Why You Should Visit Greece In October
When my husband and I decided we needed a quick getaway together we had two factors we considered while narrowing down our options: cost and weather. Because of the last minute nature of our trip we needed it to be affordable and with the onset of the cooler weather I really wanted to be somewhere where I could feel warmer. My husband happens to be a google ninja and seems to enjoy researching a thing to the point of exhaustion, or at least until I am exhausted and wish he would just make a decision. So, when he suggested Crete I had no doubt he had found the perfect destination. Neither of us had ever been to Greece either so it had the added bonus of being someplace we could experience for the first time together.
One of the great things about visiting the stunning Greek islands in the fall is that the prices have significantly dropped. For our flights and accommodations in was only £300 including the upgrade to a sea view room. This was economy flying and only a three star hotel but both were perfectly satisfactory to me if it meant five days in the sun.
By October the island of Crete has reached the end of it’s tourist season which means that you will not battle crowds or long lines and you can capture photos of streets, beaches, restaurants, and walkways with virtually nobody obstructing your view. For an avid amateur photographer that meant I got hundreds of beautiful photos that didn’t have to have strangers edited out. Don’t get me wrong there are still tourists, obviously, but not in the number that you would expect and it was often eerily quiet on the streets and in the market areas.
It is impossible not to fall in love with the quaint quiet streets as you wander around exploring and if you don’t have to fight crowds so much the better.
The lower number of tourists has the added benefit of leaving you free to wait until the last minute to book excursions and day trips and you may find that your group is much smaller than at busier times of the year. We took a trip called Interesting Crete, where we were taken to what they consider their most noteworthy destinations around the North-East of Crete. Our first stop was the gorgeous Bottomless Lake in Agios Nikolaos. So named simply because the people who lived there first couldn’t see the bottom and since it was such a small body of water and the water in this country is so clear they assumed they should be able to. Jacques Cousteau took his team of divers down to see and discovered that it is actually only 64 meters deep but the name continues regardless.
Our next stop was the small fishing village of Elounda where we stopped for a coffee break and a short walk around the charming harbour.
The Greeks version of Atlantis is also found in Crete and because the water is so clear you can easily see what remains of the walls of this sunken city.
Probably my favourite part of the excursion was our time on and around the tiny island of Spinalonga. There is book called The Island by Victoria Hislop that is actually about Spinalonga which I haven’t read but have been told is well worth it. I probably took more pictures wandering around here than I did the whole rest of the trip combined but I will not overload you with them, I promise. In reality I could write more than one blog post on this stop alone but for now be assured that the water really is that colour and that the ruins found on the island will take your breath away.
The island has a long and interesting history but it’s most recent use was a refuge for the lepers of the area. They were taken to the island and given a home, medical care, and small pension to live on and they suddenly had a community to support them after mostly living in isolation in the hills of Crete.
After a break for lunch we drove up into the hills where we visited a family owned olive oil factory, Vassilakis Estate. I will be the first to admit that I wouldn’t have sought out an olive oil factory but the enthusiasm for the trees and the process expressed by the gentleman showing us around did win me over. The amazing flavours we got to enjoy during our tasting would have had me overloading my bags with the oil to bring home were it not for the 100ml limit we had on the liquids going into our carry-on.
We ended the day at the stunning monastery of Agios Georgios Selinari a fully functioning monastery set in the beautiful hills of Crete. The view alone from here may have you considering becoming a monk.
On our last day we impulsively decided to take a several hour boat trip and we spent the day basking in the beautiful sea and the sun. The water temperature in October remains around 25 degrees celsius which is slightly warmer than the air temperature which makes it very swimmable even this late in the year.
There is no need to avoid getting into the water and the fact that it is so clear makes it ideal for snorkeling as well.
I am a passionate sea lover so the sparkling clear water would have been enough reason to visit Greece but the still mid twenties weather and the quieter coast lines certainly made October an ideal month for me to visit.
Every street seemed to offer something new to discover and both my husband and I found ourselves saying “let’s go see what’s over here” more than one time.
If you are hoping to find the traditional white stone and blue accented buildings you see in all the travel magazine I promise you won’t be disappointed. The whole country seems determined to be the most photograph-able place it can be. The flowers and greenery are still fully in bloom despite the autumn weather changes affecting so much of the rest of the world and it will convince you that you are in the tropical paradise you are.
Both my husband and I have long lists of places that we want to visit and because of this hesitate to return to the same place more than once, no matter how much we fall in love with it, but Greece stole our hearts. At the end of our short visit neither of us felt ready to go and we both agreed that we will be returning to the gorgeous blue water and welcoming locals as often as possible.