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Greece better in May or September?

Hello i got such amazing advice from this site when i planned my trip to France, i am back for everyone's wonderful ideas for my next trip... Greece..... best to plan for May or September????

also include ideas for a 15 year old dramatic girl....

Posted by
8592 posts

also include ideas for a 15 year old dramatic girl....

Do you mean one who is studying drama and stage or a "drama queen"?

Spring flowers or Fall colors? Hmm...........?

Posted by
21030 posts

First, I'd check actual, historical, day-by-day weather stats for the last 3 to 5 years on I don't know which month would be better from the standpoints of avoiding excessive heat and rain. Of course, where you plan to go in Greece makes a difference.

If I didn't see enough climate difference to worry about, I'd prefer May for two reasons: the days will be longer and the countryside should be somewhat greener. Much of Greece is quite dry.

You might also Google for information on Greek holidays. Holidays can be fun to observe or frustrating to a dedicated sightseer (if sights are closed), depending on ones point of view.

Posted by
12908 posts

I like May. Long days. Somewhat greener landscape. Warm to hot, but not too hot. Actually if you go to the islands, you will need a sweater at night (just buy it there as a souvenir).
Never been in September but early September is way too hot, at least according to my friends who went there at such time.
Rain in summer In Greece? They wish.

Posted by
27 posts

You are all so great!
I think May sounds perfect....
And a sweater as a souvenir is a wonderful idea.
My 15 year old is not into the real stage... ( just dramatic for her parents!) But she just finished reading the Odyssey so she is interested in mythology...

Posted by
5617 posts

Have you narrowed down your Greek itinerary plans? Mainland and/or islands? We’ve had 2 trips, kind-of just outside the months you’re considering.

In 2018, we were there in April, during our Easter and then the Greek Orthodox Easter, one week later. Except for one rainy day, the weather was pleasant and fair. We landed in Athens at night, and caught a ferry the next day for Hydra island. Another ferry took us to the Peloponnese peninsula a couple days later, where we rented a car for a clockwise tour over a week and a half, finishing up in Athens for a few more days. It wasn’t crowded then, and it seems May wouldn’t be packed, either. There were some other folks at sights, but not tons.

Late September/early October 2019 we were on Crete, Greece’s largest and southernmost island, the whole time, with rental car. Sunny, marvelous weather the entire stay. It was busier, but not jam-packed. Along the coasts, lots of people were there for the beach, and that far south, sea water was still warm enough. The Lasithi Plain in the interior, at a much higher altitude, was chilly at night but warm in the daytime. One place we stayed, owned by a German woman and her Greek husband, was all Germans except us two Americans. She told us that Germans all took off in September, and she had people from one part of Germany the first week of September, then from a different part the second week, and so on. The restaurants in town had menus in Greek and German, and a few in English, so whether or not the entire country of Germany goes to Greece in September, many do, and they must have some good reasons for picking Crete in September.

Your 15 year old would probably be interested in ancient Greek ruins and sites. Maybe after a couple of places, anything further is just a pile of rocks, but many sites are truly fascinating. Athens, of course, has the Acropolis, plus the Ancient Agora. There’s plenty of opportunity to get some exercise climbing steps and exploring. The Peloponnese has Nemea and Olympia, with their ancient athletic stadiums and temples. Then Epidavros, with the still-perfect acoustics of its theater, 2,500 years before electronic sound systems existed. She can climb up and down and around, testing the sound quality from different places in the huge seating area. Monemvasia - we stayed on the island fortress rock one night, and basically had it to ourselves the next day for climbing up high and admiring the views.

Crete is dotted with sites of Minoan civilization - even older than classic Ancient Greece. She could likely envision herself as a princess or queen, surveying her spacious palace. Then there’s hiking, above the Lasithi Plateau, or down the Samaria Gorge, the Gorge of the Dead, or others. Samaria is closed for the season once rains start up in mid-October, so September is perfect for it, not too hot and still open! There are always beach towns, too.

On Easter, we found a restaurant that was serving roast lamb to just locals, and us two tourists. Greek breakfasts are really special. The 15 year old might never want cereal again, if that’s what she eats at home now. Dinner outside will have cats watching your every move, so that was part of the entertainment. Have octopus at least once - it was swimming that morning, before it got caught.

Posted by
2604 posts

Late May was pretty wonderful on the mainland; I'd find early May a little chilly for outdoor activities. I would not hesitate to go in September (early or late) because I like swimming and would appreciate the warmer sea temps. A lot may depend on where you are going and what you are doing.

Posted by
949 posts

While I haven't been to Greece in either May or Sept. I do go every October, usually the first half of the month.

Sept. (and May) are considered off-season travel where you'll find less tourists, lower prices and nice weather, even in Oct. we were able to take a dip in the Aegean!

I think either of your months would be fine, just a matter of doing a little more research for the months you want to travel and see what works best for you!

Lots of options of where to go, not just the islands but most of the mainland.

While our children are much older and on their own so didn't take them along there are many options for your daughter to experience: history, culture, beaches, archeological/historic sites, food (my favorite) and so much more.

Here's a wonderful website for all of Greece (you'll be overwhelmed with choices!):

Posted by
3335 posts

We traveled to Greece a few years ago in September for 3.5 weeks and the weather was moderate. (warm, but tolerable for us). Following the RS Greece Tour we went to Santorini & Naxos. Many contributors from the forum enjoy late May in Greece. That said, I don’t think you could go wrong with either.

Posted by
847 posts

Second 3lovetotravel's suggestion for swimming in warmer water in Sept.

I also agree that it depends on where in Greece you are thinking about. With climate change, parts of Greece have had a good amount of rain in recent years in both months. About 7-8 years ago, I arrived in Santorini on Jun 1. The hotel owner told me that it had been raining cats and dogs throughout the month till May 29 in that year.

Anti-recommendation for a 15 year-old: do not go to Ios, which is filled with twenty something smoking and drinking all day long. Mykonos is scenic, but it also has a vibrant party scene. Book a hotel with a good, quiet location. Otherwise you will get free music till dawn.

Posted by
27 posts

THANK YOU for your input... i also love the extra info on ideas for my daughter... yeah don't want to mingle with 20 year old handsome tanned young men!
Sounds like i need to really look at what islands are party time and which are more family friendly.

i would love to see museums and artifacts all day every day... her to a point... on the France trip she just got to the point of rolling her eyes at the idea of going to "another museum" she was 12 but...

Much more into the food, beaches and the catacombs.

Posted by
3335 posts

When planning our trip to Greece we decided to spend more time on Naxos. Some reasons: Family friendly, less touristy, the best Greece experience, and quiet. We stayed on St George Beach at a resort that had a pool, & restaurant that included the best breakfast buffet we had in Greece. Also wonderful restaurants on Naxos, all within walking distance. Although it was just my husband & myself we enjoyed the families staying there. Most were European. It was great meeting people from all over Europe. We stayed 6 nights and wish we could have stayed longer!

Posted by
27 posts

Amazing i was thinking of Naxos... would you be willing to share the name of the place you stayed?
did you spend time in another area?

Posted by
3335 posts

abowen, we stayed here: No, we did not stay in another area on Naxos. That said we used their excellent public transportation to visit other areas/beaches and a self tour of Apiranthos, one of the prettiest villages on the island. The highlight is the narrow marbled paved streets and Venetian architecture, etc. We enjoyed lunch at one of the family owned Greek Restaurants.

Not sure where your interests are but I would suggest a helpful guidebook like Rough Guide to Greece. I would also recommend this blog: "15 Best Things To Do In
Naxos Greece."

Posted by
1721 posts

If you are interested in Naxos, I would like to recommend the hotel we stayed in-Kymata. It is in same area as the resort recommended. It is not a resort-no pool or the like and not directly on beach. What it does have that may work well for you is a roof top suite. There is one room with a king sized bed and a second room with a door with two twin beds. There is a tv in both rooms. My one son stayed in that room.

The roof top deck has furniture and a fabulous view. We ordered take out (they delivered actually) for two nights and ate outside.

There is no elevator and it is three flights of stairs to the top but so worth it.

The managers when we were there three years ago were just so lovely and helpful. The breakfast buffet is unbelievable.

We rented a car for two of the four days we were there. The hotel helped us make arrangements.

We were there in May and the water was still a bit chilly (but we are from Florida). The hiking was fabulous. We hiked to top of Mt Zeus which is the highest point on the island.

I would go back in a heart beat.

Posted by
492 posts

Greece is so much a part with the seas and the crystal clear water is wonderful to swim in in September. Loved Paros and Naxos

Posted by
2853 posts

I've been to Greece 13 times last visit was 2019 .. both May & September. The one thing abou September is the warmer water -- but After May 15 in my opnion the sea is just fine, a touch brisk when you enter for 20 seconds then sublime. My ideal time is between May 15 - June1 .. everything's open nothing is crowded (except for Santorini of course -- but you can minimize this with strategy) ...

The nicest thing about May is the flowers, so much greenery on islands like Naxos, Crete, even the drier islands ... and the locals are not rushed, they're rested & friendly, sociable, welcoming. By September they've been battered by the Avalanche of European Holiday Makers, a bit burned-out, still friendly, but they're looking ahead to fall, closing up, getting their kids in school etc. By mid-Sept sometimes some shops are closing, you get an end=of-season feel. Maybe thats just me. Another thing about late Spring - the days are sooo long, not dark unti after 9, you feel as if you're getting a day & a half of holiday for each day!. In September, especially if u are driving on mainland, late in the day, u need to be aware of fading light.

For your 15 year old, I trust she is not a "percy Jackson" fantasist who will expect huge statues of gods everywhere ... I suggest finding travel guides that give In-depth on some of the archeology & legends, not just logistics about hotels & transport. but some authentic historic novels are very magical but based on both legends & history... My top recommend is "The King Must Die" by Mary Renault ... next is her "The Masks of Apollo" about young actors in 500-400 BC, during the time when Greek Tragedy arose.

Posted by
14881 posts

The best info on weather is at daily weather conditions for many locations for any month for the last 10 years or so. . Here's Athens for May last year - daily weather conditions

Greece is slowly opening this year to tourists, I expect (just an opinion) there will be lots of Europeans flocking there, especially in shoulder season when other places may not be as attractive, if they are even open.

Posted by
2853 posts

My guess was that you were NOT planning on this summer, b ut rather the 2022 season... things are SO iffy even for this summer.