Does it snow in Athens Greece? Greece, located in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea, enjoys the warm glow of the sun for what seems like an eternity.
But inland, far from the beaches and islands, the mountains tell stories of cold winters and white covers.
Visitors lured to the seashore often wonder if snow ever falls in this bright refuge. So, how often does it snow in Athens, Greece?
Let’s find out now!
Snow in Athens, Greece is extremely rare and happens only a couple of times every few years and is usually no more than 1.5 inches.
More about the Climate in Athens Greece
Seasonal changes are a regular feature of the weather in Athens, Greece.
When in Athens, you are going to experience long, cold, somewhat windy, and often cloudy winters. On the other hand, those summers are going to be hot and dry.
The average annual temperature is a comfortable 92 degrees Fahrenheit, with occasional dips to 34 degrees and spikes to 97 degrees.
Here is a bit about the average temperatures throughout the year in Athens, Greece:
Average High and Low Temperatures in Athens
The hottest part of the year begins on June 10 and lasts until September 12.
During this time, daily highs are typically above 85 degrees Fahrenheit. Athens experienced its warmest weather in July, with average highs of 91 degrees and lows of 73.
In contrast, the cool season lasts for about 4.1 months, from November 24 to March 27. The average maximum temperature during this season is below 62 degrees Fahrenheit.
With an average low of 42 degrees Fahrenheit and a high of 55 degrees Fahrenheit, January is the coldest month in Athens.
Here is more to learn about the average high and low temperatures in Athens, Greece:
Does It Snow in Athens Greece?
Athens has only seen snow a handful of times a year on average throughout history.
Light snowfall is prevalent in the city, with accumulations of over a few centimeters extremely rare.
However, Athens does witness heavy snowfalls on rare occasions that might result in major accumulation, such as the 10 centimeters that fell in January of 2022.
Rarely, it also snows on the Acropolis and other ancient ruins, but when it does, visitors get a glimpse of what the ancient Greeks could have experienced in the dead of winter.
Fact: Snowfall is more common in the mountains to the north of Athens, and in certain years, it even reaches the city.
What is Winter Like in Athens Greece?
Athens, Greece has a Mediterranean climate, therefore its winters are moderate and rainy while its summers are scorching and dry.
The city receives milder weather and occasional precipitation from December to February. The average high temperature in December and January is between 55F and 57F, while the average low temperature is approximately 42 degrees Fahrenheit.
During this time of year, snowfall in Athens is possible, albeit uncommon.
Nevertheless, Athens has a history of infrequent snowfall, with major snowstorms often occurring just a handful of times annually on average.
Here is what to expect in winter:
|Month||Avg. Low||Avg. High||Avg. Rainfall|
Fact: Long-term projections of climate change indicate that warmer winters will reduce the frequency and intensity of snowfall in Athens.
Historical Snowfall in Athens
Several significant snowfall events have occurred in recent times in Athens.
When a snowstorm hit the city in February 1991, it dumped snow for 19 days straight, setting a record for the longest snowfall in the city’s history.
Up to 50 centimeters of snow fell in some places. Then, in January 2002, Athens had yet another rare occurrence.
This time, the city received 25 centimeters of snow over the course of just two days. It was the largest snowfall in 14 years, with enough snow covering famous landmarks like the Acropolis.
Twenty-five to thirty centimeters of snow fell during the course of thirty-six hours in February 2021, the heaviest snowstorm in forty years. Last but not least, in January 2022, Winter Storm Elpida dumped around 8 centimeters (312 inches) of snow on Athens, the most substantial snowfall since February 2021.
|Year||Avg Snowfall||Avg Snowfall (Days)|
|Early 20th Century (1900-1983)||1-2||4-5|
|Since 1984||Increasing gaps between significant snow events||5 years with no snowfall|
Factors Affecting Snowfall in Athens Greece
During the winter, Athens, Greece’s capital and largest city, can get a dusting of snow.
Several geographical and meteorological factors are at play that make snowfall in this Mediterranean region extremely rare.
The probability of snowfall in Athens depends on a number of geographical factors.
The city’s proximity to higher terrain increases the likelihood of snowfall in such places. Precipitation can form when air meets water vapor, and this requires close proximity to water sources like the Ionian Sea.
In addition, the terrain’s shape can either encourage or hinder the migration of cold air masses, which in turn affects the possibility of snowfall.
Fact: Compared to coastal places, Athens is less protected against cold air because of its inland location, which makes it more vulnerable to moderating impacts from the Mediterranean.
For snow to fall, the air temperature immediately above the ground must be at least 3 degrees below freezing (or 0 degrees Celsius).
That usually does not happen in Athens, resulting in a low possibility of snowfall.
An Important Consideration
However, there are circumstances under which snow can fall even while the air temperature is above freezing.
This can happen if snowflakes melt in a shallow warm layer high in the atmosphere but then cool to freezing before reaching the ground.
Effects of Low-Pressure Systems
Athens snowstorms are typically set off by low-pressure systems and their accompanying cold fronts.
These patterns in the atmosphere make it possible for Arctic or Siberian air to flow southward across Greece.
Snowflakes are better able to survive their fall to the ground in cold air because of the air’s high density.
Fact: Cyclogenesis makes for suitable snowfall conditions, and can be triggered by the difference between the cold air mass and the warmer Mediterranean waters, causing snowfall.
Climate Change Effect on Snow in Athens, Greece
The Mediterranean climate of Athens, Greece, features warm, rainy winters and scorching, dry summers.
Athens used to have snow during the winter every once in a while. However, climate change is a shadow over the area, and it is already influencing snowfall patterns in important ways.
Athens and the rest of Greece have experienced a worrisome upward trend in temperature over the past few decades, especially during the summer and fall.
Forecasts indicate increased warming through the year 2100, with the highest temperature rises projected in the summer and fall, making the future projections even more alarming.
The Impact on Rainfall
Precipitation in Greece has decreased by 10–20% throughout the twentieth century as the country’s average temperature rose.
Projections, unfortunately, portray a grim picture, with ongoing precipitation losses expected until 2100.
The Impact on Snowfall
Reduced precipitation and rising temperatures make for a less-than-ideal setting for snowfall.
The likelihood of snowfall in Athens is decreasing as the weather warms up and precipitation levels drop.
The classic infrequent snowfall in Athens may become an even rarer occurrence in the years to come as climate change continues to affect the environment of the region.
Projections of Future Snowfall in Athens, Greece
The future of snowfall in Greece does not look promising according to climate models, especially in the case of high emissions scenarios.
Over 60% of the country’s snow cover could disappear by 2050, compared to levels seen in the late 20th century. This significant decline in snow cover is consistent with the observed warming trend and less precipitation due to climate change.
Fact: Data shows there has been a gradual reduction in snowfall days and cover in Athens, Greece since 1955.
Does it snow in Athens Greece? It does, but it happens on rare occasions only. In the past, Athens used to get a good amount of snow, but this is no longer the case.
You might witness some snow in occasional snowstorms but do not expect much in the coming future. And that is mainly due to issues related to climate change.
But, for tourists, Athens continues to offer so many things to see and do with pleasant weather to enjoy outdoor activities.