Ionian Winds and Weather
• Early in the day, especially near North Corfu and in the Corfu Channel, a dense fog may reduce visibility to about ½ mile. The afternoon sun will soon burn it off.
• Be aware of possible violent gusts on the leeward side of the islands due to high land, for instance the eastern coastlines of Ithaca and Zakynthos.
• The Maistro fair-weather-wind (Maistros or Maestral) is the usual breeze in July and August. This pleasant north-west wind rises in the afternoon and usually dies at sunset. Clouds near the summits act as a tell-tale for the stronger version. In early and late season the Maistro is less developed and sometimes fails to blow. At this time depressions may cross the area, which will often bring strong to gale force southerlies that can abruptly swing around to strong northerlies. Less frequent are the westerly winds (moderate to strong) off the west and south Peloponnese coast.
• Early in the evening katabatic winds could develop off the high mainland mountains usually from the north-east, possible reaching 6 Bft (25 knots) and lasting 2 to 3 hours.
• Strong southerlies could turn to the north possibly increasing in strength as well .
• In the spring, not later than May, the Scirocco or Sirocco, another southern wind can bring humid heat and the red sand of the Sahara. The humidity often results in low stratus clouds.
When to Visit the Ionian Islands
Holiday Weather Calendar for Corfu, Paxos, Kefalonia, Lefkas, Zakynthos and Ithaca.
Early during the month May you will find deserted beaches and quiet Tavernas. Flowers cover the hillsides in abundance and a show off a fresh looking Ionian Islands - after a winter of recuperation. Walking paths may be a little overgrown - making the coastal paths a little difficult. Weather wise expect daytime temperatures in the lower 20′s. By the second half of May the weather is more settled and the tavernas and beaches slowly start filling up. Daytime temps are in the mid 20′s but the evenings can be cool so be sure to bring a jumper.
Early June sees the Ionians at its best - the beaches and tavernas are busier but are not yet crowded. Beautiful warm days enjoy temps reaching the mid 20′s. The evenings are beginning to warm up but again a jumper may be needed especially if you plan to use the evening water taxis to move around. The second half of June becomes a little busier and hotter. The weather is now settled and day temps of low 30′s with warm evenings. Beaches are now quite busy - especially weekends with locals. The Tavernas are now buzzing. The sea is warm and afternoon breezes help cool things down after a hot day.
July is possibly the hottest and busiest month for the Ionian Islands. The early part of the month sees daytime temperatures of low to mid 30′s. Evenings are warm. Without air-conditioning it may be difficult to sleep. Glorious sunny days give way to busy beaches and packed Tavernas. The sea is warm and settled. During the evening the cicadas chirp. The second half of July brings the daytime temperatures up to the mid 30′s consistently - and evening temperatures not much less! Occasionally the daytime temperature will reach the 40′s - not for the faint hearted! High humidity may make it feel even hotter! To find a table at the tavernas you will need to book. The sea is like a bath!
Early August sees daytime temperatures mid 30′s to 40′s - with high humidity. Evenings are warm and humid. The islands are at their peak season and are typically in full capacity. The last half of the month with the highest temperatures and humidity makes tropical storms likely. These flash storms usually only last for a few hours. The clouds suddenly blot out the sun and the rain hammers down. A few hours later the sun may emerge. The sea is not as settled as a result during the last few days of August and after any rain the sea temperature is a little cooler.
Early September is a particularly lovely time to visit the Ionian Islands with daytime temperatures around the 30′s. Evenings are still warm but occasionally a jumper will be required late at night. The days are hot. The beaches are still busy, but lacking the children and large parties that dominate during August. The sea is warm. Temperatures drop to the mid 20′s during the last half of September. Beaches are quieter and the tavernas more sedate! Evenings become cooler and a jumper will be needed for the hardier who wish to eat outside. The early evenings are crisp and offer clear views across the sea.
Early in October the daytime temperatures are usually in the mid 20′s. The sun is now lower in the sky making crystal clear, light blue skies with warming rays. Rain is of course a possibility this late into the season. Evenings will feel cool and require a jumper - especially if you have spent the day sunbathing on the beach. The sea is still sufficiently warm for swimming - having had all summer to warm up, it takes several months to cool down. The landscape returns to its lush green state after the punishing summer. In the last half of the month, the temperatures drop to the low 20′s and many tavernas and bars start closing. Evenings can be cold and only the hardy will eat outside after the sun has set at about 6pm.