Greece Weather in December 2024: Travel Tips for First-Timers

By Edward | Updated Nov. 15, 2023

Most of Greece's highlights have mild or cool weather in December. The weather in the south is usually suitable for hiking and touring the historical places and urban areas, but moderate rain falls half the days.

Read on for our weather information and travel advice including average temperatures, humidity, and rainfall, places to go, and travel tips…

Suggested reading: Best and Worst Times to Visit Greece>>>

Averages:

  • Temperature range: 10–15°C (49–59°F)
  • Rainfall: 10 cm (4 inches)
  • Rainy days: 15
  • Humidity: 73% (The high humidity makes it a little muggy.)
  • Sea temperature: 18°C (64°F) (too cold for swimming for most people)
  • Sunshine hours/day: 4 hours

December Climate Comparison (Averages) for Greece's Top Tourism Areas

Greece City/Area Temp. Rainfall
Athens (Largest city, travel hub, ancient capital) Cool Moderate
Crete (beaches, hikes, Minoan palaces, waterparks) Mild Moderate
Santorini (Scenic coast, food, wine, swimming, sailing) Cool Low
Corfu (Beaches, turquoise sea, medieval architecture) Mild High
Greece City/Area Daily High Daily Low
Athens (Largest city, travel hub, ancient capital) 14ºC (57ºF) 9ºC (48ºF)
Crete (beaches, hikes, Minoan palaces, waterparks) 17ºC (63ºF) 11ºC (52ºF)
Santorini (Scenic coast, food, wine, swimming, sailing) 13ºC (55ºF) 11ºC (52ºF)
Corfu (Beaches, turquoise sea, medieval architecture) 15ºC (59ºF) 7ºC (45ºF)
Greece City/Area Rain (cm) Rain (in)
Athens (Largest city, travel hub, ancient capital) 8 3
Crete (beaches, hikes, Minoan palaces, waterparks) 9 4
Santorini (Scenic coast, food, wine, swimming, sailing) 5 2
Corfu (Beaches, turquoise sea, medieval architecture) 19 7

Greece is at a middle latitude, so in December, it gets about 9½ hours of daylight, but it is so overcast that there are only about 4 hours of sunshine a day on average. Greece has mild weather with low rainfall though, except in northern Greece, the eastern coastal islands, and places with high mountains.

Northern Greece: The continental weather from Europe is cooler, rainier, and stormier. It snows in the higher elevations, and ski resorts operate in forested areas.

Southern Greece: The eastern islands of Greece are cooler than the mainland, and Crete is warmer. Generally, there is suitable weather for touring the ancient places and hiking. There is rainfall at least 15 days each month, but the rains are usually short.

The Best Places to Visit in Greece in December

For December, unless you want to ski, we recommend going to the warmer places in Greece with great historical sites and museums such as Athens where you will be able to spend time strolling and relaxing and enjoying the festive celebrations with lower prices and less crowding.

1. Athens — Tour the Archeological and Historical Highlights, Museums, City Streets, and Parks

Though there is some rainfall about half the days of December, Athens usually has suitable weather for walking and touring. The restaurants and cafés are kept at invitingly warm temperatures where you can warm up, and when there is sunshine, there is pleasant weather for excursions. The average high is 14ºC (57ºF).

By the 10th of December, the Athenians light up their city. They decorate grandly and colorfully for the Christmas holidays. There are daily public concerts at Syntagma Square close to the Acropolis and the Agora.

Mount Lycabettus is downtown. You could walk up for some exercise and the best scenic vantage point in Athens. The museums and the Acropolis have shorter hours and may close by 5 pm or earlier.

2. Crete — Hike and Enjoy the Fresh Green Beauty in December

Crete is recommended since it stays warmer than the rest of Greece in December since it is the southernmost part of Greece and the largest island of Greece, bigger than the state of Delaware. It has diverse places of interest suited for the mild temperatures.

The temperatures range from 17°C (63°F) to 11°C (52°F) at night. The sea temperature averages 18°C (64°F) which is too cold for swimming, but doable with a wetsuit for watersports.

There are many Christmas festivities including Christmas music, and in the smaller villages there are more traditional Orthodox traditions. Eating all the wonderful traditional holiday foods is one of the highlights. Room rates may be 50% of the summer rates. Many businesses and most resorts close.

3. Kefalonia — Enjoy a Family Vacation

Kefalonia is suggested for family vacations since there are so many things for families to do together. It is the biggest of the Ionian Islands on the western side of Greece. Average highs are 16°C (61°F), and the lows are 10°C (50°F).

There are castles, monasteries, and an underground lake. There is also a national park with a mountain that is 1,628 m (5,341 feet) tall. Flights are the best way to travel there, which from Athens take an hour.

4. Parnassos — Ski during the Holidays

If you want have a white Christmas, and also have a chance to ski if the conditions are right, you could go to Parnassos. It is the largest and best equipped ski resort in Greece with 13 lifts, three runs for beginners, seven ski routes, and ten trails.

The ski resort has good slopes for beginners and intermediate skiers and is also popular since there are good restaurants and cafés in the area. It is only a 2½ hours' drive from Athens, so could be a place to go for a day excursion.

Highlights nearby: Delphi is a famous archeological site about 75 minutes away. For coastal scenery and fine Greek-style seafood, Galaxdi is a fishing village and is less than two hours away.

5. Rhodes — Enjoy Warmer Weather, See the Ancient Places, and Hike in Nature

In December, the famous travel destination of Rhodes is also one of the warmest highlights of Greece since it is one of the southernmost big islands. Daily temperatures range from about 16°C (61°F) to lows of 12°C (53°F).

The island is one of the few places where you could still enjoy the beach and watersports without being too chilled. There are very good beaches.

In 2023, fires burned some of the southern resort areas, but the northern shore was unaffected. The historical highlights were not affected such as the Acropolis of Lindos, the Old Town that preserves medieval architecture, and the Gothic castle of the Knights of Rhodes. Flights from Athens take an hour.

Low Tourism Season: Touring Advice for January

Greece seems more tranquil, peaceful, and dreamy in winter, and the excitement of winter adds some spicy excitement. So, it is a good time to relax and enjoy the excellent Greek food and experience the unique culture.

As you tour, you will have more time to contemplate history and life in general. You will also have more time to eat. The Greeks are experts at mixing natural spices in their traditional Christmas cakes, pastries, and healthy beverages. There are bargain prices for hotels and flights.

Closures: Some popular Greek islands are virtually closed down during winter. Many hotels and restaurants close for their winter vacations.

Shorter hours: The archaeological sites have shorter hours in January than in the summer. Most major sites such as the Parthenon close at 3 pm since there is less daylight, and minor sites might not open. Many museums close earlier too, even by 3:30 p.m.

Public holidays in December:

Christmas — December 25 and 26 each year are Greece's Christmas public holiday that celebrates the birth of Jesus Christ. Museums, archeological places, businesses, public buildings, and even some transportation services are closed. It is considered a very important holiday. On the 24th, children sing Christmas carols in the streets.

December 31, New Year's Eve, is not a national public holiday. Athens and many other places have midnight fireworks. Greeks give gifts, reunite with family and friends, party, enjoy games and prepare the Feast of Saint Basil's that is a major Orthodox holiday on January 1.

Low Tourism Season: Touring Advice for December

Tourism is low, and the prices for hotel rooms decline to as much as 50% of the peak prices of July and August. The exception is during the Christmas – New Year period. So, you might plan on extended stays while the weather is mild and dine on Greece's more natural, healthier and tastier cuisine with lots of seafood dishes in December.

What to Wear in December

You will need a coat or thick jacket for comfort, and if you are planning to go to the mountains or to the north of Greece, take winter (or skiing) clothing. Since there are rainy days, have an umbrella or poncho handy.

Shoes: Since it is rainier, wear sturdy shoes with good traction for the nature trails, the cobbled stone streets and archeological sites to prevent slips and wet feet.

Wetsuits: The average sea temperature is about 18°C (64°F) at most of Greece's beach highlights in December. This is too cold for swimming for most people without a wetsuit.

Monthly Weather in Greece

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