Best time to visit Greece

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Greece

Best time of year to visit Greece

May to June and September to mid-October are the best time to visit Greece. If you are eager to discover this country at its finest, late spring and early summer offer mild weather, fewer tourist, and reasonable prices. It's perfect time to enjoy beaches and swim in the sea (a bit cool though) watch unforgettable sunsets or hike the White Mountains on Crete. Peak season between July and August brings in unruly crowds, inflated room rates, and torturous heat. Summer is a great time to taste some delicious Greek moussaka, octopus, or Horiatiki salad. Olive and wine harvest give a delicious and tipsy twist to Greek autumn. By the end of October, Western Greece can get stormy at times. Winter in Greece is the coldest and rainiest time of the year, and lots of island hotels and restaurants close down. Yet, it attracts numerous skiers, hikers, and sightseers. Early spring brings blossoms and Easter holiday crowds.

23 THINGS TO DO IN GREECE (AUGUST 19 - AUGUST 28)

Breathtaking Sunsets

Breathtaking Sunsets

mid-February–October  • nature

One of the most famous features of Santorini is its sunset

Fuchsia Bougainvillea Bloom

Fuchsia Bougainvillea Bloom

April–late October  • nature

The bloom of these flowers are considered to be Santorini's trademark

Octopus Season

Octopus Season

August–October  • food

Santorini boasts to be a seafood destination, and offers octopus dishes with its own unique flavour

Sea Turtles

Sea Turtles

late May–October • nature

Visit some of the wonderful Greek beaches, which are home to the adorable Caretta turtles

Hiking in Samaria Gorge National Park

Hiking in Samaria Gorge National Park

May–October • activity

Samaria Gorge National Park is a place with incredibly stunning nature, waterfalls, lakes, ancient settlements, and unique flora and fauna

Lefka Ori Hike (The White Mountains)

Lefka Ori Hike (The White Mountains)

May–October • activity

These snowy mountains are waiting for you in sunny Crete

Crete Beach Season

Crete Beach Season

May–October • activity

Enjoy plenty of swimming and sunbathing spots on the fifth largest island in the Mediterranean Sea

Moussaka ​

Moussaka ​

June–September • food

Greece beats all of the Mediterranean with its layered variation of moussaka

Wine Making Season

Wine Making Season

mid-August–September • activity

Santorini boasts best wine production on Cyclades

Artisan Honey and Baklava

Artisan Honey and Baklava

March–November • food

This golden sweet can be eaten with Greek yoghurt​, or enjoyed in traditional baklava

Summer Coffee (Frappe)

Summer Coffee (Frappe)

May–September • food

Solving the biggest summer struggle of coffee lovers since 1957

Neda River Hiking

Neda River Hiking

May–September • activity

Grab your hiking shoes and swimming suit to explore one of the most beautiful spots in Greece

Horiatiki Salata

Horiatiki Salata

June–August • food

No place on Earth can compete with an authentic Greek Salad in its birthplace

Beach Season

Beach Season

May–October • activity

The most popular time to visit Greece and enjoy the sun and sea

Fruit Season

Fruit Season

May–October • food

Hot greek summers would be incomplete without a juicy fruit plate

Valley of Butterflies in Rhodes

Valley of Butterflies in Rhodes

late May–August • nature

Thousands of butterflies flock to Rhodes every year at the end of May

Climbing Mount Olympus

Climbing Mount Olympus

May–October • activity

You don't need to be a Greek god to climb Mount Olympus

Sea Kayaking

Sea Kayaking

May–October • activity

Santorini is perfect when viewed from the water!

Sporades Dolphins & Seals

Sporades Dolphins & Seals

May–September • nature

Discover some of the largest European sea creatures at the first Greek marine natural preserve

Chios Mastiha (Mastic)

Chios Mastiha (Mastic)

July–September • nature

A Greek elixir that cures diseases and complements desserts

Sardine Season

Sardine Season

July–August  • food

In fishermen's villages, people eat sardines every day, which is perhaps the secret to Greek longevity

Windsurfing & Kitesurfing

Windsurfing & Kitesurfing

May–September • activity

What can be more alluring than white sand, blue water and great waves? Only when you are standing on a board

35 THINGS TO DO OUT OF SELECTED DATE RANGE

Greek Orthodox Easter & Holy Week

Greek Orthodox Easter & Holy Week

April 17–19, 2020 • event

Easter is one of the main Greek celebrations, and Santorini is the place to see the most authentic and spiritual traditions

Ifestia Festival

Ifestia Festival

September 19, 2020 • event

The festival is entirely dedicated to the volcano eruption that changed the landscape of Santorini forever in the mid-second millennium BCE

Kalymnos Climbing Festival

Kalymnos Climbing Festival

October 04–06, 2019 • event

Kalymnos island is a Mecca for climbers from all around the globe

Rethymno Carnival

Rethymno Carnival

January 30–March 02, 2020 | March 01, 2020 (Grand Parade) • event

A glorious event where the whole town becomes one big family

Olives and Olive Oil

Olives and Olive Oil

October–March • food

Raw Greek olives are a great seasonal delicacy and don't forget virgin olive oil too!

Apokries or Carnival

Apokries or Carnival

February 21–March 14, 2021 • event

Before the long-lasting fast, Greeks feast on meat with a huge party that stretches over three weeks

Knossos Minoan Palace

Knossos Minoan Palace

April–May | September–mid-October • activity

Feel the real ancient atmosphere in the heart of Minoan civilization

Drosoulites of Frangokastello Castle

Drosoulites of Frangokastello Castle

late May–early June • activity

Have you ever seen a mirage? This one is so real that it has confused people for hundreds of years

Galaxidi Flour War Carnival

Galaxidi Flour War Carnival

March 02, 2020 • event

Even during Clean Monday, there is little chance to avoid getting really dirty

Cyclades Trail Cup

Cyclades Trail Cup

July 11–12, 2020 • event

Run exciting races to explore Greece and compete with its best athletes

Spartathlon

Spartathlon

September 27–28, 2019 • event

One of the world's toughest races covers the distance from Athens to Sparta

The Tour of Crete

The Tour of Crete

May 10–15, 2020 • event

A great chance to test yourself and partake in a challenging bicycle holiday among the beauty of Crete

Thessaloniki International Film Festival

Thessaloniki International Film Festival

October 31–November 10, 2019 • event

Ten days take over the city with the magical atmosphere of cinematography

Patras Carnival

Patras Carnival

January 18–March 01, 2020 | March 01, 2020 (Grand Parade) • event

A month-long Greek style fiesta in the city of Patras

River Party in Nestorio, Kastoria

River Party in Nestorio, Kastoria

July 27–August 08, 2020 • event

This music camp is the best in Greece and in the top ten of Europe

Melitinia

Melitinia

April 14–19, 2020 • food

Traditional Greek Easter sweets that originated from Santorini

Hiking

Hiking

December–March • activity

The rich architectural heritage and natural attractions of Athens are best explored on a leisurely hike

Athens Authentic Marathon

Athens Authentic Marathon

November 08, 2020 • activity

This Greek marathon will make you travel back to glorious ancient times

Saffron Harvest

Saffron Harvest

late October–early November • nature

Kozani Krokos Saffron from Greece is recognised as some of the finest in the world

Elassona Feta Cheese Festival

Elassona Feta Cheese Festival

September 14–16, 2018 • event

Try all the possible types of feta cheese in one place

Naoussa Carnival

Naoussa Carnival

February 20–March 02, 2020 • event

An old Greek masquerade is recreated with precision and respect for traditions

Epiphany & Blessing of the Waters

Epiphany & Blessing of the Waters

January 06 • event

A symbolic and spectacular ending to the Christmas holidays

Rakomelo

Rakomelo

December–February • food

A strong local spirit that warms up the heart and body

Melomakarona—Greek Christmas Honey Cookies

Melomakarona—Greek Christmas Honey Cookies

early December–early January • food

Christmas in Greece won't be complete without these traditional festive sweets!

Oxi Day

Oxi Day

October 28 • event

Visit the biggest national holiday in Greece with lots of parades and festive events

Diving

Diving

May–June | September • activity

Explore ancient submerged treasures while diving in Greece

Wild Artichokes

Wild Artichokes

late April–early June • food

This Greek delicacy is cheap, healthy, and really delicious

Skiing & Snowboarding

Skiing & Snowboarding

December–March • activity

Greece can be visited beyond its beach season. If you visit during winter, be sure to check out its skiing destinations

Birdwatching

Birdwatching

April–mid-June • nature

Situated at the crossroads of three continents, Greece boasts a rich bird life

Dalmatian Pelican Breeding Season

Dalmatian Pelican Breeding Season

mid-January–March • nature

An entire colony of this endangered species breeds on Lake Kerkini in winter

Kourampiedes (Kourabiethes)—Greek Christmas Butter Cookies

Kourampiedes (Kourabiethes)—Greek Christmas Butter Cookies

early December–early January • food

During Christmas vacation in Greece, try these delicious traditional butter cookies which look like small snowballs

Wild Greens (Horta)

Wild Greens (Horta)

February–April • food

Dreaming of long life and perfect skin? Try these delicious wild greens from Crete

Greek Easter Food

Greek Easter Food

April 19, 2020 • food

Lent is over and Greeks finally feast on lamb delicacies like Magirista, Arni Pashaulino, and Tsoureki

Ouzo & Tsipouro Preparation

Ouzo & Tsipouro Preparation

late October–mid-December • food

Both ouzo and tsipouro are considered as national spirits of Greece that represent its drinking culture

Assumption of the Virgin Mary

Assumption of the Virgin Mary

August 15 • event

One of the largest Orthodox celebrations in Greece

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Greece weather in January

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January is the coldest month. The further north you move, the lower the temperature drops. In northern Greece, where the winds from Northern Europe and Russia blow, the temperature may drop to -10°C (14°F). On the islands, the weather is milder but considerably wetter. In the Mediterranean area, the rains are torrential, while in the Aegean, the rains come in downpours, mainly at night and early in the morning. The west coast of Greece is rainier, but rain showers are quickly replaced by the sun rays as soon as the sky clears up. If you plan to visit Athens or any island, an umbrella or a raincoat is a must. Although the amount of precipitation is high, you are unlikely to see snow. There is a chance for wet snow, but it would melt immediately. The only places with snow are the mountain peaks. In January, you can come over to visit ski resorts.

Greece weather in February

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Although the weather in February similar to January, it gets sunnier throughout the country. The temperature in the coastal areas and on the islands may rise to 17°C (63°F), bringing a touch of spring to Greece. However, the days are generally gloomy, and short periods of improvement are followed by a row of cloudy, chilly days. The conditions are better on the Mediterranean islands and in Athens than along the Aegean coast. It rains all across the country, but the west coast is wetter and windier. In the mainland and the northern areas, it’s drier, but the winds from the north may bring snow and cold air masses there. In February, snow covers the mountain peaks. The weather is somewhat unfavorable around Greece, and February is not the best time to visit the country.

Greece weather in March

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March marks the transition from winter. Although the weather is not ideal, it starts improving throughout the country. It still rains in all the regions, but the amount of precipitation and the frequency of rains decrease. In Athens and across the Mediterranean islands, the mornings are fresh, but during the day, the air warms up and promises more favorable conditions for outdoor activities. A jacket and a raincoat are still necessary to stay comfortable. The same is fair for the area of Thessaloniki. The gap between night and day temperatures is more significant, and early morning walks will be somewhat chilly. Most of the time, the sky is clear all over the country, with short periods of cloudiness. The gradual correction of the conditions makes March adequate time for sightseeing.

Greece weather in April

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In April, the gradual transition to summer begins, but the weather differs depending on the region. The mainland areas, including Athens and Thessaloniki, experience a temperature gap between day and night. The morning freshness disseminates under the sunrays, and by noon, the temperature rises to 20°C (68°F). Considering the further decline in precipitation, April is a good time for exploring these major cities in Greece. On the islands, the weather also improves. The temperature doesn’t drop below 14°C (57°F), and during the day it starts getting hot. Although the conditions are generally favorable, the weather is somewhat unstable, and occasional rains still may pour.

Greece weather in May

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On the Mediterranean islands and along the coastline, including Athens, the summer begins roughly in mid-May. On average, the temperature is over 20°C (68°F), peaking at 26°C (79°F), with pleasantly warm mornings and evenings. No rains and day-long sunshine make May an ideal time for exploring Athens. Although the water is too fresh for swimming, you can enjoy beautiful days on the island of Crete. Meanwhile, the weather in the Aegean region is slightly less favorable. The temperature there rises too, and the rains are rare. However, in May, the northerly wind Meltemi starts blowing at the Aegean Sea coast. Being the strongest in the afternoon, it might be bothering, intervening with your plans for walks and outdoor activities. Also, May is the month when thunderstorms hit the north and the mountains, mainly in the afternoons.

Greece weather in June

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The weather in June is perfect throughout Greece. Regardless of the island you choose, the conditions will be excellent for beach holidays. The days are sunny and dry, and waters of the Aegean and the Ionian Seas warm up to 22°C (72°F). On the west coast, afternoons are windy and somewhat chilly due to the Meltemi wind. Meanwhile, the Ionian coast is not exposed to wind and deals with high humidity. The regions differ in terms of how hot it gets. In the inner areas of Greece, the heat is more perceptible as the sea breeze doesn’t moderate the warmth. In Athens, the day temperature might be uncomfortable for walks, and it’s better to plan sightseeing for mornings and evenings. In the mountains, the weather is mild, with occasional thunderstorms in the afternoon.

Greece weather in July

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Together with August, July is the hottest month. On the islands, the heat gets scorching, with over 30°C (86°F) at noon. Even at night, the temperature doesn’t drop lower than 20°C (68°F). While on the islands the temperature gap is small, up in the mountains the difference between day and night temperatures is noticeable, with nights and mornings being chilly. A jacket and an umbrella won’t be excessive in these areas. The weather is dry and sunny on the islands and in the major tourist destinations, and there glasses and sunscreen are a must. The Meltemi winds moderate the heat in the Aegean area throughout the summer. But due to the wind, the sea can become rough, especially in the afternoon. The Ionian and Mediterranean Seas are calmer and warm up to 24°C (75°F).

Greece weather in August

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The weather in August is almost identical to the conditions in July. All the islands have a great combination of warm water and day-long sunshine, and the climate is excellent for a beach vacation. During the hottest hours, it’s better to get away from the sun and rest indoors. The same is fair for Athens, which may experience the temperature over 40°C (104°F) at midday. Hence, August is not the best time to do sightseeing, unless you go out early in the morning. In Thessaloniki and on the Aegean islands, the northern winds moderate the heat. However, when Meltemi blows for several days in a row, the Aegean Sea can get dangerous. For the windy evenings, you’d find it useful to carry a light shirt.

Greece weather in September

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September is an extension of summer in Greece. The weather conditions are almost the same as in late August, with a slight drop in the temperature. The first to experience a decrease in the heat are inland areas, the north, and the east coast. Simultaneously, the weather gets wetter, featuring occasional showers, mainly in the evening. Although the deterioration is slight, the weather is not good enough for beach holidays in these areas. Meanwhile, the conditions on the Mediterranean and the majority of Aegean islands are still good enough for swimming. The sky is clear, the weather remains dry, and the water is as warm as 23°C (73°F). By the end of the month, the heat decreases even on the islands, but the days are pleasantly warm.

Greece weather in October

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The first half of the month marks the end of summer. In the majority of the regions, it’s still warm, with temperatures around 23°C (73°F), but the mornings and evenings get fresher. Bringing along a sweater or a jacket would be comfy. Besides, the frequency of rains increases; they are heavy, yet short. Typically, it rains early in the morning or late in the evening, and day hours remain sunny and cloudless. You can use this time to explore the cities of Athens and Thessaloniki. As the heat decreases, a day-long walk won’t be exhaustive. However, the days become shorter. In the Aegean area, the wind ceases to blow, the sea calms down and is usually as warm as 22°C (72°F). You can come over for swimming, but October is not a typical time for beach holidays in Greece.

Greece weather in November

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In November, the entire country gets ready to live in a state of winter. The temperature decreases all over Greece. The coastal areas and the islands experience mild weather, with temperatures rarely getting lower than 16°C (61°F). Although it’s still sunny, the clouds cover the sky more often. The days get shorter, and the rains are not that frequent but occur regularly. If occasional downpours and a cloudy sky are not bothering you, November is a good time for sightseeing. The heat is gone, and so are the tourists. You need to dress warmer and carry an umbrella to make sure that neither cold nor shower would disturb you during the walk. At the same time, the mainland and the mountains already experience considerably lower temperatures.

Greece weather in December

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In December, the weather throughout the country is not great, yet tolerable. On the Aegean Sea islands and in Athens, the conditions are mild and rainy. The temperature rarely falls below 15°C (59°F). During sunny days, the thermometer may show up to 20°C (68°F). In these areas, spring clothes and an umbrella would be enough for a comfortable stay. Meanwhile, in the inland and northern regions, you’d need to put on warm clothes as the conditions there are harsher. In Thessaloniki, the night temperatures may drop below freezing. The weather on the Mediterranean islands is unfavorable too: the sea is stormy, the rains are heavy and day-long, and strong winds blow.