Spring is the season of rebirth and regeneration. It is nature’s symphony, when the earth turns green and flowers bloom with abandon when the sky turns bluer and the sun turns warmer, signaling that winter is ebbing, and life wakes up again all around us.
Spring in Greece is that symphony to the 9th! If you are accustomed to images and experiences of Greece during the Summer, then Greece during Spring is going to be a wondrous revelation. Nothing is the same. Even the classic vacationing destinations, such as the Islands or even Athens, transform into lush, colorful paintings in honor of nature waking up!
It’s no accident that the myth revolving around Spring, the legend of Demeter and Persephone, makes Spring the symbol of joy and celebration: the season when Demeter receives her daughter back from the realm of the dead where she resides with Hades.
Spring in Greece is gorgeous everywhere. No matter where you go, the earth is sprouting and the flowers are blossoming. Even in the case of the sunbaked islands like the Cyclades, you will have the unique chance of seeing them dressed in their nature’s green, with fragrances and vistas you can never experience except during this season.
A Guide to Spring in Greece
Spring in Greece: Weather
Spring in Greece begins in March and ends in May, with March being the coldest and most frivolous of months regarding the weather, and April and May being progressively warmer and sunnier. Temperatures average around 17 degrees Celsius for the coldest spring days to as high as 25 degrees Celsius, with days warm enough to go swimming especially during May. Often, May is the unofficial beginning of summer, so don’t be surprised if the temperature climbs even to 30 degrees!
Visiting Greece during Spring is an excellent choice because not only do you get to see what few tourists ever do- Greece in full bloom- but you get warm weather, fewer crowds, more personalized care wherever you go, and access to cultural and traditional events only the locals usually have!
Great Places to Visit in Greece During Spring
The Greek Islands
Because most tourists arrive in the highly renowned tourist destinations from July onwards, you have the opportunity to enjoy them without the crowds, the noise, the hassle, the queuing, and the waiting during Spring!
Considering that May is virtually summer in Greece, you will be able to enjoy the best of both seasons if you pick that month. If you visit the islands earlier during April, you will be able to see them in full color: even the Cyclades, known for being dry and yellow-brown during the summer, are lush green with rolling hills and pastures during Spring.
The violent winds that characterize most of the Cyclades are also tame, which means you can enjoy their few, extremely rare times of having calm sea glistening under the sky like a mirror, and no wind to push against when you walk.
During Spring it is also very likely that you will find lower prices for everything compared to the high summer season, so it’s a win on all fronts!
The Samaria Gorge
Crete is a gorgeous island, perfect for a Spring visit, especially because nature is in full bloom all around. There is no better season to visit the famous Samaria Gorge, one of the longest and prettiest gorges in the world and the longest one in Europe!
You will find Samaria Gorge in the White Mountains’ National Park, which is Crete’s only National Park. Within the gorge and the surrounding smaller system of gorges, more than 450 species of animals and birds find refuge or home. Walk or hike through the gorge’s pathways, alongside glistening creeks, and lush greenery that is even more enhanced during the Spring.
The hike is around 6 to 8 hours long, which would be exhausting for the Summer, but is perfect exercise and a doable route during Spring when the sun is warm but not scorching, and the atmosphere crisp and light but not dry.
And while the hike might present you with a challenge, the effort is worth it for the gorgeous views, the awe-inspiring craggy rock formations, and the stunning trees, bushes, and flowers scattered all around like jewels. On top of that reward, great places for picnics and tavernas with good food and wine and a chance for a lengthy respite are there for you at the exit of the gorge!
Tip: Samaria Gorge opens on the 1st of May.
Very close to the historic city of Sparta in Laconia in the Peloponnese, you will find the medieval castle town of Mystras.
Mystras is a UNESCO World Heritage site and the second most important town in the Byzantine Empire after Constantinople. Spring is the perfect season to explore the entire archaeological site of Mystras, with the Palace of the Despots on top of the hill, the several impressive Byzantine churches, and the Archaeological Museum of Mystras where several medieval Byzantine treasures are on display.
If you also appreciate tracing the steps of not only medieval, but also ancient Greeks, you can visit the terrible Keadas, the narrow ravine where ancient Spartans are said to have thrown to their death the traitors to their city, criminals, and children born incapacitated or unable to withstand Sparta’s harsh daily life and regime. During Spring, even that is decorated lushly with vines and leafy plants, hiding the somber history of the past with the joy of earth’s awakening.
Mystras village is very close to the medieval site, so you can choose to stay there with full accommodation facilities, or couple your visit with staying in Sparta, the queen of Laconia.
Corfu is one of the most famous of the Ionian islands, the preferred refuge for relaxation of Empress Elizabeth (Sissy) of Austria, and the object of many songs about its beauty and uniqueness. And with good reason!
Corfu is a crossroads of influence of the Greek, Venetian, and British rule, but also with a heavy Byzantine heritage, which gives the island a special blend of cultural flavors you’re not likely to find elsewhere.
During Spring, Corfu’s already lush green hills become delicately decorated with wild blossoms, as the island prepares for one of the most important Greek religious holidays of the year. You will enjoy the iconic architecture, the specially paved alleyways and streets called “kantounia” that meander in the old city, the great azure seasides, and the wide, open vistas.
You will also get to hear Corfu’s unique music, a creole of Italian, Greek, and byzantine tones that will make you want to sing along even if you don’t know the words. And lastly, the famous Greek hospitality with the good food, excellent wine, and picturesque accommodations will be there for you to enjoy with fewer tourists and hassle.
Tinos is one of the lesser-known islands of the Cyclades compared to Mykonos or Syros or Paros. However, during Spring, Tinos is the place to be. In ancient times it was known as the “island of Aeolus” due to the violent northern winds that usually dominate in the island, but during Spring they often become tamer or cease all together.
In current times, Tinos is known as the island of the Virgin Mary, and it becomes obvious as soon as you walk its Chora, the main town: the church of the Virgin Mary looms over the town at the top of the hill, resplendent in iconic architecture that makes it stand out from the typical Cycladic style.
During Spring, Tinos is lush and green all over, just like all the Cyclades, and it has a series of beautiful customs and celebrations that you should experience at least once, with the crowning event being the Greek Orthodox Holy Week and Easter Sunday. Because Tinos is a religious destination, with several churches all over the island, being there during Easter is like being at the biggest event of the year, with churches joining together in ceremonial procedures, open-air happenings, and of course, good food and celebration all around.
Athens is the capital of Greece and often used as a midway station to a different destination in Greece, rather than the main event. And that is a mistake! Athens is a city of many faces if you know where to look. From highly metropolitan and cosmopolitan to picturesque and deeply historical to high octane in nightlife, Athens is a world to explore in and of itself.
Spring is the best season to do it because the weather is warm but not hot, the crowds are fewer, and the queuing non-existent. Spring is the perfect time to go the archaeological sites and museum-hopping, from the famous archeological ones to the most obscure ones on folklore, ancient technology, criminology, and the WWII Greek Resistance.
Easter in Athens is wonderful, too, as the many churches in each neighborhood at the center light up and decorate themselves, the streets are fragrant with the aromas of spring and spirituality, and during certain sacred days of commemoration, the night is alive with the singing of beautiful Byzantine hymns that transcend all time with their musicality and emotion.
Things to Do in Greece During Spring
The Holy Week and Easter
In Greece, Easter is even greater a celebration and religious holiday than Christmas. In the Greek-orthodox tradition, Easter is the personification of all the Spring symbolizes: the triumph of life over death, the hope for redemption and salvation, the hope for better things to come, and for the community to come together, even for a few precious nights, as a whole.
Greek Easter must be experienced to be understood. The entire week leading up to Easter Sunday is full of traditions kept intact since antiquity or medieval times, and to better appreciate them, you should visit with a Greek family that will initiate you to everything and its symbolism: from the red-dyed eggs to the Easter cookies, to the Bier of Christ and the litany with singing, to the early hour Resurrection mass on Holy Saturday and the midnight one on the same day, to the feasts of Easter Sunday and Easter Monday, each and everything has its reason for being the way it is. Knowing it and experiencing it for yourself will give you a sense of connection with the past that cuts across the present into the future.
The 25th of March Parade
The 25th of March commemorates the beginning of the Greek Revolution and the war of independence of 1821, and it is celebrated in pomp and circumstance. In Athens, a great military parade takes place with a lot of regiments and units from older times to current times, and a show in the sky by fighter jets and choppers.
The 25th of March also is a religious holiday, the Feast of the Annunciation, which involves the tradition of eating seafood and especially deep-fried fish with garlic sauce. Visiting tavernas on the 25th of March is a hallowed tradition, so make sure you book your place. Even without as many tourists, you will be competing with the locals for a table!
Free Museum Day (aka International Museum and Monuments Day)
Usually once in April and once in May, this day (announced each year well in advance) allows you to visit every archaeological site and museum in the country for free! The queuing can be long, but it is worth it! Often, the sites stay open well after sunset, so you can even enjoy a romantic night under the stars in your favorite archaeological site.
The Kifissia Flower Show
Kifissia is a southern suburb in Athens, known for its neoclassical and picturesque environment full of platan trees and stone houses. It is also known for its shopping mall and shopping areas, high-class restaurants, and posh or stylish cafes. During May, Kifissia holds its annual Flower Show, which is famous all over Athens, with all kinds of potted plants and flowers being showcased, alongside other events and happenings for all the family.
Spend a fragrant afternoon enjoying exotic or local blossoms, and then have your coffee or meal in one of the distinguished yet often affordable places in the suburb, with the feeling of turn-of-the-century class and quality surrounding you.