Discover the best Greek islands, beaches, and historical sites to visit in Greece 🤓 Plan your trip with our guide to the best places in mainland Greece
Greece remains a travel destination in Europe for reasons. It is renowned as the birthplace of civilization boasting a history that spans thousands of years. Visitors to Greece are captivated by its abundance of sites, picturesque islands, stunning beaches, delectable cuisine and warm hospitality.
From the Acropolis to the charming whitewashed villages scattered across the islands Greece offers a wide array of captivating places to explore. To assist you in planning your getaway we have compiled a comprehensive guide featuring the best destinations in Greece along with valuable advice and travel tips.
Athens – The Vibrant Capital of Greece
No visit to Greece would be complete without spending a day immersing yourself in Athens – Europe’s capital and the heart of ancient Greek civilization. The city’s history dates back over 7000 years creating an ambiance to an open air museum. Noteworthy attractions include:
The renowned Acropolis – This ancient citadel stands as Athens’ most landmark, with its ancient temples such as the Parthenon perched atop a rocky outcrop overlooking the city. A definite must see!
Acropolis Museum – Housing archaeological treasures unearthed from both the Acropolis and Ancient Agora, this museum allows visitors to get up close with artifacts from Ancient Greece.
The Plaka Neighborhood is an area in Athens, known for its alleys, outdoor cafes, shops and tavernas. It offers an atmosphere. Is situated close to the majestic Acropolis.
Athens is a city that deserves at least 3-4 days on your Greece itinerary. It boasts world class museums, delectable cuisine, archaeological sites, vibrant nightlife and numerous day trip options. You can easily explore Saronic Islands like Aegina and Poros by ferry. Take a day tour from Athens to visit historic sites such as Delphi.
The Greek islands are truly captivating with their cultures, landscapes and attractions. Here are some of the Greek islands worth visiting:
Often considered Greeces beautiful island, Santorini features picturesque whitewashed villages adorned with blue domed churches cascading down cliffs overlooking the breathtaking caldera formed by an ancient volcanic eruption. The sunsets here are renowned for their beauty. With red sand beaches intriguing ancient sites like Akrotiri and exceptional cuisine options available Santorini should be on every traveler’s Greece bucket list.
When visiting Santorini you can choose to stay in towns like Fira or Oia for the views or opt for a quieter experience at spots like Perissa Beach. Getting to Santorini is convenient through flights or ferries, from Athens.
Plan for a getaway of about 4-5 days to enjoy the enchanting experiences that await you.
The captivating island of Mykonos
Known for its beaches, charming white buildings and vibrant nightlife the cosmopolitan island of Mykonos beautifully combines energy and Aegean allure. Beneath its surface lies an authentic Greek island, with captivating towns, traditional tavernas, historical landmarks and a laid back atmosphere.
Consider renting a car or scooter to explore the coves and secluded beaches or embark on a day trip to Delos, the birthplace of Artemis and Apollo. Whether you choose to stay in Mykonos Town or opt for the tranquility of Ornos Beach, frequent ferries connect Mykonos to Athens, Santorini, Paros and other nearby islands.
The majestic wonders of Crete
Crete holds the title as Greeces island — a place deeply rooted in myths and legends — offering landscapes that range from towering mountains to golden sandy shores caressed by crystal clear blue waters. Each corner is steeped in history; don’t miss the Minoan Palace of Knossos. Atmospheric towns like Rethymnon and Chania showcase influences from Turkish cultures while inland villages exude charm. Nature enthusiasts will find delight in hiking through Samaria Gorge or exploring the White Mountains. To truly appreciate all that Crete has to offer, allocate 5-7 days for your visit.
The cosmopolitan allure of Rhodes
With its sunshine, throughout 300 days each year Rhodes captivates visitors with its medieval Old Town brimming with history, ancient sites waiting to be discovered and stunning beaches beckoning relaxation.
Take a stroll, along the cobblestone streets of the medieval city that is listed as a UNESCO heritage site. Afterward unwind on beaches like Prassonisi, which offers the combination of Aegean and Mediterranean waters. For a day filled with adventure visit Lindos village. Make your way up to the Acropolis. You can easily reach these destinations as there are ferry connections from Athens, Crete and other nearby islands.
Discover Fascinating Mainland Destinations
While the Greek islands are often in the spotlight don’t overlook the landscapes and archaeological wonders that adorn the Greek mainland. From quaint villages to cities there’s much to explore.
Experience the Mystical Meteora
Meteora is an UNESCO World Heritage site where awe inspiring 14th century monasteries perch delicately atop towering rock formations. As you wander amidst these sandstone structures absorb captivating stories shared by Orthodox monks—an encounter. You can visit Meteora on a day trip from Athens. Include it as a stopover while traveling to Northern Greece.
Unveil Ancient Delphi
Two and a half hours away from Athens lies Delphi—the heart of the world often referred to as “the navel” of the earth. Pilgrims from far and wide would seek wisdom from Pythia, an oracle priestess who resided in Apollo’s Temple on Mount Parnassus. Explore mesmerizing. Scenic landscapes that evoke emotions at this remarkable site. Delphi is easily accessible as a popular day trip destination, from Athens.
Epirus – A Hidden Gem of Greece
Located in the northwest of Greece bordering Albania, Epirus is a captivating region that remains largely undiscovered. Its rugged landscape and charming Zagorian villages characterized by gray slate architecture offer a glimpse into rural Greece for nature enthusiasts. Exploring the preserved monasteries found here is truly fascinating. For a base consider staying in Ioannina city and embarking on day trips to the Pindos Mountains and the famous winery village of Metsovo.
Discovering Greeces Beaches
With its coastline and over 2000 islands Greece boasts some of the most stunning beaches worldwide. Whether you’re looking for party vibes, secluded coves or family friendly shores Greece offers an array of beach options to suit every preference.
Elafonissi – Cretes Enchanting Pink Sand Paradise
Renowned for its coral sand and crystal clear turquoise waters, Elafonissi Beach on Cretes southwest coast resembles a tropical paradise. Take delight in the landscapes as you unwind or venture towards the offshore island when conditions allow. Elafonissi makes for a day trip from the towns of Chania or Kissamos.
Tranquility at Myrtos Beach – Kefalonias Captivating Gem
Consistently ranked among Greeces beaches, Myrtos Beach, on Kefalonia Island leaves visitors awe-inspiring with its expansive stretch of pristine white sand and glistening blue waters embraced by towering limestone cliffs.
The first impression as you approach these places is absolutely breathtaking. It’s best to visit on weekdays to avoid crowds. You can easily reach these destinations by car if you’re on the west coast.
Mykonos Paradise Beach – A Vibrant Getaway
In a destination renowned for its glitz and glamour Paradise Beach in Mykonos adds a touch of beauty and excitement. Featuring sand beach bars and nonstop music this beach comes alive well into the night during the summer months. You can rent umbrellas. Sunbeds from beach clubs to enjoy comfort along this stunning stretch of coastline that becomes enchanting as the sun sets.
Lefkadas Secluded Porto Katsiki Beach – Natures Gem
Located on the island of Lefkada, Porto Katsiki Beach is a marvel with its mesmerizing blue waters and long stretch of golden sand. Since there isn’t shade available it’s advisable to bring umbrellas during peak heat hours. Accessible through a staircase carved into the cliffs, Porto Katsiki impresses visitors with its landscapes in a setting that exudes serene tranquility and offers crystal clear waters.
Thessaloniki – A City Alive with History
As Greeces city Thessaloniki combines a vibrant urban atmosphere with an incredible historical legacy spanning Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman periods. The waterfront area boasts an array of seafood restaurants and cafe bars where one can enjoy views overlooking the Thermaic Gulf.
The city beautifully showcases its past through landmarks, like the walls, White Tower, Turkish baths and UNESCO World Heritage churches—all of which contribute to shaping its present.
Make sure you don’t overlook the chance to visit Aristotelous Square, the TRIGONIO district and the lively Modiano Market. Thessaloniki has a culture, with its university students, concerts and various events.
Discover the charms of Corfu, Milos and Zakynthos
Corfu stands out for its blend of cultures that reflect its Venetian, French and British past. Wander through its cobblestone alleys. Explore fortresses, churches, charming cafes and museums in Corfu Town that will transport you to another era. If you want to relax by beaches like Glyfada or visit Achilleion Palace framed by hills dotted with villas.
Milos boasts geology that has gifted it with around 70 stunning beaches such as the multicolored Sarakiniko Beach and Papafragas rock formations sculpted by the sea. Don’t forget to explore Hilltop Plaka Village for a view of the island or savor seafood at the port.
For an atmosphere Zakynthos will impress you with Navagio Beachs sand and cliffs descending into crystal clear waters. Take a boat trip to this secluded cove or venture into sea caves around Cape Skinari. Make sure not to miss swimming at Makris Gialos or experiencing Xigias sulfur springs. Additionally hill villages like Anafonitria are also worth exploring.
Halkidiki and Mount Athos
Halkidiki peninsula in Northern Greece offers over 500 miles of coastline along the crystal clear Aegean Sea. Explore three peninsulas. Kassandra, Sithonia and Mount Athos. Each, with their unique attractions awaiting your discovery.
In the region of Mount Athos you’ll find a captivating blend of pine forests, olive groves and orchards that coexist with villages steeped in rich history. Here male visitors granted permits can embark on boat journeys to reach the monasteries. If you’re seeking seclusion Sithonia boasts beaches, like Sarti, Vourvourou and Toroneos.
The Peloponnese – A place shrouded in legend
The Peloponnese is a place where Greek history, mythology and breathtaking landscapes converge. Explore Olympia, Epidaurus, Mycenae and Sparta to immerse yourself in the wonders of Greece. The towns of Nafplion and Monemvasia exude influences from Byzantine, Frankish and Venetian cultures. From the Taygetos mountains to the stone towers in Mani region and the protected wetlands of Messolonghi Lagoons (recognized by UNESCO) the Peloponnese offers an array of diverse experiences.
While you’re not in Greece, see what interesting things are happening nearby with invme
invme.com is a free city social network app to discover and share what is happening here and now in your city. Share, discover and connect: invme.com offers both locals and tourists the way to share events in the city in an easier way.
Go to the discovery area where you will find the events going on today, and the events coming soon, which are separated by days.
You can click to the link in order to go to the official page, or join, which will save your event to “my events” and will be able to chat with the others who joined.
For your trip to Greece
Keep in mind that mid June to August tends to bring crowds and intense heat especially on popular islands where prices may rise.
Note that ferry routes for islands have limited schedules outside of July/August and are further reduced during winter months.
Renting a car can be a bit costly. Provides you with the freedom to explore beyond areas and discover quiet villages. It’s particularly useful on islands with transportation. Just be prepared for some driving!
In restaurants, across Greece tipping around 10% is appreciated. Carrying bills might come in as change can sometimes be scarce.
It’s advisable to make reservations for high end restaurants especially if you plan on dining at night.
One thing to keep in mind is that Greece has more than 6000 islands and countless attractions on the mainland! Once you arrive you’ll find it hard to leave this place in a rush.
Regardless of where your travels take you in Greece these useful tips will be helpful;
The ideal time to visit Greece is from April to June or from September to October as the weather is pleasantly warm without the intense heat or crowds of the peak summer months.
For the best of both worlds consider spending a day exploring the mainland and a few days on the islands. Renting a car gives you the freedom to explore at your pace.
Be prepared for roads and limited parking in towns. Driving in Greece can be quite adventurous outside major cities! Having a car allows you to discover beaches and local tavernas that aren’t typically visited by tourists.
Greece offers value for money. You can enjoy grilled fish for around 10 euros while a glass of retsina or ouzo only costs a few euros at local tavernas. Even luxury hotels are more affordable compared to destinations. When planning a trip to Greece it is advisable not to rush through many places. Each region in Greece deserves time for you to fully immerse yourself in the way of life, which is best enjoyed slowly. The country rewards those who take their time!
No matter which captivating destinations you are drawn to in Greece, an unforgettable journey awaits you amidst ruins, picturesque islands and hearted people. As the Greeks say, “eat, drink and dance”. Indulge, in the delights savor the beauty and embrace the vibrant cultural heritage. Allow yourself to be captivated by Greeces allure and its fascinating history.