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The 10 Best Places
to Visit in Greece

The best places to visit in Greece

Date
08 January 2020

Greece is one of the most famous travel destinations in the world. From its beautiful sandy beaches to the peaks of its mythical mountains, every place offers a unique beauty and a rich tradition! In the land of myth, every step in its soil is a journey through time, a beautiful journey of compositions and contrasts. Here are the 10 best places to visit in Greece, handpicked by us! 

Image after introtext
Vathia castle-town in Mani of Peloponnese - Credit: Greek TravelTellers

1. Athens

Athens is the cultural center of Greece, counting thousands of years of history. The city that took its name from goddess Athena after her battle with Poseidon, is known all over the world as the city that gave birth to Democracy and laid the foundations for that we today call Western Culture. Athens simply has it all! If you are a fan of history there are a few cities in the world that can compare with the land of Pericles and Socrates. For those wishing to delve deeper into Greek culture, Athens offers many options to visitors to discover authentic traditions and the rich heritage of the people. Fans of Greek mythology will be fascinated by the revival of the stories and legends, by joining one of the many Greek mythology tours. Athens is not only about Acropolis and the Parthenon. With some of the oldest neighborhoods in Europe, like Plaka and Anafiotika, Athens is ideal for walks of cultural interest and fun, with all its popular and hidden squares filled with cafés and cozy bars. Beautiful alleys, traditional taverns, theaters and museums, galleries and landmarks, Athens is a city waiting for you to explore it! Having a local plan your activities or guide you in their city is always the best option to truly discover a destination. And let’s not forget that Athens is next to Eleusis, the city that has been anointed as the European Capital of Culture for 2021! Visiting Athens in 2020 gives you an excellent opportunity to take part in the countless events that will take place in Eleusis, in preparation for the big event. Home to the most sacred rites of Ancient Greece, the Eleusinian Mysteries, Eleusis is now focusing on the quality upgrades that arts and culture can produce. 

Best season to visit: All
Best for: Any type of traveler, city break, solo travelers

Dionysiou Areopageitou street with Acropolis on the background

2. Delphi

Delphi should be at the top of your list of the best places to visit in Greece. According to Greek mythology, Zeus released two eagles, one from the East and the other from the West to find where the center of the world is; they met at Delphi, known from that time as the ‘omphalos (navel) of the world’. Delphi was home to the most famous Oracle of Greece in antiquity. Millions of people, from simple farmers to powerful Kings and Roman Emperors, have visited Pythia, the Oracle of Apollo, to get an answer to their burning questions; answers that would influence their decisions and shape the world as we know it today. Delphi is located near the capital of Greece and can easily be combined with a full-day trip from Athens. There are many things to do in Delphi; start with a tour of its archaeological site and the Temple of Apollo, to get a glimpse of its history. The landscape is very unique, creating a mysterious and intense feeling to visitors. Continue with the Delphi Museum to explore the treasures found in the area and then head for lunch in a traditional tavern in the village. 

Best season to visit: All
Best for: Any type of traveler, curious travelers

The Temple of Apollo at Delphi

3. Crete

One of the best places to visit in Greece is its largest island, Crete. Located in the south of the Aegean Sea, the land of King Minos is a multidimensional place that can offer you everything you can dream of. One can travel through thousands of years of history: in the Minoan palaces of Knossos, Phaistos, Malia and Zakros; in the archaeological sites of Ancient Gortyn, Eleftherna, Lyttos, Apera, Falasarna and Spinalonga; in the Venetian ports of Chania, Heraklion and Rethymnon; in Ottoman monuments and architectures scattered throughout the island; in its numerous Byzantine monasteries and churches. The old cities of Chania and Rethymnon radiate an enchanting atmosphere from another era. You can stroll around their colorful narrow streets, relax in traditional cafés and taverns, and simply immerse yourself in the magic of the Venetian era. Enjoy the island's vast coastline, hosting countless beaches and some of the most popular in Greece! Visit the villages on the mountains, where customs and traditions are unchanged until today, and discover the authentic aspects of genuine Cretan culture. And don’t forget about the Cretan gastronomy! Due to its unique location, connecting the whole Mediterranean, Cretan cuisine successfully blends the best aspects of many cuisines and traditions, creating mouthwatering dishes that are nowhere else to be found. Be prepared for the generous and wholehearted hospitality of the Cretan people!

Best season to visit: Autumn, Summer, Fall
Best for: Any type of traveler, family travel

Chania old port

4. Santorini

Everyone knows Santorini. And everyone knows the sunset over the Caldera of Santorini… This unique Cycladic islands could not be absent from this list. It is and will always be one of the best places to visit in Greece. The island stands out from all other Cycladic islands, due to its (active) volcano, which gifted Santorini with an unearthly beauty. This rare sight, combined with the exquisite architecture of its people, creates an unparalleled view! Considered to be the most famous romantic destination in Greece, Santorini goes beyond the conventional definition of beauty. Besides the wonderful views, the island offers very nice and diverse beaches for swimming as well, with black, red and white sand. The mainland offers a contrast as well. Thira and Oia, the two main towns, are built on the cliff, with white little houses, endless picturesque alleys filled with shops, cafés, bars and restaurants. The lower side of the island consists of more traditional towns, also very nice to explore, away from the cosmopolitan character of the main towns. Due to its volcanic soil, Santorini produces some unique food recipes and some of the best wines in the world. If you are a wine lover this can become your paradise! Make sure to join a wine tasting experience in one of the local estates and try the ‘Santorini tomatokeftedes’.

Best season to visit: Summer
Best for: Romantic travel, summer vacations

Santorini

5. Rhodes

Golden sandy beaches with crystal clear waters, pine-covered mountains and picturesque mountain villages, archaeological sites, medieval castles, historic sites, delicious food, and sunshine most of the year… Rhodes is definitely one of the best places to visit in Greece! The medieval city of Rhodes in 1998 was included in the UNESCO World Heritage List. Enter the Old Town of Rhodes from the Freedom Gate (also known as the Sea Gate) and time-travel to the era of knights. Mazes of cobblestones, impressive medieval buildings, minarets and beautiful squares with fountains are just some of the images you will witness there. Tens of thousands of visitors descend each year on the famous "Street of the Knights" in the Old Town of Rhodes, where the homes of members of the Order of the Knights of St. John were located. The nightlife is as vibrant as its history! Outside the medieval town of Rhodes, your choices are plenty as well. Wonderful examples of European architecture from the early 20th century adorn the new city of Rhodes. A shining example is the imposing Post Office of Rhodes on Freedom Square. An afternoon stroll in Mandraki, the picturesque harbor with the characteristic deer statues, is an experience every visitor of Rhodes enjoys. The Aquarium of Rhodes is housed in a historic building on the northernmost tip of the island and it is very nice and educational for those traveling with children. Lindos is also a must-visit if you are in Rhodes. A bare and imposing rock that rises to 116 meters and is surrounded by the sea. At the foot of its captain's mansions, there are countless alleys reminiscent of Cycladic islands. Beautiful beaches with pebbles, sand, lively or secluded, organized or not, in small bays or stretching for many kilometers; there are simply too many options. You must also visit the famous "Valley of Butterflies", Rhodes' most famous natural attraction. The rare habitat, located in the northwestern part of the island near the village of Theologos, is the summer home of the Panaxia Quadripunctaria, a nocturnal butterfly. The lush and lively landscape will surely impress you.

Best season to visit: Summer
Best for: Any type of traveler, summer vacations

Lindos

6. Corfu

This beautiful and historic island is located in the Ionian Sea and is easily included in the list of one of the best places to visit in Greece. Besides the endless green and its wonderful beaches, the island offers a rich cultural heritage, reflecting Venetian, French and British rule. The Old Town of Corfu is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The historic roots of the island go back to the 8th century BC and it was a place of great strategic value during the Byzantine period. The island was under Venetian rule for some four centuries, a fact which is evident in its architecture. During your vacation in Corfu there are many things to do, enjoy, see and visit. Countless beaches with emerald waters surrounded by lush vegetation; hidden seaside paradises with little or no touristic development for lovers of seclusion; lively non-stop nightlife resorts; the Old Town, full of vibrant colors and small alleys between tall medieval buildings are just some of the things that will make your vacation special. If you visit Corfu, you must visit Achilleion, one of Europe's most renowned royal villas. It was built in 1890 at the sole expense of Empress Elizabeth of Austria (the famous Princess Sissy), who, due to her delicate health, was advised to relocate to Corfu and requested its construction. The villa was dedicated to the great Greek warrior Achilles, hence its name. 

Tip: Corfu is one of the most famous destinations for Greeks during Easter, with very interesting traditions.

Best season to visit: Summer
Best for: Any type of traveler, summer vacations

The Old Town of Corfu

7. Peloponnese

The land of the great Spartan warriors and the Helen of Troy, and the birthplace of the Olympic Games, Peloponnese offers endless beauty and a lot of variety! The Peloponnese is the largest peninsula of Greece and consists of seven prefectures: Achaia, Ilia, Messinia, Arcadia, Laconia, Argolis and Corinth. Each region has a rich past that goes back to prehistoric times and all of them have unique natural beauty and landscapes. Important monuments and archaeological sites, unique settlements, picturesque towns and charming castles, but also natural beauties, such as mountains and forests, rivers and caves, beautiful beaches with rocky shores and lakes, make the Peloponnese an ideal destination for activities, relaxation, but also acquaintance with history and culture. One of the best places to visit in Peloponnese is the medieval castle town of Monemvasia, a fairytale setting with multiple cultural influences and rare beauties. Close to Monemvasia, you will find Mani Peninsula with its castle-towns, built by the people who claim to be the descendants of Ancient Spartans. Nafplio, one of the most beautiful cities of Greece and its former capital, is another must-visit, with its picturesque alleys and the imposing Palamidi fortress. If you are a wine lover, make sure to visit Nemea, home to arguably Greece's most important red-wine appellation. If you wish to bring history back to life, then you can explore the sites of Mycenae, Ancient Olympia and Epidauros.

Best season to visit: All
Best for: Any type of traveler, road trip

Monemvasia

8. Pelion

Pelion, located in the center of Greece and next to the Aegean Sea, is a lush mountain forming a peninsula and one of the top Greek destinations. The land of the Centaurs has a rich mythological past, the inspiration of which is evident still today in its surreal and stunning landscapes. The Centaurs were half-human, half-horse creatures, famous for their war against the Lapiths, a battle which is depicted in the sculptured metopes on the Parthenon in Athens. The Centaur Chiron is very famous for training many great heroes, like Jason, Hercules, Achilles and Asclepius, the god of medicine. The land of Pelion offered Chiron all kinds of herbs with healing properties, a fact which is still true today. When visiting Pelion, it is always hard to decide in which village you will stay; they are all beautiful, with cobbled streets, impressive mansions, colorful forests and excellent traditional food. They say that if you want romance, you go to Tsagarada; if you want a cosmopolitan atmosphere and gourmet cuisine, you go to Portaria; and if you are a fan of architecture and imposing views, you go to Makrinitsa. But there are so many more excellent choices for every taste and interest. Pelion is a wonderful destination for both Winter and Summer seasons. In Winter, you can enjoy the warm atmosphere of the mountain villages, with the smell of fireplace smoke coming from the chimneys, go hiking on the snowy mountains or go skiing at its ski center. During Summer, the landscape changes from white to green. You can go swimming to one of the many beautiful beaches, like Fakistra and Milopotamos; hike the mountain paths next to the streams; or, if you are a fan of extreme sports, discover its mountains with one of the mountain bike tours or head for some rafting.

Best season to visit: All
Best for: Any type of traveler, adventure seekers, road trip

Damouchari bay

9. Meteora

Its beauty is unearthly, and its special landscape an inexplicable geological phenomenon. Meteora is surely one of the best places to visit in Greece! According to the prevailing theories of geologists, the huge boulders of Meteora were created by river stones and limestone rocks that had accumulated for millions of years to form a single cone, on a marine expanse that covered today's Thessaly. When the waters were cut off in the Aegean and after centuries of geological changes, this section was elevated and drained, the cone being cut out of its compact form thus, creating today's smaller rocks - the height of which reaches 400 meters. What makes the landscape even more surreal is the ‘hanging’ monasteries, built on the top of the rocks, which look like they are natural extensions of them. The wild and inaccessible landscape of Meteora became a refuge for Christians during the Ottoman occupation and many monks settled in the area, slowly creating the beautiful monasteries. These rocks, which appear to have come from the sky, are located above the towns of Kalambaka and Kastraki, in the Thessalian plain, in the center of mainland Greece. In Kalambaka, at the shade of the rocks, you will find restaurants, taverns and cafés. Don't miss the old town and the local cuisine!

Best season to visit: All
Best for: Any type of traveler, religious tourism, backpackers

Meteora

10. Epirus

Everyone lately seems to be obsessed with Epirus; and not unjustly. From fashion designers to scholars and musicians, everyone agrees that Epirus is one of the best places to visit in Greece. The trip to Epirus is like a play of transition between myth and reality. Its history begins from the depths of the ages and has always played an important role in the course of Greek history. Its geographical location covers the northwestern part of Greece. The Ancients visited Epirus for the famous Oracle of Zeus at Dodoni, the oldest Greek oracle, dating to the 2nd millennium BC according to Herodotus. The mythical river Acheron, which was the road to the kingdom of Hades, the Underworld in Greek mythology, runs its waters in the land of Epirus too. Today, one can find beautiful cities, like Ioannina with its Pamvotida lake and the Ali Pasha Castle, and wondrous mountain villages, like Zagorochoria, which is one of the most picturesque complexes of villages in Greece!

Best season to visit: All
Best for: Any type of traveler, hiking, backpackers, road trip

Papingo in Zagori

One is certain, Greece offers immersive beauty and diversity, and it can satisfy any type of traveler. The above places were handpicked as the top 10 places to visit in Greece, but there are so many others that could have been on the list. This is a great start and can take you many trips before you can explore all of them. If you are a traveler looking for alternative destinations in Greece, keep up with our blog posts as we will post an article about that soon. Happy travels!

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