When is the Best Time Visit Greece?

There’s a reason to visit in every season

Of course, we often think of Greece’s sun-drenched shores a summer holiday destination, thanks to the fabulous weather, miles of coast and balmy sea temperatures. But this country is rich in culture, food and traditions, many of which are best seen and sampled at other times of year.

  1. Spring
  2. Summer
  3. Autumn
  4. Winter
  5. When to go to Greece for Festivals
  6. When to go to Greece for Water Sports

Whether you’re hiking or surfing, visiting antiquities or sea-swimming, looking for thriving nightlife or trying to escape the crowds, we’ve got holiday ideas for you. Explore our guide on the Best time to go to Greece for every type of traveller and holiday plan.

1. Spring

Spring in the majority of Greece is an absolute delight, as warmer temperatures up to 25 degrees roll in and the sunshine hours are plentiful. It’s not as hot as summer, and so the countryside areas are verdant and in full bloom. This makes Spring the best time to go to Greece for walking or hiking, as well as cycling and mountain biking, with islands like Syros, Corfu and Hydra looking lush and sun-drenched. Naxos is another spring gem, carpeted in flowers, while on Crete, Samaria Gorge is at its best in early May, home to an abundance of animals, birds and butterflies. In Rhodes, the Valley of Butterflies is at its best at the end of May. Athens is also still cooler than summer and free from many crowds and Skiathos and Skopelos are not yet in full tourist season, so still blissfully peaceful.

Holiday type: Active, walking, biking and exploring.

Top spots: Corfu, Hydra, Naxos and Crete.

2. Summer

If you’re wondering when to go to Greece for your first visit, summer is the ultimate choice. The sun-drenched islands get blissfully warm and the sea is a bath-like temperature. It’s a popular time to go island hopping around the Cyclades, for example, taking in Santorini, Naxos and Paros or perhaps explore Corfu’s magnificent coastline. There are still off-the-beaten track destinations too, for those in the know, like Kythera, Ithaca and Milos, or foodie-hotspot Sifnos. The long days and frequently running ferries, also make it the ideal time to visit lesser-known gems which are sometimes under-served out of season. Try Alonissos with its pristine, protected marine environment for diving (including an underwater museum) and laid-back Astypalea with its uncrowded beaches. For swimming and water sports, as well as the best nightlife, summer is the ideal time to visit Greece with islands like Mykonos and Santorini buzzing with a party atmosphere.

Holiday type: Sand, sea and sunsets

Top spots: The Cyclades to true romance and Alonissos for quieter seclusion

3. Autumn

For the best of both worlds – sunshine but fewer crowds – head to Athens or Thessaloniki in the autumn. The days are still mostly bright and cloud-free until the end of October but school-season tourists have returned home and good restaurants are quieter. Another joy of visiting post-August is that the sea has had the entire summer to warm up, making autumn one of the best times to go to Greece for sea swimming. For dreamy sea temperatures, head south to Rhodes, Karpathos or Crete and maybe make a day trip to far-flung Gavdos or Chrissi. It’s also a wonderful time of year to visit the mainland and see the leaves changing to their golden hue. Explore the world-heritage site Meteora, with its six monasteries and otherworldly geology, the vast wilds of Ossa national park or picturesque Pelion Mountain, overlooking the sparkling coast.

Holiday type: Walking & antiquities, or swimming & exploring

Top spots: Crete for heat, the Peloponnese for exploration

4. Winter

While the nation is famed for its balmy summers, powder hounds might argue that the best time to visit Greece is winter. Greece has several major ski resorts like Arachova, Anilio or Kalavryta in the Peloponnese, as well as Vasilitsa Ski Center, which is particularly loved for snowboarding. For skiing closer to the gods, head to Elatochori Ski Centre on the northern slopes of Mount Olympus. One of the main draws of a winter visit, especially if you’re heading to the islands, is the price and the lack of crowds. The sleepy islands return to their authentic state and you’ll find yourself surrounded by locals, with trails and beaches pleasantly empty. Popular historical cities like Athens and Thessaloniki are also more peaceful and you won’t face the long queues. Besides, a pleasant 12–15 degrees is the most-appealing temperature to walk around places like Areopagus Hill, Heraklion and the Minoan Palace at Knossos.

Holiday type: Skiing or antiquities

Top spots: Athens, Crete & northern, mainland Greece

5. When to go to Greece for Festivals

If you’re heading to Greece in spring, catch the spectacle of Orthodox Easter, with beautiful floral decorations, bakeries overflowing with sweet treats and candlelight processions on Easter weekend. Greek Independence Day is 25th of March, so expect parades and a festival atmosphere. In May, you might catch the Kifissia flower show, in the Athens suburb, or the day of free-entry to museums and monuments of the 18th of May. Autumn is the season for harvest festivals, including chestnut festivals, a Feta Festival in Elassona in the Thessaly region (September) and the Wines of Peloponnese festival. Corfu also holds its own beer festival in September. Greece observes a national holiday on 28th October with parades, marching bands and folk-dress. In winter you’ll find Christmas markets like at Oneiroupoli in Drama, with festivities lasting until January 6th. Some places have truly unique traditions, like Kastoria, where the local festival Ragoutsaria (in January) sees locals dressed up in costumes and dancing in the streets, culminating in a sing-off.

Holiday type: Authentic cultural exploration & foodie fun

Top picks: Corfu beer festival & Festival Feta in Elassona (both Sept)

6. When to go to Greece for Water Sports

Some of the Greek islands get year-round wind, meaning there’s no bad time to experience water sports. The most popular time to visit Greece for water sports is, of course, summer, from May to the end of the September. Paros, Naxos, Corfu and Rhodes are some of the top water-sports islands – thanks to their summer winds – drawing surfers, wind surfers and kite-surfers to their famous shores. Calm-watered Kefalonia is known for diving and kayaking, while the glistening sea of Paxos is a sailor’s or snorkeller’s dream. The tranquil waters of Milos or Alonnisos are perfect for diving, snorkelling or SUP-ing. Experienced surfers will want to wait for winter to catch the biggest swells in Greece, and benefit from all the other delights of an off-season visit. Make a beeline for surf hotspots like Kolymbithra in Tinos, Crete (specifically near Falasarna) and world-championship kite-surfing hub Karpathos. For off-the-beaten-track winter swells with the best surfers in the country, head to Costa Navarino on the Pelopponese.

Best for snorkelling: Paxos, Alonissos, Milos

Best for kite/windsurfing: Rhodes, Corfu & Crete

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