The Best Time to Visit Greece

Updated: November 30, 2016

Best Months to Visit Greece

  • Best Time to Visit Mykonos: July and August for nightlife, September for beaches
  • Best Time to Visit Santorini: May, June, September, October
  • Best Time to Visit Crete: June and September
  • Best Time to Visit Corfu: July and September
  • Best Time to Visit Rhodes: June and September
  • Best Time to Visit Naxos: July and August
  • Best Time to Visit Paros: July and August
  • Best Time to Visit Ios: July and August
  • Best Time to Visit Athens: May and October
  • Best Time to Visit Peloponnese: June and September

When is the best time to visit the Greek Islands for sightseeing and beaches?

Q. When is the best time to visit Greece and the Greek Islands?

  • Best Time in Greece for Great Weather: The warmest weather in Greece and the Greek islands is between late May and early October when it’s sunny, warm, and the water is good for swimming. Water temperature increases throughout the summer months. Water can be cool for swimming in late May and June. It’s warmest in August and early September. Swimming in early May and late October is often possible but can’t be guaranteed.
  • Best Time in Greece for a Beach Holiday: If you want guaranteed great weather for swimming, suntanning, and spending time at the beach then June, July, August, and September are have great weather.
  • Best Time for Sightseeing: If you’re visiting Greece more for the sightseeing, history, wine, food, views, and landscape then you don’t need hot weather just warm pleasant weather. So the months of April, May, October, and early November are great times for touring the sights. The weather is still warm by northern european standards though there can be rain and some warmer clothing should be packed. June through September is also good for sightseeing just be prepared for hot days and lots of sun.
  • Best Time for Saving Money: Hotels are much cheaper in the low season (December to March) and shoulder season (April, May, October and November) than in the summer months. Transportation, food, and drink prices tend not to stay the same all year long so there’s little savings in that regard. If you want good weather but cheap hotels then late May, early June, late September, and early October are the great times. There are no guarantees but the first three weeks of October can often surprise visitors with great weather.
  • Best Time for Nightlife and Parties – Mykonos, Paros, Ios, and Santorini have the best nightlife and if you’re looking to party, dance, and listen to live DJs then July and August are the main months. On Mykonos late June and early September are also good. On Santorini there’s good nightlife from late May until early October.
  • Best Time for a Honeymoon in Greece – If you want a beach holiday then June to September is best. If you’re more interested in quiet, solitude, sightseeing, and romance then anytime from late April to early November would be great.
  • High Season (late June to early September): Hot, sunny weather with lots of people – but never so many that it’s unenjoyable. Prices are at their peak. Sea water at its warmest and best for swimming. Ferries and flights run often and most routes have multiple ferries per day. If you’re in Greece for the nightlife then this is the time to visit.
  • Shoulder Season (May and June, September and October): Great weather. Sunny and warm but not blazingly hot like the summer. Many tourists but it’s never crowded. Everything is open and ferries are running nearly all of their routes. The sea might not be warm enough for swimming in May and October.
  • Low Season (November to April): This is winter and that means gray skies, cool weather, and rain. Few hotels and restaurants are operating on the islands (but enough to get by). Ferries and flights have very limited schedules to the islands. In Athens everything is open and busy year round.

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18 Questions and Comments

  1. Honeymoon in Greece in March

    Hi Dave, really great and helpful your blog! I´m planning my honeymoon in Athens, Mykonos and Santorini, between March 18th and March 26th. We´re not looking forward to beach weather, but is it nice for sightseeing? Or is it likely to be rainy or cloudy? Thanks a lot!
    Paula

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave The Guide to Greece

      Certainly be prepared for a little rain but you’ll likely get good sightseeing weather in Athens and Santorini. Mykonos doesn’t have a lot to see/experience outside of warm months so I would recommend Naxos instead.

  2. Paros or Naxos in August

    Dear Santorini Dave,
    After reading all of your many responses, I have to agree with all of the compliments going your way. Your advice is so relevant and tailored. Thanks in advance for helping me with my dilemma.

    My wife and I are celebrating her 40th birthday. we are spending a day/night in Athens and then 4 nights/5 days in Santorini. I wanted to add one more island to our itinerary before heading back to Athens and on to home.

    My original plan was to go to Crete for 2 days/nights. However, after reading your site, I have to admit it is not enough time to do it justice.

    We want to minimize ferry/airport/getting to hotel time as much as possible and so that led me the other direction to Naxos or Paros.

    Ideally, the location would give a good cultural taste of Greece, be scenic, not require hiring a car, have good food/drink, be somewhat romantic and have some nightlife (we won’t be up all night dancing, but do like to go out). Nice beaches are a plus, but subordinate to great local experience.

    My original thought was Naxos, because it looked like we could take a ferry, settle in in a nearby place (e.g. nissaki) and walk to either town or beach. The portal was also an added plus. The only thing that put me off a little was a lot of the area seemed family friendly (and while I love kids – I have three youngish ones), we are traveling to be around adults. Not sure if you can weigh in on whether we will feel like we are having a romantic time if we stay in Naxos, but I’d appreciate your insight.

    If we stay in Paros, my concern was it seemed a little less likely that we could get a compact experience, where we stay in a nice hotel (e.g. lily residence or astir of Paros), but still we walkable to town or water.

    Our ideal would be waking up, hanging out pool or beachside, then walking in town and eating/drinking our way through different tavernas and restaurants, maybe heading back to beach or pool and then out again for dinner / nightlife. A short day trip is fine by bus or taxi, but would given the short time, that would be limited.

    We are going in the first week of August next year so it will be right in the middle of busy season. Budget is not a constraint in terms of 2 days for the hotel.

    Thank you for any advice on whether Naxos or Paros is best for us. Also, please confirm if it will be fairly easy to book a flight to Athens from either island.

    Ryan

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave The Guide to Greece

      Yes, Naxos Town and beach are very family friendly with lots of kids but I would be surprised if you found it overrun with children and couldn’t enjoy it as two adults. That said, Naoussa (on Paros) is more sophisticated with night clubs and trendy restaurants and definitely has a more adult feel (though you’ll still see plenty of kids). The beaches near Naoussa are not as nice as the beaches near Naxos Town but they’re still nice for a swim – for a sunbathing scene you’d probably need a rental car on Paros. And also, Naoussa is a bus/taxi/car ride from the port of Paros. In sum, the vibe of Naoussa is more of what you’re looking for, but Naxos is more convenient. Both are great. Flights from both islands to Athens are easy to get but do book them well in advance.

  3. Athens and Santorini in April

    Hi Dave,
    Awesome website.
    We are a family of 5 (kids ages 12,8,4). We are considering a trip 1st week of April for 8 days. We’d like to see some historic sites in Athens as well as visit Santorini. We are considering flying between Athens and Santorini. Would adding Mykonos be too hectic? What split in days you recommend? What sites in/near Athens do you recommend? Would we need to rent a car or local transport would be good?
    Thanks
    Lakshmi

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave The Guide to Greece

      There are direct ferries between Santorini and Mykonos in April so it wouldn’t be hard at all to add Mykonos. That said, it’s not beach time yet in April so Mykonos won’t have a lot to do for a family. Naxos or Paros are better off-season choices. Renting a car on all the islands is a good way to see more, so yes I would recommend that. In Athens the Acropolis, Acropolis Museum, the historical sites in the Plaka, and the National Archaeological Museum are the highlights. Since it’s off-season I would do 3 days in Santorini, 3 days in Athens, and 2 days in Mykonos, Naxos, or Paros.

  4. Athens and Greek Islands in April

    Hi Dave,
    I’m glad I found your site. I’m planning a trip to Greece with my husband, 6 year old and 17 year old in mid April. Maybe 10th-18th. Hubby and teen are history and Greek mythology lovers. With 7 or 8 nights I’m thinking 2 locations. Athens and Santorini? Naxos sounds nice too. Do we need 3 nights in Athens for the sites or 4 nights? If we pick 1 island which one should it be? Looking for nice scenery, village culture, good food. I’m assuming weather would be similar on both islands. The 16th is Easter in case that changes anything. Also any advice on whether to explore Athens first or fly to an island first? thanks so much!
    Cynthia

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave The Guide to Greece

      3 nights (2 full days) should be enough for Athens but if you’re really keen on history then you could easily fill 3 days. If you can only visit one island then Santorini is definitely the highlight – especially in April when it’s not beach weather (Santorini’s views are great year-round). Travel during Easter week will be busy and you should book ferries in advance even though it is low season. If you’re ferrying to and from the islands then do Athens at the end of your trip (just in case ferries are cancelled you’ll have a few days to play with to get back to Athens for your flight home). If you’re flying it doesn’t really matter.

  5. Booking Best Ferry from Mykonos to Santorini for 2017

    Hi Dave – per your recommendation, I’m trying to buy ferry tickets from Mykonos to Santorini for July on the Hellenic highspeed 4, which you say is the best for people who are prone to sea sickness. I went to hellenicseaways.gr but can’t figure out which one is highspeed 4. Do you know the exact times?
    I would also like to check your 2nd recommendation on terajet, but again – do you know exact times?
    Thanks so much! your website has made my planning effortless.

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave The Guide to Greece

      Hellenic has 2 ferries running between Mykonos and Santorini this summer. The Hellenic Highspeed which leaves Mykonos at 10:15. And the Highspeed 7 which leaves Mykonos at 13:50. Both are good for stability and seasickness. Both take about 3 hours and cost the same. (I would probably take the earlier one, that way if it’s cancelled you have a second shot with the afternoon ferry).

  6. Honeymoon on South Coast of Crete

    Hi Dave. I’ll be in Crete in May also on honeymoon, where would you recommend on the south of the island?
    Thanks,
    Marie Finn

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave The Guide to Greece

      Southern Crete covers a lot of territory and you’ve not really hinted at want you want to do or what kind of traveller you are. So here are a few tips for places that offer a mixture of creature comfort, beach, places to eat and offer accessibility.

      Over on the far eastern side of Crete is the cosy little town of Ierapetra, nestled in among some of the richest agricultural territory in Crete. It wears its tourism monicker shyly, but needn’t fear as it is a very likeable town with a busy central promenade and a selection of fine seaside cafés and restaurants. The beach scene in the town centre – heading on out to the fortress – is actually pretty amenable and the water swimmable. You could hang around in Ierapetra for a few days and may move a little further west (15kms) and spend a few more days at a friendly and equally cosy seaside village called Myrtos. You could easily spot a relaxing week of your honeymoon in these two centres.

      Considerably further west and in the middle section of the southern coast is the less-shy former hippy resort of Matala which wears its monicker rather retro-proudly. It has all the attractions of a holiday resort: sand, sun, ouzo-laced sunsets and plenty of places to stay. It was very trendy back in the 60s and 70s and still maintains its air of now post-hippy happiness, though people no longer make a home in the troglodyte-like caves that back the rather languid bay-wrapped beach. Better know the the other places and a bit more up-market.

      On a similar note you have two more sizeable seaside villages of similar atmosphere that you may care to investigate. The first is Plakias (further west yet from Matala – 72kms) and while it never garnered a hippy heritage, it has stood the test of time as a popular traveller haunt, with yet enough creature comforts to make a honeymoon here an attractive option. Fine enough beach, the odd revved-up bar, good places to eat and a range of budget to honeymoon quality accommodation.

      Keep going west and you will hit Paleochora (158kms from Plakias via a very circuitous route) the last of the four suggested locales for your honeymoon. Similar to the former, though a bit larger in size and offering two types of beaches to choose from (pebble and sand). Again it’s a ‘cozy’ village (for want of a better word) and similar in style to the previous two.

      The south coast is not as well connected as the North coast inasmuch as there is no straight and direct road across the southern flank of the island. You will need to duck and weave and in the case of the Plakias to Paleochora stretch there is not even a road: transport here is by coastal ferry (or you have to go drive all the way to the north coast and then back down another road). A week is not a lot of time, so you may want to limit yourself geographically to one of the four places mentioned. Best tip for honeymooners? Try Matala!

  7. Is Santorini Worth Visiting in March?

    Hi Dave,
    I will be in Greece from the 22nd to 29th March 2017 and was planning to visit Santorini and Athens. From what I’ve read from your blog so far (which has been super helpful so thankyou!) this is low low season and a lot less will be open and available on the islands. Is Santorini still worth a trip in late March for two 20-something girls looking to sight-see, explore, eat good food and a bit of partying? Not overly fussed about swimming.
    Thanks,
    Saskia

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave The Guide to Greece

      Yes, I think Santorini is nice in March and your best choice for what you’re looking for. No island has a robust nightlife in March but Santorini has the most and you should be able to find some fun in Fira (though nothing too crazy). Sightseeing is good in March.

  8. Which Greek Island in March

    We, my husband and 2 college age daughters, are planning a trip in March(11-19th). We were hoping that we could plan on sun. Probably too cold to swim in the ocean, but sit by a pool and swim a little would be nice. We like scenery, food, a little slower pace than the big cities. After reading your info on Santorini I was sold, but I feel like I should plan on going to Crete to get better weather. We plan to fly in/out of Athens so I think both islands is too rushed. Santorini sounds great, but after landslides due to persistent rain on our last trip to Scotland, I’m trying to get the least clouds and rain possible but still great scenery. I need a compromise and hope you can help. Honeymoon atmosphere not needed, nor wild party scene. Can you help direct me? Great site! Thanks, Carla

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave The Guide to Greece

      I agree, Crete is great and should have nice-ish weather in mid-March but probably won’t be swimming as most pools are not heated. Chania is the highlight of Crete and has year-round population and visitors so will have some life to it even in March. Knossos (near Heraklion) is one of the top historical sites in Greece and worth a visit.

  9. Beach Holiday in Early May – Best Place to Go?

    We are planning a visit to Greece in early May. Where would you recommend to get the best and hottest weather for beach time? I know it’s early season but need to know where the best chance of good weather is.

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave The Guide to Greece

      Crete is the farthest south and gets the warmest weather early in the season (and late too). And within Crete, the south coast, usually gets warm weather a little before the rest of the island. Not a huge difference but enough to notice.

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