Bustling with life all year round, Athens is a great destination whether you’re looking for a short city break in the winter or a place to spend your summer vacation. This roundup with what you should expect to find in the Greek capital each month of the year will certainly help you decide when is the best time to visit Athens.
While Greece is popular for its sun-soaked islands with the endless sandy beaches, the Mediterranean country experiences winter too.
In fact in some places in Northern Greece it even snows and temperatures drop below zero.
Luckily, that isn’t the case in Athens.
During January and February temperatures range from 10°C to 0°C and there are low to no chances of snowing.
A good pair of shoes, a jacket and an umbrella for those few raindrops are all you need to pack in your suitcase.
February usually marks the beginning of the Greek carnival (Apokries) which lasts for around three weeks and ends on “Clean Monday”, (Ash Monday).
Parties, parades, and festivities take place around the city during the carnival but the biggest celebration is held on the final weekend.
March signals the beginning of spring in Greece.
The days get sunnier and temperatures vary from 20°C during the daytime to around 10°C at night.
As it is the low season, the hordes of tourists haven’t arrived yet, making it easier to visit the city’s sites without having to wait in long lines.
And as it happens with every city around the world during the low season, hotel prices are lower and plane tickets are cheaper.
When April kicks in, the weather in Athens gets even better and the days become longer.
It’s a great time of the year to visit Athens if you want to avoid the crowds and still experience the county’s sunny weather.
Keep in mind though that Greek Easter usually falls in April.
That means that many locals leave the capital and head to the countryside and many shops and bars are closed for a few days.
While May is a spring month, in Athens it starts feeling like summer.
With temperatures reaching up to 25°C, locals and tourists head to the seaside areas also known as the Athenian Riviera and some even dare to take the first dip of the year.
Outdoor tables pop up in some of the capital’s hip neighborhoods breathing new life into the city.
If you’re in Athens on the 1st of May grab the chance to explore the city’s outdoor places and make a May Day wreath as the tradition requires.
If one the other hand, you’re visiting Athens in June be prepared to get a taste of the Greek summer.
Temperatures are higher than May but they don’t soar above 30°C as it happens in July and in August.
June’s weather is ideal for all day long sightseeing and relaxed evening walks around the historic center.
Summer’s first month also marks the beginning of the summer festival season which lasts until the end of July.
The city’s cultural agenda is filled with all kinds of events including numerous outdoor concerts.
July and August are the hottest months in Greece and therefore most locals and tourists decide to hit one of the numerous majestic Greek islands.
A fact that makes many travelers wonder whether the two last months of the summer is a good time to visit Athens.
Well, it all depends on what you’re looking for during your trip.
The first and most important is that in August most Athenians leave the city for the islands.
Especially during the last half of the month, Athens feels quite empty and many bars, cafés and restaurants are closed.
If the capital’s nightlife isn’t on your list with the reasons to visit Athens, then you’ll probably like Athens city in August.
You’ll still find many places for a quick bite, a mouthwatering dinner or an ice-chilled cocktail.
The other thing you have to consider before booking your flight tickets for August is the temperatures.
The Greek summer might have gained a great reputation making millions of tourists flocking to the country every summer but it isn’t all that pleasant in the city center.
With the thermometer often showing 40°C and above, sightseeing in Athens can become really hard.
The same goes for the last half of July.
However, in July the city is still quite vibrant as most locals go only on short weekend getaways.
Τhe first autumn breeze comes in mid-September and usually, it isn’t accompanied by the season’s typical raindrops, allowing locals to savor the year’s last summer drinks in rooftop bars and outdoor spaces.
The weather is still very pleasant and warm enough for a swim at the nearby beaches.
September is also a great month to catch one of the cultural events at the historic Odeon of Herodes Atticus.
The summery mood still lingers in the air as most people have just returned from their vacation and a not very negligible number of tourists still roam around the city.
Life in Athens gets back to pace officially in October.
And even though we’re in the heart of autumn temperatures are still quite high with an average of 20°C in the daytime.
During this time of the year, the number of tourists has decreased significantly so if you want to see some hidden gems or the less-touristy side of the city, a trip to Athens in October is a good idea.
While in November it gets cooler compared to September and October, it is still much warmer than in other European countries.
This time of the year sunny days alternate with rainy weather but the temperature goes up to 15°C.
Unlike northern European cities, Athens doesn’t boast huge Christmas markets and snowy landscapes but you’ll find many events that will put you into the festive mood.
Take a stroll around Syntagma square, or visit Ermou, the city’s pedestrianized shopping street and taste the local Christmas delicacies served in the numerous stalls, attend a theatrical play at Badminton Theater or a performance at Megaron (Athens Concert Hall).
With its historic sites, the flavorful traditional cuisine and the bustling nightlife that makes you feel that this city never sleeps, the Greek capital is bound to enchant all year round.
The only question before you determine the right time of year for your vacation is whether you prefer to experience Athens during winter or summer.