Returning from a holiday and needing to deal with an abrupt end to carefree ways can be upsetting, prompting a desire for a little extra time away. If feeling so, choose a couple of days in September, pack your travel bag and take off again.
After all, as is commonly known, the Greek islands are even more delightful in September. The month’s reduced number of travellers assures a travel experience of greater quality. Non-congested settings reveal all their beauty, while outings and swimming become easier, more relaxed and carefree.
Tinos, the quiet achiever of the Cyclades, represents an ideal weekend escape from all concerns. Begin with relaxed strolls at the island’s whitewashed alleys, not congested at this time of the year and offering satisfaction to the fullest. With tourism’s mass influx now over on the island, locals are more relaxed and easier to socialise with. Visit the villages Pyrgos, Komi, Volakas, and Tripotamo, a spot with charming cobbled alleys and traditional architecture. Swim at the island’s exceptional waters, at beaches now largely empty. This applies for serviced beaches such as Agios Sostis, Kionia and Laouti, and especially for non-serviced beaches such as Livada, Agia Thalassa and Pahia Ammos. Walk at Tinos’ superb trails and, along the way, see the island’s renowned dovecotes, as well as small, all-white chapels. Head all the way to Exomvourgo.
Settle at one of the village kafeneia or small tavernas to try Tinos’ culinary delights, including tomato fritters, malathouni cheese, spicy kopanisti cheese, as well as sun-dried tomatoes. Tinos is closely tied with its Evaggelistria church, built in 1823, as well as marble sculpting, making essential visits to both the church and the Museum of Marble Crafts.
Small islands such as Antiparos are ideal for weekend escapes. Having a car is not really necessary and fewer choices about what to do and where to go make getaways simpler and more carefree. At Antiparos, minimal time is needed to reach the island’s beaches, the most distant of all being no more than a 20-minute drive. Also, virtually all of this island’s beaches are easily reached, without inconveniences or needing to persevere through hard-to-cross paths. This makes for an even more relaxed beach experience, from early until late in the day. Also, the milder sun at this time of year and cooler sand temperatures add to the quality of the experience. Soros and Apantima beaches, extremely congested during summer’s peak, are empty now. You can lay out your beach towel anywhere you like and pick from multiple vacant sunbeds. Even Faneromeni beach, situated at a remote spot, would have been busy in the heart of summer, but is now all for you. Returning to Antiparos’ main town, things are delightfully simple as virtually everything you may need – taverns, bars, ouzeri spots, cafes, boutiques – is located along the main alley. Before settling at one of the main town’s spots for a drink or dinner, take a stroll at the Venetian castle area, incorporated into the town and dated back to approximately the mid-15th century. Head all the way down to the harbour or into the small alleys to discover Antiparos’ quieter spots off the beaten track. If you have never visited Antiparos before, it is definitely worth visiting Spilaio, Europe’s only vertical cave, 85 metres deep. The view from the top of the cave is extraordinary.
Skiathos, luring travellers drawn by the island’s lush settings, golden sandy beaches and crystal-clear waters, is among the Greek islands attracting thousands of tourists, from Greece and abroad, every summer. If you want to really enjoy this island, the best time to visit is early in the summer or September. During these periods, the island is neither entirely empty, which can feel eerie, nor packed. Skiathos’ beaches are truly picture-perfect. Trees almost touch the water and the sea, transparent, is a sensational turquoise colour. At this time of year, the Koukounaries and Banana beaches attract just enough people for a pleasant atmosphere. In the evening hours, stroll around Skiathos’ town and decide on a taverna for dinner, whilst also keeping a lookout for a bar where you would like to have after-dinner drinks.
If not interested in spending an entire day at the beach, then select one of the island’s 25 marked and signposted trails for trekking through reinvigorating greenery, alongside small ravines and creeks. Or, for an adrenaline rush, go kitesurfing or water skiing at one of the beaches of Skiathos, renowned for its water sports.
Hydra is just the place you need if you have returned from your holiday, are back at work, feeling relaxed and rested, but simply cannot get your mind off the beaches. Hydra, a car-free island, is quiet in September and incredibly picturesque. Its grand old stone houses and cobbled paths taking visitors back in time. In addition, the waters are marvellous for swimming. Plakes, Molos and Vlychos, all pebble-covered beaches, Mandraki, with golden sand, and Bisti, featuring a backdrop of pines, all offer amazing waters that will keep tempting you back. Spilia, a short distance from the harbour, is not exactly a beach, but its waters may be accessed from steps on rocks leading to deep waters. Locals have created a sunbathing space here. Hydronetta, close to Spilia, is much the same. Both these beaches are great if you do not feel like distancing yourself from Hydra’s main town. You may want to go slightly further out to Kaminia, still close and also featuring exceptional waters. If on the island for the first time, do some walking to learn about its history. Walk by the houses of the Koundouriotis family, eminent since the times of the Greek Revolution, including the Lazaros Koundouriotis Historical Mansion, in the town, a residence now operating as a museum annex of the National Historical Museum; as well as the residence of Georgios Koundouriotis, a ship-owner and politician who served as prime minister in 1848, situated at a lush hill above the harbour. See the garrisons and the School of Merchant Marines, housed at the Mansion of Lazaros Tsamados, and reach Kiafa hill, the town’s oldest district, featuring stone houses and narrow streets. This entire area is covered by taking a relaxed stroll, early in the morning or late afternoon being the best times. Keep your midday hours free for the beach.
Poros is also a fine choice for a very relaxing weekend break. Strolling by the beaches, up to the Clock Tower hill, or through the alleys with lovely neoclassical houses will get your mind off concerns. If you enjoy walking, a relatively long and scenic walk, stretching approximately 4 km, starts from the harbour and reaches the old Russian naval base. One of the beaches closest to the town is situated here, so have your bathers on. Askeli, Kanali and Agios Stefanos are even closer to town and offer blue waters. All three beaches are ideal if you don’t want to cover great distances. If interested in exploring areas beyond the town, Vagionia, in the north, is an exceptional choice. Should the weather not be appropriate for swimming, trekking along the pine-covered mountain slopes is always one of a number of options. A seaside trail starts from slightly beyond the old Russian naval base and reaches the stone Dana lighthouse, while another scenic route starts from the outskirts of Askeli, at Kyani Akti beach, and heads up to the 6th century BC Temple of Poseidon. For lush greenery, take the trail beginning from Kyani Akti beach. It heads up Mount Stravorahi and then runs downhill at the Zoodohou Pigis monastery before reaching the beach.