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Climate and WeatherBack to top Back to main Skip to menu
Greece - Climate and Weather
The climate to the west of the Pindus Mountains is generally wetter, while the climate to the east of the Pindus Mountains is drier and windier. The country’s highest peak is Mount Olympus, which stands at 9,573 feet. This mountain plays a major role in regulating the climate of the country. The northern areas of Greece experience both continental and Mediterranean climates. The mountainous regions of the country experience an alpine climate.
Most regions in Greece including Crete, Cyclades, Attica, and the Aegean islands experience a Mediterranean climate. The weather is usually sunny and dry during summer with hot days and warm nights. However, the Cyclades islands and the areas around them usually experience windy days. Heat waves occur occasionally, especially around the coastal areas. Winters see snow fall that does not last, especially in the south-facing slopes. Some regions in Greece, especially around the Rhodope and Pindus mountains, experience a more alpine climate. Such regions experience heavy snowfall during winter and cool summers.
The Attiki region generally has a dry climate while Northern and Western Greece experience a wet climate. However, the climate of the country can broadly be divided into two main seasons: the cold and rainy season lasting between October and March and the warm and dry season between April and September.
The coldest months are January and February, with average minimum temperatures of between 5-10 degrees Celsius along the coasts and 0-5 degrees Celsius on the mainland. The northern parts of the country experience freezing conditions during this period. It is rare for the country to experience more than a few days of consecutive rain, even during the rainy season. The regions near the Aegean and Ionian seas experience milder winters than the Northern and Eastern mainland.
During summer, the sky is usually clear and the sun is usually bright. However, the mainland may experience infrequent periods of rain and thunderstorms during summer. The warmest time of the year is usually the last ten days of July and the first ten days of August, with temperatures of between 29 and 35 degrees Celsius.
Generally avoid extremely formal wear. This tip applies throughout Greece including the main islands. Greeks like smart casual wear. Consider packing sunscreen, a sunhat, and sunglasses.
The roads in Greece are often unmade and stony. Therefore, comfortable, closed, and flat shoes are best for walking around. Avoid high heels, especially when sightseeing. High-heeled shoes are actually banned at certain historical sites to minimize risk of damage to the ancient monuments.
Consider packing lightweight Capri pants or skirts as well as cotton shirts for evenings. In addition, be minimal on jewelry. Carry a wrap or pashmina if you intend to visit a monastery.
Greece experiences very hot summers lasting between June and September. Therefore, pack for the weather. The rainy season usually lasts between November and February. It is advisable to pack a light sweater, raincoat, and a travel umbrella when traveling to Greece during this time.
Pack a lightweight beach bag or rucksack for carrying sightseeing essentials. In addition, buy bottled water to keep yourself hydrated while there. If you intend to use electrical gadgets such as phones and cameras, consider packing a travel adapter and step down voltage converter, especially if your gadgets are not designed for European voltage.
Serious Weather and Environmental Risks in Greece
Although not common, Greece has its fair share of extreme weather and environmental risks. In 2015, heavy rainfall caused floods and landslides in various parts of the country. Continuous downpours between January 30th 2015 and February 1st 2015 caused extended floods and damage to property. The floods caused the collapse of a 19th century arch bridge in Arta. The worst affected areas were the Ionian Islands and Crete.
In 2015, severe weather and heavy rainfall caused damage to several cities and towns in Greece. Tornadoes caused damage and injuries in various parts of Greece including Southwest Peloponnese and Asproxoma Kalamtas. Skopelos Island and Kefalonia Island experienced damage to infrastructure and property. The floods and tornadoes caused more than 50 tourists to be trapped in the national gorge of Samaria.
Extensive forest fires occurred in many parts of Greece between July 17th and 20th, 2015. These fires mostly affected the prefectures of Lakonia and Attica as well as Mount Hymettus in Athens. Heat waves have also been experienced in various parts of Greece. One of the most notable occurred between September 5th and 6th 2015. This two-day heat wave affected mostly the central parts of the Greek mainland.
Although Greece has a predominantly Mediterranean climate, this is not uniform throughout the country. The Greek region is not a single climatological or geographical entity. Greece consists of three main sections: west, east, and the islands. The Pindus Mountains are the most significant topographical feature affecting the climate of the region. These mountains divide Greece into the eastern and western climate sections.
Numerous islands dot the Greek seas, which further complicates the climate of the country. The coastal areas experience a temperate climate mostly because of the sea. Greece and surrounding Mediterranean islands enjoy many sunshine hours, especially during the warmest periods of the year.
Read more about this country
Information courtesy of Carol Palioudaki, author of The Cool Guide to Living in Crete, available at www.livingincrete.net
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