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Best time to go to Greece

Best time to go to Greece

Greece is both epic and ethereal. It can also be mercurial, weather-wise, and although each region has its quirks, they all have their qualities. The northern Pindos Mountains are a world apart from the Cyclades Islands and the largest island of Crete has a climate all of its own. Corfu isn’t open for hiking adventures until after Easter, but you can celebrate Christmas on the Ionian island of Kythira. How about ringing in the new year by walking the Menalon Trail on the Peloponnese Peninsula, or celebrating the start of spring by walking on the Saronic Islands of Poros and Hydra? When you dig deep into the best time to go to Greece, you’re bound to have a eureka moment and find one that works for you.

Best time to go to Northern Greece

Serious hikers love our trails in the Pindos Mountains right up near the Albanian border. You will barely meet another soul on these walking trails through rural villages, whether you are exploring the UNESCO sites of Zagori and Meteora monasteries, or hiking in the Pindos. Our holiday window in these Hellenic havens is between March and October for Zagori, and between June and October for the Pindos hikes, as you can still get snow on high ground at the end of May. And it gets pretty high here, with holidays taking you to some of Mount Olympus’ many summits, the highest being Skolio (2,911m). Temperatures are generally more mild than further south, with spring averages between 10-15C in the mountains and 25C in more southern villages. In the height of summer, temperatures are over 30C in Zagori but hover at a lower 25C in the mountains, often dipping below 20C at night.

Vikos Gorge in Vikos–Aoös National Park, with the Pindus Mountains doing their epic thing in the background.

Best time to go to the Cyclades 

There are over 200 Cycladic islands, making up Greece’s most famous and utterly fantastic archipelago. Located south-east of mainland Greece, we offer walking holidays on Santorini, and Naxos between May and October and on Amorgos between March and October. The small island of Kea welcomes walkers between January and October/November, combining it with some time in Athens, as it is the Cycladic island that is closest to the capital. Between April and June, walking trails are florabundant, with the likes of asphodel, irises and tassel hyacinths sprinkled around the hills and valleys. Wild herbs such as thyme, lavender and sage fill the air for longer, however, lasting throughout the summer. The smell of freshly grilled meat and flowing wine fills the air throughout many of the Cyclades islands on 15 August, which is when the religious feast days (and late into the night), known as panigyri, take place. 

Walking on the Cycladic island of Amorgos. We’re obsessed.

Best time to go to Crete

For walking on Crete, we offer holidays between March and November, although our East Crete holiday takes a break during the busy and boiling summer months of July and August. Even though you do get snow on the White Mountains between November and May, it’s rare for temperatures on lower elevations to dip into single figures on the centigrade scale at any time throughout the year. 

One of the joys of walking on Crete, in addition to the walking trails, is the wildflowers, which all start to explode in spring. From Cretan orchids to the beautiful bellflowers of campanula, or blankets of yellow poppies and buttercups, the mountains come to life from late March onwards, depending on the snowfall. Our only Crete walking holidays to start in March are the Centre-based holiday in Chora Sfakion and the North to south coast trek, so on the latter, you may well still see more than a sprinkling of snow.

What you can’t do on our Walking the Gorges holiday, which is open from April, is hike in Samaria Gorge as it doesn’t open until 1 May. We will organise another wonderful walking trail for you if you book during this time and trust us, there is no shortage of those. One example is starting in Sougia, where you take a ferry to Agia Roumeli for a 10km walk. Agia Roumeli is also a magical place, located at the foot of Samaria Gorge and built on the ancient ruins from an earthquake. For more information, see our blog Walking on Crete

Samaria Gorge on Crete is a very special place, and only open for treks between 1 May and 31 October every year.

Best time to go to the Pelion Peninsula

Our holidays along the Ancient trails of the Pelion Peninsula are open for hiking from the end of April to September and although they suffered at the hands of climate change and floods in September 2023, the infrastructure is back in place and tourists are being welcomed back too. As this prettiest of peninsulas is dominated by the Mt. Pelion range, where ancient mule trails, or kalderimi, traverse the interior from the Pagasetic Gulf on one side to the Aegean on the other, temperatures can go up and down quite a bit. There can still be snow on the range’s highest peak, Stavros, at 1,624m in late March or early April, with local people heading to the ski resort of Agriolefkes when it starts to fall. 

Generally, the western side of the peninsula is milder than the east, as it’s protected from the cooler winds coming off the Aegean by the mountains. In general, temperatures range from 20C in April to 25C in May, leaping up over the 30C mark between June and August. Average temperatures in September are around 28C, and this is the time of year when the region’s beech, chestnut, oak and maples which adorn Mt Pelion start to change colour too. It’s also a great time for picking up wild apples and walnuts as they do their autumnal thing. 

All paths lead to the beach on Pelion.

Best time to go to Corfu

The Corfu Trail is one of the best walking holidays in the Ionian Islands, a 200km adventure into the heart of the archipelago’ main island. It has two walking windows: April to June and September to October. You can walk it in segments or do the whole thing in two weeks. With some exposed, albeit exquisite sections on the trail, we don’t take bookings during July and August when temperatures soar to over 30C. The island also gets very busy at this time, and so we prefer the months when you have the trails and tavernas with a more tranquil vibe. Although if you are prepared for the heat, and an early riser, this Hidden gems of Corfu walking holiday does operate straight through from the end of April to October, as some of the walks are at higher elevations. 

Maximum temperatures during the shoulder season in Corfu range from 19C in April or 23C in May, going up to 28C in June and then down a degree to 27C in September, dipping down to a still glorious 22C in October. Sea temperatures during these same periods range from 16C in April to 22C in October. You gotta love it when the sea matches the air temperature, especially in autumn. 

If you are hoping to explore Gerald Durrell’s Corfu on our walking holiday that takes you around some of his favourite haunts, it’s open for bookings to travel between April and June, and also September and October for the same reasons as above. However, Durrell fans will also be keen to go wildlife watching and one of the most visible is the butterfly, of which there are over 75 species on the island, the majority of which can be seen in May. The Corfu Butterfly Conservation group does Trojan work to protect and record all the species. 

Mount Pantokrator is the highest on the island of Corfu at 906m.

Best time to take on the Mount Olympus trek

Our Mount Olympus trekking holiday is available from the beginning of June until mid-October, which may seem hot, but at these elevations, average temperatures can be cooler, ranging from 23-27C. Although it can reach up to 31C in August, so starting out as early in the day is recommended. Before and after these dates, conditions are too risky and changeable to trek up to these heights, with snow, ice, fog and rain making it too dangerous for walkers. In addition, many of the mountain huts don’t open until May. And, as with all mountain terrain, conditions can change quickly on Mount Olympus even in summer, so come prepared. You can also take on Olympus as part of our longer Ultimate Northern Greece holiday.

Best time to go to Greece for sea turtles

One of the most exciting wildlife experiences in Greece is spending time on a sea turtle beach during nesting season, between June and early August, with eggs hatching two months later. The Ionian Islands are important breeding sites for endangered loggerhead turtles, and designated nesting beaches include Argostoli on Kefalonia, which you can spend time in on our cycling holiday there, or you can visit the island’s Turtle Centre at Katelios. Always adhere to turtle watching rules, so that these islands can protect these historical visitors for centuries to come. 

Myrtos beach is just one of many beauties to explore while hiking on Kefalonia Island.

Easter in Greece

Orthodox Easter, or Pascha, is a seriously big event in Greece and it’s worth noting that it falls on different dates to other western Christian Easter celebrations. The date varies every year, usually between early April and early May, and be prepared to witness a time of devotion, tradition and colourful creations. Following a 40 day period of fasting for many, the rituals begin over Holy Week, or Megali Evdomada, which range from reenactments of the Last Supper to Good Friday processions. 

By the time Easter Sunday arrives, it’s all about feasting and partying. Churches, houses and public buildings are often decorated with flowers, painted red eggs and candles during this period, although many of the various regions have their own way of doing things. Corfu wins the prize for Easter eccentricities though when, on Orthodox Holy Saturday people gather at their windows and throw an array of ceramics and pottery down onto the streets. 

You can find all our Greek holidays here, and please don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any more questions about the best time to go to Greece. You may also be interested in a couple of our cross-border holidays, such as Cycling from the Rhodope Mountains to the Halkidiki Peninsulas, or Cycling in North Macedonia to Greek Macedonia.