Crete enjoys a Mediterranean climate, where weather can be characterized by mild winters and hot, dry summers. Warm weather is enjoyed for nine months of the year from April to November and winter months are just December to March.
The coastal areas have a dry summer and mild winter. Good weather prevails throughout the season while it can rain sporadically from December through to March. Snowfall along the coast is a rarity.
In winter, the mountainous areas enjoy much snow and even when the weather warms sets in and swimming at the beach is possible, snow can still be seen on the White Mountains creating a stunning visual contrast! It is this Mediterranean climate which so graciously enhances the way of life on Crete and so positively affects disposition.
January to March: Crete’s winter months, which can only be termed as mild, when compared to other countries of northern Europe, is where we experience moderate cold and rain. Mountains are beautifully covered in snow and coastal villages are remote and peaceful. Liveliness is centered on the city and the mountain villages. Trips for lunches and meals at taverns with wood burning ovens become the focus. Temperatures remain moderately cool and sunny days are a blessing; locals are quick to make the most of them. In February, the first of the trees bloom – these are the almond trees, icing the landscape with white and pink colors.
April: Spring time on Crete; several days of which are very pleasant and a gentle reminder that summer is just around the corner. Day time temperatures are warm with cool and refreshing evenings. Dedicated swimmers start swimming in the sea, the soil (enriched with the winter rains) begin to show its intent with several shades of green in trees, bushes and shrubs, wild flowers begin to blossom and citrus trees are full of fruit. This is also beginning of the tourist season – the start is well combined with the Catholic Easter. The Greek Orthodox Easter (most often one week after the Catholic Easter) is the most significant religious feast of the year allowing you to experience Cretan hospitality at its best.
May and June: In May, warm and sunny weather can almost be guaranteed and rain is quite unlikely. The sea is calm and warmer and of course beach activities and excursions by boat begin. This is described by many to be the best time of the year as tourists are still few in number, the weather is gloriously mild, flowers are in full bloom and the landscape is a beauty. For these reasons, these months are particularly preferred by those who enjoy hiking, walking and trekking. On May 1st, locals decorate the entrance to their homes with wreathes made of wild flowers. In June it is sunny and hot and the beach is the place to be!
July and August: A busy time for this beautiful island; tourists aplenty and visitors from the mainland too. The sea is ‘bath-like’ warm and truthfully, spending every day at the beach, enjoying all sorts of water sports is just the thing. Swimwear, sun screen, ample fluids and your hat are all the essentials required for long days where the sun rises early and sets after 21:00.
September and October: The heat of the previous couple of months have subsided, while the sea remains warm. The atmosphere amongst locals is more relaxed as the crowds too have lessened. Again, much like the month of May, hiking and other outdoor activities are blissful at this time of the year. Evenings are slightly cooler too. October is the month in which the traditional drink of Crete “raki” is distilled from grape skins. Days are noticeably shorter.
November and December: Autumn – the tourist season has now ended however good weather continues on. Sunny days are at times accompanied with southerly winds. Swimming in the sea is still possible. Few days of rain may be expected as the weather becomes unpredictable. It is these rains that wash away the summer dust, where nature assumes its responsibilities and where metamorphosis occurs; green grass carpets the island and Crete wakens from its dry summer slumber. Olive picking becomes the task at hand to ensure olive oil for the family and even to sell surplus production.