You’ve visited the Acropolis, the Parthenon, and the Ancient Agora—now it’s time to experience Athens like a local. We’ve made it easy by selecting the best places and local experiences, from neighborhoods little visited by tourists to open-air cinemas that offer a classic Athenian night out.
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Tucked into a remote part of Epirus, Greece’s northwest region of Zagori is an off-the-radar slice of wild beauty and ancient tradition. Its wilderness is a great place to escape the summer crowds, and the Pindos Mountains ski resorts are a top draw in winter. Here are our highlights not to miss.
Samaria Gorge cuts through the rugged White Mountains of Crete, running 10 miles in length and ending at the shores of the Mediterranean. Take it all in from the trail, descending past sheer rock walls, wildflowers, and endless views.
Athens is a vast, modern city brimming with antiquities. What do you do if you only have a day to spend? Here we’ve curated the best options that combine the popular highlights with a slice of local life.
Some of Greece’s most famous tales have come from the sea, so why not get out on the water to create a story of your own? Choose between four different types of boats to embark on your own oversea island excursion.
Greece is one of the oldest wine-producing areas in the world. Sip dry white wine on Santorini, sample rosé on a Peloponnese road trip, try sparkling wines in the mountainous north, or discover the reds of Crete: there is something for every taste. Learn more about the key destinations with this guide.
When to visit Greece
If you’ve already “done” Greece in summer, take advantage of bargain prices in the country's low season. The good news? You’ll feel like you have Greece to yourself. The bad? Often undesirable weather, with gray skies and frequent rain—although temperatures are generally mild and rare sunny days can be crystal clear.
This winter month is the low season in Greece, with very few visitors, a subdued nightlife, and gray weather. Many restaurants and other businesses are closed, awaiting the warmer months—but prices are at their lowest, and there's the Carnival festival to enjoy.
Greek winter fades into the March shoulder season, when visitor numbers begin an uptick yet prices remain attractive. The weather is beginning to warm up, with plenty of mild sunny days and the first bloom of spring flowers—time to pack the T-shirts and shorts with your cold-weather clothing.
April is a fabulous month to visit Greece. The weather is delightfully sunny and has warmed sufficiently for sunbathing (finally, you can pack swimwear!). Flowers are in bloom. Shoulder-season prices still offer a bargain. And best yet? The crowds haven’t yet arrived.
May boasts fantastic sunny weather and little rain. The waters are just about warm enough for swimming. Shoulder season bargains still apply. And you’re still ahead of the summer crowds. It all adds up to perhaps the most perfect month of the year!
Greece really heats up in June, and days late in the month can often be sweltering. And rain? What rain? Time to hit the beach! But crowds are building, and price bargains disappear—so the earlier you can go in the month, the better.
July is high season in Greece, with gloriously sunny weather, azure skies, and warm seas. It's the perfect month for swimming and sunbathing—but you'll be sharing the beaches with lots and lots of visitors, and prices are at their highest.
August is the hottest month of the year—and also the busiest and the most expensive. But the sea is a perfect temperature for swimming, and Mykonos, Santorini, and other “party islands” are off the hook.
September is a fantastic month to experience Greece, as the weather and sea temperatures are perfect as can be. Whether you’re keen on an active adventure, cultural immersion, or simply fun in the sun, there’s really no better time to visit than late September, when most other travelers return home and prices are starting to fall.
October offers the best of all worlds: Mild to warm, sunny weather, low shoulder season rates, and fewer visitors to compete with. Win-win-win. By month’s end, however, the chillier autumn has officially arrived.
No, it’s not yet too cold for Greece. Expect a mix of mild to warm sunny days and plenty of rain mixed in. The weather may be less than ideal, but crowds are gone, prices are low, and you can experience the best of Greece like a local.
True, the weather can be cold and rainy—but when the sun shines, it's simply glorious. Above all, December is a month to experience Greece alongside the Greeks, and at its most authentic. In fact, many destinations are perfect wintertime venues, especially for nature lovers, skiers, and gourmands.
January is the coldest month of the year in Athens—nighttime lows dip to 45°F (7°C)—but it can also be one of the best months to visit due to the lack of crowds. The sun stays out until about 5:30 pm, so there's plenty of time for daytime tourist activities, the Acropolis and other ancient ruins create beautiful backdrops for bright red sunsets, and the city is alive with art and culture.
February is a fantastic time to visit Athens. Although the first part of the month can still be wintery and frigid, by late February the temperatures begin warming up slightly and the Carnival season (called "Apokreas") descends. This fun, indulgent time in the three weeks leading up to Lent involves all sorts of fun and festivities. The best part? Due to the colder weather, there are hardly any crowds.
By March, the coldest part of the winter is wrapping up and you can begin seeing signs of spring. Wildflowers start blooming and warmer days sneak in, scattering themselves among the colder, grayer days. The atmosphere is pleasant yet none of the tourists have arrived—and since it's still considered off-season, you'll enjoy smaller crowds and cheaper prices, too.
April is unquestionably one of the best months to visit Athens if you want to take advantage of the "best of both worlds" atmosphere. By this time of year, it's sunny and increasingly warm (though not summertime-hot) and wildflowers start blooming left and right. Best of all, you can enjoy all of this splendor without the swarms of crowds.
Just about anyone who's traveled to Greece will tell you that the month of May is one of the best times to visit Athens. It's a bright and sunny time with flowers blooming and pleasant temperatures everywhere. The water is still a bit chilly, but it begins warming up slightly and many of the island resorts open for business. What's more, it's still considered shoulder season so the costs and crowds are manageable.
By June, summertime is in full effect in Athens. The temperatures are hot (sometimes bordering on stifling) and it's muggy throughout the city. It's the perfect time to hit the beach or head to one of the islands for a weekend trip. In the urban areas, you'll find heavy crowds but the atmosphere is fun and festive so it can be worth braving the masses. Plus, you won't have to worry about rain.
July is one of the most spectacular times to visit Athens, although it's also one of the busiest. It's the pinnacle of high season so you'll have crowds at all of the tourist sites and the museums will have lines out the door. However, given that the skies are blue, the water is warm, and the beaches are absolutely stunning, it's nevertheless a wonderful time to visit.
Summertime is at its highest point in August when the weather is hot and sunny and the tourists are all on vacation. In Athens, the city fills with sunshine as visitors flock to museums and other attractions. The beaches are stunning with bright blue skies and warm, crystal clear water.
September is truly one of the best months of the year to visit Athens. The weather is comparable to August, offering sunshine and blue skies, yet a huge portion of the tourists leave as kids go back to school and summer vacations come to an end. In terms of both weather and crowd sizes, it's an ideal time for a Greek vacation.
October is an excellent time to visit Athens, especially toward the beginning of the month. The weather is still warm yet the crowds have mostly disappeared. It doesn't rain much and you can take advantage of great shoulder-season prices. As the month goes on, however, the colder weather begins creeping in as the first signs of winter arrive.
People often think that Athens is too cold to visit in November, but this couldn't be further from the truth. Although there are certainly wet and chilly days, there are also plenty of days that are bright and sunny with blue skies overhead and pleasant temperatures. And best of all: there are hardly any crowds.
Athens is cold and wintery in December—but there's hardly anyone here, which makes it a great time to visit if you want to escape the crowds. The weather is sometimes blustery and it's not uncommon to experience rain at this time of year. However, the fact that you have the city all to yourself (and the festive atmosphere around Christmas) is often enticing enough to make you forget about the chilly weather.
The weather is just about as miserable as it gets on Santorini this month, but unlike many Greek islands in wintertime, this one still has plenty of things to do. It's the perfect time to relax in a cave villa that would be unaffordable for many in high season, to get to grips with the island's fascinating archaeological heritage, or simply to soak up life as the locals live it—with refreshingly few tourists to be seen.
The weather has not improved since January on the island this month, but neither have the crowds increased. Cool and prone to heavy rain showers (and the year's chilliest water temperatures), February is a good month to find the island in its authentic, tourist-free state. There is more chance for mixing with locals at Fira's restaurants, and a glut of archaeology and winemaking heritage to discover. Come now to enjoy most of Santorini's iconic sights without the masses to disrupt the peace and quiet.
March is a fickle month on Santorini, throwing some of the nastiest and nicest weather of the year at visitors. When it's bad, expect rain showers, January-low temperatures, and many places still closed. Yet when it's good, it can be excellent, with sharp spring sunshine and enough heat for a spot of beach time. Freshness in the air ensures hiking is enjoyable now too. The other big upside is the lack of other tourists and deals on hotels: come in March to experience the island blissfully free of high season masses.
After a long winter's break which has lasted on Santorini in some cases since last September or October, everything from restaurants to hotels to tours to flights are all fully operational by the end of April. The increase in visitors from last month is dramatic, and the weather has undergone a similarly radical transformation, with much longer days and much less rain.
High season is not yet here, but it's starting to feel a lot more like it on the island this month. The crowds continue to increase, but the positive news is that weather continues to improve as well, and the much sunnier, much warmer days now tempt most people to the beach for a swim.
High season has arrived on the island, and with it, some of the best weather of the year: a gorgeous 13 hours of sunshine each day on average, and temperatures regularly topping 80°F. It's no wonder that all traveler services from hotels to boat tours are running at full throttle (and at their highest tariffs). It's getting too hot now to prioritize much beyond beaches and tavernas—although if you want to brave the heat to explore, cultural activities abound.
July ushers in Santorini's finest weather of the year, and it's the ideal time to get down to one of the island's delightful beaches for a long sunbathe or a swim. But the gorgeous weather comes with a cost: the highest costs of the year, in fact, as high season continues for a second month running with maximum prices for hotels, and with all traveler facilities—from accommodations to tours to beachside lounges—at full capacity.
High season reaches its zenith in August, invariably the most crowded month of the year on Santorini. The warmest sea temperatures of the year, not to mention another month with almost no chance of rain, mean beach time should definitely be on visitors' itineraries. Another must this month is to check out the island's wineries, especially photogenic as the sun has ripened the grapes and precipitated the year's harvest.
More of the same glorious summer weather continues throughout September, although the odd day of rain is not unheard of. The balmy climate, somewhat decreased visitor numbers, and abundance of festivals make this month an excellent choice for a visit. Be warned that while early September will see all visitor facilities in full swing, but the latter part of the month may see hotels and restaurants reduce opening hours (or shut down completely). Adding extra color throughout September: the island's annual grape harvest.
October is an ideal time to visit Santorini. Many seasonal flights and restaurants finish for the year this month which means that, despite it being shoulder season, the crowds that filled Santorini over recent months are gone. And yet the weather remains very pleasant: the sun is still out, and the heavy autumn rain holds off for at least most of the month. October also sees the opening of the year's wine barrels on Santorini, giving you many excuses to stick around and join in the fun.
November is the last month of autumn and the first of the low season. Its weather can be a mixed bag, with vestiges of sunny summer weather and the hints of winter both possibilities. Still, Santorini at this time has a more favorable climate than much of Northern Europe in the height of summer, and there are no crowds to be seen. Watch out this month for those restaurants and tours which have closed for the season, but get ready for seeing a side to island life that has a distinctly more local flavor, and for superb deals on accommodation.
It may be winter, but in Santorini, it's far from the worst weather of year with a glimmer of fairer temperatures hanging around still. The crowds, though, are most certainly gone, and this month you can enjoy the island in its authentic state: try a quiet coastal hike alongside a huge volcanic caldera, dine in one of the excellent local restaurants, explore Santorini's history at museums and archaeological sites, and sample native wines at one of many wineries.
The vast majority of visitors hit the Greek Islands in the hot heyday of summer, but January offers sublime tranquility and bargain prices, with no other tourists in sight. Weather is unpredictable and chilly, but the sky is often crystal clear. And although many tourist businesses are closed for winter and ferries reduce their schedules, this also a time when the islands have returned to their normal pace and authentic lifestyle.
February is Carnival time, and a good time to witness the celebration of Lent—an important part of Greek culture. This winter month is still low season in Greece, with few visitors, a subdued nightlife and cold, often gray, weather but fewer rainy days. Prices are still at their lowest, and this is one of the best months of the year to experience the Greek Islands like a local, forsaking the beaches to experience the culture at its most authentic.
Greek winter recedes into the March shoulder season, when visitor numbers begin an uptick yet prices remain attractive. Some restaurants and hotels are reopening, yet the islands are still free of the tourist swarm. The first bloom of spring flowers brightens the islands as the weather starts to warm up, with plenty of crystal-clear sunny days—time to pack the T-shirts and shorts with your cold-weather clothing.
April is a fabulous month to visit the Greek islands. The weather is delightfully sunny and has warmed sufficiently for sunbathing, while the seas are just about warm enough for short dips. Wildflowers are in bloom and Easter festivities add their own magical color. Shoulder-season prices still offer a bargain, many bars and nightclubs have reopened, and while this is the cusp of tourist season, the crowds haven’t yet arrived.
May boasts fantastic warm sunny weather and little rain. The waters are just about warm enough for swimming, and spring flowers are at full bloom. Shoulder season bargains still apply. And while visitors are now flocking to the isles in larger number, you’re still ahead of the summer crowds. It all adds up to perhaps the most perfect month of the year, especially if you want to visit the most popular destinations.
The Greek Islands really heat up in June—the official start of summer—and days late in the month can often be sweltering when you’re away from the cooling Meltemi breezes. And rain? What rain? Time to hit the beach! But crowds are building, and price bargains disappear—so the earlier you can go in the month, the better.
July is high season in Greece, with gloriously sunny weather, azure skies, and warm seas. It's the perfect month for swimming and sunbathing—but you'll be sharing the beaches with lots and lots of visitors, and prices are at their highest. The hottest days can be really toasty, so bring lots of sunscreen plus a shade hat and swimwear. Adding to the appeal, Greece’s music and arts festivals (and nightlife) are in full swing in mid-summer.
August is the hottest month of the year, and with Greeks enjoying their holidays as well, it’s also the busiest and the most expensive. But the sea is a perfect temperature for swimming, and Mykonos, Santorini, and other “party islands” are, well, partying as if there’s no tomorrow.
September is a great month to experience the Greek Islands, as the weather and sea temperatures are perfect as can be. Whether you’re keen on an active adventure, cultural immersion, or simply fun in the sun, late September is an especially good bet, when most other travelers begin to return home and prices are starting to fall.
October offers the best of all worlds: Mild to warm, sunny weather, low shoulder season rates, and fewer visitors to compete with. Win-win-win. By month’s end, however, the chillier autumn has officially arrived, and you’ll most likely encounter prolonged clouds and rain. While September would be a better option for a beach vacation, sea temps are still warm enough for swimming, and this is also a great month for sightseeing.
Yes, winter is coming—but no, it’s not yet too cold for the Greek Islands. Expect a mix of mild to warm sunny days and plenty of rain mixed in. The weather may be less than ideal, but crowds are gone, prices are low, nature is magical, and you can experience the best of Greece like a local.
True, the weather can be cold and rainy—but when the sun shines, it's simply glorious. Above all, December is a month to experience the Greek Islands alongside the Greeks, and at its most authentic. In fact, many islands are perfect wintertime venues, especially for culture vultures, nature lovers, gourmands, and travelers who love road trips.