7 Reasons You Should Visit Greece in April
Is Greece on your bucket list? For us, it was certainly near the top. The history, the island hopping, the white and blue buildings, and the beauty are just a couple things that make Greece so magical. If you are considering Greece, there are so many months you can visit. The most common times range from April to November with the Summer being the busiest and best times to visit according to Google. The summer will provide great weather and awesome water temps for swimming and sailing. The downfall: the crowds, more expensive accommodations, and booked tours. We don’t prefer crowds in general, so our plan was always to go toward the beginning of the season (May or June) or September or October. However, when we got the chance to fly for such a low and amazing price in April, we took it! Below are seven reasons why you should DEFINITELY consider going to Greece in April. Note – one of the reasons we share below can only be done in April, and it is a must see.
The weather in April is great unless you like polar climates or sitting on the equator. Temps were anywhere between 60 degrees to the low 80s during the day with most evenings around 50 degrees as the low. Our average temperature was 70-80 degrees during the day. I struggled to pack for the trip. I wanted to bring one of everything because I didn’t want to be too hot or too cold. The great part about this weather is that there is a solution: layers!
If you love high humidity and sweating through your clothes during your trip, I do not recommend going in April. You will be cold. If you are determined to swim in the ocean and you want bathwater or warmer temperatures, you may want to skip this time of year as the ocean was too cold for us. According to Sea Temperature, the water temp in Greece in April 63 degrees F. Several folks on the catamaran did end up swimming and checking out the hot springs (Santorini is on top a sleeping volcano after all). It all just depends on preference and what you are used to.
Good news is that the sun is very warm. You can still easily get a tan and lay out in the sun. Walking outside is enjoyable and at some points, warm to hot. I got a good tan, and I felt the weather was perfect for walking outside or laying by the pool and ocean. Several folks were at the pool and also sitting on the beaches. Several families were swimming and enjoying the sea. If you like warmer water and want to swim, find a hotel with a heated pool, or better yet, get a hot tub on your patio! It was perfect.
The busiest months to visit Greece are July and August. The tourist season starts in April and goes through October or November depending on who you ask. The thing I loved most about going in April is that there were no crowds. Streets were not busy. Walking paths were mostly wide open with the exception of an occasional couple who was also touring. We were easily able to catch a sunset in Oia on the island of Santorini (the part of the island known for the best sunset and packed full crowds to see it during the busy season). The only night we experienced a crowd was Good Friday of the Orthodox Easter celebration, and that was because we celebrated with the locals in Pyrgos. It was a magical celebration and so worth the crowds. See below! None of the islands were busy, and we felt like we had Paros and Naxos mostly to ourselves!
No reservations required
We only needed one reservation for a restaurant the entire 11 days, and it was because it fell on Greece’s largest holiday – Good Friday/Easter. A couple of the hotels recommended a reservation for dinner, but we didn’t make them, and they weren’t needed. This was a pleasant surprise since it seems we need a reservation at any nice spot in Atlanta. Regarding tours, there was open availability up to the day prior. We booked a sailing cruise with Spiridakos Sailing two or three days before the actual cruise and had no issue. I kept feeling anxious about not having reservations and not really planning our activities like we normally do, but because it was April, we had no issues!
The service we experienced was out of this world. I believe it is in the Greek nature to take care of others, but I also believe it was because the islands are not super crowded at this time. Our hotel in Santorini, Remezzo Villas, was the perfect example. We flew in on a Thursday evening, and went straight to the hotel. The concierge (Christine – I believe is how to spell her name) helped us plan our entire trip. She brought out a map, told us where to eat, drink, and visit as well as how to get around on the island. She arranged rental cars and taxis. She also made a reservation in advance of our arrival for the Easter dinner at Rosemary in Pyrgos (without us asking!). We had the best table in the whole restaurant with a view of the entire city. It was optional of course, but we could not say no. It was so thoughtful and ended up being the most amazing evening.
You have the locals all to yourselves
Whether it was while we were at our hotel, out shopping, walking, or eating at a restaurant, the locals truly made our stay so much better. It was beyond interesting to hear what is best to do in Athens or any of the islands from their perspective. We listened, and we did EXACTLY what they recommended. It turned out perfect every single time.
Free, Free, Free – We all like free things in general, yes? One tip we can share when traveling is that learning about other people and cultures is absolutely free. The locals in Greece truly helped us learn so much about their culture, their way of life, their food, and how they live. For example, we went into a store in the market looking for a souvenir. The man working started talking to Jay. After assuming Stephanie was the cook of the family and Jay quickly correcting him <insert eye roll>, he opened up and shared the cook of his family, pictures of his children, and what he does for a living. He was so proud. We learned about what life was like for the locals on Santorini. Listening is free. Learning about his life was free. Seeing life and experiences through his eyes was free. Is there really a better teacher?
Accommodations are cheaper
As we share on our “About” page, we do like to stay in nice hotels, with sunset or sea views, and we never have a shower curtain thanks to one of us. LOL. We had the best rooms, and they were all the same or less (sometimes much much less) than what we would have paid in the U.S...What we learned though is that the same rooms we stayed in during our trip doubled in price in the mid-summer months. Since tourist season is just starting, prices are much lower, and there are so many options for rooms! We booked both of our stays in Athens the day before, thanks to Hotel Tonight. The fancy hotels still do sell out so don’t save everything for last minute, especially if you want rooms with pools or hot tubs or you want to be in the super swanky hotels.
The last but certainly not least reason to check out Greece in April is because of the Easter holiday. The Orthodox Easter is a week after the Roman Catholic Easter (what we celebrate in the U.S). Fun fact: the Catholic and Orthodox churches separated in the 11th Century. The Catholic church later adopted the Gregorian Calendar in the 1500s. The Orthodox church continued to utilize the Julian calendar. Several locals told us that Easter is the most celebrated holiday in Greece, even more so than Christmas! They truly went all out. It was magical. We highly recommend being in Santorini on Good Friday. Plan to spend the evening in Pyrgos. In Pyrgos, the homes and businesses put cans with wool like material in them. There is a celebration for Jesus including a processional. Red smoke signals go off (our language, not necessarily theirs) and the town turns red and smoky. From there, the cannisters are all lit, along with three crosses. The experience will leave you floored. Seeing the town lit up from the bottom will give you goosebumps. Eat in the town, and then make sure you walk down and get a view from the bottom at the end. Religious or not, trust us! You will NOT be disappointed.
On Saturday, the Easter celebration continues, particularly at midnight going into Easter Sunday. The 40 day fast ends, so there is mass, lamb galore, and lots of drinking on the islands. There is also a tradition of dying eggs red and playing a game with the eggs to bring good luck in the next year. Here is what we received from the hotel, so we could join in the fun with them if we wanted! We did play the egg game, and Stephanie got the good luck for the year!
On Easter Sunday, there are lambs on a spit in several restaurants in celebration of Easter. We saw this both in Santorini and once we arrived in Mykonos on Easter Sunday. The lamb was delicious, and it was really great to experience this holiday with them.
We will certainly not say that April is the only time to go. We believe you could visit this beautiful country anytime from April to November and LOVE it. It’s breathtaking and a country everyone should experience. But if you like lower prices, time to learn from the locals, and no crowds, definitely consider taking your dream trip to Greece in April! You won't regret it.
Jay and Stephanie