Greece is perfect for those who enjoy the sun, as for over two thirds of the year the country basks under clear, sunny skies.

The climate of Greece is typical of the Mediterranean climate: mild, rainy winters, relatively warm, dry summers and, generally, extended periods of sunshine throughout most of the year. Long stretches of consecutive rainy days are infrequent in Greece, even during the winter, and the sky does not remain cloudy for more than a few days in a row.

Winters are mild and rainy with temperatures sometimes dropping to freezing point, especially in the north; coldest months are January and February with a minimum temperature ranging, on average, between 5-10°C near the coasts and 0-5°C over the mainland. Winters are milder in the Aegean and Ionian Islands compared to Northern and Eastern mainland Greece, as well as the mountainous areas which experience snowfalls every year. "Bad weather" days in winter are often interrupted, during January and the first fortnight of February, with sunny days, known as "Halcyon Days"* since the ancient times.

The warmest period occurs during the last ten days of July and the first ten days of August, when the maximum temperature lies between 29-35°C. During the warm period the high temperatures are tempered by fresh sea breezes in the coastal areas of the country and from the north winds, known as "Etesian" or "Meltemi" winds, blowing mainly in the Aegean.

 

*Halcyon Days: A few days of good weather in the middle of the winter; the seven days which precede the winter solstice, and the seven days which follow it, when it is said that Alcyone is preparing her nest.

In Greek Mythology, Alcyone or Halcyon was the daughter of Aeolus (god of the wind) and wife of Ceyx. Deeply in love, Alcyone and Ceyx jokingly addressed each other as Hera and Zeus. This made Zeus very angry and drowned Ceyx in a storm at sea; he also transformed Alcyone into a kingfisher, bird of lakes, rivers and seas who was condemned to lay her eggs during the winter when the waves and icy cold water would destroy them and kill the young birds as they hatched. Alcyone's grief moved Zeus to pity and he granted her a few days of good weather in the midst of winter to lay her eggs and see her baby birds live.

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