Looking for the hottest Greek Islands in May to visit? You are in the right place! As an expert traveler, I have long touted May as one of the best months to travel, especially to Greece.
This is because the prices are better and there are fewer people. Having lived in Greece I have first-hand experience of what Greek Islands are the warmest and worth your time visiting in this shoulder season.
Let this post be your mini guide to the best places to visit in Greece in May!
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List of the Warmest Greek Islands in May
Average High: 24°C (about 75°F) & Average Low: 15°C (about 59°F)
If you are looking for the warmest Greek Island in May, then set your sights on Crete. It is also the southernmost island and can be found geographically located close to North Africa.
Since I visited Crete solo in the first week of May, I can confirm it is a good time to go!
It is also the largest Greek Island that stays open all year round, whereas the smaller ones do not.
This is an especially important factor when considering which Greek island to choose.
You don’t want to go to an island where the majority of restaurants don’t open till June, especially if you are a foodie.
It’s nice to visit Crete in May to visit all the historical sites like the Palace of Knossos, located in Heraklion, or the charming streets of Chania.
Daytime temperatures hovered around a comfortable 24°C (about 75°F), cooling down to around 15°C (about 59°F) in the evenings.
Rainfall in Crete during early May is uncommon, contributing to the ideal conditions for sightseeing and beach-going.
If you are betting on the beach, Crete is hottest place in Greece in May.
Best Way To Get To Crete
Getting to Crete is easy with its International Airport! Flying is the fastest way to Crete from Athens.
Alternatively, you can take the overnight ferry from Athens, which could be a cool experience.
Daytime ferry services aren’t as ideal as the length of the ferry ride is around 8 hours.
In the late spring, you also don’t have as many options as you do in the summer months.
Average High: 23°C (about 74°F) & Average Low: 17°C (around 62°F)
The hottest Greek Island in May that I’ve experienced was Rhodes. Rhodes is one of the most southern of the Greek islands and part of the Dodecanese Islands group.
Its geographical position is a major factor in why it has warm weather in May.
I found it to be one of the best Greek Islands for exploring archaeological sites and places like the Old Town and castle walls. May is also a good time for wine tasting in Rhodes!
During my visit on the last weekend of May, I experienced that the average temperature ranged from a comfortable 23°C (about 74°F) during the day to a cooler 17°C (around 62°F) at night.
I was able to go to the beach and relax, and although the water temperature was a bit cooler than I was expecting, I went in!
Rhodes is the second-largest Greek Island that operates fully year-round. If the weather is good I recommend visiting the nearby island, Symi by boat!
Rain is relatively rare in Rhodes in May, with the island transitioning into its drier, sunnier season, making it an opportune time for travelers seeking both good weather and fewer tourists.
Best Way To Get To Rhodes
Flying directly to Rhodes would be my top recommendation unless you were traveling from nearby islands.
Rhodes is amongst the southern islands, too far from Athens for a direct ferry.
Average High: 22°C (about 72°F) & Average Low: 14°C (about 57°F)
You will find Corfu in the Ionian Sea, which is quite a contrast to the southernmost Greek islands like Crete. Part of the Ionian islands you are going to be closer to Alabina and Italy than even the Greek Mainland.
My first visit to Corfu was five years ago, just at the end of May, and that weekend was WARM in the sun at around 25°C (about 76°F).
Typically, you can expect the average highs around 22°C (about 72°F) and approximately 14°C (about 57°F) for the average lows. Check out the weather in May last year.
The Old Town of Corfu, a UNESCO World Heritage Site is awesome, and don’t forget to visit the Venetian castle.
I highly recommend you rent a car in Corfu so you can explore the beautiful beaches and the lush green landscape of the island.
While there’s a higher chance of rain compared to Crete, it usually comes in short, refreshing bursts, which only adds to the island’s verdant beauty.
Corfu also benefits from being a well-established tourist destination, with most of its shops, restaurants, and attractions open by May. This makes it a convenient choice for early-season travel.
Best Way to Get to Corfu
The ideal way to get to Corfu is to fly there. You aren’t going to find any direct ferries from Athens.
If you were to travel through mainland Greece you could take a ferry from the port of Igoumenitsa. The duration is only around 1 hour.
Average High 23°C (about 73°F) & Average Low 16°C (about 61°F)
Visiting Mykonos, a gem in the Cyclades Islands, in May, is a good idea if you want mild weather. The average high temperatures hover around a comfortable 23°C (about 73°F), which is ideal.
It is also a more affordable time to visit. Mykonos is one of the most expensive Greek islands I have ever visited, so this time was attractive to me.
The lower prices and good weather make it a great time to explore ancient ruins, like on the island of Delos.
But there are some drawbacks to visiting Mykonos in May. It is not a great month if you are going to visit for the nightlife.
The best time to visit Mykonos for a party is going to be in the high season. Most specifically the summer months of July and August. Some of the nightclubs don’t even open till June, so keep that in mind.
Since I don’t care about the beach clubs I think the ideal time to visit is late May.
Best Way To Get To Mykonos
When visiting Mykonos you can fly directly into the international airport or you can take a ferry from the Pireaus port in Athens.
Both times I visited Mykonos I used the ferry services. If you are going to visit Athens for a couple days, take the ferry. You will arrive on the island in around 3 hours, and getting around Mykonos is easy.
Going all the way back to the Athens Airport is not ideal given the distance between the city center and the airport.
Mykonos is a great island if you want to make short day trips. I recommend going to Tinos because it is so close!
Average High: 23°C (about 73°F)& Average Low: 16°C (about 61°F)
Naxos, the largest island in the Cyclades, is full of idyllic villages and beautiful beaches. My visit to Naxos in late spring, specifically in late May, coincided with an ideal time in the tourist season.
The weather was pleasantly warm, with average high temperatures around 22°C (about 72°F), but one of the days the temperatures crept up to 25°C (about 76°F).
The sunny days and clear blue skies were perfect for the Naxos bus tour I joined.
There is a lot you can do in Naxos aside from just walking around the charming main town.
If you get strong winds, it makes it a great place for water sports like windsurfing.
The sea temperatures in late May were inviting, ideal for a swim or a day trip to explore the nearby smaller islands.
Best Way to Get To Naxos
If you are heading to Naxos from another country, the most efficient way is to fly into Athens and then connect to Naxos.
Athens International Airport offers frequent flights to Naxos, providing a quick and hassle-free transfer.
Alternatively, if you’re already in Athens and prefer not to fly, you can opt for a ferry from the Port of Piraeus.
While the ferry journey is longer than a flight, it still makes sense to take the ferry since the journey from Athens city center to the airport can be up to an hour.
The ferry, depending on the service you choose, should take you to Naxos in around 3 hours.
Average High: 22°C (about 72°F) & Average Low: 16°C (about 61°F)
The perfect time to visit the beautiful island of Santorini is in May. Mostly because you will beat the crowds!
The average high temperatures were around 22°C (72°F), providing a comfortable warmth without the intensity of the summer heat.
As you get closer to June, the temps go up.
The clear blue skies and abundant sunny days enhanced the island’s stunning vistas, making every view postcard-perfect.
Having visited Santorini I really want to warn you that the large crowds in the summer are really off-putting. Visiting in the late spring or even late October is preferable to July & August.
Best Way To Get To Santorini
If you prefer flying, it might be the fastest way to Santorini from Athens.
Some ferries will go direct, but there a are few stops making it a bit of a longer journey than some of the other islands on this list.
The ferry time between Athens and Santorini is around 5 hours if you go direct.
Average High: 22°C (about 72°F) & Average Low: 15°C (about 59°F)
In Syros, you can expect temperatures in May to be warm with the chance of a few hot days as you get closer to June.
Syros is an easy visit from Athens by ferry. It is a great option if you are planning a holiday to the mainland but want to squeeze in an island visit if the weather is great, which it is likely to be.
While it is certainly not the hottest island on this list, it is one to definitely consider.
Since Syros is open all year, it is a good island to visit in May. Do keep in mind that not EVERYTHING is open, but the main shops and places like restaurants, cafes, and some tourist attractions will generally be operational.
Best Way to Get to Syros
The best way to get to Syros is on the ferry! If there are no delays, it will take you 2 hours!
There is a very small airport on the island of Syros if flying seems like the more appealing option.
Average High of 22°C (72°F) and an Average Low of 15°C (59°F).
If you are looking for the warmest Greek Islands in May that is also close to Athens, consider Hydra.
Visiting the island of Hydra is a great day trip from Athens or a couple of days stay depending on your travel goals.
The temperatures you can expect in Hydra are around 24°C (75°F) for your high.
Known for its ban on motor vehicles, this island in the Saronic Gulf offered a peaceful retreat with its gentle Mediterranean climate.
During my stay, the weather was consistently pleasant! I’ll admit, I didn’t make it into the water, but that was because I didn’t really stay long enough.
The sea temperatures are mild, inviting for swims in the crystal-clear waters. Hydra’s quiet allure and agreeable weather made it a perfect getaway from the hustle of more crowded destinations.
Best Way to Get to Hydra
The only way to get to Hyra is by ferry! I took the morning ferry from Athens to Hydra and made a great day of it!
You can easily take the ferry that comes back in the late afternoon.
Or you can stay a day or two!
A Few Greek Islands I Don’t Recommend in May
I’ve been to some of the best Greek Islands over the years! The only reason I don’t recommend these Greek Islands is because in May you won’t find many things to be open.
Some people don’t realize that during the low season most hotel shops, and restaurants, are completely closed for the season.
My Favorite Travel Planning Resources
Final Thoughts of Visiting the Hottest Greek Islands in May
I stand firmly behind my advice that going to Greece in the month of May is a good idea. This is based on my experience of living in Athens and traveling to the islands for almost 15 years now.
Weather can be unpredictable, but historically, Greece in May has a good track record.
On the flip side of visiting the Greek Islands in the spring, you should consider visiting Athens in the fall!
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