The weather is simply gorgeous, with almost no rain and heaps of guaranteed sunshine. However, it can be brutally hot everywhere, and when the mercury soars, even the Meltemi breezes can’t overcome the energy-sapping heat. The sea has warmed up deliciously to a perfect 77-degree Fahrenheit (25°C) average: a cooling antidote.
Keep in mind that seas can get rough, as the Meltemi winds are at their strongest, meaning that boat excursions and ferry cancellations may occur. Leave the cold-weather gear behind, pack light, and bring swimwear, a shade hat, and plenty of sunscreen. Make sure your room has air-con or at least a fan!
Crowds & Costs
In August, the summer season is truly at its peak: you’ll swear that half of northern Europe is vacationing in the Greek Islands, plus this is when the Greeks themselves take their family vacations. There’s really no escaping the crowds, as even the lesser-known islands can be flooded with locals. So, go with the flow!
Although there are more airline and ferry departures, you’ll need to book these and your hotel reservations well ahead, especially for the truly uber-popular islands. Inevitably, prices for airfares, accommodation, and car rentals are at a premium, so you’ll need to bite the bullet on costs—this is peak season, after all.
Where to Go
The weather can be far too hot for comfortable sightseeing. This is especially so if you plan on exploring the archaeological sites, where you’ll also be jostling for a good view in competition with package tour groups.
However, the more remote and low-key Northern Aegean Islands are relatively untrampled. So, too, some of the Dodecanese isles, such as wild and rugged Ikaria. Here you’ll trade off its paucity of beaches and museums for an authentic lifestyle and rare mid-summer serenity.
This is a good time to head into the Cretan 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 help 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. Meanwhile, hiking in Crete’s White Mountains, or elsewhere, can be a hot endeavor; stay hydrated and take a shade hat and sunscreen.
Sailing is popular in mid-summer and the breezes at sea feel so much more refreshing. However, you may want to avoid the open Aegean, where the seas can be very rough in August and the strong Meltemi wind a dangerous handful. Instead, cruise the Ionian Islands, from Corfu to Kefalonia, as well as the relatively sheltered Saronics.
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.
Aegina International Music Festival. Held at venues throughout Aegina, in the Saronic group, 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.
Traveling to Greece in August? Check out these great itineraries
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.
Relaxing Secret Cyclades – 11 Days. Foodies will especially enjoy this relaxing food-focused itinerary, which combines Athens with the beautiful islands of Syros, Tinos, Naxos, and Ios.