What is the Best Time to Travel to Greece According to Weather?

Down in the Mediterranean, Greece is a place where history and hedonism live beside one another in essays of stone, sun, and sparkling azure. 

As a seasoned travel writer who’s explored the ancient ruins, lazed on the sunstruck beaches, and taken in the vibrant cultures of these fair isles, I can tell you this: The best months to head here aren’t just about an ideal climate. They’re about chancing upon that juncture of weather and Greek life that make it the traveller’s paradise. 

So let’s take a look at temperatures and tourist tides and try to figure out the best time to travel to Greece weather wise.

A Simple Guide to Greece’s Weather

Best time to travel to Greece weather: Santorini weather map

If you’re thinking of visiting Greece, getting to know the country’s weather will be key. The golden rule? Greece is pretty much your typical Mediterranean climate, so that means long, hot, and sunny summers, and mild, slightly rainy winters. But it’s a little bit more complicated than that – that weather can change quite a bit depending on where you are.

Greece’s landscape is pretty varied – it’s full of islands and some of the mainland is quite mountainous, so each region’s weather can be quite different. The islands in particular have really dry summers and relatively mild winters, which makes them perfect for a summer beach break, although the mountains have very different weather, and can get very cold in winter. You might even see some snow!

Best time to travel to Greece weather: White blanket of snow across Greece

The coastal resorts in Greece get really hot and sunny in the summertime and are really popular, but they get much quieter after summer ends and are lovely places to visit, with nice, gentle weather, all through the autumn.

Winter does bring cooler weather to Greece, and more rain – particularly in the mainland areas – but it’s not all bad. Cooler weather makes it much more comfortable to visit all the country’s historical ruins without the heat of the summer! 

Best time to travel to Greece weather: 
Two men snorkelling in the turquoise waters during the summer at Greece

Just make sure you time your trip so that you get the weather you’re looking for. With so many choices, the country’s climate really does have something for everyone – whether you fancy a warm sandy holiday in the sun, or a trip away from all the bustling summer crowds.

The Best Time to Travel to Greece Weather Wise

The best time to go to Greece weather wise may be different depending on what you’re looking for.

If you’re after the sweet spot for weather in Greece, aim for the shoulder seasons – those lovely months straddling the extremes of hot and cold. Specifically, we’re talking about April to June and September to October. During these times, Greece is at its most welcoming, weather-wise.

From April to June, the country shrugs off the mild chill of winter and explodes into warm, sunny days under clear blue skies. It’s warm, but not hot – perfect for exploring ancient ruins without the heavy mantle of the summer sun, or walking along a beach so you don’t even need to think of taking a cooling dip.

Best time to travel to Greece weather

Then there’s September and October, when Greece eases back from the searing summer heat. This is a beautiful season of warm days and cool, gentle evenings. The sea, still warm from the summer sun, allows for lingering swims and the milder temperatures mean outdoor adventures and sightseeing are a delight.

But the charms of the shoulder seasons aren’t just measured in comfortable temperatures. They may also bring a special kind of light, one that turns landscapes and ancient stones into things of soft beauty that’s both irresistible to photographers and impossibly romantic.

Picking these months isn’t just about a better chance of good weather. It gives you a less crowded, more genuinely local experience. So whether you’re lounging on the beaches of the islands or delving into the historic sites of the mainland, you know that your Greek adventure will be as comfortable as it is memorable.

The Best Time to Travel to Greece Islands

Dreaming of island-hopping in Greece is one thing; picking the right season to enjoy it is another. The isles, each with its distinct charm, are at their very best from late spring to early autumn – from May through to early October – when the weather is most agreeable for your maritime escapades.

Best time to travel to Greece weather

In May, the temperature quickly creeps up and the mercury rises to just the levels where it’s warm enough for lounging on beaches and engaging in water adventures, but not quite so hot as it gets in the mid-summer months. The sea warms up and for the first dips of the year, its temperature becomes just perfect. The islands burst into life and colour and the excited buzz of the impending tourist season can be felt everywhere!

From June to August, the weather turns even hotter, with these reaching their peak during this slice of the summer. They’re the months for those who adore the Mediterranean climate, and spend their days sunbathing, swimming, and engaged in a variety of water sports, such as snorkelling, scuba diving, kitesurfing, windsurfing, or water skiing. The islands are alive, vibrant, and energised, offering the quintessential Greek summer experience. But destinations do get more crowded in these months – and, as a result, prices are higher. Make of that what you will.

By the time late September rolls around, the heat begins to ease off. Nevertheless, the water stays warm – giving an extension of the summer feeling to visitors who prefer to go without the peak season crowds (which usually frequent the popular destinations during the summer months). September offers the best of both worlds – lively enough, with lots of sunshine, yet without the insufferably large crowd of tourists, so it can afford a more relaxed pace of travel.

Similar milder weather continues into October, as do lower prices and fewer tourists. There is a marginally higher chance of rain, but these occurrences often tend to be brief. This is also the month for those who prefer a more tranquil setting to enjoy the natural beauty and cultural heritage of the islands.

Choose wisely, and not only will you enjoy the very best weather that Greece has to offer during the time of your island-hopping adventure, you’ll also experience the islands themselves at their best.

Exploring Mainland Greece: Weather Insights and Optimal Visit Times

While the Greek islands often steal the limelight, mainland Greece offers a wealth of historical sites, breathtaking landscapes, and lively cities in its own right. Weather conditions play a key role when planning your visit here, and the best time mirrors that of the islands with a few mainland-specific details.

Best time to travel to Greece weather

Spring (April to June) and autumn (September to October) come out on top for the best time to visit mainland Greece. These are the months when the weather is pleasantly warm, letting you comfortably explore ancient ruins like Athens’ Acropolis and Meteora monasteries without the scorching heat of summer. The countryside is waking up with spring flowers or taking on the golden hues of autumn, providing a stunning backdrop to your adventures.

Summer (July and August) can be quite hot on the mainland, particularly in cities like Athens, where the temperatures soar. This makes sightseeing in the midday sun rather challenging. However, it’s also the time when Greece buzzes with energy, as festivals and cultural events bring the country alive and offer a good opportunity to join in with Greek life. Early morning or late afternoon explorations are best if you choose to visit during these months, allowing you to sightsee when it’s cooler.

Winter (November to March) on mainland Greece is much milder than northern European countries but still offers cooler temperatures, and it’s the rainy season for the north. While this isn’t peak season for tourist activities, winter is an excellent time to see a different side of Greece. The mountainous areas become gorgeous with snow, turning Greece’s countryside into a winter wonderland, and the cities are free of tourist crowds, making it a great time to stay in Athens or Thessaloniki and get a sense of urban local life. It’s also the time when accommodation prices drop and popular sites are delightfully free of crowds.

For the best time to visit mainland Greece, think about what you want. If you want weather that’s easy on the skin and lets you explore all day, the shoulder seasons of spring and autumn are for you. If you want the lively, life-loving pulse of Greek summer, pack your sunscreen and head to the mainland from July to August. And if you want a quieter, more introspective trip through the ancient streets and beautiful landscapes, the cooler, quieter winter months should be high on your list.

Seasonal Highlights and Festivities in Greece

Greece’s calendar is filled with seasonal highlights and festivities, each of which provides a vivid window into the country’s rich tapestry of culture and traditions. From Easter through to winter, every season unveils a new layer of celebrations that can add a unique flavour to your visit.

In spring, Easter is the standout event; the most significant of the Greek Orthodox Church. It’s an extraordinary sight: midnight masses, fireworks, and the heady aroma of lamb roasting on spits that fills the streets. The island of Corfu is famous for its Easter festivities, with processions, bands, and pot-throwing traditions.

Summer is peak season for festivals, which seem to multiply across the country every year, from its cities to its islands. The Athens and Epidaurus Festival (June- August) is a highlight – the city’s ancient venues welcome theatre, dance, and music performances, reviving the country’s artistic heritage in its most atmospheric settings. There is no better way to experience Greek drama, so book your tickets well before you travel!

Autumn brings the grape harvest and with it, the wine festivals. Islands such as Santorini and Crete lead the way, with wineries welcoming visitors for tastings, traditional music, and dancing among their grape vines. It’s an enchanting season for oenophiles to discover the burgeoning modern wine culture gaining strength amidst the age-old wine grounds.

Winter is quieter, but no less charming. It is an evocative time to travel, when the glow from urban Christmas lights and markets juxtapose with the unique winter customs of mountain villages and their evocative New Year’s rituals. From fires and feasting, to local folklore that comes alive in the winter air, these traditions add a touch of magic to the colder season.

Best time to travel to Greece weather

Weather-Ready Tips for Your Greek Getaway

Heading to Greece means basking in a land where the sun reigns supreme, especially during the summer. But don’t worry – here are a few tips to make sure you’re prepared for the Greek weather.

First things first – pack light, but pack smart. Summer days can be blistering, so breathable, light-coloured clothing will keep you nice and cool. Naturally, a sturdy hat and sunglasses are a must to shield against the relentless sun. For evenings or the cooler shoulder seasons, you may need a light jacket or wrap, as it can get chilly, particularly by the sea or in the mountains.

The Greek sun isn’t messing around, so hydration is non-negotiable for getting the most out of your explorations. Bring a handy water bottle and look out for the springs and fountains offering fresh drinking water in many of the villages and towns.

Get creative about sun protection. The standard higher-SPF sunscreen is essential, but keep in mind that dodging the sun between mid-morning and mid-afternoon is also key.

When it comes to your plans, be as flexible as they come. Weather – particularly during the off-season – can be unpredictable. Keep an eye on local forecasts and be ready to tweak your plans as needed. This may mean substituting in some museum visits for your trip to the shore, if that blanket of rain clouds looming in the distance doesn’t make itself scarce.

And perhaps most of all, don’t fight the local flow. Do like the Greeks do and take things very slowly through the heat of the day. Look a little closer and you’ll see that taking a siesta is not just a charming stereotype, but a rather wise tradition, resulting in a refreshed spirit and cooler night times, ideal for enjoying some after-hours revelry.

Final Thoughts: The Best Time to Travel to Greece Weather Wise

Have you visited Greece before? In your opinion, what’s the best time to travel to Greece weather wise? Let me know in the comments below.

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Safe travels! xo Alice


Alice Cooper is a British Travel Writer and Blogger based in Athens, Greece. She writes for numerous high profile travel publications across the globe - including Forbes Travel Guide, Matador Network, The Times of Israel and The Huffington Post.

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