Climate and Crete Weather

 Generally described as temperate Mediterranean, the climate of Crete is one of the factors that greatly contribute to its attractiveness. Occupying a privileged geographical position on the northern hemisphere at the crossroad of  three continents, under the influence of two climatic zones - the Mediterranean for the largest part of the island and the North African on the south coast -, Crete has most pleasant atmospheric weather of all of Greece and probably the whole of Europe, throughout the year. With warm and sunny summers, and short, mild, rainy winters, recording very small seasonal changes in temperatures, and no extreme weather phenomena, it is one of the healthiest and finest climates for humans to live and an ideal environment for a full season travel destination.

 Crete has around 300 days of sunshine a year, an average annual air temperature of 18.5 ºC and a water temperature of 19.4ºC. The sunlight has a greater intensity from April to October, but the best beach time is from June to September. The sea in Crete is warm enough for swimming from July to September, while it is a bit cool, but still acceptable, in June and October. Sea temperature rarely falls under 15ºC, in winter, especially to the south. Cold northern winds blow smoothly all year round and, from time to time, the warm southerly winds bring Saharan dust, creating a weird pinky atmosphere on the island. The bulk of the rain falls from October to March while in summer, it rarely rains. Due to its mountainous features, the mainland has generally warmer summers and colder winters and the southern coast is warmer compared to the northern coast.

 The plains of Crete are among the warmer areas of Greece, mainly their eastern and south-eastern part, whose soil and vegetation are similar to those of North Africa. The precipitation increase as we move from the east to the west and from the coastline to the mainland. Some of the mountain areas receive large amounts of snow in the winter, capping the highest peaks well into the spring. By melting at the beginning of spring, the snow irrigates the plateaus in their way and feed the meadows and deltas, transforming them into true green paradises, full of life. By contrast, some surrealistic "lunar landscapes", caused by mountain desertification, are beginning to emerge as a manifestation of global climate change.

 In Crete, summer temperatures are pleasant, having the maximum ranges between 20-30ºC, sometimes hitting 40ºC on the hottest and driest months of July and August. The afternoon sea breeze and the effect of the northern wind called “Meltemi” which blows from mid-May to mid-September, make the heat more bearable. However, in some extremely hot days, it is recommended that you stay constantly hydrated and avoid exposure to the strong sunlight at midday, to avoid sunburn and heat-stroke. Temperatures during the autumn time are a little cooler than summer and in the evenings, wearing a sweater or jacket is mandatory. Because the sea temperature reaches its peak at this time, swimming in the sea in September is like stepping into a warm bath.

 In winter, from December to mid-March, temperatures are generally mild, although the wind can exacerbate the feeling of cold, especially on the days when it blows harsher. The average maximum temperature in winter is between 10ºC -15ºC and January and February are the coldest and rainiest months of the year. In spring, temperatures fluctuate between about 16ºC and 24ºC, but this is the most versatile season of the year that brings weather of all types - from frosty and crystal to sunny and hot - sometimes on the same day.