Santorini in December: weather and travel tips

written by Olga Sitnitsa

updated 30.11.2023

Welcome to charming Santorini in December, when this Aegean gem takes on a serene and wintry appeal. In this article, we will cover the weather in Santorini in December, and provide valuable travel tips to make the most of a winter trip to Santorini.

Is December a good time to visit Santorini?

December can be a favourable time to explore Santorini, although it offers a different island experience. The weather in Santorini in December is cooler and more unpredictable, with rain more frequent, but the lack of crowds of tourists creates an authentic, tranquil atmosphere.

The hearty locals of Santorini have more time for sincere dialogue, which enriches your cultural experience. Although some businesses are closed during the off-season, wineries and taverns remain open and the island is decorated with festive decorations, creating a unique experience during the holiday season.

Thinking of visiting Santorini in December? Embark on your dream trip hassle-free with the help of our Greek travel experts.

Perivolos-santorini-beach-shutterstock_739373770

Perivolos Beach, Santorini @ Shutterstock

Air & sea temperatures in Santorini in December

December marks the start of the winter season in Santorini, with lower temperatures than at other times of the year. Daytime temperatures usually range between 11-15°C (52-59°F), while evening temperatures can drop to 7-10°C (45-50°F). 

The sea gets colder too, with temperatures averaging 16-18°C (61-64°F). Although swimming may be out of the question, December's mild climate is ideal for exploring the island's cultural and historical attractions, sampling the local cuisine and socialising with the hospitable islanders.

Browse our inspirational Greece itineraries to start planning your perfect trip.

Average rainfall in December

With the arrival of winter in Greece, the amount of rain increases. December is considered the rainiest month in Santorini, although it does not rain as much as other parts of the country. On average, Santorini receives about 82-85 millimetres (3.2-3.3 inches) of rainfall in December.

These rains tend to be scattered and intermittent, rather than being prolonged downpours. It is recommended to be prepared for rainy days and have some indoor activities or rain gear on hand, although moderate temperatures make this a comfortable time to explore the island.

For more details on the weather in Greece around the year, read up on the best time to go to Greece.

Perissa beach in Santorini © Shutterstock

Perissa Beach, Santorini @ Shutterstock

What about the crowd & cost?

In December, Santorini sees a significant drop in both the number of tourists and the cost of travel packages, making it an attractive destination for some travellers.

As the winter season arrives, the island becomes unusually quiet. The crowds of tourists dissipate, and you'll find that popular attractions and lookouts are much less crowded with tourists than they are during the summer months. This tranquil atmosphere allows for a more serene and intimate island experience.

December offers travellers economical options. Accommodation prices are much lower than during the peak tourist season, making it possible to find bargains on hotels and accommodation. Many restaurants and shops also offer discounts and promotions, and you can enjoy all the amenities of the island for less.

Set on taking a winter break? For further inspo, discover more of the best places to visit in December.

Oia, Santorini, Greece

Oia, Santorini, Greece  @ Shutterstock

Unforgettable, fully customisable Santorini itineraries

Our tailor-made trip service allows you to fully enjoy the weather in Santorini in December without the planning or hassle. All of our planned itineraries are created by local Greece travel experts and can be tailored to meet your specific needs.

  • The Historical and Mythological Cyclades islands (10 days): The Cyclades islands include two of the most famous Greek Islands: Mykonos and Santorini. Visit these and some of the smaller, quieter, islands. With white-washed houses, narrow cobbled streets, blue domed roofs and stunning beaches, they are what Greece is all about.
  • Greek Island-Hopping Honeymoon (10 days): Hop between the islands of Greece on this romantic trip. Drive around stunning coastlines, explore mountain villages, visit ancient sites, and luxuriate on golden beaches as you are transfixed by the allure of the Aegean’s turquoise waters.

Or discover more Greek itineraries.

ammoudi-bay-santorini-shutterstock_550924588

Ammoudi Bay, Santorini @ Shutterstock

Tips for travelling to Santorini in December

As you prepare for your December trip to Santorini, remember a few important tips to make the most of your trip.

What to pack for Santorini in December?

The weather in Santorini in December is the first thing to consider when packing for your trip, so make sure you have warm and waterproof clothing. The weather can be chilly and rainy, so make sure you have enough warm clothes in your suitcase to allow you to adapt to temperature swings.

You should also take care to protect yourself from the rain, bring a mackintosh, umbrella and suitable footwear to stay dry during the rare downpours. 

Although bathing in the sea is most likely excluded due to the cold temperatures, do bring swimwear in case your accommodation has a swimming pool. A well-thought-out wardrobe will contribute to a comfortable stay in Santorini in winter.

Check for limited working hours and seasonal closures

As December falls in the off-season in Santorini, it is important to be aware of possible seasonal closures. During this period, some of the island's restaurants, shops and attractions may operate at reduced hours or close for the winter. 

This is a natural reaction to the decrease in tourist numbers, allowing businesses to take a break and prepare for the new year. To ensure that you have access to the wider range of services and facilities available in December, it is advisable to plan ahead and check the availability of facilities to avoid inconvenience.

Book your accommodation in advance

When visiting Santorini in December, it is also advisable to book accommodation in advance. Many hotels may significantly reduce their services or close for the season when December arrives, so booking in advance will give you more choices and avoid last-minute inconveniences. 

Whether you prefer a charming boutique hotel overlooking the caldera or a cosy flat in a traditional village, booking in advance will ensure you have the best choice and a comfortable stay.

More information on accommodation in Santorini can be found in our guide to the best areas to stay in Santorini.

 Monolithos beach, Santorini island © Allard One/Shutterstock

Weather in Santorini in December means  booking in advance © Allard One/Shutterstock

What to do in Santorini in December

Despite the cool and rainy weather in Santorini in December, there are still plenty of opportunities for exciting activities and experiences. You may also be interested in our list of the best things to do in Santorini at any time of year.

Explore charming villages

Exploring Santorini's villages in December is a delightful experience. As the island sinks into a peaceful winter slumber, you can take your time to wander the charming streets of iconic places like Oia, Fira and Pyrgos. 

Enjoy a unique atmosphere where locals have more time for genuine dialogue and you can truly immerse yourself in Greek culture. Sip coffee in quaint cafes, buy handmade souvenirs and capture the winter beauty of the villages on camera. This is the perfect opportunity to appreciate the true essence of Santorini.

Embrace the festive spirit

In December, Santorini dresses in a festive cloak of holiday decorations, making your winter visit unique and heartwarming. Stroll through villages adorned with twinkling lights, ornaments and Christmas decorations. Local festivities, while modest, fill the island with a warm and welcoming spirit. 

Embrace Greek holiday traditions, including lighting Advent candles and exchanging small gifts. Take part in traditional carol singing as the air is filled with the sounds of Greek hymns. These festive activities will give you a special and unforgettable cultural experience and will make your December visit to Santorini even more charming and heartwarming.

Santorini with sunset over Church in Fira town, Greece © Shutterstock

Santorini sunset © Shutterstock

Savour local wines

In December, Santorini's wineries become a real treasure as they remain open, offering a different but delightful experience. This is the time to indulge in wine tasting and sample Santorini's characteristic post-harvest varieties. The cooler weather in Santorini in December allows you to explore the island's vineyards and cellars without the bustling summer crowds. 

Taste the famous Assyrtiko white wine, which often has a fuller and more complex character due to its late harvest. Visit local wineries to chat with passionate winemakers, who will teach you about the island's winemaking traditions and let you sample this fluid part of Santorini's culture and history.

Planning your December trip to Santorini

For more inspiration, discover some of the best things to do in Greece, and start planning your trip with The Rough Guide to Greece

Daunted by the prospect of planning? No problem! Browse our customisable Greek itineraries, and talk to our local Greek travel experts.

Olga Sitnitsa

written by Olga Sitnitsa

updated 30.11.2023

Online editor at Rough Guides, specialising in travel content. Passionate about creating compelling stories and inspiring others to explore the world.

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