there we go again... you are looking for flights to Greece, and all of a sudden you wonder... what's the best time to visit Greece?
Is August too hot?
Will I miss out on all the fun if I leave it until autumn?
Are there any season-specific details?
Will anything be open in September?
And all of these are very valid concerns.
Besides, it's not as easy to hop around anymore, and every travel experience is best optimized!
The answer depends on three things...
- The things you are looking for as a traveler
- Your definition of things like "busy", "hot", and "cold"
- Any key events (Easter etc.) you would like to experience
so to the best of my ability... this is what I tell people when they ask me "what's the best time to visit Greece".
The best time to visit Greece in general
June or early September
Average temperature: 25 ºC or 78 ºF
If you are looking for hot weather (but not too hot) a reasonable amount of people around, and a proper Greek summer I would have to suggest visiting Greece in June or early September.
The chances of getting bad weather are slim.
Restaurants, theaters, and ancient sights will be busy but not SUPER busy. And you will get the chance to experience an idyllic Greek summer, just like the movies.
If you are traveling on a budget, June and September may still be considered "high season" in some places (namely Mykonos and Santorini) so you won't necessarily find better deals, but you will definitely have more options and have an easier time making last-minute reservations.
Best time to visit the Greek islands
July or August
Average temperature: 28.5 ºC or 83 ºF
Let me preface this by saying... yes it will be busy. BUT! It will be worth it!
If you can only manage a few days or weeks in July and August for a greek vacation, don't be discouraged.
This is definitely the height of the high season. It's an especially good time to visit lesser-known Greek islands, as they come alive during this season with visitors. Smaller islands and off-the-beaten-path destinations may only be "open" for July and August as a lot of restaurants and hotels in Greece operate on a seasonal basis.
This is also the best time to visit Greece if you want to experience the greek island party scene at its height.
On the flip-side, if you are visiting Athens, Thessaloniki, or other urban centers during this time, you will find that they are less busy.
Albeit, walking around Athens during a heatwave, is not an experience to recommend!
As always, planning when to visit Greece depends on the things you want to do. Most Greeks take time off around the 15th of August, as it is a national holiday and typically during this time most businesses and offices will be closed.
Avoiding the crowds is also attainable with a little bit of planning and insider knowledge!
Best time to visit Greece on a budget
May - late September
Average temperature: 21-24 ºC or 70-76 ºF
I hope this doesn't ruffle your feathers but it's got to be said.
If you have unrealistic expectations of how much a trip to Greece is going to cost, little planning in advance, while also being on a tight budget you are setting up yourself for a small disappointment.
The reason why I say this is simple.
There are always ways to budget, cheaper accommodation, eating out less, or cutting down on private transportation. But the reality is, some very popular greek islands book out months and months in advance, and all the budgeting in the world is not gonna work when there is one ferry ticket for three times the off-season price and you have a flight to catch!
This is particularly true in greek islands like Mykonos, Santorini, Paros, Ios, and Milos. These islands amass insane numbers of travelers every year, and taking into consideration that they were built for the handful of local residents you will see that the supply-and-demand equation doesn't add up!
If you are on a budget and want to experience the most iconic greek destinations, a little planning will go a long way, and picking a different time of the year to visit is going to contribute a lot!
If you are reading this thinking that your schedule doesn't match the above, please don't despair.
The good thing is that there is no such thing as a bad time to visit Greece. I have had Julys in Mykonos and Santorini and found quiet beautiful spots to relax, and middle of the winter excursions with beautiful sunny days and incredible scenery to enjoy!
When is your next greek vacation? Let me know at withgiota!