Autumn is the season of rich colors, cool but still-warm weather, light breeze, and crispy sounds of leaves on the ground, and tasty food with warm beverages all over the northern hemisphere!
But in Greece, the flavors, the colors, the vistas, the experiences are even more enhanced. Autumn in Greece is a relatively undiscovered treasure. While Summer in Greece is insanely famous and popular, Autumn has been experienced by few who don’t reside there- and that’s a shame because
Autumn in Greece has the best of everything: the warmth of the summer without the scorching heatwaves. The beauty of colors and the allure of the sea without the teeming masses of tourists that you need to wade through during the summer season. The spectacular tastes and unique experiences of the harvest, with all the culture and festivals, that most leave Greece too early to enjoy.
Autumn is the perfect season for walking, being out in the sun, and hiking without risking heat stroke or dehydration or experiencing discomfort under the sunny glare, so consider scheduling your vacations in the sweet waning of the tourist season!
A Guide to the Greek Autumn
Autumn in Greece: Weather
The weather in Greece during autumn is still very much that of summer. Temperatures vary from 25 to 35 degrees Celsius, depending on where you are in Greece. The further north you go, the cooler it will get. Autumn in Greece is mostly sunny, but during October you may experience rainfall. Those rains are usually brief showers that Greeks call “first rains” or “protovrohia”, signaling the end of the super-dry, drought season of Summer. Unlike Summer, when night falls it will be getting a little cooler, so bring a cardigan or two just in case!
Autumn in Greece is perfect not only for places to visit, but also for events to experience! Keep an eye out for both when you plan your vacation!
Popular Places to Visit in Greece in Autumn
Zagorochoria is both a region in Epirus and a cluster of the most beautiful, picturesque, nature-clad villages you can hope to find! 46 gorgeous villages wait for you to discover them, hidden in the midst of a stunning forest, with beautiful stonework villages and paths connecting them, as well as lovely creeks and ravines to walk by as you approach them.
Zagorochoria is a very popular autumn destination for the locals, as well as those of a more adventurous nature seeking to do activities such as horseback riding, rafting, hiking, trekking, and even climbing. Zagorochoria is the location of the second deepest gorge in the world after the Grand Canyon, the Vikos Gorge, which also happens to be breathtakingly beautiful. Vikos’ clear water from its natural springs is renowned in all of Greece.
Since you will be going in Autumn, Zagorochoria will present you with a unique opportunity to visit the wineries there and watch the wine-making process, sample the famous wine varieties and couple them with tasty local cheeses.
Nafplio is a very historical city, as it was Greece’s first capital when the modern Greek state was founded after the 1821 War of Independence. It is also a gorgeous seaside port city, with amazing promenades that become golden-red with the falling leaves during Autumn. In Nafplio you will enjoy the characteristic turn-of-the-century neoclassical architecture in the Old Town part of the city, walking on age-old beautiful, cobbled streets and byways.
You will be able to take the 999-step challenge to go up the staircase to Palamidi Castle overlooking Nafplio, and you will also have the opportunity to enjoy the great views from the fortress of Bourzi, before strolling to Nafplio’s Syntagma Square which is lined with historical buildings.
Nafplio has excellent traditional cuisine, which you can enjoy indoors, in café’s and restaurants imbued in history, folklore, and tradition!
In the south-east of the Peloponnese, you will find the medieval castle town of Monemvasia. Autumn is the perfect season to visit it because you can enjoy the indoors as much as the outdoors since the temperature is just right for both!
Monemvasia is a romantic time capsule overlooking the sea, carved out of the rock on which it is perched, fortified but open-hearted at the same time. Its exquisite, iconic architecture will astound you, as will the winding pathways and the breathtaking vistas. In Monemvasia you will enjoy the picturesque tavernas, bars, and café’s, after a day at the sea, or a day walking to all the beautiful sights, or a day hiking to Monemvasia’s hidden treasures: little chapels, secluded beaches, and hills with uniquely gorgeous views- all of it without the sun scorching and limiting you, but comfortably warming you!
Meteora’s name means “suspended in midair” and it is fitting! Near Pindos mountains, you will find the mysterious, awe-inspiring, towering rock formations that medieval monks chose for their place of hermitage. More than thirty monasteries are perched on top of those rocks, boasting bird’s-eye views and breathtaking vista’s outside, and great traditional and medieval architecture inside. Walk along the paths leading to the monasteries and partake of the wholesome, good food and wine.
In Meteora, you can also channel your adventurous self, with climbing, kayaking, hiking, and bicycling among some of the activities you can do in gorgeous sceneries and clear blue skies.
The Greek Islands
Autumn in Greece is still virtually summer, so going to the islands now is a smart move if you value peace and a better chance to enjoy famous destinations without the stifling crowds of the peak summer season.
Visit Santorini (Thera) to have the great views from its whitewashed steps and roads to yourself, to walk around the caldera, bask in the warm beaches, and enjoy the excellent seafood and warm hospitality with a flavor that few get to experience!
You can also visit Mykonos and its windmills, or Syros and its neoclassical buildings, and take that day trip to Delos to roam and visit all of the archaeological sites without worrying about excessive heat or the exhausting sun.
Autumn is the prime season for visiting all big archeological complexes and not need to hurry for a shade every few minutes. Therefore, visiting the gorgeous Crete during Autumn is a great option, where you can enjoy walking in the palaces of Knossos or Phaistos at your leisure, enjoy a swim in warm seas, and sample the famous Cretan cuisine and wine.
Events and Festivals during Autumn in Greece
Coffee, Alcohol, Wine and Beer Festivals
Autumn is the harvest season and the season for winemaking and wine tasting! There are several traditions and events that take place in Greece around that, which you shouldn’t miss out on!
For example, in September there is the Wine Festival of Rhodes island, where wine flows freely, around dancing and feasting, after ceremonial presentations of the new grapes and pudding to be made for the new batch of wines. In Athens, there is the Wine and Art Festival as well as the Beer and Whiskey Festival, with a lot of Greek microbreweries offering unique tastes for free! Speaking of beer, there’s another Festival in Corfu celebrating beer. And of course, you can’t miss the Anilos Wine Festival of Thessaloniki, which lasts ten days to celebrate the harvest of the new grapes and makes wine fans live their dream!
September features the Athens coffee festival as well, where all types of coffee are offered freely from all over the world, as well as with a focus on fusion and Greek or local varieties.
October has the Chocolate Fest in Athens where chocolate is queen, while in Herakleion, Crete, you will find the Gastronomy Festival with delectable dishes from all over Crete.
Holidays and Anniversary Events
If you plan your holiday for October, you can’t miss the 26th, when the Feast of St. Demetrios Day in Thessaloniki takes place. Traditionally, new wine barrels are tapped among great celebrations. The city celebrates as St. Demetrios is Thessaloniki’s patron saint, so there are extra festivities going on everywhere.
Then, there is the 28th of October National Holiday, the famous “Ochi Day” where Greece’s official entry in WWII is celebrated, thanks to the defiant, David-and-Goliath nature of the struggle. There is a resplendent parade to be enjoyed, even in the most remote places and villages, but you want to attend the big Thessaloniki military-and-civilian parade, with colorful traditional costumes, all the regiments of the Greek army, several societies and volunteer groups, and representatives of units of the country’s entire infrastructure, from historic Red Cross units to current firefighters.
On November 17th, you want to attend festivities and solemn anniversary events for the Polytechnic Day, commemorating the bloody protest of students against the military Junta of 1967.
If you find yourself in Patra in November, attend the Feast of St. Andrew, where the city celebrates with partying, dancing, and good food and wine.
In November, the classic marathon route that the ancient Greek warrior messenger ran, to announce Athens’ victory over the Persians in Marathon, is revived. It’s an international event that athletes from around the globe attend. If you are not up for running the whole 42 km, there are events for 5 and 10 km as well. Or, if you don’t fancy running at all, you can save a seat to watch the finish at the iconic Panathenaic Stadium in Athens.