Crete in May – is it worth going on vacation? Weather, water temperature, whether it is possible to swim, prices 2023 in hotels and on excursions. What to see and to do in Crete in early May and late spring – found out good Time for Trip.
Crete is traditionally considered the most popular island of Greece among foreign travelers. However, for sure the Greeks themselves hold a similar opinion – the homeland of the Minotaur catches the eye both in size and beauty.
In addition, the island attracts people with its powerful historical aura. Of course – incredibly ancient, literally prehistoric traces of the mysterious Minoan civilization have been preserved here!
The local climate is also considered worthy of applause – at the very beginning of May, Crete is already in full bloom and smells. And the number of available attractions (not so well-known, fortunately) makes it possible to take part in excursions to interesting places at least every day.
In general, everything is fine on the main island of Greece! Especially in the period from June to October, when the weather will definitely allow you not just to sunbathe but also to swim in the sea.
How much is this achievable in other months? In particular, what should you expect if you decide to go to Crete ahead of time – for example, in May?
Will it be possible to deceive the majority of beach tourists who are disciplined waiting for the opening of the high season? And then for a long time post photos from vacation at Instagram and bask in the rays of glory? Or will you have to evaluate the trip as unsuccessful and forget it as an unpleasant dream?
Let’s try to figure it out!
Weather in Crete in May
At the beginning of the month, you shouldn’t even think about bathing here: even the air temperature doesn’t reach +20 °C every day. And at nights it’s even colder – sometimes the atmosphere cools down to +10-12 °C.
In some years, at the beginning of May, Crete is even less hospitable. And by noon it is only up to +16-18 °C. Not in the shade – in the sun!
In 2022, it was no warmer in Crete in May! And until about the middle of the month, the atmosphere hardly warmed up to +20-22 °C during the day.
Then there was a positive trend, and the thermometer reached +24 degrees Celsius a couple of times. However, not for long – there was a typical for local spring temperature dip in the range of +15-18 °C.
About a week before the end of May, the weather in Crete made a decisive turn towards summer and warmth. And daytime air temperatures are firmly fixed in the range of +25-30 °C. At night, however, they still fell to +15-18 °C.
All of the above written applies only and exclusively to the coast of the island. For in the mountain areas of Crete throughout whole May will be much colder!
In some places, the air even during the day hardly warms up to + 10-12 °C. At night, it is completely uncomfortable there, temperatures sometimes drop to +3-6 °C.
Will the weather be the same this year? It is very likely!
After all, the instability of the weather and not too high air temperatures, in principle, are characteristic of Crete in late spring. Which, of course, should by no means discourage you from making a trip to the island for this period.
Moreover, many beach tourists are very optimistic people and always hope for the best. In the described case it’s quite reasonable!
Rains an Winds
For no one will have to deny that even against the background of relatively low temperatures, Crete in May is an extremely sunny place. The amount of precipitation rarely exceeds 30 mm per month, and the probability of a clear day reaches 80%.
Strong winds, which tourists, vacationing in northern Crete, often complain about, won’t disrupt any plans.
Of course, on another day you will think twice about whether to swim in the sea, and then decide only to bask on the shore. But at the same time, the idea of canceling an excursion to Chania or, for example, to some picturesque place in the mountains, simply will not come to mind!
A British citizens who are used to visiting resorts on the North Sea will probably smile when they are told that swimming in Crete in May is not worth it. After all, from their point of view, the sea, warmed up to +18-19 °C already by Labor Day, is great for even long swims?!
But a spoiled tourist, of course, will not dip into such a cool water. Even if they promise him a hot day – that’s why island hotels and villas with heated pools are especially popular outside the season.
However, by mid-May, the sea off the coast of Crete lazy begins to warm up to +20 °C, if not by noon, then by 2-3 o’clock in the afternoon. By the beginning of summer, it almost always reaches a temperature of +21-22 °C.
What to Take with You
In Heraklion and Chania, at other resorts of Crete, in May everyone goes dressed in almost summer clothes. And they remember about jackets only in the evenings.
Which really shouldn’t be misleading – warm clothes should still be in your suitcase. Since the presence of a windbreaker and sweaters in the vacation wardrobe in the described case is simply mandatory.
Otherwise, you will deeply freeze, deciding to meet the sunset on the seashore. Or if you will decide to leave the bowels of an automobile or bus during a tour of the island’s mountain plateaus.
Almost certainly, unpleasant emotions will visit those who will go on a hiking expedition in May, for example, along the Samaria Canyon, in only shorts and polos. And a night stop in tents in some highlands and even threatens to hypothermia frivolously dressed citizens.
At the same time, don’t forget to take with you things that are simply necessary during a vacation at the sea. That is: shirts with long sleeves, light trousers of a loose fit and made of natural fabrics, pareos, shawls, long-brimmed hats and caps with large visors.
After all, all this, together with sunscreen, will protect your skin from excess portions of ultraviolet light. As mentioned above, there is an abundance of sunlight in Crete during this period of the year!
An apartment or a room for two in a hotel in walking distance from the sea will cost 350-400 € for two per week. This is if you go on vacation in Cyprus in early or mid-May, that is, even before the onset of almost guaranteed warming.
A rare option with good reviews and a modest price is Almiros Apartments Guest house in Agios Nikolaos, 60 km east of Heraklion. The beach is nearby, but the complex also has an extensive swimming pool. Their rooms are equipped not only with air conditioning, but also with refrigerators, which is convenient from the point of view of self-preparation of snacks and even dinners.
Accommodation in Heraklion itself costs a little more. But for 450-460 € per week (for three) you will be able to rent enough spacious Mara’s cozy city apt. By the way, located in the very center of the Cretan capital.
From 450 € for a week of accommodation you will have to pay in Chania. And there are not so many good options for this price! One of the best (both of a size and a high rating) looks like TheJoy City Suites.
Do you want to rent a whole and well-equipped house? With a swimming pool and in a beautiful mountainous area of Crete?
Alas, even in May, you will have to pay from 1 100 € per week for an option like Villa Kastelas.
The cost of excursions on the island is quite high even in late spring. In particular, a one-day cruise from Heraklion to the picturesque Mirabella Bay and Spinalonga Island costs about 65-70 € per person. 40-45 € will be paid by those who wish to participate in a bus and walking tour from Chania to Samaria Gorge.
What to Do
May is an ideal time for not just for seaside vacationing in Crete, but also for visiting a lot of places. Not hot weather, plenty of sunny days, most tourists are still just remembering where they put their suitcase – isn’t this a reason to take advantage of the moment?!
Moreover, there are not so many attractions in Crete. And you will be able to see the main ones in just 2-3 trips around the island.
Organized excursions are addressed to those who intend to relax completely. They are often very unconventional! Allowing you to look at well-known places like the Knossos Palace or the Dikteon Cave from an unusual angle.
The list of must-visit places also includes the Venetian towns Chania and Rethymno. As well as the fabulously beautiful Balos lagoon on the west coast of Crete and the ruins of the Greek polis Falasarna nearby picturesque.
One more time we recommend to visit Samaria Gorge, which is located near Agia Roumeli in the south of the island. And see the ruins of the palace of Festos.
Initially, it is worth thinking about trips from Crete to Santorini. After all, a visit to this island can significantly complement your idea of the beautiful. As well you can get to Thira from Heraklion pretty quickly.
Depending on the type of ferry, the journey in this direction will last from 2 to 6 hours. You can view the schedule and buy tickets here – ferryconnection.com/…/heraklion-to-santorini-ferry/.