Are you planning a trip to Greece and wondering when is the best time to visit Greek islands? Well, the good news is that Greece is a year-round travel destination with something to offer in every season.
However, if you want to experience warm weather and enjoy the beautiful beaches, the best time to go is during the summer months, from May to September.
June is considered the perfect month to visit the Greek islands as the temperatures are pleasant and there are fewer tourists compared to July and August.
During this time, visitors can explore the picturesque islands like Mykonos, Santorini, and Crete, and indulge in the rich Greek orthodox culture.
If you prefer cooler temperatures and want to avoid the crowds, visiting Greece in May or September would be ideal. However, no matter when you go, you can expect high temperatures during the summer months, both on the islands and mainland Greece.
So, pack your swimsuits and get ready to soak up the sun!
Let’s get started!
Number of Greek Islands to Visit
Greece is home to around 6,000 islands, but only 200 are inhabited. They can be divided into eight main groups: Argosaronic Islands, Cyclades, North Aegean Islands, Dodecanese, Sporades, Ionian Islands, Crete, and Evia.
The most popular ones are located in the Aegean Sea and the Ionian Sea, or one of the Dodecanese islands. Each island has its own special story, so deciding which one to explore will be difficult!
Let’s have a glance at the different Greek islands which you can consider visiting in your next trip-
- Explore the history and beauty of Santorini, part of the Cyclades islands.
- Relax in the sun on Mykonos, one of the most popular destinations in the Cyclades.
- Journey through Crete’s diverse landscape, home to ancient Minoan ruins.
- Enjoy Corfu’s natural bounty of stunning beaches and majestic mountains.
- Discover the vibrant city life of Rhodes, the largest of the Dodecanese islands.
- Find untouched serenity at Kefalonia, the largest of the Ionian islands.
- Unlock Naxos’ extraordinary volcanic beaches, coral reefs, and medieval castles.
- Escape to the tranquil atmosphere of Paros, with its picturesque fishing villages.
- Dive under the deep blue waters around Milos, where dramatic cliffs define its coast.
- Fall in love with the charming local culture of Kos, located in the Dodecanese.
Best Time to Visit Greek Islands and Greece
Visiting Greece is best from late May to early October, when the mainland and islands are sunny and warm. During this time, the waters also heat up, making swimming more enjoyable.
When deciding when to go, the weather is an important factor – no one wants to spend their holiday season getting rained on!
Season in Greece
Greece has a Mediterranean climate which includes mild, wet winters, and hot, dry summers, with lots of sunshine throughout the year.
However, depending on the region you visit in Greece, the climate can vary from the Mediterranean due to its topography–mountains in the country and surrounding areas, as well as the alternation of land and sea.
In Greece, the climate varies greatly across different regions. Parts of Northern and Western Greece are especially wet, while Eastern Greece is much dryer. This kind of diverse range of climates close to each other can be found in very few countries.
Greece has two main seasons: a cold, wet winter from October to March and a hot, dry summer from April to October. Sometimes in January and February, the winter weather takes a break with sunny days known as “Alkyonides days.”
The Aegean and Ionian islands in the south experience mild and sweet winters, while Northern and Eastern Greece tend to be colder. During the hot summer months, the weather usually remains sunny and dry, with only brief breaks of heavy rain or thunderstorms.
Weather in Greece by Months
1. Spring on The Greek Islands: March- May
Spring on the Greek Islands is beautiful and mild. March temperatures average 16°C, rising to 20°C in April. There are some showers during these months, but May is dry and sunny, with an average temperature of 24°C. Although it’s nice and warm, the sea is still too cold to swim in.
2. Time to Go to Greece: Summer (June-August)
Between June and August, Greece experiences hot weather with temperatures often reaching 90°F (32°C). These months are the highest tourist season with millions of visitors flocking to the country to take in its unique sites and scenery.
So if you’re up for an unforgettable summer vacation spot, Greece is the place to go!
The party islands of Mykonos, Corfu and Los can be a great fit for those who want to socialize, while Skyros and Naxos are ideal spots if you’re searching for a more tranquil holiday.
Whatever your preference, there’s something for everyone in Greece during the summer months.
Summer Events of The Greek Islands
Celebrate Greece’s independence with the Miaoulia Festival, held annually in Hydra on the last weekend of June. Enjoy a range of fun activities and spectacular fireworks honoring Admiral Andreas Miaoulis, the island’s heroic defender during the War of Independence.
If you’re a food enthusiast, then head to the Rethymnon city of Crete in July for the Cretan Diet Festival. There will be cooking lessons, wine tasting and buying local products, plus some musical entertainment.
Every August, the island of Aegina near Athens hosts its International Music Festival. Top classical musicians from around the world gather here to showcase their talents.
3. Greek Islands in October, September, November
Autumn is an excellent time to visit the Greek Islands. Temperatures are pleasant, averaging 25 degrees Celsius during the day. The sunshine is abundant, but temperatures are not too hot.
Plus, it rarely rains which makes for a perfect holiday experience. During the evenings it’s cooler so remember to bring along a light cardigan. It’s an ideal time to enjoy long, balmy nights out on the deck.
Early October is ideal for a trip to the Greek islands. Temperatures remain mild, around 22℃, but occasional rain showers could occur. Plus, fewer visitors mean you can explore in peace and quiet before the true low season kicks off in November.
At that time, temperatures drop to 20℃ and rains become more frequent, so plan accordingly if you want to swim or spend a full day outdoors.
4. Travel to The Greek Islands in Winter: December- February
Winter (December through February) is the off season for Greece’s islands, which means lower prices on accommodation and fewer tourist attractions are open.
However, larger cities like Corfu Town do keep some businesses running during winter, and ferry service between islands is reduced.
Winter travelers who want to explore the Greek islands should choose a larger island city, like Heraklion, Rhodes, or Corfu Town — as these are open throughout the year. Alternatively, visitors can combine a trip to the Greek mainland with some of the Saronic Islands, near Athens.
Winter in Greece is often wet, although you may get lucky with a few sunny days, especially on the southern islands. The average temperature remains mild and usually hovers around 50-60°F (10-15°C). Rarely, the thermometer drops below freezing.
Visit the Greek Islands for Winter Events
During the winter season, the islands of Greece celebrate Christmas in a unique way. Small boats, known as karavakis, are decorated with festive lights and greenery.
Traditional carols can be heard throughout the streets, accompanied by homemade treats such as pastries.
On January 1st, the Greek Islands celebrate the Feast of Saint Basil the Great. This is an ancient tradition where families exchange gifts to mark the start of a new year and show their love for each other.
In February, the Greek islands come alive with Carnival celebrations! Apokries features bonfires, dancing, and music, while the famous Venetian-rooted celebration on Corfu is one of the most spectacular. Don’t miss out on this wintertime fun!
Thinking to Visit the Islands in Winter Only- Low Season in Greece
If you can only visit the Greek islands in winter, consider going to larger ones like Crete, Rhodes, Corfu, or Kos.
These offer plenty of historical and cultural sites and museums to explore, as well as events like Christmas, New Year’s, or Epiphany. Even in the colder months, these locations have plenty to do and see.
Mykonos, Ios, and Zakynthos may not be the best destinations to visit during winter. Their popular beaches and nightlife are not available then, with Mykonos Town being particularly desolate.
Additionally, sightseeing in Zante is limited due to the Blue Caves being inaccessible. A cruise from Athens that visits Hydra, Poros, and Aegina is a great alternative for winter travelers wanting to experience island life.
Meltemia’ Winds: What Are They?
The Meltemia winds are strong, seasonal winds that blow across the Aegean Sea. These storms are most common on the Greek islands of Mykonos and Rhodes, earning them the nickname ‘Island of the Winds.’ Tourists planning to visit Greece should be aware of this phenomenon and take proper precautions.
The meltemia winds usually start in May and can last until the end of September. July and August are typically when they are strongest and most frequent. They have both good and bad effects on the region.
They can make maritime transportation difficult, but they also help cool down temperatures in the Aegean islands and Eastern Continental Greece, making visiting during that time very pleasant.
The Aegean Islands can be quite cool at night in the summertime, so make sure to pack warm clothes. These refreshing meltemia winds will help keep you comfortable during your days by the beach.
Peak Season on The Greek Islands
From late June to early September is when Greece is at its busiest. Temperatures are high, ferries and flights are plentiful, and the beaches are full. But beware, prices may also be at their highest during this time.
If you’re looking for hot weather, stunning beaches and lots to do, then this is the best time to visit.
Greek Island Hopping in Shoulder Season
Traveling to Greece between May and October is a great way to save money and enjoy pleasant weather. During these months, all services are available, so you can take ferries and flights, and find restaurants and hotels open for business.
Crowds will be fewer and the weather will not be as hot as the summer months.
The best time to visit the Greek islands or go to Greece in general is during the months of June- September. Many Greek islands are accessible by ferry and offer a unique experience with their stunning beaches, charming villages, and delicious traditional cuisine.
Greece in June is especially beautiful, as the weather is generally sunny and the landscape is vibrant with blooming flowers. It is a perfect time to explore the historical sites in Athens, such as the Acropolis and the Parthenon.
Additionally, if you are looking for the cheapest time to visit Greece, the months of May & October can be more budget-friendly, as they are considered the shoulder seasons.
During these months, you can still enjoy warm weather and fewer crowds, making it a great time to visit if you want to experience Greece without breaking the bank.
Another popular time to visit Greece is during Greek Easter, which is usually celebrated in April. This is a time when the streets come alive with people and festivities, and you can witness the unique traditions and customs associated with this religious holiday.
Overall, Greece offers something for everyone, whether you want to visit the famous Greek islands, explore historical sites in Athens, or simply enjoy the beautiful weather and stunning landscapes.
Good Luck for your trip!