Known for its ancient ruins, white painted villages, sunny beaches, tasty cuisine ranging from Greek salad to moussaka, to souvlaki and of course fried zucchinis, there is no question that Greece ranks among Europe’s top travel destinations. But the reason that tourism exists in the first place is that it’s just so beautiful over there. Hence we gathered for you the best places to visit in Greece.
Scattered all around like little gems, famous Greek Islands are by themselves can be the ultimate reason to visit Greece.
From the Ionian islands in the west – including Kefalonia and Corfu – to the Aegean Sea in the east, Mykonos, Santorini, Kos, and Rhodes are only the few to name.
Back on the mainland, there’s a scenery on every corner reminding the mighty gods. The monastery of Meteora, the ruins at Delphi, and then, most famously, the capital of Athens and its iconic Parthenon.
Here’s a look at the best places to visit in Greece:
The Greek Islands
The beautiful and exotic Greek islands charm tourists every year, making them one of the world’s top travel destinations. With more than 2,000 islands to choose from they may initially be bewildered by their number and variety. From gorgeous beaches, ancient ruins, colorful harbors and active volcanoes the Greek islands have it all.
Part of the Cyclades group, Santorini is among the most picturesque islands and definitely one of the best places to visit in Greece. Also part of the Cyclades, Mykonos features a modern, cosmopolitan society blended with traditional white houses and maze-like streets. Located in the Aegean Sea near the coast of Turkey, Rhodes is the capital and largest island of the Dodecanese archipelago, popular for its great beaches and historical significance. The northernmost of Greece’s Ionian Islands, Corfu was controlled by many foreign powers, notably the Venetians and British, which is reflected in its culture and the architecture on the island.
Inhabited for more than 3,000 years, Athens is widely known as the epicenter of Western civilization and the birthplace of democracy. The city presents a confusing blend of historical and modern features. Athens is famous for its archaeological ruins and monuments such as the famous Acropolis, the Parthenon, the Ancient Agora and the Theatre of Dionysos just to name a few.
However, Athens is not just about ancient ruins. This bustling city is also an important center for business, culture and nightlife.
For a complete guide on best things to do in Athens, here is our guide!
Ttrident-like peninsula near the city of Thessaloniki, Halkidiki is known for its excellent beaches. The three separate peninsulas can be roughly summarized as follows: Kassandra has the nightlife, Sithonia has the beaches and Athos has the monks. Being closest to Thessaloniki, Kassandra is more built-up, while the more quiet Sithonia has campgrounds, hidden coves and clear waters. Both are popular with Greek and Eastern European tourists. Much of the easternmost peninsula belongs to the Mount Athos monastic community. It’s accessible by boat and open to male pilgrims only.
Greece’s second-largest city, Thessaloniki is also the capital city of the Macedonian region of Northern Greece. Lively festivals, social events and a buzzing nightlife make this city the cultural capital of Greece. Comprised of a historic city center and commercial district, Thessaloniki offers both old and new attractions from its Byzantine walls, White Tower and Turkish baths to colorful food markets, museums and art galleries. Thessaloniki’s nightlife is unmatched. From small tavernas to nightclubs and other entertainment venues, Thessaloniki offers it all.
The Greek word meteora means “suspended in the air,” and this phrase aptly describes the spectacular cliffs that rise more than 1,200 feet (366 meters) into the air overlooking the villages of Kalambaka and Kastraki in the north central mainland of Greece. What makes these cliffs even more inspiring are the historic monasteries perched along the summits. Dating back to the 14th and 16th centuries, the monasteries at Meteora were built by monks seeking spiritual isolation and freedom from religious persecution.
The largest of the Greek islands, Crete is a spacious land of pleasing contrasts. There landscapes range from stunning coastline to rugged mountains and rolling countryside dotted with olive trees. Bustling metropolitan cities spread beyond to quiet villages centered around outdoor coffee shops. Steeped in history, Crete still bears archaeological traces of the many civilizations that inhabited it down through the centuries.
Bonus – Delphi
After Acropolis in Athens, Delphi is Greece’s most popular archaeological site. Located about two and half hours from Athens along the slopes of the awe-inspiring Mount Parnassus, Delphi was once revered by the ancient Greeks as the center of the earth. Dedicated to the god, Apollo, Delphi was an important oracle. In ancient times, people would come to this sacred spot to inquire of the priestess for advice on topics from farming to relationships and politics. Significant ruins and structures at Delphi include the Temple of Apollo, the Athenian Treasury, the theater and hippodrome that once hosted events of the ancient Pythian Games.