When to Travel to Greece and Turkey?
When to travel to Greece and Turkey?
Timing your trip
When to travel to Greece and Turkey? Some people have flexible enough jobs and lifestyles to cherry-pick when to take their vacations, but many others have less choice. Fortunately, Greece and Turkey welcome visitors 365 days a year — and each season offers a different ambience and experience.
In travel-industry jargon, the year is divided into three seasons: peak season (roughly mid-June through August), shoulder season (April through mid-June and September through October), and off-season (November through March). Each has its pros and cons. Regardless of when you go, if your objective is to “meet the people,” you’ll find Europe including Turkey and Greece filled with them any time of year.
Summer is a great time to travel — except for the crowds and high temperatures. Sunny weather, long days, and exuberant nightlife turn Turkey and Greece into a powerful magnet. Families with school-age children are usually locked into peak-season travel. Here are a few tips to help you keep your cool:
- Arrange your trip with crowd control in mind. Go to the busy places as early or late in peak season as you can.
- Spend the night. Popular day-trip destinations near big cities like Athens, Istanbul and resorts such as Antalya, Bodrum, Santorini, Mykonos or Crete take on a more peaceful and enjoyable atmosphere at night, when the legions of day-trippers retreat to the predictable plumbing of their big-city or beach-resort hotels. Small towns normally lack hotels big enough for tour groups and are often inaccessible to large buses. So, at worst, they experience midday crowds. Likewise, popular cruise-ship destinations, such as Santorini, Mikonos and Kuşadası are hellishly packed during the day — but more bearable at night, when the cruise crowds sail off.
- Prepare for intense heat.
“Shoulder season” — generally April through mid-June, and September through October — combines the advantages of both peak- and off-season travel. In shoulder season, you’ll enjoy decent weather, long-enough daylight, fewer crowds, and a local tourist industry still ready to please and entertain.
- Shoulder season varies by destination. Because fall and spring bring cooler temperatures in Mediterranean Europe, shoulder season in much of Italy, southern France, Spain,Turkey and Greece can actually come with near peak-season crowds and prices. For example, except for beach resorts, Greece’s peak season is May, June, September, and October — not July and August. Istanbul and Athens are surprisingly quiet in July and August.
- Spring or fall? If debating the merits of traveling before or after summer, consider your destination. Both weather and crowds are about the same in spring or fall. Mediterranean Europe is generally green in spring, but parched in fall. For hikers,photographers or birdwatchers Turkey is better in early fall, because many good spots are still covered with snow through the late spring.
Keep in mind that round-trip airfares are determined by your departure date. Therefore, if you fly over during peak season and return late in the fall (shoulder season), you may still pay peak-season round-trip fares.