Climate Walk and Cycle in Crete
January and February are the coldest winter months with periods of heavy rain on the low ground and snow on the mountains. Deep snow accumulates on the high mountains in these months and, rarely, snow can fall close to sea level but does not often settle on the ground below 750 metres. Between the periods of rain at lower levels temperatures can reach 18° C with very clear air giving excellent views and good low-level walking and cycling conditions.
March is variable with days of mist and rain alternating with spells of hot sunshine. On clear days the walking is excellent but deep snow still covers paths on the high mountains, and crampons and an ice axe may be needed for safety in those places.
The landscape is now at its greenest, decorated with flowering fruit trees.
April brings a rapid increase in the days of hot sunshine although cold wet spells can still occur. The whole island is now a flower garden and this is the best exploring time, except on the high peaks which are still deep in melting snow.
Gorges in the high mountains can be impassable with melt water until the end of April or even mid-May in some years.
Sandstorms from the Libyan desert occasionally sweep in, raising the temperature to between 20°C and 30°C and filling the air with a very fine dust so that the visibility drops. Gales through the mountains at these times become very turbulent with a lot of debris blowing in the wind but such storms seldom last more than two days.
May has consistently fine weather with temperatures between 20°C and 30°C at low levels. The lower areas are starting to dry out and the flowers shrivel but the high mountains are at their best in May and June.
Between June and September daytime temperatures are around 30°C at lower levels and sunlight in the mountains becomes intense as it is reflected off the rock. Strong thermal winds develop quickly each morning, particularly where the mountains are close to the sea, and blow dust and grit. The landscape becomes grey and dusty. These are not good months for walking except in the high mountains where there are cooler breezes.
From October to December the weather can remain hot but there is an increasing chance of thundery heavy rain. With the return of the rain many flowers flourish and bloom and this is again a good time for walking and cycling.
The eastern and southern parts of Crete are generally drier and warmer than the north and west and the sea is warm from May until October or November.