Greece in September is probably the best month to visit Greece. And why is that? Because the weather is still a beautiful summer but not as scorchingly hot as in July and August. The meltemia, the northern winds blasting the Cyclades in summer, have finally ceased and the Aegean sea is at its warmest.
Another reason why September is a fantastic month to travel to Greece is that everything is still open but the large crowds have started ebbing. The Greek schools open in early September, so most Greeks or other Europeans have gone home.
The hotels are starting to reduce their rates, especially in September’s second half. The restaurants and the cafes are more relaxed and can offer better service to their customers.
So if you ask me if it is good to visit Greece in September, I would say that this is one of my favorite summer months.
What are the top things to do in Greece in September?
- Visit a Greek island or two or more
- Discover a mainland Greek destination like Pelion Mt or Peloponnese
- Participate in grape harvesting all over Greece
- Enjoy outdoor activities like scuba diving or hiking in forested areas
- Become a history buff and visit the numerous archaeological sites and museums of Greece
- Dance at a religious feast – Panigiri in volcanic Nisyros and Anafi islands
- Explore festivals: Pistachio in Aegina, Aeschylia in Eleusina, Opera in Medieval town of Rhodes
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Is it Warm Enough to Swim in Greece in September?
Yes, the sea in September is bathtub warm all over Greece and even more so in the southern part of the country. There might be 2-3 days of rain but mostly in the northern and more mountainous areas. There are indeed regional variations but not of great variety.
The highest temperature of September 2021 in Athens, which is centrally located in Greece, was between 19,9 – 36,5 C. There were 3 heatwave days, but mostly it was warm and pleasant to walk around.
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Crowds and Costs
If you are concerned about your budget while visiting Greece – and nowadays we all are budget-wise – most accommodation prices can go down from 10% to as much as 30%, or even more if you’re booking well in advance.
But even if you decide to find available accommodation at the last minute, hotels are not usually fully booked, so it will be easier than in August. The same applies to streets, restaurants, and bars, lines in archaeological sites, and of course the best positions on the beaches.
Up next I am going to tell you about the best things to do in Greece in September!
Which are the Best Greek Islands to Visit in September?
All the Greek islands are unique, each with its own characteristics. If you find it difficult which ones to choose, maybe the list below will help you especially if this is your first time in Greece. In terms of weather, the warmest islands will be Crete and Rhodes but all islands will be warm enough to swim in Greece in September. The islands of Northern Aegean (Lesvos & Chios) or the Ionian might be slightly cooler than the hot waters in Crete or the Cyclades.
The most popular Greek islands are Crete, Rhodes, Corfu, Santorini, Mykonos, Paros, Ios, and Zakynthos. That means that the islands will still be buzzing with nightlife in early September but much less after the 15th of September.
Check out this 10-day island-hopping itinerary, including Mykonos, Santorini, and Naxos for more info on how to organize your trip.
If you prefer more quiet and authentic Greek islands then you can go to Cyclades islands like Folegandros or Amorgos. Other amazing Greek islands in September are nearby Athens are the Argo Saronic islands of Hydra, Spetses, or Poros.
Best Guided Tours in islands:
What to Do in Mainland Greece in September
September in Greece is the peak for the vine harvest in wine-producing regions such as Peloponnese (Nemea, Patra), Attica (Mesogaia), Macedonia (Naousa, Amyntaio, Goumenisa), Ipiros (Metsovo, Zitsa), Thessaly (Karditsa) and the islands of Crete, Kefalonia, Samos, Lesvos, Tinos, and Santorini.
You can stay in the areas, explore the nearby sites and organize a wine tasting with a local provider or even participate in the vine harvest if the owners allow it.
Best Wine Tasting Guided Tours:
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Greece is the paradise for outdoor activity lovers. 80% of Greece is covered by mountains, and 25% of the total land is covered by natural forests mostly firs, pines, planes, and beeches. Greece has 21 major rivers, 50 natural lakes, and about 6000 islands, and islets, 220 of which are inhabited. Not to mention the gorges, the caves, the volcanoes, the vertical rocks for climbing and so much more.
The Mediterranean 4-season climate also encourages a wide variety of sports and activities depending on when you visit and what you would like to do.
Some of the most popular outdoors in Greece in September that you can participate in are:
At the end of September, Sparta is organizing a quite demanding 25km marathon, Spartathlon, with participants from all over the world. The route is based on the one done by Pheidippides – as described by Herodotus – who traveled from Athens to Sparta in 490 BC to ask for help.
Besides the famous ‘this is Sparta’ area (with the archaeological museum, site, and the fantastic Olive Oil Museum), you should visit nearby UNESCO Mystras.
Best place to stay in Sparti: Villa Rodoula in Mystras
Hiking in the bare areas – like it is in the Cyclades- might be challenging on the warmest September days so I would suggest hiking in forests. Good examples are the Mainalon trail in the Peloponnese, Tsagarada in Pelion, Skopelos island, and Parnitha Mt in Athens.
River crossings/kayaking: Neda river(combines a lot of river crossing with hiking), Nemouta waterfalls, and Lousios river, all places are in the magical Peloponnese.
Warm water also means that it is the perfect time for a scuba diving adventure. Top sites include Chios island, in the Northern Aegean, Nea Kameni in Santorini, Skinaria in Crete, Kea island in the Cyclades (you can see the wreck of “HMHS Britannic,” sister ship of the doomed “RMS Titanic”), and the Dragonisi Caverns south of Mykonos.
Sites and Museums
All sites are still open for most of the day, especially Acropolis in Athens and if you are visiting on the last weekend of September the European Heritage Days is celebrated. That means that all monuments and many museums in Greece have free entrance.
More about entrance fees for Acropolis and other questions here.
Towns and Villages
Greece has one of the longest coastlines in Europe and along the coast you can find many beautiful towns and villages, perfect for your vacation. Some of my favorites are:
- Peloponnese: Nafplion, Kardamili, Kalamata, Areopoli, Methoni, Kyparissia, Monemvasia
- Sterea Ellada: Nafpaktos, Galaxidi, Aitoliko
- Ipiros: Ioannina, Parga, Syvota
- Magnesia: Volos and Pelion Mt
- The whole part of Chalkidiki
- Macedonia/Thrace: Kavala, all the way to Alexandroupoli
Religious Festivals in Greece in September
September is a fantastic month for the religious feasts called ‘Panigiria’ (a Greek word for a feast). Panigiria are also organized throughout the year everywhere in Greece, both on islands and mainland. These local events may be tied to celebrating Greek Orthodox saints but they are also eating, drinking, socializing, and dancing feasts.
Two of my favorite Panigiria are:
On September 13th, Nisyros island (a majestic active volcanic island) organize the Panigiri at the monastery of Holy Cross. The locals offer braised goat with orzo, loukoumades with honey and wine:
The Panigiri at the Monastery of Kalamiotissa (7 & 8 September) in Chora of Anafi island. All the locals participate in the celebration, while small boats bring pilgrims from nearby Santorini. Meat with pasta is offered (and plenty of wine of course!).
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Festivals Around Greece
Besides the religious festivals, there are also musical, cultural, and culinary festivals organized, often with international interest. You can combine your visit to a Greek destination with enjoying a local festival and enjoy a unique Greek experience.
Aegina Fistiki Festival: (15-18 September) At the port of Aegina, more than 60 stands are set up along the beach, offering visitors large quantities of pistachio in all its forms and variations. The program of events includes traditional dances, performances, lectures, and guided tours to museums and archaeological sites.
Aeschylia Festival: Hosted at Eleusis, 14 miles west of Athens, the Aeschylia Festival is a stable cultural institution for the expression of artistic and innovative creations for the last 48 years. The Aeschylia Festival every year makes sure that artists (ancient and modern theater, singers, and performers) of all art forms are given the opportunity to present their works and to create works inspired by the city of Eleusis.
Rhodes International Festival: In the UNESCO old town of Rhodes, at the stunning Palace of the Grand Magister, the Knights’ Palace, you can enjoy unique concerts by Greek and foreign composers, classical music, and opera. More about the festival here.
Moving Around in Greece in September
You will have no problem catching the ferries between the islands as Greece in September still feels pretty much like the high season. Towards the end of the month, some routes may change especially taking into account that the school year has begun. Book early your ferries, or simply rent a car and be free to go everywhere you go.
What to Pack
Some essential for your September packing are:
- Good walking shoes for exploring ruins and walking along cobblestone streets (spike heels at historic sites are forbidden because they can damage the ancient areas)
- Swimming suit, towel, flip flops, and a hat
- Hiking gear, a shirt, socks, and a couple of cotton hoodies
- Sundresses and lightweight jacket
- If you are visiting monasteries please wear long pants(men) or a covering knees skirt (females)
Athens Quick Reference
- Where to stay in Athens: Four Seasons Astir Palace Hotel Athens (Doubles from €629 Β&Β) & Ancient Agora Apartments (Doubles from €95 Β&Β), Attalos Hotel (Doubles from €62 Β&Β)
- Heading to the Greek Islands from Athens? Book your ferry tickets in advance with no-hidden-fees FerryScanner or FerryHopper
- Essential Things to Have for Athens Metro: An anti-theft design Backpack, a World Travel Adapter Kit & Microfiber Quick Drying Beach Towel that looks like the Greek Flag!
- Private transfer with English-speaking driver from Athens International Airport to Piraeus Ferries. Check availability and prices on Viator here
- Map of Athens Metro
More about Traveling to Greece
Some of my Favorite Travel Resources for Greece
- Ferries to the Greek Islands: Book your ferry transfer with FerryScanner or FerryHopper, and get the best prices in the market with no hidden fees
- Athens Metro Website (timetables and tickets info)
- Map of Athens Metro
- Trains (Hellenic Train)
- Public Buses KTEL
- Booking.com: I use Booking.com because I can get the best deals on both hotels and apartments, free cancellations, and great prices!
- Get Your Guide: For all your day or multi-day tours and city guide needs, I use Get Your Guide
- COVID INFO FOR GREECE: Ministry of Tourism Official Website
- Emergency Numbers Anywhere in Greece: AMBULANCE 166 – FIRE 199 – POLICE 100– EMERGENCY NUMBER 112