The best time to visit Santorini is between May and October, but avoid August in Santorini if you don't like crowds. If you're looking for the best time to go to Santorini, this month by month guide will help.
Beautiful Santorini and when to go
Perfectly positioned in the South Aegean Sea lies the idyllic Greek island of Santorini. Most famous for its iconic white-washed and blue-topped buildings, this pretty island has long been a tourist hotspot.
When is the best time to visit Santorini though?
It depends what you are after. Do you want to visit Santorini in the low season when it's cheaper? Do you want to go to Santorini for the best weather? Do you want to travel to Santorini when there's fewer tourists?
In this Santorini Travel Guide I'm going to offer my perspective from living in Greece to help you decide when is the best time to go to Santorini for your next vacation.
Note: I've visited Santorini twice – Once in early November, and once in July. Out of these two, I felt the best time for Santorini was November. Overall, with my experiences of travel in the Cyclades islands in Greece, I think that June would perhaps be the perfect time go go to Santorini.
When to visit Santorini – Summary
- Best time to travel to Santorini for weather – May to September
- Best time to visit Santorini to avoid crowds – Not July and August
- Cheapest time of year to visit Santorini – Low season October to March
- Best time of year for Santorini nightlife – June to September
- Pro Tip – Visit Santorini in winter for lower prices and fewer tourists
Best time to visit Santorini
Santorini attracts over 1.5 million tourists annually, which is quite a lot considering how small the island is!
Most head there during the peak summer months of July and August. Due to the popularity of visiting at this time, you might be forgiven for instantly assuming this was the best time to visit Santorini, but this is not necessarily the case.
If you're planning a trip to Santorini, you'll want to choose your date more carefully. Read on for a month by month breakdown on when is the best time to travel to Santorini.
In each section, I lay out the pros and cons for each month, balancing things such as the best weather to visit Santorini against the months when the Cycladic island is at its busiest.
Visiting Santorini in January
January is off-peak season, and it also has few tourists. You can expect sunshine, but may need to pack a sweater or two to keep warm. You may also experience a little light rain.
Not all the tourist facilities will be open, and many hotels may be closed, but Santorini is gradually transforming into a year through travel destination. You will always find places to eat and drink – Lucky's Souvlaki in Thira never seems to close!
January is probably the best time of year to visit Santorini on a budget for backpackers who might not care that everything is not open yet.
Bonus for visiting Santorini in January – Probably the month with the least visitors!
Downside for visiting Santorini in January – Forget about swimming!
Visiting Santorini in February
February is a month much like January when it comes to visiting Santorini. The water is still too cool to swim, and there can be a bit of a sea breeze.
On the plus side things will be much cheaper and you will still find restaurants open in some of the main tourist areas.
Bonus for visiting Santorini in February – A few more tourist facilities open. Still low on visitors.
Downside for visiting Santorini in February – Swimming is still not really possible.
Visiting Santorini in March
Things start to heat up come March. Well, it might still be a bit chilly by Greek standards, but Northern Europeans will appreciate the difference! Temperatures can reach 20 degrees during the day, although it's still not consistent.
What's great about Santorini in March, is that hotel prices still remain fairly low. (Check out my guide to sunset hotels in Santorini here).
It's still firmly in the off-season, but shoulder season is coming, and the first cruise ships start to arrive at the end of the month.
Don't come at this time of year if you are hoping to swim in the sea though, as the water temperatures will still be way too cold for that. Swimming months are between June and September.
However, if you choose a hotel with a heated pool, or if you're okay with just strolling the streets, then March could work for you.
Bonus for visiting Santorini in March – Still low on visitors, with the possibility of the odd few days of T-Shirt weather!
Downside for visiting Santorini in March – You've still got to be pretty crazy to swim – but don't let me stop you!
Visiting Santorini in April
April is still classed as low season, so you can grab yourself some serious deals when it comes to flights and accommodation options. The only exception will be the days around Greek Easter which varies every year.
While it won't be as warm as in those peak summer months, it will still feel relatively hot – T-shirt weather for non-Greeks most likely!
If you've endured a long and cold winter, and want some cheap sunshine, then April could be the month for you.
Bonus for visiting Santorini in April – Some great deals on flights and hotels outside of Easter. The weather is warming up nicely!
Downside for visiting Santorini in April – The only real downside is the weather isn't 100% reliable as of yet. Other than that, a pretty good month to visit Santorini!
Visiting Santorini in May
Excellent weather runs from around May to the end of November, although you can still expect warm and sunny days outside of this time period as well.
May is a great time to visit if you want to get there when things are warming up, but when it still has a quiet old-town feel to it. You can check out some interesting day trips from Santorini to enjoy here.
Bonus for visiting Santorini in May – The May weather heralds the beginning of the good weather months. The sea may (for the brave) be warm enough to swim in.
Downside for visiting Santorini in May – No real downsides to visiting in May, other than the sea perhaps being not comfortably warm yet.
Visiting Santorini in June
The high season runs from around June to September. At the start of June, things are only just beginning to get really busy. So it might be a good time to visit if you still want to dodge the crowds but also want that summer sun.
Bonus for visiting Santorini in June – One of the best months to visit Santorini. The first few weeks are still low(ish) on tourists, and the waters around popular beaches such as Red Beach on Santorini are now warm enough to take a swim.
Downside for visiting Santorini in June – None really.
Visiting Santorini in July + August
Two words sum up Santorini in July and August – busy and hot. High temperatures can hit 35 degrees, and everyone seems to have had the idea of visiting at the same time.
In my opinion, it's not really pleasant at this time of the year. The beauty of Santorini is best experienced in quieter times, and who wants to try and elbow people out of the way in order to get the best sunset spot?
Now of course, I totally get that some people don't have a choice but to visit Santorini in July and August due to work leave, school vacations and the like. You have been warned though!
You are going to want to book your hotels and flights WAY in advance if you want anything resembling a good deal if you are determined to visit Santorini during this period.
Bonus for visiting Santorini in July and August – I don't want to sound negative, but there really is no upside of visiting Santorini in July and August. Do yourself a favour, and pick some other months! This is not the best time to visit Santorini in my opinion.
Downside for visiting Santorini in July and August – As mentioned – tourist hordes, pricey flights, insanely priced accommodation, crowded beaches. Should I go on?
Also, the infamous Meltemi which affects the Greek islands in the Cyclades occurs at this time. It can get very windy during this period!
Further reading – Best time to visit Greece
Visiting Santorini in September
Things start to revert back to normality in September. It's still busy, but not as crazy as July and August, and you can almost sense the sigh of relief in the air that Santorini has got over the high season rush again!
This month is a good time to visit if you want to grab some late summer sun. The Meltemi wind has also eased off, and weather-wise, September is a near perfect time of year.
Take a look here for things to do and places to eat in Santorini in September.
Bonus for visiting Santorini in September – Fewer tourists than peak season. Hotels coming back down in price. Weather and sea still warm.
Downside for visiting Santorini in September – None really, although later September is better to avoid the holiday cross-over with the early parts of the month.
Additional: September is a great month to visit the Greek islands. Read here the 10 best Greek islands to visit in September.
Visiting Santorini in October
October marks the start of the low season, so it can be one of the best times to visit Santorini if you want to save money on your hotel.
The crowds are also thinner, and you'll often have a slice of beach to yourself. Is it warm enough at that time of year? Just – but perhaps not 100% reliable.
Bonus for visiting Santorini in October – Pick up some nice deals on hotels in Santorini and flights. Still warm for the time of year.
Downside for visiting Santorini in October – Some businesses starting to close for the year towards the end of the month.
Find out more: Travel Guide to Santorini in October
Santorini is one of my picks for the best Greek islands to visit in October.
A full guide here to visiting and the weather in Greece in October.
Visiting Santorini in November / December
November and December used to be a very quiet time but it is actually rising in popularity. So much so that many restaurants are choosing to remain open all year round.
Hotel prices are still slashed and the sun still shines (with a little rain from time to time), so it can be a good month if you want to escape the winter cold.
I visited Santorini in November a couple of years back, and found the weather to be great at that time of year. It was also the ideal month to take the walk from Fira to Oia along the caldera. The heat of July when we revisited in 2020 did not encourage me to take the same hike!
Another observation, is that the caldera views seemed clearer in November than they did in July. Perhaps because the wind was less pronounced and didn't make the air so hazy.
Santorini in Winter
Greek islands have traditionally been summer time only travel destinations. With increasing numbers of tourists though, Santorini island is slowly developing as a year around destination.
Visiting Santorini in winter has several advantages. Firstly, it is a lot cheaper to stay at hotels in Santorini in the winter than in the summer. Additionally, it is also easier to find accommodation in Santorini during the winter months. The biggest bonus though, is that there are far fewer other tourists.
If you are planning to go to Santorini in the winter however, you need to keep some things in mind. Whilst there will be some bars and restaurants open, some will still close down for those winter months in Santorini. You'll also not find a nightclub open between November and March. The beach resort areas such as Kamari may also be virtually closed.
Personally, I loved travelling to Santorini in November. I was maybe lucky with the climate and weather, but really enjoyed all those great views with none of the crowds to match!
FAQ about the best time to go to Santorini Greece
Here are some commonly asked questions about visiting Santorini at different times of the year.
What is the best month to visit Santorini?
The best month to go to Santorini in terms of good weather and fewer tourists would be a choice between June and October. It's probably best to avoid Santorini in August if you don't like crowds.
How many days do you need in Santorini?
Santorini is a relatively small island, and you could easily see the main highlights and attractions within 2 or 3 days.
Is Santorini or Mykonos better?
It depends what you are after. Santorini has better places to enjoy the sunset, and a number of pretty towns and villages to walk around. Mykonos on the other hand has far better beaches and nightlife.
Which side of Santorini is better?
The west side of Santorini is the better place to stay if you want to experience the Santorini sunset and have easy access to either Oia or Fira at night. Budget travelers might prefer the east side as it has cheaper places to stay.
Use the above as a guide on the best time to visit Santorini, and leave a comment below if you have any other questions.
Here's some other travel guides which may help you plan your trip:
- Best wine tours in Santorini
- How to get from Santorini Airport to your hotel
- Best boat tours in Santorini
- Best time to visit Europe
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Dave is a travel writer originally from the UK, currently living in Greece. He created this travel blog back in 2005 to record his travel adventures around the world. After moving to Greece he has a somewhat ambitious (perhaps impossible) goal of visiting every Greek island and writing about it.