Summer in Greece is lovely, but it can also be very busy and hot! Here are a few tips for visiting Greece in summer to help you enjoy your holiday.
Summer Vacation in Greece
Greece is one of the most popular holiday destinations in Europe, and for good reason. Everyone loves Greek mythology and culture, the food, all those beaches, and the endless hours of sun.
If it’s your first time in Greece though, check these top 10 tips for traveling to Greece in the summer first.
1. Visit Greece in summer, but try to come in June or September
Here is my number 1 tip: if you can, try to avoid July, August, and early September. Visit Greece in early June, mid September or even early October instead.
Here’s why June and September are the best months to visit Greece:
- Accommodation prices are lower
- Flight costs are generally lower
- It’s easier to find last minute ferry tickets to the islands
- Most places in Greece are less crowded
- The weather is cooler and less windy
- The locals are in a better mood!
Athens and Thessaloniki are an exception to the above. As many Greeks go on vacation in August, the cities are busier with tourists rather than locals.
Check out this article on the cheapest time to visit Greece.
2. Prepare for the heat
Summer temperatures in Greece can rise above 35 C (95 F), and sometimes even above 40 C (104 F). You will need to plan your days accordingly.
Visit the ancient sites as early as possible, in order to avoid walking underneath the scorching sun.
You can then visit a museum or two, and make best use of the air-conditioned spaces as it gets hotter around midday.
A late lunch, followed by a few hours on the beach, will also be appealing to most people, especially families. You can also visit the ancient sites just before sunset.
Even if you plan to spend all your time on the beach, you need to think about the sun and the heat. Whatever you do, do not forget your hat and sunscreen – and make sure you drink enough water!
Check this guide: How to stay cool in the summer in Athens
3. Try different beaches
If all you want to do in the summer in Greece is to hit the beach, you are not the only one.
The beaches on the most popular Greek islands, like Mykonos or Santorini, can get very crowded in the summer months. July and August, when many Greeks also go on holiday, are the busiest months.
If you prefer less crowded beaches, have a look on the map. There are plenty of quieter islands waiting to be discovered, like Andros, Tinos, Kimolos, Sikinos, Donoussa, Ithaca or Astypalaia, to name just a few.
You can also consider a road trip along the Greek coast in the Peloponnese, Epirus, Pelion, Chalkidiki, Evia or South Crete. Check out this article with some of my favourite beaches in Greece.
4. Not all beaches are the same
Keep in mind that not all beaches are the same. A beach that is ideal for windsurfing will be unsuitable for snorkelling, and a beach that attracts teenagers and young adults might not be appealing to families.
If you are interested in summer sports like windsurfing or kite surfing, check out places like Pounda Beach in Paros, Vasiliki in Lefkada and Prasonisi in Rhodes. The winds here make the waves perfect for water sports enthusiasts.
These might not be suitable for families with younger children though. A beach which is more sheltered from the meltemi wind would be a better option. There are plenty of areas with calm clear waters to choose from!
5. Pre-booking ferry tickets and rooms during busy periods is essential
Even in the age of budget airlines, Greek island-hopping on the ferries has never been more popular.
Twenty years ago, it was common to just show up at Piraeus port in Athens, buy a ticket to an island, and hop on a ferry.
Upon arrival on the island, several people were there advertising rooms to let at the fishing villages. Even at the busiest times of the year, there always seemed to be ferry tickets and rooms available.
Times have changed. These days, if you are catching a ferry from Piraeus in the peak season, it’s best to book your tickets in advance.
It’s even more important to pre-book your tickets if you are travelling on a Friday or a Sunday, when many Athenians also choose to travel, and the ferries can be packed.
I recommend using Ferryscanner for your Greek ferry tickets.
In terms of accommodation, you should be ok finding last-minute rooms in the shoulder season. If you are travelling in summer, it’s much better to book in advance.
6. Greek food tastes even better in summer
I am probably biased, but… Greek food tastes even better in the summer! Delicious fish, fresh salads and plenty of vegetarian dishes complement the all-year-round souvlaki and moussaka.
On hot days, you will probably find that a Greek salad and a big bowl of fruit will soon become your favourite meal – possibly along with a cold beer or a glass of ouzo 🙂
7. See a performance at an ancient Greek theatre
With the abundance of ancient sites in Greece, it’s hardly surprising that some musical and theatrical performances take place in ancient Greek theatres.
If you are in Athens or in the Peloponnese, check out any cultural events at the Herodion and Epidaurus theatre. The feeling of watching a performance in a 2,000 year old theatre is amazing!
Read about the Athens and Epidaurus festival in this guide to the best time to visit Athens.
8. Beware of strikes
Strikes are often announced at the last minute, and can seriously affect your trip. Sometimes, they are supported by gatherings or demonstrations, usually around Syntagma square.
If you are flying into and out of Athens from your home country, and are then moving on to another area, I strongly recommend allowing at least one day in Athens before you have to catch your flight back home.
I update this Facebook page regularly with strike information, so make sure to follow.
9. A week is not enough to see all of Greece
Greece is a small country, but visiting all the best known attractions can take you a surprisingly long time.
If you only have a few days in Greece, focus on two or three areas rather than trying to fit in five or six destinations. Chances are, after your visit you will want to return to Greece again and again!
Read more at this article: Planning a trip to Greece.
10. Siga siga – Take it easy!
If you want to experience life in true Greek style, you need to take things easy – siga siga! Enjoy a Greek coffee or frappe, a delicious Greek meal and a long chat with your newly made friends. This is what a Greek summer is all about!
Frequently asked questions about summer in Greece
Here are a few things you need to know if you are spending some of your summer in Greece:
What are the summer months in Greece?
The summer months in Greece are June, July and August. This is considered the high season in Greece.
What is the hottest month in Greece?
The hottest months in Greece are July and August. If you can’t tolerate the heat, and prefer mild weather, consider visiting in spring or autumn instead.
Is Greece better in July or August?
Both July and August are the warmest and busiest months in Greece. If you prefer fewer crowds, try to visit in June or September if you can.
Is summer hot in Greece?
Summer in Greece is hot. Average day temperatures can often exceed 35-40 C (95-104 F). Nighttime temperatures are lower, and you might even need a light sweater. Sea temperatures range between around 22-26 C (72-79 F), and the Aegean Sea is colder than the Ionian Sea.
Can you swim in Greece in June?
June is a wonderful time to swim in Greece and the Greek islands. The sea has warmed up after the winter, and the days are sunny and clear.
Are there any movies about Greece in summer?
Are there any books about summer in Greece?
There’s a book by Patricia Wilson which is called “Summer in Greece”. It’s a beautifully written story about a lady called Shelly Summer, who often escapes the British rain and spends her vacation on the Greek islands.
At some point, Shelly discovers the memoirs of her great grandmother, Gertie Smith. She realizes that Gertie had spent some of her life on the Greek island of Lemnos. The book follows a split timeline, linking Shelly to her great grandma and the Great War.
More travel guides about Greece and the Greek islands
Not a summer person? No worries! Greece is a year-round destination. Have a look at these articles – you might be surprised!
- Santorini in winter
- The best time of year to visit Greece
- Greek celebrations
- Greek Easter, including Easter Sunday celebrations
Hi and welcome to my blog! I am Vanessa from Athens, and I love summer in Greece. My favourite months are June and September, as the beaches are quieter, and it’s easier to get around – plus, the weather is better for hiking. For more information about Greece, follow my FB page and FB group.