Greece is one of Europe’s sunniest and most popular tourist destinations. The islands and mainland are popular amongst tourists from Europe and beyond. Destinations like Santorini and Mykonos are often so busy that the experience has deteriorated to unacceptable levels, both for tourists and locals. Meanwhile, there are many islands and coastal towns that are unknown and therefore not suffering from overtourism (yet).
In this overview we combine monthly weather forecasts with our daily crowd prediction data. At avoid crowds we source tourist data such as hotel occupancy rates, cruise schedules and public holidays to make the perfect crowd forecasts for Greece and many other destinations. You can access our day to day crowd predictions here. In Greece, we have tailored crowd predictions for the following destinations: Athens, Chania, Corfu, Heraklion, Kos, Mykonos, Rhodes, Santorini and Zakynthos.
Best time to travel to Greece in 2020: April to half June or September to October
Busiest time in Greece, 2020: Half June to early September
Best weather in Greece, 2020: June to September.
Best time for nightlife and clubs, 2020: July and August.
Greece is not a one stop tourist-shop, there are dozens of islands and mainland destinations. Although these destinations are all very different, travel patterns and weather forecasts are similar across the country. We therefore decided to make a single overview rather than making multiple overviews for each single island, the mainland or Athens.
Best time to travel to Greece in 2020
We believe the best time to travel is in the shoulder season. There are two different shoulder seasons in Greece. There is the pre-season that starts as early as April and ends when peak season starts halfway through June. The second shoulder season starts at the end of peak season, beginning of September, and lasts until the weather deteriorates in November. The weather in Greece is moderate during these months, not too warm and most definitely not too cold either.
During the shoulder seasons, you can expect fewer crowds and more moderate weather conditions than during the hot and busy peak season summer months. Although there is lots of cruise traffic in September and October, there are a lot of good, less crowded days. In this period, you can expect fewer fellow travelers, cheaper hotel prices, lower air fares and very attractive package deals.
Peak season in Greece, 2020
Peak season in Greece starts simultaneously with the European summer school vacations. Although crowds start to pick up in June, the true peak season starts when larger countries like Germany, France and the United Kingdom have their summer breaks. In Greece, peak season lasts slightly longer than in many other European destinations. It starts a bit earlier, in the second half of June, and lasts until half September. Meanwhile, the cruise season lasts longer, which can make some Greek destinations busy in months like October and November.
Read more about peak season here: Peak season in Europe, when is it? What is it?
January is low season in Greece
January brings cold wintery weather to Greece. Although temperatures in most of the country won’t drop below freezing point, Greece is not a great winter destination. Average maximum temperatures: 13 degrees Celsius (55 Fahrenheit) in Athens & 14 degrees Celsius (57 Fahrenheit) in Santorini.
February is still low season in Greece
February is very similar to January. It is a cold winter month in Greece. Although weather conditions might be better than many of the Northern European destinations, Greece is not specifically a great country to travel to in February. Average maximum temperatures: 14 degrees Celsius (57 Fahrenheit) in Athens & 14 degrees Celsius (57 Fahrenheit) in Santorini.
In March, Greece starts to warm up
March marks the start of Spring and Greece will be warming up quickly. Although the weather is not perfect yet, crowds in most Greek destinations will be low. The majority of cruise ships have not yet relocated from the Caribbean to the Mediterranean either. Average maximum temperatures: 16 degrees Celsius (61 Fahrenheit) in Athens & 16 degrees Celsius (61 Fahrenheit) in Santorini.
April is one of our favorite months to travel to Greece
In April, the weather throughout big parts of Greece improves quickly. There are more sunny days and temperatures are rising each week. This is also reflected in the number of arriving tourists. Large cruise ships will start to navigate the Greek islands in April.
April is a perfect month to find good deals such as cheap cruises or package deals. Crowds are still low although there are some weeks in which the number of tourist spike upwards. Mostly due to religious holidays across the continent such as Easter or Greek Easter (two different dates). Average maximum temperatures: 20 degrees Celsius (68 Fahrenheit) in Athens & 18 degrees Celsius (64 Fahrenheit) in Santorini.
May marks the end of Greece’s first shoulder season
In May, the Greek islands as well as on the mainland will get busier. Most European countries have school vacations over Easter and other religious public holidays. This gives lots of Europeans the possibility to travel which makes Greece busier for the first time this the year. Although it gets busier, tourism levels are not yet close to the craziness of peak season. Agreeable temperatures and the number of sunshine hours are improving and combined with the relatively low number of tourists, May would be a perfect month to travel to Greece if you have the opportunity. Average maximum temperatures: 25 degrees Celsius (77 Fahrenheit) in Athens & 22 degrees Celsius (72 Fahrenheit) in Santorini.
June is not yet peak season in most of Greece
While June starts of as a relatively quiet month, things are getting busier each week. The end of the month marks the start of peak season. Weather wise, June is a great month to visit Greece with warm weather and little to no rain. Average maximum temperatures: 29 degrees Celsius (84 Fahrenheit) in Athens & 27 degrees Celsius (81 Fahrenheit) in Santorini.
July means peak season
July marks the true beginning of peak season. School vacations across the European continent make Greece a popular and therefore busy destination. July is one of the hottest and driest months in the country. Expect massive crowds in destinations like Mykonos, Crete or Santorini.
If you decide to travel in July, we recommend that you plan ahead. If you visit popular and busy destinations, make sure you buy your access tickets in advance. Average maximum temperatures: 32 degrees Celsius (90 Fahrenheit) in Athens & 29 degrees Celsius (84 Fahrenheit) in Santorini.
August brings the busiest times
Greek peak season is at its worst in August. We recommend not traveling to the main attractions in Greece such as Mykonos or the Acropolis of Athens. Plan your visit carefully and make sure that you buy tickets in advance wherever you can. The weather will be warm and dry. Average maximum temperatures: 32 degrees Celsius (90 Fahrenheit) in Athens & 29 degrees Celsius (84 Fahrenheit) in Santorini.
Still busy in September
September used to be the perfect post season month to travel anywhere in Europe. Although it is less busy with families, peak season is now extended into a new popular travel month. This new trend is usually limited to the most popular and most touristic destinations.
Compared to August, the weather cools down a bit in September. This means that you can experience all the greatness the country has to offer without the crazy summer heat. Average maximum temperatures: 28 degrees Celsius (82 Fahrenheit) in Athens & 26 degrees Celsius (79 Fahrenheit) in Santorini.
October: a perfect month to go and explore Greece
October is the new September in terms of traveling through Europe. One of the ‘upsides’ of global warming is that October is warmer and drier than ever before. While the weather is now very pleasant across most of Europe, crowds are low. Very enjoyable weather and low crowds make October the perfect month to travel to Greece. Cruise companies also know that the weather is improving and stay in the area for longer than before. As a result, it can get (very) crowded with cruise ship passengers on some destinations. Make sure to check our crowd predictor tool to check what cities to avoid.
Unfortunately, the European climate is changing quickly and has become less predictable. Although October brought great weather in the past years, there is no guarantee that this will be the same in 2020. Average maximum temperatures: 23 degrees Celsius (73 Fahrenheit) in Athens & 22 degrees Celsius (72 Fahrenheit) in Santorini. Click here for monthly weather forecasts.
November can be a good month to travel to Greece
Global warming also makes November a more attractive month to travel. The weather can still be moderate, while crowds are almost at the lowest point of the year. You can find some of the cheapest travel packages, hotel prices and flight fares in November. Similar to October, previous weather conditions unfortunately offer no guarantee for the future. Average maximum temperatures: 18 degrees Celsius (64 Fahrenheit) in Athens & 18 degrees Celsius (64 Fahrenheit) in Santorini.
December is not great to travel to Greece
December is one of the coldest and wettest months in the Mediterranean. Although crowds are small, we would not recommend a Greek vacation in this first month of winter. If you are lucky with the weather, a city trip to Athens might be worth it as it’s easy to navigate the city free of crowds. Average maximum temperatures: 15 degrees Celsius (59 Fahrenheit) in Athens & 15 degrees Celsius (59 Fahrenheit) in Santorini.