The Greek islands are to be enjoyed year-round. While the tourist season winds down at the end of October, many of the inhabited islands are accessible in the fall and winter months. If you enjoy less crowds and cooler temperatures, you’ll enjoy the Greek islands in December.
Check out our picks for a quiet holiday on a Greek island in December…
The island of Aegina is only a 1-hour ferry ride from the Port of Piraeus in Athens. Several ferries run daily to/from the island in December. This makes Aegina a great escape from the hustle and bustle of Athens for a weekend getaway or a day trip. There are plenty of hotels open year-round and you can get a sea view for a lower cost than in high season.
Aegina offers a variety of activities. Renting a car to explore the shoreline, villages, archaeological sites, Greek Orthodox churches, forest and mountains is an excellent option for a day trip. Or stay in Aegina Town to enjoy restaurants and walks next to the marina.
Crete is the southernmost Greek island, which means it’s typically warmer in December as compared to other islands. It can also be one of the wettest months, but don’t let that stop you from enjoying the island. In fact, if you go to Crete in December, you’ll get a true village experience. The population shrinks in the low season, ensuring a feeling of having the place to yourself. Be aware that this means fewer hotels, shops, and restaurants are open so book your lodging in advance.
To get to Crete in December, we recommend air travel and there are direct flights from Athens. Fly into and base yourself in Heraklion. This is the capital of Crete and offers museums, hotels, etc. Ferries will still be running this time of year; however, the seas can be rough.
One of the most fun things to do on Crete in December, is to rent a car and explore the island. With few people on the roads, you have the opportunity to get up close and personal with the history that exists this large island. And even though the sea will be too cold for a swim in December, be sure to soak up the views.
Corfu (or Kerkyra) is one of the most popular Greek islands in the Ionian island grouping. It is an accessible island to add to your Greece winter destinations and December temperatures average around 11°C (52°F). Just remember to bring an umbrella, because there can be an average of 17 days of rainfall on Corfu in December.
The best way to get to Corfu in winter months is to fly. There are direct flights from Athens. Flights from Thessaloniki typically have one layover; as do flights from Milan or other cities outside of Greece.
There are many things to keep you occupied on the island. The Old Town of Corfu is a UNESCO World Heritage site. It has three Venetian forts that were once used in defense against the Ottoman Empire. You will be transported back in time, as you walk through the streets of Old Town.
Corfu is also a popular destination for Christmas in Greece. The island dances with thousands of lights during the magical time of year, including light displays on the ships. Steeped in the traditions of the Greek Orthodox Church, priests also do a blessing of the waters. And, of course, food is plentiful throughout the entire Christmas season that goes from December 25 to January 6.
Naxos is a large island with a significant number of year-round residents. This means there are more conveniences than on other islands in the winter months, and you can enjoy the island without the high season crowds. But be aware that there are fewer hotels open in the winter, so you’ll want to book in advance.
To get to Naxos in December, we recommend air travel. There are direct flights from Athens. You can take the ferry, but there are only 1-2 that run in December. The sea can be rough this time of year, even on the large Blue Star Ferries, so be prepared in case your ferry is canceled.
Naxos Town is a very walkable port town and we recommend staying here if you’re traveling to Naxos in December. Take time to wander the streets. You’ll discover several corridors that lead to beautiful architecture and views. You can also hire a car to explore the mountain villages around the island. Make your way up the mountains by first stopping at the village of Halki. And be sure to go all the way to the unique Apeiranthos village, which is paved with marble walkways.
The island of Rhodes is our fifth recommendation for Greek islands in December. Temperatures in Rhodes average around 14°C (57°F) and sea temperatures average 18°C (64°F). The mild temps, compared to the summer heat, make winter the perfect time to explore the vast amount of history on this island. To get to Rhodes in December, we recommend air travel.
There are some must-sees on the island of Rhodes any time of the year. Visit the medieval city, a UNESCO World Heritage site – it will captivate you. Also go to the Acropolis of Lindos – it’s a well-preserved archaeological site and offers stunning views of the sea and fishing village below. Even if the sea is too cold for you in December, you can still enjoy time on the sandy beaches of Rhodes.