Did you know that Santorini can be visited during the winter months as well?
Contrary to what some people think, Greece is not a tropical destination with eternal sunshine and beautiful beaches you can visit year round. There is snow, there are mountains and there are low winter temperatures that demand warm layers and plenty of hot drinks.
In the winter, most people head to the mountains, the northern Greek villages or the ski centers that can be found around mainland Greece. But a few years ago, Santorini locals decided to open up their island during the winter as well. The permanent local population, started to grow from 5 to 10 thousand to over 20,000 people.
Now, travellers have more and more accommodation options, plenty of cafes and restaurants and the same beautiful scenery that you get during the summer months. In winter, you just need to add a few warmer layers of clothing and visit for longer, just in case you get a few off days of rain and wind.
But how does Santorini look like in the winter?
These photos were all taken in February, during an 8 day trip to the island. They are from different times of the day, with most days evidently sunny but also some cloudy and rainy moments throughout.
Santorini in Winter Photo Gallery
Golden hour in Fira in the main village of Santorini. During the summer months you would have to share this spot with thousands of visitors and even more photographers. In February you will get two or three people. You might not even see anyone if you find a spot in one of the alleyways.
This was a cloudy and rainy day during the end of the trip. In the summer, from this spot, an infinity pool sprawls around the balcony offering peaceful and relaxing moments. But isn’t it still gorgeous now?
The colorful houses of Oia are just as picturesque in February. To visit Oia you will either have to drive or take a bus. That is if you are staying in the main village of Fira where most restaurants and shops stay open. The ride takes less than half an hour and stops in a few other villages on the way. The only issue with using public transport is that the last bus departs in the early evening, right around sunset time, so you might have to rush to get the last bus back or get a taxi.
This photo of Santorini in the winter was taken close to the village of Akrotiri. The most famous attraction in the area is the Prehistoric Settlement of Akrotiri and the magnificent Red Beach with its fierce crimson coloured rocks. To reach this spot by the sea, you need to navigate some semi hidden steps from the main road towards the Red Beach. In the summer, they lead to seaside tavernas, where people enjoy fresh fish, and Santorinian delicacies. In the winter, you will only be greeted by the sounds of the waves, the faint and pleasant smell of seaweed and a few birds.
This is what a large part of the caldera side looks like in Santorini during the winter months. There are renovations taking place everywhere and you will come across a couple of tourists and a couple of workers every now and then. The wind and rain have wasted no time trying to claim back what is theirs. The white paint that is so vibrant and crisp during the summer months is partly fading and balconies full of tables, chairs and smiling people are now empty. The light and shadows during sunrise and sundown are free to play within the white and pastel coloured walls of the buildings around, making for some excellent photographs.
Can you get a bad sunset in Santorini? Nope, not even in the winter.
The wall needs a new coat of paint and the streets may be empty, but as soon as you turn a corner you come across the beautiful view of the volcano below and all your worries are forgotten.
This balcony will be full of people during the summer. But on that day it was mine to enjoy.
One of the most easily recognizable spots on the island. If you visit during the winter months you will not have to wait to get a good shot. Now that is a great reason to visit Santorini in the off season!
I spend a lot of time in spots like this one looking at the stunning and mostly empty houses and hotels below me. There were very few people but so many cats. They had totally taken over. You could see them on balconies and on top of tables and chairs, by empty pools catching the last sun rays and walking around like they owned everything. It was quite a funny image. Cats were people would have been. Lounging by the pool, on the breakfast table, by the sunbeds.
Are you planning a trip to Santorini?
An itinerary that covers some of the most beautiful corners of Greece, including the stunning island of Santorini.
April – June
you will get fewer crowds, some colder days and occasional rain, but also beautiful sunny days and affordable prices. Santorini is one of the best places to visit in early spring like April and May because there are frequent flights and ferries and more hotels and restaurants start their season early.
September – November
Similarly to early spring, Santorini extends its season all the way to the end of November where the rainy weather starts to pick up. You will still find plenty of tourists on the island until mid October and the sea will be warmer than in early spring.
The Beaches of Santorini
Santorini is not known for its beaches but you should still visit them, be it summer or winter, because they are just as unique as the rest of the island. The Red Beach close to Akrotiri is one of the most famous spots with red cliffs and very hot sand (in the summer). During the winter the hike to the beach is usually closed to protect visitors from falling rocks. There are other beaches as well like Vlychada, Perissa and Monolithos, which you can visit with a car or some planning with public transport. A map of the beaches and what to expect from each one can be found here.
Sunsets in Santorini
A sunset in Santorini is quiet a big deal. In the summer, thousands of people move towards the cliff side, squeeze into the best spot they can find, grab a drink of wine or something to eat and settle in for the show. Watching the sunset is a collective and almost spiritual moment for some people. The night usually ends with a round of applause from the crowds who wish to thank mother nature for the spectacle it created. There are plenty of great spots for sunset viewing, but you can read about two of our favourites here.
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Rania grew up in Thessaloniki and spent most of her adult life in her adopted country of New Zealand. When she’s not studying to complete her masters degree she’s either reading, writing or exploring the outdoors.
She loves going on mini adventures, whether it is an impromptu road trip or multi-day hikes. She is interested in photography and languages and strongly believes that feta should be consumed with every meal.
She also thinks Greece is the best holiday destination and invites anyone that thinks otherwise to prove her wrong.