Summer in Greece is a dream for many: From the brilliant blue skies to the glistening, crystal blue and turquoise seas to the golden sandy beaches to the great food and even more astounding hospitality, Greece’s beauty and warm-hearted people make any vacation a little spot of paradise in a hectic, overworked life.
Greece’s summer is famous, and everyone should experience it at least once! Vacations in Greece are perfect for all ages and all styles. Are you a young adventurous person eager to do sea sports, or kayaking, or mountain climbing? You’ll find gorgeous places to do it all over Greece. Are you more interested in nightlife and clubbing, while lounging on a sunbed with a chilled coffee on a gorgeous beach during the day?
There’s no more perfect place than Greece to do it. Have you got a family, and want everyone entertained despite various different interests from history and culture to animals and sandcastles? In Greece, it’ll be unforgettable for everyone.
The Greek Summer starts in May and ends in October, with the peak of it being around July and August: most festivals and folklore events revolving around the Summer also happen during those months, and you don’t want to miss out! They always involve beautiful customs, fun music, and very tasty food.
- A Guide to the Greek Summer
- Summer in Greece: Weather
- Popular places to visit in Greece in Summer
- Festivals During the Summer in Greece
- How to survive Greek Summer
A Guide to the Greek Summer
Summer in Greece: Weather
Summer in Greece is also very hot. Average temperatures vary from around 25 degrees Celsius to 35 degrees Celsius, but that’s only when there are no heatwaves: those easily hit 40 degrees Celsius or keep the temperature well above those 35 degrees for many days after they peak.
Unless you visit Greece during very early summer or very late summer, it’s unlikely you will encounter any rain, as Greek summers are also extremely dry. If you do, rains will be very short and rather refreshing in the steaming heat.
Keep in mind that summers are generally cooler in the north, but not by much unless you choose to climb Greece’s highest mountains and stay at the picturesque mountain villages in the regions Epirus or Macedonia.
Average Temperature and Rainfall in Athens in Summer
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Average Temperature and Rainfall in Santorini in Summer
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Popular places to visit in Greece in Summer
In truth, all of Greece would be the right answer, but it’s not only vague, it’s impossible to achieve unless you plan for a very long vacation- and even then, it’s questionable if you’ll be able to cover that only during the summer!
So here are some beautiful destinations to visit during the summer, in no particular order:
The Greek Islands
Greece has an astounding 4,000 islands, though only 202 of them are inhabited. All of the inhabited ones though are gorgeous, each with its own character, folklore, natural and cultural beauties to see.
The most popular island cluster during the summer is, of course, the Cyclades, with famous islands like Mykonos, Santorini (Thera), Paros, and Ios to name a few. The Cyclades are the islands you are most likely to see on postcards, with the whitewashed houses and the churches with the blue domes overlooking the Aegean Sea.
But the Cyclades aside, there’s so much more to explore and experience in the Greek islands: from the Dodecanese with islands like Rhodes, a gorgeous medieval time capsule with its medieval castle town and port, to the Ionian islands with the gorgeous rolling green hills, sparkling waters, and neoclassical buildings.
Most of those islands will imbue you with scenes and settings you can find nowhere else, while you walk the ground referenced in ancient Greek myths and legends. Swim in the waters where Icarus fell after flying too close to the sun, bask in the sun on the beach where Aphrodite walked on for the first time after she was born, or walk around the sacred islands of the Ancients, where gods were born.
In the South of the Peloponnese, in one of the three peninsulas that make it look like a hand, there exists Mani: a gorgeous, wild place full of ancient and modern Greek history. Sunkissed on its one side, lushly shaded on the other, with a stunning coastline and seaside villages that until amazingly recently were only accessible from the sea, Mani is more than just a vacation destination for those willing to go off the super popular, super typical path.
Mani is an experience, and you must drive its roads to take in the outstanding natural beauty of the place, stay in the iconic stone tower houses and fortified villages, walk down winding paths to gorgeous beaches and small hidden treasures of beauty, and witness for yourself the places where Greece’s modern history was forged in fire and iron.
Mani is a time machine, bringing you back to medieval but also revolutionary times, saturating all your senses with rich textures, smells, tastes, sounds, and vistas. Hospitality in Mani is as cherished as the pride of its indigenous folk. Experience both and make friends that can last you a lifetime along with unforgettable memories.
Halkidiki is so gorgeous that Greeks have a turn of phrase for it: “there’s nowhere like Halkidiki”. That’s how gorgeous, fun, and versatile it is considered by the locals!
Halkidiki is located in the north of Greece. It is the smaller hand-like peninsula with three smaller peninsulas or ‘legs’ jutting out into the sea. One of them is the monastic Mt. Athos where only men can enter, with the several medieval monasteries perched on top of hills or precariously on the side of craggy slopes like mountain goats.
If you are a man or you have special permission, you will have a unique chance to see untold treasures of Byzantine and Orthodox art, sample the famed wine, bread, and cheeses of the monasteries ad situm, and take in the gorgeous vistas from a bird’s eye view.
If you are not interested in ecclesiastical history and artifacts, the other two legs of Halkidiki have you covered: exotic beaches and cosmopolitan hotels and clusters await to pamper you, surrounded by outstanding natural beauties that might look like an elaborate, too perfect movie set.
If you are in Halkidiki, you must go sightseeing, from the stunning Cave of Petralona to the imposing Byzantine towers and fortifications, to ancient monuments you can’t miss, to creeks and flora that mesh perfectly with the blue of the sea and the sky.
No matter what kind of vacation you are looking for during the famed Greek summer, Halkidiki has what you need to experience it!
Parga and Syvota: the Epirus Riviera
In the region of Epirus, you will find the western coastline of Greece, where the gem that is the Epirus riviera waits for you to discover it.
Start with Parga, a beautiful, colorful seaside little town that is so gorgeous it looks fake, made for photos and not for people to live in! Situated in a small bay of crystal, blue-green waters and arranged amphitheatrically, Parga boasts lush green woods and a Venetian castle overlooking the town. Its unique architecture, cobbled streets and pathways, flower-filled yards of colorful houses of unique artistry make for the perfect romantic or relaxing stroll, especially during the mellow hours of just before and just after the sunset.
Night life is thriving, too, with the perfect backdrop of the lit Venetian castle and the glistening waters of the bay. All through Parga’s coastline you will find little bays, like lace, with sandy beaches, where you can enjoy diving, sea sports, and swimming in transparent waters.
After you have had your fill of Parga (if that is possible!) you should next visit one of the most exotic destinations in Greece: the Ionian fjord, Syvota!
If you see photos of Syvota without being told where what you are seeing is, you will probably think it lies somewhere in the Caribbean. That’s how blue the waters are, how sandy the beaches, how oddly but gorgeously shaped its land is, and how bright everything feels! You will discover many lush islets, as you row your boat or enjoy a sailing cruise in calm, mirror-like turquoise waters.
Syvota is also lushly forested, gently touching the golden beaches, with strips of golden, fine sand traversing the idyllic waters.
And when you’ve had your fill of nature, there’s cultural and archaeological sites to see, and of course, the vibrant Greek nightlife!
If you are undecided about whether you’d prefer the sea or the mountain for your idyllic Summer in Greece, don’t decide! Do both, by going for amazing vacations at Pelion!
Pelion is a mountain in the region of Thessaly. On its lush verdant, forested slopes, there are several gorgeously picturesque villages for you to visit and enjoy. Pelion’s slopes ease into the sea, and some of the Pelion villages are fisher villages at the seaside of crystal clear, emerald, and turquoise waters.
Visit Pelion for the cool shade that will protect you from the scorching Greek summer sun! Get a taste of summer at the mountainside with fragrant herbs and iced coffee under the lush shade cast by platan trees in the center of village squares, and then stroll down to the beach to enjoy the sea and luxuriate in the sun.
Pelion has a bit of everything, in just the right amounts, with the astounding beauty of nature and folklore surrounding you!
Festivals During the Summer in Greece
Summer is the season of summer events and festivals, where everyone is invited! The locals are extremely open, warm, and hospitable people eager to share with you their traditions and customs. Learn to dance in open-air parties, witness rituals, events, and traditions that date as far back as ancient Greece let yourself be surrounded by the mysticism of Orthodoxy and its intertwined history and heritage with the Greek identity!
Here are some of the most notable and iconic summer events to look out for when planning your vacation:
Athens Epidaurus Festival
The Athens Epidaurus Festival is one of the oldest performing arts festivals in Europe. Founded in 1955, the Festival features several shows of dance, theater, and music. You will have the unique opportunity of enjoying it all at the ancient Greek Epidaurus amphitheater, which is fully operational, and renowned for its acoustics. They are so well done due to the sheer construction that microphones are not necessary for the performers to be heard even in the remotest tier! You can perform the acoustic test when the amphitheater is not in use and listen to a match being lit no matter where you are standing in it.
In the Athens Epidaurus Festival, you will have the chance to experience different takes on ancient Greek dramas, but also modern interpretations of international plays, unique music concerts, and dances. Even walking to the amphitheater is an experience that can border on the mystical, so don’t miss out.
Greek “panygiria”: Greek folk festivals
Scattered throughout Greece and along all summer months are the renowned Greek folk festivals, known as “panygiria” in Greek.
These are social gatherings, often on the occasion of the anniversary or commemoration of a Saint, martyr, or religious event, but also on local historical events and anniversaries where the locals gather for good food, dancing, and rituals that range from religious litanies with a sacred icon in the lead to leaping over fires to ladies marching carrying pitchers, with the only requirement not to respond to the young men teasing them and trying to elicit reactions from them. All of them include (and conclude) to a town or village wide party that carries into the night!
Most of these folk festivals have deep roots in Ancient Greek customs, medieval customs or specific historical events that have marked the common Greek psyche. They are an experience to be part of- and if you happen to be there, you will be! Greeks are famous for making every guest feel as part of their large extended family, included and clued in everything, even through pantomime!
How to survive Greek Summer
Greece’s summer is enormous fun to experience- but it must also be respected. The sun is not forgiving to those who don’t protect themselves from it, and neither is the heat. If you happen to be visiting from a cooler climate, don’t think the Greek sun will treat you like the sun at home.
Sunburns and heatstroke are the most common things to befall tourists in Greece- both should be avoided, not only to protect your skin from future problems, but also to avoid wasting time in bed recuperating when you could be out experiencing all that Greece has to offer!
So, what must you do to survive the Greek summer without incident?
- Always wear a sun hat- the bigger the brim the better
- Always wear sunglasses
- Always have water with you, and drink frequently to keep yourself hydrated
- Rest frequently, and always in the shade
- Always use sunblock- but even when you do use sunblock, avoid the sun whenever you can
- Wear light-colored clothes. The lighter the better. Opt for long, airy, wide sleeves and wide, loose long pants, skirts, or trousers
- Be outside early in the morning, and stay in during the noon and early afternoon hours