The climate of Crete is a temperate Mediterranean climate with hot, dry summers and mild, quite rainy winters. Is the mildest of Greece.
There are significant differences to the weather condition between the coastal zone and the mountainous areas, as well as the west and the east part of Crete. The coastal zone characterized by dry summer and mild winter.The rainy season starts in late October and lasts till March or even April. Snowfalls are extremely rare in the coastal zone of Crete, especially so in the eastern part of the island.On the other hand,the winters in the mountains of Crete are quite harsh and it is always snowing during the period from January to the end of February. Also, the east part of Crete is drier and warmer than the west part.
Because the island of Greece is very mountainous, the changes of weather can be sudden and the mountains, creating a weather-barrier are creating different weather conditions in northern and southern Crete, with the southern Crete being drier and warmer.
There is no "best time" to visit Crete, it depends on what you are looking for. Here a list of pros and cons for each period of the year:
- January to March: This is the real winter time. The weather can be cold and rainy and windy. The almond trees bloom in February, the first trees to bloom. The weather is unpredictable and cold days alternate with warm ones. Although Crete can be cold, it never gets as cold as in northern Europe: the lowest temperature measured in Heraklion was -0,1°C (in 1928).
- March and April: The weather is still unstable and can be very pleasant or very rainy. The nights will still be cool or even cold. The sea is still too cold to swim in it, but the first daring swimmers appear. April with medium temperatures and low rainfall.After the winter rains the island is at its greenest and literally carpeted with flowers.
- May and June: You are almost guaranteed to get good weather,the sea is warmer, there are still a lot of flowers.The "meltemi" seasonal North winds have not yet started to blow, the sea is calm and nature is at its best.The June is sunny and hot..
- July and August: Windy and very hot. July and August are the months that the seasonal North winds blow. It is hard to do anything else during these months, than spend the entire day at the beach. Look for a shady place and drink plenty of water. Do not forget your hat and sunscreen. Not the best weather for people who cannot stand high temperatures (30-35 C).
- September and October: These are better months as the weather is not as hot anymore and the sea is still really warm. The temperatures are often higher that in spring and lower than in summer time and there is a lot of sunshine.
- November and December: The weather becomes unpredictable. It may be sunny but there are plenty of rainy and windy days too.The south winds start and sometimes they carry sand from the Sahara desert. This sand covers the sky of Crete and it creates very unusual weather conditions.