Crete in March: weather and travel tips

Joanne Owen

written by
Joanne Owen

updated 30.01.2024

Thinking of visiting the Greek island of Crete in March? Read on to find out everything you need to know about the weather in Crete in March, along with travel tips, including ideas for what to do, what to wear, and what events you can look forward to.

What’s the weather like in Crete in March?

Crete, the largest Greek island, sits between mainland Greece and the north coast of Africa — a location that gives it a Mediterranean climate.

As a result, Crete's southern coast is an especially sought-after area for travellers seeking a sunny retreat in March, as the weather begins to warm up.

Considering visiting Crete in March? Browse our inspirational Greece itineraries to start planning your perfect trip, or talk to our local experts.

Preveli palm beach on Crete island, Greece © Shutterstock

Wondering about the weather in Crete in March? Spring is definitely in the air! © Shutterstock

Average temperatures in Crete in March

The weather in Crete in March is mild, with an average daytime temperature of 16°C (61°F). Just be aware that the early mornings and evenings can get a little cold, with lows averaging 10°C (51°F).

If you're hoping to swim, note that the sea temperature in Crete in March averages around 16°C (61°F). While some adventurous souls might brave a dip, you might want to wear a wetsuit or stick to dry land.

Average rainfall in Crete in March

In March, Crete experiences a significant amount of rainfall as the island transitions from winter to spring.

Rainfall in Crete in March averages around 60 mm, which translates to an average daily rainfall of 2mm.

Note the chance of rain declines as the month wears on. March begins with an average rainfall of 1.8 inches, which decreases to 0.9 inches by the end of the month.

For comparison, December, the wettest month in Crete, sees up to 2.7 inches per day.

For more detail on the weather in Greece in March and around the year, read up on when to go to Greece.

Seitan beach on Crete island- Greece © Shutterstock

Seitan beach, Crete, Greece © Shutterstock

Is March a good time to visit Crete?

If you fancy hitting Crete's walking trails, yes! With average highs of 17°C, you could almost be mistaken for thinking summer has arrived early.

March is also a top time to visit Crete to enjoy local culture and cuisine. And the reason? Many eateries, hotels and shops re-open after the winter hiatus.

Furthermore, March sees fewer crowds than the summer peak season, which makes for a more tranquil, authentic Cretan experience — more on that below.

In summary, if you enjoy mild weather, outdoor activities, and smaller crowds, March is an excellent time to visit Crete.

Keen to enjoy a trip away in March? For more ideas, discover more of the best places to visit in March.

Samaria Gorge. Crete, Greece © proslgn/Shutterstock

The mild weather in Crete in March makes it ideal for exploring the likes of Samaria Gorge © proslgn/Shutterstock

What about the crowds and cost?

In March, Crete is nowhere near as crowded as it is during the summer months. Especially July and August. This means you'll be able to explore picturesque villages and beautiful beaches in relative peace.

In terms of cost, you can expect accommodation and flight prices to be generally lower than during the peak summer season, making this an economical time to travel.

Windsurfing on the sea coast. Tropical beach with turquoise water and big waves. Crete island, Greece.

Windsurfing in Crete @ Shutterstock

Ready for your dream trip to Crete or Greece?

Want a spring break that serves stacks of natural beauty, unique history, and world-class wining and dining experiences? Take inspiration from our Greece itineraries — here we highlight just a few of them.

  • Coast of Crete — a stunning self-drive experience (10 days): if you’re longing for awe-inspiring scenery, ancient culture, and a sense of freedom, this self-drive trip along Crete’s coast has your name all over it. 
  • Milos — an exclusive island idyll (9 days): for an alternate Greek Island experience, why not get to know the Aegean’s most exotic island while staying in a private luxury villa by the sea?
  • Epirus and Athens — the Ancient Sites (8 days): shrouded in myths and legends of Greek gods and Roman and Byzantine warriors, sites in the Epirus region of Greece have fascinating tales to tell. Add to that exploring Athens and the magic of mortuaries Zagori, and this amounts to a diversely exhilarating experience.

All these suggestions can be customised to your exact needs, with a local expert on hand to offer insider tips, and take the hassle out of planning and booking.

greece-athens-shutterstock_1226210740

Rough Guides' customisable trips can take you from Athens' icons to idyllic islands © Shuttertock

Festivals and events in Crete in March

One of Crete's standout March events is Cretan Independence Day on 25th March. This national holiday commemorates Greece's declaration of independence from the Ottoman Empire in 1821.

Expect vibrant parades, fireworks, traditional folk music and dances, and historic reenactments.

Additionally, March sees Crete welcome carnival season, known as 'Apokries' in Greek. The most famous event takes place in Rethymno, where locals and tourists come together to enjoy the grand parade, Cretan music and food.

Another noteworthy event is the Feast of Saint Patrick's on 17th March. On this day, the entire island radiates with green. While Crete might seen as an unusual place to celebrate this Irish holiday, the revelry in the streets — particularly in larger cities like Heraklion and Chania — is second to none.

Chania at sunny summer day, Crete, Greece © Shutterstock

Chania, Crete © Shutterstock

Tips for travelling to Crete in March

What to wear in Crete in March

While March heralds the beginning of spring, the temperatures can drop significantly at night. As a result, you'll want to wear layers.

Come the evening, you'll most likely need a light jacket or sweater to keep you warm. Also, Crete can be quite breezy in March, so packing a windbreaker or warm scarf could come in handy.

It's also wise to bring an umbrella or light raincoat — typically, the weather in Crete in March means you're likely to experience some rain.

Finally, keep in mind that temperatures are generally cooler in higher regions.

Best things to do in Crete in March

Hike: the mild weather in Crete in March makes it a top time for nature lovers to explore the island's trails. We're talking rugged mountain paths, scenic seashores, and quaint villages.

For example, the Lasithi Plateau is a great place for outdoor lovers. This beautiful area is surrounded by mountains and dotted with traditional villages.

Explore cultural landmarks: March is the ideal time to explore Crete's cultural landmarks before they're overrun with tourists. For example, don't miss the ancient ruins of Knossos, or the stunning old town of Rethymnon.

Uncover Cretan cuisine in Chania: famous for its Venetian harbour and waterfront restaurants, Chania offers a variety of indoor and outdoor activities that suit March's mixed weather. Take your pick from wine-tasting tours and visiting museums, to simply strolling the charming old town.

If you're still looking for options for your spring trip, also explore our list of the best holiday destinations in March.

The North Entrance of the Palace with charging bull fresco in Knossos at Crete, Greece © Shutterstock

Knossos, Crete © Shutterstock

Planning your March trip to Crete

Love the sound of Crete? Get yourself The Rough Guide to Crete for detail on where to go, what to do and how to get around

For more island inspiration, read up on the best Greek Islands to start planning your trip.  

Alternatively, if the idea of planning leaves you cold, browse our customisable Greece itineraries to start planning your perfect trip, or talk to our local experts.

Joanne Owen

written by
Joanne Owen

updated 30.01.2024

Joanne is a Pembrokeshire-born writer with a passion for the nature, cultures and histories of the Caribbean region, especially Dominica. Also passionate about inspiring a love of adventure in young people, she’s the author of several books for children and young adults, hosts international writing workshops, and has written articles on the Caribbean and inspirational community initiatives for Rough Guides. Follow her @JoanneOwen on Twitter and @joanneowenwrites on Instagram.

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