The Greek islands are a dream destination for millions of people worldwide, totaling 6000 islands scattered throughout the Aegean and Ionian Seas. These islands range from small named rocks, small uninhabited islands, quaint secluded beauties, to highly touristic islands known worldwide.
Out of those 6000, only 227 are actually inhabited. By annually counts, Santorini is the most widely visited Greek island. It's a regular stop of the cruise lines serving Greece and can also be easily reached by plane, ferry, and hydrofoil from the mainland of Greece and many other Greek islands. Coming in second is Crete, followed by Corfu, Rhodes, and Mykonos. There’s no wonder that Santorini tops the charts year after year. With its stunning caldera, volcano, prehistoric history and black sandy beaches, there is something to catch the splendor of every type of visitor. Plus, Santorini’s tourist season is the longest running season of all the Greek islands, lasting a whopping seven months. Whereas, most of the other Greek islands can suitably entertain guests for 3 to 4 months.
The start of the season kicks off in April with the Easter celebrations, which is the largest celebrated tradition in Greece and something one should experience at least once in their lifetime. At this time of year, as spring is in full bloom, visitors will experience an array of colors from the many different flowers and plants. My favorites are the fields of daisies and poppy flowers spread throughout the terrain. If you’ve ever seen Santorini in the summer, you know this is a treat, as the main summer color here of the landscape is brown, considering Santorini’s hot, dry climate. At this time, the weather is beautiful… not too hot or too cold.
One can still enjoy a sunny day on the beach, although the water is a bit cold and it’s the perfect time for hiking the island’s many trails, taking trips to the volcano or strolling the small streets of many villages. Also, many Greeks who do not live on the island year-round are arriving to work the busy season. Everyone is bustling around getting the finishing touches complete on their businesses to reopen after being closed through the winter season. The island is literally starting to bloom and come to life, like a colorful butterfly emerging from its chrysalis drying its wings to fly. Everyone is in high spirits for the upcoming season, full of energy and excited to show off their incredible paradise.
Then, shortly thereafter, the busy season is approaching, and as the tourists are arriving, so is the island’s temperature. Undoubtedly, one can count on seeing the most visitors and busy streets in the months of June through August. The tourist season begins to draw to a close starting in October. If you decided to visit the island during this time, you will find a more relaxed, tranquil environment with cooler days and less crowded streets and restaurants. A few places have already closed, and others are slowing down and getting ready to pack it in for the upcoming winter season. The relief of enduring another busy tourist season is evident on the faces of the locals and workers as they may be taking some much-deserved time for themselves at this point.
This year it’s projected that approximately 2 million travelers will visit Santorini, enchanted by the beauty of a place transfigured by a volcano so great that when it erupted in 1613BC it is believed to have inspired Plato’s telling of the legend of Atlantis. In my opinion and for many who have traveled here during different times, the beginning and closing of the tourist season are the best times to visit the island. It’s not only the gorgeous weather in April and October, allowing you to escape the scorching heat of summer, but for those of you who want a magical island getaway and prefer to bypass the crowds, this is the time for you!