The jewel of the Mediterranean is a tourist destination popular among holidaymakers worldwide. Its coastline, 13.676 kilometers in length, is crisscrossed with resorts, houses, for rent, villas, and hotels. The peak of the tourist season is during the summer months but that’s the time the accommodation prices are the highest as well.
However, visiting Greece in autumn has its advantages. The seas might not be as warm as in July or August but it is still warm enough to go for a swim. The weather really only takes the turn for the worst on the Greek islands, where winds pick up speed from mid-September.
However, a somewhat tardy summer holiday in Greece this year might not be a bad idea. The air temperatures in October are in their 20s, making it still warm enough to swim in the Mediterranean. Throngs of tourists are long gone so you can explore the beaches and the countryside in peace. Finally, the prices of charter flights and accommodation go down significantly.
Useful resources for your Greece journey in fall:
- Amazing Travel Hacks You Want to Know Before Your Next Trip
- Experts Advise: The Best Travel Accessories and Gadgets
Best Places to Visit in Mainland Greece in Fall
Athens is a wonderful destination to visit in autumn as the glorious warm temperatures and sunny days lend themselves well to exploring the outside archaeological sites that run throughout the city, but the extreme heat and crowds of summer have started to dissipate. Autumn days in Athens tend to boast average daytime temperatures of around 20°C and with just a few days of rain expected each month, it’s unlikely you’ll need to spend much time inside!
While you’ll want to pack a range of layers and perhaps an umbrella just in case, the likelihood is that you’ll spend most days in jeans, t-shirts, and possibly a lightweight jacket. Temperatures can get down to around 12°C in the evening, so you might want a warmer jumper or coat for when you head out for dinner.
The mild days of September, October and November in Athens are perfect for discovering the top sights such as the Acropolis, the Ancient Agora, Plaka, Monastiraki, and Syntagma Square, and even if you do run into a rainy day or two, there are the Acropolis and National Archaeology museums that are well worth a visit! Also, from 1 November to 31 March, entrance fees for the main archaeological sites are half price, so the start of November can be a great time to go to Athens for a weekend city break.
Three days is a good length of time to spend in Athens in autumn as it allows you enough time to explore the major city sites but also allows you extra time to head further out of the city to see the Panathenaic Stadium or go to the Athenian Riviera.
Suggested by Chrysoula, Athens and beyond
Thessaloniki is an underrated destination in Greece. While most of the tourists flock the island of Santorini and Mykonos as their ideal Greece destination, Thessaloniki offers an unbeatable authentic Greek experience.
Autumn is the perfect time to visit Thessaloniki due to the perfect weather conditions. Greece is blessed with a Mediterranean warm climate, making the autumn relatively milder than the rest of Europe. When we visited Thessaloniki in October, we were surprised by how perfect it was. A beautiful historic city by the sea and 25 degrees, I am not complaining.
When in Thessaloniki, I highly recommend a walk along the promenade and enjoy some of the best greek food in the Ladadika area. Yes, I am talking gyros, souvlaki, greek yogurt, and feta with fresh olive oil or even better, baked feta with greek honey. Get mesmerized by ancient Greek orthodox churches, and eat your weight in the amazing greek pastries. Do not forget to enjoy the frappe, a greek style cold coffee. Thessaloniki has some of the best Greek cafes!
The archaeology museum is definitely one of the highlights in Thessaloniki. You can also enjoy the best views of Thessaloniki from the Heptapyrgion, the Byzantine, and the Ottoman-era fortress. If you are a student, bring your ID and you can get free/reduced entrance to all the museums in Greece.
I highly recommend spending at least two to three days in Thessaloniki. To plan a perfect trip, read this detailed guide for spending a perfect weekend in Thessaloniki including the best things to do, where to eat, and budget tips.
Don’t forget to visit Chania, which is a charming coastal city with a picturesque Venetian Harbour. Arrive in the evening and indulge in the Greek cuisine in one of the open-air restaurants overlooking the harbor.
If you’re more of an adventure person, there is Samaria Gorge to be conquered situated in the National Park. Hiking the gorge is a genuinely gratifying experience with some incredible scenery. At the end of the hike, there is a beautiful beach awaiting all the hikers.
And finally, visit Europe’s oldest city- Knossos dating from the Bronze Age and for more historical monuments and Fortress of Koules built in the 16th century by the ruling Venetians.
Suggested by Nisha Dalal, And There She Goes Again
The magical site of Meteora is one of the best places to visit in mainland Greece as the landscape of towering limestone peaks topped with historic monasteries is truly breath-taking. Quite unlike any other tourist destination, Meteora allows visitors to admire both the natural beauty of the landscape as well as the human feat of building these monasteries in such an epic location.
The monasteries of Meteora are an important Eastern Orthodox place of worship and devotion (second only to Mount Athos) and were built high on these elevated natural pillars as a symbol of being as close to God as possible. Today, six of the monasteries are still in use but some are also open to the public as UNESCO World Heritage sites.
Autumn is a wonderful time in which to visit Meteora as the weather is well-suited to exploring the site and the crowds have lessened which makes for a much more peaceful atmosphere. Each of the monasteries (aside from Agios Stefanos) features a staircase entrance of around 150-300 steps, so the cooler yet still clear days of autumn are perfect for discovering the peaks and monasteries of Meteora.
Located around 4-5 hours from the capital, Meteora is a popular day trip from Athens but it is recommended to stay at least one night so that you have an opportunity to visit all of the monasteries and experience the site at different times of the day. The golden hour light gracing the facades of the monasteries is really beautiful and this is often missed with a day trip to Meteora from the city.
Suggested by Chrysoula
The former capital of the newly born Greece from 1823 to 1834, the charming seaport town of Nafplio in the Peloponnese is our definitive answer to those asking where to go in Greece.
According to legend, the town bears the name of Poseidon’s son who founded it in prehistoric times. Subsequent waves of Byzantine, Venetian, and Ottoman rulers have left their mark on the town, an architecturally harmonious melange of all these influences, adorned with lush Bougainvillea flowers and home to friendly locals. From a charming medieval old town with narrow cobblestone streets to Turkish fountains and well-preserved neoclassical mansions, Nafplio is unique in every way. Syntagma Square is the heart of Nafplio, hosting two mosques, the Archaeological Museum, and the Municipal Gallery. Don’t miss the nearby churches of Agios Spyridonas and Agios Georgios, both laden with historical significance and artistic splendors.
To reach the Palamidi Castle which overlooks the entire area you need to climb an impressive number of 999 steps carved in rock, but the effort will definitely be worth your time – the castle hill illustrates a history of several millennia, from Greek heroes to Venetian and Ottoman conquerors and the vistas are absolutely breathtaking.
The city’s most famous landmark is the Bourtzi, a Venetian fortress standing on a small island in the port that nowadays makes for a romantic backdrop of sunset walks and hosts several festivals.
With a few amazing beaches nearby, a plethora of museums for every taste, and plenty of cafes and artisans shops to browse, Nafplio is definitely worth at least an overnight stop, but it can well serve as a base for a longer stay in the area.
Suggested by Anca, Dream, Book, and Travel
Epidaurus is located in Peloponnese and is one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Greece. It is an excellent day-trip from Athens and it takes about 2hrs to reach.
The Sanctuary of Asklepios is Epidaurus is so vast that it takes a few hours to go around and experience it, esp. if you are a history buff. This was built in 1600 BCE. The best way to experience the place is with the self-guided tour with the official app. The most fascinating spot here is the theatre. It is one of the largest theatres in Peloponnese with a seating capacity of 14000. In fact, it is still being used, with the annual summer concerts & performances happening here. The acoustics here are unbelievable. We were given a demo by our friend. Every little whisper or flutter he did standing on the stage was audible across the theatre, even if there were other noises!
The other points of interest here are the stadium, the Greek baths, entrance doorway, hospital, etc. Everything here is in a ruined state. However many are currently being restored like Athens. There is an on-site museum, where many of the artifacts & sculptures found here are on display. The reconstruction of the Sanctuary of Asklepios can be found in the museum as well.
Suggested by Bhushavali
Karpenisi, Central Greece
Karpenisi is a beautiful region in Evritania, Central Greece. It is often affectionately referred to as being the “Switzerland of Greece” on account of its stunning mountain scenery. Here you will find quaint traditional stone villages, ornate monasteries, and pristine nature.
Most people see Greece as a summer travel destination but Karpenisi is especially popular in the autumn and winter months when young Athenians flock here for a spot of hiking or skiing. Several hiking paths twist and turn through the woodlands and mountains. The valley of Pantavrechi is a particularly pleasant spot to hike as the trails here lead to tranquil waterfalls and hidden shrines.
Karpenisi in itself is charming enough to keep you occupied for a day or two. A lot of the beauty of traveling to this region though is found in using Karpenisi as a base to explore many of Evritanias villages. Megalo Chorio and Palio Mikro Chorio are two lovely places to walk through, sample local delicacies such as galaktoboureko, and shop for homemade local produce such as preserved fruits, jams and fruit liquor made by village elders.
Be sure to stop by the monastery of Proussos situated 25km away from Karpenisi center. The monastery is one of the most important pilgrimage routes in Greece and sits perched precariously on a clifftop, boasting a view that looks almost ethereal.
Karpenisi is approximately a two-hour drive north of Athens. It has escaped the radar of most international tourists and is a great place to go off the beaten path and avoid the crowds during a long weekend in Greece.
Suggested by Melissa from High Heels and a Backpack
Best Greek Islands to Visit in September and October
Santorini, the Hidden Gem of the Aegean Sea
Autumn is a fantastic time of year to visit the Greek island of Santorini as the weather still remains warm and pleasant and the hordes of tourists that arrive on cruise ships throughout the summer have started to disappear. Not only this but the lessening of crowds also brings with it a decrease in costs making Santorini seem much more affordable than it does during the peak season.
Temperatures in Santorini in autumn still sit around the high teens and early 20s and with just a few days of rain (max.) per month, the weather is much more appealing than northern Europe at this time of year.
Travelers can explore the beautiful towns of Santorini with their white-washed buildings and blue-domed churches, go on boat trips on and around the caldera and also visit the vineyards of the island during the harvesting season. Santorini’s wine production is unique in that the vines are trained to grow in nest-like coils in order to protect the grapes from the elements, so it’s really interesting to visit the wineries at this time of year to see how they harvest and process the grapes before turning them into delicious bottles of vino!
As it is a relatively small island (and isn’t as crowded in autumn as it is in summer), you’ll only really need around three days in Santorini to explore the main sights. This makes Santorini an ideal weekend break destination in autumn or a good option for part of a longer island-hopping trip.
Suggested by Chrysoula
Lefkada, Breathtaking Ionian Island
If you are looking for a beach holiday in Greece this autumn, Lefkada is second to none. This off the beaten path destination has some of the best beaches in all of Europe. Known for their towering bleached cliffs, turquoise waters, and white sand, Lefkada feels like something out of a storybook.
One of the most popular beaches on the island is Mylos Beach. It is located 14km from Lefkada Town and you’ll have to descend a cliff from the parking lot to reach it. But it is definitely worth the trek to spend the day on such a pristine stretch of sand.
Another popular Lefkada beach is Porto Katsiki. Unlike Mylos Beach, Porto Katsiki has more facilities, so you can find sunbeds and a restaurant at the base of the beach stairs. However, it is just as beautiful.
Swimming, sunbathing and snorkeling are some of the most popular activities on Lefkada beaches. However, if windsurfing is more up your alley, head to Vassiliki Beach. It has been dubbed one of the best windsurfing destinations in Europe. The beach is fringed by a resort town center so you won’t have to go far for lunch or other amenities.
After spending a few days lounging on the beaches, don’t miss the chance to take a sailing or kayaking tour to Kalamos Island or the Skorpios & Meganisi Islands. You’ll explore stunning bays, sea caves, and uninhabited islands.
Suggested by sustainable travel bloggers Oksana & Max from Drink Tea & Travel.
Pátmos, the Small Picturesque Aegean Island
If you’re looking for a long weekend getaway and time to really relax, consider the small picturesque Greek island of Pátmos, a ferry ride away from Greece mainland tucked away in the Aegean Sea.
In Greek mythology, the Olympian Goddess Artemis became the patron Goddess of Pátmos. Whilst visiting her friend Selene the Moon Goddess, Artemis looked down and saw the island shimmering like a jewel on the sea bed and fell in love with its beauty. She then coerced her twin brother Apollo to seek help from Zeus and his brother Poseidon to bring the island up from its watery depths. With the gift of warmth by Selene’s brother the Sun God Helios, the island was given life.
Today the island is known by many as the place of St John. During his exile in the 1st century and whilst living in a small cave he heard the voice of God and received the words to write the Book of Revelation. The Cave of ‘the Apocalypse’ is open to visitors.
It’s well worth a visit to the traditional old village of Hora and the monastery of St. John the Theologian. It’s a peaceful and delightful walk through the labyrinth of narrow lanes as you ascend the steep ascent on foot before reaching the monastery, which sits atop the hill like a castle with the white tightly clustered dwelling of Hora spilling out from the monastery foundations like tree roots. Back in the early 1980s, Patmos has declared a Holy Island.
The island also boasts a number of idyllic beach locations to smooth and revitalize the soul. There’s also a choice of traditional tavernas to feed your appetite and a wonderful traditional bakery located in the port side village of Skala; where it’s a must to try at least one traditional Patmian cheese pie.
Suggested by Marilyn, A Soul Awakening
Mykonos, Great Nightlife
Mykonos is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful islands in Greece and it’s also one of the most popular ones among visitors. It’s mostly known as a party island thanks to its vibrant nightlife so it’s definitely a great destination to visit with friends or as a couple. Mykonos is easily accessible from Athens with a 2.5-hour long ferry ride or a 0.5-hour long flight but it’s also very well connected with the other islands as well.
Mykonos Town is the center of the island, boasting many amazing restaurants, lively bars, and cute cafes. You can easily spend multiple days just in Mykonos Town, wandering around the painted little streets and soaking in the authentic Greek Vibes. If you’re looking for the most instagrammable places in Mykonos, check out the colorful little houses in Little Venice and the five windmills known as Kato Mili on the shores.
It’s best to stay in Mykonos Town during your visit and rent an ATV or a car for a few days to explore the rest of the island as a day trip. Although there are no beaches in Mykonos Town, the best beaches like Paradise and Super Paradise beach are really close. Even if you don’t have a rental ATV/car, you can take the bus which runs frequently between Mykonos Town and the beaches.
You should spend at least 3 days in Mykonos but if you’re looking for a laid-back holiday you can easily spend up to one week on the island without getting bored.
Suggested by Krisztina Harsanyi, She Wanders Abroad
Zakynthos, Ionian Sea
When most people think of Greece, images of jagged coastlines, impossibly turquoise water, and tasty food come to mind. The island of Zakynthos offers all of this and more!
For those from Europe and the UK in particular, you’ll be well aware of this Greek Island, but for us from North America, we typically only hear about the more popular places to go in Greece — such as Athens, Crete, and Santorini.
Zakynthos is an easy flight from England and once you arrive, rent a car and spend your trip exploring all areas of the island.
From the incredible Banana, Alykes and Gerakas beaches, to the hidden coves of Shipwreck Beach and Porto Limnionas, there are numerous stunning stretches of sand and rocky shoreline to explore.
Once you’ve had your fill of sand and surf, head to the town of Zante and spend some time wandering around the cobbled streets and visiting the Venetian Castle.
End your days in Zakynthos with a cocktail at one of the beach bars on Tsilivi Beach, or with a beer at Lofos Restaurant which is perched on a cliff inland, and offers expansive views across the farmland below.
Whether you’re into snorkeling with turtles, taking a boat trip out to hidden coves, dining on amazing Greek food, or simply chilling out on a beach, there’s a little something for everyone on Zakynthos island.
Suggested by Dariece Swift, Goats On The Road
Milos, Volcanic Greek Island
I think we all developed major Greece-fever after watching Mammamia. I don’t know about you, but I just craved those turquoise waters. Those little white and blue-domed chapels dotting the landscape and those fuchsia bougainvillea flowers were exactly what I envisioned when planning my trip to Greece. I didn’t want crowds and I didn’t want tourists. I wanted pristine nature, outdoor exploration, and a truly authentic experience. Behold… Milos!
Milos Island was an absolute fairytale. The western part of the island is uninhabited which makes it perfect for exploring and zipping around on an ATV. This area is completely untouched— just you, the scenery, and well, of course, a couple of goats along for the company.
Because the coast is mainly lined by cliffs, the beaches don’t have the easiest access— but this is an absolute PLUS because most people are not really willing to make that hike down. But I can’t stress this enough, DO IT! Tsigrado Beach, for example, can only be accessed via a ladder that leads down to some of the most jaw-dropping waters you’ll ever see.
If you like to snorkel, Milos is definitely the way to go. Because of its volcanic nature, there are hundreds of little coves and grottos to explore. The mineral-rich rock makes the underwater caves glow and flicker fluorescently. We recommend bringing with you underwater cameras to catch these memorable moments. I definitely recommend a boat tour around the island as many of the “secret spots” are only accessible via boat. Make sure you get to visit Kleftiko, a secluded cove where a pirate’s used to hideout! To this date, Kleftiko remains the most beautiful cove I have ever seen.
If you’re into seeing some quirky landscapes, you should definitely head over to Sarakiniko. A beach that makes you feel like you’ve landed on some sort of lunar landscape, the whole area is an assortment of bright white slabs of rock towering over crystal waters.
What is even more fantastic is that Milos is still quite unknown among tourists. This makes it so much more budget-friendly with respect to some of the other neighboring islands. I stayed for four whole days which was just enough time to explore everything. But if I’m honest with myself I would have totally skipped some of the other islands to stay more. I mean who wouldn’t want to live in a bikini alternating the day between off-road adventuring and snorkeling breaks?! Oh, and of course you can’t forget the ouzo! Seriously, put this island on your list before the secret gets out!
Suggested by Linda Faison, Ladolcefitvita
Located at the heart of the Cyclades, Paros is one of the prettiest Greek islands and the answer to your dreams about pristine Greek beaches, whitewashed villages, and scrumptious food – all without jostling with a multitude of crowds! Swim, sunbathe, take in the stunning landscapes or enjoy some water sports – there’s an endless list of amazing things to do in Paros.
Some of the best beaches in Greece can be found in Paros – from the (aptly named!) Golden Beach to the huge Santa Maria beach or the otherworld like Kolymbithres Beach! Crystal clear waters and unrivaled natural beauty make these beaches absolutely stand out.
The villages of Paros are straight out of a fairytale. The two main villages of Parikia and Naoussa are lined with white cobblestoned streets and bougainvillea laden walls. The best restaurants & bars on the island and the most amazing nightlife can be found here. For a more authentic Cycladic feel, head to the mountain village of Lefkes. Surrounded by a beautiful green landscape with sweeping views over the island, Lefkes invites you to get lost in its white streets and alleys.
A visit to Paros means you also get a bonus island! The island of Antiparos is located a few minutes’ ferry ride away and makes for a breathtaking day trip.
For a quick taste of Paros, spend at least 2 days – rent a car and drive around the island. Plan for 4-5 days to really enjoy all that Paros has to offer.
Suggested by Smita Singh, My Faulty Compass