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Greece conjures the image of sunny coasts, azure waters, and sailboats gliding under a radiant sun. However, few are aware that the country is a lovely place to visit almost throughout the year, including in the winter when its mountains are decked in white and peaks glisten in the morning sun.

The weather in Greece in January can get a little unpredictable, with parts of the country receiving snow. Plus, this is the coldest month in the country, and traveling to Greece at this time of the year can limit your travel options if you plan to visit its islands, since finding transport could be difficult (though not impossible). That being said, this is the time to take full advantage of low-season rates and pack some splendid destinations in your itinerary — from the atmospheric Old Town of Rhodes to Athens with its ancient architecture and Byzantine churches.

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Greece weather in January

Zeus Olympius Temple in Greece duringWinter
Greece has relatively mild temperatures in January despite it being winter

Compared to northern European destinations, the weather in Greece in January is relatively pleasant, despite this being one of the coldest months of the year. The average January temperature in Athens, for example, fluctuates between 7°C and 12°C. In recent years, the highest recorded temperature in Greece in January has been 20°C. Also, expect many cloudy days and occasional rains during this time of year. Having said all this, January is also a great time to visit Thessaloniki, Greece’s second-largest city, and enjoy its festivals, archeological sites, waterfront scenery, and nightlife. The city, however, is on the colder side, with an average high temperature of 8.4°C and an average low temperature of 2.2°C in January.

Make sure to check out our travel guide on the best times to visit Greece for an in-depth seasonal overview.

Weather in Greece in January - Rainfall and Temperatures

Avg Daily (°C)151314
Avg Nightly (°C)977
Avg Daily (°F)595658
Avg Nightly (°F)494545
Avg Rainfall (mm)985747

Why visit Greece in January

Empty chairlifts in a ski resort on a sunny day in Greece
Go for a skiing session in Arachova and navigate your way through the slopes
Woman enjoying breakfast with beautiful view over Santorini
Explore the joys of Greek cuisine and the comfort food that it offers

Though January is not a peak season in Greece, the country does make for an excellent winter destination. Below are the reasons why:

  • Great prices: Since January in Greece is a low season, you can get some really good discounts on travel and accommodation. Airfares and hotel tariffs are at their lowest during this time.
  • Fewer tourists: Greece is a summer getaway, not many people visit the country during winter. Fewer tourists during January means that you have historic sites and top-rated destinations all for yourself.
  • Museum-hopping: One of the best things about visiting Greece in January is that museum-hopping is much easier and more enjoyable as there are fewer crowds. Be it the Acropolis Museum or the National Archeological Museum of Athens, this country has one of the best collections of ancient artifacts anywhere in the world.
  • Skiing in Arachova: Greece may not be Europe’s best-known destination for skiing, but the country does have its fair share of snowy slopes. The mountain town of Arachova has some cool slopes for all skill levels.
  • Snow in Méteora: A layer of snow over the magical cliff-top monasteries of Meteora adds another meaning to its beguiling beauty. Do not forget to include this destination in your itinerary if you are heading for Greece in winter.
  • Hiking: Go on a hike through the lovely Samaria Gorge Trail, taking in the sights of Byzantine ruins along the way. The other option is to explore Mount Athos. If you feel adventurous enough, then head for the mountain paradise of Zagori, a densely forested landscape up in the mountains punctuated by deep ravines, labyrinthine caves, and nearly 50 villages.
  • Comfort food: From meatballs and fasolada (bean soups) to spetsofai (spicy sausages in sauce) and lahanodolmades (stuffed cabbage leaves), Greece’s winter cuisine is wholesome and delicious.

Where to go and what to do

Caryatids in the Acropolis hill of Athens Greece
Marvel at the ancient Greek architecture that sits on the slopes of Acropolis

Tick dozens off your bucket list while on a tour to Athens. From the Temple of Zeus to the Hellenic Parliament and the Olympic Stadium, this city has countless monuments worth visiting. Ascend the steep hill of the Acropolis, which was the religious center of ancient Athens, and get wowed by the Parthenon, the pinnacle of classical Greek architecture.

Admire the beautiful beaches and learn more about the centuries-old history while on a trip to the island of Rhodes. Travel to the remote corners of Laptokarya, home to some of Greece’s best canyons punctuated by tall cliffs and turquoise pools, and embark on a thrilling adventure that includes exploring caves, swimming, and trekking.

Visit the monasteries of Metéora, perched on rock pinnacles amid a dramatic setting of cliffs and remnants of an ancient river. See the ancient Olympia, the site where the Olympic Games took place in 776 BC in honor of Zeus, the Greek god of the sky, lightning, and thunder. Explore Delphi and its world-famous sanctuaries of Apollo and Athena, including their monuments, temples, theater, and treasury. Soak up the charms of Thessaloniki, regarded by many as the cultural capital of Greece. Admire its Ottoman sites, Roman ruins, and beautiful frescoes of its Byzantine churches.

We highly recommend a 7-day stay in Greece. If you need tips on how many days you may need to cover all these activities, check out our guide on how many days you should spend in Greece.

Ancient Greece was the cradle of Western civilization, and January is a great time to explore the country’s stunning historic sites and excellent museums. Reach out to our travel experts who can help you plan an adventurous tailor-made tour in Greece as per your requirements. Alternatively, our list of trips to Greece in January should also pique your interest.

Other Related Articles:
Greece in February
Greece in December
Greece private tours

Published by Lucas Toft, updated on May 22, 2023

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