Feeling like summer’s just, disappeared? If only it could last forever. Fortunately for sunseekers, Greece is generous with its rays. Travel to the ancient paradise outside peak season and you’ll feel like you have all the time in the world. Locals loving life, chefs whipping up culinary delights you’ve never heard of and a throb of culture that pulses through legendary landmarks, cobbled streets and historic hotels in Greece.
Step into ancient Olympic rings, swim in pools carved into stone and contemplate the magic of the world staring deep into a Santorini sunset… all without the intense heat and crowds. Make that holiday feeling stretch well into September by flocking to these late-summer Grecian destinations.
1. For ancient drama: Rhodes
If you’re visiting Rhodes in late summer, head to the car-free cobbles of Lindos. Donkeys ramble through the whitewashed village, travellers marvel at the clifftop Acropolis and water babies bob in Saint Paul’s Bay. West of the island, Petaloudes (Valley of Butterflies) is a natural splendour – and perfect without the peak-summer crowds. Stay in the heart of Rhodes’ medieval town at Allegory Boutique Hotel. Hip and historic, this Greek hotel has six inviting suites that complement the earthy island tones perfectly: wooden beams, stonewalls and artwork popping with Aegean-hued blues.
2. For endless sunsets: Santorini
Santorini is the best place for a late-summer getaway. Time-weathered windmills and whitewashed buildings cling to rugged clifftops, all watching over azure seas. Never miss a sunset from your very own rooftop haven at Aigialos Hotel Santorini. Voted our ‘most romantic historic hotel’, its large private terraces are heavenly spots to watch the sun kiss the horizon each evening, and raise its head over the sea again the following morning. Another one of our award-winning hotels in Greece can be found in Oia: the Esperas Santorini is carved into a rock and gently restored to preserve its past charm and magnificence.
3. For god-like luxury: Ouranoupolis
Ouranoupolis has beauty of biblical proportions. At the threshold of Mount Athos – officially known as the Autonomous Monastic State of the Holy Mountain and unofficially known as the ‘City of Heaven’ – it’s also home to one of the most enchanting hotels in Greece. Skites Hotel and Bungalows follows the architectural style of the Athonite Sketes – Christian hermits who follow monastic rule. Rooms, suites and bungalows are minimalist in design, with access to your own private beach and regular classical concerts on an evening.
4. For seaside rejuvenation: Kassandra
Your foot will constantly be on the brake driving the Greek coastlines to the peninsula of Kassandra in Halkidiki. Golden beaches are hard to resist, with waters clear enough to see rainbows of waltzing fish. Hotels in Greece fail to compete with the seaside views at Villa Galini. It awaits your arrival on Mount Meliton, straddled by verdant forests and vineyards and the endless bay beyond. You’ll be in the company of many famous guests of the past, including royals, politicians and even Salvador Dali, who designed one of the villa’s bathrooms.
5. For centuries-old wonders: Thessaloniki
Thessaloniki has more historic sights than you can shake a selfie stick at. Must-visits are the Arch of Galerius (a 4th-century monument), the legendary White Tower and our very own Bristol Hotel Thessaloniki. Originally a post office built in 1870, the time-warping stay is now an elegant hotel complete with 16 art-filled rooms and a glorious marble staircase. The late-summer Thessaloniki sun is best experienced on one of the city’s beaches, feeling the warm sea-breeze speckle against your skin.
6. For hillside homeliness: Florina
Kiss away the summer in the city of Florina, among the mountains and chestnut trees that make the Greek destination a dream for hikers. Head to the slopes of Mount Visti and stay in the sweet little village of Nympheo. Family-run La Moara here is like staying at an old friend’s home – an old friend with excellent taste in food, wines and interior design.
7. For all-round Cretan warmth: Rethymnon Old City
Cretan summers are long and warm, blessed with Vitamin D well into September. One of the best hotels for a hideaway vibe is Avli Lounge Apartments. For a start, dinner in its fragrant garden as the sun goes into its third act, before taking a dip, is a bewitching experience. The Cretan food: sea-fresh fish, handpicked vegetables and glorious speciality ravioli are a few menu highlights. When you’re not snoozing on a hammock, Rethmnon’s old city – with its Venetian harbour, lighthouse and sandy beaches – is on your doorstep. You may be in the heart of this ancient centre, but it truly feels like you’re lightyears away from everything.