If you have questions like does Greece have a winter, what are the temperatures like, is Greece a good winter sun destination, what is there to do in Greece in winter then you’re in the right place. I arrived here just at the end of the summer season. I’m going to tell you about my experience and answer the questions you have about going to Greece during the winter months.
Does Greece have a winter season?
Short answer, yes it does.
In terms of tourism, the summer finishes around the end of October. I was here in Greece for 2 weeks in October then I went back to the UK for a housesit in Devon. After that, I returned to Greece at the very end of October. I noticed that a lot of places shut down just a few days after I got back. Even though the last few weeks of the season were quieter than usual, thanks to COVID, I did see a drop-off in visitors when I came back.
I’m on Naxos which has always been quite a wealthy island thanks to its agriculture. Because work on the land and with the livestock continues year-round, it’s still fairly busy here in the winter. Other islands are much more reliant on tourism for their income and become very quiet after the summer tourist go.
Winter climate in Greece
Weather-wise, Greece in winter varies, much like lots of other places. Apparently, this year has been particularly mild (hooray for me!). Some winters it does get down to freezing, and there’s snow on the beach.
We’ve just had a cold streak here that seemed to last forever. We drove up to Filoti recently, and I saw snow on the hills. Bear in mind that I live out a suitcase and warm clothes are limited since they take up more space. It was down to about 4 degrees some days with a mixture of sunny, rainy and windy days.
Here on Naxos, it’s often windy. In the summer it’s welcome against the hot sun. In the winter, the northerly wind can make a bright winter’s day really quite cold. Overall, winter is much milder than in the UK, and it was only really January that I found very cold.
It’s the beginning of February, and we’re back to much milder weather. (This week at least). I’m don’t think it’s normal for February, but it’s 19 degrees today. The sun is out, and there’s a gentle, south-westerly wind.
I’m pretty pleased with this kind of climate. The patio door is open while I type. My washing is drying rapidly on the washing line. It’s a good temperature for my daily walk. All in all, it suits me well.
Greece winter packing list
Ok, I’m not going to give you a whole packing list. I’m not good at working those things out, which is probably why I’m pretty minimalist! But I will tell you some things to include.
Wear a jacket
Most days when the locals are bundled up in hats and padded coats, I’m wearing a summer top with a vest top underneath. I’m from Scotland, 18 degrees feels pretty warm to me!
However, I’ve been grateful to have a jacket with me when it’s been really cold. I’d recommend bringing one so you can layer up if you need to.
Like I said above, there are plenty of days I haven’t needed a jacket, particularly if I’m rushing about. But definitely bring a jumper or two depending on how long you’re staying. I bought a really big warm jumper, and I wear it around the house like a dressing gown. Even when it’s mild outside the house can feel cold, so a cosy jumper has made a big difference to my happiness levels!
Pack an umbrella
It rained a lot here in December and January. Part of me doesn’t really notice it because the wet weather doesn’t last too long and then we’re back to blue skies and sun. But when it rains, it rains. I don’t have an umbrella with me here. Sometimes I think that’s not a problem because when it rains it’s often with gale-force winds anyway. There have been a few times it would have been good to have one though so for the sake of sticking one down the side of your suitcase, I would.
Include weather-proof shoes
I live in my trainers and I have a pair of plimsols that I wear as well. I have huge feet so any shoes that I bring take up loads of space in my case. Most of the time just having these ones is fine. But it’s been a bit miserable on some of the rainy days. If’s it’s pouring and I don’t need to go out, I don’t. But wet feet aren’t fun so a proper pair of shoes or boots are probably a good idea. Wear them on the flight so you don’t need to pack them.
Bring slippers or cosy socks
On the same note, make sure you have something warm for inside the house. It might depend a bit on where you’re staying, but tiled floors are pretty common. Stone floors get cold. In summer, I love the feeling of a cold floor on hot feet. In winter, I’m grateful for my slipper socks.
Include your jeans
In the summer, I find jeans too thick, and I get too hot. I’ve worn them nearly every day in winter. Sometimes I’ve been warm enough with a long summer dress paired with leggings and a vest top underneath. I can wear a cardigan or my jacket if I need to, too. But when that cold northerly wind blows my jeans offer much more protection. If it’s 18/19 degrees, you might be fine in lighter clothing but wear your jeans on the flight, and you might be glad of them.
Greece winter ferry schedule
A reduced ferry schedule is available in winter, but there are still ferries running. I’ve found the ferryhopper.com website really useful for planning island-hopping itineraries. Take a look and see what’s available for the routes you’d want.
Greek island hopping in the winter is possible (although not currently since we’re in lockdown). I think it’s a great time to visit a few different islands. It’s quieter and if you enjoy things like hiking the weather could be more pleasant for that than in August.
Bear in mind that lots of touristy places aren’t open in winter. Many of the activities available in the summer aren’t run year-round. But restaurants and shops that cater to locals are. If you’re mainly looking for peace, walking activities and natural sites you’ll be fine. (Well, except in COVID times, but normally…)
Hopefully, that’s answered some of your questions about Greece in winter. I’ve really enjoyed the peace, post tourist season. The air can be cool here in winter, but it’s so clear. You can see across to other islands, like Mykonos, which isn’t possible in the hazy summer atmosphere. Naxos, certainly, is a different island in the winter and I am here for that difference!