Crete in May is a great island to visit but you should know that it’s not 100% summer yet and regular high season, so I am explaining below what you should expect in May in Crete.
Firstly, if you are looking to visit Crete island in Greece in May, you must know that the weather will be sunny and pleasant and it will be possible to swim in the sea. Usually the weather can be anything between 20-35 degrees Celsius (60-100 Fahrenheit) and there is very minimal chance of rain. Crete is usually hotter than any other greek island anyways.
BEST HOTEL IN CRETE IN MAY: Domes Noruz Chania Hotel
May in Crete is literally the month where high season starts for the island, but it is still a relatively not busy month for the island compared to the extremely busy July, August, and September.
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Crete is a massive island (the size of Hawaii’s big island) so it never feels crowded even in the high season. So, in May Crete won’t feel crowded at all and it’s actually a great month to visit the island. All the businesses consider this month their “preparation month” where they get organized for the upcoming tourist crowds of the summer. However, this doesn’t mean that businesses won’t be open. May is just the beginning of the “tourism season” as we call it in Greece.
I will put it this way: if August is 150% busy for Crete, then May will feel about 30% busy.
(this is not official statistics but more like “my” statistics after having lived on the island for more than 5 years and experienced how it actually feels)
- All businesses, restaurants, hotels, bars and shops are 100% open in May in Crete
- May is not considered high season for Crete; some people call it “shoulder season” along with the month of October, because these are 2 months before and after the high season of July, August and September where the island gets really busy.
- The weather in May in Crete is usually hot (20-35C) and dry but there might be a chance of rain in early May. To explain how May feels in Crete, It would definitely feel like a regular summer weather in major western European cities (London, Paris etc) but drier. However, May weather in Crete can be unpredictable and it may feel breezy in the night (which means you probably need a jacket but obviously not gloves and scarfs…😂)
- The sea water won’t be as warm as it is in July, August or September because it’s coming from the previous winter months but you would be able to swim in the sea without any issues. The sea in southern Crete in the Libyan sea has definitely warmer waters.
- The best thing you can do in Crete in May is to visit the famous Knossos Palace and hike the Samaria Gorge.
- You would be able to enjoy all the famous beaches in Crete
RECOMMENDED WEBSITES FOR GREECE:
Booking.com is the website with the most available rooms and Private Villas in Athens, Santorini , Mykonos & Crete (more than Airbnb!)
Ferryhopper is the best website to book your ferry tickets or check the timetables for Santorini, Mykonos , Crete & all greek islands
Get Your Guide has the best and largest variety of Tours in Athens and the greek islands (Santorini, Mykonos, Crete etc)
Rentalcars is the easiest way to rent a car or a quad for Greece with thousands of available options
Expedia has all the available flights to and from the greek islands
How is the weather in Crete in May?
May in Crete is pretty hot and dry. The temperature can be anything between 20-35 degrees Celsius (60-100 Fahrenheit). It is usually sunny but you may get some clouds and a bit of rain in the first half of the month usually.
May can be an unpredictable month weather-wise in Greece but Crete is usually one of the hottest and driest places in the country where it’s usually sunny. Overall, it will feel nice and warm without being annoyingly hot where you need to be under a/c all the time.
During the day, you will be wandering the streets of Chania town, Rethymno or the buzzing Heraklion a with t-shirts and shorts in May but you would probably need a jacket in the evening and in the night.
When it’s sunny and more than 30 degrees Celsius, it will feel even hotter (usually towards June)🙂
May in Greece is considered spring (and not summer), so it will mostly feel like the average north/central European summer, but drier.
May in Crete is definitley not the May that you are maybe used in Western Europe because you are literally in the most southern place in the whole of Europe.
Where should I stay in Crete in May?
May is the beginning of the high season (or shoulder season as some people refer to it) and you have plenty of options for accommodation. You may even get much better deals in hotels and restaurants than in
In May, you are definitely avoiding the tourist crowds of July and August which means more available rooms to choose from, so it’s definitely a great time to visit Crete.
Another thing you should keep in mind is that 90% of the Greeks go on holidays in July or August which makes things even worse crowds-wise.
It’s very rare for a Greek to go on holidays in May (the greeks want the weather to be super hot i.e. more than 35 degrees to feel the need to go for holidays…I never understood why but it’s a fact 🙂…)
See Also: Where to Stay in Crete
May will never feel busy or very crowded compared to July or August.
May is probably one of the best motnhs to visit the island of Crete, because the weather is nice and warm but you will avoid the crowds and the high prices in hotels and restaurants which are due to the high demand of the summer months.
What do I need to pack for a trip to Crete in May?
Swimsuits, bikinis, monokinis, Borat-kinis, speedos, Hawaiian flowery shirts, normal t-shirts, shorts, every single summer dress you first saw on Instagram and then bought online, sandals, flip-flops, some hiking shoes (hiking in Samaria gorge is a must!🙂 ) and so on…
You need all the summer clothes you can find BUT you need to take some jackets and slightly warmer clothes for the chilly nights…
May is spring in Crete but it will feel like summer for most people…!
Is early May a good time to visit Crete??
Early May is a great time to visit Crete because you will be avoiding the summer crowd while you will still be able to swim in the sea, while all businesses will be open on the island.
The seawater won’t be very warm (but warmer than any other greek islands as you are very close to Africa) because of the previous winter months but that doesn’t mean that you will be prohibited from swimming and enjoying the amazing beach life and the awesome Crete beaches.
In my opinion the best ones in Crete are the beaches in Chania region.
Can I swim in Crete in May??
You can definitely swim in Crete in May but the seawater might be less warm than it is in July or August. All beach businesses, shops, bars, restaurants, tavernas, beach clubs and hotels at the famous beach resorts close to Chania, Hersonissos, Bali or Elounda will be open but not as full as they will be in the summer. All the beaches close to Heraklion and Chania become busier in general during the weekends when locals visit them.
You don’t have to worry at all for crowds and busy restaurants in Crete in May. The island is at it’s best with all the buurants and hotels open to welcome you and it literally never feels very crowded even in August.
What things to do in Crete in May?
You can literally do everything you’d do during June, July, August, September or October as all businesses, tour operators and hotels will be open as usual.
- You must swim at the sandy Crete beaches (overall Chania beaches are my favourite ones)
- You can do a daytrip to from Crete to Santorini
- Visit the prehistoric Knossos Palace ruins
- Hike the famous Samaria Gorge
- I do not recommend using Crete as your base to visit other greek islands because ferries can be very expensive and it would be very tiring and afterall Crete has literally. million things to do and see so it’s difficult to be combined with any other island (Santorini is an exception because…it’s Santorini)
What are the flights to Crete in May?
For May here are the companies with direct flights to Crete usually (these change every year so please double-check Expedia before booking anything):
(unfortunately, there are no direct flights from outside Europe to Crete…you have to get off at Athens and then take another plane or ferry to Crete
What are the ferries to Crete in May?
You can read my super detailed guide for all the ferries to Crete here:
For the latest and most up to date ferries timetables and schedules you should always check up Ferryhopper.
Crete in May is a great month to visit the island. Crete is a big island and there are plenty of things to do and see, so if I could give you just one piece of advice that would be to rent a car so you can explore the island in the most effective way possible. Don’t get me wrong, you can definitely use the Crete local buses (which are great and always on time by the way) but you will be too restricted timewise and location-wise. May in Crete is nice, warm and it won’t feel crowded at all. You will be able to find cheaper prices and offers than in August and if you can visit Crete that month, go for it.
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