Greece Weather in May 2024: Travel Tips for First-Timers

By Edward | Updated Oct. 7, 2023

In May, much of Greece has intense sunlight, warmth, and blue skies. The weather is very dry. We recommend the two main urban centers, the natural and historical areas, and several islands before the crowds of summer.

Averages:

  • Temperature range: 16–25°C (60–77°F)
  • Rainfall: 2 cm (1 inch)
  • Rainy days: 6
  • Humidity: 62% (slightly affects felt temperatures)
  • Sunshine hours/day: 10 hours

Read on for our weather information and travel advice including average temperatures and rainfall, places to go, and travel tips…

Suggested reading: Best and Worst Times to Visit Greece>>>

Climate Comparison (Averages) for Greece's Top Tourism Areas

Greece City/Area Temp. Rainfall
Athens Warm Semi-arid
Crete Warm Arid
Santorini Warm Arid
Corfu Warm Low
Greece City/Area Daily High Daily Low
Athens 27ºC (81ºF) 17ºC (63ºF)
Crete 24ºC (75ºF) 15ºC (59ºF)
Santorini 24ºC (75ºF) 17ºC (63ºF)
Corfu 24ºC (75ºF) 13ºC (55ºF)
Greece City/Area Rain (cm) Rain (in)
Athens 2 1
Crete 1 0
Santorini 1 0
Corfu 4 2

Greece has bright, warm, and sunny weather in May, and the days are usually rain-free and great for touring Greece's historical places and hiking.

Northern Greece: Northern Greece's weather is cooler and more variable since continental weather from Europe brings more rain and stormy weather. The natural beauty, flowers, and fruit trees are amazing.

Southern Greece: Southern Greece and the islands are sunny, green, and warm with lots of trees bearing fruits and lots of flowers blooming. You can go to beaches, swim and do watersports.

Best Places to Visit in Greece in May

May is an especially good time to walk and tour around Greece's extensive ancient ruins, and you can go on extended hikes and enjoy the outdoors and beaches during moderate tourism season.

1. Athens — Tour the Whole City

In May, you can enjoy the semi-arid weather, and see the city and the major sites. The 9½ hour daily dose of sunshine and the 56% average humidity makes the 27ºC (81ºC) average high temperature feel warm or almost hot. Athens is warmer than most of Greece's highlights.

The Acropolis and Syntagma Square are recommended, and so is seeing daily Greek life at the street market of Monastiraki and groups of refugees. For some downtown nature hiking and wonderful sightseeing from Athens' highest hill, we suggest walk to Mount Lycabettus that is 272 meters (892 feet) tall and wander up the park paths.

Staying in Monastiraki would let you be close to all these places and the services of good tourist-oriented shops, hotels, and restaurants. There is convenient infrastructure, good weather and moderate crowds before the heat of summer. There is a surprising abundance of flowers and fruit.

2. Santorini — Enjoy Beaches, Sightseeing, and Hiking with Less Crowds

Santorini is the most popular Greek island and is known for its beaches. In May, you can have a brisk swim in 19°C (66°F) water or do watersports in a wetsuit before the huge tourist crowds come. Most of the businesses are open, and enjoy the prices while they are moderate.

You will probably like it that here is almost no rainfall and warm temperatures ranging from 17 to 24°C (63–75°F). There are numerous archeological and historical places to visit. The 3,600-year-old town of Akrotiri is a highlight as is the walk up to the Profitis Ilias Monastery from Pyrgos.

Fira, the capital, has most of the open services and should be your base. You can visit Cyclades Island when it is not crowded. Flights from Athens take 50 minutes, and the ferries take between 5 and 7 hours.

3. Kefalonia — Have a Family and Beach Vacation

Kefalonia is the biggest of the Ionian Islands on the western side of Greece. It is a popular family vacation spot because there are so many things families can do together such as investigating Italian castles and monasteries and going to the many fine beaches.

May is one of the best times for families to come because the weather is so good for outdoor activities, and there are not a lot of tourists. The sea is calmer than other places in Greece, and the island is big enough to find natural solitude.

There is a national park, and you can climb Mount Ainos and boat on underground Melissani Lake. The weather is conducive since it is semi-arid and the temperatures range from 22°C (72°F) to 12°C (54°F). Flights from Athens take about an hour, and flights are generally the best way to travel.

4. Meteora — Hike Amid Epic Architecture and Natural Beauty

Meteora is astounding geologically with tall sandstone cliffs like pillars. On top of these pillars, people have built amazing monasteries and nunneries like little castles. They built them to blend beautifully with the colors of the sandstone pillars.

There are six monasteries or nunneries open for visits in May between 9 a.m. and 4 or 5 p.m. Entry prices for each is only 3 Euros (3 USD). People started to build them about the year 1350. The Orthodox consider them one of their top pilgrimage areas.

If Orthodox Easter is in May, you will see grand Orthodox celebrations and processions. They reenact the resurrection or other aspects of Jesus' life. The countryside has lots of flowers and fruit trees, and you can walk on trails and paths to each one. The drive from Athens takes 4½ hours.

5. Corfu — Relax, Sightsee, and Enjoy Seafood

Corfu is off the coast of western Greece about 3 km (2 miles) from Albania. It is famed for beaches, history, forts, museums, and great agriculture and food. Corfu is a little rainier than the rest of Greece, but this keeps it beautiful and green in summer.

Corfu is famed for green beauty, its agriculture, seafood, and the delicious, near organic vegetables, fruit and cheese. There is about 8 days of low rainfall each May, and this keeps everything including the 3 or 4 million olive trees growing. The 69% average humidity makes it feel warmer.

There are 9 hours of bright sunshine, and you can comfortably stroll the alleys of Corfu Old Town and see the Venetian architecture. A ferry from Sarande, Albania takes half an hour. A flight from Athens takes about an hour, and there is an international airport.

May is a Moderate Tourism Season in Greece

In May, the sun, blue skies, and bright light are delightful and great for strolling, eating outside with the locals, and enjoying the generally gentle culture. If you do this, you would have much lower prices for hotels than in the summer months. The tourism level is still only moderate.

You would find plenty of naturally farmed fresh fruit and vegetables, and have chances to enjoy Greece's famed healthy cuisine that is said to be among the best and freshest in Europe.

Public holidays in May:

  • May 1 every year: International Workers Day (Protomagia, or May Day is an important holiday, and many businesses close. There is a big rally in Athens. Wreaths of flowers are often hung in houses.
  • Orthodox Easter: It is the most important holiday and a 4-day holiday during which public buildings, schools and businesses are closed. There are celebrations and processions everywhere, and Meteora, Corfu, and Athens are especially noted for their celebrations.

What to Wear in May

Depending on where you go, you will have a range of temperatures. There is a big temperature difference between day and night. Higher elevations and the north of Greece require a jacket. The islands and the south of Greece require thin summer clothing.

If you have sensitive skin, be sure to cover up with long sleeves, long trousers or dresses, and a sunhat. Otherwise, you might be surprised that the intense sunlight never burns you. You just get a tan.

Swimwear: The average sea temperature is 19°C (66°F) — too cold for most people. You can do watersports and swim with a thin wetsuit.

Shoes: Have comfortable and sturdy shoes for hiking and walking around on the big archeological sites such as Acropolis Park and cobbled stone streets. Mars Hill, for example, is smooth rock, maybe from millions of feet, and is slippery when wet.

Monthly Weather in Greece

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