Greece in February – Visiting Greece in the off-season

February is an unusual month to visit Greece. Yet, winter in Greece can be extremely rewarding, especially if you aren’t interested in beach time. Here is all you need to know if you are visiting Greece in February.

A February trip to Greece

February, and all of winter, is considered to be the low season in Greece. As it’s an unpredictable month in terms of weather, it’s not the most common time to visit.

Many Greek islands, like Santorini and Mykonos, are very quiet. The summer resorts and many restaurants around the country are closed.

The Acropolis in Athens in February

However, people who are looking to experience the authentic Greek culture should definitely consider visiting Greece, and especially the bigger cities and mountain villages, in February.

Visitors can explore the ancient sites and museums and enjoy the numerous ski resorts around the country. In addition, February is the carnival season in Greece, with thousands of people celebrating the Patras carnival.

Let’s start by taking a look at the weather in Greece in February. 

Greece weather in February

February is the last month of Greek winter. It’s the coldest month of the year along with January.

Imittos mountain in Athens in February

Here are some example temperatures at different islands and regions of Greece. Daytime temperatures are much higher than nighttime temperatures.

  • Athens: 3-14 C (37-57 F)
  • Thessaloniki: 2-11 C (35-118 F)
  • Kalamata, Peloponnese: 5-15 C (41-59 F)
  • Epirus: 1-14 C (34-57 F)
  • Rhodes, Dodecanese: 9-15 C (48-59 F)
  • Corfu, Ionian islands: 5-14 C (41-57 F)
  • Coastal towns in Crete: 7-16 C (44-61 F)

Average high and average low temperature in Greece in February

To summarize, the average high temperature rarely exceeds 15 C (59 F), whereas the average low temperature can get as low as 1-2 degrees (35 – 36 F).

If you compare that with the 30-35+ C (86-95+ F) temperatures in the high season, you will realize that Greece really has four seasons. That said, Greek winters are much milder than in other European countries.

Gray skies, rain, wind and thunderstorms are fairly common in February, with some regions being drier than others. Chances for snowfall are high, not only up on the mountains, but also in the cities.

Snow in Greece in February

However, you are bound to experience a few sunny spells – this is Greece after all, and we have a Mediterranean climate! The photos in this article have all been taken in February, over several years.

Swimming in February in Greece 

As you will have gathered by now, February is not the best month to enjoy swimming in Greece, unless you are used to swimming in cold waters.

The sea temperature ranges around 13-17 C (55-63 F) on average, depending on the region you are visiting. The average temperature in Northern Greece is considerably lower than in South Greece.

Swimming in Greece in February isn't for everyone

Though there are some winter swimmers who enjoy the beach year-round, most people would find the sea temperatures too low to swim. In other words, don’t plan on going swimming or doing water sports if you are visiting Greece in February.

Best places to visit in Greece in February

Even without any beach time, you can have an amazing trip to Greece. Here are some of the best places to visit and things to do if you are planning to travel to Greece in February:

  • Explore the historical sites and museums in Athens, taking advantage of the half-price tickets
  • Take a trip to Thessaloniki, the second biggest city in Greece, and explore its Roman and Byzantine history
  • Visit Ancient Delphi, once the centre of the known world, and combine it with a skiing trip at the nearby Parnassos mountain
  • Climb up the majestic Meteora Monasteries, a UNESCO World Heritage Site
  • Take a day trip to Nafplio, Ancient Mycenae and Ancient Epidaurus in the Peloponnese
  • Discover some of the incredible mountain villages in mainland Greece
  • Have fun at the Patras Carnival

Visit Athens Greece in February

If you are looking for a city break in Europe in February, Athens is a great choice. The weather is much milder than in most other cities in Europe, there are fewer tourists than in summer, and you can find some bargain prices for accommodation.

Best attractions in Athens

February is a lovely month to visit the best attractions in Athens, like the Acropolis, the Ancient Agora and the Panathenaic Stadium. Avoid rainy days, and wear some warm clothes, as it can get cold and windy on some days.

Close to the Acropolis Athens in February

Note that opening hours for the archaeological sites are shorter than in summer, and closing time is 17.00. Tickets cost half price throughout February, and the sites are free to visit on the first Sunday of the month.

Here is some more information on the ancient sites in Athens.

There are also plenty of museums in Athens. Some of the best historical ones are the National Archaeological Museum, Acropolis Museum, Benaki Museum and museum of Cycladic Art.

The Roman Agora in Athens in February

Shops, tavernas, restaurants and cafes in Athens are thriving in February. You can enjoy a Greek meal or coffee, and might even be able to sit outdoors on the warmest days.

For more ideas, have a look at this article with the 30 best things to do in Athens, at any time of the year.

How to get to Athens in February

There are dozens of direct flights from many countries to Athens. Prices in February are typically very low, especially if you book in advance.

Visit Thessaloniki in February

Greece’s second biggest city, Thessaloniki, often flies under the radar. However, it’s a fantastic destination for anyone interested in Roman and Byzantine history, great food, and a laid-back vibe.

Best things to do in Thessaloniki

Historic sites and museums in Thessaloniki include the Roman Forum, the Rotunda, the Galerian Complex, the White Tower, the Archaeological Museum, the Byzantine Museum, and the amazing UNESCO-listed Byzantine churches.

Statue of Alexander in Thessaloniki in February

In addition, the city has several art museums and galleries, like the MOMus (Museum of Contemporary Art / Macedonian Museum of Contemporary Art / State Museum of Contemporary Art).

On the warmer days, visitors will enjoy exploring the city itself. Some of the best areas to stroll around include the iconic sea promenade, the Upper Town with the imposing castle, and the colourful street markets in the city.

Thessaloniki is also known for its vibrant nightlife. You will find numerous tavernas and bars everywhere in the city, especially the area of Ladadika, Valaoritou and Polytechneiou streets.

Finally, here are some of the best day trips from Thessaloniki.

How to get to Thessaloniki

You can fly directly to Thessaloniki airport from several countries. If you are visiting Athens in the same trip, you can take a short domestic flight, KTEL bus, or train from Athens to Thessaloniki.

Visit Ancient Delphi and go skiing at Parnassos

Ancient Delphi is one of the most important archaeological sites in Greece. It was dedicated to Apollo, one of the 12 Ancient Greek gods, and was home to Pythia, the famous Oracle.

If you visit Delphi in February, you can easily combine sightseeing with skiing, as the Parnassos ski resort is right next door. There are ski tracks for beginners, intermediate and advanced skiers, and you can spend the whole day.

Mount Parnassos ski resort in Greece

If you are spending the night in the area, the best place to stay is Arachova, a pretty mountain village at the foot of Parnassos. You will find many hotels, cafes and restaurants.

Make sure to book your accommodation in advance if you are visiting on a weekend, as Mount Parnassus is popular with Athenians. And make sure that you bring enough warm clothes – despite the winter sun, temperatures at night are usually below zero!

Getting to Ancient Delphi and Mount Parnassos

Delphi is located in central Greece, about three hours away from Athens, and it’s a popular day trip.

There are public buses to Delphi, but a rental car will offer you more freedom, especially if you want to visit the ski resort as well. Note that you will need to rent snow chains with your vehicle. Here is more information about driving in Greece.

If you are not interested in skiing, you can take a guided tour to ancient Delphi, which includes some time at Arachova village.

Spend a day around the Meteora Monasteries

Another popular place to visit in Greece is the area of Meteora. This is an iconic region filled with magnificent, enormous rock formations, on top of which there are six functioning Greek Orthodox monasteries.

Visit Meteora Greece in February

No photos can do justice to this wonderful place. Even if you are not particularly interested in monasteries, the unique natural landscape is worth seeing once in your life.

Here is some more information about the majestic Meteora Monasteries.

Getting to Meteora

The Meteora Monasteries are located about 350 kms northwest of Athens, in a region called Thessaly. The closest town is Kalambaka, where you can easily get by train.

Once you get there, the best way to visit the monasteries is either in your own vehicle, or an organized tour departing from Kalambaka.

Hiking around the area is also a very pleasant way to get around, but note that the monasteries are quite spread out – and February is one of the coldest months.

Alternatively, you can hire a car from Athens, or even book a tour combining Ancient Delphi and Meteora.

Explore the Peloponnese – Nafplio, Epidaurus and Mycenae

Most people visiting Greece have heard of the archaeological sites of Ancient Mycenae and Ancient Epidaurus. They are both located in a region called the Peloponnese.

Visit Nafplio in Greece in February

The closest major town is Nafplio, known for its magnificent Venetian castle and picturesque alleyways. It was the first capital of modern Greece, and much of the neoclassical architecture from the previous centuries has been preserved.

Visiting the Peloponnese during the off season is a totally rewarding experience. You can explore the ancient sites with very few other tourists, and also take advantage of the lower accommodation prices when compared to the peak season.

Getting to the Peloponnese

Ancient Mycenae, Ancient Epidaurus and Nafplio can be visited in a guided tour from Athens. Although it’s a rather long day, it’s a popular choice for people with little time.

Alternatively, you can hire a car and drive to the Peloponnese yourself. If you have time, spend a night or two at Nafplio, as there is lots to see and do.

Skip the Greek islands and explore Greece’s mountain villages

For people visiting Greece in February, exploring the mountain villages is the equivalent to island hopping in the summer months.

Visit the villages in Epirus Greece in February

All around Greece there are several mountain zones, and numerous villages with traditional architecture. Generally speaking, the villages on the mountains offer a peaceful and relatively untouched way of living free from mass tourism.

Here are just a few examples:

  • Milies, Tsagarada, Argalasti, Zagora, Makrinitsa and Portaria, on the beautiful Pelio Mountain in Thessaly, about 5 hours north of Athens
  • Metsovo, Tzoumerka and the Zagorohoria villages in the region called Epirus, about 6 hours north west of Athens, not far from Meteora

People visiting Greece in February should consider hiring a car and spending a few days exploring one or more of these mountain regions. They will be rewarded with a very different Greek experience!

The Greek Carnival in Patras

If you like dressing up and dancing in the streets, you should visit Patras for the Carnival celebrations, one of the most unique cultural events in Greece.

Carnival celebrations in Greece February

The Carnival always begins ten weeks before Easter Sunday, and goes on for three weeks. The biggest celebrations in Patras and other areas of Greece happen on the last weekend, which falls in either late February or early March.

Expect plenty of colourful costumes, a lot of dancing, a lot of drinking, and an overall merry atmosphere. Note that you will need to reserve your accommodation way in advance.

Right after the end of the Carnival, Greeks celebrate Clean Monday. This is a day when people eat specially prepared dishes and go out to fly kites. You can read more about it here: Clean Monday in Greece.

Note: Due to the Covid pandemic, the Carnival celebrations in Patras were cancelled in 2020 and 2021. Hopefully they will resume soon.

What to pack for Greece in February

Packing for Greece in winter isn’t as hard as it sounds. As temperatures may vary a lot, it’s best to bring clothes that you can layer.

The sky in Greece in February

Thermal T-shirts, combined with a waterproof or windproof jacket and long pants, are great if you are planning to spend a lot of time outdoors. Any don’t forget to pack your most comfortable, waterproof walking shoes.

Here is an article with what to pack for Greece for any season. I can’t stress the comfy walking shoes enough!

Frequently asked questions about Greece in February

Visitors coming to Greece in February, or anytime in winter, often ask questions like these:

How warm is Greece in February?

Average temperatures in Greece in February range between 1-16 C (34-61 F). As a rule, the north of Greece is colder than the south.

Is Greece closed in February?

February is the off-season in Greece. Mykonos, Santorini and many other islands are very quiet. However, the bigger cities, mountain villages at higher elevations and ski resorts are busy and vibrant.

Can you swim in Greece in February?

Most people wouldn’t find swimming in Greece in February pleasant. Average sea temperatures on many islands range between 13-17 C (55-63 F). 

How warm is Santorini in February?

Daytime temperatures in Santorini in February are about 10-15 C (50-59 F). This is a great time of the year to visit the iconic volcano, or hike between the twin cities, Fira and Oia.

Is February good time to visit Greece?

It really depends what you are looking for. If you are after a quick city break or want to spend some time on traditional mountain villages, February is a good time to go to Greece. That said, you should expect grey skies, occasional rain, and maybe some snow, even in the bigger cities.

More travel ideas about Greece

I hope this article has helped you if you are planning to visit Greece in February. Have a look at these other articles:

Winters in Greece can get pretty cold!

Hi, I’m Vanessa from Athens! Even though I’m a summer person, I also love sunny days in winter, as well as playing in the snow! Follow my FB page for more tips and travel advice about Greece.

2 thoughts on “Greece in February – Visiting Greece in the off-season”

  1. Thank you SO much for this fantastic article. I am visiting Greece in 2 weeks and have struggled to find information to help me plan my trip. Your article has helped me immensely! 🙂

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