The Best Time to Visit Crete
When is the best time to visit Crete?
This is the land of long sandy beaches, epic mountain ranges, palm tree forests and vibrant bustling cities that share their home with ancient monuments. Architecture from the Venetians, Minoans and Ottomans lies at every turn, pointing to Crete’s fascinating history. So, when is the best time to book flights to Crete and take your dream villa holiday? It all depends on the types of activities your family will be doing, and how high you’d like the mercury. Here’s our guide to the best time to visit Crete.
Summer (May – August)
The summer season is the best time to visit Crete. The mercury starts to climb up to 24-25ºC in June, with mild and balmy evenings. By July-August, the island sees daily temperatures between 28ºC-31ºC, and it is the time of year when visitors and locals alike head to the beaches to make the most of the glorious weather and sea temperatures of 24ºC. But although the temperatures rise, so do the numbers of people visiting attractions, so be prepared for slightly longer waiting times and queues. July can be a windy month as the sirocco winds from Africa heat up the island. If you’re a wine lover, the Rethymnon Wine Festival takes place in June, and is an absolute must.
Autumn (September – October)
If you’ve come to Crete to hit the glorious beaches of Marathi, Krios and Plakias (among others), the months of September and October are the best time of year to visit. Expect fewer crowds, less people in eateries and resorts, and glorious beach weather. Temperatures still continue to hit the mid-twenties, making the weather ideal for topping up your tan, swimming in the sea and sightseeing. The climate is still very warm around this time of year, but without inflicting scorching heat, which some may find more comfortable if they’re exploring the Palace of Knossos, touring Rethimno’s Venetian Harbour, or taking a dip in their private pool in their Villa Elounda Pelagos. With an average of six hours of sunshine per day, there’s still plenty of warmth to experience this stunning island. October is also when the island’s Chestnut Festival is held, marking the beginning of the autumn. Locals descend on the town of Elos to celebrate food made with chestnuts. Expect live music, plenty of drinking, dancing and fabulous street food.
Spring (March – April)
Spring can be the best time to visit Crete if you want a quieter, more laid-back holiday that is free of crowded resorts. March can be a bit unpredictable for weather, so do pack accordingly. That said, temperatures often float around 15-17°C as April begins, offering up ideal weather for exploring historical ruins and nature parks, without the queues. Average sea temperatures in spring peak at 16°C, and in fact the sea tends to be warmer than the outdoor air if you want to enjoy a refreshing dip! In March, the 1821 Memorial Parade takes place, while the Burning of Judas festivities take place in April.
While lying on the beach may not be on the cards, this doesn’t mean that there isn’t plenty to do and explore on this island. This is when the locals enjoy boisterous and exuberant festivals. Accommodation can get booked up, as visitors want to enjoy a more authentic and quieter experience on their Cretan holiday, so it is best to plan early. The St. Minas Parade, celebrating the patron saint of Heraklion, takes place in November, while the Rethymnon Carnival usually takes place in either January or February – expect partying, dancing and vehicles made out of styrofoam! As the island comes into November, evenings do get a little chilly, so you’ll need a coat and some warm trousers, as the mercury can dip to 13°C (but achieve peaks of 21°C during the day).
Need a little inspiration for your next holiday to Crete? Explore our range of premium Cretan villas.