Visit Finland in May for the Vappu Festival, held on the first day of the month every year to mark the end of winter.
Winter in Finland is dark, cold and relentless, so the festival to mark winter's end is a big deal. The finns party hard for Vappu, which combines pagan festivities, a student party atmosphere and Labour Day demonstrations. You'll see outdoor celebrations in the parks and streets, plus street food and drink like skumppa (a sparkling wine), munkki (doughnuts) and tippaleipä (a funnel cake).
Finland sits 4th on our Good Trip Index, scoring especially strongly for sustainability and quality of life, so it's a great place to visit for some responsible tourism.
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Kedarnath | India
If connecting with nature, rejuvenation and adventure is what you're craving, then the quaint and beautiful Kedarnath nestled high in the Himalayas deserves a place on your 2023 bucket list. Surrounded by snow-capped mountains and lush woodlands, the town is best known for the Kedarnath Temple, a popular Hindu shrine that's roughly 1200 years old.
Thousands of tourists make the scenic 16km trek from Gaurikund to Kedarnath every year, arriving at a peaceful area of natural beauty perfect for quiet meditation. If you're planning a pilgrimage for 2023, make sure you travel between 26th April and 14th November when the temple is open.
Why Jordan? To celebrate Star Wars Day of course! May the fourth is an opportunity to revisit the trilogies, and while many Star Wars guides point first to Tunisia – which set the scene for Tatooine in the very first film – it's not currently advisable to visit the south of the country where many of the key Star Wars sites can be found.
Jordan recently dropped all travel restrictions, so it's as easy as ever to get in and out – you'll just need to buy a mandatory visa for a few pounds when you land.
Wadi Rum was used in both Rogue One as Jedha and Episode IX as Pasaana. It was also the desert in Lawrence of Arabia and a host of other films. And while you're in Jordan you should take in the ancient city of Petra which was the set of another Harrison Ford classic, The Last Crusade.
For more details of the Star Wars sites you can visit around the world read our May the Fourth article below.
May the Fourth be with you!
Enjoy our guide to filming locations around the world from the Star Wars universe.Find out more...
Kigali | Rwanda
Direct flights from Gatwick to Kigali, Rwanda's capital city, started running towards the end of 2022. A newsworthy destination last year, 2023 is a great time to look beyond the headlines and discover this beautiful country.
The main reason people head to Rwanda is for Volcanoes National Park, home to some of the world's last remaining mountain gorillas. A safari through the 'land of a thousand hills' is an experience you'll never forget, but make sure you fully explore Kigali before your adventure. This vibrant city is a cultural hotspot, from music and film festivals to fascinating museums.
May is the tail end of the rainy season. It's the best time to follow chimpanzees, quieter than June when the rainy season definitively comes to an end, and it's also possible to see the mountain gorillas.
Top 40 bucket list destinations for 2023
Kigali makes our top 40 bucket list destinations this year – check out the other 39 as we celebrate our 40th anniversary with 40 great trips.Find out more...
24th May is World Turtle Day, and there's nowhere better to spot turtles close(ish) to home than on a beach holiday in Turkey.
Turkey topped our 2022 bucket list and it's still rising in popularity this year. It's outside the EU so no Brexit queues or hassles, but only just outside so you're there in about four hours. The Turkish lire has lost more than half its pre-lockdown value vs the pound so your holiday will be super cheap. There are hundreds of miles of riviera, served by multiple airports, so you're spoiled for choice for resorts, villages and sights.
But since we're celebrating World Turtle Day in May, let's concentrate on the turtles. They're protected, especially their nesting sites, which means you'll need to travel carefully and without disrupting the habitat. That said, with competent guides and a little caution you can expect to see turtles all over Turkey with highlights including Iztuzu Beach, Akgöl beaches near Fethiye, and Dalyan Turtle Beach.
Venice | Italy
Venice plans to bring in a tourist tax this summer to limit the number of visitors to the city. This means that May is one of your last chances to visit without stumping up the extra fee.
May is always a good time to visit Venice in any case. Before the heat of summer awakens the distinctive odour of the canals, and before the summer tourists descend in their millions, May shows Venice off at its best. Pleasantly warm, still relatively quiet and always serene, Venice in the spring makes for a perfect city break.
Liverpool | UK
Liverpool is hosting the Eurovision Song Contest in May, after Ukraine won in 2022.
Famed for its contributions to music the world over, Liverpool will host musicians from all over the world between the 9th and 13th of May. It's a great chance to visit – Eurovision doesn't come to the UK often, and the chance to enjoy music from 37 different countries right on your doorstep isn't one to miss.
And even if Eurovision isn't quite your thing, head to Liverpool anyway for the Beatles tour, the skyline of the docks and the Royal Liver, the cathedral and the renowned friendliness of the people.