WHEN TO COME TO GREECE
Mediterranean Climate Conditions Apply

Greece is Warm & Dry in the Summer and Cold & Rainy in the Winter

Spring can come as early as March as it did in 2005 or it can be delayed until the end of April. After that it steadily gets warmer and in June even the most timid are willing to swim. Bathers can continue to swim all through the month of September usually and often into mid-October as well. Spring has several plus sides to it that high summer doesn't enjoy:

  • Flowers in Bloom
  • Greek Easter
  • Fewer tourists
  • Lower prices
  • Its cooler

In southern Greece It may still rain in spring but only for a couple of hours and the sun invariably comes out to dry things off. In Northern Greece it will likely remain cold from November to April with snow in the west and in the mountains.

In the official summer period the southern Grecian climate is arid, if not down right drought like, and hot. The wind is something most visitors don't expect and can blow spring or summer especially on the islands.

Because Greece is such a varied country its difficult to make accurate predictions. The dry hot conditions of southern Crete don't compare well with the high altitude mountains of Northern Greece. Of course it holds true that the farther south one goes the warmer it gets but because Greece is situated at the juncture between the Mid-East, the Balkans and N. Africa climate conditions become more complicated.

During summer its fair to say it will generally be warm because the intense heat concentrated in the middle East causes dry European air to be drawn down from the north and cover the Eastern Mediterranean. This Northern wind is known as the Meltemi wind and its most common during the long, hot, endless summer months of June, July and August. The Aegean islands in particular experience the Meltemi which, as mentioned elsewhere, can cause ferry boat delays and cancellations in summer!

In Greece spring and fall are hard to define as the temperatures and conditions can vary considerably. Winters may have long stretches of warm and placid weather in the north while southern areas may have more salubrious weather in February or November than in April. The end of March in Crete may be violently windy one day and three days later a warm 70F.

By late April however the weather has usually come around to more warm and settled conditions. The hotter it is the more there is going on in Greece. Augusts is high season and reservations should be made well in advance.

Climate - Weather

Greece has a Mediterranean climate with plenty of sunshine, mild temperatures and a limited amount of rainfall. Due to the country's geographical position, its rugged relief and its distribution between the mainland and the sea, there is great variation in Greece's climate. In summer, the dry hot days are cooled by seasonal winds called the meltemi, while mountainous regions have generally lower temperatures. The winters are mild in lowland areas, with a minimum amount of snow and ice, yet, mountains are usually snow-covered. Moreover, a common phenomenon is the occurrence of different climactic conditions during the same season (for instance, mild heat in coastal areas and cool temperatures in mountainous regions). Greece's main meteorological data are given below (Source: National Meteorological Service):      

Temperature

Average temperatures (°C)

  Athens Corfu Heraklion Rhodes Santorini Thessaloniki Serres
JAN 10,3 9,7 12,1 11,8 11,2 5,0 3,9
FEB 10,7 10,3 12,3 12,0 11,2 6,6 6,2
MAR 12,4 12,0 13,6 13,6 12,6 9,7 9,6
APR 16,0 15,0 16,6 16,6 15,5 14,2 14,2
ΜΑY 20,7 19,6 20,3 20,6 19,1 19,4 19,6
JUN 25,1 23,8 24,3 24,7 23,3 24,2 24,3
JUL 27,9 26,4 26,1 26,9 25,4 26,5 26,3
AUG 27,7 26,2 26,0 27,0 24,8 25,9 25,3
SEP 24,2 22,7 23,4 24,6 22,5 21,7 21,6
OCT 19,4 18,4 20,0 20,6 19,0 16,1 15,5
NOV 15,5 14,3 16,7 16,5 15,4 11,0 9,2
DEC 12,2 11,2 13,9 13,4 12,7 6,8 5,0

Rainfall-Humidity

Relative humidity  (%)

  Athens Corfu Heraklion Rhodes Santorini Thessaloniki Serres
JAN 68,9 74,8 68,0 70,6 71,6 75,8 77,1
FEB 68,3 74,1 66,2 69,8 70,9 73,0 71,7
MAR 68,3 73,0 66,1 69,0 72,3 72,9 68,9
APR 62,8 72,3 62,0 66,3 69,8 68,5 63,2
MAY 59,5 69,1 61,0 63,6 67,6 64,3 59,8
JUN 53,4 63,0 56,6 57,6 62,5 56,3 53,8
JUL 47,6 59,1 56,7 56,4 59,9 53,6 51,7
AUG 47,3 61,3 58,1 58,9 62,0 55,4 54,5
SEP 53,7 69,7 61,5 60,8 65,9 62,5 59,5
OCT 61,9 74,3 65,7 67,0 70,1 70,4 69,6
NOV 68,9 77,3 67,6 72,0 72,1 77,3 76,8
DEC 70,1 76,7 67,8 72,7 72,0 77,8 80,2

Sunshine
 
Average daily sunshine (in hours)

  Athens Heraklion Rhodes Thessaloniki
JAN 4.12' 3.48' 4.24' 3.06'
FEB 4.48' 4.18' 5.12' 3.30'
MAR 5.54' 5.42' 6.36' 4.48'
APR 7.42' 7.36' 8.00' 6.48'
MAY 9.24' 9.42' 10.00' 8.06'
JUN 11.12' 11.42' 11.42' 9.54'
JUL 11.42' 12.00' 12.06' 10.30'
AUG 11.00' 11.12' 11.30' 9.30'
SEP 9.12' 9.24' 10.06' 7.42'
OCT 6.42' 6.24' 7.48' 5.18'
NOV 5.06' 5.00' 5.54' 3.54'
DEC 3.54' 3.54' 4.30' 3.18'