The Best Time To Visit Greece

The Best Time To Visit Greece

While summer is the peak tourist season in Greece, with the hot sun offering the opportunity to soak with the warmth of its rays on idyllic beaches, cooling off with refreshing dips in enticing crystal-clear turquoise waters, there are reasons to visit this country all year-round. No matter which season you’re planning to visit, we’ve got a destination that’s sure to please.

In this guide, we highlight the best time to visit Greece that will suit a variety of travelers. For each season in Greece, we discuss the weather, the best things to do and the events that take place to help you decide when to visit.

From the scorching summers that are perfect for relaxing on Greek beaches to the subtle wonders of fall, read on to find out the best time to visit Greece for an unforgettable getaway.

Spring in Greece

Athens in Spring time
Spring in Crete

March through May can be an ideal time to travel to Greece, enjoying mild weather, fewer crowds and possibly discounts on airfare and accommodation too – outside of Easter week that is, when many of the locals are enjoying festivities and their own vacations. This is the best time to visit Greece if you want to enjoy pleasant sunshine and glorious landscapes without the summer rush.

The Weather in Greece in Spring

Spring in Athens is particularly lovely, with mid-season experiencing average high temperatures in the upper 60°F to low 70°F, and there will be little if any elbow bumping among hordes of tourists. It’s the perfect time to explore sights like Acropolis Hill and the iconic Parthenon, as well as to wander through the charming streets of historic Plaka.

The gradually warming temperatures of spring make it one of the best times to visit Greece. While April is chillier, average temperatures in Greece in May warm up to a lovely 79°F, which is optimal for exploring without the intense summer heat. There is some rainfall in Greece during the spring season but by May, the days are typically clear and bright.

The Best Things to Do in Greece in Spring

If you enjoy hiking, April or May are great months to visit, with mild temperatures making treks through the mountains particularly ideal. You’ll be surrounded by vibrant green landscapes dotted with colorful wildflowers. You may even want to climb Mount Olympus, the mythical mountain of the gods.

Head to the Athenian Riviera in May and the sea may be warm enough for many to enjoy as well. Islands like Crete and destinations in the Peloponnese are rather balmy now providing an ideal time for lounging on golden sands and swimming in the aquamarine sea.

Events in Greece in Spring

If you want to get involved in seasonal festivities, spring is one of the best times to visit Greece. In late March or early May, Easter celebrations take place across Greece resulting in a joyous and celebratory atmosphere. It is one of the most important religious festivals in Greece and takes place over a whole week, with many cities and towns filling up with visitors.

There are many services which you can attend to take part in the Easter festivities. On Good Friday, communities in Greece conduct the Epitaphios Procession and on Holy Saturday you can witness a midnight Ressurection Service in darkened churches. If you are visiting on Easter Sunday, you have the opportunity to attend a delightful Easter Feast featuring traditional dishes like roasted lamb and tsoureki.

Summer in Greece

Santorini in Summer
Mykonos in Summer

The best time to visit Greece is during the peak months of tourism, June through August. Temperatures will be sizzling, but the famously brilliant blue seas will be perfect for swimming, especially in July. For luxurious, party-filled beaches and glamorous nightlife, Mykonos and Santorini are two of the best destinations to experience.

The Weather in Greece in Summer

Summer brings the best weather to Greece, with gorgeous clear skies and inviting ocean waters. Temperatures in Greece in summer reach highs of 95°F and settle to a comfortable 77°F in the evenings. There is minimal rainfall which makes summer the best time to visit Greece for outdoor adventures and beachside bliss.

The Best Things to Do in Greece in Summer

Cosmopolitan Mykonos offers gorgeous beaches for sunbathing and sipping cocktails during the day, and endless excitement after dark as a place to see and be seen, and perhaps doing some celebrity spotting too. Santorini offers the ultimate summer beach vacation, with its incredible aesthetic appeal complemented by wonderful stretches of black, white and even red sands. Warm summer evenings are ideal for romantic candlelit dinners that are followed by watching the island’s famous colorful sunsets.

If you’re looking for an island to enjoy in the summer that’s a bit more laid-back and family-friendly, think Milos and Folegandros which provide more of an off-the-beaten-path getaway, along with plenty of postcard-perfect beaches and azure waters for swimming.

Events in Greece in Summer

One of the best reasons to visit Greece in summer is that the events season is in full swing. There are a variety of festivals and parties which offer unique experiences for visitors. Whether you seek concerts, art or theatre, there is certain to be something for you.

If you’re a lover of all things music and culture, then the Sani Festival is a great reason to visit Greece in the summer. Taking place every summer for nearly 3 decades, the Sani Festival brings together an exceptional lineup of Greek and international artists for the ultimate music experience. With acts ranging from pop to indie and classical to jazz, there is so much to get involved in.

Alternatively, fans of theatre will enjoy the cultural splendour of the Epidauras Festival. Held annually in Athens, this festival was originally hosted in an ancient theatre but has now expanded to include more venues across the city. There are performances of plays as well as dance acts and musical showcases which has made the Epidauras Festival one of the leading cultural events in Greece.

Fall in Greece

Meteora in Autumn
Hydra in Autumn

In early fall, sea temperatures are often still warm enough for swimming, but the crowds have begun to diminish, making late September through early October the best time to visit the Greek islands for a more tranquil experience. Crete continues to experience pleasant temperatures during this time, which is often referred to as “the little summer of Ayios Dhimitrios.” Other islands to consider for an early to mid-fall escape include Santorini, Corfu, Kefalonia and Mykonos.

The Weather in Greece in Fall

Fall brings much milder weather to Greece which is a welcome respite after the sweltering summer heat. Temperatures in Greece in fall range from 59 to 77°F in September and cool nicely to 50 to 68°F in November. You can expect some precipitation during this season, particularly in November, so be sure to pack waterproof clothing.

The Best Things to Do in Greece in Fall

Autumn, of course, is ideal for visiting vineyards during the grape harvest when the fruit ripens on the vine. You’ll be able to sip plenty of tasty local wines and perhaps even get your hands dirty in the annual ritual, immersing yourself in a tradition dating back for generations. In late September through early October, discover who’s making raki from the stalks and skins by visiting Crete.

Then there’s the olives – visit in October or November and you can join in the olive harvest. The Peloponnese is an ideal destination for this where visitors can enjoy the massive feast and celebration that rewards the efforts of all who’ve helped – and, it’s only an hour from Athens. Speaking of which, this is a perfect time for sightseeing in the capital city, with the temperatures not as sizzling and fewer people getting in the way of all those impressive sights.

The colors of fall foliage will be at their peak in the mountains. Olympus, Parnassus, Achaia, Giona and Pelion are just some of the peaks to explore, while remarkable Meteora with its medieval monasteries will be framed with brilliant orange and golden hues.

Events in Greece in Fall

Though the peak season dies down by September, there are still some amazing events in Greece which take place in the fall. This is a great time to discover more niche opportunities and get involved in local celebrations.

Film fanatics will relish the chance to attend the Thessaloniki International Film Festival. This is one of the most prestigious film festivals in Europe and showcases a diverse range of Greek and international films. The festival is held every year in Thessaloniki and is a great way to spend any overcast or rainy days.

Those who prefer action and the outdoors should take part in the Navarino Challenge. This well-established event celebrates sports tourism with an exciting programme of marathons and wellness activities. You can also take part in over 15 Olympic sports at the event and prove your prowess like an ancient Greek.

Winter in Greece

Mount Parnassos in Winter
Athens in Winter

Winter is the least-visited time of year in Greece, as many opt for warmer climates. While winter weather may be unreliable, it offers visitors the chance to explore a different side of Greece and accommodation is often much cheaper. The exception is in the mountains where snow sport enthusiasts can look forward to snow-covered slopes, some of which are as high as the famous Rockies or Alps.

The Weather in Greece in Winter

Lasting from December to February, winter is the coldest time of year in Greece but has varied climates in its different regions. Coastal areas, especially in the south, tend to be milder whilst inland and mountainous areas are much colder. The temperature in Greece in winter can range from 46 to 59°F on the coastline, but in the mountains, this can drop below freezing.

Fortunately, afternoons in Athens typically reach the mid- to upper-50s, though the mercury may climb as high as 65 on an especially nice day. This means you can still spend time exploring the legendary capital on a winter trip to Greece. Just ve sure to pack some layers and a warm coat for chillier days.

The Best Things to Do in Greece in Winter

While skiing here is relatively unknown to most outside of Europe, winter brings the opportunity to enjoy a weekend of skiing or snowboarding along with sightseeing in Athens and dining at seaside taverns, perhaps along the Athenian Riviera.

Head to Mount Parnassos, just two hours from Athens near Delphi, one of the country’s most important ancient archaeological sites, which features multiple lifts, runs, routes and trails for everyone from beginners to the experts, typically open from December through early May. The capital city can be particularly charming in the wintertime and it’s unlikely to be too chilly.

It’s the perfect time to enjoy food tours and climb Acropolis Hill – if a storm hits you can always duck into one of the world-famous museums. Of course, there will be plenty of enticing restaurants, cafes, bars and clubs to take advantage of as well.

Events in Greece in Winter

Visiting Greece in the winter not only allows you to avoid the crowds, but there are also a handful of wonderful events which make it a particularly festive time. While Christmas is widely celebrated, there are also some insightful cultural events which allow visitors to engage with locals in a more meaningful way.

One of the best times to visit Greece is around New Year’s Eve. Cities all over Greece celebrate the coming of the new year with fireworks and parties, which allows visitors to experience Greek nightlife outside of the peak tourist season. This is a great way to rub shoulders with the locals and take part in the thrilling atmosphere.

From February to March, Greece gears up for Carnival which is a prominent festival period. It is held during the lead-up to Lent and features vibrant parades, masquerade parties, music, dance and various cultural performances. Some notable destinations in Greece that have the best Carnival celebrations are Xanthi and Rethymno.

Summary

Overall, the best time to visit Greece is in summer when the peak season is in full swing. This is the best time for lounging on the golden beaches of Greece and exploring its marvelous ancient ruins. However, spring and fall provide similar weather conditions but are less busy, which is ideal for those who want a more relaxed vacation.

Spring and fall are also great times to visit Greece as you can dive into unique events and celebrations which will provide more context about local culture. Winter is the least popular time to visit Greece, however, the months of January and February are excellent choices for travelers who want to dive into Carnival festivities and enjoy a more affordable visit.

Have you been thinking about escaping to Greece sometime soon? Browse through our cruise packages and private tours, or get in touch with our experts for more advice about the best time to visit Greece for your next adventure.

For a more in-depth post about when to visit our favorite Greece locations, please check out the links below:

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