Weather Averages for Crete in December
Averages for Crete in December
December brings winter to Crete. Cretan winter is relatively mild, and even though December is the month with the most rainfall, the weather still lends itself to being outdoors. Average daytime temperature comes down to 14 degrees Celsius, reflecting the winter climate, with temperatures peaking at 17 degrees during midday and dropping down to 10 degrees during nights. Crete rarely sees temperatures below 10 degrees anywhere except on its mountains.
Seawater temperature stays at 17 degrees through the month but not many choose to swim due to the island’s chilly winds – a daily phenomenon during December. As the rainiest month, December has almost constant clouds that allow only for 3 hours of daily sunshine on average. The same clouds produce rain over the island during 9 days of the month, which amounts to 89 mm of total precipitation.
Winds coming from the island’s mountains can create storms that drop the temperature even lower. Regardless, subzero temperatures are virtually unheard of in coastal Crete - even in the heart of winter. These strong winds are perfect for watersports enthusiasts (in wetsuits!).
Dates for the diary
December 6th marks the celebrations of Saint Nicholas who is the Patron saint of sailors and ships across orthodox Christendom. As an island with countless sailors and seamen, this is a widely observed celebration, which sees Crete honour the saint for keeping its ships and sailors safe. Religious ceremonies, outdoors feasts and lots of (free) tsikoudia is the order of the day.
Christmas in Crete is relaxed and full of charm. Families gather around and welcome tourists to celebrate with them - more the merrier! On Christmas Eve, children take to the streets and sing festive carols to each and every person they meet individually, filling the air with songs until the holy night comes.
Things to do
The Safari club Crete offers fun-packed jeep safaris across the island. There are several different excursions to choose from; you can either traverse Crete’s highest mountains or zoom over Crete’s beautiful beaches in Land Rover jeeps. The safari’s take you off-road to places where “only goats and donkeys go”.
The ruins of Knossos are a spectacular Bronze Age landmark and Europe’s oldest city. This unique, world-heritage archaeological site includes the political centre of the powerful Minoan civilisation, responsible for a number of cultural and scientific advances. This is the place where the labyrinth existed and here you can see evidence of an ancient, matriarchic society.
Hit the beach
Located 35 kms from Rethymnon, Damnoni beach is a busy beach with fine white sand and gentle waves. The beach has all kinds of tourist facilities, including several bars and restaurants. Damnoni’s lifeguard services and calm waves make it ideal for children and snorkelling.
Lavrakas beach in Gavdos is a remote white sandy beach that is famous for being a sea turtle nesting place. The beach is guarded to protect the eggs but tourists can visit during the months when turtles are not laying eggs in the sand.
Where to eat & drink
As its name implies, the Beijing to Bali Chinese & Indonesian is an Asian restaurant that serves a wide range of Asian cuisine. This all-encompassing Asian restaurant boasts an extensive menu with hand-picked recipes from across Asia. The food is not too spicy (unless requested!) so children can get stuck in too.
Suki Yaki serves authentic and delicious Chinese and Thai delicacies- ideal if you fancy an Asian Christmas feast instead of a roast with all the trimmings. Highlights include the restaurant’s signature ramen and steamed duck dishes.
Entasis is a laid-back seaside cocktail bar in Rethymnon. Attracting locals throughout the years and tourists during season and Christmas holidays, Entasis is popular for its extensive cocktail menu.
Where to stay
Folia Hotel is a family run establishment that offers cosy self-catering rooms to tourists on a budget. The Folia is a no-frills, clean and very well-maintained complex that stands out from the crowd thanks to its elegant design and super friendly service.
Saint Nicolas Bay Resort Hotel & Villas is a top end resort in the area of Agios Nikolaos (meaning Saint Nicolas). Having won a number of international awards and boasting one of the most modern spas in Crete, this hotel is offers spacious suites and villas.
Sofia Hotel offers affordable and comfortable accommodation outside the island’s capital of Heraklion. The Sofia is considered to be the closest hotel to the capital’s airport. Each room has its own private balcony and room service cleans the rooms on a daily basis.
GDM Megaron is a lavish 5-star hotel that is situated conveniently close to Heraklion’s airport.
Minoa Palace Resort and Spa is another fantastic 5-star hotel located near the beautiful city of Chania. This sprawling resort features several gardens with local flora, four impressive outdoors pools (2000 sqm in total), two child-friendly pools, two outdoors Jacuzzis, an exclusive blue flag beach and more. The resort’s spa is fully equipped and modern, including a large indoors pool, a hammam, a spa jet, a hair salon and a modern gym.