I am an RS Tour veteran and fan, have heard great things about the RS Greece Tour, and am considering taking the tour this fall. Never visited Greece before. Could any of you Greece lovers tell me, what is the best time to visit Greece and avoid the heaviest crowds and high temperatures? Would the best time begin in mid-September, or maybe not until later September or even October? Thanks for any tips!
Funny you should mention Greece. I'm on an RS tour there this year. I really wanted a fall tour, then I started reading some of the comments and advice here and decided on spring instead. Toward the end of tourist season, places start to close up and some said they felt the locals in places that were still open were "tired of tourists" (October). I can't handle hot weather so I was leery of going in September (which is still summer here and in Italy . . . ), especially since this tour seems to be more challenging physically than most (lots of climbing up and down).
Hi Chani, I was thinking of spring too, but I am committed to somethings at home through early May, and all the Greece Tours from then until June are already waitlisted. That is already high and hot season, no? Maybe I will call The RS office to see what the waitlist look like, they might even squeeze in a wee little solo traveler like me, do you think?
Beginning of june weather is still not killer hot.. but pleasantly hot.. ocean just warming up ( we have swam in mid May .. fresh.. very fresh.. lol )
I vote September myself.. The first time I went was in first last week in Sept and first week in October and it was still perfect weather , and it was still busy enough for us.. ( we didn't want it half closed down )
Water is warm.
I do note that local workers did seem a bit happier at the beginning of the season as opposed to end of season.. can you blame them, working with tourists is exhausting.. lol
Thank you Chani and Pat, and hello to whoever else who knows Greece and is reading along. I just spoke with tour staff at the RS office, and wanted to share the advice I received and see what you all thought. My thinking is to try to take the Greece Tour plus a small number of days before and after in Greece, and also go back to Italy on my own, either before or after Greece, thinking especially of various spots in Tuscany and Umbria. The Greece Tour for June 5-18 is still taking reservations. I am concerned whether it would start to get too crowded and too hot for ideal conditions in June. The RS staff said probably not too much. If I go to Greece in June, I would probably go to Italy first. All the tours in May show full with a waitlist, however the same groups of 2 and 4 seem to be on all those waitlists, and no solo traveler is on any of the waitlists, so if room for one person cleared on any of them, I would be first in line. If I traveled to Greece in May (except the May 29 start date), I would probably go to Italy after Greece. The RS staffer suggested I sign up for the June 5-18 Tour ($100 less expensive plus saving $100 this week due to the Reunion Sale), then also put my name on each of the May 8, 15, 22 and 29 waitlists, then give it a while to see what might open up. Of course, I could not book air travel or dig into planning for Italy until I have a definite schedule. An alternative would be to just leave Greece for the fall season. Does this spark any reaction or thoughts from any of you? Thanks so much for listening, and maybe being my travel therapist!
June 5 - 18 will be wonderful ... Rick's tours are chiefly on the mainland and the weather will be enjoyable. I hope that these tours allow enough "down time" for some swims, because the water is just wonderful at this time, and beaches not at all crowded. If you do Italy before, and a few extra Greece days Afterward, it will be hotter then -- but not in the islands, which his tour misses.
I highly recommend a few days on Naxos and/or antiParos. A bonus part of this is that Naxos & Paros have an excursion company that offers a day-trip to Santorini. This allows you to see this "famous" island and its Caldera View, without having to stay over, amidst the crowds. It goes several times a week -- try to get the vessel MV Alexander, because its the larger, a smoother ride. The tour will land you at the pier about 10 AM ... a dedicated bus takes you to the "famous" town of Oia for free time, then back to Fira Town again your time is your own, and about 4:30pm back to your excursion vessel, & back to your home island before dinner. The View without the Hassle!
Hi Larry, I did the Greece tour this past October, it began on October 1st. The first days in Athens were very warm but as time went on it did cool off a bit. I don't like heat and found it uncomfortable, but many others in the group seemed fine so it was probably just me! There were a couple of days where you could swim if you choose to do so and many did. The beaches were not crowded and I did not find store/shop/restaurant personnel "tired" of tourist that late in the season. The economy is Greece needs the support of tourist and most people we talked with acknowledged this and seemed happy that we were visiting their country. It was a great trip.
I really wanted to take a fall tour last year to Greece but it didn't work out, so I'm going this spring - and turns out spring is better than fall. You'll end up flying to/from Athens, wherever else you go, so I don't think it matters much which other country you "pair" it with.
Think big picture. Do you want a spring trip or a fall trip to Europe this year? Do you want to go to Italy this year? What's the best time for Italy? Don't get your knickers in a twist because of Greece. It'll be there next year too. In the meantime, pick a sunny day and start breaking in those ECCOs by visiting the monarchs at Natural Bridges.
If you can only take that tour in the fall, I'd suggest mid-September into October. That should provide a good balance of good weather along with reasonable temperatures. I took that tour in late May / early June and some of the days were still quite warm. It's an excellent tour, and I'd highly recommend it.
I took a week or so after the tour to visit Naxos and Santorini and that was also fun. At the conclusion of my Greece visit, I flew to Milan and carried on for another month or so in Italy, Switzerland, France and Germany.