Are you thinking about visiting Greece this year? Here are some of the most beautiful places to visit in Greece. These incredible landscapes, crystal clear waters, and beautiful destinations will blow your mind.
Greece, the cradle of Western civilization, is a destination that sings to the soul. A land where mythology and history intertwine with sun-soaked landscapes, Greece offers a symphony of experiences that resonate with travelers of all kinds. Whether you’re a history buff, a foodie, a beach lover, or an adventurer, there are things to do in Greece which will captivate any traveler.
From the iconic Acropolis standing sentinel over Athens, to the sun-drenched beaches of the Cyclades, the ancient ruins of Delphi, or the awe-inspiring monasteries of Meteora, there’s a treasure trove of incredible things to do in Greece waiting to be discovered. As you journey through this enchanting land, you’ll find yourself immersed in culture, history, and natural beauty that’s as diverse as it is mesmerizing.
Despite popular opinion, Greece is more than just its historical sites. It’s a gastronomic paradise where you can indulge in mouthwatering local dishes, a vibrant country where traditional music and dance are still very much alive, and a place of stunning natural beauty. This includes everything from its crystal clear seas to its rugged mountains.
So if you’re ready to embark on an unforgettable journey, here are the best places to visit in Greece. Each one promises a unique experience that will leave you longing for more.
Best Places to Visit in Greece: Your Ultimate Guide to Greece
Are you ready to jump into all the best locations in Greece? As noted above, there’s something for everyone in this corner of Europe. So, keep reading to discover the incredible scenery in Greece.
Are you looking to discover historical cities and cultural attractions? Or would you prefer a relaxing getaway enjoying Greece’s best beaches? Whatever you’re planning, Greece can accommodate your needs. Here are all the best spots in Greece that you should know about:
1. Explore the city of Athens, the Birthplace of Democracy
Steeped in history and mythology, Athens is a city that fascinates at every turn. Start your journey at the iconic Acropolis, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that stands as a testament to the grandeur of Ancient Greece. Here, you’ll find the Parthenon, the Erechtheion, and the Temple of Athena Nike, each a marvel of architectural design.
One of the best places to visit in Athens, Greece is the Acropolis Museum, where you can delve deeper into the city’s ancient history. Wander through the Ancient Agora, once the heart of public life in Athens, and marvel at the well-preserved Temple of Hephaestus.
For a change of pace, explore the vibrant neighborhoods of Monastiraki and Plaka, where narrow, winding streets are lined with quaint shops, charming cafes, and traditional tavernas. Here, you can sample delicious Greek cuisine, shop for souvenirs, and immerse yourself in the city’s lively atmosphere.
If you’re looking for unique things to do in Athens, make sure to ascend Mount Lycabettus for a panoramic view of the city that’s truly breathtaking. As the sun sets and the city lights begin to twinkle, you’ll understand why Athens is considered one of the most enchanting cities in the world.
2. Discover the Peloponnese: A Journey Through History
The Peloponnese peninsula is a treasure trove of historical sites, natural beauty, and charming towns. Start your exploration at the Corinth Canal, a marvel of engineering that connects the Gulf of Corinth with the Saronic Gulf.
Next, head to Nafplio, one of the most picturesque towns in Greece. With its elegant Venetian houses, neoclassical mansions, and medieval fortress, Nafplio exudes a romantic charm that’s hard to resist.
History enthusiasts should not miss Mycenae and Epidaurus. Mycenae, once the center of the Mycenaean civilization, is home to the famous Lion’s Gate and the Tomb of Agamemnon. Epidaurus, on the other hand, boasts an ancient theatre renowned for its exceptional acoustics.
For a taste of Greece’s natural beauty, visit the Vouraikos Canyon and the Mani Peninsula. The former offers stunning hiking trails, while the latter is known for its rugged landscapes and traditional stone towers.
Finally, take a boat trip to Elafonisos Island. With its turquoise waters and white sandy beaches, it’s a slice of paradise right here on Earth. It’s easy to see why this is one of the best places to visit in Greece!
3. Visit Delphi: The Navel of the World
Delphi is one of the most incredible places to visit, hands down. Once considered the center of the world by the ancient Greeks, Delphi is a place of immense historical and spiritual significance. Nestled on the slopes of Mount Parnassus, Delphi was the site of the famous Oracle, where priests would deliver prophecies on behalf of the god Apollo.
Start your visit at the Archaeological Site of Delphi, where you can explore the Temple of Apollo, the ancient theatre, and the stadium that hosted the Pythian Games. Each monument offers a glimpse into the grandeur of ancient Delphi and its importance in Greek society.
Don’t miss the Archaeological Museum of Delphi, which houses a remarkable collection of artifacts unearthed from the site. Highlights include the Sphinx of Naxos, the Statue of Antinoos, and the impressive Charioteer of Delphi.
For a dose of natural beauty, take a hike in the Parnassus National Park. With its lush forests, crystal-clear springs, and diverse wildlife, it’s a nature lover’s paradise.
Finally, as you stand at the ancient site, overlooking the stunning valley below, you’ll understand why the ancients believed Delphi to be the navel of the world, and why it remains one of the best places to visit in Greece.
4. Explore the Heavenly Landscapes of Meteora
Meteora, with its towering rock formations and centuries-old monasteries perched precariously on top, is a sight to behold. This UNESCO World Heritage Site in central Greece is one of the country’s most awe-inspiring unique places to visit.
Start your visit by exploring the Meteora Monasteries. These monastic retreats were built by monks seeking solitude and spiritual connection. Today, six of these monasteries are open to the public. This includes the Great Meteoron Monastery, the Varlaam Monastery, and the Holy Trinity Monastery.
Each monastery houses a wealth of religious art and artifacts, but it’s the phenomenal views of the surrounding landscape that truly steal the show. Standing on a monastery terrace, looking out over the vast expanse of towering rocks and verdant valleys, you’ll feel as if you’ve stepped into another world.
For those looking for adventurous things to do in Greece, Meteora offers excellent rock-climbing opportunities. The area’s unique geology makes it a favorite among climbers from around the world.
In the evening, as the sun sets, find a vantage point to watch the landscape transform. The sight of the monasteries silhouetted against the fiery sky is a memory you’ll cherish long after your visit to Meteora.
5. Wander the streets of Thessaloniki, Greece’s Cultural Capital
Thessaloniki, Greece’s second-largest city, is a vibrant metropolis where history and modernity coexist. Known for its rich cultural scene, lively nightlife, and delicious cuisine, Thessaloniki offers a different flavor of Greek life and is coined by many as one of the best places to visit in Greece.
Begin your visit at the city’s most recognizable landmark, the White Tower. Climb to the top for panoramic views of the city and the Thermaic Gulf. Nearby, the city’s vibrant Waterfront area is perfect for a leisurely stroll, with numerous cafes, bars, and restaurants where you can sample local delicacies.
History buffs will appreciate the Arch of Galerius and Rotunda, a 4th-century monument and former mausoleum. The Archaeological Museum of Thessaloniki is also a must-visit, housing a vast collection of artifacts from Macedonia.
Don’t miss the bustling Modiano Market, where you can immerse yourself in the city’s vibrant atmosphere. Here, you’ll find everything from fresh produce to local specialties, making it a food lover’s paradise.
For those seeking a touch of tranquility, head to the Thessaloniki Citadel. This quiet spot offers stunning views of the city and is one of the best places to watch the sunset in Thessaloniki.
6. Discover the Chalkidiki Peninsula and Mount Athos: A Blend of Nature and Spirituality
One of the best places to visit in Greece for all travelers, the Chalkidiki Peninsula is a sun-drenched paradise known for its golden beaches, crystal-clear waters, and lush pine forests. Comprising three ‘fingers’ – Kassandra, Sithonia, and Athos – each offers a unique blend of natural beauty and cultural attractions.
Kassandra is known for its lively resorts and beautiful beaches. On the other hand, Sithonia is a haven for nature lovers, with its hidden coves, verdant landscapes, and tranquil camping spots. If you’re looking for the best islands in Greece for families, make sure to shortlist Sithonia. Its tranquil atmosphere and natural beauty make it a perfect candidate.
The third ‘finger’, Athos, is home to the Monastic State of Agion Oros or Mount Athos. This autonomous polity within Greece is a spiritual center for the Orthodox Church and houses 20 monasteries. Note that access to Mount Athos is strictly regulated, and only males are allowed, with a special permit required.
Even if you don’t visit Mount Athos, the region offers plenty to see and do. From hiking in the verdant hills, lounging on idyllic beaches, exploring charming villages, or savoring fresh seafood in a beachfront taverna, Chalkidiki is a destination with things to do for everyone.
7. Go Island Hopping in the Cyclades
The Cyclades, a group of islands in the Aegean Sea, are the quintessential Greek islands. Known for their white-washed buildings, blue-domed churches, and stunning beaches, they offer a slice of paradise for every traveler.
Start your journey in Santorini, famous for its breathtaking sunsets, beautiful beaches, and the iconic blue-domed church in Oia. Don’t miss the archaeological site of Akrotiri, often referred to as the ‘Greek Pompeii’.
Next, head to Mykonos, known for its vibrant nightlife, charming old town, and iconic windmills. For a quieter experience, visit Amorgos, where you can hike beautiful trails, explore ancient ruins, and enjoy the island’s unspoiled beauty.
Naxos, the largest of the Cyclades, offers beautiful beaches, historical sites, and charming villages. Don’t miss the Portara, a massive marble doorway that’s all that remains of an ancient temple. I think that Naxos is one of the most underrated places to visit in Greece. As such, be sure to add it to your itinerary.
History lovers should visit the sacred island of Delos, the mythical birthplace of Apollo and Artemis. Explore the ancient ruins, including temples, statues, and the Terrace of the Lions. With so much charm and history, the Cyclades is one of the top places to visit in Greece.
8. Explore the vibrant island of Kos
Known as the birthplace of Hippocrates, the father of medicine, Kos is a one of the best islands to visit in Greece, blending history, culture, and natural beauty. With its stunning beaches, ancient ruins, and charming villages, Kos offers a quintessential Greek island experience.
Start your exploration in Kos Town, where you can stroll through the charming streets, visit the medieval Castle of the Knights, and enjoy the vibrant nightlife. The town’s harbor is a lively spot, lined with cafes and restaurants serving delicious local cuisine.
Next, visit the Asklepieion, an ancient healing temple that once served as a sanctuary dedicated to Asclepius, the god of medicine. Here, you can walk in the footsteps of Hippocrates and explore the ruins of this significant archaeological site.
If you’re seeking the best beaches in Greece, Kos does not disappoint. From the family-friendly Tigaki Beach to the secluded Agios Theologos, the island’s coastline offers a beach for every preference.
Don’t miss the opportunity to visit the traditional villages of Zia, Kefalos, and Pyli. Here, you can experience the island’s local culture, sample traditional Greek dishes, and enjoy the stunning views of the Aegean Sea. Is this one of the best places to visit in Greece? You bet!
9. Visit Corfu, a symphony of Green and Blue
Among the Ionian Islands, Corfu stands out with its unique blend of Greek and Italian influences, beautiful landscapes, and stunning beaches. Known as the ‘Emerald Isle’, thanks to its verdant olive groves and cypress trees, Corfu offers a different take on the Greek island experience.
Start your visit in Corfu Town, where you can explore the charming old town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, with its Venetian-style buildings, narrow cobblestone streets, and vibrant squares. Don’t miss the Old and New Fortresses, which offer panoramic views of the town and the sea.
Next, head to Achilleion Palace, built by Empress Elisabeth of Austria. The palace is adorned with statues and motifs from Greek mythology, and its gardens offer stunning views of the surrounding countryside and the Ionian Sea.
Corfu is also home to some of the most beautiful beaches in Greece. From the sandy shores of Glyfada to the pebbled beach of Myrtiotissa, hailed by Lawrence Durrell as the ‘loveliest beach in the world’, there’s a beach for every taste.
Finally, take the time to explore the island’s interior, with its traditional villages, scenic hiking trails, and Mount Pantokrator, the island’s highest peak. With its gorgeous beaches and endless picture-perfect landscapes, Corfu is absolutely one of the best places to visit in Greece.
10. Crete: A Mosaic of Experiences
Crete, the largest of the Greek islands, is a destination that offers a bit of everything: stunning beaches, ancient ruins, charming villages, and vibrant cities. Its diverse landscapes, rich history, and warm hospitality make it one of the best destinations in Greece.
Start your journey in Heraklion, the island’s capital. Here, you can explore the Archaeological Museum, which houses a vast collection of Minoan artifacts. From there, check out the ancient Palace of Knossos, considered Europe’s oldest city.
Next, head to Chania, known for its beautiful old town and Venetian harbor. Wander through its narrow streets, visit the Maritime Museum, and enjoy a meal at a waterfront restaurant.
Crete is also home to some of Greece’s most beautiful beaches. Don’t miss Balos Lagoon, with its turquoise waters and white sand, and Elafonisi Beach, known for its pink sand.
For a taste of Crete’s wild beauty, hike the Samaria Gorge, the longest gorge in Europe. The hike takes you through stunning landscapes and ends at the seaside village of Agia Roumeli. Crete is one of my favorite destinations to visit in Greece, and one I urge everyone to visit.
11. Vikos Gorge: A Natural Wonder
Tucked away in the Pindus Mountains of northern Greece, the Vikos Gorge is a natural wonder that offers some of the most stunning landscapes in Greece. Recognized by the Guinness Book of Records as the deepest gorge in the world in proportion to its width, Vikos Gorge is a paradise for nature lovers and adventurers.
The gorge is part of the Vikos-Aoos National Park, a region of exceptional biodiversity. As you hike through the gorge, you’ll be surrounded by towering cliffs, lush forests, and a variety of flora and fauna. The area is also home to several endangered species, making it a significant ecological site.
Several hiking trails run through the gorge, ranging from easy walks to more challenging treks. The most popular route starts from the village of Monodendri and ends in Vikos, taking you through the heart of the gorge.
Along the way, you’ll come across the Voidomatis River, known for its crystal-clear waters, and the Springs of Voidomatis, a perfect spot to rest and enjoy the serene beauty of the area.
Finally, don’t miss the opportunity to visit the traditional stone-built villages of the Zagori region, known as Zagorochoria. These villages, with their unique architecture and charming squares, offer a glimpse into the region’s rich history and culture. Is this one of the best places to visit in Greece for nature lovers? Absolutely!
12. Paxos: A Hidden Gem in the Ionian Sea
Saving the best till last, this island is my favorite in Greece and one that I recommend to everyone I meet. Tucked away in the Ionian Sea, Paxos is a small island paradise that offers a tranquil escape from the hustle and bustle. Known for its crystal-clear waters, stunning beaches, and charming villages, Paxos is a destination that invites you to slow down and savor the beauty of the moment. There are things to do in Greece for everyone to enjoy.
Start your visit in Gaios, the island’s main town. With its colorful houses, bustling waterfront, and narrow streets lined with shops and cafes, Gaios exudes a charming, laid-back vibe. Don’t miss the Church of Agios Apostoli, which offers stunning views of the town and the sea.
Next, head to Loggos, a small fishing village known for its picturesque harbor and traditional tavernas. Here, you can enjoy fresh seafood, sample local wines, and watch the world go by.
Paxos is also home to some of the most beautiful beaches in the Ionian Sea. From the pebbled shores of Monodendri to the sandy beach of Moggonisi, each beach offers a unique setting to relax and soak up the sun.
Finally, take a boat trip to the nearby island of Antipaxos, where you can find some of the best beaches in Greece, with crystal clear waters and white sand. The island is also home to several vineyards, where you can sample the local wine. Believe me when I say that Paxos is one of the best places to visit in Greece!
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about the Best Things to Do in Greece
Looking for more information on the best things to do in Greece? Here are some popular questions (and answers) I get that will help you plan your trip to Greece:
What kind of activities are in Greece?
With its rich history, diverse landscapes, and idyllic islands, Greece offers activities for travelers of all inclinations. Here are some activities you can indulge in while visiting Greece:
- Historical exploration: Delve deep into ancient history by visiting iconic sites such as the Acropolis in Athens, the Temple of Apollo in Delphi, or the Palace of Knossos in Crete.
- Island hopping: Greece boasts numerous islands, each with its own unique charm. Popular ones include Santorini, Mykonos, Rhodes, and Zakynthos. Ferries and small aircraft make island hopping relatively easy.
- Beach activities: With an extensive coastline and many islands, Greece offers beautiful beaches where visitors can sunbathe, snorkel, and engage in water sports.
- Wine and food tours: Taste traditional Greek foods and wines. The country’s rich culinary heritage offers a variety of dishes, and vineyard tours are especially popular in regions like Santorini.
- Nightlife: Athens and Mykonos are known for their vibrant nightlife, with an array of clubs, bars, and traditional music venues.
- Sailing and yachting: The Aegean and Ionian Seas are perfect for sailing adventures. Many companies offer chartered yachts or group tours.
- Diving and snorkeling: Explore underwater treasures in places like Chios or the Padi Dive Resort in Lefkas.
- Spa and wellness: Enjoy therapeutic treatments in luxury resorts or visit traditional thermal springs like the ones in Loutraki.
- Cultural festivals: Experience Greek culture firsthand by attending festivals such as the Athens and Epidaurus Festival.
- Museums: Greece has numerous museums showcasing the country’s rich history.
- Cruises: Embark on a cruise to explore the Mediterranean, stopping at Greek islands and coastal cities.
Whether you’re a history enthusiast, nature lover, or someone looking for leisure and relaxation, Greece offers a broad spectrum of activities that can cater to any interest.
When is the best time to visit Greece?
The best time to visit Greece is during the spring (April to early June) and fall (September and October). During these months, the weather is pleasant, and the tourist crowds are smaller. The summer months (July and August) can be very hot and crowded, especially on the islands.
What is the traditional food in Greece?
Greek cuisine is a Mediterranean cuisine that includes a wide variety of dishes. Some of the most popular include moussaka (a layered eggplant and meat dish), souvlaki (grilled meat skewers), tzatziki (yogurt, cucumber, and garlic dip), and baklava (a sweet pastry). Greece is also known for its excellent olive oil and wines.
Do I need a visa to visit Greece?
Greece is part of the Schengen Area, so many visitors from countries like the US, Canada, and Australia can visit for up to 90 days without a visa. However, it’s always best to check the latest visa requirements with your local Greek embassy or consulate before your trip.
What currency is used in Greece?
Greece is part of the Eurozone, so the currency used is the Euro (€). You’ll find that credit and debit cards are widely accepted in cities and tourist areas, but it’s always a good idea to carry some cash, especially when visiting smaller towns or villages. ATMs are widely available, and you can withdraw cash directly in Euros.
How many days in Greece is enough?
The ideal duration for a trip to Greece varies based on individual preferences and the kind of experience one seeks. However, a common recommendation for a first-time visit is:
7 to 10 days in Greece:
- 3-4 days in Athens: Explore the Acropolis, ancient Agora, Plaka, and the city’s various museums. This also provides a buffer for jet lag and acclimatization.
- 3-6 days for island hopping: Depending on your pace, you can visit major islands like Santorini, Mykonos, and Rhodes. If you prefer a more relaxed pace or want to explore each island deeply, you might stick to just one or two islands in this timeframe.
- 1 day in a historic site on the mainland: If time allows, consider a day trip from Athens to places like Delphi or the Meteora monasteries.
For a more extensive experience:
14 to 21 days in Greece:
- Extend your stay in Athens or take day trips to nearby sites.
- Explore more islands or spend more time on each, immersing in the local culture and landscapes.
- Delve into mainland Greece, visiting places like Thessaloniki, the Peloponnese region, or the Epirus region for its rugged landscapes and traditional stone villages.
If you’re particularly interested in history, culture, or simply soaking in the Mediterranean sun, you might opt for the longer duration. Regardless of your choice, Greece’s diverse offerings ensure a memorable experience. There’s certainly no shortage of Greek attractions to keep you inspired!
How can I get around in Greece?
Greece has a well-developed transportation network. In cities, public buses and metros are available. For intercity travel, trains and buses are common. To explore the islands, ferries and boats are the best options. Renting a car or a scooter is also a popular choice, especially on the islands.
Final Thoughts on the Best Places to Visit in Greece
Greece is a country that captivates and inspires at every turn. From the ancient ruins of Athens and Delphi to the stunning landscapes of Meteora and Vikos Gorge, from the sun-soaked beaches of the Cyclades and Dodecanese to the charming villages of Euboea and Paxos, there’s a wealth of things to do in Greece that caters to all tastes and interests.
Whether you’re a history buff, a nature lover, a foodie, or a beach bum, Greece has something for you. Each destination on this list offers a unique slice of what makes Greece such a fascinating and diverse country. So bring your sense of adventure and get ready to fall in love with Greece. These Greek things to do await you!