September Weather in Greece: Hottest on Record, Average Temperatures, and Humidity

Written by Sanaphay Rattanavong
Published: August 21, 2023
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Greece, located in the southeastern corner of Europe, is a land of contrasts and intersections. It’s a country known for its historical heritage and sun-drenched landscapes. Greece is also the cradle of democracy and Western philosophy. It stands as the proud birthplace of the Olympic Games, and a treasure trove of literature and the arts. The well-rounded nation of azure waters and many islands draws in visitors from all over the world. As early fall approaches on little bird feet, September is an ideal time to discover Greece’s many historical and natural treasures. Summer crowds begin to thin, yet the weather remains invitingly warm. Here, we drink deep of its September weather, historical weather events, and some suggested activities and must-visit gems.

Greece’s Climate and Weather

Greece’s climate is a fascinating study in diversity. The country’s topography, with its expansive coastline, myriad islands, and towering mountains, spawns a range of microclimates. While most coastal locations bask in the Mediterranean climate of hot summers and mild winters, the Pindus mountain range (also known as the “spine of Greece”) casts a shadow that creates varied weather across the country.

From the hot semi-arid Athens Riviera to the snow-capped Alpine regions in the north, Greece’s climate is a mix of hot and cold. With some of Europe’s warmest ocean temperatures in September, tourist spots like Rhodes continue to flourish beyond the summer.

Impressive Lichadonisia, the Greek Bahamas, in North Euboea, Greece.

Of its 6,000 islands, only 227 are inhabited, leaving much to explore.

©Georgios Tsichlis/Shutterstock.com

Why Visit Greece in September?

Bask in Greece’s Ideal Weather Conditions

September in Greece comes with abundant sunshine, serene sea temperatures, and an agreeable atmosphere. The mild weather is a refreshing contrast to the summer’s heat. And yet it retains enough warmth to make for an especially relaxing vacation.

Explore Prime Destinations

The mainland is chock full of historic grandeur, where Athens serves as a gateway to ancient wonders and sun-drenched beaches alike. Islands like Crete, Santorini, and Halkidiki enjoy temperatures between 80 degrees to 88 degrees Fahrenheit.

Savor Culinary and Cultural Experiences

Embrace the peak of the olive and wine grape harvests, partake in local festivals, and explore the rich culinary traditions of regions like Crete and Corfu. From wine tours to the Aegina Fistiki Festival, September in Greece offers plate- and glass-full goodies for the palate.

Dive into Outdoor Activities and Adventures

Whether your cup of tea is the gentle sway of the sea for kayaking and diving or the rugged trails for hiking, Greece in September has you covered.

Enjoy Less Crowded and Economical Travel

September’s dwindling crowds and potentially lower accommodation prices present an opportune moment for a more relaxed and pocket-friendly exploration.

In September, Greece offers a heady mix of sunny indulgence, cultural wealth, a spirit of adventure, and friendly hospitality. From the old to the new, the calm to the exciting, Greece in September is a chance to see a country where the past and present meet and nature and culture seamlessly blend. It’s a time and place that appeals to the wanderlust in all of us. It’s the whole package, including weather and geography, that makes Greece a bucket-list destination.

Rhodes, Greece

The island of Rhodes is where you can find the “Valley of the Butterflies,” where over a million species call home.

©iStock.com/Vladislav Zolotov

Greece’s Weather in September

Daytime and Nighttime Temperature Ranges

Daytime Temperature Range

The daytime temperatures during this month typically vary from 68 degrees to 84 degrees Fahrenheit, offering a warm yet comfortable climate.

Nighttime Temperature Range

As the sun sets, the mercury drops slightly, with temperatures ranging from 68 to 74 degrees, maintaining a mild ambiance.

Sea Temperature

Generally, around 75 degrees.

Greece’s Historical Temperature Records

Hottest Temperature

A remarkable spike was noted in September 2010 when the thermometer in Mires on the island of Crete hit a whopping 118.4 degrees.

Coldest Temperature

In contrast, the chilliest recorded September temperature occurred in Nevrokopi in 2003, plunging to below freezing at 27.7 degrees.

Greece’s Rainfall and Humidity in September

General Rain Pattern

Rainfall is a rare guest during this period, with a mere 0.39 inches dispersed over three days.

Average Relative Humidity

A comfortable 54.6 percent.

Driest Recorded September

The arid nature of this month reached its peak in 1995, with virtually no precipitation reported nationwide.

Wettest Recorded September

Conversely, the rain clouds opened generously in September 1940, drenching the country with a total rainfall of 12.69 inches (322.3 mm).

Greece’s Sunshine and Daylight in September

Number of Sunny Days

While the exact count remains elusive, September is renowned for its predominantly sun-filled days.

Average Daily Sunshine Duration

A generous sun rays grace the land for about 8 hours each day, setting a bright and welcoming stage for outdoor activities.

Greece’s Natural Disasters and Extreme Weather Events

Overview

Greece’s climatic daydream is punctuated by extreme weather events that include wildfires, heatwaves, and rare meteorological phenomena known as “medicanes.” A blend of geography, seasonal shifts, and climate change has shaped these events.

Heatwaves and High Temperatures

Greece, along with other European countries like Italy, Spain, and Portugal, has felt the scorching touch of severe and extended heatwaves. The Cerberus Heatwave of 2023, fueled by human-made climate change, has shattered records. Additionally, it has caused severe damage and high mortality rates in several countries. The trend of increasingly frequent and intense heatwaves poses significant challenges, demanding improved adaptation strategies. Instances like Greece’s hottest July weekend in half a century, where temperatures soared past 104 degrees Fahrenheit (40 Celsius), have led to health challenges and wildfires.

Wildfires

Particularly alarming in Greece are the wildfires, which have wreaked havoc in places like Rhodes and Corfu. Increasing heatwaves have only exacerbated the wildfires, leading to extensive destruction, evacuations, and significant property loss.

Medicanes

Tropical-like cyclones known as medicanes have occasionally graced the Mediterranean Sea. Medicanes “Zorba” and “Ianos” stand as recent examples, causing torrential rains, flash floods, and other catastrophic effects.

Floods and Storms

Heavy rainfall has also given rise to significant flooding, such as the case with “Storm Zorbas.” This storm in particular resulted in a state of emergency.

Historical Natural Disasters or Extreme Weather Events in Greece

Greece’s weather patterns are marked by extreme events like wildfires, heatwaves, and rare meteorological phenomena called “medicanes.” Geography, seasonal shifts, and climate change have coalesced to shape these events.

Cyclone Ianos

Also known as Medicane Ianos, this rare and intense storm hit the eastern Mediterranean in September 2020, with Greece bearing the brunt. The storm evolved from a low-pressure system and intensified as it moved northeastward. The outcome was catastrophic, with flooding in cities, agricultural losses, and an estimated $100 million in damages. Four deaths were reported, and the storm also affected Italy and Malta. Climate change, with warmer sea surface temperatures, likely contributed to its intensity. The Greek government declared a state of emergency and pledged financial aid and support.

Cyclone Zorbas

This first officially recorded Mediterranean tropical-like cyclone caused significant damage and loss of life in Tunisia and Greece. The cyclone intensified due to warm sea surface temperatures and transitioned into a tropical storm as it moved toward Greece. Widespread flooding, power outages, destruction of infrastructure, and millions in damages highlighted the potential impact of medicane events in the region. A state of emergency was declared, schools were closed, bridges shut down, and agriculture suffered.

Floods and Storms

Greece has also faced significant flooding, such as the case with “Storm Zorbas,” leading to a state of emergency.

Raging Forest Fire at Night in Zakynthos, Greece

Along with much of the world, including North America, Greece has been struggling with forest fires and wildfires.

©Burben/Shutterstock.com

World on Fire: Heatwaves and Wildfires in a Global Context

Unprecedented Heatwaves

Greece is currently enduring its longest heatwave in history, with temperatures predicted to reach a staggering 50-year high. In July, temperatures soared past 104 degrees Fahrenheit (40 Celsius). This led to severe health risks and forest fires. Additionally, it forced the closure of key tourism sites during the hottest parts of the day. This heatwave surpasses previous records, with Greece’s highest temperature recorded in 2007 at 111.4 degrees smashed by the 115.52 degrees recorded in Gytheio on July 23 of this year.

Simultaneously, extreme heatwaves have also struck southern Europe, the US, and North Africa. In the US, particularly in Phoenix, Arizona, residents faced 70 consecutive days with temperatures above 89.6 degrees, while Tunisia dealt with temperatures 10.8 to 18 degrees above average.

Wildfires and Global Response

This relentless heat has sparked 79 fires across Greece, prompting the Greek government to advise people to work from home and even led to one tragic death from heatstroke. The international community has joined the fight against the wildfires, with countries like France, Italy, Poland, Slovakia, Romania, and Bulgaria providing assistance.

Spain and Italy have also faced their record-breaking temperatures, with Málaga matching its all-time high, and Sicily coming close to its records. These extreme temperatures have led to the closure of tourist sites and raised the risk of wildfires, threatening not just local ecology but also major industries like tourism — which, like in Greece, has a large economic impact.

A Future under Threat

With June being the hottest month on record and July expected to follow suit, scientists are raising alarms. This alarming trend is predicted to continue, potentially exacerbated by emerging factors like the El Nino event. Climate change’s influence is clear in the intensifying and increasingly frequent heatwaves, a pattern that underscores the urgent need for global action.

These sweltering conditions and the wildfires that come with them are more than isolated incidents. Indeed, they’re symptomatic of a global climate under duress. From the tragic loss of life to the potential damage to vital industries like tourism, the current heatwave underscores the pressing and interconnected nature of the climate crisis. Global temperatures continue to rise, and the response must be equally global and determined if we are to mitigate the worst of what’s to come.

Amazing Navagio Beach in Zakynthos Island, Greece

Zakynthos Island harbors a long and deep history of music in Greece, with the lyrics for its national anthem deriving from the work of a 19th century Zakynthian poet.

©KellySHUTSTOC/Shutterstock.com

Impact and Significance of These Weather Events on Greece

Socio-Economic Impact

These weather realities, from heatwaves to medicanes, have led to immediate loss of life, infrastructure damage, and considerable financial losses, drawing attention to the urgent need for robust prevention and response.

Tourism

Being a sought-after tourist destination, Greece feels the pinch when these disruptions halts the industry. Heatwave advisories, wildfire-related evacuations, and closure of tourism sites have considerable negative impacts on the nation’s revenue from tourism.

Greece’s weather events and natural disasters hint at the deep interplay between geography, human activities, and global climatic tendencies. The ongoing heatwave and medicane occurrences such as Ianos and Zorbas are stark reminders of the interconnection between human-made climate change and weather extremes. These factors highlight the necessity for preparedness, response, and long-term mitigation strategies. The situation across Greece and the broader Mediterranean region reflects a global challenge requiring unified efforts and creative solutions.

On a brighter note, there is hope yet and Greece’s many attractions serves as a reminder of this.

Historical Sites and Cultural Exploration

The temperate climate around 77 degrees Fahrenheit is perfect for discovering historical sites such as the legendary Acropolis in Athens, the well-preserved medieval town in Rhodes, or ancient ruins scattered across various islands.

Beach Life

With the sea still warm and the weather delightful, beaches in Mykonos, Crete, Milos, Naxos, and other islands beckon. Swimming, beach hopping, scuba diving, and sunbathing are just some of the activities to relish.

Outdoorsy Maximus

September is a prime time for hiking trails, sea kayaking, sailing, and other outdoor pursuits. Without the scorching heat of summer, one can explore Crete’s varied landscapes, picturesque villages in Tinos, or engage in water sports along coastal areas.

Greek Festivals

Greece’s rich cultural tapestry shines through its festivals like the Aegina Fistiki Festival, Aeschylus Festival, Armata Festival, Athens International Film Festival, Genesis tis Panagias, and the Anilos Wine Festival.

Wine Tours and Culinary Experiences

Coinciding with the start of the olive and grape harvest (when conditions are dry enough), September is a delight for foodies. Wine tours, visits to olive orchards, and sampling local cuisines and wines make for an unforgettable culinary journey.

Restaurant near the sea at Little Venice on the island of Mykonos in Greece at sunset - very well-known

Little Venice on Mykonos Island is a great place for a seaside meal.

©Natalia Dobryanskaya/Shutterstock.com

Recommendations for Visitors to Greece in September

Explore Athens

Experience Athens in its full glory with smaller crowds, lower prices, and magnificent sites such as the Athenian Riviera, Odeon of Herodes Atticus, and Temple of Poseidon.

Island-Hopping

Hopping isn’t just for bunnies when post-peak-season rates make island hopping an affordable joy. Santorini, Corfu, Naxos, Mykonos, and more await with cultural treasures and natural beauty.

Visit Unique Islands

Discover Crete’s contrasting landscapes, Rhodes’ medieval charm, and Tinos’ laid-back elegance.

Packing Tips

Think walking shoes, beach sandals, lightweight jackets, and bathing suits to make the most of your adventures.

Suggested Duration

A 7-day stay is good, for it allows ample time for exploration, relaxation, and cultural engagement.

September in Greece is an invitation to experience history, culture, natural beauty, culinary excellence, and outdoor thrill in one super-vacay package. The transitional season affordability and the many direct flights to the country makes it an even more tempting proposition.

Conclusion

September in Greece is a blend of perfect weather, diverse activities, and captivating heritage. Warm days and cooler nights. Fewer crowds. A bevy of cultural festivals and outdoor activities offer unparalleled experiences for travelers of all ages and interests. The grandeur of ancient ruins. The soft sands of stunning beaches. Absolutely spoiled for choice when it comes to culinary delights. All of these things and more make September a magical time in Greece. Every island, every village, every trail offers something unique. It’s a country rich in tradition, yet ever-changing and alive. Whether it’s a family vacation, a romantic getaway, or a solo expedition, Greece in September bears all the hallmarks of an unforgettable experience.

The photo featured at the top of this post is © Sven Hansche/Shutterstock.com


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About the Author

Embracing the interplay between the arts, nature, and technology, Sanaphay Rattanavong sculpts narratives through both data and human/animal-focused lenses at A-Z Animals, primarily in the realms of weather, culture, cleantech, and climate resilience. His specializations also include creativity and animal intelligence. And cats. He holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Bennington College and has labored for more than 10 years in the trenches of journalistic, blog, magazine, and fiction writing. An outdoor enthusiast who also enjoys the finer things in culture, Sanaphay resides in Minneapolis, Minnesota, with stints in Toronto, Ontario.

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