When is the best time to visit Greece?
June to August is peak tourist season in Greece. The weather is hot and sunny, perfect for beach activities and exploring the islands. However, this is when crowds are at their peak.
April to May and September to October offer milder temperatures and fewer crowds compared to the high season. The weather is still warm enough for beach activities. This is often considered the best time to visit Greece as you can enjoy pleasant weather while avoiding the peak crowds.
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Month-by-month guide for traveling in Greece
Visiting Greece in January - March
Greece during January to March is the winter season, and while it might not be the typical beach weather associated with the country, it offers its own unique experiences.
This time of year sees significantly fewer tourists, making it a great opportunity to explore attractions without crowds. It’s an excellent time for those who prefer a quieter, more local experience.
While there might not be as many outdoor festivals or events during this period, it’s a chance to engage in cultural experiences. Many museums, archaeological sites, and historical landmarks remain open, allowing visitors to explore Greece’s rich history and heritage without the crowds.
Overall, visiting Greece during January to March can offer a different perspective on the country. While beach activities might not be the focus, it’s a great time for cultural exploration, enjoying local traditions, and experiencing a quieter side of Greece with fewer tourists.
Events & Festivals
Carnival: Towards the end of February and the beginning of March, Greece celebrates Carnival season, known as “Apokries.” Cities like Patras, Xanthi, and Rethymno host lively Carnival celebrations with parades, parties, and masquerade balls.
Clean Monday (Kathara Deftera): This day marks the beginning of Lent and is celebrated with picnics, kite flying, and traditional foods, especially in the countryside and on the islands.
Visiting Greece in April - June
Greece from April to June is a delightful time to visit, offering pleasant weather and a range of activities.
April marks the beginning of spring in Greece, with temperatures gradually warming up. April can still have mild temperatures and occasional rainfall, especially early in the month. As the season progresses into May and June, the weather becomes warmer and more stable, with longer days and plenty of sunshine.
April to June is considered the shoulder season in Greece. While it’s not as crowded as the peak summer months, there might be more visitors compared to the winter months. This period allows you to explore popular attractions without dealing with the intense crowds of the summer season.
Spring is an excellent time for outdoor activities and exploring archaeological sites without the intense summer heat. It’s perfect for hiking, visiting ancient ruins, and enjoying the beautiful landscapes that come to life with blossoming flowers and greenery.
The islands start to come alive in April, preparing for the summer season. While some smaller islands might still be quieter, larger ones like Santorini, Mykonos, and Crete gradually start to see more activity in terms of restaurants, shops, and accommodations opening up.
Events & Festivals
Greek Orthodox Easter: If your visit coincides with Orthodox Easter (which often falls in April), you’ll experience vibrant celebrations with unique traditions. The festivities vary across regions but typically involve religious processions, feasting, and fireworks. Places like Corfu and Athens host elaborate celebrations.
Athens Epidaurus Festival: Held from May to July, this cultural festival features ancient Greek dramas, music, and theater performances at various venues, including the ancient theater of Epidaurus.
Rose Festival (Rhodes): In May, Rhodes hosts the Rose Festival, celebrating the blooming of the island’s roses with cultural events, parades, and music.
Visiting Greece in July - September
From July to September, Greece experiences its peak tourist season.
The weather in Greece during these months is hot and sunny, especially in July and August. Temperatures can soar, especially in the southern regions and islands, making it perfect for beach activities. The northern regions might experience slightly milder temperatures.
This period sees a massive influx of tourists, especially in popular destinations like Santorini, Mykonos, Athens, and Crete. Expect crowded beaches, popular attractions, and bustling cities. Booking accommodations and activities in advance is highly recommended.
July to September is prime time for enjoying Greece’s stunning beaches, crystal-clear waters, and water sports like snorkeling, diving, and sailing.
Events & Festivals
August Full Moon Festival: This festival celebrates the full moon in August with cultural events, music, and performances in various locations across the country.
Assumption of the Virgin Mary (August 15): This religious holiday is celebrated with feasting and festivities, particularly in villages and towns across Greece.
Music Festivals and Cultural Events: Various music festivals and cultural events take place during the summer months, featuring traditional Greek music, dance, and performances.
Visiting Greece in October - December
From October to December, Greece experiences a transition from the lingering warmth of late summer to the cooler temperatures of winter.
October can still have pleasant temperatures, especially early in the month, with mild weather ideal for exploring without the intense summer heat. However, as November progresses, temperatures begin to drop, particularly in northern Greece and mountainous areas. December marks the beginning of winter, with cooler temperatures and occasional rainfall, especially in the northern parts of the country.
October to December is outside the peak tourist season, so you’ll encounter fewer crowds at popular tourist sites and beaches. It’s an excellent time to explore historical sites and museums without the summertime crowds.
While some of the smaller islands might wind down as businesses close for the winter, larger islands like Crete and Rhodes tend to remain active with a local atmosphere. The weather on the islands can still be mild enough for exploration, although ferry schedules might be reduced.
The fall colors can be stunning, especially in places like the Peloponnese and parts of northern Greece. It’s a beautiful time for nature walks and hikes, although mountainous regions may be colder.
Festivals & Events
Ohi Day (October 28): This national holiday commemorates Greece’s refusal to surrender to Italy during World War II. Parades and ceremonies take place across the country.
Epidaurus Festival (October): This theater festival often extends into October, featuring ancient Greek dramas and performances in the ancient theater of Epidaurus.
Christmas (December 25): Christmas in Greece is a special time with unique traditions, including decorations, markets, and feasting. Cities like Athens and Thessaloniki are beautifully decorated, and you’ll find Christmas markets in many towns.
New Year’s Eve (December 31): Greeks celebrate New Year’s Eve with fireworks, parties, and gatherings. Athens and other major cities have lively celebrations.