When is the best time to visit Greece?

Best time to go to Greece

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Greece is a popular tourist destination worldwide.  One of the most common questions visitor have is “When is the best time to visit Greece?”. The answer varies depending on the interests of the visitor and the places he wants to visit.

Best time to go to Greece

Generally speaking the best time to visit Greece is during spring (from April until mid-June) and autumn (September- October).  During those months the weather is mild, and the crowds are less.

the beach in Limeni Mani - best time to visit Greece
the beach in Limeni, Mani in the beginning of June

July and August are very hot months, and it’s very crowded especially in popular destinations like Mykonos, Santorini, Rhodes, etc.  Planes, boats, and hotels are pre-booked, and everything is more expensive during this time. August is also the month that most Greeks take their annual leave. The only exception for this is the Northern part of Greece and the area of Halkidiki, and the islands of Thasos, Samothraki, and  Lemnos where it’s preferable to visit from mid-June to mid-September for better weather.

Papa Nero beach Pelion - best time to visit Greece
Papa Nero beach Pelion in July

Personally, I would avoid visiting in August at all costs. Especially the period around the 15th of August that is a big religious holiday here in Greece and everyone is on vacation. If July was my only option, I would head to one of the many not so widely known islands but still equally beautiful. Serifos, Sikinos, Syros, Andros, Karpathos, Lemnos, Astypalea to name a few.

On the other hand, Athens is empty during August, but it’s very hot, and a lot of restaurants and bars are closed. This doesn’t mean that you won’t find somewhere to eat but that you will have fewer options, and the most touristy places will be open.

Plaka Athens
Plaka Athens

Most hotels and restaurants in the islands are closed from November until April, but still, you will find somewhere to stay and eat, but the options are limited. It’s better to head to big islands during that time like Crete, Rhodes, and Corfu. There are a few places that stay open in Santorini as well during winter. If it isn’t very windy you will have an amazing time during winter there.

If you are interested infor the sea, the best time to visit Greece is in June and September. As mentioned before July and August are crowded and in May the water can be cold for your taste. (I find the water cold for me in May but I see that a lot of Northern Europeans find it ok)

December to March are usually the most colder months often accompanied with some rain and a little snow. If you don’t want to head to the islands and would like to visit cities like Athens, Thessaloniki, Nafplio or head to famous archaeological sites like Delphi, Meteora, Ancient Olympia and more then you should consider visiting Greece this period. Hotels and restaurants in mainland Greece don’t close during the winter months, and everything is cheaper and less crowded.

walking at the banks of the artificial lake of Aoos - the best time to visit Greece
Walking on the banks of the artificial lake of Aoos in Northern Greece in January

You can also check my post 5 reasons to visit Greece in winter.

If you are interested in activities like hiking in Greece’s beautiful paths or bird watching the best time to visit is during Spring and Autumn.

Ferry service and flights are extremely busy during July, August, Christmas and Easter. If you plan to visit during these times, you should always book ahead. From October until March the ferry services and flights are cut back, but you can find a lot of deals during these periods. Last year I visited Santorini from Athens in November and my return flight cost me 20 €. I paid the same price for a return ticket to Chania in Crete in January.

Chania,-Crete - The best time to visit Greece
Chania, Crete in January

To summarise when to visit Greece:

  • The best time to visit Greece if you are interested in swimming: May – the first 15 days of October.
  • The best time to visit popular islands like Mykonos and Santorini: May – June and September – October (you acan visit Santorini in November and April too if you are not interested in swimming in the sea).
  • The best time to visit off-the beaten path islands is July and August.
  • The best time to visit Athens is April-May and October- November.
  • The best time to visit Greece if you are interested in hiking and seeing the nature is April – June and September – October.
  • The best time to visit Greece if you want to save money is during the winter November- March and shoulder season late May – beginning of June and from late September to the middle of October.
  • November- March the weather is colder with many sunny days, perfect for mainland Greece, archaeological sites, big towns – cheaper prices.

Due to its mild climate, Greece is an all year round destination. Depending on your budget and activities you can choose the appropriate time to visit.

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Are you planning a trip to Greece and you want to know when is the best time to come? Read this post to help you decide when is the best time to visit Greece. Click through to read now.

If you have any questions, about when to go to Greece leave a comment below.

What is your favourite time to visit Greece?

 

10 Comments

  • Hi Chrissy!
    You may not believe me but your post inspired me to plan my trip to Greece!
    The beginning of the year, you know, is the high time to form some lists (to-do, to-buy, to-visit and so on). I thought about my greek holidays since i was a little girl and this year, after a rigorous scanning of some popular sites like https://www.roughguides.com/destinations/europe/greece/when-to-go/ for best weather and https://rove.me/to/greece for best seasonal activities, I found your article and that was it!: I wanna see Greece. The sooner the better! In Spring! Can you recommend some must-see islands (from your point of view), places or cosy cafes? And if it’s possible, a little bit instagramic, you know, as i have my small white blog about my adventures around the world and I need nice photos.
    Thanx! Birdy

  • Hi
    I am thinking of booking a cruise for April 23 2019 around the Greek islands
    Crete Rhodes mykonos Santorini Athens
    I am a bit concerned about the weather
    Can do the same cruise in Oct 3 rd
    What do you think ?
    Helen

    • I am afraid you can not be sure about the weather. I would choose the beginning of October. You will be able to swim in October too as the waters are warm which is not the case in April.

  • I’m getting married and think Greece might be a great honeymoon spot, but the wedding is October 13th – too late to do a week there?

    • Hello Catherine, congratulations! In October I would suggest a place like Crete for your honeymoon where it is usually still warm.

  • Hey Chrissy..

    Love the blog. Thank you for detailing everything so nicely!! I am planning my honeymoon in mid Feb 2019, to Greece.. I am from India and winters should be fine.. How harsh are the winters in Greece? I want to visit Santorini and Crete majorly.. Should it be okay during that time? Anything I should consider other than what you have mentioned? My fiance and I want to enjoy the culture, food, streets, sceneries and other things, swimming is not our motive.. Any advise/help will be highly appreciated!
    Rab Rakha! (it means God bless you in Punjabi (an Indian language))

    Love,
    Anjali

    • Hello Anjali,

      Thanks for your message and congratulation on your marriage. February is the heart of winter in Greece. You can still visit Santorini, a few businesses stay open. It will be very quiet. In Crete I suggest that you stay in Chania or Rethymno and do day trips as these towns will be more lively at the time. If you had a choice a much better timing for this trip would be April.

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