Crete in September – Everything to See & Do

Crete is a great place to visit for a warm holiday in September, with its stunning beaches and bucolic landscapes. Suitable for families, couples and young travellers alike, September is also a very good time for a cheap holiday in Crete, as prices will be lower compared to the summer months.

In this article, we will highlight everything you need to know about going to Crete in September. From the weather and events to the best things to see and do, we take you on a journey through this amazing island and show you just how special a trip to Crete in the autumn can be.

The Weather in Crete in September

Thanks to its southern location, Crete experiences a longer summer than other islands around mainland Greece. While there is a significant drop in temperatures across Crete, the weather remains very pleasant in September.  

Average temperatures in Crete in September settle around 24°C. Days can reach highs of 27°C and the evenings in Crete drop to approximately 19°C.

The water temperature in Crete is about 24°C in September, making it an excellent time for relaxing on the beach and getting stuck into exciting water sports. There will be some rain in September, usually 10mm across the month, but showers are irregular and short-lived, so they won’t impact your late summer escape. 

Due to the milder weather and reduced numbers of tourists, September is considered one of the best months to visit Crete. There will still be other visitors seeking a warm September holiday, but the overall experience is much more laid-back. 

Festivals and Events in Crete in September 

September is less lively than the summer months in Crete, with the island slowing down after the peak summer season. As autumn rolls in across Greece, many towns and villages prepare for the annual grape harvest, which presents visitors with a unique opportunity to take part in the harvest and celebrate alongside locals. 

Cretan Grape Harvest (Vendemmia) 

The timing of the grape harvest in Crete varies depending on the grape variety and the specific microclimate of each vineyard. However, the harvest season typically starts in early September. 

The grape harvest in Crete is not only an agricultural activity but also a significant cultural event. Many villages and communities come together to celebrate the grape harvest with festivals and parades. These gatherings often feature traditional music, dance and, of course, plenty of wine.

Vineyard tours and wine tastings are popular activities during this time, allowing visitors to sample Cretan wines and appreciate the flavours and aromas of the freshly harvested grapes. Crete has a growing wine industry with many wineries across the island where you can taste local wines made from indigenous grape varieties, like Vidiano and Kotsifali.

The Best Places to Visit in Crete in September

Being the largest of the Greek islands, there are many amazing places across Crete that are perfect for a September visit. From the bustling city of Heraklion to the picturesque streets of Chania, there is so much to discover on your autumn escape. 

Below, we list some of the best places to visit in Crete that will make your holiday exceptional. 


If you’re seeking a warm holiday in September and want to avoid large crowds, Chania is an excellent choice. This charming Cretan village features a picturesque Old Town with narrow streets, Venetian architecture and a gorgeous harbour. Within the Old Town, you can find weekly markets offering handmade crafts and local delicacies, which is a great way to interact with the locals. 

Chania is a great place to visit in September, as the long days leave you with plenty of time to see the sites and soak up the idyllic atmosphere.  Some major attractions in Chania include the historic Venetian lighthouse, the Chania Archaeological Museum and the Botanical Park and Gardens of Crete, located just outside the town.


One of the best places to visit in Crete is the ancient capital city, Heraklion. As you wander through the city you will be amazed by its unique blend of historic architecture and modern indulgence. Be sure to grab some marvellous pictures of the Koules Fortress and Morosini Fountain.

Heraklion offers visitors a range of experiences that make it one of the best places in Crete for any traveller. History buffs will be delighted by the extensive collection of Minoan artefacts at the Heraklion Archaeological Museum and can even walk along the Venetian Walls surrounding the city for an immersive and educational activity. 

For families and animal enthusiasts, the Cretaquarium is one of the top things to do in Crete. It is one of the largest aquariums in Europe and explores the different environments that marine life thrives in. From the darkest depths of the sea to colourful coral reefs, the aquarium offers a tremendous amount of insight into the different animals that call our oceans home.  


For a quaint, coastal escape, visitors should explore the port city of Rethymno on the north coast of Crete. Known for its Ottoman and Venetian influences, Rethymno is a great place to visit in September as the milder weather brings an inviting ambience to the town.

Within the city, you can Visit the Fortezza Castle, a Venetian fortress overlooking the town. From the elevated setting, you can enjoy panoramic views of the colourful city and sapphire sea. After exploring the fortress, take a stroll along the Venetian Harbor with its picturesque lighthouse and enjoy the waterfront promenade lined with cafes and restaurants.

Nature lovers and travellers eager to get outdoors will particularly enjoy Rethymno. The main town beach is well-organised and perfect for swimming and sunbathing, but there are also more secluded beaches like Bali and Preveli which offer a more serene environment. 

If you’re feeling adventurous, consider hiking the E4 trail which runs through Rethymno and offers stunning views of the Cretan countryside. 

The Samaria Gorge 

A great place to visit in Crete in September is the Samaria Gorge, one of Europe’s most famous and spectacular natural attractions. You can find this natural wonder in the southwestern part of Crete, within the White Mountains in the Chania region.

The Samaria Gorge is renowned for its stunning natural beauty, complete with dramatic rock formations, towering cliffs, lush vegetation and crystal-clear mountain streams. One of the top attractions in Crete is hiking through the dramatic gorge. The trek is approximately 16 kilometres long, starting at an elevation of around 1,200 metres and descending to the Libyan Sea on the southern coast of Crete.

The hike concludes in the small village of Agia Roumeli on the southern coast, where you can relax, enjoy a meal and take a refreshing dip in the Libyan Sea. September is an ideal time for hiking the Samaria Gorge since the weather is cooler and the flora is still vibrant.

The Best Things to Do in Crete in September

Tourism is still in full swing in September and it doesn’t start to quieten down until the end of October. As such, there are so many things to do in Crete in September which can all be enjoyed without the jostling crowds of the peak season. 

Whether you want to delve into the ancient history of Crete or spend time exploring the island’s natural beauty, we’ve compiled a list of the top things to do in Crete for your September holiday. 

Visit the Historical Sites

Crete is an island brimming with ancient history that begs to be explored. Sites like Phaistos and Gortyna are great places to delve into the island’s archaeology. From the Minoans to the Byzantines, there is so much history to unravel which makes it a great place to visit for anyone obsessed with the distant past.

Out of Crete’s historical offerings, Knossos is the clear standout. This palace was once the centre of power during the Minoan Period from 2600 BC to 1100 BC and is exceptionally well preserved, offering a clear look into ancient times. It is located about 5 kilometres south of Heraklion, which makes it very accessible and there are ample guided tours available which provide a better understanding of the ancient palace. 

The Palace of Knossos served as a royal residence, administrative centre and hub of economic activity. It is notable for its association with the legendary King Minos and the myth of the Minotaur. On your visit to Knossos, you should seek out the many well-preserved frescos like Prince of the Lilies and the Dolphin Fresco, which offer deeper insight into the daily lives of the Minoans. 

Explore the Best Beaches in Crete

Crete is known for its beautiful beaches, and September offers ideal weather for enjoying some time on the golden shores. The range of beaches offers a serene setting to relax and sunbathe under the mild September sun. If you’re an adventure seeker, you can also try water sports such as snorkelling, diving and windsurfing, which are readily available in many coastal areas.

Located in the southwest of Crete, Elafonissi Beach is known for its unique pink sands and crystal-clear azure waters. It’s a protected nature reserve and offers a stunning natural setting that is perfect for unwinding by the sea. Rent out a parasol and let the lapping of the waves lull you into total relaxation. 

To the west, Falassarna Beach is a wide, sandy beach with crystal-clear waters and a relaxed atmosphere. It’s a popular spot for both sunbathing and riveting water sports. Due to its location, it’s one of the best places to watch the sunset as it dips below the deep blue sea, so be sure to stick around to see it. 

Take Day Trips to the Greek Islands

Consider taking a boat trip to explore Crete’s coastline and nearby islands. There are many boat tours and ferries which allow you to hop around the different islands and explore to your heart’s content. 

Santorini is one of the most famous and picturesque Greek islands. You will get to see iconic blue-domed churches, dramatic sunsets and stunning cliffside villages like Oia and Fira. Day trips to Santorini from Crete often involve a ferry ride, giving you several hours to explore the island’s charm, including its beautiful beaches and archaeological sites.

Another great island for a day trip is Spinalonga, known for its Venetian fortress and function as a leper colony till 1957. It has a rich history that is so astounding it has been recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Day trips to Spinalonga from Crete often include guided tours of the island’s historical sites, which is a great way to find out more about the rich history of the region.

Crete in September FAQs

How Many Days Is Enough for Crete?

Crete is a big island, so if you want to explore its range of opportunities and experiences, we suggest spending at least 5 days there. This will give you plenty of time to hit the top historical sites, explore the beaches and squeeze in some day trips to other gorgeous islands. 

How Big is Crete?

Crete has a total area of 8,450km, making it the 88th largest island in the world. Driving from one end of the island to the other would take around 5 hours. Because of its large size, renting a car or motorbike is an excellent option if you want to see as much of the island as possible. 


Crete remains a timeless destination, but a visit to this ancient island in September reveals a perfect place to capture the dwindling essence of summer before it slips away. Crete offers a perfect blend of cultural experiences, natural beauty and pleasant weather. Whether you’re interested in history, vineyards or simply soaking up the Mediterranean sun, Crete has something for everyone. 

If you’ve enjoyed this blog, be sure to check out our travel guide for Greece where you will find the best travel tips and inspiration for your next adventure.

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About the Author

Tom Adams

Copywriter at SEO Travel. Contributor to Backpacker Boy, Travel Aisle with a background in Archaeology and Sports Writing.