Greece: April or May??

Old Oct 22nd, 2021, 07:24 PM
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Greece: April or May??

Hi everyone,
We are hoping to visit Greece in 2022, and it is looking like we will go either in April or May. Which month would be better weather wise? We plan on visiting two islands. Right now I am seriously considering Santorini and Naxos. Also want to visit the Peloponnese and will probably stay in Nafplio. And then spend about 3 - 4 nights in Athens at the end. This will probably be a 14 - 16 night trip. While we don't generally go to beaches while in Europe, I think it would be nice to swim and spend a few relaxing hours on a beach while on the islands. Would April still be too cold? Would May be a better month for some swimming and sunbathing? We definitely don't want to go during the hot summer months. We prefer sightseeing in cooler weather.

When I have a finalized itinerary, I will ask for opinions and ways to improve it.
Thank you!
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Old Oct 22nd, 2021, 08:19 PM
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May. May. May. Perfect month to go. I've been to Greece 13 times, all but 2 started in mid-to late May. The rains are over, but the greenery is still lush, flowers on the hills even on dry islands. Everything's open but nothing is crowded. Greeks are out painting their boats, their flagstone patios, tending their flowers... happy to start the season, plenty of time to chat with visitors. Swims? of course! I've swum in Naxos & Nafplio & 20 other islands in May, after the 15th. The first 30 seconds, a bit brr and then... heavenly. Another joy - by May, the days are really lengthening, it's light until 9, so you get 1.5 days for every day of your stay.

Given your wish list & probable trip length, it fits a trip that I've taken many times with newcomers, and have advised it for others on forums so many times, that other Old Hands will Groan "Not again." But it's tested, it works, it maximizes time enjoying, minimizes transit time. Goes like this:
ē DAY 1 - try for flight arriving in AM, have 2-hr layover for domestic flight to SANTORINI - book a caldera-view hotel in FIROSTEPHANI, ideal location, lovely views, walkable to FIRA attractions, easy bus to OIA, BUT serene by day & night, because cruise crowds & package-tour busses bypass it.
ē DAY 2 - early-early visit to OIA - rest of day for ancient sites, peaceful dinner & sunset in Firostephani or Fira, NOT in OIA which can be a zoo 7-9 pm
ē DAY 3 - Morning fast-ferry (open-deck for departure view) to NAXOS; arrive noon. Try to stay at least FOUR days -- xplore whole island... hillside villages, marble mountains, ancient sites, fertile farms, fascinating port town -- and about 10-15 miles of golden sand beaches, teal-blue water. Am wistful just thinking about it.
ē DAy 7/8 - to 11/12? - AM flight to ATH, pick up rental car, Drive to NAFPLIO (en route see NEMEA, right off highway). So much to enjoy!! Old Town itself & Palamidi, plus MYCENAE, TIRYNS? ASSINE (my fave swim is in a cove there). On Return drive, start early, take Alternate Route East to EPIDAURUS, then stop at Isthmus for quick look at CORINTH CANAL . Return car mid-afternoon to Aiarport, take flat-fee taxi to Central Athens Hotel
ē DAYS 13- 16 - Athens Sightseeing ... by then you will have been immersed in Greek ways and ancient history, so the famous Landmarks and museum treasures will be SO much more meaningful for you.

If this appeals, I have links for key destinations, and to photo albums particularly of Naxos & Peloponnese.
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Old Oct 23rd, 2021, 12:50 AM
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Weatherwise May would definitely be better than April, and as late in May as possible. Sea water doesn’t really warm up until June when the summer sun has had a chance to do its work. The main advantage of April, if you can time the trip to coincide with Greek Orthodox Easter, is you will have a chance to see some of the celebrations that occur around this most important Greek holiday.
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Old Oct 23rd, 2021, 05:56 AM
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Thank you to Travelerjan and Heimdall! While visiting during Greek Orthodox Easter sounds like fun, I think I am more inclined to visit in May. We are free to go the last 2 weeks in May. I have a few things going on in April, although that could be changed. But it sounds like the weather in May is more enjoyable especially if it's rainier in April. Of course, I realize weather can change from year to year. After I do more research I will come back with a more detailed itinerary.
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Old Oct 23rd, 2021, 08:42 AM
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Originally Posted by KarenWoo View Post
Thank you to Travelerjan and Heimdall! While visiting during Greek Orthodox Easter sounds like fun, I think I am more inclined to visit in May. We are free to go the last 2 weeks in May. I have a few things going on in April, although that could be changed. But it sounds like the weather in May is more enjoyable especially if it's rainier in April. Of course, I realize weather can change from year to year. After I do more research I will come back with a more detailed itinerary.
KarenWoo, am following this thread with great interest. Greece has been on my wishlist for several years now, but somehow it never worked out. I was hoping for 10 days this March for spring break, but again it fell through!

We were in Athens and Santorini end May 2011 and again June 2nd week 2014 and it was quite hot both times. In 2011 my sister and I did the walk to Fira and found the going pretty tough in the heat, despite carrying a lot of water. Donít know if that year was particularly hotÖ
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Old Oct 23rd, 2021, 04:14 PM
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Geetika, thanks for the information on your 2 trips at that time of year. I will check the Wunderground website to see historically what it has been like in April and May. We could also go the first 2 weeks in May. I usually have my trips planned and reservations made 6 months prior, but this year because of Covid I will wait until the winter months to make my reservations. Life will be quieter for me in January, too, so I will have more time to plan.
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Old Oct 23rd, 2021, 08:38 PM
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Last 2 weeks are most reliable ... AND more things are open -- favorite tavernas, especially.
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Old Oct 24th, 2021, 05:33 AM
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Originally Posted by travelerjan View Post
Last 2 weeks are most reliable ... AND more things are open -- favorite tavernas, especially.
Travelerjan, based on your many trips to Greece, have your experienced really, really hot weather at the end of May that Geetika described? Or as she said, it could have been an unusually hot spring. We are 71 and 74, and wouldn't do well taking long walks (which we enjoy) in really hot weather.
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Old Oct 24th, 2021, 08:41 AM
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I’ve been to Greece about 20 odd times, mostly in May and June. I’ve never found late May too hot, and for a frame of reference I’m a 78 y.o. American who has lived in England for most of my life, where a hot summer day means temperatures in the 70s. In fact, late May in the Greek Islands is sometimes still unsettled rather than too hot, and now I prefer waiting until June or September. The northerly Meltemi winds keep the Cyclades Islands cooler than Athens and the rest of the mainland.

Don’t worry about the weather — go to the Greek Islands when everything is open and the ferry schedules are on their full summer timetables.

Last edited by Heimdall; Oct 24th, 2021 at 08:48 AM.
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Old Oct 24th, 2021, 09:58 AM
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I agree with Heimdall -- Don't worry so much. and I'm older than both of you! and still doing my 2 miles per day most days ... and even in March I wouldn't do that Oia to Fira walk .. more varieties on other islands, like Naxos; Santorini is for gazing. May will be fine, and if you get an unexpected afternoon hot spell, that's what your air-conditioned hotel room is for! In 2019, Go take a siesta -- that's what the Greeks do! 1st week in June 2019, we ran into a 3-day 90+ stretch in Nafplio, so we did our stuff in the AM, napped in the afternoon, and happily stayed up late each night.

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Old Oct 24th, 2021, 10:15 AM
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Excellent advice from all above, and *TJ---no traveler in their right mind would ever groan 'not again' about your input, its consistently useful and valuable to a forum such as this.
Yo KW, maybe also look into the isle of Folegandros, which is best reached by hydrofoil from Santorini. Folegandros offers: VG beaches if only for strolling at that time of year; a public bus that runs the spine of the isle and would take you directly to some of those aforementioned beaches; excellent walking through the far "Ano Meria" agricultural hinterland (this other half of the isle has hamlets, isolated chapels, pig shit, swathes of marble geology, fascomilo wild sage); plus an exceptionally attractive Hora, with great eating options and a superb path leading up from it towards the summit Panagia Church with its remarkable views.
A taxi also exists on Folegandros.
*But I've saved the best for last: the great cliff-side hotel 'Anemomilos'. Reasonable rates, excellent cafe and world-class cliff views. Seems that they've added hot tub whirlpools in some rooms since we were last there.

Santorini and Folegandros make an excellent two-fer, visually, geographically, diversely (see Ano Meria's real-deal farms), and other words that end with the suffix 'ly'.

Hope this trip goes well!

I am done. the argonaut

Last edited by zebec; Oct 24th, 2021 at 10:27 AM.
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Old Oct 24th, 2021, 12:15 PM
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Thank you to everyone who has responded. I know I can be obsessive about the weather! I appreciate everyone's advice and input. I will post a more detailed itinerary at a later date.
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Old Oct 24th, 2021, 03:57 PM
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I would go later than earlier based on my late fall experience a couple of years ago. We loved the lack of crowds in mid-October but things were really shutting down on Santorini and most of the workers we encountered were going off island for six months to return to work the next year's season. I would think April would be very early as far as everything being open and operating, but that's based on my experience in Oia at the end of the season. We were also on the last Delta flight out of Athens for the season. They wanted my seat so I got an overnight in Paris in exchange.
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Old Oct 24th, 2021, 08:51 PM
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Its been decades, but I spent the month of April in Greece as a student. The mainland was COLD. I loved visiting all the archeological sites but it was wet and chilly. The islands which we visited the second half were warm and beautiful (Crete, Santorini and Rhodes).There were a lot of Brits and other Europeans celebrating Easter (one nice thing is that Western Easter and Greek Orthodox Easter don't necessarily align so you might celebrate 2x). Celebrating Pascha in Lindos was really special experience that remains among my favorite memories 20 years later.
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Old Oct 25th, 2021, 06:12 AM
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Hi, KarenWoo,
I thought I would chime in on your thread. We were in Greece in 2011 and went in mid-September to early October. Like starrs, we noticed that by October, places were starting to close up and the tourist crowds were noticeably thinner. The weather fluctuated between very hot and pretty comfortable, and Iíve come to the conclusion that weather can be very unpredictable! Surprising, right? Everything Iíve read and heard about, though, makes me think that if and when we go again, Iíd prefer to go in mid-May to early June to take advantage of warmer weather but before the summer crowds arrive.

We visited Crete, Santorini and Naxos and ended in Athens. I wrote a very limited trip report (mostly a cut and paste of my daily notes), but you might find it helpful:
My Greek Diary - September/October 2011

PS - I found your report for Croatia extremely helpful and your description of your day trip to Hvar inspired us to do the same - and it was wonderful!

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Old Oct 25th, 2021, 06:08 PM
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Thank you to Starrs, Christine and Progol! After reading all the replies, I am strongly leaning towards mid to late May. We prefer warmer and sunnier weather.

Progol, I pasted your trip report to my desktop so I have it at my fingertips. I skimmed through it, and will read it more thoroughly at a later date. But I see that I did read it in 2018 and posted some comments!
I am happy you found my Croatia trip report helpful. Are you planning on writing a trip report for Croatia as well? I notice that you did respond to Russ's TR and that you met him for dinner or drinks a few times. How wonderful!
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Old Oct 25th, 2021, 06:29 PM
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Originally Posted by KarenWoo View Post
Thank you to Starrs, Christine and Progol! After reading all the replies, I am strongly leaning towards mid to late May. We prefer warmer and sunnier weather.
I loved the lack of crowds in Oia in October. Did not like that the water was too cool to swim in the gorgeous pool.


Air temps were great! Water temps, not so much.
For that reason, I would choose Sept over Oct for the next trip - or May over April for yours.
Have fun!

Also I loved the mainland so much more than I expected! We took Challiman's advice and hired a private driver to go to Delphi on a day trip - and Constantine was one of the best parts of the entire trip. He's been driving for Paul's Yellow Taxi - now PK Travel - for years. I also used PK for an airport pickup and a trip out to Corinth and then back to Athens just in time for hotel check-in. My flight got in very early and it was a perfect way to spend the first day in Greece. Amazing.

My biggest regret - we didn't make time for Meteora. Will return and do most of what we did and add Meteora.
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Old Oct 26th, 2021, 07:12 AM
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I would forget Santorini unless you want to fight with horrible crowds of people. You cannot even walk around itís so crowded. Itís beautiful but so are other less crowded islands. We were just in Santorini a few weeks ago and couldnít wait to leave. It was horrible. We mostly stayed on our terrace because walking around meant fighting crowds of twenty and thirty somethings who were mostly interested in getting their Instagram pictures and holding everyone up. Itís also the only place in Greece where no one wore masks. No one. I felt very unsafe there. Iím glad I was in Santorini twice before, before it became a madhouse. Greece has so many beautiful places. Santorini is a circus at this point.
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Old Oct 26th, 2021, 11:33 AM
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We stayed in Oia several years ago....did not like it! We went back 2 years ago as friends we were traveling with really wanted to go. We stayed in Imerovigli at Anastasis Apartments and had a completely different experience. We booked a tour with Santorini Walking tours and spent a day hiking inland to small villages and a winery.

I agree Oia and Fira are not my choice of vacation spots but I now thinkSantorini can be done without the chaotic crowds, especially fairly early in the season.
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Old Oct 26th, 2021, 12:49 PM
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We stayed JUST outside Oia and had no problems with crowds. It was maybe a 3 or 4 minute walk to the marble streets which was an easy stroll and LOVED where we stayed. A friend had been there about 14 years prior and it was at the top of my bucket list ever since.

When we checked into our hotel, we were told we didn't have "sunset views" and a restaurant with "sunset views" was recommended. It was very nice and we were above any crowds if they were there. It was the Sphinx and one can see THE sunset view on their website -
https://www.sphinxwinerestaurant.com/
It was a pretty sunset. But I would have hated to stay in the middle of the crowds.

The next night we decided to suffer through a non-sunset evening on our private terrace. OMG, it was gorgeous. We didn't see the actual sun set behind the water, but the sunset night sky was gorgeous! We thought it was a pretty spectacular "sunset".

The sky was really pretty at sunrise too. We had amazing sunset views over the Acropolis in Athens so we didn't feel cheated. But I honestly didn't research - just booked the hotel my friend recommended years prior and it was all I imagined and more. Including no crowds.

Last edited by starrs; Oct 26th, 2021 at 12:58 PM.
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