With a relatively mild climate across most of the country, Greece receives visitors year-round to enjoy the country's ancient ruins, cosmopolitan modern culture and postcard-perfect Mediterranean islands. The perfect time to book your flight depends on your planned itinerary, but, generally speaking, you probably want to avoid the sweltering temperatures and crowds of the summer months. Traveling in the spring and fall can also mean lower prices for services and accommodations -- while Greek weather still remains rather pleasant and most attractions are open.
While northern Macedonia and Epiros experience harsh, freezing winters, the climate in the rest of Greece is pleasantly Mediterranean -- with even winter temperatures between 55 and 60 degrees Fahrenheit around Athens. In the summer, the mercury soars even higher in the mountainous north, with highs reaching 100 degrees across the country. In terms of precipitation, winters see more rain in most of Greece, with frequent showers from October to February. If you're looking for clear skies and sunshine -- without the heat exhaustion -- your best bet is traveling in the spring and autumn months of May, June, September and October.
The summer months of July and August are the peak of the tourist season in Greece, when some of the best-known destinations -- and especially the Greek Islands -- are absolutely packed. These summer months can be very exciting and are exactly the right time to travel if you're looking for events like the famed parties of Mykonos. If you'd prefer to see the Parthenon or a sunrise over Santorini without the hordes of package tourists and backpackers, however, you should avoid the peak season and travel in the months before or after the summer rush.
Availability and Pricing
As you might expect, prices in many Greek hotels and tourist restaurants follow rises in the mercury during the summer months. Traveling off-season can save you a few bucks with discounted rates on lodging and other services. Greece's tourist infrastructure is also often swamped by the high season, so be sure you have advanced reservations for everything if you have to travel in July or August. In the winter, many tourist services -- especially on the Greek islands -- are shuttered for the off-season. Nonetheless, you should have no trouble finding lodging, transportation and open attractions in the spring and fall.
Holidays and festival dates can be an ideal time to visit Greece and gain some insight into the local culture. Some of the highlights include the dancing, parades and celebrations of Carnival and the solemn processions and masses of Greek Orthodox Easter -- held around February and April respectively but varying from year to year and not necessarily coinciding with their western equivalents. The cosmopolitan city of Thessaloniki also holds an international film festival in early November. One of the few good reasons to travel to Greece in the summer is the Athens and Epidaurus Festival, with visual arts, music, theatre and other cultural attractions from June to August.