The West Crete holidays guide

Find the right place for your holidays in western Crete

The climate of Crete

The climate of Crete is temperate mediterranean. Winter is mild, with snow on the mountains and rain in 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 coast of Crete).  Crete is a mountainous island and the weather changes can be sudden. It is often windy (anything from a light breeze to gale winds).

There is no "best time" to visit Crete, it depends on what you are looking for. Here a list of pros and cons for each period of the year

January to March:

This is the real winter time. The weather can be cold and rainy, the deserted towns and villages often melancholic but sometimes a little depressing. But when the sun comes out all is forgotten and you can enjoy stupendous views of the snowy mountains (there is at times over 3m of snow on them). This is also the time where flowers start to grow, almond trees blossom in January, anemones are plentiful and the citrus trees are full of fruit. You might find it difficult to get food and lodging in tourist resorts but will have no problems in the cities. If you come to Crete for culture and essentially want to spend time in the museums, visit archaeological sites and churches, it is not at all a bad time. Winter is almost the only time of the year when you can visit Knossos and the Archaeological Museum of Heraklion without having to jostle with crowds. Although Crete can be cold, it never gets as cold as in northern Europe: the lowest temperature measured in Heraklion was -0,1°C (in 1928).

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 too cold to swim in it. After the winter rains the island is at its greenest and literally carpeted with flowers. April sees the first tourists and is also the time of the Greek Easter (not on the same date as the Catholic Easter), the most important feast of the year giving you the best opportunity to experience the hospitality of traditional Crete.

May and June:

You are almost guaranteed to get good weather, the sea is warmer, there are still a lot of flowers, not too many tourists. It is maybe the best time of the year to visit Crete, especially if you intend to hike as the weather isn't too hot yet.

July and August:

The high season! The weather is hot, very hot, too many tourists especially since the Greeks have "discovered" Crete as a holiday destination. You become a number in the crowd, prices are higher and you may have difficulties finding accommodation. The sea of course is wonderfully warm and if you search a little it is possible to find villages and beaches that remain fairly quiet.

September and October

These are better months as the weather is not as hot anymore. The sea is still really warm and there are far less tourists. The Cretans - especially the ones who work with tourism - although tired from the summer season are getting more relaxed. It is also one of the preferred period for hikers. One drawback is that as it has not rained for several months the nature is really dry.

November and December:

Tourism comes to an abrupt stop at the end of October with the end of charter flights. These months are as quiet as January and February but the chances of good weather are much higher. It is also still possible to swim. All in all not a bad time to be on Crete if you are prepared to risk some days of rain.

Climate and weather links

Climate chart
Current weather in West Crete
Current sea conditions