Best Time to Visit Santorini
As such a stunning island, there is really no bad time to visit Santorini. While most restaurants and hotels once closed during the winter, an increasing number as staying open throughout the year to cater to the season’s visitors. During the summer, it’s at its busiest and hottest, buzzing with activity, including lively nightlife. But that also makes it difficult to avoid the big crowds, and you’ll need to make your reservations well in advance.
The best time to visit Santorini really depends on what you hope to get out of the experience, including what you plan to do, how much you can tolerate crowds, the heat, and what your budget is. While tours, food, and transport are usually about the same in every season, accommodation is much less expensive during the off season between November and March.
As it can be difficult to decide when to go, we’ve provided a closer look at what each season offers as well as the best time to visit according to most visitors’ primary goals.
Best Time for Sightseeing
If you have your heart set on taking in the top sights, the best time to visit Santorini for sightseeing is when the weather is pleasant, and the tourist crowds aren’t insanely large. That makes the shoulder season ideal, particularly mid-April through May or October and into early November.
You can expect plenty of sunshine and warm temperatures, especially by northern European standards, although you’ll want to bring a rain jacket and some warmer clothing just in case. During this time the average high temperatures range anywhere from 19°C/ 66°F to 25°C/ 77°F. Spring is generally optimal, with a greater chance for chiller, gray weather, wind and some rain later in October and in November.
Best Time to Visit for Ideal Weather
If you’re looking for bright sunny skies and warm temperatures, visiting anytime between May and about mid-October is likely to deliver. For those who don’t do well in heat, you’ll want to avoid the hottest months of the year, July and August, which bring average high temperatures of 29°C/ 84°F.
May through mid-June or mid-September through mid-October are the most pleasant periods for most, with days consistently sunny and warm, but not too hot. Afternoon highs range anywhere from about 22°C/ 71°F to 26°C/ 79°F. With a slightly greater chance of rain and cooler temperatures in early fall, if you visit then, bring a rain jacket just in case. A sun hat, sunscreen and sunglasses are a must between May and September.
Best Time for the Beaches
If you want to enjoy lots of time on the beach and a warm sea for swimming, you’ll want to come during the summer months of June, July, and August. It will be sunny and hot while seawater temperatures are ideal at around 25°C/ 77°F. The weather will start to cool down in October, but it’s usually possible to swim throughout the month with the seawater cooling to about 23°C/ 73.4°F.
Visiting in May, it may be warm enough for some but as the summer heat hasn’t arrived it’s likely to be too cool for many at 19°C/ 66°F. If you want to visit without the biggest crowds of the year and still enjoy warm land and water temperatures, aim for late September/early October.
Best Time to Visit for a More Budget-Friendly Trip
If your goal is to spend the least amount of money possible, you’ll want to visit Santorini during the winter, between December and February. This is when hotels drop their rates to the lowest of the year and you may be able to find discounted airfare with the exception of the period around the Christmas and New Year’s holidays.
For a good mix of warm, sunny weather and reduced prices, visit between March and mid-May or from October through early November. No matter which time of year you come, to save money avoid hotels in Oia which are the priciest. Fira is an excellent alternative and it’s also less crowded. You’ll find inexpensive hotels in Perissa, Kamari, and Karterados too.
(mid-June through mid-September)
Summer coincides with the high season as the busiest and hottest time of year. The ferries will be running on their full schedules, making it easy to visit Santorini. All the hotels will be open, nightlife will be buzzing, and there will be plenty of crowds walking through the narrow streets of Oia and at the major attractions like Red Beach.
It probably won’t be as hot as it is in Athens, where temperatures can get up into the 30s Celsius, mid- to upper-90s Fahrenheit, although there are usually a few days each summer where the mercury reaches as high as 39 Celsius/102 Fahrenheit. The average afternoon high is 29°C/ 84°F. The key to planning your trip during this time is to make reservations well in advance, bring sun protection and try to visit major attractions early in the morning.
(mid-April through mid-June + mid-September and October)
The shoulder season periods in the spring and early fall can be an ideal time to visit Santorini as it won’t be too hot, and both the hotel rates and crowds won’t be at their peak. If you want to be able to swim, aim for the latter part of spring to give the seawater time to warm, or come in early fall when it’s usually comfortable enough for swimming at least through mid-October.
(November through mid-April)
While it was once difficult to visit during the low/off season with so many hotels and restaurants closing, that’s no longer the case. The sea will be too chilly for swimming, but it can be a great time to see the sights and take advantage of the lowest hotel prices of the year. Be prepared for damp, windy, cool weather by bringing the appropriate gear to stay comfortable – it’s unlikely to get too cold, with the average high temperature in the middle of the winter climbing into the upper 50s Fahrenheit, about 14°C.
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