There’s never a bad time to visit Europe but when is the best time to visit Greece?
Greece has had significant influence across the planet on arts, philosophy, politics, science, and sports. It’s also home to stunning beaches, over 200 inhabited islands, ancient ruins, spectacular mountains and has a vibrant food and nightlife scene.
These things have made Greece a major tourist destination for travellers around the world who are visiting in record numbers each year. But when is the best time to visit Greece? We think there’s never a bad time but there are distinct seasons and a number of things to take into consideration.
Greece in Summer : July & August
Summer is by far the busiest time of year for Greek tourism. August, in particular, is very busy as that’s when most Europeans and indeed, Greeks, will take their annual holiday. Many places will be crowded and, as a result, most things will also be a lot more expensive than they are at other times of the year.
Summer in Greece can also be very hot and dry (heat waves are not uncommon). The weather in southern Europe can be quite oppressive in the summer so its no surprise that most people head to the islands or the beaches of the mainland.
June can be relatively mild weather-wise and the crowds don’t really pick up until July.
Pros of summer
- The most popular islands are, well, popular! Santorini, Mykonos, and Crete in particular will be heaving with all the beautiful people and there is a constant energy and vibe that is a lot of fun. All of the shops, hotels and businesses are open for business and in some places it feels like they never close. This is also when the nightlife kicks in and people are up until sun up all summer choosing to sleep through the hottest parts of the day.
- The ocean is warmest in the summer months making it ideal for swimming, sunbathing and water sports. The Mediterranean can be very cold at other times of the year so this is when you can really make the most of it.
- Transport is running at full steam with the most amount of flights and ferry routes for the year, giving you lots of options.
- Summer arts and music festivals are underway with many outdoor events held including at the Acropolis.
- next to no rain and blue skies every day
- great water visibility for snorkeling and diving
Cons of summer
- the afore-mentioned crowds. Make sure you book flights and ferry tickets in advance as well as accommodation particularly in August.
- prices are more expensive
- the heat can be quite brutal especially reflecting off all those white surfaces
- wildfires can be common especially on the mainland
Spring/Autumn in Greece : April/May and September/October
Spring and fall are generally considered to be the best time to go to Greece.
It’s shoulder season so prices are much cheaper and its not as crowded.
The weather is generally quite lovely with wildflowers blooming during the spring, and Autumn leaves in the Fall. It’s the best time to travel to Greece if you plan to spend a lot of time outdoors, especially if you want to visit lots of ruins and enjoy some hiking.
September is especially good as the sea has been warmed up all summer and is still great for swimming. This is also when grapes in Greece are harvested and visits to the many great wineries can be really interesting.
April is also a great month to visit and you get an extra bonus if it coincides with Greek Easter which has an amazing series of events to witness. Santorini is particularly beautiful and all lit up at night. Note: Like conventional Easter the dates change each year but the two rarely line up.
Pros of shoulder season in Greece
not as crowded as Summer
- not as expensive
- mild weather but still generally sunny much of the time
- Greek Easter is like a religious Carnivale in some places
Cons of shoulder season in Greece
- Some things may be closed, especially on the smaller islands.
- it may be too cool to enjoy the beach especially in the North
- things can be very quiet in some places, perhaps too much for some people.
Winter in Greece – Late November to March
The weather during winter, like many places, can be cold and wet but certainly not as cold as some parts of Europe.
One of the main attractions in winter is that is uncrowded and quiet. It’s a great time to explore the many museums and take in much of the history.
On the islands, most of the hotels, shops, and restaurants will be closed and transport options to them are minimal. If you do want to spend time on an island you’re best choosing those in the South such as Crete or Rhodes although they too can get cold.
Most people don’t realise that Greece does have a ski season and there is good snowfall in the ski fields in the North. There are a number of small cozy hotels in the mountains and it’s a beautiful time to see the monasteries of Meteora with the snow on their roofs.
Pros of Winter in Greece
- not crowded
- quite inexpensive
- islands will only be inhabited by locals
- many winter dishes like casseroles and stews are readily available
- good snow fall on the ski fields
- Christmas can be a lot of fun
Cons of winter in Greece
- most of the islands will be closed for tourism
- the islands will only be inhabited by locals
- too cold to swim or go to the beach
- limited transport routes open
- temperatures can get very cold and big storms can occur
As you can see Greece can actually be a year round destination. Whilst most people might think of summer on the Islands it is possible to visit in the colder months for a different type of experience.
There really is no right or wrong answer when trying to work out when to visit Greece and it will largely get down to your own preferences, availability and budget. Whatever the time of year you choose to visit I guarantee it will still be wonderful.
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