Best Time To Visit Santorini – And Why To Avoid August

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.

A graph of the crowds you can expect in Santorini on a month by month basis. August is marked in red as this is the busiest time of the year. June and October are marked in green as this has the best balance of lower crowds with pleasant weather | Dave's Travel Pages


The image above shows a little graph (I've called it the Santorini crowd-o-meter!) of how busy you can expect it to be in Santorini each month of the year.

August is marked in red as this is the most crowded time to visit Santorini. June and October are marked in green as these months have the best balance of lower crowds with pleasant weather and are ideal times to go to Santorini.

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 island – Summary

The best time to visit Santorini in Greece

  • 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

** My guide to the best Santorini Sunset hotels **

Santorini Weather

As with the other Cyclades islands, during the summer (June – September) Santorini has a dry Mediterranean climate with hot, sunny days and slightly cooler nights. The hottest months are August in particular and July. A slight haze in the air means that sunset photos are not as clear as those taken in off season months.

The winter weather on the other hand is much cooler, and while there is no rainy season as such, rains can be expected from mid October onwards. The coldest months are January and February, and on very rare years, snow might also fall – but it never lasts for long!

A hidden sunset spot in Santorini - Dave's favourite place to take sunset photos!

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.

Oh, and if you're wondering how you should get there in the first place, read this: How to get to Santorini

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 going to Santorini in January – Probably the month with the least visitors!

Downside for traveling to Santorini in January – Forget about swimming!

Visiting Santorini in February

February is a month much like January when it comes to 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 spending time in Santorini in February – A few more tourist facilities open. Still low on visitors.

Downside of Santorini in February – Swimming is still not really possible.

Visiting Santorini in March

March is a pretty good month to visit Santorini. The weather warms up nicely, and the tourists are still few in number.

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!

Related: Is March a good time to visit Greece?

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 Santorini 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 famous Red Beach of Santorini

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.

More here: Greece in June

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.

Dave from Dave's Travel Pages enjoying a July sunset in Santorini

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, hot weather (too hot), 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. Early September has great weather overall, and its a great month for wine tasting and boat tours.

Bonus for visiting Santorini in September – Fewer tourists than peak season. Hotels coming back down in price. Weather and sea still warm, and lots of sunny weather.

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. You'll find warm weather in early October, but cool evenings which makes it a lot more comfortable for sightseeing.

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 especially in late October.

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

Hiking from Fira to Oia. The views are truly spectacular.

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, many businesses 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.

When should you avoid Santorini?

If you can choose to visit Greece whenever you want, avoid going to Santorini in August at all costs! August in Santorini is ridiculously crowded, with people everywhere you turn. The main streets of Fira and Oia are so full of tourists that it can be hard to move.

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.

Santorini and other Greek islands

If you are planning an island hopping trip in Greece beyond just Santorini, you'll find a lot of other useful travel guides which may help you plan your trip. Here's a few to get you started:

You might also like to sign up for my newsletter, which will help plan you Greek vacation in more detail. In it, I share the best of the best from the blog, and it's all totally free of course.

** Sign up for my newsletter here **

A month by month guide to the best time to go to Santorini

Next read: Warm European Destinations In December

Which one is Dave Briggs and which one is the donkey on SchinoussaDave Briggs
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. In addition to this guide on the best time to visit Santorini Greece, he's also written hundreds more travel guides on destinations in Greece. Follow Dave on social media for travel and adventure inspiration:

21 thoughts on “Best Time To Visit Santorini – And Why To Avoid August”

  1. Hi Dave,
    Appreiciate all of the great informoation. We are visiting Santorini last week of April and wondered which area is the best to stay? We are there for 3 nights, no car. Thank you in advance!

    • Definitely Fira for this time of year. It’s Santorini’s capital so has all the facilities you need. Oia will feel a little like a ghost town in April, and the coastal towns won’t be open yet in terms of places to eat.

  2. Hi Dave. I don’t like to walk when it is too hot. Hence thinking of visiting end of September, so that the water was warm enough to swim, and temperature not too high and let us enjoy walk around the island. Would that be a good idea to visit end of September or better to come early September?

    • Mid to end September would be. good time to visit as the weather in Santorini would still be warm enough to swim, but very far away from the peak temperatures of July and August.

  3. Do you think there will be enough to do on Santorini mid to late October for 3 days. Do you think we will be able to some water excursions? Thank You. Unfortunately I can’t depart any earlier. Also planning on hitting Athens on the way home and spending 5 nights w possible day trip.

  4. Dave read your blogs on Santorini but could you help with this question as I have not been able to address it my self.
    Our cruise ship arrives in Sept 2019 for day we will be tendered off how can we get to Firá and Ora without using cable car either way or walking as we are 70 years old.
    I have heard there is a boat to another part of coast where transport is available but the return journey is not available.

    • Hi Barry,
      You can get water taxis from where the cruise boat will be to Amoudi Bay below Oia. Rumour has it you can now book these on board your cruise boat, If not, it’s all pretty straight forward once you get there (turn left at the tender dock).
      Unfortunately, the decision most people take is to get the water taxi as described, see Oia, and then bus down to Fira. From there, getting the cable car back down to ground level. (I think there may even be a ticket deal which includes water taxi, bus, and cable car).
      If the cable car and walking is not an option for you, then you would most likely have to stay in Oia, and then get a return water taxi – however, I have no solid information on this. You’d have to ask on the day,or get in contact with your cruise ship company.

      • Thanks Dave, will seek advice from Tui who we are sailing with.
        Rhodes is another stop any thoughts on visiting Lindos or stay in town.
        My wife wants to see Acropolis type of venue

  5. Hi Dave,

    Hoping to visit Santorini end of October to the start of November for our honeymoon. I wanted to stay a few nights in Imerovigli and a few nights in Oia. Can we still see the sunset here this time of year? Weatherwise, does it get super chilly in the evenings? It seems like most restaurants are outdoors so just wanted to know if its too chilly to even sit outside?

    Any help would be appreciated!

    Thanks so much!

    • Hi!
      In October it can get chilly at night, but only so much as a light jacket would be needed.
      You might find at that time of year that restaurants have some mini-heaters outside if they are needed.
      There are good sunsets at all times of year, and we had some fantastic one when visiting in November.
      I’d questions swapping hotels between two places in Santorini – I don’t think it’s neccessary. Also, I’m not sure how long you are planning to spend in Santorini, but 3 or 4 days would be the max for most people.
      Have a great trip to Greece!

  6. hi Dave, We are planning a trip to Greece in May, 2020. Traveling from Raleigh, North Carolina to Athens and then same day flight to Santorini. On one of your posts you recommended Aegean Airlines but they only have flying dates thru March, 2020 so it is hard to plan without knowing flight times. There are two flights we can take to get us to Athens. One lands at 10:00am and the other at 1:45pm. Would it be better to take the one that lands early in Athens? Will there be several choices of flight times to Santorini? We don’t want to miss out if there are only morning flights and we land in Athens after they have all left. Thanks for your help.

    • Hi Holly,
      They may not release next season’s flights until September unfortunately. I would say to land at the earlier time to give you more options. I think it would be inconceivable that no flights at all would be running, but we won’t know for sure until later.
      If you haven’t already checked it out, this post has more info – Athens to Santorini

      • Thanks so much Dave….yes I have read all your blogs and they are extremely helpful… we will book the earlier flight and then just keep checking for flights to Santorini….can’t wait to visit Greece.

  7. Hi Dave, We are planning our son’s wedding in Santorini May 1, 2020. Santos Winery for the ceremony and Pyrgos Restaurant for the reception.

    We are looking for boutique hotels for the group. We are having about 40 to 50 guests

  8. Hi Dave
    My friend and I will be doing a cruise in September 2019 and will be in Santorini on 9/11 from 8am until 5pm but have to make sure we are back on cruise ship on time. Do you have any suggestions on a small group or semi private tour of best of Santorini making sure we go to oia do you have any tours or guides you could recommend? 4-5 hour tour

    • Hi Cheryl,
      I hope you enjoyed the weekend!
      Whilst I don’t have any specific tours in mind for your shore excursion, I would recommend looking at (this is the site I use myself when travelling). I know they have several small group offerings for Santorini shore excursions you might choose from.
      Have a lovely time!!


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