Greece › Best Time To Visit
by Santorini Dave • Updated: March 23, 2023
• Where to Stay in Athens
• Where to Stay in Santorini
• Where to Stay in Mykonos
• Where to Stay in Naxos
• Where to Stay in Paros
• Where to Stay in Crete
• Where to Go in Greece
When’s the Best Time To Visit Greece and the Greek Islands?
The best weather in Greece is from late April to early November when there is lots of sunshine and little rain. The best months for swimming and sunbathing on the Greek Islands is from late May to early October. July and August are the busiest and most expensive months but are also the best for nightlife and beach parties. March to November is great for sightseeing (though July and August can be very hot when touring exposed historical sites, especially in Athens).
May and June:
During May and June, Greece experiences spring, with mild to warm temperatures, blooming flowers, and lush landscapes. The weather is typically sunny, with occasional rain showers. This period is perfect for sightseeing, exploring archaeological sites, and enjoying outdoor activities like hiking and cycling. The islands and beaches are less crowded compared to the peak summer months, making it an ideal time for a more relaxed vacation. Accommodation prices are also more moderate.
July and August:
July and August (along with late June and early September) are the peak tourist season in Greece, with hot temperatures, sunny days, and large crowds at popular destinations. The islands, beaches, and coastal areas are bustling during this time, and accommodation prices are higher. While it’s a great time for beach vacations, it can be overwhelming for those interested in sightseeing or looking for a more tranquil experience.
September and October:
September and October have warm temperatures, fewer crowds, and more affordable accommodations. The sea remains warm for swimming, and the weather is generally sunny and dry. This period is ideal for exploring the islands, visiting historical sites, and taking in the outdoors.
The Best Months to Visit Greece
- Best Time to Visit Mykonos: June to September
- Best Time to Visit Santorini: April, May, June, September, October, early November
- Best Time to Visit Crete: June and September
- Best Time to Visit Rhodes: June and September
- Best Time to Visit Naxos: June to September
- Best Time to Visit Paros: June to September
- Best Time to Visit Ios: July and August
- Best Time to Visit Athens: April, May, October, and November
- Best Time to Visit Corfu: June, July and September
- Best Time to Visit Nafplio & Peloponnese: June and September
Best Months for Greece and the Greek Islands?
- Best Time to Visit the Greek Islands: The Greek islands are at their best from late May to early October for swimming, suntanning, and beach weather; and from April to early November for sightseeing, hiking, and exploring. A good travel itinerary for Greece should consider the weather patterns of the Greek islands.
- Best Time to Visit Athens: 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. Spring and Fall are the best of both worlds: good weather, smaller crowds, and a fun active atmosphere.
- Best Time to Visit Greece for Good 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. The sea will be cool for swimming in May (even though the weather can be beautiful). The water is warmest in August and early September. Swimming in early May and late October is often possible but can’t be guaranteed.
- Best Time for Greek Beaches: If you hope to enjoy hanging out on the best beaches in Greece and swimming in the sea, the best time to go to Greece is June, July, August, and September.
- Best Time for Sightseeing: The best time for sightseeing in Greece is generally April through about mid-May, or October and into early November, when there will be fewer tourists to interrupt the views and the weather is frequently quite mild; perfect for walking, but usually a bit too cool for swimming at the beach (with the exception of early October).
- Best Time For Mountain Hiking: April and May are wonderful months for hiking in the mountains, with the green landscape blanketed with colorful wildflowers and the weather often ideal for the trek. October is another good time, when summer’s sizzling temperatures begin to cool and the autumn foliage is at its peak, transforming the mountains with the vibrant hues of fall.
- 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 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 April to early November would be great.
- Is August a Good Time to go to Greece?: One of the most common questions I get relates to traveling in Greece in August. If you want nightlife, packed bars, and live DJs then this is the best time to visit Mykonos (and Ios, Santorini, and Rhodes to a lesser extent). Yes, August is busy but even at the peak of the tourist season on the busiest islands, if you want to escape the crowds it’s usually a short walk or bus ride to some very quiet and tourist-free spots.
Greek Travel Guides
- Athens Travel Guide
- Crete Travel Guide
- Mykonos Travel Guide
- Naxos Travel Guide
- Paros Travel Guide
- Santorini Travel Guide
- Greece Travel Guide
Greece Weather by Month
Greece Events and Festivals
Greece in January
- New Year’s Day/Saint Basil’s Day – January 1 is a national holiday, celebrating both New Year’s Day and Saint Basil’s Day in Greece. Saint Basil is the Greek equivalent of Santa Claus, therefore the day is similar to Christmas Day in North America, with gift giving. A special cake is often made with a coin in it as well, known as vasilopita, and whomever gets the piece with the coin is said to have good luck. The day in general is considered a lucky time, and there are often card games that go on for hours, mostly at home, but also in coffee shops and clubs.
- Ephiphany – Epiphany is celebrated on January 6th in many places throughout Europe, including Greece, a time when the Blessing of the Waters takes place. A cross is tossed into a lake, river or the sea, and retrieved by swimmers who get good luck in return. There is usually a ceremony, and it’s particularly elaborate in the port of Piraeus.
- Patras Carnival – The Patras Carnival is the biggest festival of the year in Greece, and one of the largest in Europe too. Purely of Italian origin, it includes elaborate festivities with parades, street music, dancing, balls, treasure hunts, and more. It begins in mid-January and runs through mid-February every year.
Greece in February
- Carnival – In addition to the Patras Carnival, other Carnivals are hosted through Greece, mostly in February, typically three weeks before the beginning of Lent. Some of the best festivities can be enjoyed in Athens, Skyros, Chios, Lamia, Crete, Heraklion, Zante, and Naousa. Except to find lots of drinking and feasting, costumes, parades, dancing, marching bands, and more.
- Clean Monday – One of the most important feasts throughout Greece, Clean Monday takes places on the first day of the seventh week before Easter Sunday, also marking the end of the Carnival celebrations. A public holiday, it includes outdoor excursions, consuming shellfish, and often building and flying kites.
Greece in March
- Independence Day and the Feast of the Annunciation – These two holidays are celebrated simultaneously on March 25. The streets fill with all sorts of festivities and parades. Due to the holiday, some sites may be closed and streets are sometimes blocked as well.
Greece in April
- Holy Week and Easter – Holy Week is celebrated from Palm Sunday to Easter Sunday, sometimes falling in late March, but most often it’s in April. In 2022, April 24 is Easter Sunday, and Holy Week is April 17 through April 23. For Greeks, Easter is the biggest religious holiday of the year. During Holy Week, many shops have special hours and there are church services every evening. Just before midnight on Saturday, many Greeks gather at church with Easter candles, and just before midnight the lights are switched off, representing Jesus’ death, just before the priest announces that “Christ Has Risen.” That’s followed by kisses, cheering and fireworks. On Easter, friends and family gather for a big feast.
- Athens International Film and Video Festival – This festival in Athens brings some 250 films and video and includes experimental, narrative, short-form, feature length, and documentary films from around the world.
- The Feast of Saint George – The Feast of Saint George (Agios Georgios Day) is an important rural celebration on April 23rd each year that includes feasting and dancing, with the festivities taking place where Saint George, the patron of the shepherds, is considered the patron saint. Some of the best are held in Skyros, Skiathos, and Arachova.
Greece in May
- May Day/International Workers’ Day – May 1 is May Day and International Workers’ Day in Greece. Major strikes and/or protests as well as parades may be scheduled on this day, popularized by the Soviet Union as a holiday for workers. For May Day, flower festivals are common as it falls during the peak of flower season. Most monuments, museums, attractions, and some shops will be closed, though most restaurants will be open.
- Salsa Spring Festival – One of Europe’s top dance events, the Salsa Spring Festival features some of the best dance instructors and performers from around the world along with top local artists in late May in Loutraki, Korinthia.
- Athens Jazz Festival, Athens, Greece – The city of Athens hosts the annual Athens Jazz Festival, considered one of the best festivals of its kind in Europe. It takes place over five days in late May and showcases European as well as international artists; entrance is free.
Greece in June
- Athens and Epidaurus Festival – The biggest summer festival of the year, this festival showcases dance, theater, music and opera at the Odeon of Herodes Atticus beneath the Acropolis, as well as music and drama at the Theater of Epidaurus. It runs from mid-June through early September.
- European Music Day – European Music Day is a national event celebrated in some 50 cities across Greece for five days starting on summer solstice, June 21st. It includes 350 events that are hosted at over 200 venues, including parks, gardens, squares and archaeological sites, by music ensembles, philharmonic and symphony orchestras, choirs, and dance groups.
- Miaoulia Festival, Hydra – This festival on Hydra commemorates the life of Admiral Miaoulis who played a key role in the Greek War of Independence. It features parades, art shows, circus acts, dance performances, and more.
- Navy Week – Navy Week honors the country’s long relationship with the sea in late June. Ports and fishing villages throughout Greece host parties and historical re-enactments. Crete offers a big celebration with sailing, swimming, music and dancing.
Greece in July
- Puppet Festival, Hydra – This annual puppet festival is hosted in Hydra in early July and draws puppeteers from around the world.
- Sani Festival, Kassandra, Halkidiki – This festival based at Sani Resort begins in mid-July and runs through mid-August. It features film screenings, classical music concerts, and avant-garde theater acts.
- Philippi Festival, Kavala – This event is hosted at the ancient theater of Philippi in Kavala, a northern Greece city, starting in mid-July and running through late August. It showcases music and theater presented by talented young artists.
- Hippocratia Festival, Kos – Hippocratia is actually a number of cultural events that take place to honor the traditions and customs of the island of Kos starting in July and running through October. There are classical and traditional music concerts, theatrical performances, art exhibitions, and more.
Greece in August
- International Music Festival of Aegina – This annual event features music complemented by the sounds of the waves on Avra Beach, and other spots around the island of Aegina throughout most of the month of August.
- Olympus Festival, Mount Olympus – The Olympus Festival includes plays that are performed at the restored ancient theater throughout August.
- Chania Rock Festival – This festival, hosted in the old city of Chania on the island of Crete during the first half of August, showcases a variety of Greek and international performers, up-and-coming artists, and rock bands.
- Houdetsi Music Festival – Held annually for four days in August in the village of Houdetsi on Crete, this festival features a mix of music from across the globe.
- Feast of the Assumption of the Virgin – August 15th is an important day of religious pilgrimage, a feast that celebrates Mary’s ascent to heaven. As many Greeks return home to visit, travelers may have a difficult time finding a room. It’s especially elaborate in Tinos, when thousands arrive to participate in the all-night vigil at the cathedral of Panagia Evangelistria.
Greece in September
- International Music Festival, Santorini – The International Music Festival of Santorini is held over the first three weeks of September in the heart of Fira village. It features top artists from around the world, including classical and tango music, solo recitals, orchestras, operatic music, and piano duets.
- Pistachio Festival, Aegina – Hosted annually over four days in mid-September, the Pistachio Festival features all things pistachio, with a variety of pistachio products for sale as well as concerts, plays, exhibitions, and gastronomy nights.
- Festival of Tastes and Traditions, Rhodes – Taking place annually over two days in mid-September in the village of Pefkos, this festival includes wine tasting, live cooking demonstrations, exhibitions of traditional products, traditional music and dancing, a parade, and more.
Greece in October
- Chestnut Festival Elos, Crete – The Chestnut Festival is celebrated annually, typically over the last weekend of October in the village of Elos. It includes roasted chestnuts and other foods, traditional folk music, dancing, and drinking.
- Dimitria Festival, Thessaloniki – Held on October 26th each year, this festival showcases music, ballet, and opera.
- Oxi Day – This is a feast day party and a national holiday that includes military parades, folk dancing, folk music and parades on October 28th each year to celebrate the nation’s refusal to yield to the powers of the Axis in 1940.
Greece in November
- Feast of the Archangels Gabriel and Michael – Churches throughout Greece named for these archangels will host ceremonies on November 8th.
- Anniversary of the Polytechnic Uprising, Athens – This November 17th holiday commemorates the anniversary of the student uprising in 1973 at Polytechnic University in Athens, which killed many students when tanks crashed into the university gates. There is a march and stoning of the American Embassy, making it best to avoid that area on that day.
- Saint Andreas Name Day, Patras – As Saint Andreas is the patron saint of Patras, this city hosts a big celebration honoring the saint annually on November 25th. It begins the evening before with mass which continues into the morning, followed by a parade.
Greece in December
- Feast of St. Nikolaos/St. Nicholas – This annual December 6th feast honors the patron saint of sailors through multiple processions which head to the sea, and to chapels that are dedicated to him.
- Kladaries, Kozani – Annually on December 23, the Kladaries commemorates the shepherds who lit bonfires to announced the birth of Christ. In the village of Siatista, residents gather together to light fires and dance around them while enjoying the local wines.
- Christmas Day – December 25th is a public holiday, and although it’s not considered as important as Easter in the Greek Orthodox religion, it’s celebrated with feasts and religious services, as well as gift giving, Christmas caroling, trees, and decorations.
- New Year’s Eve – December 31st, New Year’s Eve, in Greece is traditionally celebrated by children singing carols outside while elders talk, play cards, eat, drink, and smoke. Today, most people celebrate the way the night is celebrated throughout the world, going to bars, attending parties, and watching fireworks displays that are hosted in the central squares of many cities throughout Greece.
Besides Crete, which other islands would you recommend visiting in May on a 10 day trip?
With just 10 days I would not do more than one other island. Santorini is the closest island to Crete and has the most ferry connections with Crete. It’s also a great island – so that would be my first choice. Naxos and Paros would also be good reasonable choices.
Holy Week in Greece
I am going to be in Greece (Athens & Santorini) during part of Holy Week (18 Apr to 24 Apr) and trying to sort out the best timing for my locations.
It will be a short trip and I need to fit in as much as I possibly can. Due to traffic and other holiday considerations (limited hours for museums, shops), do you recommend doing my relaxing in Santorini over Easter weekend and then my busy sightseeing in Athens afterward? Or vice versa? I would prefer to avoid big crowds wherever possible, but if there are things worth seeing in Athens that particular weekend, then I would definitely consider it.
Love your site! Thanks!
Greek Easter is usually a different date than western Easter. This year it’s April 28 for the Greek Orthodox, so you won’t be there during Easter at all.
We are thinking of going to Crete in late November (in the next few weeks). We have never been to Greece and would like to experience some authentic island life. I understand that Crete is likely the warmest of all the islands at this time of year. We are in our late 50’s and fit. We love food, wine, music, scuba diving (thinking it would be too cold to dive now… yes?), history. Can you suggest some activities that we could do/ experience in Crete at this time of year? Thank you in advance.
Yes, it will be too cool for swimming and diving but Crete is a great off-season destination. There are 3 medium sized cities (Heraklion, Chania, and Rethymnon) that have large local populations and lively cultures. November is usually perfect for sightseeing, hiking, food, wine, and local music. Knossos and the Archaeological museum in Heraklion are must-sees and much quieter and enjoyable outside of high season.
Hey Dave! Me and my wife are booking our trip and we have two more nights we still need to book. We are leaving Santorini and then deciding between Mykonos, Naxos, Ios, Paros. Should we do two islands (one night each) or two nights on one island? And which islands? Thanks so much!
We love food and adventure and we don’t do any night drinking. Our first time in Greece! The trip is in late September.
Considering your interests, definitely Naxos. Great beaches, wonderful food, enchanting interior villages. And yes, spend two nights on the same island.
Hi Dave! We are scheduled for April 2-11 in Greece, but am a little confused with Greek Easter. I am seeing it as April 8 this year, so am I correct to assume that the week leading up to the 8th is the Holy Week? I want to be sure I can get the most out of our trip, and am worried some places will be closed. (On websites it shows being closed on “Easter Sunday” so I imagine that means the 8th not the 1st.)
Yes, Orthodox (Greek) Easter Sunday falls on April 8 while regular (western) Easter Sunday falls a week earlier on April 1. Easter in Greece is a big thing and travel and accommodation in Greece can be a small challenge during this time (so do book in advance). The week preceding Easter is indeed Holy Week (it translates as ‘Big Week’ in Greek) and it is marked by a series of church events each evening prior to the midnight Resurrection on the Eve of Easter Sunday. Easter Sunday is a day of celebration and eating when the culinary austerity followed by the more pious Orthodox Greeks during the 40 days of Lent previously comes to an end. Lambs are roasted on spits and much food and drink is consumed in a family-oriented celebration.
This means a few things for the traveller. Food in general is commonly limited to ‘vegetarian food’ particularly during Holy Week. This means that restaurants will be limiting their food choices to ‘fasting foods’ (nistísima) though meat eaters may find some relief at places catering to the non-orthodox (which includes most restaurants on the islands). Because the tourist season has not yet officially kicked off, many summer tavernas and restaurants may not yet be open in touristy places. The tourist season usually gets into gear after Easter. Therefore, your days from 2-8 April may be marked by a level of paucity in food choices (think Ramadan in Muslim countries).
Travel and accommodation is in high demand as many Greeks go to their native villages and islands to spend Easter and you may have difficulty in securing flights on popular routes or even on ferries and catamarans (full sailings are rare but possible). The follow-on is that accommodation can be in high demand so you will need to book both travel and a place to stay well beforehand. Because the Easter Sunday celebration is a family affair on the whole, unless you have an invitation from a family to participate, you may find yourself on the outside on Easter Sunday with only a handful of places open for your Easter lunch (once again, in the most touristy spots this won’t be a problem).
You didn’t say where you are going, but Athens is probably a good bet to sit out the key days of Easter as many people will have left and things will be quiet AND you will have more choices for places to eat. If you want the ultimate Greek Easter experience and would like to participate in at least two of the church celebrations, then Corfu is popular with Greek Easter pilgrims where the Epitafios and the Anastasi are worth witnessing at the large church of Spyridon in Corfu’s Old Town. The village of Pyrgos on Santorini is also an Easter highlight.
In short, Greek Easter is generally for Greeks, though foreigners are more than welcome. Just don’t expect the normal touristy Greece that you might expect until at least some time after Easter.
This site is amazing! Greece has been on my bucket list for years and hoping to cross it off. Per your site, looks like late September/early October may be the best time for weather and reduced cost. I’m looking to plan a 7-10 day trip no kids, do you have a suggestion for itineraries? Such as where to stop, how long to stay, hotels? Any suggestions would be helpful… it’s a bit overwhelming to start planning with a little framework. Thanks!
Hopefully my page on Where To Go in Greece and Itineraries should help.
Loving your work and happy to be a Patron to support this great website. For my holiday, my partner and I are planning the following however I am having a few issues/queries.
Wed 20th June – fly into Chania from Dublin, arrive late. Stay at Casa Delfino.
Monday 25th – Drive to more eastern Crete and stay in Agios Nikolaos. I looked at Elounda but the hotels seem to all get mixed reviews. I would like to be able to walk into a village or town in the evening for a meal or drinks. Hence, I am looking at Agios Nikolaos, what do you think?
I like the look of Sensimar Minos Palace. Would you recommend the Beach Art hotel over this hotel and why?
I also thought of the Grecotel Caramel hotel which looks amazing but is it very isolated? Is there anything near it walkable in the evening? It gets fantastic reviews!
Friday 29th Ferry to Mykonos- Do you know if a ferry does indeed connect the two islands?
Looking to stay 3 nights in Mykonos Bay Resort & Villas as this is within budget (1000€ max for 3 nights). Tharroe of Mykonos Boutique Hotel would be my choice but it’s a little outside the budget! Any other hotels you would recommend?
Then I am thinking 4 nights somewhere, I was looking at these apartments in Anemomilos Apartments on the island of Folegandros. What do you think, do you know this hotel?
Can I get from Mykonos to here easily in the summer? Conscious I need to get back to Athens to fly home and feel I’m heading in the wrong direction! Does Crete connect with Folegandros as I could do Crete – Folegandros – Mykonos? Or would you recommend another island near Mykonos? Really want to chill out, nice accommodation? Hire a car and get out and see an island! What is Folegandros famous for?
Thanks in advance,
Agios Nikolaos is a wonderful little town and likely just what you’re looking for. Sensimar is a nice resort but it’s a good 30 minute walk into town so you’re not walking out your door and wandering around Agios Nikolaos. The Minos Beach Art Hotel is much closer which is why I would choose it. Grecotel Caramel has some stuff within walking distance but not the main town. Stay here if you want the resort experience and not so much if you’re looking to hit the town for lunch/dinner/nightlife on a regular basis. Mykonos Bay Resort is on a decent beach about a 10 minute walk from Mykonos Town. Has a very nice pool (but I would still prefer to stay right in Mykonos Town). Anemomilos Apartments are very nice and in the main town (Chora) of Folegandros. Wonderful views. There will likely be a Crete to Mykonos ferry (with stops in Santorini, Paros, and Ios along the way). Mykonos to Folegandros (direct) is less certain but you’ll always be able to get there, you just might have to change ferries in a different island.
Hi there! My husband and I wanted to visit Santorini in August/September but we like very hot weather. I saw on a few websites that it only gets to about 80 degrees? Is that true?
Santorini often has a nice breeze that keeps the temps moderate (somewhere in the 80s) even in the summer. Most people like this but if you’re after very hot then you might be disappointed. That said, there’s always a week or two each year when you get some scorching temperatures. August is usually the hottest month but peaks can come anytime from early June to late September.
Hi Dave, great site!!
Planning a trip to Greek islands and Athens for late September and October. Would you recommend travelling the islands on your own, or taking a small cruise to cover more territory by night and explore the islands by day. If so, which cruise do you recommend?
Thanks So Much
I am not a big fan of cruises in the Greek Islands so would definitely recommend doing and planning it yourself. More info here: Should I Take A Santorini Cruise?
Hi Dave, I have come across your site recently and it is a great resource. We are planning an 8-day trip from NYC to Greece Oct. 28 – Nov. 5. It seems like Santorini and Athens are definitive top choices. But we wanted to see 1 additional part of Greece. Where would you recommend at that time of year? We were thinking Crete, but where in Crete would you recommend? Would Naxos be a good option? Thanks so much.
If you want a second island to visit then Naxos. (There won’t be any Santorini-Crete ferries in November so visiting Crete is much more difficult.) If you’re open to something on the mainland then do an overnight trip from Athens to Nafplio.
My husband and I are thinking of taking a trip but would have to go in mid to late March. Would we still get ferries to the islands, Santorini and Mykonos in particular?
There will be ferries to Santorini and to Mykonos but not ferries between Santorini and Mykonos. In the off-season you’re better to visit Santorini and Paros or Naxos as the ferry connections run all-year and there’s more to see and do in the quiet months on Paros/Naxos than on Mykonos.
Kali mera! Thank you for your recommendations. We are exploring all your suggestions. One more question – where (town/village) on Crete, Mykonos, or Rhodes would you recommend we stay? 3 families with children ranging from 7-10 years old. Judy
On the assumption that the focus will be on your children rather than yourselves, you are probably wanting a family-friendly hotel in either Crete or Rhodes and there are plenty of options in a few select places where you’ll need to do the research to locate what suits your budget and individual needs.
The Agia Marina/Platanias strip west of Chania town is a good start for Crete. It’s touristy, but not overly so and there are many family hotels dotted along the coastline. There are lots of shops, restaurants, and car-hire places and the long beach is generally sandy and shelving. Most decent-sized hotels will have pools and the family-oriented hotels generally put on a special effort for children with activities, play centres, pools for kids and often child-minding. There is also an Aqua park not far from Chania. You will find similar possibilities on the tourist strip east of the town of Rethymnon though the hotels and the beach are divided by a road – unlike in Chania. At the upper end of the budget scale there are some pretty enticing family hotels in Elounda over to the east. Some of the hotels listed on this site have great kids’ facilities so have a browse here first.
Rhodes is similar, with the family-friendly hotels scattered down the east coast through Faliraki to Lindos. Some of the larger hotels near Rhodes New Town (on the west side of the island) cater well for children so have a look here too. It’s hard to recommend one over another as they do vary considerably in price, but there are the areas that you need to be looking at.
Mykonos has a reputation for partying and nightlife but as long as you avoid the clubs and bars (and a few of the party beaches) it has a surprisingly family-friendly vibe. The beaches of Platys Gialos and Ornos are best for kids and have a good mix of family hotels and good restaurants.
Other than large family hotels (which will inevitably cost more if they are all inclusive or even half-board deals) your only other option is DIY in self-catering appartments, but then you are going to have to entertain your group’s children in more imaginative ways. All three are good islands to find what you seem to be looking for, all you have to do is start looking for that best combination of accommodation and entertainment for your three families.
See Also: Crete Family Hotels, Rhodes Family Hotels, and Mykonos Family Hotels.
I’ll be traveling to Greece mid to late August with my husband and 10yr old daughter. We have two other families (similar composition) joining us. We will do 3-4 days in Athens then an island for 5-6 days. I looked into Naxos but it has limited airbnb options. I’ve been to Greece a number of times but the other 2 families have not. We want beach, good food, and a pool wherever we stay to keep kids busy before we head to beaches or sightseeing. What do you suggest?
Naxos is the best island for what you’re looking for (though Crete, Paros, Mykonos, Ios, and Rhodes are also good choices). Agree there are few Airbnb rentals but not sure why that’s a necessity. Lots of great family hotels on Naxos.
We are a family of 5 (kids 15,11,6) and will likely be travelling with my almost 80 year old dad. My eldest daughter wants to see the Parthenon in Athens and the other two want to enjoy family beach and relaxation. Not caring as much about history just yet. I was thinking thinking Corfu for one of our destinations… we are thinking about last week of July for timing.
If we had a week would you have a recommendation?
Corfu is a wonderful island but not great for island hopping – if you go there you probably won’t go anywhere else. Conversely, the Cyclades are close together and it’s easy (and lots of fun) to ferry from one to the next. You could see 2 islands or even 3 in a weeks time. All the Cycladic islands are worth a visit so don’t worry about making a bad choice but Naxos, Paros, and Antiparos are particularly good for kids. Mykonos, Ios, and Santorini have fewer families but all have a great family-friendly vibe as long as you avoid the night clubs and romantic restaurants.
Hello Santorini Dave,
Thanks for all the Greece weather tips.
My husband and I are planning a 2 week vacation in Greece with our little 18 month baby. Would you advise what are the best places to visit with a baby? The trip should be first 2 weeks of September. Thanks, Nihal
Naxos is a great island for families and staying in Naxos Town (and near St George’s beach) is a great combination of convenience, good hotels, and easy access to the beach.
HI Dave! My husband and I are planning last minute to visit Greece from the US and fly our 18 yr old son to meet us (he is currently doing a year in Germany). Planning to come April 8-15th approx. I have been researching some and I think we would love to do Athens for a short stay and then Santorini and Naxos. Santorini sounds the best to us and we arent into the party scene so sightseeing in Naxos sounds interesting. Will that be during Easter in Greece and if so how will that affect our trip? Any advice on logistics? Flying into Athens and then how best to do the itinerary from there? Likely want to fly into Santorino instead of Ferry. Thanks for all of the great info that you provide!
The best plan: Buy tickets to London. Then fly directly to Santorini. Ferry to Naxos. Fly or ferry to Athens. Fly Athens to London. This saves time making two visits to Athens (when you only need one) and you don’t have to retrace your steps (also a time-waster). Use kayak.com to search for tickets.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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!
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.
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.
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).
Hi Dave. I’ll be in Crete in May also on honeymoon, where would you recommend on the south of the island?
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!
I will be in Greece from the 22nd to 29th March of next year 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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.