With average daily high temperatures in the mid-70s Fahrenheit, it’s usually still warm enough in early October to sunbathe in comfort and to dine outside at night, with little chance of rain.
By mid-October the Ionian and Aegean seas are cooling quickly; if you love to swim, go early in the month. By the third week, cloudy days are typically more numerous, temperatures will have fallen significantly, and evenings will be quite chilly.
The chance of rain goes up to one-in-three days, increasing as the month progresses. Pack a fleece jacket and long pants plus rain gear or umbrella with your summer-wear and swimwear.
Crowds & Costs
This is shoulder season, perfect for an off-season break. The hordes of summer have departed and you can enjoy the Greek Islands in relative peace, while the busiest and most populous islands still hum with activity and plenty of hotels and restaurants remain open. And airlines and hotels will have introduced shoulder-season rates that offer significant savings. It’s the best of both worlds. However, airline and ferry schedules will be reduced, so plan accordingly.
Where to Go
This is a preferred month for sightseeing top cultural sites: mild temperatures make for pleasurable walking, and you’ll have far fewer visitors to contend with at Delos, the Palace of Knossos, and the major museums. The crowds have thinned on the most popular islands also, so this is as good a time as any to hop a ferry to Naxos, Ios, Mykonos or Santorini, where there’s lots to see and do and the nightlife continues into October.
If you have only a few days, say just enough for one island, head to Crete. With the mildest temperatures of October, the most diverse landscapes, great historical sites, and fab beaches shelving into still-warm autumn waters, this is a win-win destination. Plus, Crete’s populous cities ensure that the restaurants and tavernas stay open and lively year-round, and the locals have more time for off-season travelers. The same goes for Rhodes, with its fabulous medieval town, Italianate castles, and lovely beaches.
What to Do
October offers good weather for sightseeing: if you hate crowds, then this is the time to visit the tiny isle of Delos, Crete’s Palace of Knossos, and/or ancient Thera and Akrotiri on Santorini. It’s also perfect for mountain hiking—the forests will be ablaze with fall foliage colors—although evenings may be quite cold. The still-warm days of early October will tempt you to sunbathe, but the seas are cooling quickly (and may already be too cool for comfort).
Sailors can take advantage of shoulder-season rates, and you won’t be competing for berths in the more popular harbors. And the Aegean is still warm enough in October for scuba diving, although you may need a wetsuit: Chios, in the Northern Aegean, has many sites, and Mykonos is famous for the Dragonisi Caverns.
Chestnut Festival. One of Crete’s liveliest festivals, held on the last weekend of October, it features folk music, dancing, and lots of chestnuts to eat.
Ochi Day. Military parades, church services, and typical Greek folkloric displays recall the nation’s refusal to surrender to Mussolini’s forces in 1940s. It’s celebrated nationwide in late October. Head to Hydra for its sailing regatta.
Santorini Experience. Visitors are invited to compete in the island’s biggest sporting event, with running and swimming.
Spetses Mini Marathon. Far more than a single foot race, this two-day event features various running races plus swimming, including for children.
Panigiria of St Dimitrios: Hydra, in the Saronic group, celebrates its patron saint each October 25.
Traveling to Greece in October? Check out these great itineraries
Discover Medieval Rhodes – 7 Days. Whether you're wandering the streets of its medieval Old Town or climbing up to see the Monolithos Castle, this ancient island has something waiting around every corner.
Relaxed Athens, Santorini, Naxos & Mykonos. Arrive in Athens, then head to Mykonos and Santorini islands along with lesser-known Naxos. Enjoy your Greek vacation filled with sun, sailing, and sampling, with cooking classes and traditional dinners accompanying your days of blissful idleness.
Best of Western Crete – 9 Days. Discover Crete’s distinct personality on this 9-day adventure, which includes activities from olive oil tasting, horse-riding, to hiking its craggy gorges.