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.
When is the best time to visit Greece
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.
Spring in Athens is particularly lovely, with mid-season experiencing average high temperatures in the upper 60s to low 70s, and there will be little if any elbow bumping among hordes of tourists. It’s the perfect time to explore the sights like Acropolis Hill and the iconic Parthenon, as well as to wander through the charming streets of historic Plaka. 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.
If you enjoy hiking, April or May are ideal 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 mountain of the gods.
During the peak months of tourism, June through August, temperatures will be sizzling, but the famously brilliant blue seas will be perfect for swimming. For luxurious, party-filled beaches and glamourous nightlife, Mykonos and Santorini are two of the best destinations to experience.
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.
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 a good time to visit the 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 perhaps mid-fall escape include Santorini, Corfu, Kefalonia and Mykonos.
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 to get 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.
The least-visited time of year, while winter weather may be unreliable, for many it will feel rather balmy, especially for those coming from more northern climates. 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. 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. Afternoons typically reach the mid- to upper-50s, though the mercury may climb as high as 65 on an especially nice day. 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.
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