With peak summer travel in the rear-view mirror, autumn is a wonderful time for a wellness trip in the cradle of western civilization. Early fall means the Aegean and Ionian Seas are still an ideal temperature for swimming along sandy beaches and rocky coves – sometimes adjacent to an archeological site like the Sanctuary of Hera, along the Corinthian Gulf.
The ancient Greeks enjoyed taking to the waters, including thermal baths, over 2,500 years ago. Remnants of Ancient Greek bathhouses can be found at archeological sites around Greece, like Philipi in Kavala and Pella (the birthplace of Alexander the Great).
The tradition of public baths continued during Roman and Ottoman occupations, while spreading across Europe. Visitors today can enjoy a wealth of thermal Greek spas around the country. Several are members of the European Historic Thermal Towns Association (EHTTA), which encompasses 49 members in 17 countries. “Historic Thermal Towns” is a designated Cultural Route of the Council of Europe.
Loutraki Thermal Spa is an EHTTA member located in the lovely seaside town of Loutraki, 50 miles (81 km) west of Athens, near Corinth. 3,000 years ago, the community was called Thermae, and ancient Greeks bathed in the thermal waters to heal and rejuvenate.
Large indoor and outdoor pools at Loutraki Thermal Spa feature waterfalls and jets to massage your back. Alternate between the warm and cold pools for maximum effect at reducing stress, improving blood circulation and treating other ailments. Then enjoy the sauna and steam bath (Hammam).
The nearby Drinking Therapy Center is gorgeous. Ornate tile frescoes inspire visitors immediately upon entry. Thermal water is sourced naturally at an optimal 30 degrees Celsius. It’s packed with minerals ideal for flushing toxins from internal organs and aiding digestion.
The beautiful 5-star Club Hotel Casino Loutraki features tall palm trees alongside olive trees dating over 1,000 years old. They magnificently adorn a gorgeous seaside infinity pool right along the beach.
For those looking to get off the beaten track, visit northern Greece. Loutra Pozar in Almopia, near the Republic of North Macedonia offers opportunities to view vibrant autumn leaves while soaking under majestic thermal waterfalls. Warm and cold waterfalls and pools are nestled among tall, forested mountains. Paradosiako Hotel and Restaurant offers a charming stay and delicious kitchen.
A 90-minute drive from Thessaloniki, Halkidiki is a popular vacation destination in northern Greece. It’s known for jutting peninsulas, dotted with forests, sandy beaches and crystal clear turquoise water. The westernmost peninsula of Kassandra offers modern resorts, excellent seaside tavernas, like Takis Fish Tavern in Fourka, and nightclubs.
Agia Paraskevi (Halkidiki Spa) is a great thermal spa located in the town of Loutra, which means “bath” in Greek. The thermal waters at Agia Paraskevi are sourced from a natural sulfur spring below the mountain.
Halkidiki Spa features indoor and outdoor thermal pools, saunas and steam rooms. The outdoor pools, jacuzzi tubs, spacious terrace, and therapeutic massage room feature sweeping views of the Aegean Sea.
Artemis Plaza Hotel in Loutra is a few minutes walk to Halkidiki Spa. Rooms are spacious, with comfortable beds, air conditioning, full-sized refrigerators, kitchenettes and large balconies.
The Krinides Mud Baths offer a unique experience in beautiful Kavala, Greece. Mud therapy can provide relief for skin conditions like eczema and alleviate certain injuries. Soak and roll around in the mud pool, mixed with natural thermal water for optimal therapeutic wellness.
Kavala is wonderful for a beachside getaway, set amongst centuries of history, in eastern Macedonia, Greece. The top of the Acropolis Castle offers sweeping views of the Bay of Kavala and nearby island of Thasos.
The Aqueduct of Kavala (Kamares), is a well-preserved aqueduct built during the Ottoman occupation of Greece in the 16th century. Another impressive highlight is the beautiful golden mural depicting St. Paul’s travels to Kavala at St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church.
The 5-star Lucy Hotel Kavala offers a luxurious beachside stay with complimentary beach umbrellas for guests. Comfortable rooms feature spacious balconies with fantastic views of the Aegean Sea, beach and city.
Agistro (Agkistro) is nestled just a few kilometers from the Bulgarian border. Fort Roupel offers sweeping views and important World War II Greek military history. A fresh trout farm, fantastic local meats like water Buffalo, fresh vegetables and small batch tsipouro makes their culinary scene outstanding.
Agistro Hamam offers a variety of indoor-thermal pools ideal for wellness. Ornate tiles adorn the walls of the baths, offering a throwback to a bygone era. After alternating between hot and cold pools, enjoy the sauna and steam room (Hammam).
Near Agistro, Lake Kerkini National Park is Greece’s second largest lake and one of Europe’s most impressive wetlands. Thousands of birds like flamingos, pelicans and ibis congregate at Lake Kerkini during their migrations. Itavros small boat tour is the bird-watching equivalent of viewing diverse wildlife in the Serengeti of Tanzania.
The Wooden Village (To Xilono Chorio) in Agistro offers spacious and modern wooden and stone cabins. Amenities include comfortable beds, air conditioning, refrigerator, flat screen TV, fireplace, large balconies, pool and a fantastic on-site restaurant.
No trip to Greece is complete without visiting a Greek island! There are around 6,000 islands in Greece, 227 of which are inhabited. Autumn offers an opportunity to visit popular islands like Santorini, Rhodes, Mykonos, Crete, Hydra, Naxos and Paros, with fewer crowds and better deals.
Off the typical tourist trail, Andros is the closest Cyclades island to Athens. Just a 2-hour ferry ride from Athens’ port of Rafina, it’s the second largest Cyclades island. It’s popular with Greek tourists in summer, but lesser known among international visitors.
Andros offers 300km (186 miles) of trails for all levels from casual hikers to mountain climbers. It’s ideal for outdoor wellness and a digital detox, offering a more authentic experience than visitors often encounter on the more touristy Greek islands.
The impressive neoclassical architecture of Andros Chora has been home to many Greek shipping magnates over the past few centuries. Chora’s Pedestrian Street is lined with great restaurants like Endochora and cafes like Fresco Juice Bar. Purchase local artisan products like honey, olive oil, wine, figs and jams from boutique shops. Visit Zairis Patisserie for fantastic Greek pastries and unique creamy homemade ice cream flavors like mastiha.
Tourlitis Lighthouse, built in 1897 atop a tiny rock island, is one of the most iconic images of Andros. It’s a whimsical lighthouse with winding stairs leading to the base of the tower.
Climb the old Venetian bridge, part of a Venetian Castle that was bombed during World War II. The sweeping views of Andros Chora and Tourlitis Lighthouse from the small island over the Venetian Bridge are fantastic.
Situated along Kypri Beach, Andros, all 44 of Hotel Perrakis’ rooms have balconies overlooking the Aegean Sea. It’s a charming setting to relax while watching the sunset.
Set amongst stunning scenery, ancient history and one of the world’s best culinary scenes, Greek thermal spas are ideal for a fall wellness getaway to relax and rejuvenate your mind and body. Consider getting off the beaten path, while taking a break from your phone to ponder ancient history, enjoy picturesque hiking trails, and take in stunning vistas around Greece!