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Known for its plethora of ancient ruins, whitewashed villages, sunny beaches, tasty cuisine and friendly atmosphere, it is no wonder that Greece ranks among Europe’s top travel destinations. Greece is full of historical wonders and has mythology which dates back thousands of years. Its prowess in literature is equally matched by the natural surrounds it and the food which has been born from it as a result.
Greece offers everything which a traveler could ever want. Which one of these tourist places in Greece has made it to your special bucket list of the year 2019? Greece is a popular destination among honeymooners and explorers; there are many nice places to visit in Greece!
The beautiful and exotic Greek islands lure droves of tourists every year, making them one of the world’s top travel destinations.By Karolina Pappou
If you want to explore this Mediterranean country, plan an exciting trip to Greece and have a unique holiday experience.
But the reason that tourism exists in the first place is that it’s just so beautiful here. Often, you’ll find that beauty on the many scattered islands, lying like little gems in the seas surrounding the Grecian peninsula.
Each one offers its own share of stunning landscapes, historic sites, nightlife scenes and cultural delights. There’s a wealth of these to explore. From the Ionian islands in the west – including Kefalonia and Corfu – to the Aegean Sea, boasting Mykonos, Santorini, Kos, and Rhodes, amongst others.
Then there’s the pre-Hellenic Minoan culture of Crete to the south. Back on the mainland, there’s scenery worthy of the gods all over the place. 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:
Famed for its temple of Poseidon, Cape Sounion is an eminent spot in Greece as it has ruins of the temple of the Greek Sea God, Poseidon. A spectacular site for those who would like to relive Homer’s Odyssey, Cape Sounion is a perfect destination for all history buffs as well as Greek literature lovers.
Don’t Miss: The Temple Of Athena
Inhabited for more than 3,000 years, Athens is widely known as the cradle of Western civilization and the birthplace of democracy. The extraordinary melting pot of mythology and modernism, it is a city that boasts of stunning modern architecture as well as striking historical monuments. 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, the Temple of Zeus 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.
Athens showed its jazzy side to the world after the 2004 Olympics. Now the ancient city of Athens is recognized by its modern subways, spotless streets, well-manicured parks, remarkable freeways, and ultra-warm people.
Don’t miss: Beautiful flowers at National Gardens, precious artifacts at New Acropolis Museum, the stunning views from Mount Lycabettus, colossal ruins at the Temple of Olympian Zeus, the ancient Greek temple of Erechtheum, hills of the Ancient Agora, historical neighborhoods of Plaka, the well-preserved Temple of Hephaestus, prehistoric antiques at National Archaeological Museum, and Goddess Athena’s famed temple of Parthenon
Thessaloniki is Greece’s second-largest city and 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.
Don’t miss: The best places to visit are the following: The White Tower, Thessaloniki Waterfront, The Archaeological Sites, Thessaloniki’ s Museums, Ano Poli: Thessaloniki’ s old town, Thessaloniki’ s markets, Shopping in Thessaloniki, Thessaloniki’ s nightlife.
This area falls in the region of Epirus and is a jewel in the Aegean crown. Zagori is a region of great natural beauty, with striking geology and two national parks, in northwestern Greece.
Zagori comes with well-marked routes which pass through vibrant forests, stone bridges, streams, rivers, deep gorges, monasteries, and more than 45 villages.
It’s dense forests and rugged mountains are furrowed by powerful rivers and dotted with traditional villages, many featuring grand stone houses dating from the late eighteenth century. The best way to enjoy the area is by hiking the numerous paths connecting the villages. The most accessible and rewarding target is the wonderful Víkos Gorge.
There are lots of activities for the adventurous hearts and the routes are used for the summer Zagori Mountain Running event, mountaineers take on the challenge to climb up the alpine Drakolimni Lake or to one of its peaks. The rivers of Zagori allow for plentiful options to engage in canoeing or rafting.
Don’t miss: Zagori is for the nature lovers and for people who live life with thrill. There’s everything from hiking to mountaineering and rafting to just straight up plunging into the waters which can be done.
Halkidiki is one of the most popular destinations of Greece. It combines a unique natural environment, breath-taking sea view and exquisite beaches.
Halkidiki is a trident-like peninsula near the city of Thessaloniki. 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.
Don’t miss: There are several summer resorts on the beaches of all three fingers where other minor towns and villages are located, such as at Sani, Potidea, Yerakini, Neos Marmaras, Ouranoupolis, Nikiti, Psakoudia, Vourvourou, Ammouliani, Kallithea, and more.
Shaped much like a large leaf, Peloponnese was traditionally called Morea, which means mulberry leaf. Located in the southernmost region of both Europe and Greece, Peloponnese is a wide peninsula connected to the mainland by the Rio-Antirrio bridge. Interspersed with classical Greek temples, Venetian fortresses, Byzantine churches and Mycenaean palaces, Peloponnese echoes the ancient cultures and events from its extensive history. Among these ancient ruins is Olympia, where the first Olympic Games were hosted in honor of Zeus.
A playground of Athens elite, Nafplio has been shaped by a variety of cultures over the years. Wandering around, you will find the marks of the Ottomans, Byzantines, and Venetians on the architecture and the cuisines. The seaport town is one of the most beautiful and romantic towns of Greece. Originally the first capital of Greece, this is where you will learn the history of Greece in the most exciting ways.
Don’t miss: Explore the Palamidi Fortress where you will have to climb up 900 steps but the stunning views from the top make all the effort worth it. Your next stop should be the Bourtzi Fortress which offers incredible views of the ancient town. In the evening, wander in the streets of the town where you will find the most charming house. At first, you may mistake that you are in Italy.
Second to the 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 a wide range of 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.
The English translation of the Greek word ‘Meteora’ is ‘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.
Built to seek spiritual isolation and religious freedom, these monasteries have paths which are simply thrill oozing – winding paths, narrow steps and sometimes, even less than just suspended planks. However, it is assured that the destination will be worth it all.
Don’t miss: Peaceful spots like Holy Trinity Monastery, Great Meteoron Monastery, Varlaam Monastery, Agios Stefanos, Roussanou Monastery, and Megalo Meteoro Monastery. Also, don’t even think about missing the Meteora rock climbing Kalambáka, Kastraki village, Meteora Thrones, and Theopetra Prehistoric Cave
It looks exactly like a fairyland, flattering with whitewashed buildings, haphazard but cute little colorful houses, spiral pathways, towering sapphire domes, and stretches of azure water and equally azure sky. The houses and hotels are built on cliffs which add the appeal of the place. Santorini is one of the most popular Greece’s tourist attractions.
The phenomenal beauty, along with its cozy homes and little bistros are legendary. There are several ancient monasteries, churches, cathedrals, monuments, and buildings which add to the character of the place. It’s one must visit place in Greece; one where you should set foot at least once in your lifetime.
Don’t miss: Bella Aurora & Thalassa cruise, views from Skaros Rock, sunsets at Amoudi Bay, exhibits at Museum of Prehistoric Thera, murals at Lignos Folklore Museum, sailing experience at Santorini, thrill of Fira Hiking Trail, wine-tasting tours at Santo Winery, rocky sand at Perissa Beach, beauty of Santorini Volcano, and ruins of Ancient Thera.
Santorini is a famous cosmopolitan island now but if you want to know what it was before tourism took over then you can get a taste of the cycladic and volcanic island over on Therasia. This is a very underrated destination which has just 250 residents and as for tourism, it just receives day trippers from Santorini. People here mainly arrive to explore the charming settlements and serene churches here. But there are also well paved out hiking routes which offer amazing panoramic views. These hiking routes pass between dry stone terraces built centuries ago. Therasia is the place people go to when they seek solitude away from the crowd.
Don’t miss: Go to the Perivolas Hideaway, which is a boutique guesthouse, check out the chapels and villages which dot this island.
The classic whitewashed buildings with blue towering domes signify the Greek architecture. There are several meandering streets in Mykonos that are charming to the fullest. Iconic windmills have become the center of attraction of this quaint city. The rich culture of Mykonos and the authentic delicacies of crabmeat are the major crowd pullers.
Don’t miss: Gondola ride at Little Venice, old-world charm of Matoyianni Street, exhibits of Aegean Maritime Museum, displays at Rarity Gallery, iconic Windmill, happening Kalafatis Beach, beautiful Church of Paraportiani, views from Armenistis Lighthouse, and golden sandy beach of Megali Ammos
This is a cycladic place where you will want to take your hiking boots along with your flip-flops to go out exploring the natural beauty as well as the villages of this island. While here make sure to visit the Sifnos trails, which are a network of paths that have developed here in just the event years and are the largest ones in the whole of the Aegean. Actually, there’s over 100 km to explore in here. The trails will take you to quaint chapels, temples, villages, farmhouses, and more. You can enjoy this with Aegean in the backdrop.
Don’t miss: The Cycladic Gastronomy Festival- Nikolaos Thelemites that takes place over three days in the month of September.
An island located on the northwest coast of the country, Corfu is a place of rich cultural heritage and definitely one of the best islands to visit in Greece. Find your perfect paradise on one of the many beaches this island has to offer. The rugged mountains in the backdrop give a perfect contrast to white sandy beaches. Apart from sunbathing on the beach, it offers a vast array of things like going on an olive tasting tour or visiting the ancient monastery.
Don’t miss: Gorge at Agni Bay is one little gem which you should not miss during your visit to the island. Also, make a point to witness the dramatic Cape Drastis on the northerly point of the island. Vlacherna Monastery is another famous tourist attraction in the town. Do not miss the nightlife of Sidari on Corfu Island for the world. Then, there is also the old fort of Corfu which is a relic worth seeing.
It is a beautiful island which has a pretty village and is built around a monastery which was dedicated to St. John the Theologian. He is famously believed to have penned down the book of Revelation on that island. Visit during the months of July and August. The International Film Festival of Patmos, as well as the Patmos Religious Music Festival, is held during the same time. But there’s more to do here as just last year sporting events were also added in the summer itinerary as Patmos Revelation. It is a three-day event in which participants take place in running or swimming (open water) races which take place at the end of June.
Don’t miss: While here make sure to visit the beautiful beaches like Psili Ammos, Lambi along with the almost uninhibited islands of Arkoi and Marathi.
It is the Ionian’s largest island and is popular for its beautiful beaches and vibrant forests. This is one of the best places to get some wine tasting going on as local families over here have traditions of winemaking. But in some of these winemaking places, you will get to see more than that as some places host music events or film screenings during the summers as well.
Don’t miss: The SeaΝema Open Air Film Festival, the wine tastings, the Sarastro Festival which is a yearly event organized for electronic and indie music fans.
This island is famed for the volcano here and it is an active one. This is one of the few Aegean islands which has managed to avoid development and maintained an authenticity about it which has made it a favorite destination amongst the creatively inclined. There are tonnes of thongs to do here, like walking in the hydrothermal craters of the volcano, exploring the areas between the pristine but quaint homes, enjoy a glass of refreshing iced tea and more.
Don’t miss: Relax your body in the thermal springs over at the municipal baths, visit the Sterna Art Project- a nonprofit exhibition for artists who create works in this island and draw inspiration from its landscapes.
Situated right on the western coast of Greece and surrounded by the Ionian, Parga is a mainland destination but with its own island feel. The town is a vision to behold with picturesque narrow streets which lead to Parga’s castle and offer amazing views over the beautiful bay. There are beautiful long sandy beaches which will allow you to enjoy shimmering quiet empty stretches of sand. You can spread your beach towel in here and go for a dip into the sea. For those interested in archeological adventures, Parga is actually close to many archeological sites which include the temple of necromancy situated right next to the mighty Acherontas river (linked to the underworld in the classical age). Spring is a great time to head here because it will allow one to enjoy the clear water flowing through a lush forest and you can enjoy rafting or boating.
Don’t miss: Parga with its historical sites like the temple of necromancy, it’s beautiful flowing rivers and forests where you can undertake rafting and hiking is a place where there is something for everyone.
The largest of the Greek islands, Crete is a spacious land of pleasing contrasts where 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.
Don’t miss: Beautiful Elafonissi Beach, stunning White Mountains, deep blue water at Balos Lagoon, artifacts at Heraklion Archaeological Museum, wilderness of Spinalonga, Samaria Gorge National Park,sunset at Falassarna Beach, peaceful Sacred Monastery of Arkadi, wine tasting tours at Manousakis Winery, shacks at Stalis Beach, and opulent Palace of Knossos
Chania Town’s center of attraction is its Old Venetian Harbor. The uncommon architecture of the place has been a backdrop to many Hollywood movies and TV series. It is one of the best places to visit in Greece for its cobbled streets and more than welcoming natives. The lighthouse proudly overlooks the panoramic views of the city. Many romantics and couples find themselves staring off into the sea while holding each other dearly.
Don’t miss: Colorful boats and old architecture at the Old Venetian Harbor, beautifully manicured Botanical Park, artefacts at Chania Archaeological Museum, the popular landmark of Chania Venetian Lighthouse, remarkable display of Greek architecture Ancient Aptera, the happening Iguana Beach, the golden sand of Agii Apostoli Beach, the mysterious Topolia Gorge, and the remarkable Venetian Fortress
Rethymnon is a well-preserved old Venetian town, often considered to be one of the best places to visit in Greece. The stunning buildings and ancient architectures of 16th century reflect strong influences of European and Moorish styles. The magical waterfalls can be perfect for a romantic evening hide-out. The remarkable Cave Church of St Anthony Gorge is another attraction. Enjoy the scrumptious fresh feta, sprinkled with olive oil and local herbs while enjoying the views of colorful, lively docks.
Don’t miss: The charms of Rethymnon Old Town, peace of Sacred Monastery of Arkadi, opulence of The Venetian Fortezza, tranquility at Moni Preveli Monastery, liveliness at Venetian Harbor, wooden artifacts at Museum of Wooden Sculptures, ammunitions display at Rethymno Military Museum, beautiful Rimondi Fountain, and the popular St Anthony George
One of the most popular tourist places in Greece is Hersonissos, an old port town. Perfect for a complete family vacation, it has amusement parks, pearly sand beaches, intriguing museums, ancient ruins and local shopping hubs to explore. Also, Hersonissos is famous for its fresh and delicious seafood. The simple and earthy beauty of the town has its own charm. No wonder, it is considered to be one of the best places to see in Greece.
Don’t miss: Seaworld at Aquaworld Aquarium & Reptile Rescue Centre, exhibits at Lychnostatis Open Air Museum, stunning horses at Arion Stables, rides at Star Beach Water Park, happening Labyrinth Theme Park, mysterious Cave Of Zeus, engaging Cretan Farm, and peaceful Vrontisi Monastery.
The Sporades archipelago is one of the Mediterranean’s lesser known and least visited island groups. Only four of the 24 islands – Skiathos, Skopelos, Alonissos and Skyros – are inhabited, and the further one travels from the mainland, the more one strays off the beaten path.
Luxuriantly verdant, blessed with an array of delightful beaches, and lapped by irresistibly blue waters, the Sporades are a superb destination for nature lovers. Whether you prefer hiking across pine-fragrant hills or lounging by the sea, you will always be surrounded by beauty.
Most travellers arrive at the island of Skiathos, whose international airport is well served with flights from many European cities. Skiathos lies just 4km off the mainland and offers many splendid beaches and some lively resorts. Skiathos Town is the main port of departure for those heading on to Skopelos and Alonissos.
After enjoying 15 minutes of fame as the main location for the film Mamma Mia!, Skopelos, which is just 6.5km east of Skiathos as the crow flies, quickly reacquired its millennial tranquillity. Like its eastern neighbour, Alonissos, Skopelos is imbued with a pulse-slowing and deliciously carefree pace of life. Both islands have a handful of charming, picturesque towns and villages, an enviable range of beaches and views that even centenarian residents have never tired of.
The marine reserve of Alonissos, the largest in the Mediterranean, incorporates 2,250km2 of the Aegean Sea and a scattering of uninhabited islands, home to improbably positioned monasteries and a rich variety of flora and fauna and aquatic life (including monk seals and dolphins).
The largest and most remote island of the Sporades archipelago is Skyros, situated some 50km southeast of Alonissos. Its pretty whitewashed main town clings to a hill, at the top of which, perfectly positioned for surveying the eastern Aegean Sea, is a Venetian fortress. Like its siblings in the north, Skyros boasts an elaborately sculpted coastline and an embarrassment of riches when it comes to idyllic beaches.
The authenticity and unspoiled nature of the Sporades is echoed in its cuisine, a delicious expression of the archipelago’s own resources. Most ingredients – seafood, lamb, olives, olive oil, cheese, honey, herbs, fruit and vegetables – are local, and the islands’ chefs know exactly how to transform them into disarmingly simple, flavour-packed dishes.