Santorini in May: What To Expect

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Written By: Pavlos Inglesis

santorini in may

Santorini in May is a great place to visit but you should know that it’s not yet 100% summer and high season, so here is everything you need to know.

If you are planning to visit Santorini island in Greece in May, you should know that the weather will be great and it is possible to swim in the sea. The weather is usually anything between 15-30 degrees Celsius, and it is almost always sunny with clear blue skies.

BEST HOTEL IN SANTORINI ΜΑΥ: San Antonio

BUT ALSO CHECK:

May is considered the month where the high season pretty much starts but it is still a relatively quiet month for the island compared to the super busy July, August, and September.

The island won’t feel crowded at all and most of the businesses consider this month a “trial period” where they get organized for the upcoming tourism storm of the summer. However, this doesn’t mean that they won’t be operating normally. May is just the beginning of the “season”, as we call it in Greece.

READ ALSO: 
Where to Stay in Santorini
Best Hotels in Oia
Best Hotels in Fira
Best Boat Tours in Santorini
Tipping in Greece: when and how

Let’s put it this way: if August is 120% busy for Santorini, then May is about 50% busy.

This is how Santorini feels every month; this is not official statistics but more like my personal view statistics after having lived on the island for more than 20 years and experiencing firsthand the crowds and how busy the island feels

Keep reading…

REAL QUICK

  • All businesses, restaurants, hotels, bars and shops are 100% open in May in Santorini

  • May is considered high season for Santorini; some people call it “shoulder season” along the month of October, because these are basically two months before and after the high season of July, August and September.

  • The weather in May in Santorini is usually hot (15-30C) and mostly dry but there is usually a chance of rain in early May. It would definitely feel hotter than a regular summer weather in major western European cities (London, Paris etc). Bear in mind however, that May weather can be unpredictable and it may feel chilly in the night (that means you probably need a jacket and not gloves and scarves…)

  • The seawater won’t be as warm as in July, August or September because it’s been cold from the previous winter months. However, you should be able to swim in the sea without any issues.

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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)

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 Santorini in May?

May in Santorini is pretty hot and dry. The temperature can be anything between 15-30 degrees Celsius (and towards the end of the month even more than 30 degrees Celsius!). It is usually sunny but you may get cloudy and rainy days in the first half of the month usually.

May is definitely an unpredictable month weather-wise in Greece but it’s usually sunny and it will feel nice and warm without being annoyingly hot.

The average temperature in Santorini in May is about 20 degrees Celsius or about 70 Fahrenheit, and it’s mostly sunny and warm with very low chance of rain

There is a very low chance of rain in May in Santorini but it can definitely happen and it is more possible than it is in July or August especially in the first half of the month.

During the day, you will be wandering the streets of Fira and Oia or the beaches of Kamari and Perissa with t-shirts and shorts in May but you would definitely need a light jacket in the evening and in the night.

If it’s sunny (and towards the end of the month) it may even feel super hot! 🙂

May in Greece is considered spring and not summer but it will mostly feel like the average north/central European summer and even better.

It won’t feel at all like a Western European May with cloudy skies, rain, and extremely unpredictable weather. This is the Mediterranean!

Where should I stay in Santorini in May?

May is the beginning of the high season (or should season as some people call it) and your options are not limited. You may even get much better deals in hotels and restaurants.

In May, you are definitely avoiding the massive tourist crowds of July and August which means more available hotel rooms to choose from. 

oia crowded sunset
Unfortunately, you won’t avoid the Oia sunset crowds even in May but that’s ok…everything comes back to normal after the sun sets!

Bear also in mind that 90% of the Greeks go on holidays in July or August which makes things even worse.

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…never understood why though but it’s a fact 🙂…)

So there is one less tourist crowd to compete with when you are searching for that nice table with the view at one of the best restaurants on the island or that nice sunbed at Perissa Beach.

where to stay in santorini
May is mid-season (or “shoulder season) in Santorini and that comes with the benefit of having more accommodation choices with fewer crowds overall; the rule of thumb is always that hotels on the beaches are cheaper than the hotels with the caldera and volcano views.

See also: The 25 Best Restaurants of Santorini

However, because of how popular Santorini has become in the last few years, May might also feel a bit busy and crowded towards the end of the month (but again, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you won’t have a great time).

May is probably one of the best motnhs to visit the island, because the weather is still great but you will be avoiding the crowds and the high prices in hotels an restaurants which are following the high demand of the summer months.

Here are some handy tips to have in mind when looking for hotel in Santorini in May (and not only):

For views to the volcano and the caldera: FiraFirostefaniImerovigliOia

For being close to all the bars, restaurants, shops, nightclubs and the buzz: Fira (it’s the capital of the island and the town with the most grocery stores, shops and nightclubs) Oia

For equally beautiful sunsets and views to the caldera and the volcano (without thousands of tourists): Imerovigli and Firostefani

For being closer to the famous black beach (like 5-mins-walk close…) and the best beach bars of the island: Perissa or Perivolos (no famous caldera and volcano views though)

For being closer to the other black beach with lots of restaurants and amenities: Kamari (no famous caldera and volcano views though)

For being close to the famous Red Beach but still have views to the caldera: Akrotiri (but it’s a 20-30 mins drive from Fira-capital)

For being closer to most of the Santorini wineries (but not worried about the famous volcano/caldera views): Pyrgos

For having the best private pools and jacuzzis with caldera views in Santorini: Imerovigli or Firostefani.

What do I need to pack for a trip to Santorini 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 (yes, you are going to do some hiking in Santorini, sitting on the pool all day with a cocktail is not good for your health 🙂 ) 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 less warm nights…

May is spring in Santorini but it will feel like summer for most people…!

Is early May a good time to visit Santorini??

Early May is a great time to visit Santorini 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 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 beach clubs in Santorini.

The black beaches of Perissa, Perivolos and Kamari are amazing in May.

See Also: Best Beaches in Santorini you MUST visit

Can I swim in Santorini in May??

You can definitely swim in Santorini in May but the seawater might be less warm than it is in July or August. Or beach businesses, shops, bars, restaurants, tavernas, beach clubs and hotels at the famous seaside towns of Kamari, Perissa and Perivolos will be open and ready to welcome you.

perissa beach santorini
Perissa Beach is awesome in May and it won’t feel crowded at all!

May doesn’t feel like hot season in Santorini and that’s a very good thing!

July and August in Santorini are really busy (like…crazy busy…!) and you can feel that everywhere: on the busy streets of Fira, during sunset time in Oia, at the beach bars of Perissa and Perivolos (where it might be super difficult to find a sunbed to lay down) and on the exhausted waiters and housekeepers of the island.

What things I can do in Santorini 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 Santorini in May?

For May here are the companies with direct flights to Santorini usually (these change every year so please double-check before booking anything):

Aegean Airlines

Olympic Air

Volotea

Sky Express

Condor

Astra Airlines

Vueling

Iberia

Niki

Lufthansa

EasyJet

Ryanair

Transavia

Eurowings

Thomas Cook

Norwegian Airlines

(unfortunately, there are no direct flights from outside Europe to Santorini…you have to get off at Athens and then take another plane or ferry to Santorini if you are coming from the US)

What are the ferries to Santorini in May?

highspeed ferry greece
There are lots of ferry options to Santorini in May, but you can also take a 45-minute flight from Athens.

Read my super detailed guide for all the ferries in Santorini here:

How To Get From Athens to Santorini

For the latest schedules and ferry timetables you should always check the best website for booking ferries in Greece: Ferryhopper

CONCLUSION

Santorini in May, is a great month to visit the island. Don’t get me wrong, you will definitely have a great time in Santorini whenever you choose to go but I strongly believe that May, June and early October are definitely some of the best months to visit the island. You will be avoiding the crowds, you will enjoy the amazing landscape with less people around, you will definitely avoid most of the massive and super annoying cruise ships and you may even get better deals on hotels and tours.

Photo of author
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.

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4 thoughts on “Santorini in May: What To Expect”

  1. Thank you for a great article. We will be in santorini may 27-June 1 and we are reserved at Vedema
    Now I am wondering if that’s a good choice in May or should I change to hotel in Oia or Fira
    The reason we picked Vedema is because its quieter but if May is not as busy is a Vedema still a good choice?

    Reply
  2. hi there,
    I think Vedema is not a bad option in any season.
    Actually, at the time you are visiting (end of May – early June) the whole island is much livlier and you have nothing to worry about!
    Actually May in Santorini is still high season and all shopes, restaurants and hotels are fully operational and open.

    Reply
  3. We are coming to Kamari at the beginning of May and I’m so worried about the weather! We hoped for some pool/beach time between exploring, and love sitting outside a Greek Taverna in the evening. Will that be possible that early on in the season?

    Reply
    • hi there,

      Absolutely!
      You don’t have to worry about the weather in May in Santorini.
      Yes, you may get some rain but that’s pretty rare to be honest.
      Obviously, it won’t be as hot as it is in July or August but for just sitting outside enjoying your meal or your drink the weather would be perfect.
      You would need a jacket in the evenings though but the weather would feel very pleasant to most people.
      All this obviously depends on what weather you are used to, to be honest.
      Do you mind me asking where you are travelling from so I can give you an idea of what the weather in May in Santorini would feel like?

      Reply

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