Crete is the largest Greek island, located in the southern side of the Aegean Sea. It is one of the most popular destinations in Greece, and despite the tourist development in some places, there are also intact and unique character locations.
Crete has a temperate Mediterranean climate with mild, rainy winters and hot, dry summers.
There are significant differences between the coastal zone and mountainous areas, as well as between the west and east regions of Crete. This is due to Crete’s geographical position, and its morphology.
Crete weather averages and climate information
When is the best time to visit Crete?
The most popular time to visit the island is summer when the weather is guaranteed to be dry, hot and there are average 12 hours of sunshine every day. However, both spring and autumn are still warm and pleasurable. If you are set on swimming, you should probably avoid travelling over in the winter, as the temperatures drop, there is more rain and less sunshine.
Summer is the most popular time to visit Crete. The season starts in June and lasts till the end of September. The average temperatures are at around 27.5 °C to 29.5 °C and there are between 9 to 12 hours of sunshine that the island receives daily. The chances of experiencing rain are very slim with the average rainfall at about 0 mm in June, July and August and 10 mm in September.
There are big differences between the day and evenings temperatures, providing the island with much welcome relief for those struggling with the heat during the day.
The weather in Crete remains warm through both spring and autumn, although there are increased chances of rain and even storms. The average monthly rainfall is about 30mm in the spring and significantly higher in autumn, at around 70 mm. The average temperatures in those seasons are ranging from 17°C to 23.7°C making the island warm and popular with tourists. There is an average of 5 to 10 hours of sunshine in Crete in the spring and autumn seasons.
The winter in Crete is mild but wet and blustery. The average of 74 to 92mm of rainfall in the winter mean that you are highly likely to experience some sort of participation during your stay. The average daily temperatures are ranging from 15.3 °C to 17 °C and there are about 4 hours of sunshine that the island receives. This translates into mainly cloudy, overcast weather, but the sun should still appear for short spells each day.
Sub-zero temperatures and snowfall are practically unheard of in the coastal areas of Crete, although they’re not totally foreign. In February 2004, temperatures dropped to a record low of -0.8 °C and a light dusting of snow covered the whole island. In autumn, the rainy weather combined with the blustery conditions can often appear stormy. In October 2016, a rare meteorological phenomenon medicane (Mediterranean tropical-like cyclone) hit the island.
Crete tourist information
Visitors to Crete can admire the remains of ancient civilisations, explore glorious beaches and impressive mountainscapes as well as endless valleys and gorges.
Archaeological evidence suggests that Crete has been inhabited since the 7000 BC while various artefacts such as pottery have been found which date back to before the 5000 BC.
You will find a number of festivals running every month of the year in Crete. Every October in the village of Elos you will find the Chestnut Festival, to celebrate the arrival of autumn. Every year the villagers show off the chestnuts which are grown on the trees that surround Elos. There is a lot of music and dancing, and people have the chance to taste a variety of chestnut dishes.
A range of sports take place on the island including hiking, fishing and climbing. Water sports are understandably very popular, giving tourists the chance to try out snorkelling, water skiing and wind surfing. Crete also has its own stadium called Pankritio Stadium which hosts football matches and is currently home to Ergotelis F.C; named after an ancient Olympic runner.
If you are visiting the island with family then let the children cool off in one of the three water parks dotted around Crete, take a trip to the Natural History Museum of Crete where you can discover all about the island, or visit Aquaworld Aquarium which displays sea life local to the area; here you can even get hands-on experience with the reptiles.
July is generally the warmest month with an average maximum temperature of 30 °C and it receives minimal rain during the summer.
Industry in Crete is based on services and agriculture, and even though tourism plays a part the island does not need to rely on it. Like much of Greece, there are many olive groves and oranges, while lemons and bananas have also been grown here. The production of dairy is significant too, with several varieties of cheeses being produced. The island exports timber, wine, olive oil, wool and more.
Crete is served by three main airports, while ferries run to and from the island, mainly connecting Crete with Athens. Moving around the island is relatively easy as there are good road links, although there is a lack of modern motorways. Unfortunately, there is no train service on Crete but there are however buses on most roads.