Ready to start planning your dream Greek vacation? Among all travel considerations, choosing the best time to visit Greece is probably at the top of your priority list. With good reason, too, as deciding when to visit Greece can majorly impact the price of your trip, the number of tourists visiting the country, and the weather you’ll have throughout your stay.
Lucky for you, we’ve put together a complete guide on the best time to travel to Greece, complete with a month-by-month breakdown of the weather in Greece, events and festivals, and the cheapest time to go!
Keep reading to find out all you need to know about the best time to visit Greece!
- 1 When’s The Best Time to Visit Greece?
- 2 What You Should Know When Planning a Trip to Greece
- 3 When to Visit Greece: A Month-by-Month Guide
When’s The Best Time to Visit Greece?
One of the best things about Greece is it’s a fantastic year-round destination. The balmy Mediterranean climate means that it’s warm in the summer and mild in the winter, allowing you to soak up the sights no matters when you choose to visit Greece.
That being said, Greece does have distinct seasons related to tourism. So you may want to plan your travels around certain months to avoid large crowds and expensive accommodation or even worse, entire towns shut down for the off-season.
High season in Greece is during the summer months, starting in late June and lasting until the middle or end of September. August is the peak month of the year for tourism, especially in the Greek islands as the sun is out and the air is hot, perfect for long days spent on the beach.
During high season, you can expect inflated prices for accommodation, dining, parking and more, along with hoards of tourists everywhere from mainland Greek cities to the island beaches.
On the other hand, low season in Greece runs from November to March when the tourists are sparse and the weather is cooler.
Winter in the Mediterranean means grey, cloudy days and the occasional drizzle. Some shops and hotels close for the low season, especially in beachy destinations, but not to fear, there’s still plenty open for a fun trip in Greece.
The best part about visiting Greece during the low season is that prices are overall much less expensive than during the summer months, perfect for a cheap vacation on the fly!
Best Time to Visit Mainland Greece
If you’re planning to visit mainland Greece, you’ll be happy to know that it’s great all year long. The sites stay open and there’s plenty to do whether you want to discover Delphi or admire archaeology in Athens.
While it’s great year-round, the best time to visit mainland Greece is between May and October when the weather is balmy and the sun is shining. Shoulder months (before June and after September) are especially charming as the Greek mainland empties out a little from the summer crowds, making for a more enjoyable trip.
You’ll probably want to avoid spending a lot of time on mainland Greece during the hottest months of the year; July and August get so warm that sightseeing throughout the day can be rather unpleasant.
Best Time to Visit the Greek Islands
Is the center of your trip the Greek islands? If so, plan a vacation for the summer months when you can make the most of the beaches and outdoor activities.
Just keep in mind that August is the busiest time in the Greek islands and also the most expensive. So if you aren’t willing to break the bank for this trip, plan it for any other month.
If you’re visiting the Greek islands during the winter, you’ll find it a lot quieter and emptier than during summer months. You may find lots of things are closed, but make your way to Santorini or Crete, where enough stays open during off-season for a good time regardless of the weather.
Plus, things will be much cheaper than during peak season, I can promise you that!
What You Should Know When Planning a Trip to Greece
There are some prime considerations when it comes to planning a trip to Greece, like when to go, how much it’s going to cost, and exciting events happening throughout the country.
Best Months to Visit Greece
Overall, the best months to visit Greece are anywhere between the end of April and the beginning of November.
April is when the good weather starts to come out in Greece and by the time May hits, the sun is shining, the birds are chirping, and the water is starting to warm up.
June, July, and August are the hottest months of the year in Greece and have sunshiney days, perfect for beaching, exploring and anything in between. That being said, avoid August at all costs — it’s the busiest time in Greece!
On the other side of summer, September is when things start to cool down, both in terms of crowds and the weather. By the time October rolls around, the nights are much cooler, while the days remain surprisingly pleasant. November is when the grey days come to their peak, but the beginning of the month is still lovely — just be sure to pack a raincoat as you can expect a few showers!
You’ll probably find that the best months to visit Greece are during the shoulder season, either before peak season or after when you’ll still have good weather without loads of people. April and early May are great, as well as late September, October, and early November.
Cheapest Time to Go to Greece
Greece has the potential to be the ultimate budget destination with its distinct low seasons when the prices drop as the crowds thin out.
Generally, you’ll find that the cheapest time to go to Greece is between March and May or October and November, especially if you’re hoping to hit the islands. This is when prices for accommodation drop, restaurants have a more local feel to them, and things are overall much less expensive than during the height of the summer.
If mainland Greece is the focal point of your trip, you’ll find that it’s actually cheapest from January to March. The weather in Greece is not ideal during this time of year, with lots of rain and cloudy days, but hotels are super inexpensive and you’ll be able to save a ton of money visiting during this time of year!
Weather in Greece
For pure bliss when it comes to weather in Greece, you should aim to be there early summer or on the tail end of peak season.
The end of April, May, and June are when things start to heat up, both on the mainland and the islands, with gorgeous, sunshine-filled days and clear blue skies. Temperatures average around 70°F in May and 75°F in June, perfect for exploring without being drenched in sweat.
September and October also boast beautiful weather in Greece; it’s not as torturously hot as it is during July and August but still warm enough to enjoy the beach and lots of outside time. In September, temperatures average around 82°F, ideal for taking a dip in the sea, still holding onto the heat from summer.
November through March is when the grey Mediterranean weather rolls in, with cooler days, cloudy skies, and lots of drizzly weather. It’ll be cheaper to visit Greece, but this time of year isn’t the best when it comes to enjoying the beaches and exploring outside. November averages out to around 66°F, while March is even chillier with an average temperature of 59°F.
Festivals and Popular Events in Greece
Greece is well-known for large festivals and annual events that draw people in from far and wide to partake in the festivities. These events are scattered throughout the year, but are definitely worth planning your trip around so that you can experience some of the craziness, as well!
The most well-known festival in Greece is Patras Carnival, a huge celebration in January (lasting into February) which is full of parades, music, and a whole lot of fun.
Other amazing events to catch while in Greece are:
- Independence Day in March
- Athens International Film Festival in April
- Salsa Spring Festival in May
- Santorini’s International Music Festival in September
- Ochi Day in October
- the Christmas season in December
When to Visit Greece: A Month-by-Month Guide
Greece in January
Weather: Average of 50°F, clouds, rain
Where to Go: Athens
Festivals & Events: New Years, Ephiphany, Patras Carnival
Greece in January is the coldest time of the year whether you’re on the mainland or the Greek islands, with grey, overcast days and plenty of rain.
That being said, the tourist crowd is quite thin during this time, so you can often find great deals on accommodation, so long as you aren’t looking during the New Year period. I
Despite the less-than-ideal weather, January is still a good month for sightseeing, especially around Athens. You’ll have the ancient ruins all to yourself, free from the hoards of people that come with the good weather. Just be prepared with the right travel gear!
January has a few fun festivals like Ephiphany, where a cross is thrown into a body of water and swimmers are meant to retrieve it, and Patras Carnival, the most elaborate festival of the year. During this time, people take to the streets to parade around, dance to loud music, and socialize with everyone who has come from far and wide to celebrate the New Year.
Greece in February
Weather: Average of 57°F, cloudy
Where to Go: Athens, Santorini, Crete
Festivals & Events: Carnival, Clean Monday
Greece in February still sees very few visitors, so it’s the best time to travel to Greece if you’re looking to have the country to yourself. The weather is still quite cold, but it rains less so you’re able to spend more time outside.
If you’re visiting Greece in February, head to places like Santorini where you may have a bit of winter sun without the tourists or hit Athens for some historic sightseeing. No matter where you go, you’ll find that prices are much lower than during peak season — win!
February is a whole lot of fun in Greece, as it’s the month of Carnival which is celebrated throughout the country. That being said, you’ll find the best parties around Athens and Crete, where locals take to the streets to eat, drink, dance, and parade around.
To signify the end of Carnival, there is Clean Monday, a public holiday where people spend time outside flying kites.
Greece in March
Weather: Average of 60°F, sunnier days, less precipitation
Where to Go: Crete, Rhodes, Mainland Greece
Festivals & Events: Independence Day
While still a bit chilly, the weather in Greece starts to get a little better in March, especially as you travel further south. Temperatures can reach up to 70°F on the islands, warm enough for some time at the beach and comfortable exploration.
Plus, the tourist crowds haven’t arrived yet, so you’re able to enjoy some island serenity, uninterrupted.
If you’re visiting Greece in March, it’s a great time to explore the ancient sites throughout the mainland. Visit Athens and Delphi without long entrance queues or loads of tourists trying to snap a picture.
The largest event in March is Greece’s Independence Day when you’ll find all sorts of festivities going on throughout the country. Parades, drinking, and a whole lot of fun, people take to the streets to celebrate Greece on March 25!
Greece in April
Weather: Average of 70°F, sunny
Where to Go: Rhodes, Crete, Santorini, Naxos, Athens
Festivals & Events: Holy Week & Easter, Athens International Film and Video Festival
April is when things start to be quite glorious in Greece, making it one of the best times to travel to Greece.
The sun starts to break through the dreariness left behind by winter and temperatures creep upwards all over the country. While it’s still a bit too cold to swim, April is when the sea surrounding Greece starts to warm up, making it tantalizing for any beachgoers visiting during this month.
Planning a trip to Greece in April? Visit the Greek islands like Rhodes, Crete, Santorini, and Naxos and don’t forget to pack a bathing suit! While it won’t be too hot, the weather is charming, with sunny days perfect for lounging around on the beach without getting overheated.
Since the tourist crowds haven’t come out in full force yet, you’ll enjoy a bit of serenity as you travel through the country.
April brings Easter in Greece, celebrated throughout the country by the majority of locals. Prior to Easter itself, there’s a Holy Week, which lasts from Palm Sunday to Easter Day. This is considered the most religious time of the year in Greece. During this week, you’ll find that many shops are closed and the churches are overflowing, giving you a glimpse into the religious life of many Greeks.
Besides Easter, each April, there’s also an International Film and Video Festival held in Athens, where people from all over the world come to show their movies!
Greece in May
Weather: Average of 75°F, clear days, lots of sunshine
Where to Go: Greek Islands, Athens, Korinthia
Festivals & Events: Salsa Spring Festival, Athens Jazz Festival
May is your last opportunity to visit Greece before the summer crowds start pouring in.
Greece in May is when cheap accommodation begins to dissipate, making room for the expensive resorts and hotels reopening for the summer months. That being said, you can still find some good deals early in the month while the weather starts to warm up.
May is quite warm in Greece, no matter where you are in the country. This is the month where you can start swimming in the sea and truly sunbathe on the beaches, making the Greek islands an ideal destination during this month.
Mainland Greece also has glorious weather in May, perfect for sightseeing and enjoying delicious meals on outdoor terraces.
If you’re visiting Greece in May, you can’t miss the Salsa Spring Festival in Korinthia. It’s one of the top events of the year for dance in Europe, drawing in locals and foreigners alike. There are dance classes, performances, and lots of lively fun so don’t miss out if you’re in Greece during that time!
Also in May is the Athens Jazz Festival which lasts five days and offers free jazz performances for visitors. How amazing is that?
Greece in June
Weather: Average of 77°F, sunny, beautiful
Where to Go: Pretty much anywhere
Festivals & Events: Athens and Epidaurus Festival, European Music Day, Navy Week
June is the official start of the summer season in Greece, and with it brings large tourist crowds from all over the world. The weather is nothing short of glorious, with warm weather and long sunny days. It’s no wonder people come from far and wide to enjoy Greece in June!
You’ll find this is the best time of year to visit places like Mykonos and Santorini (although there’s bound to be loads of people with the same idea) and less popular spots like Naxos and Paros. It’s also a great time to visit Corfu and enjoy the coast, as well as Rhodes and Crete.
Accommodation prices tend to soar in June (although they’re still much cheaper than dates later in the summer), so be sure to book your hotel early to lock in a good rate.
Besides tourists, June also brings around lots of fun festivals and events in Greece. The largest of these events is the Athens and Epidaurus Festival, filled with dance performances, theater shows, and opera. While it opens during June, it lasts through to early September, providing fun for all.
In June, there’s also European Music Day which is celebrated throughout Greece and all of Europe. There’s also Navy Week held in late June, where you can catch historical reenactments around port cities and along the coast. If you’re in Crete, you’ll find there’s a huge celebration for Navy Week with lots of boating, splashing around in the water, and music.
No matter what time of year you’ll be visiting Greece, check out our Europe packing list to make sure you’ll have everything you need!
Greece in July
Weather: Average of 86°F, very hot, very sunny
Where to Go: Greek Islands, Corfu, Syros
Festivals & Events: The River Party, Festival of the Aegean, Athens Festival, Sani Festival
Hello July and hello hot weather, tourists, and umbrella-lined beaches!
Greece in July is when summer is on the cusp of its hottest, with steamy days, warm water, and not a cloud in sight. The Greek islands are especially alluring in July, but flights and accommodation are expensive and you can be sure there will be heaps of people everywhere you go.
Mainland Greece is positively sweltering in July, with average high temperatures creeping up past 90°F, making sightseeing sticky and unpleasant in the hot weather. Instead, hit places like Corfu to enjoy the beach or the less popular Greek islands to break away from the crowds.
July kicks off tons of art and cultural festivals throughout Greece that run through the rest of the summer. You have the Festival of the Aegean on Syros Island full theatrical events, the Athens Festival with Greek music performances in ancient theaters, and the Sani Festival in Halkidiki laden with jazz musicians and a lively atmosphere.
A true highlight is the River Party in Nestorio, a festival welcoming tons of DJs and live acts where you can camp, swim, and enjoy gorgeous Greek scenery. It can’t be missed!
Greece in August
Weather: Average of 83°F, clear, sunny, hot
Where to Go: Greek Islands
Festivals & Events: August Moon Festival, Chania Rock Festival, International Music Festival of Aegina
The peak of peak season, Greece in August is when you can expect all of the country to be flooded with tourists. Prices are at their highest, beaches are beyond crowded, and you can expect long waits everywhere you go.
Weather is glorious all over Greece throughout August, with super sunny days and not a hint of rain. If you do end up planning your Greece trip in August, be sure to pack all of your swimsuits to enjoy the warm waters as they’ve been heating up all summer.
There are tons of fun events and festivals in Greece in August. Check out the Olympus Festival where you can enjoy plays in an ancient theater and the August Moon Festival in Athens when all of the major historic sites are open all night long for fun musical performances.
Speaking of musical performances, August is the best time to be in Greece for concerts and live shows. There’s the Chania Rock Festival in Crete, the Houdetsi Music Festival, and the International Music Festival of Aegina, just to name a few, all of which feature musical acts from Greece and beyond.
Greece in September
Weather: Average of 75°F, sunny, warm
Where to Go: Athens, Greek Islands, Corfu, Peloponnese
Festivals & Events: Athens International Film Festival, Reworks Festival
Ahhh, Greece in September brings a breath of fresh air as things begin to cool down. While the first half of the month is still riddled with tourists, crowds start to thin out towards the end of the month, giving way to a quieter end-of-summer holiday.
The weather in Greece is still delightful in September, from the islands to Athens. You’ll actually find that it’s more enjoyable than during the height of summer because you can sightsee without melting and still get a tan on the beach.
In September, Greece welcomes the Athens International Film Festival which lasts 12 days at the end of the month. Other notable events in Greece in September are the Reworks Festival with acts from around the world and the end of the Epidaurus Festival where Greek dramas are put on in the ancient amphitheater.
Overall, September is a really nice time of year to travel to Greece, no matter where you want to go.
Greece in October
Weather: Average of 68°F, sunny days, cool nights, rain at the end of the month
Where to Go: Athens, Santorini, Mykonos
Festivals & Events: Chestnut Festival, Dimitria Festival, Ochi Day
October is when Greece finally welcomes autumn after a long, hot summer. The lingering summer tourists head back home and by the end of the month, the country really empties out. Seasonal places start to close up, but you can find serious deals on the places that stay open.
Santorini and Mykonos still have a lot going on in October, but the smaller islands will be rather quiet. October is a great time to sightsee on mainland Greece, exploring ancient cities and historic sites with pleasant fall weather.
While it’s a more low-key month in terms of events, there are still a few festivals to be enjoyed in Greece in October. There’s the Chestnut Festival held every year in Crete and the Dimitria Festival in Thessaloniki. There’s also a national holiday on October 28th called Ochi Day which is full of parades, folk music, and dancing.
Greece in November
Weather: Average of 60°F, some sun, some showers, overcast
Where to Go: Athens, Meteora, Crete
Festivals & Events: Thessaloniki International Film Festival
If you’re hoping to visit Greece during low season, November is your best bet. With the country practically empty of visitors, you’ll have the place all to yourself!
The weather in Greece in November isn’t awful, but it’s certainly a bit chilly. Some days are spectacularly sunny, while others are grey and overcast. You can expect a decent amount of rain in Greece in November — but with warm afternoons and no crowds, it’s worth the pain of carrying an umbrella.
November is a great time for sightseeing as it’s a bit too nippy for the beach, and without the crowds, you can snap perfect pictures at ancient sites without the tourists in the background.
As it’s distinctly low season in Greece in November, there isn’t too much going on byways of events in Greece. However, there is the annual Thessaloniki International Film Festival throughout the month which showcases some of the best new works in Europe!
Greece in December
Weather: Average of 55°F, cloudy, windy, rainy
Where to Go: Athens, Meteora, Mt. Parnassos
Festivals & Events: Christmas, New Years Eve
December is when winter sets in throughout Greece, with blustery, cloudy, rainy days. There’s snow in the mountains, ideal for any skier, and a fun atmosphere as the country gears up for the holiday season.
While it’s definitely the pit of low season, Greece in December can be rather enjoyable.
Bundle up and hit the historic sites around Athens or warm up in one of the hundreds of museums throughout the country. Head up to the mountains to enjoy some snow, or better yet, make your way to Meteora which is positively magical with a crystal dusting of fresh flakes at this time of the year.
Christmas is one of the most festive times of the year in Greece, with plenty of events leading up to the actual day. When Christmas time finally comes around, the streets are lined with colorful lights and full of carolers, and pink-cheeked visitors are everywhere you turn. Soak up the lively atmosphere in Greece during this magical time!
After Christmas comes New Year’s Eve, which is celebrated with gusto all over Greece with crowded bars and fireworks counting down to the New Year.
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