Updated: November 14, 2017
- Santorini beach and swimming weather is best from June to September.
- Santorini sightseeing weather is best from March to June and September to November.
- High season in Santorini runs from late June until early September.
- Winter (late November to early March) is becoming much more popular. More hotels and restaurants are staying open every year to serve the growing off-season crowd.
When To Go To Santorini – Good Weather & Sightseeing
Summary: When is the best time to visit Santorini?
The best time to visit Santorini is between late April and early November when the weather is warm and there is little rain. For nightlife, swimming, and sunbathing visit in June, July, August, or September. For comfortable sightseeing March to June or September to November are best.
- Best Time for a Beach Holiday: The warmest weather in Santorini (and all the Greek islands) is between June and September when it’s sunny, hot, and the water is perfect for swimming. Water temperature heats throughout the summer months and is warmest in August and September. Swimming in early May and late October is usually possible but can’t be guaranteed.
- Best Time for Sightseeing: If you’re visiting Santorini for the sightseeing, views, wineries, and food then you don’t need hot temperatures just warm pleasant weather. So the months of late March, April, May, October, and November are great times for exploring the island. The weather is still warm by northern european standards though there can be some rain and warmer clothing should be packed.
- Best Time for Island Hopping: Santorini has a much longer travel season than the other Greek islands (because there’s more than just beaches here). That makes visiting in the quieter months (March, April, early May, late October, and November) a great option. But be aware other islands will be very quiet during these months so if you’re interested in seeing a few other islands it’s best to come between mid-May and mid-October.
- Best Time for Saving Money: Hotels are much cheaper in the low season (November to March) and shoulder season (April, May, and October) than in the summer months. Transportation, food, and tour prices tend not to vary much by season. If you want good weather but cheap hotels then late May, early June, late September, or early October are great times. There are no guarantees but the first three weeks of October can often surprise visitors with great weather.
- Santorini in Winter: Winter travel on Santorini is getting more popular every year. If you’re visiting from Northern Europe you’ll likely fine moderate weather with bright skies, a bit of rain, and some cloud cover. Perfect for walking, photographing, sightseeing, and exploring. Many people love visiting in the quieter months when you feel like you have that caldera or sunset view all to yourself. Do pack some warmer clothes (pants, a sweater, light rain jacket) but don’t be surprised if you’re wearing shorts for half your days here. In 2018 it’s expected that almost 150 hotels will be open year-round (there were only 20 or 30 open for the winter just 3 or 4 years ago). Plenty of restaurants are now open in the main towns of Fira and Oia and even a few bars (but no clubs, they close in October). Winter weather does seem warmer and sunnier than it did 10 years ago, but sill, be prepared for a bit of anything.
- 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 with the greatest frequency. 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. Tourists are many 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): Santorini is getting increasingly popular in the winter months. It can be a great time to see the sights and save money but weather-wise be prepared for anything. This is winter and that means grey skies, cool weather, and some rain are possible on any day. Many hotels and restaurants are closed but more are staying open each year as winter travel increases. Fira is the most practical place to stay in the off-season as it has the most open. Ferries and flights have limited schedules though there’ll be at least one ferry a day and several flights going to and from Athens.
Santorini Weather by Month
The best beach weather on Santorini is from June to September. July and August are the busiest months when hotels are full and restaurants are crowded. If you’re more interested in sightseeing, hiking, and great views then March, April, May, October and November are great months to visit.
- Santorini in January (10% Crowded): Damp, cold, and windy (by Santorini standards). January is the rainiest month and one of the coldest. The island is quiet with few tourists but local life hums along at a friendly pace. Many restaurants and hotels are closed but you will always be able to find something open in Oia and Fira. The beach towns are completely shutdown. (Average Max Temperature: 14°C. Average Rainfall: 42mm.)
- Santorini in February (10% Crowded): Much like January. February is Santorini’s coldest month. There is a little less rain than December and January (Average Max Temperature: 14°C. Average Rainfall: 35mm.)
- Santorini in March (30% Crowded): A noticeable change occurs in March from the previous 3 months. There is less rain, more sun, and warmer temperatures. This can be a nice time to visit for hikers and sightseers but visitors should pack for some rain and cool nights. By the end of March most hotels and restaurants are open. (Average Max Temperature: 16°C. Average Rainfall: 32mm.)
- Santorini in April (40% Crowded): A great month for hiking, sightseeing, and touring the wineries. On warm years it’s possible to have a few beach days at the end of the month. (Average Max Temperature: 19°C. Average Rainfall: 12mm.)
- Santorini in May (60% Crowded): There’s a big differences between early May (when cool overcast days can still be common) and late May (when the days are consistently sunny and warm). May is the month when the beach towns dust off the cob webs and open for business. (Average Max Temperature: 22°C. Average Rainfall: 7mm.)
- Santorini in June (75% Crowded): June is a hot sunny month and the start of beach season when tourists arrive in large numbers. (Average Max Temperature: 26°C. Average Rainfall: 0.3mm.)
- July Weather on Santorini (95% Crowded): Hot and sunny. Along with August July is the busiest month on Santorini. Book rooms at least 3 months in advance for July visits – 6 months in advance for luxury hotels. (Average Max Temperature: 27°C. Average Rainfall: 0.9mm.)
- Santorini in August (100% Crowded): Hot and sunny with occasional strong winds (called the meltemi) that can cancel ferries and catamarans. Book rooms at least 3 months in advance for August visits – 6 months in advance for luxury hotels. (Average Max Temperature: 27°C. Average Rainfall: 0.4mm.)
- Santorini in September (80% Crowded): Hot and sunny but cooling a little from August. The weather is similar to June but the water temperature is warmer as it heats over the summer months. Winds have died down. September is the best month to visit Santorini. Hotels are still very busy and can be fully booked months in advance. (Average Max Temperature: 25°C. Average Rainfall: 6mm.)
- Santorini in October (60% Crowded): October is much like May but the weather is moving in the opposite direction. There is often a large difference between early October (when days can be hot and sunny) and late October – when you can have some cool cloudy days and visits to the beach seem a distant memory. (Average Max Temperature: 22°C. Average Rainfall: 18mm.)
- Santorini in November (40% Crowded): The cool and cloudy days of winter arrive in November. Early November can still get warm days when a visit to the beach could be possible. Most luxury hotels are closed by late November. Oia and Fira stay moderately active until the final cruise ship of the season makes its visit (usually in late November). (Average Max Temperature: 18°C. Average Rainfall: 44mm.)
- Santorini in December (20% Crowded): Be prepared for cool, cloudy, and rainy, though there are often stretches of clear skies and sunny days. Fira is the hub of most activity during the winter as most other towns are shut down. Oia will have several hotels and at least a few restaurants and markets open. (Average Max Temperature: 15°C. Average Rainfall: 46mm.)
How long to spend on Santorini
You need 2 to 3 days minimum to get a feel for the island, see the top attractions, do a wine or boat tour, experience the sunset from a couple of different locations, and try some of the island’s great restaurants. You could easily fill a week with long walks, swimming and sunbathing, and more tours, restaurants, nightlife, and dancing. If you have more than a week in Greece then I’d encourage you to spend 7 days on Santorini and then travel to a different island. You’d likely experience more by seeing Naxos, Paros, Ios, Mykonos, Crete, or Rhodes than staying in Santorini for a second week.