For warm Mediterranean sunshine in May, without the bustle of the school holiday crowds – or the summer scorch and higher prices – Greece is about as good as it gets. A trip in May provides a delicious escape from all that is dreary and dull, offering turquoise seas, pine-clad hills, sandy beaches, a beguiling culture and ancient sites just waiting to welcome you.

Parga, Greece Parga, Greece

May also heralds festival time in many parts of Greece. On May Day, a national holiday, expect colourful parades and the ‘Feast of the Flowers’, which dates back to ancient times. Greeks traditionally spend their day outside enjoying picnics, flying kites and picking wild flowers. The pretty blooms are then made into decorations, which hang on doors or balconies until 29th August when the Feast of St John is celebrated and the flowers are burned ceremoniously on a bonfire.

Wild Flowers Wild Flowers
Gentians Wild Flowers Gentians Wild Flowers

If you happen to be in Pelion on the Greek Mainland, on 1st May, the village of Trikeri celebrates the Feast of Flowers with a traditional wedding. All the local women wear costumes and everyone gathers at the village square to drink local wine and dance.

On the 18th May, it’s International Monuments Day, which is celebrated with free admission to many museums and archaeological sites.

 

Monuments Monuments

The countryside is also at its freshest and most colourful in May and good, independent walking opportunities can be enjoyed almost everywhere in Greece. Guided walks are offered locally in Ithaca, Skopelos and Tilos, among other destinations. Holidays to Amorgos in the Cyclades include a walking guidebook.

Donkey in Amorgos Donkey in Amorgos

Crete, being the southernmost area of Greece and found on the same latitude as Tunisia, perhaps offers the best chance for the warmest weather. Walking routes abound – you could even attempt its mountain ranges (they rise up to 8,000 feet) or hike the Samaria Gorge – arguably Europe’s deepest. For less ambitious hiking, the North West coastal region around Apokoronas is highly recommended. Or there’s dolphin watching, shady squares to paint, wild orchids to spot, Minoan ruins to amble around and – of course – wonderful beaches to walk along and laze upon.

Hike the Samaria Gorge Hike the Samaria Gorge

For a final date in your ‘May in Greece’ calendar, walking of a more exclusive nature takes place between 21st and 23rd May, when the Anasternaria fire-walking festival takes place. This is a celebration of Saints Constantine and Eleni, which dates back to pagan times. Barefoot villagers from Agia Elleni and Langada near Thessaloniki, clasp icons of the saints and dance over pits filled with hot coals without getting burned. Perhaps it’s not for everyone, but it’s well worth a look!

Mary Ferry

 

Justin Blaza

By Justin Blaza

14th April 2015



Talk to our Greece expert

Justin Blaza
Justin Blaza

Justin came to us straight from university and has been on reservations ever since. Over this time he has developed an in-depth knowledge of Greece and her islands and uses his first-hand experiences to design complex island hopping itineraries around the Cyclades and the Dodecanese as well as fly drives on the Greek mainland. Justin loves the lesser-known regions and islands of Greece including Folegandros, Thessaly and the Peloponnese.

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We promise that a member of our specialist reservation teams will reply personally to your holiday enquiry before 5.30pm if received before 12.00pm (Monday to Friday). Enquiries received after 12.00pm will be replied to within 24-hours (excluding Sundays).

If your enquiry is of an urgent nature, please telephone our dedicated reservation teams on the numbers listed below.

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  • Greece: 020 8758 4758
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  • Portugal, the Azores, Spain, Italy, Sicily and Scandinavia: 020 8758 4722
  • Latin America: 020 8758 4774

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