Best time to visit Athens
Have you been waiting to plan a trip to Athens? Then let this handy weather guide help you pick the perfect tour dates to fulfil your dream itinerary. When you’re visiting such a historic city, you really want to be able to maximise your days and sample all the sights, activities and experiences it has in store. For in Athens, every waking moment is magical. The iconic ruins of the ancient empire that take you back in time, a remarkable culture steeped in mythology which plays with your imagination, a beautiful port and coastline where you can bask in the warm Mediterranean light, delicious traditional flavours of food and wine to treat your taste buds – it’s all worth it.
The last thing you need, in the face of all this, is bad weather!
So, read on and discover all you need to know about the best time to visit Athens before finalising your dates.
Peak Season — Despite being one of the sunniest cities in the world, summers see the most tourists visit Athens, usually between the months of June and September. Airfare and accommodation rates reflect the high temperatures, though that doesn’t stop visitors flocking its ancient streets.
Shoulder Season — In late spring and early fall, tourist activity in Athens is at its lowest. These are the months from April to June and October. However, pleasant weather and less crowds can make this a great time to visit the city.
Low Season — The rest of the year, from November all the way up to March, Athens experiences its winter and low tourist season, mainly due to the cold and rain. This is still a great time to tour the city, with great deals available and shorter lines at every attraction!
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Disclaimer – The seasons, temperatures and climatic conditions are estimates and can vary.
Temperature - Spring temperatures increase as the season progresses, with March still seeing beautiful 15°C weather. By mid-May, day temperatures start touching about 25°C.
Weather - Even when the temperatures are low, the sun is always shining on Athens, making days bright and comfortable. Evenings and nights get chillier, requiring at least one layer to stay warm. Wind is a common feature of the season, owing to the city’s coastline.
Significance - This is one of the best times to visit Athens, to avoid the peak season rush and enjoy the spectacular attractions the city has to offer, with shorter queues and unrestricted views. The shoulder-season flight and accommodation rates are an added bonus. Plus, you’ll get to experience events like the Patras Carnival in March, just two hours away from Athens. Or you could join in the city’s colourful Easter celebrations held every April.
Things to know before the visit - In the beginning of spring, the archaeological sites are still following their winter timings and close early. The timings as well as ticket prices increase towards summer. Do note that during Easter, many local shops and businesses could be closed.
Tips - You’ll be spending your days under the sun, but it is still advisable to carry a jacket or two for a springtime visit of Athens, as the weather can be unpredictable, and wind is a factor. For the best deals, book your travel and stay in advance. Don’t forget essentials like sunscreen, sunglasses and comfortable shoes as this is a sightseeing-heavy destination.
Temperature - As spring turns to summer, daytime temperatures stabilise around the 26-29°C mark, with a mild drop post sunset. This rises higher as the season progresses.
Weather - Summer weather in Athens is best described as hot and dry. The more densely populated areas can get blistering, while the sea breeze offers some respite to the southern areas of the city. This doesn’t seem to affect tourism, as summers are when Athens welcomes its most visitors.
Significance - Visiting Athens during peak season has its pros and cons. The good news is that the days are long enough to get in as much sightseeing as possible. The beaches, shacks and port are buzzing with activity, while the nightlife is at its most vibrant. The only downside is the considerably spiked rates and over-crowding at top attractions.
Things to know before the visit - The most important factor in having a smooth summer tour of Athens is booking in advance, as flights and hotels can quickly sell out or you’ll have to deal with escalated prices. Then, it’s all about preparing for the hot weather. You could also seek to attend one of the city’s top seasonal events such as the August Moon Festival and Rockwave Festival.
Tips - Opting for an end-of-summer holiday is the perfect way to make the most of the sunny days and beat inflated prices. Most of the tourists leave by then, so you get more room at every landmark you visit. Athens is known for possible heatwaves, so carry sun block, sunglasses and a scarf for daily wear.
Temperature - Halfway into September, the temperatures go from extremely hot to pleasantly warm, with most days settling at a comfortable 20-23°C.
Weather - Locals see fall as one of the best times of the year in Athens. The days are just warm enough, the harshness of the sun left with the summer. While the evenings and nights are cool and breezy. There is a slight increase in humidity as the season progresses.
Significance - Early fall or autumn is still warm enough to visit the beaches or coast of Athens and spend long hours exploring the city. You also couldn’t find a more tranquil time to visit one of the most popular destinations in the world as peak tourist activity subsides. The Athens International Film Festival is a significant event held between September and October, for those interested in culture and films. While Halloween sees the city’s bars and clubs explode with parties and special events.
Things to know before the visit - By this time, the archaeological sites switch to their winter timings so it’s best to begin sightseeing in the mornings to maximise your stay. Flight and accommodation can be availed at reasonable costs, provided you book early.
Tips - By the end of fall, Athens begins to experience light showers so it’s best to carry some form of rain gear, just in case. A warming layer is also necessary for the evenings and nights.
Temperature - The coldest temperatures Athens witnesses is during the winter months, with the lowest touching 4°C. Daytime is a much more favourable 14-16°C.
Weather - Winters are considered low tourist season in Athens, mainly due to the cold and wet weather. The rains come in by November, making days short and grey. Nights are chilly and breezy, herding people indoors.
Significance - Many travellers see this as the best time to visit Athens as there are hardly any tourists. While Christmas isn’t as fervently celebrated here as in other European cities, the festive atmosphere permeates the air and great deals on travel, stay and shopping can be found.
Things to know before the visit - The rain disrupts certain parts of the city, like the beaches or the ferries. On the plus side, it’s a great time to take on a cultural tour of Athens, without having to wait in line and to have those picture-perfect moments all to yourself. Events like New Year’s Eve and the Athens Carnival in February are great seasonal experiences to look out for when planning your trip.
Tips - Like for any other winter holiday, packing for the season is the biggest priority to ensure a journey and stay without any hiccups. Carry enough warm clothes and accessories including fully covered shoes.
Now that you’re familiar with the four seasons of Athens and everything they offer, picking a packaged tour by Thomas Cook is easier than ever. Simply select the dates that will let you experience the city in your own way and discover the perfect deals and itinerary to match.