The Greek Islands are fast becoming something of a global tourism hotspot, attracting holidaymakers and celebrities from around the world. Whilst there is plenty going on around the islands throughout the year, some seasons are more conducive to specific styles of vacations than others.
Summer is the best time to visit the Greek Islands for most travelers as it is the best time to visit the beaches and experience the nightlife. That may not be the best vacation for you though. Fall is the best time to visit the Greek Islands if you want a slower, more culture-packed trip. Finally, Spring may be best for for adventure travelers.
If you’re not restricted by school breaks, the time of year you look to travel will largely depend on the type of vacation you are planning. For instance, a traveler looking to explore the best hiking trails the islands have to offer will have different criteria for the best time to travel in comparison to a group looking to make the most of the nightlife.
Below, we list some of the most popular types of vacations taken in the Greek Islands, and highlight the best season to travel in for each.
Why Summer is the best time to visit the Greek Islands
Understandably, the lion’s share of tourism in the Greek Islands takes place in the summer months. At this time of year, not only are you almost guaranteed good weather, with an average of 86 dry days between June and August, but you will also have a wider choice of destinations.
Some of the smaller islands, such as Thássos and Samothráki, only really open their tourism sectors in the summer months. Particularly if you’re planning on spending a lot of time on the beach, these islands can provide an alternative to the bustling seaside resorts on the busier islands.
For groups heading to the Greek Islands to explore the vibrant nightlife scene, summer will also be the best time to travel, particularly in the peak months of July and August. Not only will the establishments be busier this time of year, but you’re likely to have a better selection of bars and clubs, with the majority closing between autumn and spring.
If you want to avoid the crowds, but don’t want to miss out on the sunshine, a compromise could mean travelling at either end of summer in June or early September, when temperatures still average 75°F/24°C.
Why Fall or Autumn is the best time to visit the Greek Islands
Heading into fall, temperatures become slightly cooler on the islands, but tend to remain in the 70s/20s even through October. This time of year lends itself to slow travel – a way of travelling that places emphasis on connecting with local people and their way of life. With tourists largely filtering away from the islands after the busy summer period, towns regain their authenticity, as life across the island slows down dramatically.
From mid October to late November, locals across the islands begin to harvest their specialty produce, including olives, grapes, and other fruits. Travelling at this time of year not only allows you to sample the famous wine, olive oil, and jams produced here, but you may also have the chance to even help out in the production process.
Many tourists travelling to the islands at this time of the year decide to volunteer their services, helping to harvest olives or even produce wine. There are plenty of opportunities on several of the islands when it comes to volunteering, so do your research before heading out. What better way to get a first-hand insight into Greek culture?
Why Winter may be the best time to visit the Greek Islands
If you’re looking for your fix of winter sun, what better place to explore than the Greek Islands? With average temperatures remaining in the sixties/teens across the islands, the weather will be relatively mild compared to many parts of the continent.
Whilst this part of the world is synonymous with summer holidays, Christmas is an important time of the year for the inhabitants of the islands. Each region comes with its own long-standing traditions to celebrate the most wonderful time of the year. Crete is one such island which becomes consumed with festive cheer, with an organized annual Santa Run taking place in Chania.
Travelling anywhere in the winter time will typically require a far greater level of planning, both with travel arrangements and itineraries for when you land. Harsh winter conditions can wreak havoc with the roads and even airplane schedules, so allow for plenty of time when setting off. Also, public transportation and ferry services in and around the islands may be limited at this time of year, so be sure to take this into account.
Why Spring may be the best time to visit the Greek Islands
Spring is a truly wonderful time to visit the Greek Islands, as the flora and fauna start to re-emerge. Furthermore, cafes, bars and restaurants that may have chosen to close over the winter months start to reopen their doors, particularly towards April and May, as the number of visitors across the islands begins to rise.
When deciding upon which of the islands to visit at this time of year, local experts recommend some of the smaller, less commercial regions, such as Spetses and Lipsi. The vistas to be found across the island of Spetses in particular at this time of year are captivating, with wild flowers starting to bloom. Furthermore, with Greek Independence Day falling on the 25th March each year, huge celebrations take place across the islands, with parades filling the streets.
For the more active traveler, Spring could be the perfect time to plan your Greek Island adventure. With temperatures becoming slightly milder, conditions are more conducive to faster paced vacations, where hiking and exploring are the order of the day. Take this opportunity to explore the wildflowers, which by now will be covering large parts of the islands’ landscapes.