The weather in Crete is characterized by mild, rainy winters and hot, dry summers. The climate of Crete is a temperate Mediterranean climate
There are significant differences between the coastal zone and the mountainous areas, as well as between the west and the east part of Crete, when it comes to the weather conditions. The mountains of Crete form an East-West barrier to prevailing northerly winds and they trap the clouds sweeping down the aegean. The result is that it may be grey and wet in the north, but sunny on the south coast where often the clouds do not extend over the sea.
– Coastal zone: Dry summer, mild winter. The rainy season starts in late October and lasts till March or even April. Snowfalls are extremely rare in the coastal zone of Crete, especially so in the eastern part of the island.
– The east part of Crete (Sitia area) is drier and warmer than the west part (Chania district). This is obvious in the vegetation. Chania is a lot greener than the desert-like Sitia area.
– The same difference applies between the north coast and the south coast of Crete, with the south coast being drier and warmer.
– The winter in the mountainous zone of Crete can be very cold with severe snowfalls. It is not unusual for the roads to be closed due to snowfalls. Up in the high summits of Mt Ida and the White Mountains the snow stays until late June.
The Weather in Crete Month by Month
January: Cold, rainy and windy. There is a one-week period during January when the weather is generally good and the winds cease. This period is called the Halcyon Days.
February: Slightly warmer and sunnier than January. The almond trees bloom in February, the first trees to bloom. The weather is unpredictable and cold days alternate with warm ones.
March: Usually cold and windy but there are many sunny days too. In March 2001 there was a heat wave with temperatures as high as 30 °C but that was an exception. The first daring swimmers appear.
April: Spring time in Crete with medium temperatures and low rainfall. Crete is full of wildflowers and it is magnificent.
May: The weather in Crete becomes warm and sunny. Rain is unlikely to occur past May 10. The “meltemi” seasonal North winds have not yet started to blow, the sea is calm and nature is at its best. May is considered the best month for outdoors activities. A jacket will prove useful for the night.
June: Sunny and hot. Time for the beach!
July and August: Windy and very hot. July and August are the months that the seasonal North winds blow. It is hard to do anything else during these months, than spend the entire day at the beach. Look for a shady place and drink plenty of water. Do not forget your hat and sunscreen. Not the best weather for people who cannot stand high temperatures (30-35 C).
September: Sunny, less windy and slightly cooler. Good for outdoors activities. Get a light jacket for the night, especially if you plan to visit any mountainous areas.
October: Sunny, very few windy days but some rain will fall, especially in the west part of Crete. The weather is very good for outdoor activities. October is the month that the traditional drink of Crete, raki, is distilled from grape skins. Warm clothes are rarely necessary.
November: The weather becomes unpredictable. It may be sunny but there are plenty of rainy and windy days too. Pack a sweater and don’t forget your umbrella. The south winds start and sometimes they carry sand from the Sahara desert. This sand covers the sky of Crete and it creates very unusual weather conditions.
December: The weather conditions vary from year to year with a mixture of windy, calm, rainy, sunny, cold and warm days. Pack warm clothes together with your swimming suit. There are days when the temperature along the south coast makes swimming possible and pleasurable.