If there was one other month of the year that could rival January for bleakness on Santorini, February would be it. Temperatures have not gone up on the last month here, still in the 48-57°F (9-14°C) zone. Average hours of daily sunshine (around 5 hours per day right now) and precipitation (3.1 inches/ 80mm for the month) are, however, a more appealing prospect than either of the previous two months.
As with January, the general pattern of mild-but-not-brilliant weather is occasionally disrupted by sudden bursts of heavy rain or snow and water temperatures hit their annual low (59°F/ 15°C).
For more on weather this month, see Greece in February: Travel Tips, Weather, & More.
Crowds & Costs
February, as part of the winter season and because of its comparatively poor weather, does not see many tourists. But such is the popularity of the island that a few do still come, and are often very pleased with what they find: the majority of the sights still open and just without dozens of people in the background.
Costs are down too: those accommodations that might seem way above budget in the summer are suddenly affordable, such as the island's lovely cave villas and apartments. Even celebrations such as Carnival (see below) are very much local affairs, without tourists watching, and therefore fascinating insights into Santorini's culture.
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Where to Go
In the continued poor weather, February is a month primarily for cultural activities. The best base and key destination is island capital Fira, where you can glean riveting insights into the island's archaeology at two wonderful museums, the Archaeological Museum of Santorini and the Museum of Prehistoric Thera. Or spend time in Oia, high above the caldera slopes of Santorini's volcano. It's one of the most photographed places in all of Greece, with its white-walled, blue-domed architecture especially appealing when free of high season crowds.
February is also a good time to explore Santorini's winemaking heritage, with the closest wineries such as Santo Winery and the Koutsoyannopoulos Wine Museum just a couple of miles outside Fira. Try tasting an Aidini for white, and Mavrotragano if you prefer red. In the cold weather this month you might appreciate a trip to the Nea Kameni hot mineral springs, too.
For a longer excursion, visit the remains of the ancient Minoan city of Akrotiri in the island's southwest. Sometimes referred to as the “Pompeii of the Aegean,” Akrotiri’s ruins include pottery, frescoes, and a complex drainage system illustrating how advanced this civilization was for its time.
What to Do
Cultural activities might end up filling much of your time in Santorini this month as unappealing beach weather keeps most well away from the sea.
Still, there is plenty to do: soaking up the relative solitude and local flavor of Fira and Oia at this time of year, perhaps staying in a more expensive hotel with a pool to take advantage of low season prices, and joining the locals for a meal in one of the towns' lovely restaurants makes an peaceful framework for your average day. Checking out the island's historic sights—such as the ecclesiastical architecture of Fira, the castle at Oia or the ruins of Akrotiri—is possible and popular at this time as it is not weather-dependent.
Hiking can actually be nicer at this time of year in the cooler weather (it gets too hot to do this in the summer). The challenging eight-mile hike between Fira and Oia is a good, if strenuous, introduction to island hiking. It should take you about 2.5 to 5 hours, depending on your fitness level and speed, and features sights like the idiosyncratic Ekklisia Profitis Ilias church.
Carnival. A big event of the calendar year in other parts of Greece, celebrations on Santorini are more low-key. However, in the central square of Fira, the municipality organizes a carnival parade in which all the schools of the island participate.