When is the best time to visit Santorini?

La meilleure période pour visiter Santorin

Fancy a vacation in the Cyclades? Here are a few tips to help you choose the best time to visit Santorini.

This is undoubtedly Greece’s best-known island, with its famous white houses and blue roofs. Located in the mythical Cyclades archipelago, it is one of the southernmost islands. But in truth, Santorini is an archipelago made up of three smaller islands. The largest is Thera, which is popular with tourists and commonly known as Santorini.

The others are Thirassia, preserved but very pretty, and Aspronissi. Their present-day geography is the result of the Minoan explosion of the volcano in the 2nd millennium BC. For the record, the active part of the volcano, Néa Kaméni, is still visible and can be toured along with the other islands.

In short, there’s a lot to see in this charming little archipelago, and that’s certainly one of the reasons for its success. So follow the guide to find out when is the best time to visit Santorini.

When should you visit Santorini?

Températures Santorin

Photo credits: Meteo Blue

The weather

With its Mediterranean climate, mild winters and warm summers, Santorini is the best place to visit almost all year round. In fact, temperatures rarely fall below 10 degrees. The months when the skies are likely to be cloudy and rainy are November, December, January and February. Even so, with a few exceptions, average sunshine is still more than 5 hours a day. The problem during this winter season is the wind, which can be very cool and unpleasant.

That said, if you’re keen on lazing on the beach and swimming, the best time to go is obviously from June to September. It’s during these months that the sea temperature rises above 20 degrees, but if you want to relax and enjoy nature, you can go from early April to October. Of course, summer is the busiest season on the island.

On the budget

As with most destinations, especially those synonymous with sunshine, summer is the time when prices soar. And, what’s more, all the tourist activities are snapped up. On the other hand, the months from November to March, when the weather is capricious, are when prices are lowest but there are few activities. Spring and late summer are therefore the best times to take advantage of fair prices.

In addition to the local cost, you need to take into account the cost of transport. Santorini is an island, so there are only two ways to get there: by plane or by boat.

  • If you’re flying direct from France, you’ll often need to allow for a stopover in Athens, but some airlines offer direct connections. If you plan well in advance and in low season, you can get a round-trip ticket for just under 200 euros (for the cheapest ticket, use a flight comparison service like Ulysse). Multiply by at least two in high season.
  • The same applies to the ferry from Athens. You can find tickets for less than 100 euros, and it’s better to take a round trip, as it’s cheaper.
  • A final option is the shuttle bus service between the islands and archipelagos, but you must already be in Greece. The advantage is that they are more accessible. You should also be aware that, in Greece, using a donkey is a bad idea and very expensive compared to other means of transport. To top it all off, even the locals are opposed to the practice, as the animals are mistreated.

To sum up in one sentence, give preference to spring or late summer and, above all, book in advance.

Santorini in winter

La Caldeira en hiver, Fira, Santorin

Photo credit: Shutterstock – Dmitry Zamorin

For a start, visiting Santorini in winter means being virtually the only tourists apart from the locals. That aside, future visitors should be warned that the weather can be very unpredictable in winter. The island’s special feature is that it is swept by summer winds. They can cool the scorching summers, but they can also make your island getaway icy cold in winter. Similarly, while the average is over 5 hours of sunshine a day, it can rain a lot. This weather can reduce the number of excursions to the caldera and other islands.

However, if you’re one of the lucky ones honored by the weather, you won’t regret it. It all depends on your opinion, but let’s just say that in winter, Santorini becomes Greek again. Souvenir stores and many restaurants and bars are closed. To be honest, it’s mainly the establishments designed solely for tourists that close. The locals have a life of their own, however, and we’re discovering more typical shops and local life. The same applies to thearchitecture, which is much easier to appreciate and, incidentally, to photograph. Beaches are no longer places for sunbathing, but for strolling. The famous sunset is still there, but it can be admired from the deserted streets of Fira. In short, you discover the true soul of the island.

Santorini mid-season

Printemps sur l'île de Santorin, Grèce

Photo credit: Shutterstock – Samot

Mid-season is the best time to visit Santorini if you want to enjoy the island’s calm and beauty. The sea is still quite cool in spring, but the island reveals treasures that quickly make you forget this slight inconvenience. Temperatures are mild and rain is becoming increasingly rare. Tourists are starting to return, but it’s largely bearable. Prices are still reasonable.

It’s time to put on some good shoes and take to the island’s footpaths. The hills, so arid in summer, are adorned with flowers – it’s an enchantment. The beaches are still easily accessible for watching the sea. Activities are slowly picking up again. This could be the time to take a tour of the volcano.

Santorini in summer

Belle vue panoramique sur la mer méditerranée, la caldera et le volcan. Architecture blanche traditionnelle de l'île de Santorin, Thira, Grèce. Navire de croisière en mer bleue.

Photo credit: Shutterstock – losbkru

For many tourists, summer is a great time to visit Santorini. The sun is out every day and the heat, sometimes mitigated by thermal winds, and the water temperature approaches 25 degrees. Many activities are on offer, including scuba diving and excursions into the caldera.

It’s also where there’s the mostentertainment on the island. For party-goers, all the bars are open, as are the restaurants and numerous boutiques for shopping. The sunsets over the village of Oïa are magnificent and a photographer’s delight. Just be aware of the crowds and the high prices. For more peace and quiet, you can head to the center of the island to discover Pyrgos or Akrotiri.

When to visit Santorini: must-see holidays

Feu d'artifice à Santorin, Cyclades, Grèce

Photo credit: Shutterstock – Pajor Pawel

Santorini, like Greece in general, is very attached to religious commemorations. They give rise to numerous village festivities known as « panigyria ». While it’s impossible to mention them all, here are the main ones, along with a few festivals. This will give you an idea of the best time to visit Santorini to celebrate.

Santorini sunset festival

It’s a music festival that celebrates the beauty of the island. It takes place at the end of July and showcases Greek culture. Numerous concerts are held in emblematic locations around the island, with a sunset as the backdrop, of course.

Ifestia, the volcano festival

Santorini and its archipelago owe their current form to the Minoan eruption of the Santorini volcano. Every year in mid-September, a festival re-enacts this eruption with fireworks. The fireworks can be seen from just about anywhere, but of course, the closer you want to be, the more expensive the tickets.

Easter in Pyrgos

As throughout the country, Easter is a time for traditional church celebrations and processions. In Pyrgos, however, the procession of the catafalque is carried out with lanterns, giving this hilltop village a magical air.

Agioi Anargyroi in Megalochori

The village church is celebrated on July 1. The interior of the building and the courtyard are decorated with flowers. The faithful light candles. There’s a musical procession and everyone cooks traditional dishes for the feast, where visitors are welcome.

Saint Epiphanius at Akrotiri

May 12 is a day of celebration for the village church. It is decorated with flowers and a feast is served outside. But the most eagerly awaited moment is the traditional dance festival with groups from all over the country.

Now that you know all about the best time to visit Santorini, all you have to do is pack your bags!