Greece is a large and topographically diverse country so there are many different climates. Generally, the weather follows the Mediterranean climate pattern with hot, dry summers and mild rainy winters.

Greece offers tourists a lot of sunshine, for which it is rightly famous, and prolonged periods of rainy weather are uncommon. With this in mind there are really only two seasons in Greece: hot and dry between April and September; mild and wet from October to March.

However, there are varying weather patterns dependent upon town/island and distance from the coast. High mountains can also impact the climate from islands to the inland regions but predominantly, the south is hotter and drier than the north.

On the Islands

Summer weather in the islands begins in May with daily highs in the mid-20s. By July the daytime temperature is often in the 30s. July and August are the peak summer months when the temperature will rarely drop below 20°C even at night. Fortunately, the islands are visited by the cooling "meltemi" winds - sea breezes that blow from the north and north-west. The winds are strongest in July and August when they are needed the most.

Mid-May to Mid-September is very dry, while July and August are unlikely to see any rainfall at all.

Winters are mild and wet - somewhat akin to an English spring. Temperature will generally be in the low to mid-teens, although a sunny day can sometimes see the temperature creep up towards 20°C.

December is the wettest month of the year and over the winter there can often be strong storms in the Mediterranean. These can bring miserable weather for a few days, with strong winds and torrential rain. However, as most of the rain falls in heavy downpours, there are still a lot of sunny days and it can be a very pleasant - and very quiet - time.

In The Mountains

Greece is one of Europe's most mountainous countries, with over four fifths consisting of mountains or hills. The highest peak in the country is Mount Olympus. The mountains experience very unpredictable and different weather to the lower regions of Greece and their climate is traditionally alpine. The higher altitude means it is colder, there are more clouds and higher rainfall.

The mountain climate prevails predominantly in the high mountain ranges of mainland Greece but similar weather can also be seen in the high mountains of the island of Crete.

On The Mainland

Mainland Greece has a slightly different climate - it is influenced by the giant landmass of Europe rather than the sea around the islands. There are many microclimates due to the affect of the mountains and the prevailing winds.

Summer temperatures can be in the 40s and the city of Athens as has recorded a temperature of 48°C in the. The countryside on the mainland is very susceptible to fire - a frequent danger every summer in Greece.

There are many variations in weather across the Greek mainland - Eastern Greece and the Athens are dryer while the north and west are wetter. Northern and eastern Greece have a much more continental climate, experiencing the coolest temperatures in the country and a more extreme range of highs and lows.