Touring Crete off-season!

Visiting any Greek island off-season may seem an absurdity to all you party animals out there but, for the rest of mankind, Crete has loads to offer away from the July/August peak. Its treasure trove of archaeological wonders has always ensured its status above that of the usual sun resort. Add in some stunning scenery, gorgeous towns and fabulous food – now none of that disappears along with the higher summer temperatures, does it!

We’re not long back from a 10 night trip so here are a few initial thoughts……

1.You have the Minoans practically to yourselves. No entry queues, fewer bus tours and less of a logjam at the most popular selfie spots!

2. Your favourites restaurants will probably have a table – any time you want to eat!

3. No sunbed wars – not a towel to be seen before breakfast!

4. Temperatures make sightseeing bearable – no gasping on the slightest of inclines or harrying for space under that one shady tree on the whole site!

5. You can actually get that front row seating in the cafes!

6. Hotels are obviously going to be better value away from peak weeks. At a glance, hotels in late October seem to cost about 60% less than high season.

7. Parking is definitely less stressful – you can pull into any scenic layby along the road and there’s no need to abandon the car 20 minutes from the beach or town centre!

8. Car hire is 60-70% cheaper in October.

9. There are empty benches available – everywhere – even at those most picturesque spots that are NEVER free!

So how late should you go?

We traveled on October 25th.

By that stage of the season, flights were decreasing – Ryanair in our case, was finishing up its summer schedule and pulling direct Dublin flights. We connected in Bristol going out and in Athens on return. It worked out fine but added several hours on to each journey.

Not every hotel was available – many had already shut for the season and several closed either at the end of October or the following weekend.

Temperatures were lovely during the day – mid 20’s and even up to 30 degrees at times (overcast on only one morning). But it’s chilly once the sun disappears. The hour changed while we were there and we definitely noticed the difference when on the beach in the evenings.

Breakfast and lunch were enjoyable outdoors but we ate inside at night (although plenty were happy to stay outside along the terraces and sidewalks).

Archaeological Sites close earlier.


Even one week earlier would have made a difference re direct flight options and wider choice of accommodation. Otherwise, it was perfect.

(Disclosure – I must clarify BTW that I WAS, once upon a time, that party animal!!!😅🤣)

35 thoughts on “Touring Crete off-season!

    1. I particularly hate the waiting in line and trying to park the car. We weren’t sure what the weather would be like but it was lovely. There was definitely an end of season vibe but there were enough visitors around for atmosphere – of course it coincided with midterm breaks so there were still families about…

  1. This all sounds great to me. I’ve never been able to take the heat well and would never have contemplated the Med in July or August, although I have been in September. But everything you have to say about late October makes that sound even more appealing 🙂

    1. We’ve so many memories of sharing Italy in August with half of Europe! Then we went to Puglia one June – Ah! The difference!! I can handle the heat all right …but the crowds!! June and Sept are just perfect weatherwise. We weren’t too sure about October but reckoned that Crete would have archaeological sites etc on offer if the weather was bad. As it happened, the weather was perfect….

  2. I agree. I’ve holidayed in Crete in both April and October, loved it each time and can echo what you say about everything. Glad to see you are hopping about again and enjoying your travels and I can’t think of a nicer place than Crete in which to start ‘proper’ walking.

    1. Don’t know what’s going on Mari – this comment needed approval but not the other two – same picture and address on all of them – very strange!
      Managed to get about a little bit but nothing like the walking we’d usually do – I’d have love to walk some of the gorges and coastal paths. The towns are compact enough so I could manage the centres and also coped fine with Knossos etc…

  3. I don’t know! I put a comment on here but it hasn’t appeared although I’ve given it about ten minutes to be validated, yet I put another comment on an earlier post of yours, about Bora Bora and that appeared instantly. I notice that WP has put different pictures of me on the comments, I wonder if it thinks Im’ two people?

    1. Ha!! All the talk about empty benches and the like… I thought it important to point out that I didn’t always need to value such simple pleasures!!!

    1. Before is probably better than after I reckon – there’s an anticipation and build up to the season as opposed to hospitality workers’ collective exhaustion and pending winter …

    1. I can only imagine the place in high season! As it was, this was the only spot we ran into traffic – it turned out to be roadworks in the town centre so a major artery was closed and causing chaos… WE’d intended spending a night or two there but in the end opted for a place about 25 minutes away and just drove into town in the morning … I’d liked to have seen it at night…

  4. I have to agree with you, Greece is much more manageable & fun off-season. Especially the islands. We hit up Santorini, Crete & Hydra Island once at the end of March into April. It was idyllic. true, some restaurants & hotels were closed, but the weather was great & there were wildflowers everywhere. I’d like to check Greece out in October sometime too.

    1. We toured mainland Greece in June 2022 and we’d absolutely the best time… Athens was busy but not jammed and everywhere else was actually quiet but still had a bit of atmosphere –
      We were in Santorini in 1982 Keith – slightly before your time!!!

    1. We’re definitely veering away from high summer in Europe (but I’ve still got this thing about travelling in July /August – don’t think it’ll ever leave me!! – I think I could actually travel for 10 months of the year but if I were back home for those 2 months I’d still feel I’d had no holiday!!!!😅 😂 )

      1. Well…. between Covid and then a few medical mishaps, I reckon we’ve cancelled almost as much as we’ve fulfilled in the past few years so Carpe Diem and Go Go Go as much as possible!!

  5. We also no longer enjoy the crowds of the summer, the heat, or the prices.
    September and October are some of the best months to travel (along with the other 10 months of the year😂).
    Great post Marie!

    1. Thanks Christie… we hadn’t given much thought to price difference – I suppose we wouldn’t often be in such a seasonal place – so it was just when preparing this post that I compared prices for next summer and autumn – I couldn’t believe the contrast…

  6. I don’t think I’ve ever come across a better advertisement for retirement. Great read as usual and by the way we’re just back from a sunnier clime Br.

    1. Thanks Bar – like ourselves, you 2 have only known teacher holidays – How lucky are we to be able to enjoy life ‘on the outside’ now! Sure look at the pair of you – disappearing for weeks on end and back for the party season!!

  7. I don’t think I’ve ever come across a better advertisement for retirement. Great read as usual and it resonates with T. and I as we’re just back from a sunnier clime.

  8. Thanks for the tip! We’ve planned trips to Greece twice and both times fires happened before our scheduled trip so we cancelled. Maybe we’ll book the off season next go around. Looks lovely!

    1. That’s bad luck all right… We were to go to Turkey this summer but had to cancel anyway – but there were fires along our proposed route also – nothing like Greece though. We were on mainland Greece June 2022 and it was gorgeous.. but if you looking for a bit of craic on the islands I suppose you have to go in season ….

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