Many tourists choose the hottest months of the summer to visit Greece’s largest island, but Crete has plenty to offer in autumn. September is the most interesting month for those who love the beach but also want to dose up on clubbing, entertainment, and inland adventures.
With weather temperature averaging around 26°C and a seawater temperature at 24°C, September is an appealing month for a vacation on Crete. It rarely rains in this part of the world in September, so beachgoers do not have to worry about their sunbathing time. Hotels, restaurants, clubs, shops, and entertainment venues are still open, as this month is still part of the tourist season, which usually ends in mid-October, sometimes beginning of November.
All areas of Crete offer fantastic opportunities for travelers in September, with some of the most popular being Kissamos in the Chania regional unit, Elounda in the Lasithi regional unit, Hersonissos in the Heraklion regional unit, and the list goes on. Here are our favorite destinations for those who plan to visit Crete in September.
Part of the Heraklion regional unit, Hersonissos is a local government unit comprising a seaside resort with a peninsula and port, an inland village known as the Upper Hersonissos, and several traditional villages.
Most tourists who choose to vacation in this area will choose accommodation in the seaside area, close to the port or to some of the most popular attractions here, which include:
- CretAquarium – always a fascinating destination to see the wonders of the ocean and better understand the ecosystems of the Cretan Sea.
- Dinosauria Park – withing walking distance from the CretAquarium, features life-size models of dinosaurs, fossils, bones, and 5D and 7D cinemas offering immersive experiences for young and old.
- Planet Crete – a planetarium next door to the Dinosauria Park in Gouves. It has a well-curated program of shows, interactive exhibitions, and educational activities for the little ones.
- Aquaworld Crete in the port of Hersonissos – an animal rescue center with a focus on reptiles and local sea life. Visitors may pet some of the animals.
- Lychnostatis Open Air Museum featuring ethnographic and folk collections, a beautiful garden displaying local flora and Cretan herbs, and a collection of pre-industrial tools and technology.
The Hersonissos unit’s seashore boasts several Blue Flag beaches offering all kinds of opportunities for watersports like diving, snorkeling, SUP, parasailing, fishing tours, windsurfing, and much more.
Further inland, the visitors will discover authentic Cretan mountain villages where time seems to stand still, and people are famous for their warm, unadulterated hospitality. Take time to explore Avdou and Potamies.
Kissamos is a large municipality in the Chania regional unit. It comprises the eponymous port and fishing harbor, the Gramvousa peninsula overlooking the small Gramvousa Islets, scenic villages accessible on winding mountainous roads, and some of the most famous beaches of the island, including Balos Lagoon Beach, Falasarna, and Elafonissi Beach.
Each of these beaches is a must-see attraction of the western side of the island. The port of Kissamos is an attraction, and while here, do not miss a visit to the Archaeological Museum of Kissamos inside the Venetian castle of the town, to immerse yourself in the history of the area.
Kissamos does not have as many entertainment venues as Hersonissos but promises a more relaxed, bucolic travel experience. Its postcard stunning Blue Flag beaches count as the best in the world. Most villages in the area preserve Cretan traditions with great pride. Enjoy the local cuisine and wines, and go for an olive oil-tasting event while you are here or for chestnuts in Innachori on the way to Elafonisi.
Worlds apart from Kissamos, in the eastern part of the island, Agios Nikolaos is another municipality that has a lot to offer when you visit Crete in September. The namesake capital of the municipality faces the sea and has a beautiful promenade that will inspire your inner artist. A famous landmark of the town is Lake Voulismeni, an oddity as it is a sweet water lake connected to the sea. According to legends, the goddess Athena bathed in its waters. Grab a window seat at a taverna above the lake to take in the views that encompass the lake, promenade, marina, and endless sea.
Another destination landmark of the municipality is Elounda, about twelve kilometers drive from Agio Nikolaos harbor on the way to the island of Spinalonga. Elounda has all kinds of luxury resorts, exceptional restaurants, and a splendid beach. From here, drive on to Plaka to catch a boat tour to Spinalonga where you can visit the fortress and the site of the abandoned leper colony and spend a few hours on the beach. Be advised: there is no accommodation on Spinalonga, so you must return to Plaka the same day.
There are many fascinating traditional Cretan villages inland in the Agios Nikolaos municipality. Visit them for traditional architecture and exceptional local fare. If you spend your September holiday with your children here, consider visiting the Amazonas Park, a must-see animal rescue center and zoo.