Greece is a beautiful country with stunning beaches, historic sites, mountains, islands, and delicious cuisine. However, there are some times of the year when visiting Greece may not be the most enjoyable experience due to high temperatures, crowds, or rainy weather. In this blog post, we will discuss the worst time to visit Greece and the best times to plan your trip for an incredible vacation.
The Worst time to visit Greece
The summer is usually considered one of the worst time to visit Greece, especially for those looking to avoid huge crowds and scorching heat. During the summer months of June, July, and August, temperatures regularly exceed 100°F throughout most of Greece. Coastal areas may be slightly cooler, with highs generally in the 90s F, but inland it will be swelteringly hot.
In addition to the extreme heat, summer is also the most popular time for vacations which means huge tourist crowds at all the top attractions like the Acropolis in Athens, Santorini, Mykonos, and Rhodes. Hotels and flights also peak in price during the summer. While the beaches and sea will be warm enough for swimming, the heat and large groups of tourists make summer one of the worst seasons overall for a comfortable Greek vacation experience.
Though still hot, late August could be a slightly better time to visit Greece than mid-summer as some tourists have already left and hotel prices may start to drop slightly. However, many Greek schools don’t begin again until mid-September, so families with children will still be on vacation.
You’ll find large crowds at beaches, restaurants, and attractions until around September 1st. August 15th also marks a major Greek religious holiday called the Dormition of the Virgin Mary, so there may be pilgrimages and festivals around that date adding to summer crowds. Overall, late August is likely still one of the worst time to visit Greece for those hoping to escape the heat and hordes of tourists.
While winters in Greece are generally mild compared to other parts of Europe, visiting in the winter has its downsides as well. Many tourist sites and attractions have reduced hours or are even completely closed during the winter months from November through February. Hotels and flights also drop significantly in price from spring through early fall, making winter one of the more expensive seasons.
Additionally, rainfall increases in the winter with higher chances of rain and sometimes snow at higher elevations on the mainland and islands. Coastal areas stay drier but can experience strong winds and cooler temperatures in the 40s-50s F. Isolated rural areas on many of the islands have limited services and transportation in the winter months as well. So unless you’re an avid walker or enjoy the rugged winter scenery, the winter may be the worst time to visit greece.
Shoulder Seasons: Spring and Fall
Most tourism experts agree that the best times to visit Greece fall within the shoulder seasons of spring (April–May) and fall (September–October). During these transitional months, crowds are much lower and hotel prices are significantly cheaper compared to summer.
Spring weather averages highs in the 70s with warm sunshine and minimal rainfall across most regions after April. Fall days are mild as well with temperatures between 65-75°F through October. The sea is still warm enough for swimming into early October on many of the Greek islands.
Not only are spring and fall better for crowds and pricing, but you’ll also experience Greece in full bloom. Wildflowers dot the hillsides in spring while fall brings vivid foliage colors. Many cultural and religious festivals also take place in villages during these seasons.
The only potential downside is an increased chance of some rain showers compared to the dry heat of summer, though rainfall tends to clear quickly. Overall, the shoulder seasons provide the perfect balance of pleasant weather, fewer crowds, and cheaper prices, making them ideal alternatives to summer for your Greece getaway.
One exception to spring being a better time is the week leading up to and including Orthodox Easter. Known as Holy Week, this period sees massive crowds throughout Greece as locals and visitors gather for religious processions and celebrations. Hotels book up solid and prices skyrocket, particularly on the islands. If visiting Greece during spring, try to schedule your trip before or after Orthodox Easter falls to avoid the congestion and premium rates of this peak religious observance. Dates change annually but Easter is usually in late April or early May.
When to Book Flights and Accommodations
For the best availability and pricing when visiting Greece during the shoulder seasons or winter, it’s recommended to start researching and booking your flights and accommodations 4-6 months in advance. Summertime travel, however, requires planning even further ahead, ideally 6-8 months prior to locking in affordable rates and lodging before everything fills up. Last-minute travel to Greece, especially in peak seasons, often means sky-high prices so allow sufficient lead time to budget for the optimal times and save money. Be sure to compare multiple travel sites too for the best flight and hotel deals.
FAQs About Visiting Greece
Here are some common questions travelers have about timing a trip to Greece:
Is spring or fall better for touring Greece’s sites?
Fall tends to offer milder weather than spring but each has pros. Spring sees blooming wildflowers while fall brings beautiful changing foliage. Either works well as long as you avoid major Greek Orthodox holidays like Easter.
When is the rainy season in Greece?
Much of Greece experiences rainy or showery weather from November through March. Coastal areas are drier but mountainous regions see more precipitation in winter.
Are the islands crowded in September and October?
Some lingering summer crowds will be on the islands into September but by mid-October numbers shrink significantly. Shoulder seasons provide space to explore most island destinations without the summer mobs.
What’s the warmest part of Greece to visit in winter?
The islands, southern Peloponnese, and Crete see the mildest winter temperatures averaging above 55°F. The mountainous mainland and northern regions will be colder and wetter off-season.
By planning your trip to Greece during the spring (April–May) or fall (September–October) shoulder seasons, you’ll enjoy mild weather, smaller crowds, and cheaper rates compared to peak summer tourism times. While summertime does offer hot beach days and cultural events, the oppressive heat, large groups, and higher prices make it one of the worst seasons overall for travel comfort.
Winter is milder than northern Europe but some attractions have limited hours. By selecting the transition months for your Greece vacation, you’ll experience the country in full beauty without the peak-season hassles. Just be sure to book early for the best availability during these popular shoulder dates. With a little trip planning, you can avoid visiting Greece at its worst times.