The north coast of Crete can be affected by the strong Meltemi wind just as almost anywhere else in the Aegean can be. It tends to be strongest in the afternoon and dies away as the day progresses. You don't say when you visited Santorini but the wind tends to be at its strongest in September although it can in theory form at almost any time of the year. High pressure over the Balkans coupled with low pressure across Turkey come together to form the Meltemi, nothing whatsoever anyone can do about it and no one can predict when it's likely to be at its strongest.
The south coast of Crete is generally protected from the wind so if it's of major importance to you, then that's where to head for. I have to say that the Meltemi has never spoilt a trip to Crete for me, it rarely blows for that long and is often little more than a stiff breeze which can be a godsend on a hot day.
I think you went to Santorini in July??
As GB says, the wind can be strong at any time on the north coast, but it isn't predictable. You can have strong winds for days, then next day it's calm and the sea is like a millpond. And yes, it is often refreshing, but no fun if you're getting sandblasted on a sandy beach or eating outside late at night in low season!
As you say no fun when your being sand blasted on a beach and in July last year we were twice driven
Off of a beach in Santorini with the winds causing the sand to whip your body and boy it hurts! So I want to avoid it if I can :-))
I was in Santorini in July and driven off the beach with winds causing the sand to whip your body and it's painful
We were not alone in leaving the beach everyone did, so it's not that we are fussy
I'm certainly not saying you're fussy, it's never much fun when the Meltemi is blowing that hard but you can never predict it, or the strength it will blow at. It blew for 4 days this September when we were in Crete, two days it was little more than a stiff breeze, the two middle days, then the day at either side it was like a minor hurricane, with tables being blown over and chairs flying everywhere.
All I'm saying is that if you want to do your best to avoid it, then head for the south coast, although having said that, we spent a full day in Ierapetra in September and it was blowing a hooley all day.Edited: 24 November 2013, 16:06
Indeed,, you can't do a lot and, yeap it can be a nuisance on some days.
These North winds though are very welcome here, since they keep temperatures lower, humidity low too and give us some electric power too. These winds are dry and are one of the things giving us these blue skies here, with no sign of cloud, so, it's part of what the country climate is.
Meltemi is not an all-year around wind but a seasonal one.
With some certainty, 'meltemi' appears in late May till mid June.
Then it is very low for a month or so, so mid June to start of July is probably a low winds season.
Then, start of July till mid August is their strongest point, while they keep appearing till start of October.
If you want to avoid them, then the islands in the Ionian Sea is your best choice. The winds there are in general lower during the summer and you have a dozen of islands or destinations to pick in the Ionian and Western coast of the Greek mainland. The islands are these: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ionian_Islands while on top of the 7 biggest you have other smaller islands too + the Western mainland coast ( clear exception on Kythera, which is so South and almost on the Aegean Sea ).
In general Central Aegean is where the winds are the strongest. Chart here: …wikimedia.org/wikipedia/…550px-Etisiai.jpg
If you want to avoid high intensity winds in general, this is a map of Greece with the areas that have the strongest winds:
Please keep in mind that wind is not something that can be easily predicted, so, you can't always bet, still with this map you can see that Central Aegean is where the winds are the strongest, and the Dodecanese too. I would add Crete's Northern coast too. Please mind that some parts of the Ionian Sea islands, like the extreme Northern coast of Corfu, Kythera almost for sure can be hit by these winds ( which, as i said, are always welcome here, since they make summer more mild ).Edited: 24 November 2013, 16:42
The Winds of Crete (there is a good book of that title by David McNeil Doren) are many and varied: they come from different directions at different times of year, and although the meltemi, which blows from the north, is of course strongest on the north coast, there is nowhere on Crete that can be guaranteed completely windless. Even deep, sheltered coves on the south coast can be blasted by winds from the south, west, and south west (Paleochora, at the extreme south west tip, is one of the windiest places of all).
But you can avoid being "sandblasted off the beach" by avoiding sandy beaches, and staying on a pebble beach, as most of the south west coast beaches are. Sougia, for example, is one of the biggest, most beautiful, and best of the Cretan beaches, and the pebbles are small and comfortable to lie on. Sweetwater beach, between Sfakia and Loutro, is similar. And there are others.
But you cannot get away from the fact that Crete is a windy island, so if wind troubles you, it might be wise to choose another destination.
Thank you for your lengthy reply very much appreciated, it will take a lot more than these winds to keep me away from these gorgeous Greek Islands , and how wonderful to be discussing a long hot summer holiday on this cold wet November day . Cheers :-))
I appreciate what you say but when I went to the beach it was calm and as you know these winds can come from nowhere and start whipping up sand , the winds don't trouble me , it was just a polite question I have only visited a few of the Greek Islands so far and fully intend to visit many more as they are both beautiful and welcoming as are the Greek people . Thank you for taking the time to reply to my question .
My first visit to Sougia was in October 1987. We were staying on the north coast at Almirida and had driven south for the day to escape the rain on the north coast. It was brilliantly bright and sunny on the south coast - but we spent the day in the shelter of a huge rock on Sougia's beach. Sheltering from what? You guessed it. :-)