Greece is a popular destination for all kinds of travellers. With a rich history and archaeological sites, the biggest coastline in the Mediterranean and countless beautiful islands, secluded beaches, and mesmerizing waters, mountains, and hiking trails and a world-famous cuisine make it the perfect choice for your holidays. But what most people wonder is “When is the best time to go to Greece?”
We hear you! We prepared a complete guide on when to go to Greece based on your preferences. From the best time for nightlife to enjoying a Greek beach to yourself, we got you covered.
Best time to go to Greece for the weather
The weather in Greece varies from the mainland to the many Greek Islands and from the North to the South. Make sure you look into the weather at the destinations you are visiting.
In terms of the weather, the best time to go to Greece is in late spring from April until mid-June and in early autumn from September until October. The weather during those months is mild with sunshine, all destinations are less crowded, nature is at its best and everything is more relaxed. Most people, like families or certain professions, cannot travel outside July and August, so we get that it is not ideal for everyone.
Peak Season in Greece
The two most popular months for visiting Greece are July and August. Wherever you go it will be very crowded, especially in popular destinations like Mykonos, Santorini, and Chalkidiki. If you like the buzz, make sure to pre-book accommodation, e.g. luxury Chalkidiki villas, and transportation or you will find yourself without any options. Keep in mind that those are the hottest months, with the temperature usually lying in the 30s and 40s!
August is the favourite month of the Greeks for holidays. It’s when they take their annual leave and when most local festivals and panigiria take place. Especially the week before and after the 15th of August Greece becomes as crowded as it gets.
As everywhere, in the high season prices are also high. You can find good deals if you book well in advance, ie 6-7 months ahead.
Low Season in Greece
Low season is considered from mid-November to early April. This is not the best time to visit the Greek islands, since most hotels, restaurants, and local shops are closed. Seasonal business owners and employees go back home and the islands are left with the local residents. Also, this time is considered to be winter in Greece, with the temperatures varying between 8-15 degrees Celsius.
However, if you pick a big island like Crete, Rhodes, Chios, or Corfu you’ll find plenty of things to do. Those islands have many locals and life doesn’t stop when tourists leave. The big cities on the mainland are also a great choice during those months. Hotels and restaurants in mainland Greece don’t close during the winter months, plus everything is cheaper and less crowded.
When to go to Greece – Greek Festivals
New Year’s Eve & Saint Basil’s Day (January 1)
New Year’s Eve is a popular date for people to travel to different places and join the local celebrations. In Greece, it is celebrated with a dinner and then parting until dawn. On Saint Basil’s Day, January first, people exchange gifts and cut a cake named vasilopita. Vasilopita has a hidden coin and the person who finds it will bear luck for the coming year.
Apokries (February – March)
Apokries is the Greek Carnival and it lasts for 3 weeks with various happenings. Aprokies finish on Sunday before Lent Monday. Cities like Patra, Corfu island, Xanthi, and Rethymno are famous for their parades and celebrations on the last Sunday of Apokries.
Tsiknopempti is on Thursday in the second week of Apokries. It’s a meat feast where people take out their BBQ and grill tons of meat. In some places, bands go out in the streets and play local music and songs.
Lent Monday is the end of Apokries and is celebrated with seafood. It’s the beginning of the 40days fasting for Easter. People usually arrange a picnic and kites have an important role for kids.
Independence Day (March 25th)
March 25 is a double celebration in Greece. Both the Independence Day and the religious Feast of the Annunciation falls on the same day. Parades, dances, feasts, and fanfare take place around the country. The day’s traditional meal includes codfish with a garlic dip, called mpakaliaros skordalia.
Orthodox Easter (March – April)
Easter is the most important event for the Greeks. The dates change from year to year and they are not the same as the Catholic Easter. During the Holy Week, you get to experience the traditional celebrations, which vary from place to place. The dates to mark are Holy Friday, Holy Saturday, and Easter Sunday.
Rouketopolemos, meaning “rocket war”, takes place every year on Holy Saturday on the Greek island of Chios. At the town of Vrontados, the two rival churches are firing home-made rockets and aim to hit the bell tower.
Athens Epidaurus Festival (June – August)
From July to August, the sounds of opera, classical music, and open-air plays fill the summer months in various locations. Ancient dramas are performed at the ancient theater of Epidaurus, which is a unique experience for everyone who loves arts and theater.
Panagias – Feast of the Assumption of the Virgin (15th of August)
This is the second biggest celebration, after Easter, for Orthodox Greeks. It’s a national holiday and locals attend their nearest church to light a candle. Pilgrimage visit Tinos’ cathedral, one of the country’s most important churches. Many local festivals, known as panigiri, take place on the night of the 15th of August.
Fistiki Fest (September)
A local celebration on the island of Aegina, fistiki stands for pistachio. During the Fistiki Festival, countless kiosks sell products made of pistachio. There are also exhibitions, concerts, farm visits, and happenings about the pistachio growing and harvesting.
Ochi Day (28th of October)
Ochi Day on the 28th of October is a national holiday that marks Greece’s opposition to the German and Italian armies in 1940. There are military parades, traditional dancing, and children in local dress throughout the country.
Best time to go to Greece for Sailing or Island Hopping
You might think August is the best time for sailing and island hopping, but you are mistaken! August is the month with the most local winds, called meltemia, which makes it hard to travel around on a boat or a ferry. Plus, everything is too crowded, and finding a spot in the marina or being spontaneous are risky options.
June, early July, and September are great for sailing and island hopping. You get the gulfs for yourself and the weather is usually on your side. You can even be flexible and change your plans by staying more at an island or skipping a destination.
Best time to go to Greece for Swimming
Late summer and early autumn are best for enjoying the Mediterranean, Ionian and Aegean seas. The reason is that the water temperature is ideal is it warms up over summer. The Aegean sea is considered to be among the best seas in the world, with almost no waves, tiny tidal changes, and pleasant water temperatures.
If you prefer colder waters then May and June are great for that. The sun is shining, the beach temperature is great for resting after your swim and most beaches are cleaned and ready for people.
Best time to go to Greece for Sightseeing
Greece is full of archaeological sites, places of great cultural importance which are a must-see for anyone interested in history or philosophy. Most sites are open year-round and you can explore the ancient temples and ruins anytime you want. We recommend choosing a time when the weather is mild and not very hot or rainy.
The best time for that is in early autumn, September-October, or late spring, April-May. At that time all sites follow the summer hours and it’s still convenient to arrange your time. In the winter, the opening hours are limited and some sites are closed to the public.
Best Time for Nightlife in Greece
Greece is popular for its party life. Greeks are in general outgoing, fun and they like good parties and festivals. Not few of the Greek islands are famous for their nightlife throughout the decades, with the queen of all being Mykonos. Today, Mykonos is still the place to party but you have plenty more options, like Paros, Ios, Skiathos, Zante, Rhodes, and some parts of Crete. During the high season of July and August world-renowned DJs visit those islands to play at clubs, beach bars, or festivals.
If you are looking for parties, then when you pick your destination check the agenda of the bars and beach bars. They announce the parties and the DJs beforehand in order for people to arrange their holidays accordingly. If you are not in a planning mood just book accommodation, e.g. luxury villas in Paros, above in late July or August and you’ll have plenty of options for an unforgettable nightlife experience.
Best time to go to Greece for Outdoor Activities
Depending on the outdoor activities you are interested in there are various options.
Hiking – Climbing
The best season for hiking and climbing are spring and autumn. The weather is mild, the sun is not very strong, the rainfall is low and nature is at its best. Greece has beautiful island trails, stunning hiking trails like the famous Samaria Gorge in Crete, and of course the famous hike to the Mt Olympus peak.
Windsurfing – Kitesurfing
The Aegean Sea is the perfect spot for windsurfing and kitesurfing lovers. It is windy enough without big waves or tides and sandy beaches. Summer is perfect for both activities and for the brave ones, spring and autumn also have great weather.
Well yes, you can go skiing in Greece! Greece has some excellent ski resorts and the most popular is Mt Parnassus near Arachova. In just a few hours from Athens, you get to enjoy the mountain breeze and you can also combine a visit to Delphi which is close there.
The ski season in Greece starts in December, with January being the most solid month. The ski season can go on until May depending on the snow that has fallen.
When is the best time to go to Greece?
Greece is a 365 days destination. Decide what you want to experience the most, which destinations you are going to, and then choose when to visit Greece.
FAQs & Quick Answers
Best Time to go to Greece is from late April to Early November. The Best Time to Visit Greece in terms of good-sunny weather is from May to October. July and August are the hottest and most crowded months. The best Time to Visit Greece for Honeymoon is June and September in every aspect.
Greece is one of the most affordable countries to visit at any time of year if you consider the balance between quality and price. The cheapest time to go to Greece though is during the off-season. The absolute best time of year to visit Greece on a budget, is between October and April. You can easily find accomodation in quite low prices during this period.