October is a month with wide variations in weather patterns from the beginning to the end. Early on, for example, the temperatures are still pleasant and the water is warm enough for swimming. However, by the end of the month, the ocean has cooled rapidly and it gets too chilly to swim or sunbathe.
The average daytime highs run about 73°F (23°C) while the nighttime lows drop to about 59°C (15°C). There are still some days you'll want shorts and T-shirts but by and large you'll be shifting to warmer clothes. You'll definitely want a good jacket so don't forget that piece, especially if you plan on strolling around town in the evenings.
Rain-wise, the month follows a similar pattern with dry skies in the beginning of the month and increasing precipitation toward the end. Additionally, the number of daylight hours starts to decrease.
For more on weather this month, see Greece in October: Travel Tips, Weather, and More.
Crowds and Costs
October is a wonderfully non-crowded month in Athens. The numbers continue dwindling—even more so than in September—and, especially as you head toward the end of the month, the last of the tourism season makes its way out. You can walk around the Acropolis or other destinations without being surrounded by people and you won't have to wait in long lines at restaurants or museums. Another thing that's great about October is that many hotels offer shoulder season rates that are significantly cheaper than summertime prices. Similarly, lots of airlines start dropping their prices, especially later in the month.
Where to Go
There's nowhere in the city that isn't fun to visit in October. The combination of decent weather and small crowds makes the main tourist sites enjoyable and the hotels aren't swarming with visitors. When you're out wandering around, the air is a pleasant temperature and you'll have space to move around. It's a great time to check out the archaeological ruins, tour some museums, or dine out at any of the restaurant or tavernas.
If a day trip sounds enjoyable, head northwest to Delphi to check out the sacred ruins on Mount Parnassus, or travel east to the Attica wine region where the famous retsina variety is made. The well-known vineyards stretch 16,000 to 20,000+ acres and feature more than two dozen wineries.
Early in the month, it's also still possible to enjoy the beaches. Try Anavyssos to the south of the city where the water is blue (and still warm at that time) or Karavi in the north. Both options are less than an hour from town and easy to access. If you're really feeling like some serious beach time, hop out to Santorini or Paros which operate ferries year-round. Just keep in mind that by the middle and end of the month, the water will be getting too cold to swim and many of the businesses will shut down for the season, so come early.
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.
What to Do
Checking out the Acropolis should be one of your top priorities when you're in Athens. Few sites in the Greek capital rival the magnificence of these archaeological structures. Be sure to explore the major ones like the Parthenon, Hadrian's Library, and the Temple of Athena Nike. If you'd rather be indoors, check out any of the museums throughout the city. The Museum of Cycladic Art features ancient Greek and Cycladic pieces alongside modern artists like Salvador Dalí and Louise Bourgeois while the Byzantine and Christian Museum showcases frescoes and pottery from the Byzantine era.
Outside of town, Delphi offers fascinating archaeological wonders that include the Sanctuary of Apollo (also called the Oracle of Apollo) where the god of prophecy was honored. It's also a place where ancient Greeks consulted the oracle Pythia. In Attica, take a food or culture tour with Attica Wine and Food Experience (AWAFE), or stop by the Papagiannakos Winery to check out their tasting room.
If you encounter sunny weather earlier in the month, try heading to Sounio to go swimming or spend time on the beach—it's only an hour's drive away. You can also take a day trip to Vouliagmeni Lake just 30 minutes south of town. Here, you'll find an interesting geological formation next to the ocean that's fed by underground currents. This spot is especially great in October because the water is several degrees warmer than in the sea.
Events in October
Ohi Day (Oct. 28): Schools and offices are closed on this official holiday which marks the day that Greece entered World War II. It literally translates as "No" Day, referencing Greece saying no to Mussolini's demands to let Italy occupy parts of the country. It is celebrated with parades, flag-waving, and other patriotic festivities.
Traveling to Athens in October? Check out these great itineraries.
Best of Athens and Ancient Greece - 9 Days. Explore Athens' many cultural treasures and cool neighborhoods on this experiential itinerary—along with day trips to archaeological sites in nearby Eleusis, Mycenae, and Delphi.
Athens City Break - 3 Days. Make any three days feel like a long weekend in Greece's capital with this itinerary. After a welcoming wine tasting, you'll take a private tour through the highlights of Athens from the top of the Acropolis down to bustling Varvakios Market, spanning mythology, modernity, and the years in between.