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Greece in May or August/September?

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Feb 1st, 2012, 12:55 PM
  #1
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Greece in May or August/September?

I've read a few of the topics in this thread, but haven't finished reading them all. Apologize if I'm asking the same question. We're trying to decide when to travel to Greece. We're thinking either late May or Aug/Sept, because we want to go during shoulder season to get better prices and less crowds.

My husband, myself, and a friend of ours are planning a 1 week trip to Greece and 1 week to Turkey. We're thinking to go to Athens, Santorini, Mykonos (not necessarily in that order). To save time, we'll probably get cheap flights between Athens and the islands because the ferry rides seem really long. We're in our mid-thirties and planning to get a Triple room. When I looked at some hotel prices for Santorini and Mykonos, it seems that the prices are half the price in May compared to Aug/Sept. A friend of mine told me that the water at the beach on the islands is too cold in May. But if the price difference is so big, do I even care if the water is too cold? And how cold are we talking about, freezing cold like Los Angeles beaches? Can I still wear shorts around that time?

Average weather for Santorini is low of 65F/high of 75F in May. For Houston (where I live) 65-75 would be nice weather, but maybe things are different in the islands.
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Feb 1st, 2012, 01:17 PM
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I've been to Greece several times in late May, and I find that to be one of the most pleasant times to visit in terms of air temperatures, though one year we had some rain in Santorini. You may still find it hot. I've seen highs in the upper 80s during the day, but nights are cool and pleasant.

In August, the temps are so hot that it is (for me) very uncomfortable. Having said that, water temps in May are still pretty cold. If you really plan on doing much swimming, you may want to wait until September. But by late May the ferries are running and most restaurants and all hotels are open.

If you are looking to save money, you may not find that flights are more expensive now than they have been, but the flights do save time. You can easily take the ferry between Santorini and Mykonos, so I'd do that.

My only caveat is that a week isn't very long to visit Athens and both islands. If it were me, I'd probably spend a couple of extra days in Greece and then cut the trip to Turkey down to 5 days, spending all the time in Istanbul.
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Feb 1st, 2012, 01:27 PM
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weather2travel.com climate guides
greecetravel.com
Late May for me
August islands will be blistering hot chock a block
with obese Germans in speedos or worse.
Woth going in May always for me just to avoid that and the higher prices. ikies.com Oia beautiful head there.
ihg.com deals Intercontinental.com Athens priceline.com
$55 for me bidding there last.
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Feb 1st, 2012, 01:39 PM
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I used to live in Houston, and have spent considerable time on the Greek Islands in both May and Aug/Sep. They are difficult to compare, because Greece is much further north than Houston, and is much less humid. In May you will be able to wear shorts during the day, but will need a light jacket for the evenings. In late Aug/Sep you can get away with short sleeves in the evenings. Sea temperatures are never as warm in Greece as at, say, Galveston. Water temperature will be in the low 60s F in late May, and the low 70s F at the end of August.

I agree with Doug that for a week in Greece Athens, Santorini, and Mykonos are two much. Limit yourself to Athens and one island.
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Feb 1st, 2012, 01:40 PM
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We've been to Greece in May three times and found it perfect for us. We don't like to be hiking around sites and sweating...the temperatures were quite comfortable. There were no crowds and we probably could have used the hotel pools mid-day if we weren't away from the hotels then. The hotel staff and restaurant staff were not overworked and tired so were extremely pleasant.

I'd vote for May but agree with Doug that 7 days is tight for Athens and two islands.
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Feb 1st, 2012, 03:26 PM
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Actually since I am from Canada we consider the water to be just onthe cool side in May I guess it is all subjective. We always swim in May in Greece no problem.
Frankly you may want to consider dropping one of Greece or Turkey because to try do just a week in either one is just too short. I fhowever you stick with your plan then I fully agree Athens and one island.
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Feb 1st, 2012, 04:08 PM
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Great advice! Thanks everyone. I can shorten my time in Turkey and limit it just to Istanbul (although Cappadocia is tempting). We have a friend that lives in Istanbul and it's one of the reasons for our trip. I'm leaning toward May after reading your comments. I don't spend much time swimming in the water. As long as the air temperature feels nice, I'll be happy. I hate being hot and sweaty and I'm sure I'll be walking around, so the not-so-hot weather will be welcomed...and I might like to cool off in the cold ocean. The lower hotel prices will definitely make me happy, because the flight from Houston to anywhere in Europe is over $1000 roundtrip right now. Does anyone know if we can expect flight prices to go on sale?
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Feb 1st, 2012, 04:24 PM
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We've gone to Greece quite a few times at the end of May/early June. That's become our favorite time to visit. Sometimes the water IS warm enough for swimming, but don't count on it. We find that the islands are just gearing up for their summer season, so no one is burnt out yet from dealing with throngs of tourists. The weather is usually gorgeous- perfect for sightseeing.

Like everyone else here, I think three destinations in one week is at least one too many. I would try to head to the island of your choice upon arrival if you can, then spend the last few days in Athens. It's less backtracking, and gives you time to recover from jet lag outside the city.

Last year we visited Paros and Naxos for the first time, and they are now at the top of my list for favorite island destinations. But if it's your first time, I would highly recommend a visit to Santorini, ( stay in Oia!), which has some of the most breathtaking natural beauty I've ever seen.
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Feb 1st, 2012, 06:14 PM
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You will not pay less than $1000 to get to Greece from Houston in May. If you can find a flight anywhere close to that , I'd buy it immediately.
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Feb 1st, 2012, 06:57 PM
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Tickets in early June from JFK are running over $1000 per person to Athens. Go to Farecompare or Kayak.com and see what's available now. If you find something reasonable, snap it up! I just read an article that suggests airplane fares will be raised again soon, and because so many airlines have consolidated flights, there will be fewer available seats than ever.
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Feb 2nd, 2012, 12:55 AM
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I would really avoid Greece in August. September may be OK. We were there in August two years ago and it was incredibly hot and humid and we're Australians so thought we were used to the heat. This was about our 5th trip to the Greek islands and expected it to be hot, we didn't have much choice about when we could go so just lived with it. But if you have a choice, I'd definitely go earlier or later. August is also the main holiday season for Europeans so everything is busier and more expensive.

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Feb 2nd, 2012, 01:58 AM
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We spent two weeks in Greece last Sept and absolutely loved it! But it was hot for us (CDNS) and many of us had short showers twice a day, or went swimming every afternoon. The water was lovely.

We are going back in Aug this year for a sailing trip and expect it to be super hot, but hoping being on the water will make it manageable CANT WAIT!

I agree to stick with Athens and one island. We did Naxos and loved it!
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Feb 2nd, 2012, 12:20 PM
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Thanks! I definitely don't want to go there when it's too hot or crowded. It sounds like May would be my 1st choice (hotel prices are still way lower than Sept). I totally understand what you mean about us not having enough time to visit all of those places. We are going to try to add some additional days, definitely spend less time in Turkey.
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