Crete has the distinct Mediterranean climate. Winter is mild, with snow on the mountains and rain on the plains, but still a good deal of sunshine. The combination of rain and relative warmth make it one of the greenest places in the Mediterranean basin, especially in spring. The summers are hot and dry, particularly on the shores of the Libyan Sea (South Crete).
Crete being a mountainous island means the weather changes can be sudden. It is often windy and this can be anything from a pleasant breeze to gale force. There is no ‘best time’ to visit Crete as it depends on what you are looking for. It does have something for everyone.
Here is a taste of what the various months have to offer:
January to March
This is the real winter time. The weather can be cold and rainy. Small towns & villages are often deserted and life moves indoors around the fire. When the sun does appear the villages come alive again. This is also the time where flowers start to grow, almond trees blossom in January, anemones are in abundance and the citrus trees are full of fruit.
Some of the larger hotels close down for the winter, but nowadays it’s quite easy to find rooms or studios just about anywhere as family run businesses are glad of a little winter trade and more than happy to make you feel one of the family.
Finding a home cooked meal is rarely a problem and at least one local taverna will stay open during the winter even in the smallest of villages. Although Crete can be cold, it almost never sees frost and the winters are mild.
March and April
The weather is still unstable and can be very pleasant or very rainy. The nights will still be cool or even cold. The sea is still quite cold to swim in (although that never seems to put off the hardier tourists or the health conscious Greeks). After the winter rains the island is at its greenest and literally carpeted with flowers.
April sees the first tourists who wish to participate in the most important feast of the Greek year, Easter. This is the best opportunity to experience the traditional hospitality of the Greeks.
May and June
You are almost guaranteed to get good even hot weather, the sea is warmer, there are still lots of flowers to be seen and not too many tourists. These are perhaps the two nicest months of all for visiting Crete, especially if you intend to hike as the weather is not too hot yet. This is the ideal time for those wanting to give The Samaria Gorge a try.
July and August
The height of the summer, the weather ranges from hot to very hot. Bustling with tourists especially in August when the Greeks leave the mainland to take their annual holidays.
Prices are higher and accommodation can be scarce for those wanting to be more adventurous and not go for the package deal. Most family run studios & apartments now make use of the internet and do take advance bookings.
The sea at this time of year is wonderfully warm and if you wander along the coastal roads it’s still possible to find sleepy villages and quiet beaches.
September and October
After the heat of the summer these months are more than welcome, it’s still sunny but slightly cooler. You’ll need a light jacket for late evenings, especially if you plan a visit into the mountainous areas. The only drawback is that is has not rained for several months so the countryside is dry.
November and December
Τourism comes to an abrupt stop at the end of October when the charter flights finish. These months are as quiet as January and February but the chances of good weather are much higher as summer seems to stretch further each year. It’s still an unpredictable time of year, one day sunny, the next windy and rainy. So pack sweaters and T shirts, jeans and shorts and don’t forget your umbrella!!