is particularly good: the days are long and beginning to warm up, but the crowds of summer have yet to arrive.
DON'T MISS There are a few big events in Prague in May that you won't want to miss. For culture vultures, the Prague Spring Music Festival is three weeks of classical performances throughout the city. For something a little lower brow, meanwhile, the Czech Beer Festival is 17 days of boozing and feasting. See czechtourism.com
See also: Twenty reasons to visit Prague
WHY YOU SHOULD GO Don't go to southern Spain in summer – you'll fry. Similarly, if you visit northern Spain in winter, you'll find it surprisingly cold. Spring is the sweet spot across the country, before the bulk of the cruise ships and bucks' parties and tour buses have arrived, but the weather is good and the people are out enjoying it.
DON'T MISS It already feels like summer in Barcelona in May, when the city beaches are filling up and the tapas bars and restaurants nearby are rowdy until the wee hours. Also, take the chance to visit historic Seville in May, when there's plenty of sunshine, but the temperatures haven't yet reached sweltering. See spain.info
WHY YOU SHOULD GO There's much to love about Morocco, from the ancient and seemingly untouched alleyways of Fes, to the markets of Marrakech, the beaches of Essaouira, and the golden expanse of the Sahara. These destinations, however, don't particularly shine at the height of summer, when the temperature is uncomfortably hot, and the crowds are heavy. Go, instead, in May to beat the heat while still enjoying some sun.
DON'T MISS Each May, the desert town of Kelaat M'gouna hosts the Festival of the Roses, when these treasured blooms are harvested from the surrounding countryside and locals take to the streets to sing, dance and feast in celebration. It's a colourful, joyous occasion.
WHY YOU SHOULD GO This charmer of a city is fun at any time of year; in May, however, it hosts the famous Kentucky Derby, which means more than 150,000 people piling in to Churchill Downs on the first Saturday of the month, dressed in their finest, ready to watch the ponies and take in the atmosphere. Prepare for a big day.
DON'T MISS While the Derby is the highlight of the racing calendar, it's actually part of a "Triple Crown" of thoroughbred sport, all of which takes place in May. True racing fans should check out the meets in Baltimore, Maryland and Elmont, New York for the full experience. See kentuckytourism.com
WHY YOU SHOULD GO While the May nights are chilly in the ancient Andean town of Cusco, the days are sunny and temperate, and the large crowds who arrive in June and July have yet to descend. There are a few great festivals to check out too, including the Festival of the Cross, a Catholic celebration, and Q'oyoriti, a traditional Quechua celebration held at the foot of a glacier.
DON'T MISS Now is the time to beat the crowds at Machu Picchu – or at least, to beat the bulk of them. You'll still find the full complement of hikers on the Inca Trail, but May is just the beginning of the season for this world-renowned sight, and while the skies are clear and the grass is lush and green, the crowds at the main site are manageable. See visitperu.com
WHY YOU SHOULD GO Britain feels like it's coming alive in May, as the days get longer and warmer and the citizens shake themselves out of hibernation and prepare for the summer ahead. Coastal Brighton, in southern England, is a particularly good place to be: May in this laidback town is festival time, which means a whole month of partying.
DON'T MISS The Brighton Festival and the Brighton Fringe (England's largest arts festival) turn the city into one giant stage throughout May. Catch artists and performers of all genres and calibres, and soak up the fun of a city in celebration mode. See visitbrighton.com
RIO DE JANEIRO
WHY YOU SHOULD GO Conventional wisdom might have it that the best time to visit Rio is during Carnival, in March. But conventional wisdom would also have you sharing your Rio experience with millions of other revellers, and paying the price on accommodation. In May it's much calmer. The weather is also excellent – crisp and clear instead of stinking hot – the sea is warm, and the people are in their usual good spirits.
DON'T MISS May marks the beginning of Brazil's domestic football competition, and to truly appreciate the mania that accompanies this sport, you have to get to a game. Rio is home to several major clubs – Botafogo, Flamengo, Fluminense and Vasco da Gama – and seeing any play will be an experience you'll never forget. See riodejaneiro.com