Europe in May, what could be better? Warm enough for long walks, but not unpleasantly hot. The winter is over, yet we still appreciate a steaming cup of tea or a hot chocolate. Seasonal venues are opening alongside the darling buds, even though the summer crowds are largely still confined to their classrooms and offices. Lifelong travelers will tell you that May is one of the best months to hit the road, or indeed the airport. Connecto Transfers, your friendly travel experts, strongly suspect you “may” like our list of 5 heavy hitters and as many hidden gems scattered around Europe this Spring.
We distilled the essential information into a handy infographic below. Sharing is caring!
Vienna is epic. Huge, historical, rich and refined—the very name "Vienna Festival" brings to mind marble collonades, classical orchestras and fancy carriages. You know it’s big, and you know it’s got lots of culture. Festwoche literally meaning “feast weeks,” five weeks to be precise, this is one of the world’s most popular festivals, drawing close to 200,000 visitors annually since its 1951 inception. Averaging about 40 productions, 175 performances and 70 concerts, the Festwoche showcases the greatest achievements in contemporary art, both original works and fresh interpretations of classics. The festival has a strong social relevance component, aiming to be as inclusive as possible in genre selection and every other way, with international artists mostly performing in their own language, for example. The Vienna Festival opens on May 10 with a free-admission event at the Rathausplatz, in front of the City Hall.
How about a ride from the airport?
Monaco Grand Prix
A unique event in motorsports, the Monte Carlo street circuit is as synonymous with Monaco as the casino itself. A narrow track with tight corners, a hill and a tunnel make this race incredibly difficult and dangerous despite having low average speeds for Formula One stanards. Described as “punishing” by one former champion, the track has claimed the lives of 4 drivers since 1929, with only 3 cars finishing in 1996. The Monaco GP is considered the ultimate proving grounds for driving skills, requiring special modifications to F1 cars. Its glamor and prestige draw the rich and famous in large numbers every last weekend in May. Watching from your yacht in the harbor is a special status symbol.
A luxury airport transfer from neighboring Nice is the next best thing.
Ice Hockey World Championship
Over 1 billion people will be watching ice hockey broadcasts from Slovakia this May, smack in the middle of the Stanley Cup playoffs. The Ice Hockey World Championship returns to Bratislava and Košice from May 10 to May 26, for a second time after a successful 2011 tournament. One of the most hotly contested trophies in all of sports (or should that be icily contested?), last year’s edition was the biggest event of any nature ever held in Denmark, while Finland has hired the renowned architect Daniel Libeskind to design a spectacular arena for when they host the 2022 tournament.
Need we add that Slovakia’s location in Central Europe makes it perfect for long-distance transfers?
Geneva Marathon for Unicef
Any event taking place in Switzerland is sure to impress with both grandeur and organizational standards. The Geneva Marathon is no exception. Expect the two-day event taking place over the weekend of May 11-12 to feature close to 10,000 participants. Some will be there to win, but the majority will not, as this charity run has a strong focus on participation. The proceedings will thus include handbike and wheelchair races in addition to shorter courses for female and juvenile contestants. Walkers may take part as well. You will pass Swiss Alps and the Lake Geneva shoreline before reaching the finish line in front of the Jet d’Eau.
Let us transfer you to the starting line corrals.
Venice Biennale Opening Ceremony
For top-tier contemporary art, look no further than the Venice Biennale. The 54th edition opens Saturday, May 11 and closes on Sunday, November 24. With sections dedicated to the Visual arts, Architecture, Cinema, Theater, Music and Dance, total attendance stands around the half million mark. The Giardini parkland is home to 29 national pavillions as well as the main exhibition hall. However, the Biennale spills over to numerous other venues across Venice—many requiring a boat transfer.
Been there, done that!
Maybe you already visited all of the above events, or maybe you are simply looking for something else. Here’s five more May ideas for the discerning traveler:
- Rhine in Flames – high-altitude fireworks in the Middle Rhine Valley. Opens May 4.
- Best Kept Secret Festival – diverse music and sustainable food in the Netherlands. May 31 – Jun 2.
- Keukenhof – 7 million flowers open in the Garden of Europe but hurry because it closes May 19!
- Primavera Sound – Help the Barcelona-Porto music festival reach a quarter million people. May 31 – Jun 2.
- All Points East – Three effervescent weekends of music in London’s Victoria Park. May 24 – Jun 2.