September signals a mass exodus from Greece. Gone are the thousands of cruise ship passengers who descended daily on the whitewashed Cyclades. At archaeological sites like the ruins of Delphi, as busy as a bus station in summer, an appropriate hush settles once again. But in Attica, September heralds a different high season: the autumn harvest. Sweet grapes, fresh figs, ripe olives, artisanal cheeses—food is a pillar of Greek culture, and Grecotel Cape Sounio reaps these riches from local farms and its own organic gardens ($832; grecotel.com). Just an hour’s drive from Athens, the resort’s 124 bungalows are tucked into 75 acres overlooking the Aegean Sea and the Temple of Poseidon (circa 440 B.C.), where commanders returning from Troy made sacrifices to honor their dead. Modern Athenians seek out Cape Sounio to reconnect with their native landscape, and Jean-Michel Cousteau picked the area to launch his Ambassadors of the Environment program last year, mapping out snorkeling routes and plotting other marine excursions nearby. Above the waterline, hiking trails lead from the hotel into neighboring Sounio National Park, full of abandoned stone villages, dramatic gorges, and hidden caves, making visitors feel like explorers on their own private odyssey.
Must-do: Bike the cape on meandering roadways through villages along Attica’s east coast. Hit the brakes in Lavrion for a taverna lunch of grilled octopus and stuffed grape leaves ($139 per person, including bikes and lunch; www.aegeaadventures.com).