Just as last month, a lovely thirteen hours on average of sunshine per day themes July's weather and, even better, temperatures have increased again, falling in the 72-82°F/22-28°C zone. This is the hottest and sunniest month of the whole year, and the chances of rain (during this month and next) are pretty much zero.
Throughout this month, the island can be affected by the Meltemi, a wind from the north that blows persistently for up to several days at a time and is liable to make the air feel cooler: good because it injects some freshness into an otherwise sweltering summer but bad because it can make the sea rough.
For more on weather this month, see Greece in July: Travel Tips, Weather, & More.
Crowds & Costs
The trade-off for getting all this glorious weather is how many others are coming to Santorini for the same reason. Now, just as last month and next month, this is high season, and costs for everything on the island will be as high as they get all year. This is particularly noticeable at the hotels.
It will be significantly more crowded even when compared to June, the first month of high season, because many families from across Europe also take their vacations now. It will take you longer to wander down the time-lost streets in Fira and Oia, your coveted restaurant table with the perfect sea view may be taken (along, indeed, with every other available table) and lots of tourists hankering after the same shot as you will be straying into your photo frame.
Where to Go
In this hottest, sunniest weather of the entire year on Santorini, prioritize heading to the beach or for a swim along a stretch of the island's stunning coast. The beaches are mostly black sand and small pebbles, but this doesn't detract from their beauty.
The majority of beaches are on the east coast. Kamari is a popular black sand beach with a hotel right on the sand; other sandy beaches with hotels close by include Perissa and Perivolos. A visit to the famously striking Red Beach, comprised of small red stones and appearing to glow red in the sun, should be on your itinerary too, as should the long and lovely Baxedes Beach near Oia.
Traveling out to the far southwestern end of the island, around Akrotiri Lighthouse, is one of several ways to lose many of the crowds. Here, there are some less frequented beaches, namely Kambia Beach, White Beach, and Black Beach. Another chance to beat the crowds presents itself with a ferry ride across the island snugly in the middle of Santorini's caldera bay: rugged Thirasia, with some great hikes and an ancient monastery.
Of course, tourists do not come to Santorini just for its beaches, but also to learn more about the island's varied culture, where the viticultural and archaeological heritage perhaps stand out the most. For the former, a visit to one of the wineries just a short distance south of Fira is a great way to cool off, as many offer tours and tastings afterward.
To discover more about the island's archaeology, travel to the ancient Minoan city of Akrotiri in the island's southwest. Sometimes referred to as the “Pompeii of the Aegean,” its ruins are impressively intact and have yielded extensive pottery finds. There are also frescoes, and a complex drainage system illustrating just how advanced this civilization was for its time.
What to Do
In balmy, sunny July with its long hours of sunshine and enticing water temperatures, choose between improving your tan on one of the island's gorgeous beaches, in-between spells of slipping into the crystalline waters to cool off. You could also indulge in a spot of sea kayaking, checking out the awe-inspiring caldera in the process, or even take a cruise around the whole of the huge volcanic caldera and then the rest of the island.
Too much sea and beach time? Then try discovering the island's fantastic archaeological sites, such as the aforementioned ancient city of Akrotiri, or unwind with a visit to one of Santorini's wineries, many of which are open for tours and tastings. Start with Santo Wines near Pyrgos, or the Koutsoyannopoulos Wine Museum outside Fira—its unique location in a cave remains cool, even in July. When visiting the wineries, savor a taste of the Aidini, Assyrtiko, and Athiri wines if you dig whites, and Mandilaria and Mavrotragano if reds appeal more.
Feast day of Prophet Ilias July 20. Celebrated in Fira.