Best Time to Travel to Greece

Best Time to Travel to Greece

If you’re wondering when is the best time to travel to Greece, then you’ve come to the right place for a comparison of Greece across its diverse islands and mainland, and through the seasons. Discover the temperature and days of rainfall each month as well as what’s on throughout the year across Greece.

We all know that Greek island paradises are best in summer, but we also know that this hot, sticky weather is when crowds and accommodation are at their highest. Let’s take a look at each of the months and seasons across Greece to discover the places and times of year you might not have thought would be perfect for a Greek vacation!

Greece in Summer

Greece in the summer season is perfect anywhere except Athens and if you’ve been planning a dream vacation to the Greek Islands, don’t hesitate – just book it for summer! The water is clear and warm, the nights are long, and the sunsets are magnificent.

Naxos Island in Summer
Naxos Island in summer

If you can deal with crowds and are prepared to pay a premium for accommodation, a Greek summer holiday is unforgettable. Rain is almost unheard of, and each day is as perfect as the last.

The hot weather, hotel prices, cruise ships, and tourist crush is however getting to the point that there isn’t enough infrastructure in some parts of Greece to deal with the overtourism.

Santorini and Mykonos, two wonderfully scenic and the most popular islands, become extremely crowded and don’t have enough taxis or buses to meet tourist demand in July and August.

Private Sunset Cruise, Glaros wooden boat, Paros, Greece
Summer sunset cruise, Paros Island

Most other Greek islands, and certainly all of the Greek mainland, can deal with the peak season.

In some parts of Greece, summer also brings strong winds, like the Etesians (the Meltemi) in the Cyclades from May to October, and the Maistros, a gentler but steady wind, across the Ionian Islands from May to September.

The meltemi can reach 30 knots, usually blows for 2-4 days at a time, and peaks around 2 pm – so go boating in the morning or at sunset!

Best things to do and places to visit in the summer months:

  • Beach holidays anywhere in Greece
  • Beach clubs
  • Boat trips
  • Summer Festivals
  • Partying on Mykonos
  • Eco camping
  • Eating seafood and watching the sunset in a taverna by the sea
  • Inside activities (Museums, for example), during days of intense heat

Mainland Greece is also hot during summer but has lush areas of forests and mountains to explore. See our guide to Central and Northern Greece to discover its charms.

The Nemean Games, a religious festival in honor of Zeus, occurs every four years in the summer and is worth catching. If you’ll visit Greece in June, try and make it between June 28-30, 2024 when the Eighth Nemead will take place.

It’s possible for anyone to register in advance and join in these ancient games!

Temperature and Rainfall Across Greece in Summer

CityMax Temp (°C)Min Temp (°C)Avg Temp (°C)Max Temp (°F)Min Temp (°F)Avg Temp (°F)Avg Rainfall (days)

Greece in Fall (Autumn)

Greece in Fall is delightful. In the southern parts of the country, it is still warm, swimming weather, and in the rest of the country, hiking and being outdoors is a real pleasure.

Perhaps best of all, the tourists leave at the end of August and September and October allow us to explore lonely beaches, upscale our accommodation (or take some relief from the high prices), and yet the islands are still in full swing, and the ferry schedules remain crowded.

Early Fall can be very hot in some years. In Athens in October 2023, everyone was joking that “October is the new September!”

Late October early sunset in beautiful Sfakia, Crete
Late October early sunset in beautiful Sfakia, Crete

Here are some of the best things to see and places to visit in Autumn/Fall:

  • Thessaloniki, Central and Northern Greece: As Greece’s second-largest city, Thessaloniki is buzzing with cultural events such as the Thessaloniki International Film Festival in November.

The weather is pleasantly cool, and the changing leaves create a picturesque backdrop for a stroll through the city’s Byzantine walls.

  • Epirus: Enjoy the region’s rich natural beauty by visiting the Vikos-Aoos National Park. Fall colors paint the landscape, making it a perfect time for hiking and capturing stunning photos.
  • Meteora, Thessaly: This is an ideal fall destination, with its monasteries perched astonishingly atop massive rock formations. The milder temperatures make exploring more comfortable.
  • Peloponnese: This is a perfect season for visiting the historical sites of the Peloponnese. With fewer crowds, it’s possible to take photos without people in them and it’s just much more pleasant to visit these sites without the conga line of tour buses that wind through the Peoloponnes each day in summer.
  • Athens and Attica: The crowds of summer tourists dwindle, leaving the ancient city’s wonders – like the Acropolis and Parthenon – more freely accessible.

Check out the Ochi Day parades on October 28th, a national holiday in Greece.

  • Santorini: Famous for its sunsets, the island becomes tranquil and serene in the fall, especially in November when the tourist crowds disappear.

The Thira Jazz Festival, running through autumn, delivers an atmospheric treat of live music performances.

  • Crete: The mild Fall temperatures are perfect for exploring Crete’s ancient ruins, inland villages, and gorgeous beaches.

Don’t miss the Chestnut Festival in Elos village if you’re in Crete in October; it’s a celebration of local culture, packed with warm foodie delights.

Temperature and Rainfall Across Greece in Fall (Autumn)

CityMax Temp (°C)Min Temp (°C)Avg Temp (°C)Max Temp (°F)Min Temp (°F)Avg Temp (°F)Avg Rainfall (days)

Greece in Spring

 Spring extends from March to May. This period is idyllic for individuals who enjoy mild temperatures, fewer crowds, and witnessing Greece’s countryside in full bloom.

The wildflowers of the Cretan mountains, Greece
The wildflowers of the Cretan mountains, Greece

The drawback to spring travel is its unpredictable weather. Rain is common, and the sea temperatures remain too chilly for comfortable swimming.

Plus, some tourist services and accommodations have closed and won’t reopen until late April. 

Here are some of the best things to see and places to visit in Spring:

In March, the Carnival of Patras, the largest in Greece, is held on the Peloponnesian Peninsula, a spectacle filled with vibrant costumes and parades.

  • Visiting Athens and Atticus: During spring, landmarks like the Acropolis and the Ancient Agora are less crowded. 
  • Mainland Exploration: Central and Northern Greece, especially regions like Thessaloniki and Meteora, are ideal for spring visits. These areas flourish in spring, with sights like the UNESCO-listed clifftop monasteries in Meteora being a must-see.
  • Island hopping in the Cyclades: Spring is the perfect time to visit the islands of Santorini and Mykonos before the summer rush. Their enchanting beaches and iconic blue-domed churches are more enjoyable in the comfortable spring temperatures.
  • A caveat here is that Spring is very unpredictable in the Cyclades. I have visited Santorini in April and been frozen solid the whole time by a fierce cold wind. 
  • Experiencing Peloponnese: Ancient historical sites like Olympia and Epidaurus in the Peloponnese region are excellent to explore in spring. Nafplio, a seaside town, is particularly pleasant this time of year.
  • Holy Week: Join locals in celebrating Greek Orthodox Easter—the country’s most significant religious celebration. Processions and festivities take place across the country, with Corfu being especially known for its grand Easter processions, intricate rituals, and the custom of ‘botides’ – throwing of large clay pots – make it a must-visit. 
  • Exploring Crete: With wildflowers blooming across the island and through its many olive groves, Crete’s archaeological sites, like the Palace of Knossos, and its high-elevation trails are a delight to explore during spring months.

Temperature and Rainfall Across Greece in Spring

CityMax Temp (°C)Min Temp (°C)Avg Temp (°C)Max Temp (°F)Min Temp (°F)Avg Temp (°F)Avg Rainfall (days)

Winter in Greece

If you are seeking a different kind of Greek escape, winter could be the perfect time. I love spending Christmas in Greece.

Parnassos Ski Resort, Greece
Parnassos Ski Resort, Greece

Unfortunately, winter isn’t great for those yearning for the beach experience, and the islands are quiet during this time, with many restaurants and attractions closed. 

Ferry services may be intermittent due to rough sea conditions and they run on a much lighter schedule than in summer. Especially in the Dodecanese Islands, it can be hard to get between some islands by ferry.

However, if you want to hike through Greece’s wonderful landscapes, and discover its ancient sites with fewer crowds, the mild weather and cooler temperatures of early winter in Greece make for a surprisingly cheap and relaxing holiday.

Christmas decorations at a beach cafe in Thessaloniki, Greece
Christmas decorations at a beach cafe in Thessaloniki, Greece

Here are some of the best things to see and places to visit in Winter:

  • The Peloponnese region transforms into a winter wonderland with famous ski resorts like Kalavrita, while the mountainous town of Metsovo in Northern Greece is another popular spot. 

In Athens and Atticus, feast your eyes on archaeological sites that are occasionally dusted with snow, an uncrowded and beautiful sight. 

Major winter festivals include the Feast of Saint Nicholas in December, a protector of seafarers across Greece’s islands, offering beautiful ceremonies in Greek Orthodox Churches.

In Athens, celebrate Christmas with special markets and the lighting of the city’s Christmas tree. Greek Christmas traditions are strong in Northern Greece, but also in Athens where you can feel an excited festive vibe throughout December.

There are Christmas markets and bars, and Athenians ring in the New Year with Fireworks. The New Year in Greece is called Apokries, and it

Temperature and Rainfall Across Greece in Winter

CityMax Temp (°C)Min Temp (°C)Avg Temp (°C)Max Temp (°F)Min Temp (°F)Avg Temp (°F)Avg Rainfall (days)

Perhaps what really matters is not when you go to Greece, but that you make time to visit Greece. After all, you can always come back!