The climate of Athens is Mediterranean and can be summed up as having hot dry summers and mild wet winters. Although this Mediterranean climate produces temperatures that are warmer throughout the year than most of northern Europe, Greece still does experience the four “seasons.” The average temperature in the winter is in the low teens (10-12°C), while spring and fall bring average temperatures in the mid-teens (15-19°C). Summer predictably brings the warmest weather, with average temperatures in the mid-to-high 20’s (24-27°C).
Yearly rainfall is low – amongst the lowest in Greece - and occurs mostly as short heavy showers in winter. Rainfall from May to September is basically nonexistent, while the totals slightly increase before reaching the “rainier” winter months. Summer can get very hot and smog sometimes becomes a problem. Spring and autumn are arguably the best time to visit the city, though most choose the height of summer, possibly because of the warmer weather and the large amount of sun.
There is not much sun in the winter, as October leads the way with five hours of average daily sunshine, while November, December, and January all see even less with just three hours on average. February starts to see a slight increase in sunshine, before reaching a peak of 10 hours a day on average in May, June, and July, and then decreasing again in August.
A benefit of Athens being in a Mediterranean climate is that it is rarely humid. The average humidity levels for the year don’t go above 75%, which occurs in December, while the averages can reach lows of 50% in July and August. Although July and August are typically the hottest months of the year, at least they won’t also be humid, making the warmer weather easier to deal with.
While Athens sees mild-to-warm temperatures year round, unfortunately the average sea temperature is not always warm enough to enjoy the water. From December through April, the average temperature does not get above 17°C and can get as low as 15°C on average, which is too cold to stay in the water for extended periods of time. However, from May to November, the average sea temperature doesn’t drop below 19°C and can reach an average of 25°C, which is warm water, able to be enjoyed by all. This is perhaps another reason why heading to Athens over the summer months is popular, since jumping in the water to cool off is an option.
National architecture in the ancient district of Plaka
Summer Weather: June - September
Summer is very hot in Athens, especially in August when many locals flee the city for cooler areas. Daytime average highs are in the mid-30s in the middle of summer. Combined with the smog, this can be very uncomfortable, especially if you are looking to pack in lots of sight-seeing.
Summer heat waves are common in Athens; these see the mercury shooting into the 40s. The highest temperature recorded in Athens is a sweltering 48°C; also the record for Greece. These heat levels can be somewhat debilitating. Even at night the temperature remains above 20°C, so a room with air-conditioning might be preferable!
One thing you are guaranteed in summer in Athens is sunshine; it’s one of Europe’s sunniest cities. Average rainfall is very low between June and September and almost non-existent in the months of July and August.
Parthenon temple on the Acropolis of Athens
Autumn Weather: October & November
Autumn can be a great time to visit Athens as temperatures are a little cooler and there is still a lot of sunshine.
October has an average high of 24°C; November sees daytime highs in the upper teens. Night times are pleasantly cool in October but in November it can drop down close to 10°C.
Rainfall increases rapidly from the start of October. About 50mm of rain can be expected each month. Most of this rain falls in short heavy showers so there is still a lot of sunshine.
For an active visit to Athens, this is a very good time to go.
Street cafe in Athens
Winter is generally quite mild in Athens with average temperatures ranging between 6°C at night and 15°C in the day. Colder temperatures are possible and the city can receive snowfall on occasions. Snowfall is normally light and short-lived, but heavier falls can sometimes bring disruption to the city.
Temperatures can occasionally, but rarely, drop very low. A strong blizzard in February 2004 saw heavy snow and temperatures plummeting towards -10°C.
Rainfall continues to increase, peaking in December and January at around 70mm per month. Again, expect mostly short heavy downpours between sunny periods. Athens sees four hours of sunshine per day in its gloomiest months, which is quadruple the sunshine expectancy for London at the same time.
Temple of Hephaestus, Athens
Like autumn, spring is a great time to visit Athens with pleasant temperatures and low rainfall.
Daytime highs begin to hit the 20s by April, and by May it starts to get hot.
Rainfall is low in spring – just about 20 to 35mm per month – and the sun comes out for longer and longer.
As with anywhere, the weather averages in Athens only tell part of the story. Weather can vary year to year, especially recently. Visit in August and you might find it’s an enjoyable 30°C, or then again you could be sweltering in 45° heat. In winter, you might enjoy sunshine with temperatures in the teens, or you could find yourself at -5° in a snowstorm!