What is the best time of year to go to Greece? We are planning a trip in November 2008, would that be too cold, too busy or just perfect?
For what? Museums? Athens? Beaches? Swimming? Islands?
in summary, OK for the first two, bad idea for the last three, more detail needed.
November is usually mild cold but very rainy. In my opinion the best time to visit Greece is spring (especially during Greek Easter)- June, July, late August and September.
May and/or September in my opinion - both are the "shoulder" seasons when everything is open but the hordes have either not yet arrived (May) or have just all gone home (September). September is definately the best time for beach and swimming as the water has spent all summer warming up and can be 22-23 centigrade.
If you really want to go in November, then choose an island that is as far south as you can go (Crete) or far east (Rhodes) as they hang on to the better weather for longer although basically, November won't be anything to write home about unless you are exceptionally fortunate
"if you really want to go in November,"
...bearing in mind that most hotels and most restaurants will be closed, and the sea too cold for swimming unless you are as hardy as a certain regular poster here who swims in 14deg C water :-)
Yeap. . .
Greece has a winter too. Still it's a short winter but we have one.
Best time is June and September.
Late April is a great season too ( Greek Easter ). Weather is already mild, sea still is cold for swimming.
MAY is a great month. Sea may be chilly for those used in warm waters. It will seem perfect for those used to cold waters.
JUNE is the best month in my opinion. Gets hot till 3rd week.
July everything is full open and operating at high rhythm, still it may be hot hot or windy.
August is the peak and gets too crowded. I like it but i can enjoy Greece all yr round. August is the perfect month to visit Athens since everybody is away :))
SEPTEMBER is great. Not so hot, not so crowded.
October is still nice but rains and winds may start. Depends on weather's tricks. Air tickets may drop this month.
November is quite late. It may outcome as a great trip, still most probable is that weather will play some tricks. Hotel prices and air tickets drop, so this is a month for those not heading to the beaches but to the mainland. Still, islands will be shut down.
Wanna beach + islands along with all the rest? Pick MAY, JUNE, SEPTEMBER.
Wanna sightseeing and mainland? Np at all.
Then to answer your original Q, November is not a good time of year. Go in May-June, or Sep - early Oct to find the best hotels and restaurants still open, (and shops), since you will find many closed in November. You will also find, from what I've read as complaints, that if you go in Nov, and it does turn out to be cold, for many of the (few) hotels that are open, they wont have good heating.
We went to Santorini and Athens the 1st week of May last year. On Santorini it was too cool to swim - one day we rented scooters (great fun) and around sunset, it got downright cold.
Athens was warm at night and during the day climbing to the Acropolis it was plain hot.
It was in my opinion early May is a great time to go - just warm enough without being hot all the time and the spring flowers...my oh my! Crowds low also.
Had never been to Greece and planned 2 nights on Santorini and 3 nights in Athens - if I did it again, I'd reverse it -- 2 nights in Athens and 3, or 4, or 5...in Santorini - it is georgeous!
May is a good month. I am trying to combine the trip with a holiday so I can take more than a week. November would have been perfect because I have two days off for Thanksgiving, but memorial day falls in May so that might work. So you really loved Santorini, I am sure, just to see those pictures is breathtaking, but were you able to see everything in Athens in two days? What other places would be nice to visit?
I would repeat what everyone else is saying. May/early June and September are definitely the best times to go to Greece if you're intending to spend time on the beach and want to catch some rays or visit the islands. Most of the islands' infrastructure is closed between October-April (hotels, many restaurants, etc.) so in all likleihood there would not be much to do there in November.
However, if you are planning a trip to a place like Athens in November, then that is a perfectly good time to go, as Athens is not as hot then as it can get in the late spring and summer months and everything is still open, as the city gets visitors throughout the year. Plus, you get to see a more "authentic" side of Athens by going off-season, as everyone is going about their normal daily routines, for better or for worse, than during the summer, when the city empties out (great for the reduction of traffic, but not so great due to the heat and due to many restaurants and businesses closing during July-August as their owners go on vacation).