Santorini is a precious gem of the Aegean sea. Santorini is an archipelago or group of islands consisting of Thira, Thirassia, Aspronissi, Palea and Nea Kameni in the southern part of the Cyclades.
The Santorini islands came into existence as a result of volcanic activity and they still sit on top of an active volcano today. There is nothing to worry about. The volcano last erupted 3,600 years ago and it is closely monitored.
The Santorini islands are the perfect place for a getaway in Greece. Enjoy the exquisitely clear waters, volcanic beaches, and explore the island towns perched on the side of cliffs.
If you are looking for a romantic getaway or a family vacation Santorini has something to offer you. This helpful guide will describe the best time to visit Santorini so you can enjoy all the islands have to offer.
What Is The Best Time to Visit Santorini Greece
Simply put the best time to visit Santorini is between September and October and April to May. This is when the weather is warm and the crowds are scarce. If you are looking for hot weather, nightlife, swimming, and sunbathing visit in June through early September.
Like all of the Cyclades, Santorini welcomes the most visitors during the summertime. You may need to make reservations months in advance if you plan on visiting during the peak months of summer.
For comfortable sightseeing and moderate temperatures book your trip from March to May or Early October to December. If you are looking for a bargain visit Santorini in the winter. During the wintertime, the season’s average high is only 50 degrees Fahrenheit and the islands receive lots of rain. However, the room rates plummet and the season does make very pretty scenery. The crowds are generally low until May when most guests come for the sunnier weather.
Weather in Santorini
The weather is one of the many reasons people flock to Santorini. Like anywhere else it has its ups and downs. Sometimes the same month next year can be different. Keep this in mind as you plan your trip to Santorini in 2021. In general here is what the weather is like month by month.
- January and February in Santorini: The weather is generally cold and windy. The average temperature is a low of 50 F and a High of 57 F. The islands are quiet and the crowds are scarce. January is one of the rainiest months in Santorini and the locals will tell you February is the coldest.
- March in Santorini: In March the weather begins to warm up a little. The average low is 52 F and the high is 60 F. During March you can expect to see less rain and more sunny days. This is a nice time for hikers and sightseers but come prepared for cold night and rain.
- April in Santorini: During April the temperatures increase again. The low is 56 F and the high is 65 F. This may be the perfect month for hikers and you will also miss the huge crowds of people that come in May.
- May in Santorini: The weather in may is consistently warm and sunny. May is one of the best months of the year to visit. The chances of rain are very low and the temperature is high. The low is usually around 62 F and the high is 73 F. If you are coming in May book in advance.
- June in Santorini: June marks the start of beach season in Santorini. The weather is hot and sunny. The low is 70 F at night and during the day the temperatures climb to 81 F. This is also when tourists arrive in large numbers.
- July and August in Santorini: The weather in July is hot and sunny. The low at night is 74 F and the high is 85 F. There is also an occasional strong wind. July and August are the busiest months in Santorini and a great time to swim and hit the beach. Book in advance to make sure you have a room when you arrive due to the high numbers of couples and families who vacation here during this time.
- September in Santorini: The weather begins to cool down a bit in September. The average low is 69 F and the average high is 79 F. The water is still warm enough to swim because it has been heated throughout the summer months. September can be a great time to visit Santorini and miss the crowds during the summer months.
- October in Santorini: In October the weather continues to dip. The average low is 64 F and the high is 73 F. October can still be a great time for sightseeing however you may not want to get in the water in October.
- November and December in Santorini: During November and December, it begins to get cold again. The average low in November is 57 F and the high is 65. In December the average low is 52 and the high is 59.
Santorini Beach Holidays
If you are planning a beach vacation the best time to visit Santorini is between June and early September when the weather is hot and sunny. The water is in the upper 70s and perfect for swimming. The water is the warmest in August and September although sometimes you can find nice weather for swimming continues into October or a month earlier in May. It’s happened before but it’s not a guarantee.
The Santorini beaches are mostly along the southeast coast. A long black strip of volcanic sand runs from Kamari to Perivolos. This is a popular beach destination. On the western side of the island is the flooded volcano crater. It is one long crescent, almost a vertical cliff. There are a few beaches on the northeast side and southwest butt hey are very small. These beaches don’t have access to facilities like the beaches on the southeast coast.
There are many different attractions to visit in Santorini. Santorini itself is a beautiful, unique sight to behold. Santorini has beautiful churches built int the Cycladic style with whitewashed walls and blue domes. Visit the Monastery of Prophet Elias and get better acquainted with the rich cultural history of the islands.
There are many great museums and archaeological sites. You can visit the ruins of the five Venetian castles and Akrotiri Lighthouse. Take in the majestic views, the beautiful water, and spectacular sunsets.
If you are traveling to visit the sights, the views, wineries, food and beautiful sunsets then you don’t need hot weather but pleasant weather. We recommend visiting in late March, April, May, October, and November. These are great times to visit the island.
There may be light rain so pack a raincoat and some warmer clothing. The weather during these times is still considered warm and enjoyable by most standards.
Santorini Island Hopping
If you are planning on visiting Santorini during an island-hopping vacation there are many great times to visit. Santorini has several diverse attractions making it possible to enjoy a vacation here outside of the main summer months. Add Santorini to your list of places to visit during your island-hopping vacation in March, April, early May, late October, and November. These quieter months are a great time to see the islands and miss the crowds.
Other surrounding islanders are usually less crowded at this time as well so you can group a few together that you would like to visit.
Santorini on a Budget
If you are primarily looking for a great deal, consider visiting Santorini during the low season November through March. This is the best time to visit Santorini if you are on a tight budget. Transportation, food, and tour prices do not vary much from season to season but hotel rates will go down.
If you want great weather and a cheaper hotel, travel in late May, early June, late September or early October. The first couple of weeks in October can surprisingly bring beautiful weather durian some years.
To save money on travel to Santorini consider booking a flight to Athens and then taking a ferry to Santorini. The boats in Greece are comfortable and a safe way to travel on a budget.
When you book a hotel on Santorini take a look at hotel options in Fira instead of the touristy city of Oia. Fira has great restaurants and bars. It may not be as “glam” as Oia but it is more affordable.
Traveling to Santorini During Winter
With each year travel to Santorini during the winter months is gaining in popularity. When you visit Santorini in December, January, or February you are likely to find moderate weather compared to Northern Europe. There will be some rainy days and partly cloudy days.
Santorini winter weather is perfect for walking, photographing, sightseeing, and exploring the island. Many people love to visit Santorini during the quieter months when you feel like you have the caldera and sunsets all to yourself.
If you decide to travel to Santorini during the winter make sure you pack warm clothing. You will need long pants, sweaters, and a rain jacket. Also, throw in a pair of shorts because there may be a few warmer days mixed in. Many of the hotels have heated pools so bring your swimsuit.
In 2019, around 150 hotels were open year-round, Five years ago that number was around 30 hotels. Plenty of restaurants are open in the main towns. Nightclubs close down in late October, early November for the year but their many good bars to choose from.
The winter does seem warmer and sunnier here than it uses to be 10 years ago but come prepared for anything. It does occasionally snow in Santorini (about once every ten years) although there is very little accumulation. If it snows that usually takes place in January or February.
Traveling to Santorini
Santorini can indeed get quite crowded. If you are looking for a vacation that is more relaxing and less crowded travel during off-peak seasons. Here is a breakdown of Santorini crowds per month.
- Santorini Crowds in January and February: (10% crowded) Santorini in January is quiet with few tourists but locals are out and life moves along at a friendly pace. Many restaurants in the larger touristy cities are closed but you will still be able to find places that are open to serve you. Be aware that the smaller beach towns will be mostly closed during January and February.
- Santorini in March: (30% crowded) March marks a noticeable change in the temperatures and rainfall. Towards the end of March, most of the restaurants and hotels are open for business.
- Santorini in April: (40% crowded) April is a great month to visit Santorini. During warmer years you may even be able to get a beach day in.
- Santorini in May: (60% crowded) There is a big difference between early May when most of the days are cool and overcast and late May when Santorini is consistently sunny and warm. May is the month when smaller beach towns are opened for business. The end of May begins the high season for tourists.
- Santorini in June: (75% crowded) June is a hot and sunny month, perfect for beach days. Tourists will arrive in large numbers during June.
- Santorini in July: (95% crowded) July is one of the busiest times to visit Santorini. Be sure to book your rooms for three months in advance. If you are looking to book high-end, luxury accommodations you may want to book six months in advance.
- Santorini in August: (100% crowded) During August you can expect hot and sunny weather. A strong wind called the Meltemi often causes ferries and catamarans to cancel their services during this time and you may be forced to fly to the island. Book your rooms in advance for your August visit the same as you would do in July.
- Santorini in September: (80% crowded) During September you will still have plenty of hot and sunny weather. The water is still warm and nice for a swim and the winds have generally died down. September is a great time to visit Santorini. Keep in mind the hotels can still be quite busy so it is a good idea to book in advance before you come in September.
- Santorini in October: (60% crowded) October is very similar to May. Instead of warming up the weather is starting to cool off. Early October can still be very hot and sunny and late October is when you will begin to see cooler and cloudier days. October is not an ideal time for sunbathing or swimming but it is a great time for a beach stroll.
- Santorini in November: (40% crowded) The cool and cloudy days of winter officially arrive in Santorini during November. Early November can still be pretty warm and i is a beautiful time to visit. Most luxury hotels close by late November. The last cruise ships generally visit in late November so there are still tourists in the area but not as many as over the summer months.
- Santorini in December: (20% crowded) If you visit Santorini in December be prepared for cool and cloudy days. There will often be stretches of rain followed by stretches of clear days. Most of the large luxury hotels are shutdown now along with the smaller beach towns. You can still find places to stay and restaurants but they may not be the larger more known ones.
Plan Your Trip to Santorini for 2021
Now is a great time to plan your trip to Santorini for 2021. Take advantage of this helpful guide when deciding which time is the best time to visit Santorini. Depending on the activities that you want to partake it may be best for you to travel during the off-peak season.
Read our Ultimate Travel Guide to the Island of Santorini and learn about all of the activities the island has to offer. Happy traveling!