Greece’s Mediterranean climate allows for long, warm summers with 11 hours of sunshine per day. The hottest days are made more bearable by seasonal winds called meltemi. Winters are mild in the low areas, but the mountains are cooler and snowy. Athens averages a temperature of 10 C in January and February.
When to fly to Greece
Most travellers book vacations to Greece between mid-June and the end of August when temperatures are at their hottest. Between Easter (March/April) and mid-June is also a good time to visit; the days are sunny but not too hot.
The shoulder season runs from late August to mid-October. Days are warm, resorts and attractions are open and, best of all, prices are lower.
Most of the resorts and tourist attractions close down between October and April. Unless you are in Greece for the skiing, you may find that there is little to do during these months.
Getting around Greece
Between state international, domestic and municipal airfields there are 44 airports in Greece. Travellers taking trips to Greece can get to the islands easily or from the islands back to Athens. The domestic airlines offering flights include Olympic Airlines, Sky Express and Aegean Airlines.
The rail network covers much of the mainland and links Greece with Central Europe and Turkey. There are express, regular and high-speed train services running daily. Hellenic Railways Organisation runs the rails.
There are intercity coach services on the mainland, but on the islands buses are the best way of getting about. Even the tiniest towns are linked to the bus network. KTEL runs the inter-urban busses throughout Greece.
Renting cars and mopeds is easy and relatively inexpensive.
Off the mainland, the islands are all well-connected by hydrofoils, ferries and passenger boats.
Greece insider information
- The Greek Islands' "big five" are Corfu, Crete, Kefalonia, Kos and Rhodes. To avoid the crowds on Corfu, head north to Kassiopi. On Crete, go towards the Elounda peninsula. On Kefalonia, Assos is quieter than Fiskardo. For a quieter Kos, forget Kardamena and head to Kamari in the west or Tingaki in the north. On Rhodes, forget Faliraki and stay in Rhodes Town where is plenty to see and do. The Old Town is the oldest inhabited medieval town in Europe. It's Unesco's top Greek World Heritage site. There are charming medieval buildings, mosques, Byzantine and Gothic churches amid the shops and restaurants.
- Kos Town has plenty of attractions. There are ruins of Roman baths and an amphitheatre. The 15th-century castle - the Castle of Neratzia or Castle of the Knights of St John - still stands by the harbour. Picnic near there by day and enjoy the sight of it lit up at night.
- Greece is often overlooked as an ecotourism destination but its landscape is diverse - indented coasts, rocky massifs, gorges, caves, lakes and rivers. There are unique marine parks near the islands of Alonissos and Zakynthos, which give shelter to two protected species, the Mediterranean monk seal (Monachus-Monachus) and the Mediterranean green loggerhead turtle (Caretta caretta).
- Epidaurus is one of Greece's most beautiful archaeological sites. The ancient Greeks visited the sanctuary of Asclepios to pay tribute to their gods and to ask for cures. There is a 3rd century theatre which retains its original, circular Orchestra. The annual Epidaurus Festival attracts visitors from around the world.
- Mycenae is the home of Agememnon, the ancient king, who commanded the Greeks during the Trojan war. The ruins of the ancient city of Mycenae are in the northeastern Peloponnesus. They were considered a myth until Heinrich Schliemann unearthed six tombs with 16 skeletons covered in gold and jewels inside the walls of the citadel. Agamemnon's mask is one of the most famous artifacts unearthed there. It is on display at the National Archaeological Museum in Athens.