There’s nothing more refreshing than the beginning of Summer! June is the beginning of a more carefree season, the time to enjoy the sun and the sea, and have the best time with your loved ones. School is out, days off are due, and you are free to recharge from a whole year of working. And the best place to do it is Greece!
Greece in June is tantamount to a slice of summer paradise. From the islands of the Aegean to the gorgeous mountain slopes of mainland Greece to the Ionian islands to Crete, everything is stunning, glowing, and unbelievably beautiful.
It’s also the first month of the tourist high season in Greece, so everything will be buzzing with activity with the perfect summer weather: it’s hot and brilliantly sunny, but it’s not yet heat wave season. The seas are comfortably cool and the beaches are inviting, and though tourists have begun arriving, it’s not yet too crowded and the prices aren’t too high.
June is also when open-air events begin taking place and a lot of cultural events such as saints’ feast days and local panygiria give you a glimpse of local traditions and culture. In general, Greece in June is maybe the best time to visit for the perfect summer vacation, and this guide has everything you need to know to prepare for it!
- A Guide to Visiting Greece in June
A Guide to Visiting Greece in June
The pros and cons of visiting Greece in June
June is the best summer month for a visit. It’s officially the high season, but it’s still early enough that you can get a few bargains and deals if you plan for it. It’s also still not overcrowded with tourists because the heavy waves of tourists hit towards the end of June as it rolls into July.
The seas are now appropriately warmed up to swim in, and the weather is hot- but still not quite scorching!
Some drawbacks may be that prices are beginning to rise, especially in the more popular tourist destinations. Weather-wise, in the Aegean it’s still not Meltemi season, so you may be able to avoid the brunt of heavy winds, but sometimes it is early.
Otherwise, you get the best of summertime in Greece, including the unique opportunity to enjoy certain festivals that only happen in June, including some traditional festivities that will immerse you in the country’s history and culture.
Considering it’s the high season, you get the full range of available options for traveling, including small local airports and several trips a day on a specific line for ferries. However, school is out for the locals too, so the risk of not being able to find a booking if you haven’t made plans in certain places is very real.
The weather in Greece during June
June is the first month of solid summer weather! In Athens, temperatures average 28 degrees Celsius but can easily go as high as 30 degrees. Evenings can be a little cooler, with temperatures dropping to 20 degrees, but may often drop just a couple of degrees so you won’t really feel much of a difference.
The more south you go from Athens, the higher the temperature average, so in Crete expect it to be 30 to 32 degrees Celsius and able to easily go as high as 35 degrees. The more north you go from Athens, the cooler it will be, so in Thessaloniki expect temperatures to average around 25 degrees. However, even in the north, you can easily enjoy hot days at 30 degrees!
The sea is perfect for swimming as most have warmed up to around 22 degrees Celsius in June. Just keep in mind that you will encounter cooler waters in islands that have open and deep sea rather than shallow and relatively shut-off from the open sea currents.
Weather-wise, you can expect bright, sunny days. Rainfall is very rare in June and if it happens, it’s very short-lived. In the Aegean, it’s not quite the Meltemi season yet so you are likely to be treated to at least a few windless days in the islands. Winds will probably be mild. Sometimes, however, Meltemi season starts early, so you might still encounter powerful windy days there.
All in all, June’s weather and temperature are ideal summer conditions for your vacation, no matter where you choose to go in Greece!
Holidays in Greece in June
June is the month of summer panygiria and festivals commemorating various feast days and events from Greek history. There are simply too many to mention them all in this guide, but it’s easy to look up whether there will be a feast day in the area you will be visiting, during the time of your visit. Many are advertised since they involve feasting, music, dancing, and merriment that’s open to everyone!
Here are the most important holidays and events to keep in mind for June:
Holy Spirit Monday (Aghiou Pnevmatos)
Holy Spirit Monday is a movable bank holiday that always takes place in June, but the actual date varies by the year, so make sure to look up when it ‘falls’ in June on the year you are visiting. As a rule of thumb, keep in mind that it’s always 7 weeks after Easter Sunday.
While it’s not an official public holiday and people in the private sector don’t get a holiday, many businesses remain closed anyway. There are many customs celebrated and observed during Holy Spirit Monday, and here are some of the most iconic:
Lefkada’s Panygiri is so famous that it attracts people from all over Greece. It takes place in the monastery of Faneromeni, on a gorgeous hill full of lush vegetation and breathtaking view. The monastery itself is several centuries old and a piece of living history, so attending mass and then partaking in the music, dancing, and food that just keeps flowing is an experience you will never forget!
Sifnos treats you to a fantastic journey to the past, with the lighting of its ancient turrets and signal fires all over the island, just as it had been done more than 2 thousand years ago. It’s an amazing experience to watch the smoke and fire show.
Serres also has a very popular panygiri that starts in the morning, after mass and lasts until night. It has many stages, including folk dancing, competitions, and very symbolic rituals of youth and the elderly dancing together before feasting!
Lake Kerkini hosts some of the most ancient and iconic wrestling and horse racing competitions that date from the Ottoman times when Christians competed against the Muslims to show off the capability of their youth and win favor with Ottoman authorities.
Komotini observes a heartfelt custom that has been going on for at least 2300 years, connecting Greece’s old religion with Orthodox Christianity. It is called “tafia” (i.e. ‘of the grave’) and it is a feast that takes place at the cemetery of the town, surrounding and embracing the dead. The folk belief is that on the day of the Holy Spirit, the dead can communicate with the living and share in the feasting.
There is a lot of merriment and a lot of food where a lot of the local delicacies are served. The feasting table takes on the symbolism of connecting the land of the dead with that of the living. When it comes to an end, people take a mirror and try to see the reflection of their dead loved one’s spirit leaving to return to the underworld.
Miaoulis Festival in Hydra
This takes place on the last weekend of June and it is a huge celebration of Admiral Miaoulis, one of the most important personalities from the Greek War of Independence of 1821. Famous for burning the Ottoman flagship with fireboats, Miaoulis was born in Hydra.
Hydra was a very important naval force during the War of Independence and this celebration in June illustrates it well, with several happenings and celebrations all over the island on Saturday.
After the sun sets on Saturday, there is a big reenactment of the naval battle where Miaoulis burned down the Turkish flagship, complete with fireworks and music. If you are in Hydra on the last Saturday of June, don’t miss out!
This is a celebration of Greece’s glorious naval history, and it takes place at the end of June and the beginning of July. It’s celebrated with various happenings and events at ports all over Greece. If you are at Volos, don’t miss out on the reenactment of the voyage of the Argonauts, with an actual trireme replica.
If you are at Lesvos, make sure you stroll at the island’s main port where ouzo and fish will be offered to you by the local fishermen!
Where to go in Greece in June
June is the first month of pure summer in Greece, so there’s no place you go that isn’t perfect for summer vacations! Most of June is considered early high season, too, so you can still enjoy where you go without too many tourists.
Though Athens and Thessaloniki are always wonderful to visit- and you should at least see the Acropolis and Athens’ historical center before venturing elsewhere- the highlight places for summer are the islands.
That doesn’t mean that you should shun the mainland though! There are amazing places for you to discover there too. No matter where you go, you will have an unforgettable time, but here is a list of great places to visit in Greece in June to get you started!
Epidavros is a small town in the Peloponnese, which has a huge cultural heritage and history. It boasts a working ancient Greek theater, and June is the best time to enjoy it. Epidavros’ ancient theater is renowned around the world for its acoustics. No matter where you stand in the huge structure, you can hear a coin drop at the center stage.
Starting from mid-June and going on for the entirety of summer, is the Epidavros Open-Air Festival. Music concerts, dance events, theater features and more take place there, attracting the top performers and artists from around the world. Make sure you check it out!
At the same time, Epidavros is amazingly picturesque and can serve as a clever base to visit a whole range of gorgeous towns and rivieras, from Nafplio to Porto Heli!
Syros is the capital of the Cyclades and has one of the most gorgeous main towns- Ermoupolis. Opulent and full of neoclassical buildings, Ermoupolis is where you can immerse yourself in history, culture, and refinements.
Then, you can visit Ano Syros, for that special Cycladic touch of architecture. Syros also has great beaches where you can enjoy sea sports, including scuba diving and June is a great time to do it as winds will be minimal.
Santorini is the most famous island of the Cyclades, renowned for its beautiful villages, the imposing caldera, and the otherworldly red and black beaches. It’s also known for being quite pricey but in June you can get everything for far better prices.
Especially if you visit in the first half of June, you are likely to save a lot on your trip and enjoy the island without long queues and overwhelming crowds!
The gem of the Ionian islands, Corfu is a gorgeous island to visit. With unique architecture that blends the Greek identity with several international influences, Corfu’s main town is beautiful and picturesque.
It’s no accident that the island was where Empress Elizabeth (Sisi) of Austria would go to seek respite. So make sure you visit the Achilleion Palace but also explore the Old and New Fortress, the Monastery of Palaiokastritsa, and more. And when you feel like swimming, Corfu’s stunning beaches will spoil you for choice!
This tiny island in the Sporades cluster is perfect for exploring quickly and is stunning in its beauty. It has more than 60 gorgeous beaches, scenic hiking trails, and some of the most picturesque villages for you to enjoy and relax. The views of the Aegean are breathtaking, and there are no crowds. It’s the perfect getaway for a touch of Greek paradise.
Crete is the biggest island in Greece and the perfect place for a flexible vacation. Crete has it all: amazing archaeological sites such as the palace of Knossos, gorgeous beaches such as Balos and Vai, rare beaches such as the pink beach of Elafonissi, hiking trails and the famous gorge of Samaria, cosmopolitan life as well as adventuring and unadulterated, pure natural landscapes for you to enjoy.
From Rethymno, the medieval castle town to Lasithi and Heraklion, there’s something to see everywhere you go. So much so, that you can’t really explore Crete in just a few days.
Planning your trip to Greece in June
June is officially the high season, so if you want to be safe that you will go everywhere you want the way you want to, you must book well in advance. While the big crowds haven’t yet arrived, school is out for Greeks and there will be many locals enjoying their own vacations- which means you may not find the tickets or the accommodation of your choice if you wait until the last minute to make your reservations!
This includes reserving a table at a high-end, fine-dining restaurant, especially if they are on high-profile islands such as Mykonos.
Make sure that you begin planning at least three months in advance so that you can easily get your first choice in everything, no matter where you choose to go in Greece.
Especially for your itinerary, all ferry and airline tickets should be booked in advance. Bus tickets don’t require this, as you can buy your KTEL fare on the spot before you board.
June weather is summer weather, so make sure you respect the Greek sun. It’s not as scorching hot as it will be in August, but it can still burn and overhead you so make sure you have your sunglasses, sunhat, and sunscreen ready. When you go hiking or exploring ancient sites, it’s a good idea to have a water bottle to keep yourself hydrated.