Best Time to Visit Greece and the greek islands

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Written By: Pavlos Inglesis

Greece is not the same every month of the year, as it’s a country with 4 distinct seasons and a hot summer. The best time to visit Greece and the greek islands really depends on what you are looking for, from your holidays in my beautiful country.

best time to visit greece

A trip to Greece is completely different in the winter and compared to the summer, as there are different things you can do in every season.

BEST HOTELS IN GREECE AND THE GREEK ISLANDS:

The beauty of Greece is that it is an extremely diverse country with lots of things to do in any month. but the best time to travel to Greece usually depends on what you are looking for from your trip.

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Greek islands like Mykonos and Santorini are probably the most famous destinations in Greece, but you have to be aware of the peak season and the shoulder season of these islands as they can be swamped with tourists during certain times of the year.

The best time to visit Greece is June or September, where you will get warm weather but fewer tourists, in general. This does not apply to Santorini and Mykonos islands however, as they are equally crowded even in June or September and it would be better to visit those islands in May or the end of September/early October to avoid the tourist crowds. All Covid-19 restrictions have now been lifted for Greece, and the tourist crowds have returned!

READ ALSO: 
Best Time to visit Santorini
Best Greek Islands for Older Couples
Best Greek Islands for Families
Best Greek Islands for Couples
Best Things to Do in Greece
Tipping in Greece: when and how much

vlychada beach white
Vlychada beach in Santorini will never feel crowded as it’s a massive beach with white sand.

VERY IMPORTANT TO KNOW:

  • Best Time to visit Greece for beaches and swimming in the sea: May to October (sea water will be warm enough)
  • Best Time to Visit Greece for Weather: the weather in Greece is at its best between June and October (temperatures between 20-35 degrees C and very minimal rain)
  • When is summer in Greece (read to find out)

  • Best Month to Visit Greece: May or October because the weather will be warm but you it will be less everywhere
  • Best Time to Visit Greece for Honeymoon: the best time for a honeymoon in Greece is June or September as the weather will be warm enough and the crowds won’t be that bad.
  • Best Time to Visit Mykonos and Santorini: the best time to visit Santorini and Mykonos islands is May, mid-June and mid-September or October. Both islands islands can get extremely crowded even in June or Septemnber the last years so you should probably avoid these months too.
  • Best Time for partying, buzz, crowds: July, August, early September (this is when all greek islands and mainland Greece are buzzling with people and tourists)
  • Avoid visiting Greece in August by all means: August is by far the worst time to visit Greece as it is the month where greeks actually go on holidays and it will be packed and super expensive everywhere
  • Most businesses, hotels, restaurants, cafes, bars on the greek islands close between and including November-March; this is considered the low season in Greece (or winter)

Weather in Greece

Here are the average temperatures in Athens Greece for the whole year:

Average temperatures per month for Athens, Greece (Data)

As you can see from the figure above, Greece has very mild weather compared to other European countries or even compared to North American weather.

The weather on the Greek islands can be very windy in the summer (July and mostly August) but this is something that cannot be predicted, so I am not going to give you any advice on that other than you should be prepared for it.

As a rule of thumb and according to my experience of having visited almost all greek islands the last 35 years, the only thing that can ruin your greek holidays is not the temperature or rain, but the strong winds that you may come across, which will prevent you from enjoying a day on the beach.

There are some greek islands that are notoriously windy (such as Andros or even some parts of Crete) but in general, you shouldn’t worry that much, and chances are that you won’t face any typhoons or storms (there is none of this in Greece by the way!).

Best Time to Visit Greece for swimming and beach life

koukounaria beach skiathos
Koukounaries beach in Skiathos island is one of the beaches in the world

Beaches in Greece are some of the best in the world, so beach life and swimming in the crystal waters of the Aegean sea or the Ionian sea makes absolute sense as the main target of your trip to Greece!

The best time of year to visit Greece for beaches and swimming is during the summer months of June, July, August, and September as this is when the sea waters will be hot and you will enjoy the most beach bars and clubs on every island (or even mainland Greece).

Best time to visit Greece for good weather

Elia beach in Mykonos is very well organized with lots of beach bars and sunbeds even in October!

The best time to visit Greece if you are looking for warm weather is any month between June and October.

The temperatures during these months are the highest of the year and they can actually be boiling (up to 42 degrees Celsius due to world climate change).

You should be very careful during that time because the sun can be very harmful if you are not protecting your skin properly or hydrating yourself regularly.

If you are not used to those temperatures or you want less hot weather then you should visit Greece in May or October because the weather is definitely less hot during these months.

santorini crowds
My general advice to everyone looking to visit Greece is to avoid August as it’s the most crowded month of the year This is Oia after sunset time in September.

You should also bear in mind that the weather during the winter (or low season) months from November till April can be very unpredictable.

You may get 25 degrees and sun or you may get 0 degrees and snow!

BUT as a rule of thumb, you should always have in mind that bad weather in Greece only lasts for a few days (3-5 days on average).

In fact, every time we have terrible weather in Greece with snow or colder temperatures…it’s on the news! 😊

Best Time to Visit Greece for Honeymoon

santorini honeymoon
A honeymoon in Greece can be an awesome experience as there are some fantastic hotels and literally thousands of romantic things you can do in Greece

A honeymoon in Greece can be an exceptional experience but I truly believe you are going to have the best time if you go to Greece in June.

June in Greece has awesome sunny and warm weather which is perfect for swimming in your private pool or in the sea.

The great thing about June in Greece though is that in general, the islands are less crowded and less expensive.

This does not apply to Santorini and Mykonos though as they are expensive any time of the year nowadays but you will definitely find fewer tourist crowds during those months.

When is summer in Greece?

Summer in Greece is the months of June, July, and August but you will also get sunny warm weather in May and in September.

For you to understand the temperatures in Greece bear in mind that April and May in Greece are like the hottest months you can get in major European cities such as Paris or London UK.

santorini beach
Greece has some of the best beaches and beach clubs in the world and beach life is one of the things you will enjoy the most during your trip if you are visiting any time between May and October.

June, July, and August can be very hot (taking into account the global climate change as well…) you may get temperatures of up to 43-44 degrees Celsius (110 Fahrenheit).

Weather in Greece in September

I keep on telling people who want to go to Greece that September is the best month to do so because the weather is not that hot and most of the places are not that crowded with tourists.

Weather in Greece in September is exceptional with temperatures up to 32 degrees Celsius. Here is the weather in Greece in September in a nutshell:

Some FAQ:

What is the best month to travel to Greece?

The best month of the year to travel to Greece and to the greek islands is June and September. This is usually called the shoulder season in Greece, while July and August is the peak season (or high season). During these 2 months, you will get warm summer weather (between 20-35 degrees Celsius or 70-95 degrees Fahrenheit) but you will also get fewer tourists and lower prices in general. The summer months in Greece are June, July, and August but most tourists and the large cruise ships go to Greece in July and August so these are the busiest and most expensive months. So, I would say that the best time to go to Greece is mid-June or mid-September where you will get warm weather but fewer tourists.

When should you avoid Greece?

You should definitely avoid visiting Greece during July and August as these are the busiest and also hottest months. You should also know that 99% of the Greeks go on holiday in August. If you want to visit any Greek island such as Santorini or Mykonos you should definitely avoid July and August and also possibly September as the last years September feels like August in these 2 islands.

What is the cheapest time to go to Greece?

The cheapest time to go to Greece is the low season (or winter) which is the months between November and March. You can also visit Greece in April or May but this is usually the time when the greek easter occurs and it’s usually the time when the Greeks go to the countryside or the islands they come from to celebrate Easter Sunday of the Greek Orthodox Easter. usually, the prices in hotels and Airbnb’s are slightly more expensive during that time. If money is an issue for you then I would recommend visiting Greece during the winter or at least visit in the should seasons of May-June and September-October.

How many days in Greece is enough?

You need at least 7 days in Greece but it really depends on your situation and if your visit is part of a longer visit in Europe. In theory, the absolute minimum number of days you need in Greece is 3 days. During these 3 days, you can spend 1 day in Athens and then head to one of the greek islands (make it Santorini if you can as it is the most impressive greek island). I do not generally recommend visiting Greece for such a short period of time as I am not a big fan of the tick-the-box holidays and I really like to spend some proper quality time anywhere but I also understand that everyone’s situation (and bank account…) is different so that’s my advice!

Which Greek island is the prettiest?

Well, if you ask a greek this question you will get a different answer! However, it is globally accepted that Santorini is the prettiest island of them all and there are excellent reasons to believe that in general. My personal opinion is that every greek island is an extremely pretty destination and you can definitely find beauty and amazing places on each one of these, even the less known ones.

CONCLUSION

The best time to visit Greece is definitely some time between the months of June and September.

All areas are usually less crowded in June but you will still get awesome warm weather and you should be able to go swimming and enjoy the sunny summer weather.

You should definitely avoid August as it is the most crowded month of the year and accommodation and restaurants can be very expensive during that time.

You should also bear in mind that most businesses (hotels, rooms, bars, restaurants, and shops) on the islands operate mostly between May and October.

The weather in Greece in September is awesome and it still feels like summer for the most part with sunny days and warm sea waters.

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AUTHOR
Pavlos Inglesis
Greek, born and raised in Athens. I have been to almost every greek island and pretty much in every region of mainland Greece. I have also been eating souvlaki and gyros since the 80s. I love being a dad to my 2 beautiful daughters and also taking great photos of the places I visit. This is my blog to help you out explore the places I have visited with my inside tips as a Greek, knowing the ins and outs of my country and culture. Feel free to ask any questions in the comments section under the post you are interested in and I wIll try my best to respond asap.

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4 thoughts on “Best Time to Visit Greece and the greek islands”

  1. Thanks for this! I’m planning a trip in late november, after reading your blog, I wondering if you think it’s still an advisable time to go since it’s going to be cold and rainy?

    Reply
    • You are definitely going to have a great time any time you visit Greece but unfortunately you won’t be able to enjoy the beach life in November. Almost 100% of the business by the beach close at the end of October and the sea will probably be too cold for most people in November.

      Reply
  2. Hi!!

    I wanted to know if you think I should visit in 1st week of April.. I am planning a trip for my birthday.. but I have received contradicting answers on google.. some say it is the worst some say it is good…will i get to enjoy the beaches in April? And is it lively in general during that time?

    Reply
    • Hi,
      The weather in early April won’t be summer perfect so you won’t be able to enjoy the beach life to be honest.
      It also really depends on the place that you will visit. If you are looking to visit the islands then they will definitely feel deserted but Santorini always has lots of tourists throughout the year but the beach side areas will be pretty much empty.Bear in mind that April is usually the month where the Greek Easter occurs which is a pretty big celebration for us in Greece and all the areas (including the islands) get livelier.
      So, if beach life and awesome weather is your main priority then 1st week of April is not the best time to visit Greece. You are most likely going to get good weather but it’s not for sure as March and April have relatively unstabel weather but you may also get sunny days with 20 degrees celsius. You can definitely swim in the beach if you dare to, but the water will be cold for most people (it also depends on your experience and what you think is cold and hot). The main thing though is that most businesses on the beach side areas on all islands (restaurants, hotels and beach bars) will be closed as they usually open towards the end of April and early May and then close at the end of October. If you are looking to visit Athens though, April is probably the best time for all the attractions as you will avoid the crowds of the summer and the very hot weather. Hope that helps!

      Reply

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