The weather remains hot throughout September, although less so than in August, and temperatures taper off as the month progresses. Hence, biking, hiking, and other activities can be enjoyed in greater comfort.
Sea temperatures are bathtub warm—in fact, the warmest for the year—after all the summer sun. In short: great beach weather. And rain usually hovers far off on the winter horizon. You can pack light with warm weather clothing, but bring a light jacket for sailing excursions.
Crowds & Costs
Early September is still high season, with large crowds in the most popular venues. But this eases by the third week as northern Europeans return home en masse and Greeks’ summer holidays come to an end.
Still, you can expect crowds to linger a little longer on the top islands, such as Mykonos, Santorini, and Crete. If you want to visit these highly frequented islands after the party-scene tampers down, late September is a good time to visit. Everywhere else, you should have an easier time by late September. By then, too, airfares and hotel rates begin to drop, so keep your eyes peeled for bargains.
Where to Go
The party islands (notably Ios, Mikonos, Paros, and Santorini) are still buzzing with nightlife in early September, when Santorini hosts a major music festival. By the second half of the month, the crowds will begin to thin—perfect for visiting these popular isles, although the bars and clubs will still be brim-full with party people.
Don’t forget the more peaceful, less-visited islands, such as the Ionians, Saronics, and Dodecanese, particularly in early September. In fact, late September is perfect for visiting virtually any of the Greek Islands, combining beach time with cultural sights and adventure activities. For example, this is a great time to hike Crete’s Samaria Gorge, combined with exploring the island’s renowned ruined Minoan palaces and towns.
What to Do
Culture vultures can enjoy sightseeing by month’s end, when you’re no longer shoving elbow to elbow with a huge wave of tour groups. This is the peak of the olive and vine harvest—a great time to focus on wine-producing regions such as those on the islands of Crete, Samos, and Santorini.
September is also ideal for active vacations, on land or sea. A favorite option is to hike Crete’s Samaria Gorge, while sea kayaking the Sporades is (literally) a cool way to enjoy even the hottest of days. And the warm sea temperatures and mellow Meltemi winds (which die down after two ferociously windy months) make sailing a breeze.
Warm water also means the perfect time for a scuba diving adventure. Top sites include Chios, in the Northern Aegean; the Dragonisi Caverns south of Mykonos; and the wreck of the HMHS Britannic off the Cycladic island of Kea.
Aegina Fistiki Festival: The Saronic isle of Aegina is a major pistachio producer, and this 4-day festival is an all-things-pistachio affair, enlivened by music and dance.
Festival of Tastes & Traditions of Rhodes: Gourmands should head to Pefkos, on Rhodes, for this 2-day event, celebrating local wines and dishes. It features cooking demos, tastings, and plenty of music and dance.
International Music Festival: Santorini really sings along for two weeks in September, when top international artists perform classical music and opera. Book your hotel early!
Traveling to Greece in September? Check out these great itineraries
Sailing the Greek Islands & Cyclades - 8 Days. Take to the cooling waters to explore a cross-section of idyllic isles.
Food Tour of Crete - 6 Days. The olive and vine harvests have begun, so why not eat and drink to your heart's content, plus hike Samara Gorge.
Active Cyclades: Tinos, Naxos & Ios - 11 Days. Discover some of the lesser islands the fun and adventurous way, including hiking and scuba diving.