Spring is in the air as temperatures begin to rise; noticeably so towards the tail-end of March, with increasingly warm sunny days and bright blue skies. The weather is variable, however, with some gray rainy days in the mix, decreasing as the month progresses.
March temperatures average 60°F (16°C) on the wind-whipped Cyclades, but several degrees warmer on Corfu and Crete—still cool enough to pack some warm sweater and/or jacket, especially for the evenings. The Aegean and Ionian seas remain too cold for swimming.
Crowds & Costs
March is the tail-end of winter, and while visitors are beginning to trickle back, this is a great time to enjoy the Greek Islands in relative solitude. However, ferries are still 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
March is a nice time to visit the islands, especially Santorini and Mykonos, before the hordes of summer arrive (party animals, however, may be disappointed, as most bars and nightclubs will still be closed). Rhodes and Crete enjoy the earliest arrival of spring, and temperatures on the southern coast can on good days reach 70ºF (21ºC) or more, while the sea is just warm enough for sunbathing.
Rhodes and Crete are also replete with archaeological sites to explore. You can roam Rhodes’ magnificent medieval Old City, the Acropolis of Lindos, and the Archaeological Museum, and maybe take a day trip to the tiny neighboring island of Symi. And there’s no better time to visit Crete’s Minoan Palace of Knossos and Palace of Phaistos, plus the Heraklion Archaeological Museum, all in relative peace.
It’s easy to combine these islands, as the twice-weekly ferry between Santorini and Rhodes stops in Crete and several other islands en route.
What to Do
Photographers will find March a marvelous month to visit, as the air is the clearest of any time of year, and the sun is still relatively low in the sky, giving great color saturation. Head to Mykonos and Santorini while they’re still at their most peaceful and you can capture the local lifestyle, the stunning seascapes, and the colorful cubist houses at their richest.
March is also a great month for hiking. You’re spoilt for choice, but the mountainous isle of Kea is particularly rewarding for its wealth of ancient, well-signposted footpaths. In fact, you can walk from one end of the small isle to the other. Don’t miss the ancient stone “Lion of Kea,” and the ruins of the ancient city of Carthea.
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, islands throughout Greece host all kinds of festivities, including parades. Many restaurants and other tourist services close.
Traveling to Greece in March? Check out these great itineraries
Discover Athens, Mykonos, Santorini & Crete - 16 Days. Perfect for visitors who want to explore these four popular destinations during a period of relative calm.
Crete & Santorini – 9 Days. Combine two of the most rewarding islands—one a hiking paradise with top Minoan archaeological sites; the other boasting the most stupendous setting of all the Greek isles.