October in Crete - 5 Things To Do

 Experience an October Holiday to Remember in Crete!

After the long and sunny days of the beach season, October marks the start of the Cretan autumn, bringing some clouds, fog, drizzle, and sometimes heavy winds and rain, especially in the second half of the month. Even if there are some slight differences in weather and climate on particular areas of the island (East is dryer than West and South warmer than north), on the whole, temperatures in October remain pleasant and warm, and the sun shines most days. Day temperature varies between 23°C-25°C, going cooler at night down to 15°C-17°C, so some thick clothing is needed. The sea temperatures are still very pleasant at around 23°C offering the beach lovers a refreshing dip.

On average, there are almost 7 hours of sunshine a day, but consider yourself very lucky if you manage to enjoy a week of steady sunny weather. Tourists are around but it’s never crowded. In terms of resorts, many places will have closed or got prepared for closure at this time of year. Exceptions are some hotels with spa centers, which remain open until the end of October or even in the first week of November. Buses change onto the winter timetable, with longer intervals between departures, but renting a car always remains an available option to move around. As it is the last month of the tourist season, for the flights to Crete you may have more choices to go to Heraklion than to Chania. Take into consideration mainly the regular flights, because charters are fewer.

If you’re visiting Crete more for the adventure, sights, history, wineries, and food then October is the best time. Here are some suggestions worth looking at, if you don't mind the shorter days and things quieter.

City Tours and Sightseeings

 Crete’s main cities of Heraklion, Chania, and Rethymnon have a large local population and stay active and open year-round, so you can feel the essence and the heartbeat of the Island even in the offseason. From the distant past to the present day, every single place on the island has a short or a huge story to tell, but October is a fantastic time to visit the most popular ones that are totally overrun in summer. 

 Apart from the Venetian fortresses and historical city centers surrounded by defensive walls, you can visit the Byzantine and Ottoman monuments, the old churches, and many museums which usually host thematic exhibitions and events. Museums are open, with possibly shorter hours, and generally empty except for the occasional school groups. Also, you can wander around the cobbled streets in search of the best shops and restaurants frequented by the locals. 

 Tip: even if there are many options for high standards city accommodation, make sure that you get a room with some form of heating, to avoid thermic discomfort during the night.

Wine Tasting and Winery Tours 

 Crete has been known for wine since the Minoan civilization. The majority of the modern-day wineries are in the sunny foothills of the mountains of Northern Crete, which enjoys a Mediterranean climate and fertile soil. 

 During your visit to an open vineyard, you benefit from a guided tour, learn about the local varieties of grapes, and how wines are made, then you experience the cellars where you get to see wines in the aging process. Finally, you enjoy a wine degustation alongside some traditional Cretan food. You also can book wine tasting and winery tours with specialized guides, because nothing beats drinking wine and feeling fine while visiting some of Crete’s top-rated wine destinations! 

 In October, you are welcome to join the grape harvest and attend the feasts of Kazanemata (the distillation of grapes and production of the local raki) taking place all over Crete! 

Visit Traditional Olive Mills

 Greece is well-known for its olive oil production, ranking third in the world. Each year, it produces 350,000 tonnes of olive oil to which Crete contributes more than the mainland and the other islands altogether. 

 Like wine, olive oil, ”the Cretan gold” has a long history in Crete. Oil production dates back to Minoan times and is a staple of the Mediterranean diet. In Crete, the best olive oil productions are in the western part of the country, where the soil is rocky and hardy and the weather is the right mixture of drought and rain. The region of Kolymvari produces approximately 15,000 tonnes of olive oil per year being the most important olive oil region on the island of Crete. 

 Many family-owned companies still have an original olive press, usually hosted in a small museum corner of their modernized factory, to show tourists how oil used to be made centuries ago. During your visit, you will learn the differences between extra virgin and virgin olive oils and you will end with an olive oil tasting, which is a very interesting and unique experience. 

Jeep Safari Adventure 

 The majestic limestone mountains of Crete are home to fascinating caves, gorges, and traditional villages. Venturing high up into the mountains on less known roads is a great way to explore and discover the hidden treasures of Crete island. If you like off-road trips with a little dose of adrenaline, you can find many safari clubs to explore the Cretan rugged and wild landscapes in October. 

 A one-day wheeling adventure to just get a little glimpse of this great and beautiful island comprises driving across the fertile valleys with olive groves and vineyards into the spectacular mountains, enjoying gorgeous panoramic views from above, spotting eagles, goats, or other wildlife, visiting many charming mountain villages and few stops at taverns for a traditional snack with homemade cheeses, herb pies, and other delicacies. 

 An experience to remember!  

Sunbathe on the Beach 

 Just because summer is over doesn’t mean you can’t go to the beach! Many beaches in Crete are actually better in the fall because there are no more crowded. It’s a lovely time to stroll the very famous Balos, Preveli, Vai, Falassarna, or totally disappear on one of the wild and secluded beaches in the South. The sea is calmer, because the northern winds blow stronger in summer, and swimming is quite bearable.

 Do you miss the old good days when you used to enjoy the wild landscapes, unaltered by the invasion of civilization and the authentic beaches, with no sunbeds and umbrellas? Do you prefer a quiet holiday, closer to authentic Crete? Then this is the perfect time to connect with nature and enjoy the silence, sea, and sun therapy!  

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