Greece is an amazing place to visit at any time of the year. From the hundreds of inhabited islands to the towering mountains of the mainland, there's something to satisfy the adventurer, the urban explorer, the foodie, the skier, the swimmer, the luxury resort-er, the hiker, the sailor, the roamer; in fact, everyone, really. But September in Greece holds a truly special place in my heart. And, if you give it a try, you, too, may find yourself falling in love with the not quite "out-of-season" season.
Five reasons to visit Greece in September.
1. Fewer people. The weather is beautiful, the sky is clear blue and the waters are still warm yet refreshing. You get to enjoy all the magical parts of the quintessential Greek summer, just with fewer tanned bodies blocking your view, hogging the sun-beds, or crowding "your" beach. It is perfection.
(One of the many secluded beaches you'll find on Folegandros in September)
2. Better deals. Years ago, I went to Naxos at the very end of September. Prices were slashed in half, but the food, service and hospitality were better than ever. To be fair, prices drop further still in October − the very end of tourism season on most islands. However, the risk of cooler waters and less idyllic weather conditions is greater.
(Fresh fruit and vegetables from the Laiiki, aka Farmer's Market)
3. Athens is alive. The Athenians have officially returned from their summer vacations. They’re tanned, refreshed, and ready to bring the city back to life after the August lull. All the restaurants are open again, Athens’ award-winning bars, like this and this, are teeming with friendly faces, and there are amazing exhibitions, performances and concerts at the city's museums and open-air theaters.
(Athens at night, with the view of the Parthenon. Image by The Clumsies)
4. All sorts of strange and amazing festivals. There is the Fistiki Festival in Aegina, which honors the island’s most famous export, the pistachio nut. Or, if you’re more of a cheese person, you can take in Elassona’s Feta Cheese festival. That’s right, a whole festival is devoted to this delicious salty, briny, soft but crumbly cheese. And then there's the Armata Festival on Spetses − nine days of cultural and athletic events on the island of Spetses to commemorate the naval battle fought there during Greece’s War of Independence.
5. Prime wine time. Greece is where Dionysos, the god of wine, was born, and September is the month when his grapes are harvested. Visit the volcanic vineyards in Santorini (for the Assyrtiko grape variety), the area of Imathia in the north of Greece (for its Xinomavro grape), the wine-producing region of Nemea in the Peloponnese (for its Agiorgitiko grape), or the rich vineyards in the highlands of the island of Karpathos. And we haven’t even started on wines from Crete or natural wines. If you're in Athens, you can try all of these and more at Materia Prima Cava and Wine Bar, a charming little spot in Koukaki with an expansive Greek wine list. And, as I said before, September has got the perfect weather to enjoy it outdoors. A big glass of Greek wine, a cool breeze, and beautiful views just about everywhere you look - what better way to say goodbye to summer!
(Photo by Serge Esteve via Unsplash)