Why to visit Greek islands in Autumn

I visited Naxos Island last autumn. It was the first time I was at Cyclades. Most of my friends have been there but all of them, during summertime. One day I said…Kiki, let’s see if it is worth doing so but during the end of autumn. I love experimentation and this one was a good opportunity to see by myself if our   Ministry of Tourism is right in advertising Greek islands as an all year round destination. 

Naxos is one of the most beautiful and most popular places during summer time. Thousands of tourists flock to the island where according to Greek mythology, the young Zeus was raised in a cave on Mt. Zas (“Zas” meaning “Zeus“) at the highest hill of the island.

From June to August the island literally sinks by people. The scenery alleys of  Cycladic architecture are packed by tourist who are trying either to pass through or just enjoy time, sitting in the taverns or the traditional Greek coffee shops, while others just try to take pictures of the elaborate alleys.

I admit that Greece’s warm summer weather, the golden beaches, the enticing crystal- clear waters and the incredible sunset spots, makes it one of Europe’s most popular vacation destinations.

However, my point here is why to visit a place like Naxos only during summer time whereas you can receive the same pleasure in a quieter, peaceful scenery away from the noise and the crowd where quality comes first and most possible a lot cheaper.  

So one shiny day of November, I took the plane and landed in Naxos. Since the first hour I spent there, I could experience something that is usually obscured during the peak season: a sense of the rhythms and culture of true island life.  I had a personal connection with the locals who now they are back in the normal rhythms where everything has slowed down. I even received a full hospitality treatment from the property owner of the guesthouse who invited me to her home for hot cheese pie and omelet with freshly gathered eggs!

Even as a stranger, locals had no hesitation to strike up casual conversation with me, offering their advice and guidance to help and get the most out of the island. This is a so-called “Filoxenia”.

Temple of God Apollo “Portara” ancient ruins

Furthermore, during autumn the temperatures are perfect for other activities like hiking and short walks to the ancient ruins. For people like me who love exploration, spring and autumn are the ideal seasons to visit Greece if you are not a beach junkie!

Naxos is rich in ancient ruins. TheTemple of Apollo – Portara, a huge marble gate and the single remaining part of an unfinished temple of Apollo of 530 BC, is the island’s emblem and main landmark. Everybody wants to take a picture there. To manage being in the setting alone without any other tourists around you during summer time is not possible! For me… no problem since I was almost alone.

One of the many Orthodox chapels of Cycladic architecture.

For those who don’t want to struggle a lot, yet they adore sightseeing  they can visit another interesting  place, the ancient quarry of Apollos’s on Naxos is a huge, half-finished statue, known as the Kouros of the god Apollo. The statue, lying in supine position and longer than 10m, dates to the 6th century BC and archaeologists differ on whether it represents Apollo or the god Dionysus. There is a second Kouros located in the greater Flerio area. Posing right next to these enormous laying statues makes you feel like a tiny ant. 

Kiki posing next to the giant Kouros of God Apollo.

Moreover, for those who really like challenging themselves, a hike to the highest peak of the island will compensate for the struggle. 

In case you are not millionaires a last but not least reason for visiting Naxos during autumn is the better fairs in accommodation and services in general. All prices get lower allowing you to save money for other activities or to increase the time of your staying. 

So next time you will be ready to book your holiday trip, think clever. 

Greece can capture your heart and astound you during autumn for sure!

View of the main land