While any country can be visited year-round, Greece is best known as a summer holiday destination. The mainland, particularly larger cities like Athens, and some bigger islands sustain a sizeable year-round population. Still, tourism, even on famous islands like Mykonos, Paros and Santorini, is seasonal. This guide will explain the best time to visit Greece, depending on your travel ambitions.
Much of the content here is also explained in our YouTube video:
Temperature and Rainfall
From May to October, the Greek climate is mainly dry and warm, with the mainland and most islands experiencing temperatures of between 20 and 30 degrees Celsius (68 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit), though peak temperatures over 40 degrees Celsius (104 Fahrenheit) are not uncommon, particularly among the southern islands such as Crete and Rhodes.
Although isolated rain showers are not uncommon even in the summer months, from personal experience, I’ve only ever seen it rain perhaps three or four times in over 30 years of travel, the worst of which was a few years ago on Crete in late October. Even when it does rain, showers tend to be short-lived, and the mild or hot temperature can make it feel refreshing rather than a nuisance.
Recommended Months to Visit
Walking/Hiking: May-June or September-October
If your main aim is hiking or extensive sightseeing, avoiding high season is better due to the potential for uncomfortably hot conditions. Peak summer temperatures can be dangerous even for experienced hikers. We recommend either early in the tourist season, between early May and mid-June, or late in the season, from mid-September to late October, as the best months to travel. The weather is slightly colder, and prices will be lower and resorts less crowded.
Be aware that some ferry services operate reduced schedules at the start and end of the tourist season, and not all restaurants and attractions will be open.
Sightseeing: June-July or September
Greece has an abundance of fantastic sights to see: a rich selection of ancient ruins, museums and castles, caves, beaches, mountains and picturesque villages. If you aren’t into long hikes but still want to see what your destination offers, we’d recommend visiting early June to mid-July or mid-September. The weather will be hot, and everywhere will be open for tourism, but you’ll still avoid the stifling August heat and peak crowds.
Sun Worshippers: July-August-September
If a golden tan and warm sea are all you crave, then the peak season temperatures of July, August, and early September will suit you perfectly. Prices will be higher, and hotels often get fully booked, but the glorious Greek sun will be out in full force, ready to push your sweat glands to their limits!