Planning a trip to the famous Cycladic island? Wondering when you should go for the most amazing experience?
Below is my guide to help you decide the best time to visit Santorini for you: best months for the weather, best season to avoid the crowds, best period for the prices...
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Best time to visit Santorini - short answers / summary
Best time to travel to Santorini - short answers
If you don't want read the whole article, below are my short answers about the best times to visit Santorini depending on what you are looking for:
- Best month to visit Santorini in my opinion - October
- Best time to enjoy the beach - September (for warm waters, but bearable sand and lesser crowds)
- Best time to explore - April, May, October and November (good weather, everything is still open but less crowds)
- Cheapest months to visit Santorini - December to February is when the prices are really reduced (June to September are the most expensive)
- Best time to party - July and August is when nightlife is at its peak
- Is Santorini in Winter worth it? - yes, the weather will not be as cold as the rest of Europe and you can have the views with far less people around. However most of the tours will not be running during that period, so you have to explore on your own
Best season to visit Santorini - Summary
- High Season - from mid-June to mid-September
Hot weather, warm waters
Flights and ferries are more frequent
Prices are high
Tours and activities are all running
Lots of tourists (and cruise ships)
- Shoulder Seasons - May to mid-June + mid-September to October
Sunny and warm weather, waters are a little colder
Flights and ferries are frequent
Prices are still high but not as much
Tours and activities are mostly all running
Not as many tourists, and less children
- Low Season - November to April
Cool weather, changing sky, rain possible, windy - waters are cold
Less frequent ferries and flights
Prices are lower, especially December to February
Most tours and activities are not running (boat tours, wine tours...)
A lot less tourists
Note - daylight length
- During the shortest days of the year, you still have 9h40 of daylight - plenty of time to explore
- During the longest days of the year, you have 14h30 of daylight
Climate - best season to visit Santorini?
Average Temperatures during the day
Weather is hot in the summer months, warm in the shoulder seasons and cool (but not cold) in Winter.
- January - 9 to 14°C (48 to 57°F)
- February - 9 to 14°C (48 to 57°F)
- March - 10 to 16°C (50 to 61°F)
- April - 12 to 19°C (54 to 66°F)
- May - 15 to 22°C (59 to 72°F)
- June - 19 to 27°C (66 to 81°C)
- July - 22 to 28°C (72 to 82°F)
- August - 22 to 27°C (72 to 81°F)
- September - 19 to 26°C (66 to 79°F)
- October - 16 to 22°C (61 to 72°F)
- November - 13 to 19°C (55 to 66°F)
- December - 11 to 16°C (52 to 61°F)
Average rainfall and days with rain
It almost never rains in Summer, and rarely rains from April to September. Most rains are from October to March.
- January - 115mm (4,5in) - generally, 9 days with rain
- February - 80mm (3,1in) - generally, 7 days with rain
- March - 65mm (2,6in) - generally, 6 days with rain
- April - 30mm (1,2in) - generally, 3 days with rain
- May - 15mm (0,6in) - generally, 2 days with rain
- June - 5mm (0,2in) - generally, 1 days with rain
- July - generally, no rain
- August - generally, no rain
- September - 15mm (0,6in) - generally, 1 days with rain
- October - 60mm (2,4in) - generally, 3 days with rain
- November - 70mm (2,8in) - generally, 5 days with rain
- December - 100mm (3,9in) - generally, 9 days with rain
Wondering where to stay in Santorini?
Check out my article to find the best areas depending on your criteria and discover inspiring accommodation suggestions
Crowds - best month to visit Santorini
2 million tourists visited the tiny island of Santorini in 2018! Remember that Santorini :
- is 76 km2 (just under 30 mi2)
- has 69km of coastline (43mi)
- is 16km long (10mi)
- has a width varying from 1 to 5km (up to 3,1mi)
Therefore it gets crowded. And there are a lot of talks around overtourism in Santorini
- The island is full from Mid June to mid-September
- The lesser crowds are in Winter
- All year long, the charming village Oia gets crowded for sunset
- If you want to have the places almost to yourself, wake up early and enjoy the sunrise - above is a picture of the main street of Oia during the first hours of the day
- The most crowded places are the Northern white villages : Oia, Imerovigli and Fira, as well as the 2 largest black beaches of Perissa and Kamari - tourists favorite attractions are the Red Beach and the hot springs of the caldera (boat tours)
- If you are looking for off the beaten path options - visit Emporio village in the center, Vlychada beach to the South or the North East beaches
Crowds will also have an impact on your driving experience, every time you wan to explore further...
Need to rent a car?
Price - best period of the year to visit Santorini
Prices depends on demand. Therefore the higher prices are in Summer and the lowest in Winter, especially December to February. However a lot of accommodations close during those months (especially at the beaches)
Your highest cost will be accommodation ?
I checked a 4 star cave house in Oia :
- for a week in July - it was 4211 euros for 2
- for a week in February it was 2349 euros for 2
I checked a 3 star accommodation in Kamari beach :
- for a week in July - it was 820 euros for 2
- for a week in January it was 633 euros for 2
Beach & activities - when to visit Santorini
Average seawater temperatures in Santorini
If you are looking to be able to swim while on holidays in Santorini, know that the water temperature vary a lot throughout the year. So even if the weather is nice enough to enjoy the Santorini beaches, they might not be sufficient if you love warm waters....
Below are the average temperatures to give you an idea.
- January - 16°C (61°F)
- February - 16°C (61°F)
- March - 16°C (61°F)
- April - 17°C (63°F)
- May - 19°C (66°F)
- June - 22°C (72°F)
- July - 24°C (75°F)
- August - 25°C (77°F)
- September - 24°C (75°F)
- October - 23°C (73°F)
- November - 20°C (68°F)
- December - 18°C (64°F)
Tours and activities
Tours mostly run from May to October. However
- Some Island bus tours are now running during part of the winter (closing only November to January)
- a few sailing tours are now running during part of the winter
- Check out what tours are available at your dates on Getyourguide
If you plan on renting a car, check out my article about driving in Santorini.
Sunset - Best time to travel to in Santorini
The sun does not go down with the same alignment all year around.
If you are watching the sun setting in Oia, sometimes it may be behind the houses, other times it sets towards the North coast.
And at other viewpoints in the caldera, the sun can set on the water, far on the horizon (rather than behind the island) during some months.
I recommend you check out The Photographer's ephemeris and change the dates to see in which direction the sun is setting.
In my opinion the best is November to January.
You might also want to consider, the time of sunsets - to suit your organization better (rather early or late):
- January - 5:15 to 5:45pm
- February - 5:45 to 6:15pm
- March - 5:15 to 7:40pm (Summer time change)
- April - 7:40 to 8:05pm
- May - 8:05 to 8:30pm
- June - 8:30pm to 8:40pm
- July - 8:25 to 8:40pm
- August - 7:45 to 8:25pm
- September - 7 to 7:45pm
- October - 5:25 to 7pm (Winter time change)
- November - 5 to 5:25pm
- December - 5 to 5:15pm
If you are wondering where to stay between Oia and Fira - check out my comparison article.
Planning your trip to Santorini
Need help planning your trip to Santorini? You can check my articles on this websites:
- Best things to do in Santorini
- Best views in Santorini
- Where to stay in Santorini
- Santorini itineraries
And if you want practical maps and tips to make the best of your time on the island, below is my eBook:
Be overwhelmed by the Beauty, not the Planning!
- 6 easy-to-plan Maps
- 40 scenic locations and photo stops to consider for your itinerary
- Planning tips to make the most of your time
- GPS coordinates for peace of mind
- 90+ photos to help you select where to go
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