Best time to visit Greece

temperature & rainfall

Click on a Location: Crete | Athens
Ironically, the July/August 'high season' probably isn't the best time to visit Greece – think tourist throngs and unpleasant heat. June and September are nicely hot but with more chance to mix with locals – and visit historic sites with fewer crowds. For hiking, April-June plus September-November are ideal. Spring is wild flowers time, while autumn colour is augmented by harvests - from wine and olives to wild mushrooms. Winter days are often bright – with skiing in the mountains! April to October is sailing season – but note details of prevailing winds, such as the Ionian maistros.

When to visit Greece & when not to

a month by month guide

January and February aren’t terrible times of year to visit Greece and you’ll find much more space in and around the popular ancient ruins and archaeological sites of Athens, Crete and the Peloponnese.

Some of the local haunts really come alive in the winter and there’s many a good night out to be had on the mainland or even on the islands, if you’re brave enough to make the often choppy ferry journey.

March and April promise more of the same with some excellent conditions for walking across country tracks or heading to the sites and temples famed the world over.

However, be aware that Easter in Greece is big business and a great many towns and villages will either shut up shop or hike up prices in readiness for the religious hordes descending for family festivities.

May has been coined the best time to go to Greece thanks to the abundance of wildflowers to be found in the countryside and the warmth of the sun making it simply stunning for hikers and cyclists, although sea swimmers may want to wait just one more month before taking the plunge.

June, July and especially August can be really oppressive temperature wise and the searing heat makes walking and cycling pretty much off limits as do some of the Brits, Russians and Germans flocking to the well-publicised Greek party islands.

September and October are both the best time to go to Greece with warm conditions both at land and at sea promising a much more authentic representation of a Mediterranean island paradise as well as every chance of watching whales or sailing competitions.

November and December return the people of Greece to something resembling normality with the traditions of Christmas much less about materialism and much more about spiritualism than certain other European countries that we’ll leave unmentioned.

What happens when in Greece

Our recommendations

Chantel Kyriakopoulou-Beuvink from our supplier Natural Greece explains why she believes Easter is the best time to visit Greece – especially Crete:

“The celebration of Orthodox Easter (Pascha) in Crete lets you participate in magnificent festivities unchanged for centuries! Hear hymns while the scent of incense accompanies the Good Friday procession. Next day feel the eerie atmosphere at midnight when everyone holds candles, waiting for church bells announcing Christ’s resurrection. Next comes fireworks in the church square, followed by Easter eggs and eating “Margaritsa” soup! Celebrate like you have never done before, with traditional dance, music - and roasted lamb on the spit!”

Festivals & events in Greece

Our cultural pick from the Greece calendar

Did you know about...?

Athens and Epidaurus Festival (June-August)

Every summer, Greece celebrates its role as birthplace of Western theatre with performances at historic venues – most famously, the magnificent ancient theatre at Epidaurus but also the Odeon of Herodes Atticus on the Acropolis. It's a unique chance to see plays by Sophocles, Aeschylus, Aristophanes and Euripides staged where they were first performed 2,500 years ago.
Photo credits: [olive grove: Tan Yilmaz] [crete festival: Alex Griffioen] [theatre: Tilemahos Efthimiadis]
Written by Norman Miller
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