The climate in Greece is characteristic of the Mediterranean climate: mild and rainy winters, relatively warm and dry summers and, generally, extended periods of sunshine throughout most of the year. A great diversity of climate subtypes, always within the Mediterranean climate frame, are encountered in several regions of Greece. This is due to the influence of topography (great mountain chains along the central part and other mountainous bodies) on the air masses coming from the moisture sources of the central Mediterranean Sea. Thus the weather in Greece varies from the dry climate of Athens and East Greece in general, to the wet climate of Northern and Western Greece.
In climatological conditions, the year can be approximately subdivided into two main seasons: The cold and rainy period lasting from mid-October until the end of March, and the warm and dry season lasting from April until September.
In summer, dry hot days are often calmed by stiff breezes, especially in the north and coastal areas. Athens can be very hot, so visitors should allow time to acclimatize. The evenings are cool. Winters are mild in the south but much colder in the north.
Lightweight clothes during summer months, including protection from the midday sun. Light sweaters are needed for evenings. Rainproofs are advised for autumn. Winter months can be quite cold, especially in the northern mainland, so normal winter wear will be required.
Greece in January
The weather is cold, wet (sometimes even snowy), and windy. Sunny, pleasant days are usually very limited. If you want to shop something you will find that the prices are low. In this month are many events , mainly aimed at Greek aficionados of the arts, among them are, the New Year's celebrations, then Epiphany on Jan 6th. Plays, concerts, etc. are on in Athens and Thessaloniki, as well as many other locations. The hotels and restaurants on many islands will be closed. The ski season is in full swing, though bad weather may interfere. Port visits by tender from cruise ships may be cancelled due to rough water.
Greece in March
The weather is cool, wet, and windy, more fair days. If you go to shopping you will find that the prices are low in most places, to moderate in carnival areas. The event of this month is The Mardi Gras. The hotels and restaurants on many islands will be closed. Towns with a strong carnival season will be lively.
Greece in May
The weather is terrific - pleasantly warm, light breezes. If you go to shopping you will find that the prices are low and moderate. The events of this month are May 1st (a national labor holiday) and Greek Orthodox Easter. Island hotels and restaurants all open. Boat schedules, air schedules increase. This is a great time to go.
Greece in July
The weather is hot to very hot. July in Greece is a busy month, full of events. The main festivals are all in full swing. In the beginning of the month, the wildly popular Rockwave Festival shakes Athens. Arts festivals aimed at tourists, sound and light shows. Outdoor cinemas are popular; many mountain villages have special events primarily attended by Greeks though all are welcome. Ioannina Cultural Summer events begin, continue through August. Along with August, July prices are the highest of the year. Everything is open. The frequent flights and ferries are often crowded but in general, it's easiest to get around at this time of year, though the meltemi may cause some delays.
Greece in September
The weather is terrific - warm, light breezes. The prices are moderate. Everything is open until the last part of the month, and everything is less crowded. Transportation schedules start to cut back about September 15th. A few places on the islands will close at the end of September. Activities for children start to be cut back as the school year begins.This is a great time to go.
Greece in November
The weather is cool to cold; high winds. Several days are clear but can be uncomfortably cold or windy. During this month the prices are low. The event of November 21st is the Greek Orthodox Presentation Feast, celebrated widely. Almost the most of the islands are closed, especially in the Cycladics, though Mykonos and Santorini both have a few year-round hotels. Large islands such as Rhodes, Lesbos, Crete, and the Ionians are still enjoyable. Air and boat travel schedules are limited. Port visits by tender from cruise ships may be cancelled due to rough water.