One European city has been shattering tourism records this year with a record-breaking number of visitors this summer, but right now is actually the best time to visit.
Athens, Greece is exploding in popularity with travelers this year.
Tourist arrivals to Athens are up nearly 12% this year compared to the pre-pandemic highs of 2019. This summer saw a huge surge in visitors to Athens.
But it was also one of the hottest and most crowded summers on record in the Greek capital, which is known for its incredible historical sites like the Acropolis and the Ancient Agora.
In fact, the Acropolis was temporarily closed in July for health and safety reasons when the excessive heat levels reached over 104° F (40° C.)
Here’s why right now is actually the best time of year to plan a trip to Athens:
1. Explore The City In Comfort
With record heat levels being set every year, it has now become almost unbearable to visit Athens during the summer months. Although this is still the most popular time of year for American tourists to travel to Greece, extremely high temperatures make it exceedingly difficult.
Attempting to tour the ancient sites of Athens while the sun beats down on you and the weather hits above 100° F every day is not the most pleasant experience. It can even be downright dangerous, with issues like heatstroke and dehydration impacting tourists.
However, visiting Athens during the late fall and winter means that you will be able to explore the city in comfort while enjoying mild temperatures.
In November, the average high temperature in Athens is 65° F, and the average low is 53° F. December and January are only slightly chillier. This makes late fall and winter a great time to visit Athens for comfortable, pleasant weather.
2. Discover Athens Without The Crowds
There’s nothing quite as magical as wandering around the Acropolis, the Acropolis Museum, the charming Plaka neighborhood, or the Ancient Agora with hardly another tourist in site, taking in everything at a leisurely pace and really immersing yourself in your surroundings.
However, this is completely impossible to do in the summer months. This summer, record-breaking numbers of tourists meant long lines for popular attractions and elbow-to-elbow crowds.
In the late fall and early winter, Athens is much quieter, so you will be able to enjoy tourist attractions with little to no crowds. You also won’t have to wait to sit down at a cafe or queue up to enter a museum. The lower crowds mean you can enjoy a more relaxed, spontaneous trip to Athens.
3. Enjoy Lower Prices
The third and final reason that right now is the best time to visit Athens is because you can enjoy much lower prices in the late fall and winter than you can during the peak summer travel season.
According to FareDetective, the average price for a round-trip flight from New York’s JFK International Airport to Athens, Greece was over $1,300 in July of 2023.
Contrast that with the average price of $491 in November 2022 or $500 in January 2023, and it’s clear that winter is a much cheaper time to travel. While it’s not certain that airfare will continue to trend quite as low in the coming months, it’s highly likely that airfare to Athens from the U.S. will stay much lower than it was this summer.
And it’s not just airfare: hotels in Athens are also cheaper during the winter. This summer, the average nightly hotel cost in Athens ranged from $170 to $193. But in the winter months, this is as low as $106 to $110, which accounts for another huge level of savings.
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com