The weather is variable in March, with a mix of gray, rainy days and plenty of bright sunny days. Temperatures begin to warm up noticeably towards the tail-end of March, with fabulous spring weather and crystal-clear skies. Athens averages 60 Fahrenheit. Northern Greece, however, remains significantly cooler with more variable weather. By contrast, the Peloponnese definitely feels like spring, while Crete can be several degrees warmer than Athens.
Evenings will still be cool, however. And the Aegean and Ionian seas remain too cold for swimming. Rain decreases as the month progresses, with one in three days being rainy on average, so it’s still wise to pack rain gear.
Crowds & Costs
March is the tail-end of winter, and while visitors are beginning to trickle back, this is a great time to enjoy Greece in relative solitude. However, ferries are far fewer than in summer, and many hotels and restaurants will still be closed. Fortunately, airlines and hotels haven’t yet upped their rates, so this is a good time to visit while bargains are still to be had.
Where to Go
There’s no better time than March to be in Athens. Tour groups are still absent, the weather is pleasant, and street life is vibrant—at night, locals will be dining on sidewalks as if summer had already arrived. The smaller cities also remain tranquil and are fun places to see Greece like a local: Greeks know this is a great time to explore the Peloponnese and other mainland destinations (an antidote to their summers of family festivities and sunning on the islands).
March is a nice time to visit the islands, especially Santorini and Mykonos, before the hordes of summer arrive. Rhodes and Crete, where temperatures on the southern coast can on good days reach 70 Fahrenheit or more, are just warm enough for sunbathing.
What to Do
March is perfect for exploring Athens and other cultural centers and archaeological sites. By late March snow will be melting off the mainland mountains, and the flowers announcing the impending arrival of spring make this a perfect month for invigorating hikes. The isle of Kea is particularly rewarding, with its excellent trails—and there's no better hiking than in the Peloponnese mountains.
By late March, you might also consider a sailing vacation, as the yachting charter companies begin to open their doors. Plus, this is a fantastic time for photography, as the air is as clear as any other time of year, the sun is still low (providing great saturation), and you won’t have to elbow masses of visitors out of the view when angling for your perfect shot of the Parthenon.
Athens Half-Marathon: More than 20,000 runners compete through the streets of Athens.
Feast of the Annunciation/Independence Day: The Greek Orthodox Feast of the Annunciation celebrates the Christian belief that on this day, Gabriel informed Mary she would give birth to Jesus. Independence Day celebrates independence from the Ottoman Empire, in 1832. Celebrated together on March 25, cities throughout Greece host all kinds of festivities, including parades. Many restaurants and other tourist services close.
Napflio Marathon: Normally held in early March, this race in the Peloponnese town of Napflio follows a scenic coastal route.
Traveling to Greece in March? Consider these itineraries.
Mythical Peloponnese Adventure 7 days that combine cultural highlights with mountain hiking, whitewater rafting, and sea kayaking.
Best of Athens & Ancient Greece Visit the very best ancient sites before they're overrun with summer crowds
Discover Athens, Mykonos, Santorini & Crete Perfect for visitors who want to explore these four popular destinations during a period a relative calm.