May offers some of the best weather of the year, and will have warmed sufficiently by the end of the month that it now feels like summer—with an average high of 77, it's the perfect time for a beach vacation. There’s little chance of rain, with plenty of sunshine and clear blue skies. Your wardrobe will mostly be summer clothing, but be sure to pack a cold-weather item for the odd cool evening, especially in higher elevations.
It's good to note that the Meltemi winds blowing from the northern Aegean pick up strength at this time, and by late May can impact sea traffic to the point that ferries may be canceled. The sea can also be too dangerous for swimming, and beach-goers may feel the sting of wind-whipped sand.
Crowds & Costs
This is a time to experience Greece at its most serene, with enough visitors to add vitality but few enough that you’ll have ample, uncrowded space while sightseeing. May is still shoulder season, with lower hotel rates and airfares.
Where to Go
Athens is in its prime in May—perhaps the ideal sightseeing month. The weather is perfect for comfortable sightseeing, and the main venues are still not crowded. May is also one of the best months for visiting the Greek Islands, especially the most popular stops such as Crete, Mykonos, and Santorini, which by June will begin to overflow. But don’t forget the Saronic, Sporades, and Inonian islands, including Corfu.
On days when the northerly Meltemi winds are strong, head to the protected leeward sides of the islands and mainland.
What to Do
This is still a great month for cultural activities, with a focus on museums and archaeological sites. And there’s no better time for enjoying nature, especially bicycling and hiking, taking advantage of the sublime weather. Sailboat charter companies still offer lower rates, so consider this a good month for sailing. And photographers will find May as good as any: the skies are usually crystal clear and the colors are prime.
International Workers Day (May Day): The “worker’s holiday” on May 1st is an important part of the Greek calendar, and many businesses close. Athens hosts a huge rally, and some cities host flower festivals. In Greece, it’s also often a day when many workers may go on strike, and many museums are closed.
Salsa Spring Festival: Top salsa performers show off their skills and give classes during 4 days at the Club Hotel Casino Conference Center, Loutraki, outside Corinth.
Traveling to Greece in May? Consider these great itineraries.
Discover Athens, Delphi & the Cyclades - 10 Days Combine the best of all worlds, with sightseeing, the beaches of Mykonos, wine-tasting and a catamaran cruise on Santorini.
Active Northern Greece & Corfu - 10 Days This 10-day itinerary starts off in the second largest city, Thessaloniki—a magnetic place that breathes history and character, offering some of the best food and wine in the country.