August is the hottest month of the year—and also the busiest and the most expensive. But the sea is a perfect temperature for swimming, and Mykonos, Santorini, and other “party islands” are off the hook.

Weather

The weather is simply gorgeous, with almost no rain and heaps of guaranteed sunshine. However, it can be brutally hot everywhere (even the mountains): Athens averages a sizzling average high of 93 Fahrenheit. The sea has warmed up deliciously to a perfect 77-degree average: a cooling antidote! Keep in mind that seas can get rough, as the Meltemi winds are at their strongest. Leave the cold-weather gear behind, and pack light.

Crowds & Costs

In August, you’ll swear that half of northern Europe is vacationing in Greece. There’s really no escaping the crowds, so go with the flow. And although there are more airline and ferry departures, book these and your hotel reservations well ahead. And you’ll need to bite the bullet on costs—this is peak season, after all. 

Where to Go

Athens is stifling, with mid-day being far too hot for comfortable sightseeing, so plan on exploring the main sites as early in the morning as possible. The same holds true for most of the other popular archeological sites, where you’ll be jostling for a good view in competition with package tour groups. This is a good time to head into the mountains to hike, but above all, mid-summer is time to head to the beach. Pick an island—any island!—and the Meltemi winds will keep you cool, at least on the northern shores. Mykonos, Paros, and Santorini (the three main party islands) are at their liveliest, and visiting DJs are often in the house. 

What to Do

It’s a no-brainer! Grab a towel and flip-flops, put on your swimwear, and head to the beach. Of course, almost everyone else will have the same idea. If you really need solitude, skip the most popular beaches—you’re going to have to travel a little further afield.

Sailing is popular in mid-summer and the breezes at sea feel so much more refreshing (but be aware that the seas can be very rough in August). Hiking in Crete’s White Mountains, or elsewhere, can be a hot endeavor; stay hydrated and take a shade hat and sunscreen. To cool off, thrill to a whitewater rafting adventure in Zagoria or the Ionas River near Meteora.

August’s warm waters tempt scuba divers to explore the Dragonisi Caverns south of Mykonos; the wreck of the HMHS Britannic (a sister ship to the Titanic) off Kea; or the many sites off Chios, in the Northern Aegean.

August Events

Aegina International Music Festival. Held at venues throughout Aegina, this month-long festival hosts globe-spanning sounds, from the balalaika to classical.

Feast of the Assumption of the Virgin. This Greek Orthodox celebration, on August 15, occurs nationwide, with that on the island of Tinos one of the largest.

Olympus Festival. Head to Pieria, in Macedonia, to enjoy plays and musical concerts performed at the ancient theater at the base of Mt. Olympus.

Traveling to Greece in August? Consider these itineraries.

Sailing the Greek Islands & Cyclades - 8 Days.  Take to the cooling waters to explore a cross-section of idyllic isles.

Best of Western Crete - 9 Days. Perfect for culture vultures and active travelers, this itinerary combines explorations of local delicacies to exploration of the Samaria Gorge.

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