Many travelers dream about spending their summers in Greece, meaning peak season is tourist central.
Fall in Greece, on the other hand, is an appealing alternative to battling the summer crowds. Visitors can still enjoy the best this stunning Mediterranean country has to offer without the long lines and overinflated prices.
In fact, according to Frommer’s, September to mid-October is one of the best times to visit Greece.
Personally, my husband and I thoroughly enjoyed our previous adventures to the islands of Kefalonia and Crete last October. We had near-perfect weather and got to explore freely, generally unencumbered by crowds.
While the future of travel is uncertain, Greece plans to open up to international tourists in July, which is encouraging.
So if you’re dreaming of a holiday sans selfie sticks and long lines, here’s why you should consider spending fall in Greece.
After spending the summer in Mykonos, Santorini, and Athens a few years back, I can tell you it gets quite hot.
Although the humidity is pleasantly low, you may forget that fact when you’re baking under the Greek sun!
Fortunately, fall in Greece offers more mild temperatures.
September, in particular, is comfortable and pleasant.
While it certainly feels warm, you can avoid oppressive heat waves. (Obviously, the further south you go, the hotter it will be.)
However, you can expect an average countrywide temperature of about 29°C (84.2F) in September.
This is an ideal time to enjoy summer-warmed beaches and outdoor activities such as hiking and sailing.
October brings some rain and a bit more of an autumn feel.
That said, temperatures are still quite comfy.
Athens, for example, enjoys average temperatures of 24°C (75°F).
The main difference is that nights get a bit chillier in October. I recommend packing a light jacket or a cover-up for evening.
Also, keep in mind that temperatures vary across the different islands. I suggest checking out this handy guide when planning your trip.
While summer is undoubtedly the most popular time to visit Greece, the crowds can be bothersome, particularly in August.
Fall in Greece, on the other hand, is a more relaxed, low-key time to travel, particularly on remote islands such as Kefalonia.
As someone who’s experienced Greece in summer and fall, I had a much more enjoyable time with less tourists.
Here are some benefits of visiting Greece with fewer people:
- Gain entry to famous archaeological sites & museums with shorter lines and reduced wait times.
- Enjoy restaurants without a long wait time – or without needing to make a reservation whatsoever. (This would typically be unheard of in the high season!)
- Indulge in a more private beach experience. (I’ll provide more details on that later.)
- Avoid the chaos of wild summer parties, particularly on lively islands like Mykonos.
- Set sail with reduced north winds. Just be sure to check sailing schedules in advance to make sure the company you’re looking to work with has fall availability.
Typically, the glamorous private plunge pools, spacious hotel balconies, and Aegean sea views that tourists seek come at a premium.
In fact, inflated peak season pricing is likely why Greece sits stagnant atop many bucket lists.
Fortunately, however, when you experience fall in Greece, you can take advantage of hotel luxuries without the steep price tag.
Plus, as summer fades, you may even be able to enjoy room upgrades or freebies as an incentive for traveling.
Hotel rates usually start dropping mid-September in preparation for the off-season.
While I’ve always found Greek hospitality to be top-notch, it seemed especially so in the fall.
In particular, our stay at North Point Rooms 1953 in Kefalonia stands out to me. As exclusive guests, my husband and I enjoyed a robust breakfast spread to ourselves, complimentary welcome wine, and olive oil upon departure. Talk about being pampered!
You can read more about our wonderful experience and our phenomenal host at this charming boutique property here.
We also enjoyed extra attention while dining out as well, since restaurants tend to be less crowded come fall.
I especially loved not having to make restaurant reservations. Since I tend to be a spontaneous eater when I’m traveling, I’m pretty forgetful about calling ahead.
Fortunately, fall in Greece means you can see where the evening takes you without a lot of pre-planning.
I’m a huge beach person.
In fact, I love to beach hop and get a lay of the land (and sea) when I have the luxury of downtime.
For instance, while in Portugal, I visited three breathtaking beaches in the Algarve region and compiled a helpful comparison guide.
Unfortunately, Greek beaches tend to get very crowded in summer.
However, in the fall, this is usually not the case.
You can typically enjoy enhanced privacy and find sun beds with ease from mid-September to the end of October.
These are typically hot commodities in summer, so you’ll usually have to wait around and pay a premium for one.
In autumn, you can also trade summer’s energetic beach clubbing scene for the peaceful sound of waves lapping the shore.
Personally, I’d pick a secluded beach over a loud one any day!
Thus far, my favorite warm-water recommendation is Elafonisi Beach in Crete.
With pink sand and heavenly lagoons, it’s one of the dreamiest beaches I’ve ever visited.
I also enjoyed the laidback vibe of Emplisi Beach in Erisos, only a five-minute drive from Fiskardo by car.
While this beach is significantly smaller than ones we typically frequent, my husband and I loved how secluded it felt.
However, I highly recommend bringing water shoes if you visit, as the sea is rather rocky!
Fall in Greece also marks harvest season.
Traditionally, September is Greece’s grape harvesting month, a big event for the Greek people.
The grape harvest was actually considered sacred since ancient times and is still significant today.
During this time, locals will gather together to work in unison in the vineyards. Each participant will receive a specific task, ranging from harvesting, to grape stomping, to pressing the grapes into wine.
The grape harvest is regarded as a joyous occasion, which is why many people will sing as they work.
If you make it to Greece in time for harvest, you can enjoy a behind-the-scenes look at this tradition or participate yourself!
As autumn progresses into October and November, it’s olive harvesting time.
At this point, locals can be found in the olive groves, cashing in on the fruits of their labor.
I’ve also heard that the Peloponnese is one of the best places to experience the olive harvest, although I haven’t been yet. This area is only an hour’s drive from Athens and the scenery and fall foliage is supposed to be spectacular.
While October and November are the best times to catch the olive harvest, my recommendation is to visit in October. The reason for this is that November is colder and rainier.
In addition to olives and grapes, walnuts and chestnuts also ripen during the fall in Greece. You may be able to sample these at some of the local tavernas, if you get lucky.
Fall in Greece also marks several national holidays.
Here’s what you can expect if you’re traveling in October and/or November:
- October 28 – October 28 marks the National Anniversary of Greek Independence and is also known as “Ochi Day” and “World War II National Holiday.” On this day, many Greek Orthodox churches will hold special services and you’ll likely notice military parades. The Athens Acropolis Museum also offers free admission in honor of this event.
- November 17 – Polytechneio, a public holiday, is observed to commemorate students who have died during the 1940’s Greek Resistance. Universities and schools are closed and memorial observances are held on this day.
- November 21 – Armed Forces Day honors the Greek Armed Forces and their mission of promoting peace in the European Union. This occasion coincides with a large religious feast.
You’ll understand why tourists cannot resist snapping photos in Greece once you experience it for yourself.
In fact, it can be rather difficult to take pictures without tourists in them during summertime.
For example, in Santorini, crowds line up an hour before sunset to snag the best spot for their shots.
In the fall, on the other hand, it’s much easier to capture those Instagram-worthy shots.
For instance, we shot hundreds of photos without crowds in Assos in the middle of an October afternoon!
This would be completely unheard of in the summer.
Check out my Instagram guide to Assos to read more about our successful and uncrowded photoshoot experience.
That said, the more popular the island is, the busier it will usually be.
For instance, we shot just after sunrise while in Crete to avoid the crowds along the harbor.
View this post on Instagram
💦 The cure for anything is salt water – sweat, tears, or the sea 💦 . Chania’s Venetian Harbor is just gorgeous in the morning. These are the steps leading up to the lighthouse. If you make the walk here, you can enjoy a panoramic view of the harbor from the water. . SAVE these tips for shooting here 👇🏻📝: . 1️⃣ Try getting here before sunrise so you can avoid shadows. (We had to battle with some here, but thankfully they added a nice “glowy” effect.) Avoid shooting with shadows on your face, as those are super challenging to work with in the editing process. . 2️⃣ Keep in mind that people will come out to fish along the wall leading to the lighthouse as early as about 8 AM. (We actually had to wait for a comically-sized fishing pole to move past before getting this shot 🎣😆) . 3️⃣ Try shooting some different angles on the steps! You can face the harbor, shoot up at the lighthouse, or turnaround for some beautiful leading lines of the walk up to the harbor. . 4️⃣ It’s completely free to visit the lighthouse, but visitors aren’t allowed inside! . 5️⃣ It can get pretty windy here, so hold onto your 👒! . Stay tuned for my Instagram guide to Chania, currently in the works! In the meantime, you can read my top suggestions for Chania for first-timers by swiping up in today’s Stories. Is Crete on your bucket list? . 📸: @stefpap86 . . . . . #chania #chaniacrete #instachania #visitcrete #cretelife #creteisland #cretegreece #cyclades #wu_greece #greekislands #greeceislands #greece_moments #visitgreece #greecetravel #discovergreece #greecestagram #wonderfulplaces #girlswhotravel #girlsborntotravel #youmustsee #femaletravelbloggers #babeswhowander #postcardfromtheworld #postcardsfromtheworld #postcardplaces #travelgirlsgo #shetravelz #prettylittletrips #travelcommunity #wonderlustgreece
However, the later in the season you travel, the less you’ll generally need to deal with crowds.
In addition to less people, fall in Greece typically means superior outdoor conditions as well.
However, there are a number of Greek islands/areas that are highly recommended for fall travelers.
Here are the most popular options:
I hope I’ve convinced you that Greece is a wonderful autumn destination.
Personally, after visiting two islands in October, I would definitely travel here again in the fall.
Until then, I’ll be doing my best to support the travel industry from home.
I’ll also continue following the guidelines set forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and suggest you do the same.
That said, there’s no harm in dreaming and planning your future bucket list experiences in Greece. This way, you’ll be ready to explore heaven on Earth when the chance arises!
Have you ever experienced fall in Greece? Let me know in the comments below!