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When is the best time to visit Crete

Kournas lake

There is really no best time to visit Crete,

it all depends on what you are looking for, is it the sun, the glorious beaches, history, mountain drives and hikes or the beautiful floral display in the spring? For me it was always May and September

January to March

This is the real winter season. The weather can be quite cold and sometimes substantial rainfall is experienced, the deserted towns and villages carry on their daily life at a very slow pace. However when the sun comes out, it triggers a sense of well being and you can enjoy stupendous views of the snowy mountains, where at times up to a 3 metres snow depth seems to form a carpet over them. This is also the time when flowers start to sprout out, almond and orange blossom is in abundance, anemones are plentiful and the citrus trees are full of fruit. You might find it difficult to find many tavernas open and for that matter not many lodgings in the touristy areas but the picture is different when it comes to the more cosmopolitan 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), however the temperature usually hovers around the very climate friendly +10 degrees Celsius.

March & April

The weather is still a bit unstable and can be very pleasant with warm sun or very rainy. The nights will still be cool or even cold. The sea is too cold to swim in for most people, but some people will take a dip on sunny days. After the winter rains the island is at its greenest and literally carpeted with flowers. The whole island is alive with flowers and birds. This is the best time if you are looking for nature and wildlife. April sees the first tourists and is also the time of the Greek Easter, in 2014 the Greek and Catholic Easter falls together, Easter is the most important celebration on the Greek year where the whole island celebrates a feast, if you are lucky to be here at this time, you will experience the hospitality of the traditional Crete and its folk, the Cretans.

May & June

You are almost guaranteed to get good weather, the sea is warmer, and there are still lots of flowers, a heavy scent of herbs and you will not feel crowded, as the annual tourist invasion is not in full flow. It is maybe the best time of the year to visit Crete, especially if you are interested in hiking and exploring the island, as the weather is not too hot yet. Outdoor life is just beginning but bring a sweater, it can still be cool in the evenings.

July & August

The high season! The weather is hot, very hot, too many tourists especially since the Greeks have “discovered” Crete as an excellent holiday destination. The living is outdoors, tavernas, bars and discos are very busy, prices are higher and you may have difficulty finding accommodation unless you have booked early and in good time. 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. If you are into the bustling tourist life and the fast beat – its now you should visit Crete.

 September & October

These are better months, as the weather is not so hot any more. 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. Life is still outdoors and especially in September the evenings are warm and lazy. It is also one of the preferred periods for hikers. One drawback is that, as it has not rained for several months, the landscape is quite dry.

November & December

Tourism comes to an abrupt halt at around the first week of November and with it the end of the charter flights. These months are as quiet as January and February, however you can get long spells of good, dry and sunny days, it is still possible to swim in the sea till the middle of December. All in all not a bad time to be on Crete if you are prepared to take a chance, after all life is just a lottery, sometimes you win and sometimes you lose!!!!!!!!!!!.