Cyclades Islands, map

The Cyclades Islands are located in the central part of the Aegean Sea, and have a Mediterranean climate, with mild, moderately rainy winters and warm, sunny summers. The wind blows frequently: in winter, a cold wind from the continent can blow, while summers are characterized by the Meltemi, a wind that reduces the feeling of heat while maintaining the sea temperature a bit cool, and that can also make the sea rough and create marine currents.
The main islands of the Cyclades are Amorgos, Anafi, Andros, Antiparos, Kimolos, Delos, Ios, Kea, Folegandros, Kythnos, Milos, Mykonos, Naxos, Paros, Rineia, Serifos, Sifnos, Sikinos, Syros, Tinos, and Santorini.
To the south of Naxos, we find the small archipelago of the Lesser Cyclades, which includes the islands of Ano Koufonisi, Kato Koufonisi, Donoussa, Schoinoussa, Irakleia, and Keros (with the neighbouring islets of Ano Antikeri and Kato Antikeri). On the Lesser Cyclades, the climate is similar to that of the nearby islands of Naxos and Ios.

The average temperature on the Cyclades ranges from around 11 °C (52 °F) in January and February to around 25 °C (77 °F) in July and August.
Here, for example, are the average temperatures in Santorini. As you can see, daytime temperatures normally remain below 30 °C (86 °F) also in July and August. During heat waves, when in other areas of Greece the temperature can reach 40 °C (104 °F), it typically remains lower on the Cyclades, around 34/35 °C (93/95 °F).
Santorini - Average temperatures
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Min (°C)9910121519222219161311
Max (°C)141416192227282726221916
Min (°F)484850545966727266615552
Max (°F)575761667281828179726661

In winter, especially in January and February, the islands can be affected by outbreaks of cold air from the continent, and in these cases, there may be cold days, with highs below 10 °C (50 °F), and a strong wind able to increase the feeling of cold. Sometimes it can even snow, especially on the northernmost islands, and on the elevations of the islands that have hills and low mountains in the interior.

Snow in Tinos

Rainfall on the Cyclades is not abundant, since it is generally below 500 millimeters (20 inches) per year, and sometimes below 400 mm (16 inches); it is concentrated in the cold period, from October to March, when it can occur in the form of showers or thunderstorms.
Because of the long summer drought, the landscape is typically semi-arid, especially on the flat islands, on the southern slopes and along the coasts; on the islands that have some elevations, the highest areas and the slopes exposed to the north and west are generally more verdant.
Here is the average precipitation in Milos.
Milos - Average precipitation
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDecYear
Prec.(mm)75504520153016456090411
Prec.(in)321.80.80.60.1000.21.82.43.516.2
Days97631000146946

The amount of sunshine on the Cyclades is great in summer, when clear skies are the norm. In winter, periods of bad weather, with cloudy skies, alternate with sunny periods.
Here are the average daily sunshine hours in Naxos.
Naxos - Sunshine
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Hours45781013141311765

Folegandros

Since the wind that blows in summer tends to keep the sea temperature a bit low, the sea on the Cyclades Islands is never very warm; however, it reaches a maximum of 23/24 °C (73/75 °F) in July and August. In June, it's still a bit cool, about 21 °C (70 °F). Here, for example, is the sea temperature in Mykonos.
Mykonos - Sea temperature
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Temp (°C)161515161821232323211817
Temp (°F)615959616470737373706463

Best Time


The best time to go to the Cyclades Islands for a beach holiday is the summer, from June to mid-September.
It's better to bring a sweatshirt for the cool evenings, which occur mainly in June, but given the intensity of the wind, those who are sensitive to cold can feel a little cool also in July and August.
For hikes, the spring is good, in April and May, but since it's usually not too hot, you can walk round the islands also in summer.

Back to the Greek Islands.