Greece Destination Guide
Legendary for its long, rich history and unforgettable attractions like the iconic Parthenon that rises above the city, Athens is a city that should be on every travel bucket list. While its famous sites where Plato and Socrates once walked are what draw many here, the Greek capital also offers plenty of modern delights, from world-class museums and art galleries to endless restaurants offering mouthwatering Greek and international fare.
Santorini lies in the southern Aegean Sea, renowned worldwide as the most popular island in all of Greece. Its dramatic scenery includes the stunning caldera that was created by a massive volcanic eruption when the center of the island collapsed into the sea over 3,500 years ago. Jet black sand beaches ring the shores while whitewashed buildings sit atop the cliffs overlooking brilliant sapphire waters. The legendary sunsets and the blue-domed churches in the village of Oia are the island’s most famous picture-perfect shots
Cosmopolitan Mykonos is renowned for its lively nightlife that provides endless excitement after dark and beautiful beaches for soaking up sunshine during the day. A place to see and be seen, it’s also ideal for celebrity spotting and shopping, with winding streets lined with art galleries and interesting shops. The isle offers plenty of beauty to gaze at and capture on film, like iconic Cycladic buildings with whitewashed windmills that overlook Mykonos Town
The largest of the Cycladic Islands, Naxos is one of the best-kept secrets in Greece, located about halfway between Mykonos and Santorini in the Aegean Sea. While it may be less-visited than its more famous neighboring islands, it offers a wonderfully tranquil experience. Look forward to strolling uncrowded cobblestone streets lined with whitewashed homes, mouthwatering eateries and interesting shops, visiting ancient ruins, swimming in crystal-clear turquoise waters that frame soft white sand beaches and hiking through lush, towering mountains.
The second largest, and one of the most beautiful islands in the Cyclades, Paros is centrally located near Syros, Signos, Ios and Naxos. It boasts a wide range of beaches providing something for just about everyone, from busy beaches for mingling to stretches popular for windsurfing and tranquil, remote sands for quiet contemplation. A watersports paradise, just some of the other popular activities here include diving, kitesurfing, kayaking, waterskiing and jet skiing. The island’s unspoiled landscapes are crisscrossed with scenic trails for hiking, while its many charming towns are filled with cobbled streets ideal for strolling.
One of the largest of the Greek islands, it would be easy to spend weeks on Crete and never get bored. This enchanting isle offers a little bit of everything, making it an ideal choice for first-time visitors to Greece. There are beautiful beaches for soaking up the sunshine and swimming, soaring mountains, dramatic caves, Minoan ruins, charming villages and so much more. It also offers plenty in the way of amenities, including a wide range of restaurants, shops, accommodation options and lively nightlife.changes with the currents of the wind and sea.
Located in the turquoise waters of the Adriatic off the northwest coast of Greece, Corfu is jam-packed with scenic natural beauty, history, culture and mythology. Here you’ll discover everything from picturesque waterfalls, bird-filled lagoons and sandy beaches like Lefkimmi and Issos along the west coast to whitewashed fishing villages and impressive Venetian buildings. The most popular of the Ionian Islands, it’s also the greenest and one of the best when it comes to diving, especially around Othoni, Paleokastritsa and the northeast coast.
One of the largest of the Dodecanese islands, Rhodes enjoys 300 days of sunshine and endless beautiful beaches from sandy to pebble stretches, but that can be found in many places across Greece. What makes it stand out from the rest is that it’s one of the best for history enthusiasts, with an incredible abundance of historic treasures that can be discovered. While it is quite developed and has become increasingly cosmopolitan, there is evidence of the island’s long history scattered throughout, with almost every destination offering a unique slice and myths to explore.
Once described by Forbes magazine as the “most idyllic place to live in all of Europe,” visit Patmos and you may never want to leave. It may best be known as a sacred island that inspired St. John to write the Book of Revelations, the closing pages of the New Testament, but it also offers an unforgettable retreat for nature lovers. The island is dotted with picturesque beaches, inlets and bays, complete with crystal-clear blue waters for swimming.
Located in the Peloponnese, a scenic two-and-a-half drive from Athens in an area referred to as the “Peloponnesian Riviera,” Port Heli is a cosmopolitan destination known for its yacht-filled marinas, magnificent summer villas, luxurious hotels and lavish resorts. It enjoys a sun-kissed Mediterranean landscape dotted with magnificent summer villas, lavish resorts and yacht-filled marinas. The town evolved from a sleepy fishing village into what today is a glamorous spot for tourists with its hopping nightlife, elegant eateries serving gourmet cuisine, impressive scenery and outdoor adventure.
This remote and tranquil isle in the Cyclades is strikingly different from its neighbor Santorini, with no high-end restaurants, boutiques or even cruise ships at its port. It’s ideal for those looking for a peaceful retreat, in a place where the waves gently crash against pebbled shores, goats scurry around the hills and old wooden windmills spin in the salty breeze. The Chora hosts, timeless creations of traditional Cycladic architecture, while eateries serve tasty homemade dishes like matsata and local delicacies such as goat cheese paired with the region’s famous beverage, rakomelo.
A visit to Hydra is like taking a step back in time. You won’t hear the roar of a motorcycle or the hum of a car engine here, as they aren’t permitted. Instead, transport is by foot, boat or donkey. This is the place to go if you’re looking to relax and get away from it all, enjoying an authentic Greek island experience with few other tourists, and most conversations spoken in Greek.
This small coastal town in the eastern Peloponnese is one of the most beautiful in the Argolis area, and often considered one of the most romantic places in Greece. The first capital of the new Modern Greek state from 1823 to 1834, it boasts a dramatic Venetian fort that overlooks another fort in the middle of the harbor, a picturesque Old Town with neoclassical mansions, fantastic museums, a lovely central square and lively markets along with outstanding tavernas and cafes, posh boutiques and a wide range of accommodation options.
Located at the eastern edge of the Cyclades near the Dodecanese, Amorgos is famous for being the filming location for cult hit “The Big Blue.” It’s renowned for its natural, wild beauty with everything from mountains and caves to rocky shores and secluded coves with crystal-clear aquamarine waters, along with an unpretentious, laid-back atmosphere. Ideal for relaxing, taking part in outdoor adventure, or a little of both, the island is uncommercialized yet offers visitors plenty of things to see and do.
An Instagram-worthy island if there ever was one, Ios Island is a short ferry ride from Santorini in the Cyclades. It boasts nearly 50 miles of sandy beaches, including stretches that are often named among Europe’s best, all framed by turquoise waters, along with impressive Cycladic architecture and whitewashed buildings perched on the hilltops. While Ios Town, with its blue painted doorways and lovely churches, are just as picturesque as the cliff-top villages of its famed neighbor, they have a more authentic, lived-in feel.
Kea Island has remained a well-kept local secret, popular with Athenians who enjoy it for summer escapes or a relaxing weekend. Its accessed via ferry from the lesser-known port of Lavrio, which may be a bit more difficult to reach but worth the effort to enjoy the mainland’s closest Cyclades getaway, yet one that feels so much further away. Minus the big tourist crowds, enjoy relaxing on the beach, fantastic diving and snorkeling, exploring ancient ruins and dining on mouthwatering local specialties.
Mylos, is an island in the western Cyclades chain. It’s best known as the isle where the famous statue, “Venus de Milo” was discovered. It sits about halfway between Crete and Athens and features a diverse array of beautiful landscapes thanks to volcanic activity during ancient times. Sometimes called the “island of colors” its sands range from shell- or pebble-covered to white and black, all framed by crystal-clear waters in various hues of blue and green.
Tinos is an enchanting island that primarily attracts Greeks making pilgrimages twice a year, in March and August, to visit the church of Panagia Megalochari. Most tourists simply admire its port from a ship on their way from Athens to Mykonos. But there are many reasons to stay, from the 40 traditional villages with their cobbled paths, chapels, elegant arches and white homes to gorgeous beaches and a wealth of water sports.
Greece’s “second city,” the cultural capital of Thessaloniki, is a seafront metropolis with a fabulous waterfront lined with inviting cafes, a fascinating walled old town and former Turkish quarter with narrow streets and traditional tavernas. It boasts Roman ruins and Ottoman alleyways along with a rich culinary scene and colorful food markets. Wine enthusiasts will find lots to love as well, with some of the nation’s very best wines produced here, something that’s reflected in the extensive array of bars and restaurants.
The largest and one of the most beautiful Ionian islands, Kefalonia is filled with dramatic scenery and Greek charms. Its famous for its delicious food, dazzling beaches and dramatic landscapes that include emerald mountains, while hosting a national park centered around olive, cypress and pine covered Mount Ainos, a place where wild horses and deer roam.
This spectacular island surrounded by the crystal-clear cerulean waters of the Ionian Sea, south of Corfu and north of the islands of Kefalonia and Ithaca, is linked to the mainland by a small bridge. It’s not only easy to access, but it offers some of the most scenic beaches in the country. The island has somehow managed to remain surprisingly unaffected by tourism, providing a tranquil, laid-back atmosphere. With its gorgeous hidden bays and inlets experiencing reliable winds, it attracts windsurfers and kitesurfers from across the globe.
The island of aromas, Spetses is blanketed with pine-covered hills, while lemon trees dot winding lanes and the scent of the salty sea wafts through the air. The Venetians named it “Speciz” which translates to “spice,” due to its position on a major spice route. It’s practically vehicle-free and everything an idyllic island retreat should be: postcard-perfect beaches, authentic wooden fishing boats and fisherman selling their fresh catch while people enjoy dining on the fresh catch at one of the outstanding restaurants along the seaside promenade.
The ancient town of Delphi, tucked along the slopes of Mount Parnassus, is the seat of the oracle of Apollo and the most important Greek temple, providing an idyllic blend of spectacular natural beauty and ancient ruins. A UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the most important archaeological sites in all of Greece, it was revered by ancient Greeks as the center of the Earth. Today, many significant ruins and structures can be viewed, from the Athenian Treasury and the Temple of Apollo, and a hippodrome and theater that once hosted ancient Pythian Games.
Located on the Peloponnese Peninsula about 10 miles inland from the Ionian Sea, Olympia is one of the most fascinating sites in Greece. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, this is where the very first Olympic Games were held to honor the god Zeus. The archaeological site includes remnants of the stadium that hosted the competitions and the Temple of Zeus which once held a stunning masterpiece ranked among the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, a giant statue of the god, made of gold and ivory.
Few tourists visit Messinia, but those who do often find themselves falling in love. The landscape will take your breath away, with everything from verdant valleys, olive groves, mountains and sandy beaches with calm waters for swimming to picturesque port villages and majestic Venetian fortresses. This is a place to discover a more laid-back way of life, where beaches are filled with row after row of sunbathers and visitors come to appreciate its unspoiled beauty and authenticity
The castle town of Monemvasia was carved right into a huge rock in the sea along the south-east coast of the Peloponnese Peninsula in order to protect it from invaders. From the mainland it looks like a giant rock, hidden from view. Today, a small causeway links it to the mainland and the new town called New Monemvasia. An array of wonders can be discovered by those who enter the gates of the medieval fortress, including cobblestone streets to stroll, historic mansions, lovely churches and squares.
Located on the steep slopes of the Taygetus Mountains on the Peloponnese Peninsula, Mystras is an archaeological site in the region of Laconia. A classic fortified city, it’s surrounded by verdant orange and olive trees and filled with cobbled streets worn smooth by the centuries. The historic palace where the last Byzantine emperor was crowned lies abandoned now, offering visitors the chance to take a trip back in time to an incredibly well-preserved medieval Byzantine city.
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