As the heat of high summer dies off and the peak season crowds begin to recede, a traditional way of life returns to the islands and mainland of Greece. The off-season is the time to experience the “real” Greece, with extended seasons ensuring plenty to see and do and great weather and warm waters until the end of the year. Whilst the natural beauty of the country is stunning year-round, the pristine beaches and charming townscapes are particularly special with just a handful of locals for company.
Mild evenings are perfect for dining outside, either on the private deck of your yacht or at a waterfront taverna, with spectacular sunsets guaranteed at this time of year. Hop from island to island, or come ashore to the mainland to experience the huge variety of activities and cultural highlights, and create your own bespoke Greek yacht charter holiday, taking your pick from one of the many IYC charter yachts available in this stunning country.
Of course, a trip to Greece would not complete without visiting some of the awe-inspiring archaeological sites and ruins. The light of the low autumn sun catches angles that show them at their best and the cooler temperatures and few visitors allow you to immerse yourself in Grecian history and get a real feel of the atmosphere of ancient Greece. Wander round empty monasteries and churches, hike up Lykavittos Hill to view the Acropolis or explore the ancient ruins of the Aegean islands.
Experience traditional ways of life
Food is part of the culture in Greece and as the typically Mediterranean diet of the country revolves around fresh seasonal foods, the changing produce brings the comforting flavours of fennel, leeks and olives. The olive harvest is an important time of year which begins in November and continues to mid-January, during which many festivals are held to celebrate the harvest. For a unique experience and taste of traditional life, cruise to the island of Kythera and spend a few days picking olives yourself. Try your hand at age-old harvesting techniques, then learn the fascinating process of pressing when you will be able to take home a bottle of the freshest oil. Olive oil is known for its health properties, so what better way to visit this region than on a wellness charter on board one of IYC's charter yachts. The combination of fresh air amongst the olive groves, a tailored wellness programme and fresh food prepared by your onboard chef is guaranteed to revitalise.
Explore the islands
The Greek Islands have an extended season, with the main sailing season between mid-April and mid-October and warm weather extending until the end of the year. The whitewashed houses and blue-topped churches of the Cyclades archipelago are best viewed from the water, but during the summer fierce Meltemi winds mean that they are often unpleasant or dangerous to sail. Take the opportunity of calm conditions to sail to the port of Santorini, where you will be met with volcanic cliffs rising from the deep blue waters. Autumn also brings a burst of life to the islands – after the dry summer, the cool temperatures and rain see the dramatic landscapes of the south covered in diverse flora. Sail the pleated peninsula of the Peloponnese– beautiful at any time of year, during autumn the hills are sprinkled with the bright colours of crocuses and cyclamen, and the skies become full of birdlife as they pass through on their annual migration.
Immerse yourself in local culture
The off-season sees a host of cultural and religious celebrations, all with a more authentic feel, and are a great way to immerse yourself in Greek culture. The island of Spetses is an idyllic destination for a charter vacation, a perfect balance of elegance reminiscent of the French Riviera and authentic Greek charm. Spetses comes alive in September, with a week of events that make up the Armata Fest – the major event of the island – when evenings of fireworks, music and celebration are a great way to party like the Greeks. The Athens festival also continues into October – for an incredible evening of culture, see a performance at the Heriodon – watching top names in the arts perform under the stars in the open-air Roman amphitheatre is a magical experience.
During autumn the sea and air temperatures remain well in the 20s. Warm, quiet seas are ideal for swimming and making the most of the onboard toys. This is also the time of year that many sporting events are held across the country – long distance swims take place on Spetses throughout October, and the Athens Marathon in November is a chance to follow the original course of Pheidippidesor take in the atmosphere as the city fills with over 40,000 runners. If a marathon isn’t far enough, the 250 km Spartathlon held in September is one of the most challenging ultra-distance races in the world.
To plan your own bespoke Greek charter adventure contact your IYC broker or the IYC office most convenient to you. IYC has offices in Fort Lauderdale, Palm Beach, Miami, Nantucket, Great Lakes, Monaco, Greece, London, Russia, Croatia, Montenegro, Barcelona, Scandinavia and Malta. To contact an IYC office click here.