Monthly weather forecast and climate

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The climate of Greece

Greece has a predominantly Mediterranean type of climate (Köppen climate classification Csa, Csb) with warm, dry summers and mild, wet winters. Several microclimates, including oceanic (Köppen Cfb) in the coastal regions and alpine in the high mountains (Köppen ET), exist in the country. The southern islands experience a milder climate than the northern interior lands. Greece lies in southern Europe, at the southern end of the Balkan Peninsula. Turkey lies to the east, along with the Aegean and Cretan Seas. The Mediterranean Sea is in the south, the Ionian Sea in the west, and Albania, North Macedonia, and Bulgaria share the northern borders of Greece. The Pindus mountain range and the proximity to large bodies of water, including the Mediterranean Sea, chiefly influence the climate.

Greece has a mainly mountainous topography, with 80% hilly terrain on the mainland. The Pindus mountain range stretches from northwest to southeast and is an extension of the Dinaric Alps. Canyons and karsts dissect the steep mountain peaks. The Rhodope range in the far northeast is a region of thick, ancient forests. Plains with arable land mostly lie in the central region. Greece has an extensive coastline of 8498 miles and consists of more than 225 small islands. Aliakmonas, Achelous, Maritsa, and Haliacmon are among the major rivers that drain into the adjacent seas. Many Greek rivers are often shallow and challenging for navigation. Wetlands form a major part of the ecosystems near the rivers and estuaries. Crete is the largest island, followed by Euboea, Lesbos, and Rhodes. Volcanic islands are home to thermal springs. The highest point on the mainland measures 2918 meters above sea level, on Mount Olympus.

Summers are hot in the interior regions of Greece, such as Thessaly and Macedonia, but mild in the mountains. The Mediterranean coast is hot and sunny during the summer, but sea breezes moderate the temperatures. An annoying north wind occasionally blows in the Aegean Sea in the warmest months, which is dangerous for seafaring. Winters are mild and rainy along the coast, the southern islands, and the western portion of the Pindus range. The northern regions are colder than the south, with plenty of snowfall in the cold season. Cold air masses from Siberia penetrate even the central regions of Greece. The average low temperatures drop below -2.8°C (27°F) in January in Florina in the extreme north. The southern islands receive significant rainfall during winter nights and morning and are prone to high wind speeds. Snowfall on the islands occurs only on the northernmost ones, such as Thasos and Samothrace. Spring is a pleasant period, with relatively less rainfall. The skies are clear, and there is abundant sunshine everywhere. Autumn arrives late in Greece and is mild in the second half of the season. Rainfall increases by October and peaks in December in most regions.

The annual precipitation in Greece varies from 457.2mm (18") in the east to over 914.4mm (36") in the west and south. A significant portion of the rainfall occurs in the winter. The eastern side of the Pindus range falls in the rain shadow region and is drier than the western part. The annual sunshine ranges from 2300 hours in the north, to 2500 hours in the central region, and 2800 hours in the southern islands. The average humidity ranges from 62% to 74% annually and is at the highest during the summer. The longest days are in June and the shortest in December. The average sea temperatures are warm between 21.1°C (70°F) to 25°C (77°F) in the summer. The Mediterranean Sea is warmer than the Ionian and Aegean Seas.

The highest temperature on record for Greece is 48°C (118.4°F), set in Athens, on July 10, 1977. The lowest temperature on record is -27.8°C (-18°F), set in Ptolemaida, on January 27, 1963.

The best time to visit Greece

The best times to visit Greece are during spring and autumn. The temperatures are pleasant, and the conditions are suitable for a range of outdoor activities. Historic cities and archaeological sites draw a high degree of interest from a large number of visitors. The long daylight hours are helpful to cover multiple destinations within a short number of days. Beach holidays are best during the hot summer from June to mid-September, with moderate breezes, and mild ocean temperatures. The skies are usually clear, and showers are light, few, and far between. Travel bags are light, as heavy clothing and raingear are discretionary at best. April and September provide excellent weather for hiking the mountains.

The worst time to visit Greece

The worst time to visit Greece, if there is any, is during the winter season from December to February. Night temperatures in the continental north and central regions occasionally drop below the freezing mark. A substantial amount of snowfall occurs in the high mountains, while frost is regular even in the plains. Winter is the wettest season, with plenty of rain along the coast and the mountain ranges. The short days pose restrictions on the number of hours available for outdoor explorations. Cloudy skies and increased humidity is a dampener on field trips that depend upon sunny skies for unobstructed photography.

Weather hazards

Greece is prone to natural weather hazards such as forest fires, floods, droughts, earthquakes, tsunamis, and volcanoes. Thunderstorms are frequent in May and June, and lightning strikes ignite forest fires in the hot summer season in the hilly areas. Droughts are a feature of the long and dry summer season in the interior. The entire region is prone to seismic disturbances due to the hilly nature of the landscape. The mountainous terrain is prone to earthquakes of moderate intensity. Large earthquakes increase the probability of tsunami waves in the coastal regions. Greece is home to many volcanoes such as Santorini, Nisyros, Methana, Kos, and Milos. Although many of the volcanoes are dormant, there is a risk element associated with them.

Weather in January

January is as cold as it gets in Greece, with the onslaught of cold winds from northern Europe and Russia. Athens, the capital, in central Greece, is mildly cold in the zone of 7.2°C (45°F) to 13.3°C (55.9°F). Thessaloniki, in the plains and valleys of the north, is cold in the average range of 1.1°C (34°F) to 7.2°C (45°F). Frost and snow tend to settle in the valleys for long durations. Weather in January »

Weather in February

February is cold in the winter of Greece, with the average temperatures in the 4.4°C (39.9°F) to 15.6°C (60.1°F) range everywhere except the north. The northern region sees cold days with occasional freezing nights below 0°C (32°F). Snowfall is heavy in the high mountains, while many regions receive frost and light snow. Weather in February »

Weather in March

March begins the warm spring season in Greece as the cold yields to the beautiful sunshine. The average daily high temperatures in much of the country are between 11.7°C (53.1°F) to 16.7°C (62.1°F), and the nights are mostly above freezing. Weather in March »

Weather in April

April is a warm and moderately wet spring month in Greece. The fresh aroma of the soil and blossoming flowers spreads over the landscape. Light precipitation keeps the temperatures from rising too much and too quickly. The average temperatures range between 6.1°C (43°F) to 20.6°C (69.1°F) in Crete and the beautiful Aegean Islands. Weather in April »

Weather in May

May is sunny, with long daylight hours and clear skies in Greece. The daily sunshine lasts for 9 hours in Athens, and the conditions are sunnier in the southern islands. The average temperatures in the extreme north are in the warm 10°C (50°F) to 22.2°C (72°F) range, and the lack of rainfall is an open offer for tourists to visit the historic city of Thessaloniki. The long and sunny days are perfect for climbing Mount Olympus, the mountain of the Gods. Weather in May »

Weather in June

June is the beginning of the hot summer season in Greece, with abundant sunshine and clear skies. The mainland, as well as the surrounding islands, experience an influx of visitors despite the rising temperatures. The average high temperatures are in the 25.6°C (78.1°F) to 30.6°C (87.1°F) range, with 10 hours of brilliant sunshine in most places. Weather in June »

Weather in July

July is the sunniest and hottest month in Greece, with a blistering 340 hours of sunshine. Humidity is more near the coast and the western portion of the Pindus range. The driest month sees average temperatures in the 15°C (59°F) to 33.9°C (93°F) range, with negligible rain and clear skies. Weather in July »

Weather in August

August is a hot summer month in Greece, with the average high temperatures between 27.8°C (82°F) to 32.2°C (90°F). Nights are relatively mild in the central and northern regions, with temperatures in the range of 14.4°C (57.9°F) to 18.3°C (64.9°F). Weather in August »

Weather in September

September begins an extension of the long summer season in Greece but ends as the beginning of the mild autumn. The average temperatures drop to register in the range of 12.8°C (55°F) to 29.4°C (84.9°F). Northern Greece has moderate temperatures than the rest of the country. Weather in September »

Weather in October

October is beautiful in the fall season of Greece, with lovely temperate weather amid a splash of colors. The mercury column is in the mild 11.1°C (52°F) to warm 25°C (77°F) zone, as the autumn advances over the landscape. Precipitation picks up by mid-October in most places and supplements the thrill of outdoor activities with intermittent cloudy skies and moderate showers. Weather in October »

Weather in November

November is colorful and wet in the autumn season of Greece as the country receives an average of 76.2mm (3") to 177.8mm (7") of rainfall. Western Greece is the rainiest between 127mm (5") to 203.2mm (8"), while the rain gauge registers at least 76.2mm (3") everywhere else. The average temperatures are in the mild 3.9°C (39°F) to 20°C (68°F), as the coldest cities in the north, such as Florina and Kozani, occasionally experience freezing nights. Weather in November »

Weather in December

December starts the cold and wet winter in Greece, with partly cloudy skies. The average temperatures rally between a chilly -1.7°C (28.9°F) to 7.8°C (46°F) in the northern cities of Florina and Kozani to 9.4°C (48.9°F) to 17.8°C (64°F) in the southern island of Crete. Weather in December »


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