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With a need for escaping reality more prominent than ever, Santorini, one of the most popular islands of the Cyclades both for tourists and locals alike, seems like the light at the end of the tunnel.
And how could it not be with its volcanic geomorphology, the deep blue waters of its beaches, and the welcoming locals who feel like enjoying your time on their island is their responsibility!
A little bit about Santorini
Sunset in Santorini - credits: Georgios Tsichlis/Shutterstock.com
Santorini is, in fact, a complex of islands that consists of Thera, Thirassia, and Aspronissi. These used to be one, but following a tremendous volcanic eruption, the land broke off, forming the impressive Caldera everyone knows and loves.
Magical as it is, Santorini was often thought to be connected with the legend of the "lost" city of Atlantis in ancient history, becoming the test subject of scientists worldwide for years.
Choosing the best time to visit Santorini
Akrotiri church in Santorini - credits: Mariia_Boiko/Shutterstock.com
As thoroughly explained in our Vacation in Greece Guide, choosing when to travel to Greece comes down to personal preference, and Santorini is no exception. However, regardless of that, and because Santorini is an island, visiting during the winter would not be the wisest choice.
The Greek islands are infamous for being particularly cold and windy. Additionally, due to the small number of permanent residents, they are close to being deserted.
Therefore, it wouldn't be a surprise to find most restaurants and shops that are at their peak during summertime closed through the winter months.
That being said, due to the incredible, raw beauty of the island, there is something to be gained from a winter trip.
Τhe emptiness of the low season months causes a serenity that is difficult to find. So if seclusion is what you're after, then maybe visiting Santorini in the winter is not such a bad idea; in any other scenario, choosing the warmer months is, without a shadow of a doubt, the best option.
On the opposite side, if you choose to visit Santorini during the summer and especially during its high season, which lasts from the end of June to early September, you need to keep in mind that thousands and thousands of people have probably made the same choice as you.
Expectedly, being one of the most popular summer destinations in Greece and the whole world, Santorini can get extremely busy and often overcrowded.
As a result, relaxation, peace, and quiet give way to busy streets, lots of chattering, loud nightlife, and hectic beaches, which can be a no-go for some.
However, if crowds and waiting in line don't matter, and you've imagined your holidays filled with parties that end in the first light of day, you have nothing to worry about.
If you're visiting Santorini with kids and are looking to have a much more calm and authentic Greek island experience, crossing off the dead of summer from your list is the best way to go.
As with everything in life, there is such a thing as a 'happy medium,' and that happy medium should be the one to look for, as it will provide you with a one-of-a-kind, authentic experience without compromising the factor of fun. For us, that happy medium can be found during late spring and early autumn.
If you choose to visit Santorini in late May or late September to early October, not only will you get to bask in the wonderful sunshine and enjoy good weather, but you will get to explore the island without touching shoulders with thousands of people.
Don't get me wrong, the island will be far from deserted, but it won't be packed to the brim either, which is ideal! And with the perfect climate the Mediterranean is offering, there will be plenty of things to do in Santorini during May, September, and October, so you are not missing out on anything that's happening during the high season.
Between you and me, the beaches of Santorini will probably be even more magical during those months.
Here is a detailed breakdown of Santorini during every month of the year.
Visiting Santorini in November and December
Akrotiri Lighthouse, Santorini - credits: cge2010/Shutterstock.com
It is no secret that the Greek islands are not considered a winter destination, which stands true for Santorini as well. From early November and through December Santorini is expectedly very quiet and exudes the energy of a deserted island due to the island getting into its off-season.
Many restaurants opt to remain close from October until April. As a result, the hotel prices are also reduced, while there are hotels that remain closed during the winter season altogether.
Some people claim that from early November to late December is the best time to visit Santorini and catch sight of the Caldera. We don't necessarily agree, however, each on their own! It is all a matter of what you're looking for during your vacation in Greece.
Visiting Santorini in January
Ammoudi Beach, Santorini - credits: ian woolcock/Shutterstock.com
January is considered the heart of the Greek islands' off-season, and there is little tourist activity. The weather is cold -colder than on the mainland- and although the sun may shine due to Greece being a generally sunny country, you must pack your heavy winter clothes with you.
Again, not all tourist facilities will be open, and some accommodation options will be closed, leaving you with little choice.
What's more, if you're a backpacker and want to spend your days browsing the fascinating caldera cliffs, January might be a great time to visit Santorini and escape the blazing heat.
Visiting Santorini in February
Catamaran in Santorini - credits: dancar/Shutterstock.com
Visiting Santorini in February is not much different from visiting Santorini in January. However, February is usually Greece's coldest month, so you should be prepared for really low temperatures and whether that may not resemble the pictures you've seen on Instagram of Greece.
The water will be too cold to swim unless you're an experienced year-long swimmer, and there may be strong winds that will create an uninviting environment; no wine-tasting will be taking place during that month.
Suppose you visit Santorini during the winter months. In that case, it is an excellent opportunity to mingle with the welcoming locals who feel like enjoying your time on their island is their responsibility!
Visiting Santorini in March
Colorful street in Oia, Santorini - credits: Anilah/Shutterstock.com
With March comes the first glimmer of spring. Then, the temperature starts rising at the end of March, the days grow longer, and the sun shines brighter.
While March is still quite chilly by Greek standards, people from northern Europe and other colder countries will love it! In fact, temperatures can sometimes even reach 20 degrees at midday, but this temperature isn't constant.
What makes Santorini so great in March is that despite the improvement in the weather, the hotel prices remain relatively low. The water is still freezing during the month of March. However, the more daring visitors might try diving in them before marveling at the famous Santorinian sunset.
Generally, in Santorini, the spring brings a beautiful environment with beautiful blooms of flowers and beautiful shades mixing with sea views. The skies are bright with good conditions for long relaxing walks. Temperatures at night range between 75-80 °F, with slightly warmer days.
It is less touristic in the spring and therefore suited for romantic getaways or solo travels. Families seeking quieter may enjoy spring in Santorini. Hotels are less expensive than in summer, and you should be able to get great deals when flying in.
Visiting Santorini in April
Couple in Santorini - credits: _Kalamurzing/Shutterstock.com
The month of April brings the blooming season to Greece and the Greek islands, with the weather improving drastically and the Greek charm coming back to life.
April is still considered a low season month, so you'll get a good deal on your flights and accommodation choice. The only exceptions are the Easter holidays which vary each year.
Although not quite as warm as during the peak summer months and probably still a bit chilly for the locals, the temperature is still considered relatively hot for non-Greeks.
What's more, April is the month that most businesses and restaurants open their doors for the season, so you'll have plenty of options regarding accommodation, entertainment, and food!
Visiting Santorini in May
Ammoudi bay in Santorini - credits: Georgios_Tsichlis/Shutterstock.com
May (along with September, which we will talk about below) is, in our opinion, the best time to visit Santorini to enjoy a genuine Greek island experience without the massive tourist crowds, but with the lovely hot weather, Greece is known for. May signals the start of the season's great weather!
During May, most days are warm and sunny days as well, while the water of the sea has warmed up enough to be welcoming for visitors. It is still cold, but it is manageable.
The high season runs between May and September. Therefore, the businesses that didn't open in April will open in May, offering visitors of the island the opportunity to experience Santorini in full force.
All in all, there is no real disadvantage to visiting Santorini in May that we can think of.
Visiting Santorini in June
Couple toasting in Santorini - credits: Cultura_Motion/Shutterstock.com
Of course, visiting Santorini in the summer is by far the most popular choice for travelers. It is considered by most the most beautiful time for visiting Santorini.
In addition, it allows the island's visitors to enjoy a plethora of activities they couldn't enjoy any other time of the year.
The summer period is hectic, especially in June or July. However, the summer months may be perfect for you, depending on your needs and activities.
Things have started getting very busy in June, and long lines may await you. That being said, June is a beautiful month to visit Santorini. The first few weeks of June are still low in tourist numbers, and the water around famous beaches like Red Beach in Santorini is warm enough for swimming.
Visiting Santorini in July and August
Windmills in Santorini - credits: Santorines/Sutterstock.com
Two words describe Santorini in July and August: busy and warm. High temperatures exceed 35 degrees in the morning, with the nights being typically a bit more chilly, giving visitors a refreshing breath.
The months of July and August are infamously the busiest month for the Greek islands and Santorini in particular, with the island flooding with travelers worldwide. For many, the height of summer is the ultimate time to visit our exotic country, and with good reason.
However, if you choose July and August for your visit, you must keep in mind that the massive crowds may obstruct your peace, and they may get in the way of enjoying the island to its full potential.
That being said, Santorini is beautiful, and no matter when you get to experience it, you will have the time of your lives, so if your work vacations or school breaks are during those months, grab the opportunity and visit Santorini no matter what!
Visiting Santorini in September
Dinner in Santorini - credits: Santorines/Shutterstock.com
The crowds thin out from the beginning of September, and the island gets back its relaxed vibe. It seems like everything goes back to normal again.
It's still busy but not as crazy as in July and August. Santorini is going through the high season rush again with great ease! Most restaurants are still open during September, serving the few tourists with delicious local dishes.
This month will make an exciting trip to get some summertime sunshine while escaping the hustle and bustle of the high season.
In early September, Santorini has the best weather, and the Meltemi winds decrease. This is also the perfect time to visit wineries or sail on the water without having the blazing sun burn your skin. However, there is a chance of light rain. Although it is not probable, it is possible that the good weather.
What's more, in late September, accommodation prices begin to drop, so you may get a great deal and have your trip cost significantly less than what they would cost during the middle of summer.
Visiting Santorini in October
Local wine in Santorini - credits: Songquan Deng/Shutterstock.com
Late September to early October marks the beginning of the low season, so visiting Santorini can be an ideal time if you are after a more offbeat vacation in this stunning popular destination.
At the beginning of October, the weather is exceptionally warm, with cool evenings, making visitors comfortable during their travels. However, the high temperature is not 100% reliable, especially in late October.
The island is notably less crowded, and the beaches of Santorini that get swamped by people during the high season months seem like private beaches at your very disposal.
The biggest bonus for visiting Santorini during October is that you will have the opportunity to get good hotel and flight deals, making your Santorini holidays affordable and, therefore, even more tempting.
On the other hand, the downside of visiting Santorini in October (and late October in specific) is that some businesses and many restaurants may be closed for the season, promising to open again at the beginning of next summer.
When to visit Santorini - a summary
The best time to visit Santorini for beach holidays
Kamari Beach - credits: Zocchi Roberto/Shutterstock.com
In order to enjoy the crystal clear waters and unique beaches of Santorini, you must visit the island during the months with the highest temperatures. There is nothing better than to visit Greece when it has sunny weather.
From late spring (or early spring, depending on your tolerance) to early or late autumn it is the beach season of Santorini. During that time, the weather in Santorini is ideal for endless hours on the beach, with the bright sun warming you up and the turquoise waters refreshing you. You can even indulge in wine tasting adventures after your swimming adventures to taste the infamous Santorini wines.
The best time to visit Santorini for a sailing adventure
Sunset sailing trip in Santorini - credits: Maximusmeridi/Shutterstock.com
There really is no time that is not right for a sailing adventure in Santorini apart from winter. The mild weather and generally high temperatures make Santorini a perfect destination for a sailing or boat tour.
The months of May, June, September, and October are particularly ideal for sailing trips in Santorini due to the hot weather and lack of massive tourist crowds. As a result, it is also an excellent time for an island-hopping escapade.
The best time to visit Santorini for your honeymoon
Dinner for two in Santorini - credits: Santorines/Sutterstock.com
If you want to experience the island of Santorini in the most romantic way possible, you may want to steer clear of the high-season months that are busy, buzzing, and wild.
You want to be able to enjoy the idyllic caldera sunsets Santorini is famous for without being cramped up next to strangers. The best time to do so is, in May, September, or October when you can enjoy idyllic wine tasting activities, boat tours, and warm weather with fewer tourists being on the island.
The best time to visit Santorini for parties and sunny weather
Monolithos Beach - credits: Claudio306/Shutterstock.com
If you visit Santorini intending to party and socialize, then the high-season months between late June and late August are the perfect time for you.
The large crowds that might scare some people away from the island will be the perfect setting to make your dreams come true. At the same time, the hot weather will allow you to experience the full effect of the Mediterranean climate and enjoy your Greek vacation as you have imagined.
During those months, you will find a plethora of entertainment and eating establishments open to choose from, and you will be able to drink and dance your troubles away until the early morning hours.
The best time to visit Santorini for seclusion
Oia sunset - credits: Mariia_Boiko/Shutterstock.com
If you want to seclude yourself from the outside world, contemplate life, and do it amid a unique imposing landscape by the sea, visit Santorini in winter and you won't regret it. The Greek islands turn into a haven for peace and quiet in the winter.
Of course, in that case, you must be ready to face challenging weather conditions and the lack of tourist facilities. However, it might be worth it if you want to become a recluse for a little while.
When to book accommodation for Santorini
Ammoudi Old port - credits: kavalenkava/Shutterstock.com
With Santorini being the most popular destination in Greece alongside Mykonos, it is no surprise that the earlier you book your accommodation, the better.
Ideally, it would be best if you tried to book your accommodation at least 2-3 months before your arrival. This way, you will get better prices, while you will also have the opportunity to book upscale rooms and be spoilt for choice.
All accommodation offerings in Santorini get fully booked from early spring, so you should make sure not to leave your reservations for the last minute because there is a high chance you won't find anywhere to stay. Even if you do it, it will be both overpriced and underwhelming.
Other Greek islands near Santorini for an island-hopping trip
Pool in Santorini - credits: Netfalls_Remy_Musser/Shutterstock.com
Santorini is located alone at the southernmost point of the Cyclades. Below Santorini is the Cretan Sea and Crete.
Next to Santorini, west and north, are some beautiful and popular islands of the Cyclades, Ios, Sikinos, and Folegandros. To the east is Anafi, while next to Santorini, part of its Caldera is the traditional Thirasia.
As a result, you can combine your visit to Santorini with a visit to other Greek islands, such as those, and have the time of your life! Especially if you have many days to spare, it would be ideal to visit as many of them as possible through an island-hopping or sailing adventure.
When should you avoid Santorini?
Red Beach, Santorini - credits: Lucian_BOLCA/Shutterstock.com
Absolutely never! There is no reason good enough to keep you away from Santorini any time of the year. That being said, depending on what you're looking for, there are specific periods you should prefer over other ones.
For example, if you're looking for a quiet getaway, you should stay away from Santorini in July and August, when the island is very crowded, and the stores are always very full.
Regardless, there is a guarantee of an unforgettable experience, even if you can't walk the streets of Oia at sunset without bumping shoulders with other travelers.
How many days do you need in Santorini?
Santorini winery - credits: Vasily Mulyukin/Shutterstock.com
Our recommendation would be to spend at least three days on the islands of Santorini in order to do it justice.
Santorini is a fascinating island, and aside from Oia, the volcano, the ancient history, and the stunning sunset views, there are plenty of exciting attractions that will keep you occupied for days.
Again, ideally, the more days you get to spend on the island, the merrier. Of course, ten days would be the absolute dream, but it is understandable that, unfortunately, many people don't have ten days to spend on vacation.
If need be, you could also spend as few as 24 hours on the island and just get a taste of it. This can happen through a day trip you will indulge in from another island of the Cyclades, or if Santorini is one of the stops of your island-hopping trip.
One thing is for sure: you'll be coming back for more as soon as possible.
Is there a rainy season on Santorini island?
The archaeological site of Akrotiri in Santorini - credits: Dimitris_Panas/Shutterstock.com
The year can be divided into two seasons, the warm, dry months between March and September and the cold, wet months between October and February.
The hottest months on the island are August and July, with a cooler, rainy season in September and October. January and February are the coldest months, with windfall and unwelcoming temperatures.
What is the cheapest month to go to Santorini?
Santorini by night - credits: fokke baarssen/Shutterstock.com
In order to ensure an affordable trip to Santorini, you must find cheap flights, ferry tickets, and accommodation. A combination that is nearly impossible to find on the popular island.
Accordingly, shoulder season and low season months are more affordable. As a result, the cheapest months to travel to Santorini are the winter months, while if you want to enjoy warm weather and fewer tourists alongside great prices, the low season month of October is the best time to plan your trip to Santorini!
Santorini holidays - credits: Netfalls_Remy_Musser/Shutterstock.com
The island of Santorini has been established as a firm favorite among travelers of the world due to its unique beauty, cosmopolitan vibe, and luxurious ambiance.
Now you can visit Santorini at the best time for you! Trust us; you will want to return to the island again and again, so start with what sounds best, and you can go from there and explore every season on the island. Santorini is a people pleaser, and the best time to visit Santorini is any time!