Greece - Weather Overview
The climate in Greece is typical of the Mediterranean climate: mild and rainy winters, relatively warm and dry summers and, generally, extended periods of sunshine throughout most of the year. A great variety of climate subtypes, always within the Mediterranean climate frame, are encountered in several regions of Greece. This is due to the influence of topography (great mountain chains along the central part and other mountainous bodies) on the air masses coming from the moisture sources of the central Mediterranean Sea.
Thus the weather in Greece varies from the dry climate of Attiki (Athens’ greater area) and East Greece in general, to the wet climate of Northern and Western Greece.
In climatological terms, the year can be broadly subdivided into two main seasons: The cold and rainy period lasting from mid-October until the end of March, and the warm and dry season lasting from April until September.
During the first period the coldest months are January and February, with, a mean minimum temperature ranging, on average, between 5 -10 degrees Celsius near the coasts and 0 – 5 Celsius over the mainland, with lower values (generally below freezing) over the northern part of the country.
Long stretches of consecutive rainy days are infrequent in Greece, even during the winter, and the sky does not remain cloudy for more than a few days in a row, as it does in other regions of the world. “Bad weather” days in winter are often interrupted, during January and the first fortnight of February, with sunny days, known as ‘Halcyon days’ since ancient times.
The winter is milder in the Aegean and Ionian Islands compared to Northern and Eastern mainland Greece.
During the warm and dry period the weather is usually stable, the sky is clear, the sun is bright and there is generally no rainfall. There are, however, infrequent and brief intervals of rapid rain or thunderstorms chiefly over mainland areas.
The warmest period occurs during the last ten days of July and the first ten days of August, when the mean maximum temperature lies between 29.0 and 35.0 degrees Celsius. During the warm period the high temperatures are tempered by fresh sea breezes in the coastal areas of the country and from the north winds, known as ‘Etesian’, blowing mainly in the Aegean.