Thinking of a Greek island getaway for next winter? It all just depends on what you are looking for.
If you would like to visit this magical, beautiful island and enjoy the breathtaking views, but steer clear of the massive tourist invasion… then this is the right time for you! If you enjoy nature and hiking, but want to stay away from the blistering sun and heat, then this is the perfect time for you! If you want a taste of the authentic local lifestyle and to eat at the spots that only the locals would, this is the time of year for you! If you love learning history and visiting museums, strolling quietly through ancient ruin sites that seem to be there for only you, then again, this is the pristine time for you! However, if you are looking for a hot day at the beach with sunbeds and meeting and sharing the hotspots with thousands of people from across the world, then plan your stay during the long summer season. It’s the summer where sunbathing, water sports, volcano tours, and an abundance of bare bodies is what you will find all over the island. Summer and winter on Santorini are like night and day.
The winter in Santorini is… peaceful. It is quiet, serene, and windy, yet graceful. The weather on the island during winter may not be ideal for swimming in the ocean, yet it is still mostly sunny apart from a few days of rain and stronger winds. The temperature ranges from 10 – 16 degrees Celsius (50 – 68 degrees Fahrenheit) and the most rain is experienced during January and February. Really, not much rain or cold for an island that brings 300 days of sunshine.
Santorini is a place I call home. Yet, after many years, this was the first year that I stayed to experience and enjoy the quiet beauty of the winter. I am so lucky I did! This year was the first year I saw that Santorini had a little snow. Okay… so maybe it was only at the top of Mesa Vouno and only one day, however, for a tropic Florida girl, this was magical! I was also incredibly blessed to experience every Greek holiday and tradition with people I call “family.” A chance to really connect and experience the Greek culture on a deeper level than that of the chaotic summer time. Some examples include young boys knocking on our door on Christmas eve to sing carols, eating a suckling pig roast on Christmas day, opening gifts on New Years’ day (or at midnight) rather than Christmas day, and enjoying the traditional sweet bread, called Vasilopita, after ringing in the new year with a hidden coin baked inside for the “lucky” one to receive.
Rearing towards the end of October, most places are closing up shop, seasonal employees are going home or on holiday, the sun is setting earlier (typically between 5 and 6), and the island almost seems to go into hibernation. For myself, this was the ideal time for self-reflection, quality time with loved ones, and a spiritual time to discover the glory of the nature here, quietly exploring the hidden paths of the traditional villages and plethora of hiking trails. Although most tourist businesses close for the winter, there are still plenty of choices to enjoy this tranquil island. For example, escaping the hustle and bustle of the summer tourist season, you can still take a private tour with SantoriniExperts, exploring the most beautiful traditional villages and unique architecture with an expert local guide whilst avoiding having to weave in and out of the crowds. Additionally, the many museums and archaeological sites of Akrotiri and Ancient Thira are all open during the winter. Also, enjoy an evening sunset at the many wineries that are still open as well. There, you can taste the indigenous wine varieties only known to Santorini because of the volcanic soil rich in minerals. Furthermost, if you are a nature lover like myself, this is the ideal time of year to hike the many paths along the caldera, through traditional villages, and up the Mesa Vouna mountain to ancient ruins. This time of year, provides protection from the sweltering heat, while keeping the beauty and mystique of the quiet mysteries beyond each bend.
In closing, Santorini is alive all throughout the year! It’s your taste in atmosphere that should help you to determine the time of year you visit. If you are looking to enjoy all the splendor of this amazing volcanic island, while avoiding the chaotic crowds of the summer, and aren’t coming for the heat, sun, and swimming, then the winter months will certainly provide you with an unforgettable experience of authenticity and magic!