Why Fall Is The Best Time To Visit This Underrated Greek Island

Off-season travel in Greece is a whole other world. The weather is still warm enough to wear short sleeves, yet the crowds have dissipated, the prices are lower, and you have a better chance of striking up a conversation with a local. In other words, you'll get the rare chance to experience the "real" place behind the hustle and bustle. The Greek island of Paros is no exception.

Sitting 137 miles offshore from Athens in the teal blue Aegean Sea, the island of Paros is known for its pristine beaches, traditional villages, and white marble slabs that formed ancient Greek sculptures, including the famous Venus de Milo, per the Greek Tourism Organization. In autumn, the weather in Paros is variable, but it's suitable to take an afternoon dip in the sea and hike around the island's plentiful trails, like the ancient Byzantine Road. During the month of October, for example, the typical high is a pleasant 74 degrees Fahrenheit, cooling down to 64 degrees Fahrenheit at night. Just add a sweater to your Greece packing list and you'll be good to go. A few degrees cooler for far fewer people seems like a worthy trade.

Live more like a local

Another benefit of visiting Paros during fall is that you'll get to shop, eat, and drink like a local while working with a lower budget. After the tourist season peaks in August, seasonal attractions start closing up shop in September and October. What's left are the shops, restaurants, and taverns that serve the local population, especially in the largest town of Parikia (sometimes known as Paroikia). If you've ever been curious about authentic Greek life, autumn is your chance to dig in. There will still be enough buses running to take you to stunning beaches, like Marcello, and traditional villages like Aliki, Leftkes, Naoussa, and Piso Livadi.

Fall also marks the annual grape harvest, a celebratory occasion and one of the oldest traditions shared amongst friends and family since ancient times, notes the Greek Reporter. Paros has a unique microclimate with dry summer winds and sun-kissed foothills, creating full-bodied reds and dry whites. To celebrate the harvest, consider a wine-tasting at a family-owned winery, like the Moraitis Estate. It's open every day from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Enjoy lower prices during the 'shoulder season'

Another perk of booking a trip to Paros during the fall is enjoying all the island has to offer on a lower budget. During the summer months, 5 million people flock to Greece's glorious cities and beaches, driving up the prices of hotels and attractions everywhere. By October, that number drops by half, reports Travel+Leisure. It's these slower times of the year when you can find the best bargains, says Lonely Planet, when prices fall by 25% or more. Rick Steves, renowned author and European travel expert, agrees that shoulder seasons are the way to go. For the cheapest hotel prices, he recommends visiting Greece during May before the crowds arrive, or September and October after they leave.

To get to Paros, fly into Athens and take a ferry. Depending on the weather, a trip on the Golden Star Ferries takes about 6 hours. The high-speed Sea Jets can complete the crossing in a little over 3 hours. Anything to get to those azure waters a little faster.