Santorini, Greece is one of the hottest tourist destinations in the world for people that want sunshine, the ocean, wine, history, and more. Whether you’re a history buff, an adventurer, or just looking for some R&R, you’ll love the majestic sunsets and rich culture!
But knowing the best and worst times to visit this popular vacation spot is essential to planning the perfect trip! Find out everything you need to know about the on and off-season in Santorini here!
Why You Should Visit Santorini
There are numerous reasons to visit the stunning Greek island of Santorini. Whether you love a sunny beach day or a transcendent hike up an active volcano, Santorini is the perfect place for an exciting or relaxing vacation.
There are marvelous hotels and resorts, from luxury properties to budget locations, so you can enjoy this famous Greek island on any budget. Eat authentic moussaka while you sip on delicious Greek wine made right on the island!
Santorini has gorgeous weather and welcoming locals that make your stay magical and unforgettable. In truth, it’s hard to come up with a decent reason not to visit Santorini!
Overall Best Time to Visit Santorini
The overall best time to visit Santorini is either early to mid-spring or mid to late-autumn.
Not only will these windows be less expensive than during the summer months, but they’ll also be less crowded while still offering all of the fun amenities and activities you’re looking forward to!
While most people want to save money while planning a lavish vacation, they also don’t want to have a poor experience because they picked the wrong month. From late March to early June, and from early September to late October are the best times to go to Santorini.
During these times, you can enjoy the warm, sunny island weather and go on adventures like scuba diving, mountain hikes, and ocean swims. This is the very beginning and the very end of the on-season but isn’t the peak.
The peak tourist season in Santorini, and Greece as a whole, runs from late June to early September. So you’ll want to avoid the summer months when most people visit and flight and hotel prices skyrocket.
On the other hand, you don’t want to visit in the off-season either, from late November until early March. Even though the Santorini winters are nothing compared to places in America and parts of Europe, it does get colder.
Santorini winters usually never get colder than 55-60 degrees Fahrenheit, and it rains a bit more. Aside from the winter weather, you may be disappointed to discover many tourist attractions, restaurants, and other activities shut down between November and March.
This means that you won’t have the best weather for a beach week, but you also won’t be able to enjoy guided tours or local cuisine the way you wanted to.
Cheapest Time to Visit Santorini
The cheapest time to visit Santorini is in the winter months when the hotels are more desperate to fill rooms, and the airlines have empty seats. Unfortunately, flights to Greece will likely always be costly, even in the off-season.
But you can save some money on the plane ride, and you can get a hotel or resort booking for a discount. Everyone wants to save money on their vacation, so if you don’t mind packing sweaters along with your bathing suits, your perfect Greek vacation may be in the dead of winter!
Winter is the cheapest time of year to vacation in Santorini, but there are other ways you can cut down the cost of your trip. It is risky, but if you have a flexible job and travel buddy, you can save hundreds by booking hotels and flights last minute.
This idea sounds ludicrous and stressful to many, but in Santorini, they don’t have many walk-in hotel reservations. So as the end of the month draws closer and they still have many empty rooms, hotels will slash their prices, sometimes dropping the cost of a room by 75%.
So you can get a $200 reservation in a hotel for just $50! Not everyone will be able to book a last-minute trip like this, but if it’s a possibility for you, consider this strategy.
Plane tickets may be slightly less expensive, but you can save big bucks on a last-minute hotel booking. And the longer you plan to stay in Santorini, the more money you will save.
Least Busy Time to Visit Santorini
The least busy time to visit Santorini and avoid the tourist crowds is hands down in the winter months, which are the off-season.
During the winter months, some clouds roll in, and the temperature drops, making it hard to enjoy the beaches and do things like scuba diving or snorkeling. So there are far fewer tourists crawling around the island from the end of November to the beginning of March.
If tourist crowds and long waits are your kryptonite, you should plan your trip for the winter. Try to book anything you can in advance, as many excursions will be unavailable when you arrive.
But there will likely be no wait at the restaurants you want to try and low prices at the hotels you’re enticed by. While the sun means everything to some people’s vacation, others feel that being packed in with strangers like sardines ruins even the most unique experiences.
If you’re one of those people, plan a holiday vacation to Greece and ring in the New Year on a beautiful island villa. You might even see some fireworks! While Santorini is a big island with about 30 square miles of land, it’s still an island.
So things can feel tight when there are loads of tourists around daily. Many people that avoid the crowds and go in the less-desirable off-season report having a wonderful time despite missing the hot weather.
Worst Time to Visit Santorini
The worst time to visit Santorini is the dead of winter, because the weather will not be idyllic, and many of the things you wanted to experience may not be available.
If you decide to go in the winter anyway, you can expect lower prices on flights and hotels, which is wonderful.
But many of the hot tourist spots may be closed for the season. The best way to work around this inconvenience is to befriend and mingle with locals who will be able to tell you what is available to enjoy!
You don’t need to become fluent, but learning some common and helpful Greek phrases can make it easier to find fun in Santorini during the winter.
You can go old-school and buy an English-Greek pocket dictionary. But nowadays, there are many apps and translating devices that are useful. Before your trip, brush up using apps like Duo Lingo or Babel to prepare for the vacation.
But don’t worry too much, as many locals on Santorini speak English well! When traveling to Santorini in the winter, bikinis and short shorts may not be the best choice.
Instead, pack light pants and sweaters or long sleeves along with t-shirts. It’s also wise to bring a light rain jacket or windbreaker, as the winter months in Santorini are the rainy season.
Things to Consider
When planning a vacation, not everyone will have the same ideals in mind. Many honeymooners are happy to hold up in a gorgeous resort, watch the sunsets, and sip on wine.
But families with children may not be able to entertain young kids confined to a hotel. Your budget, travel group, and more will affect what the best time for you to travel to Santorini will be.
- Crowds. Some people don’t mind the hustle and bustle of a busy space. Others would rather die than stand in a line or wade through a swarm of tourists. The feelings toward tourist crowds are highly subjective, so consider how you and your traveling buddies feel about them. But if you don’t mind a crowded restaurant or waiting an hour for a ferry, you’ll have a grand time visiting during the summer and enjoying the near-perfect island weather.
- Budget. The time of year you decide to go to Santorini will massively impact the price of your trip. If you have no budget, go at the beginning or end of the tourist season to have the best experience. But if you want to save money, you can plan your trip in the off-season and muscle through a rainy day or two.
- Priorities. Consider what activities are the most important to you and plan your trip around that. If you want to go to the beaches, the off-season will not be the right time for you to go. But if you’re focused on the food and architecture, you can avoid the summer crowds and still get the experience you want.
- Flexibility. Some people are rigid in their idea of the perfect vacation in Santorini. But if you’re flexible and willing to go with the flow, there is something to enjoy no matter what season you visit.
- Group size. No matter what size group you’re traveling with, you can go to Santorini in any season. But the bigger the group, the more challenging the peak season and summer months will be. If you have a group of eight or more, booking guided tours and excursions will be difficult and maybe impossible.
By being flexible, you can save money, skip the crowds, and still have a marvelous time. But it’s okay if you recognize that there are aspects of your dream vacation to Santorini that you’re not willing to give up.
Keep this in mind when weighing the pros and cons of visiting in different seasons. Getting a large table at a restaurant will also be a struggle, especially because many Greek restaurants are tiny.
On the other hand, a couple may have no problem squeezing into a table even amongst a swarm of tourists or booking a winery tour when there are only a few spots left.
Frequently Asked Questions
If you have more questions about visiting Santorini and planning your vacation, refer to the commonly asked questions and answers detailed below:
What does a trip to Santorini cost?
You have to consider many factors when estimating the cost of your trip to Santorini. The time of year you go, your group size, where you want to stay, and how long you want to stay, will all play a massive role in the final cost.
On average, solo travelers pay around $3,200, while a couple will pay $5,750 for a 7-day trip to Santorini. This estimate includes flights, hotels, reservations, food and drink, and miscellaneous expenses like shopping.
In the end, traveling to Santorini is far more expensive than actually staying in Santorini. Flights typically cost between $1,000 and $1,200, depending on where you take off from. So expect your plane ticket to be the most expensive purchase of the entire trip.
How long should I stay in Santorini?
Of course, how long you want to stay is up to you. But it takes considerable effort to get to Greece and subsequently to reach the island of Santorini. So people advise you to stay for at least five days to make all of the traveling worth it!
If you go during peak season, it’s best to add an extra day or two, if you can, as some things may be too crowded on some days, like the popular beaches or restaurants.
If you go during the winter, there will be fewer things to do and fewer people to compete with for space, so you can shorten your trip if necessary.
Is Santorini the best Greek Island?
Many people believe Santorini is the best Greek island, but some disagree. Greece has thousands of islands just off the mainland, and there are different things to love about each one.
If you’re considering planning your Greek vacation on another island, you should look into Naxos, Paros, Syros, Kos, Crete, Delos, Mykonos, Corfu, or Rhodes. These are other popular islands for tourists, many of which will be less crowded than Santorini during peak season.
Read Next: The 20 Best Islands in Greece
Where’s the best place to stay in Santorini?
There is no right answer to this, as there are many enchanting and cozy hotels and resorts on the island. To kick off your search, set a nightly budget so you can weed out places that don’t suit your price range.
People that have been to Greece highly recommend a few spots, including Hotel Leta, Phos Boutique, and Smy Mediterranean White Santorini. But there are more than a thousand hotels and resorts to choose from!
What is the coldest month in Santorini?
The coldest month is typically February when temperatures can drop as low as 50 degrees Fahrenheit. This temperature is still child’s play for those that have suffered through a true winter, like New Englanders or Canadians, but very cold by Greek standards.
So, What’s the Best Time to Visit Santorini?
If you hate the crowds but love the warm weather, the best time to visit Santorini is in March or October. These months are the sweet spot where you get to enjoy all of the excursions and lovely weather without joggling for space with every other tourist on the island.
In the end, Santorini is an exceptional location for your next vacation, and there’s something to appreciate no matter what season you go during.