Top reasons why September is the best time to visit Crete

Live your myth in Crete at the end of the summer!

If you have always wanted to enjoy quiet holidays in Crete and move around exploring the island at your own pace, we have a suggestion for you: visit Crete in September and make the most of your vacation!

You might be surprised, but the summer in Crete extends well beyond August! Instead, the relaxed atmosphere, endless activity options and cheaper accommodation and travel prices make late summer holidays in Crete a blast! Keep on reading to find out 5+1 reasons why September is the best month to visit Crete:

  1. Cheaper vacation
  2. Perfect weather
  3. Comfortable road trip
  4. Local gastronomy exploration
  5. Smooth cultural tours
  6. Relaxed island hopping

Aerial view of the town and port of Agios Nikolaos in eastern Crete

The quaint town of Agios Nikolaos in eastern Crete

1. Cheaper vacation

Crete is a large island and one of Greece’s most popular holiday destinations. Therefore, it offers a wide range of travel options: from low-budget vacations at camping sites by the beach, to a luxury stay in all-inclusive resorts and villas.

Whatever your vacation style, if you visit Crete at the end of the summer, you will benefit from lower prices compared to the high season. More specifically, in September you can reduce up to 20% your vacation budget for:

  • Ferry tickets
  • Accommodation
  • Restaurants and bars
  • Transportation expenses, e.g. rental car services

Especially if you are planning on staying more than a week to explore many parts of the island, September’s lower prices can really make a difference in your budget!

Tip: to keep the budget for your trip to Crete even tighter, check some cheap Greek ferry deals for 2023.

Woman overlooking Prevelis beach near Rethymnon in Crete

River meeting the sea at the gorgeous Prevelis beach near Rethymnon

2. Perfect weather

Crete is the southernmost part of Greece, so summers on the island are usually extremely hot and dry. In September, however, marks the end of the big heat waves. The weather remains warm and pleasant since temperatures don’t usually surpass 30°C, days are still long and the sea temperature is more enjoyable than ever.

This September weather is ideal for outdoor activities and water sports. If you are looking for the August winds, you can still find them in western Crete. And even though the summer isn’t at all over, you can enjoy cooler evenings by the sea. You probably won’t need a jacket, though, unless you are planning on taking a trip to the mountain. 

Tip: September is a great time to visit Crete if you have a family with small kids, since it’s the best season to spend long days at the beach with them and introduce them to the sea!

Falasarna beach in western Crete

The long and windy beach of Falasarna, great for windsurfing, in western Crete

3. Comfortable road trip

One of the most unforgettable experiences you can have in Crete is a road-trip adventure! This way, you can explore most of the beauties of the long island: from the unspoilt nature of its stunning coasts to its beautiful mainland with mountains, forests and gorges. In general, Crete has a good road network with safe highways, destined even for the less experienced divers.

On a road trip, you can visit all major cities across Crete. We recommend driving from west to east and take the tour: Chania - Rethymnon - Heraklion - Agios Nikolaos - Sitia. Don't forget to  also explore Ierapetra and Sfakia on the southern coast.

In September, there’s a lot less traffic on Crete’s streets, so the road trip will be extra comfortable, and you will be able to move around faster and visit more areas. As the island is less crowded, you can also book accommodations in different locations much easier.

Tip: wondering how to travel to Crete to start your road trip? Check our complete guide on how to get to Crete

Sea view from inside a car in Crete

Beautiful sea view on a road trip in Crete

4. Local gastronomy exploration

Yes, Crete’s products and dishes are otherworldly. Food alone is a more than an adequate reason to visit the island, since its cuisine is the best example of what a Mediterranean diet is: healthy, rich in flavors and with fresh local ingredients.

In September, you can find some of the best seasonal products that grow on the island, like greeneries and herbs. With less tourists around, you can also enjoy better service and a warmer Cretan hospitality experience in restaurants.

If you are interested in taking part in more authentic local activities, in September you can witness or take part in the grape harvest! If you don’t feel that adventurous, you can always visit one of the many wineries in Crete and taste the island's various high-quality wines.

Tip: do you enjoy tasting local wines when you are traveling? Check our post on the top Greek islands for wine and cheese lovers.

Bowl with traditional Cretan salad

A traditional Cretan salad: healthy and gourmet at the same time

5. Smooth cultural tours

Crete is not only an extremely beautiful island; it is also the home of the great ancient Minoan civilization, as the island’s numerous archeological sites make clear. The most well-known ones are, of course, the Minoan Palaces of Knossos and Phaestos. Other important sites are the town of Lato and the Diktaion Andron cave near Agios Nikolaos, and the sunken settlement of Olous near Eloundas.

Apart from the archaeological treasures, there are also important natural and historical sights worth visiting, such as the Spinalonga islet, the cedar forest south of Chania and the Matala caves.

Crete’s cultural sites, especially the Minoan palaces and museums, are visited by thousands of tourists in the summer and they can get very crowded. If you want to take smooth tours and discover Cretan culture and history without queues and crowds taking hundreds of photos, September is just the season for you!

The Phaistos archeological site with trees and mountains in the background in Crete

Time traveling back to the Bronze age at the Phaistos archeological site

+1 Relaxed island hopping

Crete is probably one of the best island-hopping destinations in Greece, since its ports are connected by ferry to most Aegean islands. The ports of Heraklion and Rethymnon are the best starting points for island hopping to the Cyclades. There are also weekly routes from Heraklion and Sitia to the Dodecanese.

More affordable ferry tickets, less busy ports and frequent ferries. What else do you need? September is perfect for trips by ferry from Crete to Santorini, Mykonos, Rhodes, and other popular Greek destinations!

Buildings and street-lights in Heraklion, the capital city of Crete, at sundown

The beautiful city and lit-up port of Heraklion at sundown

Summer in Crete stays alive and standing, when autumn has already taken over around Europe. Will you just let the summer go? Book ferry tickets to Crete on Ferryhopper with no hidden fees and keep enjoying the carelessness and warmth in September!

Extra tip: download the Ferryhopper App for free, book your tickets faster and track your ferry live!