October is an ideal time to visit Santorini. Many seasonal flights and restaurants finish for the year this month which means that, despite it being shoulder season, the crowds that filled Santorini over recent months are gone. And yet the weather remains very pleasant: the sun is still out, and the heavy autumn rain holds off for at least most of the month. October also sees the opening of the year's wine barrels on Santorini, giving you many excuses to stick around and join in the fun.

Weather

Along with September, October is the joint-best time of year for a visit to Santorini. while much of the northern hemisphere is well into the depths of nippy autumn, here it seems like an Indian summer for much of the month. Temperatures are still a pleasant 61-72°F/16-22°C and while precipitation is on average four times more than last month, it's still less than any month from now until next April!

Sea temperatures are also on a par with June (70°F/21°C) and a feel-good seven hours of sunlight per day on average keeps a lot of visitors on the sunbed or in the water (with the added satisfaction for many that friends and family back home in North America and Northern Europe are already wearing jumpers and coats. 

For more on weather this month, see Greece in October: Travel Tips, Weather, & More.

Crowds & Costs

The crowds have decreased by a far greater margin than the weather has deteriorated, making October on balance a very good month for those that do decide to visit. You will have most places largely to yourself in October, and yet still be able to enjoy them in the last of the year's truly warm weather. There can be a big difference, though, between the beginning and the end of the month in terms of what is open.

Many flights, as well as quite a few restaurants and hotels, close up for the season during October, so you may find most things still open and a fair few people around at the start of the month and more things closed and fewer fellow visitors as October draws to a close.

Where to Go

Most visitors come to Santorini in October hoping for a canny bit of sun and beach time after the main holiday season further north has finished. And you should follow this way of thinking too. So consider basing yourself at one of the island's superb beaches.

Most beaches are on the east side of the island, away from the west coast which forms the caldera. Kamari is a black sand beach with a hotel sitting directly on the sand; other sandy beaches with hotels close by include Perissa and Perivolos Beaches. A visit to the striking and aptly named Red Beach, comprised of small red stones and with beautiful crystalline water, or nearby Vlychada Beach is also a great idea.

Away from the water, the pretty main town of Fira and still-more delightful Oia are also more peaceful and uncrowded in October. But the must-do excursion is to the ancient Minoan city of Akrotiri in the island's southwest. Sometimes referred to as the “Pompeii of the Aegean,” its ruins are impressively intact and have yielded extensive pottery finds. There are frescoes, too, and a complex drainage system illustrating just how advanced this civilization was for its time. A nice hike leads to the ruins from Pyrgos or Megalochori. 

And finally, do not pass over a visit to one of Santorini's several renowned wineries this month. October is arguably the month to experience the island's legendary winemaking, because this is when this season's newly ready wine barrels are opened for the first time and, of course, the contents drunk! (see events below). When visiting the wineries, go for Aidini, Assyrtiko, and Athiri if you are into whites, and Mandilaria and Mavrotragano if reds are more your thing. One of the best wineries to visit is Santo Wines near Pyrgos.

What to Do

Beach bask while soaking up the last of the year's sun is still an option, or swim in the pristine and still warm waters off the east coast. On the west coast, catching a close-up view of Santorini's caldera, blown out by a colossal eruption millennia ago, is the big draw. You can see it up close on a catamaran cruise, or from afar on the cliffs as part of a spectacular hike between island capital Fira and pretty Oia.

Should any changeable or rainy weather interrupt your trip, there are great museums to check out in Fira and Oia and archaeological sites like Akrotiri to visit. Finally, as mentioned above, a trip to a winery should be on the cards for all visitors this month, especially around the time of the Feast Day of St. Averkios (see below).

October Events

Santorini Experience Visitors are invited to compete in the island’s biggest sporting event every October, with running and swimming. Happening at the same time is the Art of Motion, one of the world's most prestigious free running/ parkour events.

Feast Day of St. Averkios October 22. This is a big day not just for devotees of the saint, but also for wine-lovers. With much fanfare across the island and especially, of course, at Santorini's wineries, the first barrels of the season's wine are opened, and the inevitable merry-making ensues.

Traveling to Santorini in October? Check out these great itineraries. 

Active Athens, Mykonos, and Santorini - 8 Days. Hit three major hotspots on this active eight-day tour of some of Greece's most beautiful and iconic sites. You'll start with a full day in Athens before hopping a ferry to Mykonos, where you'll explore beaches and nightlife under the eyes of the island's famous windmills. End the trip in Santorini with its classic white-topped cliffs and caldera views, complete with island cruising, hiking, and stunning sunsets to spare.

Discover Mykonos, Santorini, and Crete - 11 Days. If you're looking for a classic Greek vacation that hits all the cultural highlights, this exciting itinerary is for you. Explore everything from the ancient ruins of Athens to the beaches of Mykonos and the magnificent hills of Santorini. Immerse yourself in authentic village life in Crete and visit the Minotaur's palace before you return to Athens for a culinary sendoff.

More Information

Santorini in November
Santorini in September
Hidden Gems of Santorini
Best Time to Visit Greece
How Many Days Should You Spend on Santorini?