Crete in May: What To Expect

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Written By: Pavlos Inglesis

crete in may

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

BUT ALSO CHECK:

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.

crete map europe
Crete is literally the most southern place in Europe and even more south than some places in Africa, so it’s hotter than most other areas in Greece.

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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.

READ ALSO: 
Where to Stay in Crete
Best Hotels in Crete
Best Hotels in Chania
Best Family Hotels in Crete
Crete in April

I will put it this way: if August is 150% busy for Crete, then May will feel about 30% busy.

seasons in crete
(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)

Keep reading…

REAL QUICK

  • 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…πŸ˜‚)

  • 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.

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⛴️ 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)

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✈️ Booking.com Flights has all the available flights to and from the greek islands

πŸš• Book Your Driver (Taxi) directly with booking.com’s large and safe platform of available certified drivers

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.

weather in crete
The average temperature in Crete in May is about 25 degrees Celsius or about 77 Fahrenheit, and it’s usually sunny and warm with very low chance of rain

rain in crete
There is a very low chance of rain in May in Crete but it is something that usually happens on the western side of Crete and during the first or second week of May

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)πŸ™‚

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. 

elafonissi beach crete
This is the famous tropical beach of Elafonissi close to Chania , which is the best area to stay in Crete in May

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 πŸ™‚β€¦)

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!πŸ™‚ ) and so on…

santorini may

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.

loutraki beach chania crete
Loutraki beach (close to Chania) is awesome in May and it will be less crowded than in August (picture taken in August)

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.

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 Booking.com Flights before booking anything):

Aegean Airlines

Olympic Air

Volotea

Sky Express

Condor

Astra Airlines

Vueling

Iberia

AirBerlin

Niki

Lufthansa

EasyJet

Ryanair

Transavia

Eurowings

Thomas Cook

Norwegian Airlines

(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:

How To Get From Athens to Crete

For the latest and most up to date ferries timetables and schedules you should always check up Ferryhopper.

CONCLUSION

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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AUTHOR
Pavlos Inglesis
Greek, born and raised in Athens. I have been to almost every greek island and pretty much in every region of mainland Greece. I have also been eating souvlaki and gyros since the 80s. I love being a dad to my 2 beautiful daughters and also taking great photos of the places I visit. This is my blog to help you out explore the places I have visited with my inside tips as a Greek, knowing the ins and outs of my country and culture. Feel free to ask any questions in the comments section under the post you are interested in and I wIll try my best to respond asap.

πŸ›οΈ 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)

πŸš™ Rentalcars is the easiest way to rent a car or a quad for Greece with thousands of available options

✈️ Booking.com Flights has all the available flights to and from the greek islands

πŸš• Book Your Driver (Taxi) directly with booking.com's large and safe platform of available certified drivers

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