Greek islands with a warmer climate to visit during the winter

The perfect islands for a quick winter escape!

Can’t wait till summer to visit the Greek islands? You don’t need to! The cold season can be an opportunity to get a sense of the true nature of a destination and unlock the secrets that summer never reveals. 

On this Ferryhopper page, you will discover some of the most beautiful Greek islands with a warmer climate, perfect for a winter getaway!

The Acropolis of Lindos, in Rhodes

Lindos Acropolis, the most impressive archaeological site on Rhodes

The best Greek islands for a winter trip

It may be winter, but the sea is beautiful all year round! This means that regardless of the season, Greece offers a variety of welcoming destinations with distinctive landscapes and experiences.

Here are 6 Greek islands perfect to visit off-season:

1. Crete

Greece’s largest and most southerly island, Crete has mild and sunny weather throughout winter; in fact, it has some of the warmest winter weather in Europe with average highs generally around 15-16°C and average lows around 9-11°C. This makes it easy to get out and see everything this island has to offer. 

Crete has four main cities. Both Rethymno and Chania are university towns with plenty of places to eat and drink throughout the year. The Fortezza, the Venetian Harbor and the Egyptian Lighthouse are all noteworthy highlights in Rethymno

In Chania, on the other hand, we recommend strolling around its harbor and visiting the Firka Fortress, the Venetian Lighthouse and the colorful houses right on the water. 

Museums remain open in Crete during winter (perhaps with shorter opening hours), the most famous of which is the Heraklion Archaeological Museum. Another popular site you can visit during your winter vacation in Crete is Knossos, which is usually overcrowded in high-season.

The Egyptian lighthouse of the Venetian harbor of Rethymno

The Old Venetian harbor of Rethymno, Greece

2. Rhodes

Rhodes also experiences mild winters (highs average around 15°C). This makes it a great time to explore the UNESCO-recognised Old Town when the holidaymakers have all but disappeared! 

Moreover, if you don't like the idea of visiting historical sites in the sweltering heat of August, discovering the Acropolis of Lindos in the winter might be a much better option for you. Hiking is also great in Rhodes, but not in high summer. From strolls along the beach and the pretty town of Lindos to longer treks through the lush inland, nothings better than indulging in some winter hiking

Lastly, you can’t leave Rhodes without enjoying the winter filoxenia with some wine, souma and mezedakia (appetizers) around the warm fireplace.

3. Karpathos

Halfway between the larger islands of Crete and Rhodes, Karpathos is one of the best Greek islands if you’re looking to spend a peaceful winter holiday surrounded by unforgettable beauty. 

Besides its spectacular beaches, Karpathos is also well known for its mountain villages with views of unique landscapes, many hiking trails and impressive natural sights. In fact, the center and the northern parts of Karpathos have been declared as Natura 2000 protected areas due to their natural wealth. 

Furthermore, if you happen to visit Karpathos at the beginning of November, make sure to take part in olive picking, a tradition that stretches back to ancient Greek times. 

Karpathos is blessed with a mild Mediterranean climate, however, keep in mind that the wind on the island is quite strong.

Colorful houses making up the village of Olympos, Karpathos

The picturesque village of Olympos, Karpathos

4. Hydra

One of the most impressive and picturesque islands of the Argosaronic Gulf, Hydra is transformed and becomes even more photogenic during winter, with bursts of color and stunning sunsets. It is an ideal island for a weekend winter getaway, just a 2 hour ferry ride from the port of Piraeus.

But, what can you do in Hydra during the winter months? Take a relaxed stroll through the cobbled paths of Hydra to view the island’s impressive mansions and stop by the Historical Archive - Museum of Hydra

The island is also an ideal place for trekking during winter. Take the route beginning from Hora and running eastwards reaching the Lighthouse of Zouvra

Tip: the cobble stones in Hydra town and along the harbor can be quite slippery during the winter, so you need to be careful when walking.

5. Halki

Halki is a tiny island of the Dodecanese situated very close to Rhodes. Lively during the summer months, it offers unique moments during the winter too. Considering that the population of the island is just 330 people and that there is only a single inhabited village, be prepared to feel the stresses of your everyday life slip away as soon as you step off the ferry. 

If you are a keen walker, make sure to reach the island’s highest points, such as the crusader castle, Kastro and Mount Maistros for breathtaking views. 

Finish your visit to Halki with a plate of the famous Halki pasta served with caramelized onions and cheese. Leave room for some creamy Greek yogurt drizzled with local thyme honey. 

Tip: discover more islands you can day trip to from Rhodes.

Winter sunset over the island of Halki, Greece

Magnificent sunset over the colorful port of Halki, Nimborio

6. Tilos

For a romantic winter getaway, choose Tilos! Located between Rhodes and Kos, it’s one of the quietest and most authentic islands in Greece. 

Since the whole island belongs to the Natura 2000 network, it is a great destination for nature lovers. There are about 54 km of trails in Tilos that will lead you to beautiful beaches, small churches and summits with spectacular views. Other popular winter activities in Tilos include bird watching and observing various types of plants and trees.

Visit the deserted village, Mikro Chorio, the capital town, Megalo Chorio, and hang out with the locals at the port town, Livadia.

The deserted village, Mikro Chorio, in Tilos, Greece

The church of Christ the Savior standing at the top of the deserted village, Mikro Chorio, in Tilos

Does the sea call you year-round? Get ready to explore the stunning Greek islands this winter by reading our tips! On Ferryhopper, you can book your ferry tickets and explore the Greek islands with just a few clicks.

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