Greece, the land of ancient wonders, stunning landscapes, and delicious cuisine, is a dream destination for travelers. But when is the best time to visit Greece? The country captivates the hearts of millions of visitors each year. However, choosing the right time to visit this Mediterranean gem can greatly influence the quality of your trip.
In this article, we will explore the different seasons in Greece and reveal the best time to plan your magical journey. Let’s jump in!
Greece is nestled in the southeastern corner of Europe, bordered by the Ionian and Aegean Seas. It’s renowned for its rich history, breathtaking landscapes, and warm Mediterranean climate. Greece is the fourteen largest country in Europe. It also has over 6,000 islands, 227 of which are inhabited, and a total coastline of about 8,497.9 miles or 13,676 kilometers.
The country stands as a timeless testament to the cradle of Western civilization. From the majestic ancient ruins of Athens to the postcard-perfect islands adorned with whitewashed buildings, Greece captivates visitors with its diverse charm. Its deep-rooted mythology, fascinating culture, and delectable cuisine add layers of allure.
Whether you want to explore ancient archaeological sites, relax on golden beaches, or savor olives and feta, Greece promises an unforgettable and soul-stirring experience. It’s highly likely to leave an indelible mark on the hearts of all who wander its cities, mountains, and shores.
What Is the Best Time to Visit Greece?
The best time of year to visit Greece is a personal preference. But let’s look at a breakdown of the seasons and what each has to offer in terms of weather, crowds, and travel budget.
Spring: March to May
Spring is an excellent time to visit Greece as the weather gradually becomes warmer, and nature bursts into a colorful display of blooming flowers and lush landscapes. The temperatures are pleasant, typically in the 60s and 70s Fahrenheit in most parts of the country, making it ideal for sightseeing, outdoor activities, and island hopping. While the sea is still a bit chilly, it starts to warm up in May since Greece has sunshine nearly every day.
During the spring, you can enjoy exploring the ancient ruins and historical sites without the large summer crowds. Exploring mainland Greece is easy this time of year. You can also go to the islands, but there are fewer ferries running than in the summer. As far as budget is concerned, you might find some deals on the islands since some hotels and restaurants will just be opening back up after winter.
Summer: June to August
Summertime in Greece is synonymous with endless sunshine, azure waters, and vibrant nightlife. This season attracts the largest influx of tourists, especially to some of the most popular islands like Santorini, Mykonos, Crete, and Corfu. The temperatures soar, reaching highs in the 80s and 90s Fahrenheit and sometimes even hotter. This makes the sea perfect for swimming and attracts Greeks and tourists alike.
Destinations, especially on the islands, get crowded in the summer and accommodations may be more expensive. But if you crave the energetic atmosphere, lively beach parties, and bustling coastal towns, summer is undoubtedly the time to visit.
Travel Tip: I recommend a sailing trip in the summer, as a fantastic way to experience the water and have some time away from crowds.
Fall: September to November
The summer crowds start to disperse around the end of September. It also ushers in a milder climate. The temperatures gradually cool down, making sightseeing and hiking more enjoyable but the sea usually remains warm into October. Air temperatures range from the 70s to high 60s in the fall.
September is also the grape harvest period in Greece, which makes it a great time to visit places like Santorini for a wine tour. The crowds are fewer and you can still enjoy all the island has to offer. You may also find some last-minute deals in the fall, as places are starting to get ready to close for the winter.
Suggested Reading: Tips for avoiding the crowds in Santorini.
Winter: December to February
Greece’s winter season is relatively mild, with temperatures in the 50s Fahrenheit in most areas, although Thessaloniki and mountainous regions can have colder conditions and even snow. I’ve even experienced snow in Athens city center, so anything is possible.
Winter is an excellent time for culture enthusiasts to explore museums, galleries, and ancient sites without crowds. You’ll find very few tourists on the streets and prices for accommodations are within a normal range for the region.
Travel Tip: Consider visiting Greece during the December and January holidays. The festive atmosphere during Christmas and New Year’s celebrations provides a unique experience, especially in cities like Athens and Thessaloniki.
Be Aware of Greek Public Holidays
Being in Greece during a holiday can be a wonderful experience. You may join in and take part in the festivities or ceremonies. But be aware that when there are public holidays shops, restaurants, archeological sites, and even public transportation tend to shut down. Do an online search when making travel plans to see if there will be any Greek holidays taking place during your visit. If there are, you’ll want to plan your activities accordingly.
How Far in Advance Should I Book My Visit to Greece?
Book your lodging at least six months out, if you’re traveling between May and September. Nine months to a year out is better, especially if you’re going during the month of August. Most Greeks vacation in August and flock to the islands filling up accommodations and ferries.
If you have a large group, make your reservation a year out even if you need to change it later. Hotels on Greek islands fill up particularly fast between the months of July and September. And a lot of accommodations outside of Athens and Thessaloniki are smaller, boutique hotels, making it more difficult to get enough rooms for a large group. Airbnbs also fill up quickly, but you may have an easier time finding a house for a group.
How Many Days in Greece Are Enough?
If you ask me, the more time in Greece the better! But I recommend spending at least 10 days in Greece, especially if you’re going to any islands. For example, if you fly into Athens, all of the major archeological sites in the city can be done in two to three days. You may also want to do some day trips from Athens and then head out to an island or two. Ten days or more will allow you to relax and not feel rushed.
The ideal itinerary I recommend is 14 days. It’s the perfect amount of time for a vacation in Greece. I like to split up the time with the first three to four days in Athens to see the historical sites and go on any day trips. Then, take a ferry to the island of Naxos for six to seven days. Explore this laid-back island with beautiful beaches and mountains in the center, and take a boat day trip from Naxos to the infamous island of Mykonos. After your time in Naxos, take a ferry to Santorini, spend your remaining days exploring the island, and fly out of Santorini or take the ferry back to Athens.
How Much Does an Average Trip to Greece Cost?
An average trip to Greece for 10 to 14 days can cost anywhere between USD 2,500 to USD 3,500, not including flights. The cost depends on where you stay, and how much you spend on food, activities, and transportation within the country. If you prefer to stay in hostels, you can budget lower. And if your preference is luxury accommodations and transportation, you can easily spend well over $3,500 during a 14-day trip.
Accommodation costs in Greece are in line with most European countries, but they can be cheaper during the spring, fall, and winter. You’re likely to find deals on hotels and activities outside of the summer months. In addition, less-known islands are typically cheaper than popular ones like Santorini and Mykonos. And food prices in the major cities tend to be higher.
Enjoy Greece Any Time of the Year
The best time to visit Greece depends on your preferences and the kind of experience you want. Spring and fall offer a balance between pleasant weather, fewer tourists, and the chance to immerse yourself in Greece’s rich history and natural beauty. Summer, on the other hand, beckons travelers with its sun-soaked beaches and vibrant nightlife but comes with larger crowds and higher prices. Even in winter has its own charm, offering a more relaxed and authentic experience away from the bustling tourist hotspots.
Ultimately, Greece’s diverse beauty and cultural treasures ensure that any time of the year will leave you longing for more. So, pack your bags, embrace the spirit of adventure, and get ready to create unforgettable memories in this Mediterranean paradise.
Have you visited Greece? What time of year did you go? Share your experience in the comments below.