Seasonal Planning for Travel to the Peloponnese
The Peloponnese region rarely gets cold. Warm-weather clothing is a must during the summer, while rain gear will come in handy later in the year. Even in the hot months, though, packing layers makes sense; long pants (or skirts for women) can be useful to have at monasteries and religious sites.
There’s plenty to do outdoors here, from kayaking and hiking to visiting sprawling archaeological complexes, so pack accordingly. Good shoes and comfortable clothes will help you get the most out of your trip. There are also a few lovely white-sand beaches along the coastline—those looking for a low-key swim will find some off-the-beaten-path gems to suit their fancy.
For more information, check out Top Highlights of the Peloponnese Region and How Many Days Should You Spend in the Peloponnese?
|Pros||Cons||Best for||Where to Visit|
|June through August (Summer)||Long daylight hours, little chance of rain, extended opening times at archaeological sites||Popular attractions are busier, the weather can be hot in the middle of the day||Sightseeing road trips, relaxing in town centers, visiting beaches||Simos Beach for sunbathing, Nafplio to enjoy the ambiance|
|September through November(Fall)||Cooler temperatures, cheaper prices, and fewer crowds than in summer||The weather can sometimes be chilly or rainy||Trying fresh vegetables at harvest time, seeing the most popular archaeological sites without the crowds||Olympia, Corinth, and Mycenae to discover ancient history, Kalamata for the olive harvest|
|March through May (Spring)||Comfortable temperatures, blooming flowers, celebrate Easter and Greek Independence Day||Some attractions are closed during the holidays (although free entry is offered on certain dates)||Experiencing Greek Easter customs, enjoying some outdoor sports||Kardamyli for hiking and kayaking, Leonidio to see traditional Easter lanterns|
|December through February (Winter)||Off-season deals and discounts, Christmas celebrations, few crowds||Attractions have shorter opening hours, the weather can be rainy||Enjoying Christmas treats, eating fresh lemons and oranges during the winter harvest||Nafplio for citrus fruits and Christmas traditions|
Summer (June through August)
Average summer temperatures in the Peloponnese hover in the 70s and 80s Fahrenheit, without much rain. This makes summer a good time for visiting beaches around the peninsula.
The beaches of the Peloponnese aren’t as famous as those of the popular Greek islands, giving them a quieter, more local feel. Simos Beach, with its white sand and blue sea, is a particularly beautiful spot. While technically located on the island of Elafonisos, frequent ferries run from the mainland town of Vigklafia (the journey takes just 10 minutes).
Summer is also a good time for sightseeing. Museums and archaeological sites have extended hours during the summer months, so you’ll be able to enjoy a full day of exploration. Corinth, Mycenae, and Olympia are the most popular sites in the Peloponnese—these will be more crowded at this time of year.
Nafplio Festival (June to July): Classical music fans can enjoy performances at a number of venues around Nafplio during this festival.
Kalamata International Dance Festival (July): In Kalamata, the International Dance Festival offers an opportunity to see contemporary dance performances by international artists, as well as workshops and film screenings.
Athens - Epidaurus Festival (June to August): Taking place in both Epidaurus and the Greek capital, this arts festival features music, dancing, and plays at Epidaurus’ ancient theater.
Fall (September through November)
Fall is a good time to visit archaeological sites in the Peloponnese. The cooler weather is more pleasant for wandering around than the hot afternoons of summer. Most attractions have extended hours until November 1st, meaning that visitors can still enjoy long, active days at the beginning of the season.
Greece’s archaeological sites are known worldwide, and some of the most famous ones are in the Peloponnese. You’ll be able to follow the journey of Paul the Apostle in ancient Corinth, explore the site of the original Olympic Games at Olympia, and get to know one of Greece’s most important ancient civilizations at Mycenae. This seven-day itinerary includes all three of these sites.
Fall is also a great time for foodies to experience the olive harvest. Olives are produced throughout the peninsula, including around the famous Kalamata as well as Nafplio. This tour will allow you to taste your way through the region.
World Tourism Day (September): Celebrated around the world on September 27th, in Greece, World Tourism Day is marked with special events and free admission to some museums. Check in advance to see what’s on during your visit.
Spartathlon (September): Follow in the footsteps of Pheidippides, the legendary first marathoner, with this run from Athens to Sparti (Sparta).
Oxi Day (October): Taking place on the 28th of October, this national holiday commemorates Greece’s refusal to allow Mussolini’s troops to enter the country in 1940. Oxi means “no” in Greek. Travelers can expect closures and parades in larger towns.
Spring (March through May)
Spring temperatures in the Peloponnese can vary widely, but usually hover in the 60s and 70s Fahrenheit. Most attractions will have started their extended hours by April 1st, making late spring a convenient time to visit. The mild weather is ideal for outdoor activities—itineraries might include whitewater rafting, trekking, and more.
A visit to Greece in the springtime also offers the chance to experience local Easter traditions. Orthodox Easter takes place on different dates than the Western Christian Easter, so check in advance to confirm exact timings.
The Peloponnese’s towns are a great place to celebrate the holiday. In Nafplio, you can expect processions and Easter egg hunts, while in Kalamata, the traditional Saitopolemos (fireworks competition) lights up the city. Visitors to Leonidio, in the southeastern Peloponnese, will see Easter lanterns released into the sky. Special Easter treats, like lazarakia (spiced buns), can be found throughout the region.
Greek Independence Day (March): On March 25th, the declaration of the Greek War of Independence is celebrated with parades throughout the country.
May Day (May): May 1st was originally known as May Day, and is now celebrated as International Workers’ Day. Expect some closures and reduced hours.
Paleologia Festival (May): On May 29th, the Paleologia Festival takes over Mystras. The festival honors the last Byzantine emperor, Constantine Paleologus; events include music, archery, and a memorial ceremony.
Winter (December through February)
Winter is the off season throughout Greece. While the weather is sometimes rainy and chilly, sunny days aren’t uncommon either. Typical highs in the Peloponnese are in the 50s Fahrenheit, with lows in the 40s. Temperatures rarely drop below freezing.
Although some attractions have shortened hours, visitors can expect reduced prices, especially on accommodation. The region’s towns will be up and running throughout the year, although they’re quieter in the winter. This is a great time to experience the Peloponnese without the crowds.
Visitors to the Nafplio area can expect to see ripe oranges falling off trees around the town and surrounding countryside. Winter is when citrus fruits are at their finest, so you can take the time to enjoy a bite. Other Greek winter delights include many types of Christmas cookies, baked goods, and kolokythopita (pumpkin or squash pie).
Christmas (December): Nafplio and Monemvasia are both charming places to celebrate Christmas in the Peloponnese. Along with trees and lights, model boats are also a traditional Greek symbol of Christmas.
Epiphany (January): On January 6th, “Blessing of the Waters” ceremonies take place in coastal towns across Greece. During the ceremony, a priest throws a cross into the water, and swimmers have to dive in to retrieve it.
Patras Carnival (February): Greek Carnival, known as Apokries, is celebrated before the beginning of Lent. It’s marked by street parties featuring music, dance, and costumed performers. Patras’ wild celebrations are particularly popular, so it’s best to book in advance.