visit greece

Best Time to Visit Greece and the Greek Islands

visit greece

If you’re seeking a destination brimming with breathtaking beauty, delectable cuisine, and countless attractions, consider planning your trip to visit Greece.

This jewel of the Mediterranean has been a hotspot for travelers for ages, and when you realize all that Greece and its surrounding islands have to offer, it’s easy to understand why.

But planning a trip to visit Greece and the Greek Islands can be a daunting task, especially if you don’t know where to start. 

That’s why we’ve put together this guide to help you get your ideal Greek vacation together so you can make every most of this spectacular destination.

When is the best time to visit Greece for Events? From religious holidays to cultural festivals, there are plenty of events worth attending throughout the year. 

Spring Events Greek Orthodox Easter is the most important holiday in the Greek calendar by far.

Best Time to Travel to Greece

Visit Greece 

visit greece

Greece Travel Guide:

The Updated Pocket Guide

The fact of the matter is that there’s really no bad time to travel to Greece, but picking the best time for you depends on what your goal is out of the trip. 

Some travelers are looking to enjoy those hot Mediterranean summer temperatures, while others may be after the most affordable times to travel or simply fewer crowds to get in the way of seeing the sights. 

So, let’s take a look at some of the factors you should consider when planning your trip to Greece!

Great weather: Thanks to it’s location right on the Mediterranean Sea, the temperature in Greece is almost always ideal year-round. 

Mediterranean Places to Visit

Average temperatures rarely dip below 50 degrees Fahrenheit in the winter, and rarely get above the mid-80s in the summer. 

If beach-going is in your plans, then you’ll probably want to plan to visit in the summer, especially June or July.

If seeing all the historic sites or simply enjoying the divine Greek food is the biggest part of your itinerary, then you’ll probably enjoy spring, fall, or even winter just as much.

There’s no bad time to visit Greece.

However, if you’re after warm weather, plan a trip in later spring or early fall (April through June or September through October). 

In May, the average temperature in Athens , the nation’s capital, ranges from a high of 74.8 degrees Fahrenheit to an average low of 61.5 degrees. 

In June, things warm up a touch — to an average high of 82

Greece Weather

Other visitors: Unsurprisingly, because of the gorgeous spring and summer weather, the months from May to August tend to be the most crowded in Greece and the Greek islands.

In fact, Greece regularly reports the highest numbers of tourism in August, so if big crowds aren’t your thing, this is probably the month to avoid. 

Part of the reason for the spike in crowds is that August is when the natives take their own vacations to other parts of the country, leading to packed accommodations, attractions, and restaurants.

Additionally, everything is likely to be a lot more expensive during this peak month.

If you’re looking to avoid huge crowds, don’t have plans to be a major beach bum during your trip, and want to save as much money as possible, definitely consider visiting Greece during the late fall, winter, and early spring months. 

How’s The Weather?

The cooler weather and people’s regular responsibilities means that the crowds are much thinner this time of year, making it easier for you to visit important places around the country. 

Be aware, however, that November to March is considered the off-peak season, meaning many hotels, restaurants, and other venues may close during this time.

If you plan to travel to Greece at this time of year, be sure to do plenty of research to ensure the places you want to stay and visit will be open and available. 

This is also the cheapest time to visit Greece in this low season.

The weather in Greece starts to get a little better in March, especially as you travel further south. 

Temperatures can reach up to 70°F on the islands, warm enough for some time at the beach and comfortable exploration. 

Plus, the tourist crowds haven’t arrived yet, so you’re able to enjoy some island serenity, uninterrupted.

Save Money

Saving money: Like the thinner crowds, you’ll enjoy much lower prices.

If you plan on traveling to mainland Greece or the Greek islands either in the off-peak season or during shoulder season, which are the few months right in between peak and off-peak seasons

(March-April in the spring, and September-October in the fall). 

The flight comparison site Priceline actually found that the cheapest flights to Greece tend to be available in September, October, and November.

This is great because it may be as much as 18% less expensive than the average yearly price.

You’ll also find affordable deals in the spring, but be aware that Greek Orthodox Easter is a big holiday time for native Greeks, and it usually occurs in April or May. 

During this time, many Greeks may return to their home cities or islands from elsewhere in the country where they now live.

Therefore hotels and vacation rentals tend to be a little more expensive (although still not as expensive as the peak travel time in August).

Related: When to visit Hawaii?

Picking the Right Time for the Greek Islands

Like mainland Greece, your visit to the Greek islands is primarily going to be based on what you hope to get out of the trip. 

The vast majority of island-hoppers are looking for weather that will make it pleasant to visit the beaches.

Which means that the time between late spring and early fall is generally considered the best time for Greek island hopping.

During the summer in particular, not only is the weather on most Greek islands warm and dry, but the waters of the Aegean Sea are also quite warm, with an average of 77 degrees Fahrenheit. 

Things to knows

In July, islands like Santorini often only get one day of rain, meaning you should be able to enjoy plenty of sunshine.

Santorini and Mykonos are generally considered the most popular of the Greek islands, and the most popular destinations in the entire country. 

While both islands are lushly gorgeous and worth a visit, be aware that because they are so popular, they are pretty much always crowded, and much more expensive than some of the other islands. 

If you want to get the island experience and save some money, consider visiting some of the lesser known Greek islands such as Corfu, Kos, or Symi.

Again, the best time to visit depends on what you’re after, but generally speaking, for the most delightful weather, plan a trip to the Greek islands in the late spring, early summer, or beginning of fall.

 Yes, you can visit in midsummer, but be warned, temperatures can get hot.

Where to Go: Greek Islands, Corfu, Syros Festivals & Events: The River Party, Festival of the Aegean, Athens Festival, Sani Festival Hello July and hello hot weather, tourists, and umbrella-lined beaches!

Greece in July is when summer is on the cusp of its hottest, with steamy days, warm water, and not a cloud in sight. 

Visit Mykonos

Mykonos

Visit Greece: What to Enjoy on Mainland?

If island hopping isn’t really your vibe, the equally ancient and modern cities of mainland Greece may be just what you’re looking for. 

Greece’s two largest cities are Athens and Thessaloniki, and both cities have lots to offer every traveler.

Picking the right time to travel to either of these cities may be a little different then when you’re planning a trip to the islands or the more coastal areas. 

Like the islands, Greek cities like Athens and Thessaloniki are going to be crowded in the peak summer season, especially at major cultural attractions like the Acropolis. 

These cities also tend to get very hot and humid; Thessaloniki is known for being so humid in the summer that there are large public fans around the city to help circulate the air.

If you want to take advantage of smaller crowds in these cities, plan to visit in the late fall or winter, or at least during the shoulder season months like October or May. 

Consider a visit to Athens

Also, unlike the islands, August is actually an ideal time to visit Athens, as many Athenian residents leave the city during that month for their own summer holidays. 

In these off- peak times, you may find you have many of the beautiful cultural sites and attractions completely to yourself!

Another benefit of visiting mainland Greek cities in the off-peak season, especially during the winter, is that they don’t shut down like many of the island towns do.

These are major world cities where people live and work every day, unlike small island towns that mainly run on tourism, so you’re less likely to run into problems booking a place to stay or finding places to eat and shop.

Athens is a good year round destination. 

Moderate weather and fewer tourists makes winter a great time for seeing the real Athens. 

Summer is hot but the skies are always blue, there’s almost no rain, and bars and restaurants fill the sidewalks with tables and chairs.

Peak Season for Events in Greece

As we’ve discussed, culture is one of the best reasons to visit Greece and the Greek islands, and you will find no shortage of cultural events throughout the year, which may also play a role in helping you plan your trip.

With a predominantly Greek Orthodox population, the Easter season is a huge time of year in Greece, and there are lots of celebrations and traditions that you can observe and participate in. 

Festivities typically begin about a week prior to Greek OrthodoxEaster, and may include events like candlelit processions, fireworks, and lamb roasts.

If learning about these traditions interests you, the spring season may be an ideal time to visit Greece.

Summer visitors can take advantage not only of the beautiful weather, but a wealth of music and arts festivals around the country. 

One of the most well-known is the Athens and Epidaurus Festival, which takes place at various historical theaters and other sites around the city from June to August. 

August also includes the Full Moon Festival in Athens, which among other events, allows you free access to museums and ancient sites.

Visit Greece: Fall Season

In the fall and winter, there are plenty of things to do as well. 

Thessaloniki hosts an International Film Festival during the first part of November each year, and holiday celebrations around the end of the year mean you can enjoy seeing festive lights and fireworks shows.

If you’re visiting Greece in May, you can’t miss the Salsa Spring Festival in Korinthia.

It’s one of the top events of the year for dance in Europe, drawing in locals and foreigners alike. 

There are dance classes, performances, and lots of lively fun so don’t miss out if you’re in Greece during that time!

Also in May is the Athens Jazz Festival which lasts five days.

Athens Jazz Festival 

Speaking of musical performances, August is the best time to visit Greece for concerts and live shows. 

There’s the Chania Rock Festival in Crete, the Houdetsi Music Festival , and the International Music Festival of Aegina , just to name a few, all of which feature musical acts from Greece and beyond.

There’s also Navy Week held in late June, where you can catch historical reenactments around port cities and along the coast.

 If you’re in Crete, you’ll find there’s a huge celebration for Navy Week with lots of boating, splashing around.

Plan Your Trip to Greece Today

As you can see, there are lots of things to consider when it comes to planning the perfect trip to Greece.

No two visitors are alike, and thankfully, this vibrant, beautiful country offers something for everyone. 

Whether you’re most interested in history and culture, art, food, music and theater, or seaside living, there is plenty in Greece and the Greek Islands to entice any traveler.

Greek Islands

Consider everything we’ve discussed in this guide to decide what the most important things when you visit Greece..

And like traveling to any other destination, plan smart: subscribe to flight deal finders to get great prices sent right to your inbox. 

Browse flight comparison sites like Priceline and Wayaway.  

Make sure that the hotels or vacation rentals where you want to stay during your trip will be open and have availability at the time that you will be there. 

Greece Rentals

Check the weather and prepare for whatever it might be, from the clothes you pack to the activities you plan.

Greece Travel Advisory: Stay Up To Date

Whether you are visiting Greece and the Greek islands on your own, with a group of friends, or with your family, it is sure to be a life-enriching experience that you will remember for a lifetime. 

With the advice in this guide, you can get the most out of your trip and make it one you won’t ever forget!


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