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The best short-haul destinations for May half-term

The May half-term presents a fantastic opportunity for many families to escape to sunnier climes and there are a fair share of short-haul destinations that can deliver just that.

With plenty of sandy beaches, family attractions and other places of interest to explore, these locations can provide just what you need for a brilliant family getaway.


The largest of the Canary Islands, Tenerife delivers plenty of sunshine and fun for all the family in May.

Given its location off the west coast of Africa, Tenerife enjoys warm weather all year round and May is no exception, as holidaymakers can expect eight hours of sunshine a day and temperatures of up to 23°C.

Rainfall is at a minimum, with just two days of the month experiencing showers. This is often found in the higher parts of the island around Mount Teide and on the north coast, with the southern part of the island often basking in the sunshine.

Alongside its golden sandy beaches, Costa Adeje is home to the renowned Siam Park waterpark which is regularly listed as being among the world’s best by TripAdvisor. Or if holidaying near the capital of the island, you may prefer to visit Parque Marítimo César Manrique – with beautiful natural saltwater pools, this water park is a firm favourite for family fun and relaxation.

Parque Maritimo Cesar Manrique Tenerife

Parque Marítimo César Manrique


With a glorious ten hours of sunshine a day and temperatures reaching 25°C in May, it’s no great mystery as to why this Spanish island is a haven for sun seekers. 

Lanzarote is a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve, providing ample opportunity to catch a glimpse of spectacular plants and wildlife.

Although the island is renowned for its black beaches, due to its volcanic nature, the island is also home to pristine white beaches including Playa Blanca, Papagayo and Caleton Blanco.

May is likely to be exceptionally dry too, as just 2mm of rain falls on average throughout the month, while the sea temperatures are perfect for a dip too – averaging 20°C. Don’t forget your beachwear!

Cape Verde

With temperatures averaging 25°C in May, ten hours of sunshine a day and with as little as 9mm of rainfall, Cape Verde offers an idyllic sunshine getaway.

The two most popular islands, Sal and Boa Vista, are drenched in sun all day, and even after sunset, temperatures average around 20°C.

The volcanic archipelago has an array of hiking and outdoor opportunities, including quad biking and an abundance of exciting watersports.

May also marks the start of nesting season for loggerhead sea turtles on the island and Joao Barrosa Beach is renowned for being a haven for the species – it is estimated that more than 300,000 hatchlings were born on the beach in 2018!

Boa Vista Cape Verde

Boa Vista, Cape Verde

The Algarve

High temperatures in the Algarve can approach 25°C in May and holidaymakers can expect a whopping 12 hours of sun a day!

Rainfall is limited too, with short, sharp showers that occur roughly every one in four days. The hillier regions in the north tend to be marginally cooler, but the Algarve remains a hotbed for golf, stunning scenery, golden sandy beaches and great surf.

There’s plenty to keep the kids entertained too, including the mammoth paintballing arena known as Parque Aventura, alongside numerous adventure parks and zoos.


Given its central Mediterranean location, May represents the first reliably dry and sunny month of the year in Malta.

With highs of 24°C, ten hours of sunshine and just 9mm of rain spread over an average of three days, the island’s stunning scenery and beautiful beaches are perfect for relaxing.

Alternatively, if you want to try something a little different, you can explore the many caves and shipwrecks by scuba diving just off the coast.

Tourist numbers in May tend to remain below those seen at the height of summer too, meaning it’s far easier if you wish to explore the many delights that the island has to offer.

Malta Harbour

Sunset at Malta Harbour


From the coastal resort of Agadir that is packed full of watersports, to the trekking opportunities across the Atlas Mountains, Morocco has something to suit all tastes.

The expanses of desert can be explored via camel or quad bike, while the souks of Marrakesh are home to an array of cultural delights and delicious cuisine.

May marks the start of the main tourist season in Morocco and temperatures can approach 29°C. When coupled with more than nine hours of sunshine a day, you can see why the country is a firm favourite for a half-term getaway.


With warm weather coming from the Sahara Desert, Egypt has its fair share of sunshine in May – some 13 hours daily – and there is extremely low rainfall.

Sharm El Sheikh has average high temperatures of 34°C – while this may be too hot for many, humidity is generally low which can help to detract from the heat.

These temperatures are great for spending time at the beach or by the pool, while there are numerous attractions to visit if you wish to explore – including the pyramids of Giza, Abu Simbel, the Valley of the Kings and the capital Cairo, among others.

 Pyramids in Egypt

Egyptian Pyramids

If you do decide to plan a short-haul holiday during the May half-term, be sure to update your travel insurance before you jet off and pay special attention if you wish to partake in any extreme sports or activities, as they are often not included in standard policies.  

Date Created: 04/04/2019

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