Thinking about a trip to Greece? With fall just around the corner, now is the perfect time to finalize your plans and experience the best the season has to offer, from beautiful autumn colors to blissfully crowd-free beaches and often idyllic weather too.
See Meteora Highlighted By Autumn's Brilliant Foliage (Nearby Hotels)
The dramatic cliffs that soar over 1,200 feet, overlooking the villages of Kalambaka and Kastraki, are home to a vast Eastern Orthodox monastic complex that’s unlike any other place on Earth. Sprinkled with fall’s brilliant colors, they’re even more impressive. The historic monasteries that are perched among the cliffs date back to the 14th century, built by monks seeking spiritual isolation and freedom from religious persecution. Six monasteries remain and are open to the public, and the views from here are stunning in every direction.
Take Part in The Grape Harvest (Nearby Hotels)
During the autumn harvest, when the grapes ripen on the vine, visitors can not only sample lots of fantastic local wines, but have the chance to take a behind-the-scenes look, and perhaps even get their hands dirty in this annual ritual. You’ll be able to immerse yourself in a tradition that dates back generations, slow down and truly get to know this nation through its natural flavors. In late September and early October, find out who’s making raki out of the skins and stalks with a visit to Crete, famous for this drink that’s typically served at the end of the evening meal. The Anoskeli winery in the small village of Anoskeli in Kissamos is a great place to start.
Celebrate The Olive Harvest (Nearby Hotels)
The months of October and November offer the chance to take part in the olive harvest, a time when locals can be found gathering the fruit in the olive groves. At the end of the harvest there is a huge feast and a celebration to reward the efforts of all those who have helped. Peloponnese is an ideal place to experience this. Though it’s just an hour’s drive from Athens, it’s like an entirely different world, with its unique natural diversity, exceptional beaches, mountainous villages, glistening lakes, and, of course, olive groves.
Enjoy Beautiful Beaches All to Yourself (Nearby Hotels)
While the summer means big crowds on the beaches, in autumn, you can often enjoy idyllic stretches of sand all to yourself. You may want to head to Zakynthos, AKA the “Green Island,” where you can join a boat excursion to Smugglers’ Cove, which sits in Shipwreck Bay near the picturesque mountain village of Volimes. This is the home of what’s been called the most beautiful beach in Greece: Shipwreck Beach, also known as Navagio Beach. In the town of Zante, which was reconstructed in traditional Venetian-style in the 1950s after much of it was destroyed in an earthquake, you’ll find a thriving local arts scene and a picturesque waterfront that’s ideal for watching the boats come in and out.
Swimming in Summer-Warmed Waters (Nearby Hotels)
The scenic Greek coastline is dotted with picturesque hamlets that huddle around alluring bays for swimming and snorkeling, and with the sizzling temperatures of summer warming the water, September and October can often be ideal. Kalami, a fishing village on Corfu, is no exception, surrounded by olive groves and boasting beaches that sit at the edge of crystal clear, shallow waters that typically hover around 74 degrees.
Enjoy a Climate That's Ideal for Hiking (Nearby Hotels)
Greece is a hiker’s paradise, with 80 percent of its terrain covered with hills and mountains. Even the islands offer miles of scenic trails. While summer’s intense heat can make for an unpleasant trek, when fall arrives, the weather is often ideal for hiking. There are wonderful treks in the Peloponnese, like the Viros Gorge, which starts at Taygetus summit and reaches all the way to Kardamili Bay. If you plan to be on Naxos, the largest of the Cyclades islands, you’ll have lots of mountainous terrain to explore, with Mount Zas, or Zeus, the highest peak in the archipelago, rising to nearly 3,300 feet.
Explore Ancient Ruins Without Battling the Crowds (Nearby Hotels)
Of course, that mild fall weather also means you’ll be able to explore the spectacular ancient ruins without the fear of heat exhaustion. The crowds will be thinner too, making for a much more pleasant experience. Explore sites like the Parthenon and the Acropolis, including the stone theater on its southwest slopes known as the Odeon of Herodes Atticus, which was completed in the year 161 AD.
Set Sail for a Day Trip on the Sea (Nearby Hotels)
Fall also is ideal for sailing in the Aegean or Ionian seas, as the north winds that August is known for have calmed. A day trip on the sea can be the highlight of a Greek vacation, with excursions offered from many of the islands, including Corfu, Santorini, Naxos, Paros, Rhodes and Mykonos. Naxos Sailing offers day trips to Rina cave and Kalandos Bay or Schinoussa island, as well as to Paros Island.
Take Advantage of Luxurious Accommodations For Less (Prices & Photos)
With the summer crowds gone, off season rates kick in during mid-September, which means you’ll find much better rates for accommodation. It could even make the difference in whether or not you can afford that luxurious hotel, like Grace Santorini in the tranquil village of Imerovigli. Renowned as one of the very best properties on the island, it boasts one of the most awe-inspiring views of the caldera and Santorini’s legendary sunsets. The onsite restaurant offers the best of Mediterranean gastronomy, and guests enjoy exceptional service along with a champagne welcome too.
Enjoy a More Authentic Experience (Nearby Hotels)
Autumn also means the opportunity for a more authentic Greek experience, as most tourists have left and life returns to normal. With that, locals have more time to interact with visitors, and when you go out, you’ll meet more of them than you will tourists. On Corfu, mingle with locals at Liston Promenade, an arched promenade on the edge of town lined with cafés where residents often sit, drink, and talk, lingering for hours. Order a frappé (Greek iced coffee) and strike up a conversation.