There is something special about Athens in September. People have returned from their summer vacations, and the city has a renewed life and energy. I think it's a great time of year to visit, because in addition to the usual attractions, there are an endless amount of events, exhibitions, shows and other things to do. Here's why to love Athens in September.
Athens in September
Once you have lived in a place for a while, you start to notice its rhythms and cycles throughout the year. This is definitely the case with Athens, and the two most contrasting months are August and September. August is the month when there is a virtual exodus. Huge numbers of people leave the city for their summer vacations, and some businesses close for a couple of weeks. You can even easily find parking spots. Crazy, but true!
In September everyone returns from their vacations, breathing new life into the city. Dozens of exhibitions, shows and concerts crop up all over Athens, and there is a palpable sense of creativity. In a way, it feels like people are setting new resolutions and goals, which to a certain extent they are. There is a Greek phrase you might hear often from June onward, which is ‘apo septemvrio' (from September). This is used when making future plans that no one really wants to start during the summer.
Reasons to Love Athens in September
Just what makes Athens in September so special? I think it is a combination of things. September seems to be a transition month, where people switch from ‘holiday mode' to ‘reality mode'. There are seasonal changes, where new fruits hit the markets, and the temperature starts to drop a little. In general, there just seems to be a lot to see and do. Here's some reasons to love Athens in September.
Full Moon Events
Whilst August may be the most celebrated month for full moon events such as outdoor concerts, September is a worthy contender. There is something almost magical about listening to music under a clear sky, with a full moon shining overhead. One year, I attended the ‘100 Guitars for Greece' event at the Herodion Theatre on the slopes of the Acropolis. I really can't imagine a more perfect venue for an outdoor classical guitar concert!
September heralds the start of the grape picking season, and these find their way to market. At one Euro per KG, it's pretty hard to go wrong! I think one of the things I love most about living in Greece, is the abundance of fresh, seasonal fruit and vegetables. It is certainly making my diet a healthy one. By the way, can you name the grape variety shown here? Extra bonus points for you if you leave a comment below!
Outdoor cinemas are still quite popular in Athens and throughout Greece. They don't run all year of course, just during the months when the weather is at its finest. September is really the last month to watch a movie at an outdoor cinema. Somewhat embarrassingly, I haven't watched a movie at an outdoor cinema in Athens yet. I guess I still have a couple of weeks to put that right before they close for the year!
Shows, Exhibitions, and Events
It feels that there are more events and exhibitions held in Athens in September than at any other time of year. From photography exhibitions to live music concerts, there is something for everyone. One weekend, I had to decide between the Athens Bike Festival at Technopolis, or the Athens Flying Week Air Show held at Tanagra Airport. I decided on the Air Show, which made for something a little different for me!
I might have also set a new life goal to own a helicopter. It's a plan in progress!
To be perfectly honest, this had to be pointed out to me by the Mrs. I'm not really one for window shopping, or noticing what goes on with fashion. Typical guy, I suppose! Anyway, apparently, the fashions change at this time of year. You will see the autumn clothes hit the stores, more boots rather than shoes on display, and more sales or offers as summer stock is cleared. Personally, I bought a new T-Shirt back in March, so I don't need any new clothes quite yet!
Hotel Prices Drop
It is at this time of year, that hotel prices in Athens start to drop. You can pick up some surprisingly good bargains if you look around. To save you the time though, I have put together a list of the best 10 hotels near the Acropolis in Athens. I am nice like that! Visiting Athens in September is a great idea, because the temperatures are not as high as July and August, and the archaeological sites still open late. During the last weekend in September, the museums and archaeological sites are free for entry. You might be interested in this complete list of all the museums in Athens.
Last Swim of the Summer
Finally, one of the best reasons I love Athens in September, is the continuing quest for the last swim of the summer. Will it be this weekend or next weekend? The only way to make sure, is to continue going to the beach every weekend until it is too cold! In 2016, the 18th of September it was still good enough to hit the beach for a few hours and swim in Rafina (the closest beach to where I live). Will next weekend be the same? I certainly hope so!
If you are thinking of visiting Athens in September, you might like to check this article out on what to see and do in 2 days in Athens. If you have early flights or arrive late, you might also be interested in these hotels near Athens airport.