Blessed with an eastern Mediterranean climate, Greece’s holiday season doesn’t come to a halt with the end of August. Forget the island beach parties of the summer and embrace the turning of the seasons, as the leaves tumble from their branches and olive and grape crops become ripe for the picking.
There’s no doubt that the coming months are a magical time to visit this ancient country, but where are the best places to go on your autumn holidays to Greece?
Olive-picking in the Peloponnese
If you’re travelling to Greece in October, head for the south-west of the Peloponnese peninsula, where the locals will be busy with the olive harvest. Hand-picking the fruit which produces some of the finest olive oil in the country is no small task, so holiday-makers are encouraged to join in the stripping of the olive trees.
Alternatively, simply observe the process, enjoying the scene as the green-and-gold landscape is bathed in autumnal glow. Harvest trips can be organised to Costa Navarino, including a lunchtime sampling of the morning’s freshly picked crop.
Enjoy a quieter Santorini
A popular choice in the island group of the Cyclades, Santorini can be pricey at other times of year, but autumn provides the perfect opportunity to see the sunsets over Skaros for a more affordable sum. It’s distinctly quieter in the autumn months, as well.
Try getting away to the north, where the island’s highest settlement of Oia perches on the clifftops and you can ramble the peaceful streets, stop at a village taverna or just soak away the days in a spa pool. If you’re craving civilisation, there’s a music festival in capital Fira throughout September.
Get back to nature on Kea
Kea is not among the more well-known Greek Islands and even in the summer, it’s more of a weekend getaway for Athenians than a tourist hotspot. What the island does boast in abundance is nature, and the cool autumn offers outdoor enthusiasts a chance to walk the 19km-long island via a total of 36 connected hiking trails.
To the east, traverse the deep valleys of Agios Filippos and Spathi or visit the Lion near the town of Ioulis, an ancient sculpture carved from the native rock. Nature and heritage intertwine seamlessly on Kea, with further opportunities to walk around ancient sites like Agia Irini and the ruins of Korrissos.
In addition to the relative peace and quiet of the autumn, the shoulder season can bring some fantastic deals in terms of flights and holiday packages so it’s also a good time to shop around and see what you can get. Visiting Greece in autumn can offer a great value holiday without compromising on balmy weather and the endless attractions of the harvest season.
Images used under Creative Commons licence, by Robert Wallace, Klearchos Kapoutsis, Randy & Pippa.