Autumn in Greece is a great time to plan your Greek vacation. Fall in the Mediterranean may not be the stereotypical autumn that you are accustomed to in the west, but it is still a pleasant season to experience.
Autumn in Greece 2023
The mention of fall is generally synonymous with coziness. Spiced pumpkin lattes, oversized sweaters, and days spent indoors catching up with friends.
Autumn in Greece doesn’t tie into any of that at all. The weather is usually warm and sunny, with temperatures in the late twenties (degrees celsius) way into late October.
Dreaming of gorgeous golden fall foliage and fallen leaves that crunch beneath your feet as you take walks through the park? You won’t see that in most of Greece until December.
Sometimes, living in Greece, you can begin to feel as though you don’t see seasons in the typical sense. But there are huge pros to that too.
Why You Should Visit Greece in Autumn
Because Autumn in Greece is so warm and mild, conditions are perfect for swimming, hiking, and Greek island hopping. This enables you to experience perfect summer weather even out of season.
It is well worth considering travelling at this time of year rather than between the months of June and September. Why?
Summers in Greece are exceptionally hot and humid. It is not uncommon for temperatures to soar to as high as 40 degrees in July and August.
As wonderful as a Mediterranean summer is, this can often be too hot to be enjoyable. Sitting on beaches in these conditions is dangerous and bad for your skin.
Hiking, sightseeing, visiting archaeological sites, and wandering around outside for extended periods are almost unbearable. Not to mention, this is the peak time of year for people to travel to southern Europe.
If you browse the prices of hotels, flights, tours, and packages from August to September, you will see as much as a 70% drop after the summer season. Opting to visit Greece in Autumn means both a cheaper trip and more than likely, a more pleasant travel experience.
Of course, the sun rises later and sets earlier during Autumn in Greece. But with an average sunset taking place between 19.00 and 19.30, you still have plenty of daylight.
Certain Greek landmarks, museums, and historic sites offer reduced off-peak admission. Many are free on certain public holidays and a large number of them (including the Acropolis and the Ancient Agora) are free on the first Sunday of the month from November to March.
Where to Visit During Autumn in Greece
There is arguably no such thing as a bad place to visit during Autumn in Greece. That being said, the country is larger than people realise and conditions differ from one part of the country to another.
The further south you go, the warmer the climes. The islands in the Cyclades (Santorini, Mykonos, Naxos, etc) remain “in season” and hotter for longer.
Meanwhile, islands in the Sporades (Skiathos, Skopelos, Skyros, Alonissos) can become rainy and much cooler from mid-October. Regardless, any Greek island group that you choose still exudes Mediterranean summer vibes until the end of October.
Hiking Holidays in Greece in Autumn
Autumn in Greece is the perfect time to take a hiking holiday. Although it may be its beaches and cerulean waters that Greece is famous for, the country’s nature is unparalleled.
Pathways lead you past fragrant olive groves, ancient monasteries, and crumbling archaeological sites. Greece has an abundance of hiking routes to suit walkers of all ages and fitness levels.
A few treks to consider are detailed below.
- Mount Olympus summit hike
- Samaria Gorge trek, Crete
- T1-T5 hikes in Skopelos, Sporades
- The Corfu trail, Corfu
- Mount Parnitha hike, Athens
- Vikos Gorge, Epirus
- Hiking on the Greek islands of Folegandros, Kea and Andros
Take a Peloponnese road trip
Autumn is a great time for taking road trips around Greece, particularly to the rugged Peloponnese. You can fly into Athens international airport and then head northwest towards Nafplio, the idyllic former capital of the country.
From here, continue on to Sparta, the capital of the Lakonia region, and spend a morning exploring the ruins of Ancient Sparta and the supposed tomb of Leonidas. Then, continue on to the Byzantine towns of Mystras and Monemvasia.
City Breaks in Greece in Autumn
The cooler autumn temperatures make exploring Greece’s cities much more enjoyable. If you travel to Athens or Thessaloniki during the summer, conditions are so hot that you often find you have to keep out of the midday sun.
Visiting Greece in Autumn allows you to make better use of your schedule. Aside from beloved Athens and Thessaloniki, Ioannina, Volos, and Kastoria are just a few lesser-known cities worth adding to your Greece travel bucketlist.
Kastoria is a beautiful lake city that sits in the foothills of the Pindus Mountains on the banks of Lake Orestiada. The city has existed since the 10th century and is home to more than 60 charming old Byzantine churches.
Since very few international tourists have even heard of Kastoria, it is a great place to venture off the beaten path in order to experience real, authentic Greek culture. The Epirus capital of Ioannina is a bustling university city, filled with traditional stone houses, quaint kafenions and eclectic stores. It makes a great jump-off point for venturing onwards to Metsovo or the villages of Zagorohoria.
Autumn in Athens Greece
In Athens, don’t miss the opportunity to explore the Ancient Agora, the Acropolis, Hadrian’s Library, and the Temple of Olympian Zeus. Part of the fun of exploring the Greek capital is found in simply taking the time to get lost among its various districts.
Athenian neighborhoods are like little villages in themselves and each have a very different personality. The leafy Mets is a great place to grab coffee or brunch during the day and experience live jazz music by night.
Meanwhile, quirky Koukaki is home to a plethora of eccentric vintage clothes stores and independent art galleries, while Exarchia is the best place to see street art. Don’t miss the hidden neighbourhood of Anafiotika either.
Few tourists are even aware of Anafiotika’s existence. It can be found at the end of an unsuspecting lane that veers off from Old Plaka. The residents of the area moved to the mainland from the island of Anafi. So, they designed their neighbourhood in a style reminiscent of their home.
Autumn in Thessaloniki
Thessaloniki is Greece’s second city. It is largely underrated but very worthy of at least a few days’ of exploration.
Despite being home to more than 800,000 people, Thessaloniki has a very small-town feel about it. The city’s most iconic landmark is no doubt its 15th century White Tower that sits on Leoforos Nikis boulevard, overlooking the Thermaic Gulf.
During the Ottoman era, various tortures and executions took place here, gaining the tower the nickname of “The Tower of Blood”. Today, its function is somewhat less gruesome and the tower houses a small museum that tells the history of the city.
From the top floor, you can enjoy a phenomenal panorama over Thessaloniki. This is particularly beautiful during golden hour and at sunset.
Be sure to explore Thessaloniki’s historic neighborhoods on foot. Start in Aristotelous Square and head out to Ano Poli.
Ano Poli (Άνω Πόλη) means “upper town” in Greek. While the area is predominantly residential, it is interesting because the streets are filled with a mixture of colourful Ottoman houses and grand neoclassical mansions.
Ladadika is the city’s premier nightlife and entertainment district and its cobbled streets are lined with bars and nightclubs. Some of the best restaurants in Thessaloniki can be found here.
If you are very lucky and have the luxury of being able to stay in the area for a number of weeks or even a month, Thessaloniki makes a great base for taking day trips and exploring the wider region of Central Macedonia. Lake Kerkini and Serres, in particular, are great Autumn destinations.
Rainy Days in Greece
Fortunately, Greece sees very little rainfall. There may be occasional showers in the Autumn months but they are usually brief and things clear up very quickly.
Even if you are unfortunate enough to encounter a couple of (rare) miserable days during your Autumn city break, Athens and Thessaloniki both boast plenty of indoor activities too.
There are a plethora of museums in Athens. Whatever the weather, the National Archaeological museum, the “New” Acropolis museum, and the National Historical Museum should not be missed.
Drinking coffee is essentially the national sport of Greece. Sitting in a quaint local spot nursing a Freddo cappuccino is a wonderful way to wait out an Autumn rain shower. Fortunately, there are coffee shops on virtually every corner here.
Head to Little Tree Books and Coffee, Lotte Cafe Bistrot, or Monsieur Barbu in Koukaki, Athens. In Thessaloniki, duck inside the Blue Cup at Salaminos 8.
Island Getaways in Greece in Autumn
Every Greek island and coastal town is a perfect choice during September in Greece. From Parga to Paros and everywhere in between.
Conditions during this time are only slightly cooler than during the summer months. Tourist levels start to taper off from mid-September so book your trip for the end of the month if you want a more peaceful experience.
It is better to head further south if you want to be able to swim in the sea and experience sunshine during October in Greece. Rhodes and Symi in the Dodecanese are good choices. So too, are the islands of the Cyclades.
Explore the medieval old town of Rhodes, then sail across to Symi. From here, explore the island’s pastel coloured harbour, visit the famous pilgrimage site of the 18th-century Monastery of Archangel Michael Panormitis, and laze on the beaches of Nanou, St. Nicholas, and Marathounda.
The popular islands of Santorini and Mykonos are among the best Greek islands to visit in October and early November can be good times to do so. At this time, you can find flights from Athens to Santorini for as low as €25 per person.
You can hike from Fira to Oia and experience the world-famous “Santorini sunset” without 10,238 other travellers in the background of your shots. The Mykonos party scene may be dying down during these months but this is a great time to experience more of the island’s understated charm.
You can hike to Kato Myloi, the famous windmills above the Chora, hang out in Little Venice, and go wine tasting at one of the island’s many organic vineyards.
Events and Festivities During Autumn in Greece
Every month and season in Greece brings a different event or festivity. Autumn in Greece is no different.
Check the local listings for cultural events and live musical performances that coincide with your Greece itinerary travel dates. Musicians, bands, and other acts across the globe regularly travel to Greece.
This might sound like nothing to write home about but the special thing about catching live performances in Greece? The unique settings.
Occasionally, live bands and singers hold concerts in ancient theatres like the Athens Panathenaic Stadium. Where else in the world could you see a rock band perform at a millennia-old theatre?
The Feast of Agios Dimitrios
Agios Dimitrios is the Patron Saint of Thessaloniki, born in 270AD. If you happen to be in Thessaloniki for the 26th of October, you can witness the celebrations for his name day.
On this day, a procession moves through the city centre to the Church of St. Demetrios, close to the Thessaloniki Roman Forum. Various priests and ministers, Greek army personnel, and school children participate in the procession.
Church bells ring out as shrines and tributes are carried through the street to the church. You are welcome to stand in the city centre watching the festivities, as long as you are respectful.
Oxi Day Greece
Ohi day is an event celebrated by Greeks and Greek diaspora communities across the globe. It takes place on the 28th of October every year.
It was on this day in 1940 that the then Greek Prime Minister Metaxas said no (ohi!) to the Italians when they asked the Greeks to surrender to Nazi Germany. Whether you are of Greek heritage or not, it’s interesting to witness these celebrations.
Schools and businesses close for the day and military parades take place in towns and cities across the country. In Athens, this often includes huge fly-over air shows, marching bands, and parade floats. Get to Syntagma Square before 10 am if you want to watch.
In smaller towns and villages, flowers and wreaths are placed over military memorials. Greek flags are displayed proudly from windows, doors, and vehicles.
Thessaloniki Film Festival
The Thessaloniki film festival is an annual event that takes place every November in Greece’s northern city. It may not carry the same prestige as Cannes, but it is quickly emerging as one of the best cultural and movie events in Southern Europe.
The Athens Marathon
Few running and exercise experiences are greater than participating in a sporting event against the backdrop of Ancient Greek ruins. Two major marathons are held in Athens every year.
The Athens half marathon takes place every spring, typically around May time. The full Athens marathon is held during Autumn in Greece in November.
You may wish to participate or spectate if your trip coincides with the Athens marathon. It starts in the town of Marathon and ends at the Panathenaic Stadium.
Autumn in Greece: Parting Words
Do you have any additional questions about Autumn in Greece or about planning a trip to Greece in general? I have lived in Athens since 2017. I am happy to assist with any questions you may have.
Safe travels! Geia sou! Melissa xo