Greece In December: Weather & Travel Tips

Wondering whether visiting Greece in December is a good idea? Read on to find out everything you need to know about average temperatures, rainfall, cost and crowds. As a bonus, we also share itinerary suggestions that’ll help you make the most of your trip, and ideas about what to see and do in Greece in December.

Greece in December at a glance

  • As winter sets in, it brings with it cooler and occasionally chilly weather throughout the country.
  • Temperatures range from 8°C to 16°C (46°F to 61°F).
  • December falls in the rainy season in Greece, with an increase in rainfall compared to previous months, particularly in the northern regions and islands.
  • December is considered the low tourist season in Greece, with fewer crowds and lower costs. 

Is December a good time to visit Greece?

It’s fair to say December might not be the most obvious — or popular — month to visit Greece. Understandable, given that the country tends to conjure images of beautiful breaches, exploring ancient sites beneath a big, blue sky, and sipping al fresco sun-downers.

While the weather can be unpredictable, and the heat is definitely turned down, December can be a rewarding time to visit Greece. This is especially the case if you’re keen to visit the country’s ancient attractions, and are on a budget.

And the reasons? Fewer visitors mean you might be able to bag accommodation for up to 50% off the high season price, plus you won’t have to queue to get into the country’s top sights and museums. Once inside, you’ll most likely have free reign of said sights and museums — all the better for full immersion. 

Add to add that Christmas ice rinks, festive bazaars and free events on Athens’ public squares, and visiting Greece in December has plenty to commend it.

Set on taking a trip to Greece? Embark on your dream trip hassle-free with the help of our Greece travel experts.


Wondering about the weather in Greece in December? It's a top time to see ancient sites without crowds © Shutterstock

Air and sea temperatures in Greece in December

Stating the obvious, but don’t expect the weather in Greece in December to be anything like the scorching hot days and balmy evenings you’ll experience during the summer months.

One thing to note is that Greece covers a pretty vast area, and temperatures vary. Overall, though, the weather in Greece in December sees a country-wide average of 12°C. Depending on where you’re travelling from, this may well be an improvement on bitterly cold conditions.

The further south you go, the warmer it’ll be. So, for example, while the northern city of Thessaloniki averages daily temperatures between 2°C and 11°C, Athens’ December temperatures range between 8°C. and 15°C. As for the sea, expect average temperatures between 14°C and 16°C.

Want more detail? Read up on the best time to go to Greece.

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

Wondering where's warmest in Greece in December? Try Crete © Shutterstock

Can it rain in Greece in December?

We won’t sugar-coat the truth. December is one of the rainiest months in Greece. In general, the weather can be unpredictable — a mix of clouds and rain showers broken by bursts of sun.

In addition, note that the mountainous north sees snowfall in the winter months  — more on that later.

Not quite sure where you want to go? For further inspo, discover more of the best places to visit in December. 


When rain falls, explore bazaars and museums © Shutterstock

What about the crowd and cost?

Visiting Greece in December means fewer crowds. With that comes a reduction in the costs of accommodation and flights. 

While this is great for your pocket, be aware that some hotels and guest houses close for the winter months. You should also expect a reduction in flights and ferry services. 

In fact, some of the smaller islands essentially close down for the winter in terms of offering visitors places to stay, eat and be entertained — choose your destination wisely.

Inspired to go? Discover the best places to visit in Greece in winter.

The Benaki Museum, Athens © Shutterstock

Benaki Museum, Athens © Shutterstock

What to wear in Greece in December

Of course, what you pack and wear in Greece in December depends on where exactly you’re heading, but we’re generally talking jumpers, coats and scarves. 

Given the likelihood of rain (or snow, depending on your exact destination!), you’ll also want waterproof outer attire and a brolly. 

If you’re heading to the warmer south, you might want to bring some lighter-weight outfits for the sunnier days.

Santorini, Greece © Shutterstock

Wrap up warm to enjoy sunset strolls in Greece in December © Shutterstock

Unforgettable, fully customisable Greece itineraries

If you’re in the market for a December break that delivers history, culture and less-crowded strolling experiences, take inspiration from our Greece itineraries.

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

  • Athens — City of the Gods (4 days): if you’re short on time and big on culture, this 3-night trip offers immersive insights into Athens’ ancient wonders and modern verve. From taking in the Classical charm of the Acropolis and the Parthenon, to indulging in the city’s thriving food scene in local tavernas, it’s a feast for the senses.
  • 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 mountainous Zagori, and this amounts to a diversely exhilarating experience.
  • Milos — an exclusive island idyll (9 days): get to know the Aegean’s most exotic island while staying in a private luxury villa by the sea.
Paleochori beach and waves of Aegean sea, Milos island, Cyclades, Greece © Shutterstock

Idyllic scenes await on Milos island, Cyclades, Greece © Shutterstock

What to do in Greece in December

As we said at the outset, visiting Greece in December can be pretty darn rewarding for travellers on a budget who are into cultural experiences. 

Overall, December is a good month to visit Greece to explore the likes of ancient sites and museums in crowd-free conditions. If you’re also into adventure, it's pretty easy to slip from ancient sites to ski slopes.

With all that in mind, read on for sugguestions about what to do in Greece in December.

Visit Christmas markets in Athens

Discover Athens Christmas Factory, Christmas Warehouse Market and Kallidromiou Christmas Market and shop for handmade holiday gifts, traditional Greek sweets, and food.

December is also a great time to see some of the top sites in Athens without having to queue for hours.

Have a wonderful culinary experience

In December, Greeks enjoy an array of traditional dishes and sweets to celebrate the holiday season.

Indulge in Greek cuisine by tasting traditional winter dishes like moussaka, soups, and roasted meats. Savor local wine and spirits like Retsina or Tsipouro.

Ski in winter wonderlands

Let’s face it, Greece doesn’t have a rep as a premiere skiing destination. It’s not really even on anyone’s radar as such. But some regions of the country have truly mighty mountains, and the winter months bring snow and opportunities to ski them.

For example, Mt Parnassós draws skiers from  Athens, while the Peloponnese offers downhill action and alpine-like beauty at Kalavryta on Mt Helmós.  

Head to year-round island idylls

If the idea of skiing in Greece seems too incongruous, larger islands like CreteCorfu and Rhodes, are pretty lively throughout the year.

While you might not be basking in scorching-hot sun, or bathing in bath-warm waters, December offers ample opportunities to stroll charming streets, explore countless archaeological sites, and eat, drink and be very merry.

Kerkyra, capital of Corfu island, Greece © Shutterstock

Kerkyra, Corfu, Greece © Shutterstock

Planning your December trip to Greece

Fancy visiting Greece in December, or any other time of the year, for that matter? Get yourself a copy of The Rough Guide to Greece to start planning your dream trip. 

Alternatively, if the idea of planning leaves you cold, browse our customisable Greece itineraries.

Love the sound of exploring Greece away from the mainland? Read up on the best Greek Islands, and get yourself The Rough Guide to Greek Islands

Joanne Owen

written by
Joanne Owen

updated 26.03.2024

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.

Ready to travel and discover

Get support from our local experts for
stress-free planning & worry-free travels

Plan my trip ⤍