As the vacation destination of dreams, the best places to visit in Greece are a captivating mix of old and new, past and present, ancient and modern. From the countless historic sites riddled across the country to the endless stretches of white sand that make up the abundant coastline, Greece is a breathtakingly beautiful country with places to visit that will take your breath away.
Whether you’re a lover of mythology, a history buff looking for ancient ruins or a beach bum hoping to plant yourself on a lounge chair and stay there for your entire holiday, there’s a place for you here.
Wondering where to go in Greece? Check out our complete list of the best places to visit in Greece to help you plan your ideal Mediterranean holiday!
Quick Answer: Best Places to Visit in Greece
Read on to learn more about why you should visit these Greece destinations!
Standing proudly as the capital of Greece, Athens has a rich past that has granted it status as one of the most important places of all time… ever.
As one of the oldest cities in the world, the setting of countless Greek myths, and the birthplace of democracy, Athens has a deep-rooted place in history as the forefront of Western civilization as we know it. The ancient Athenians literally laid the groundwork for our government and societies… so yeah, Athens is definitely an important place in the grand scheme of human history.
People have been inhabiting Athens for more than 3,000 years, so it’s no wonder the city has gone through several transformations to become what it is today. What was once a rolling acropolis set on a hillside is now a modern city, built around ancient monuments exuding mysteries of Athen’s past.
If you’re hoping to see a great deal of Greece’s archaeological treasures, Athens is best the place to go. Here you’ll find the iconic monuments like the Parthenon, Theatre of Dionysos, Temple of Zeus, and the Acropolis, just to name a few, along with a huge host of vibrant modernities like glorious places to eat, poppin’ bars, and choice accommodation options.
Even if you’re not a history buff, Athens is a super fun city with plenty in store when it comes to adventure activities. From skydiving to scuba diving and everything in between, Athens has it all. Get the adrenaline flowing with a cliff jumping excursion or chill out a little and take a sailing trip.
No matter what you’re looking for, there’s something for everyone in Athens — not just ancient history!
For more on Athens: Awesome Things to Do in Athens for Any Traveler
For the archaeological mecca of Greece, make your way to Delphi where you can feast your eyes on some of the greatest relics from ancient Greek times.
This UNESCO World Heritage Site is a must-see in Greece as you’ll be able to gain a deeper understanding of the civilization that was once here. As legend has it, Delphi is where the oracle of Apollo spoke, signifying its position as the “navel of the world,” tucked away in a basin of majestic mountains.
In Delphi, you’ll find the Temple of Apollo, ruins dating back to the 4th century BCE; the Temple of Athena Pronaia, an ancient theatre; and Corycian Cave, a spooky place to wander around.
The Delphi Archaeological Museum also can’t be missed as it’s a fantastic collection of historical artifacts spanning from the Late Helladic period to early Byzantine rule. It’s one of the most visited museums in Greece so be sure to get tickets in advance!
To explore Delphi from above, have a once-in-a-lifetime paragliding experience over the famous Greek city! On this paragliding adventure, you’ll see some of Delphi’s greatest sights from the air, like the Temple of Apollo, other archaeological sites, and the wide-open valley. Be prepared to have your breath taken away as you see Delphi in a whole other light!
Delphi is truly any history lover’s dream. It’s an easy day trip from Athens, so there’s no excuse to miss it!
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Tucked away in northern Greece, you’ll find Thessaloniki, the second-largest city in the country. This waterfront city oozes charm and is positively buzzing with energy, making it one of the best places to visit in Greece.
Like most cities in Greece, Thessaloniki is a beautiful blend of old and new. On one hand, you have sites like the White Tower, standing tall over the Mediterranean, and the huge Roman arches of Galerius and Rotunda. On the other hand, you have a brand new waterfront, a massive shopping boulevard, and a bustling commercial district.
Thessaloniki also has an amazing nightlife scene, plenty of art galleries for exploring, and a gorgeous local market that’s filled with local specialties. This Greek city has so much to offer visitors and is definitely worth adding to your Greece itinerary!
An idyllic Greek island in the Ionian Sea, Corfu is a stunning place to visit for culture, nature, and paradise-like beaches.
Sitting off the northwest of Greece, Corfu is home to tons of small districts built by the Venetians, a large historic center, a 13th century fort overlooking the water, and a myth that Odysseus once stayed here.
There are also weaving trails that take you through the best of Corfu’s flora and fauna and secluded beaches that line the coast. And don’t miss the Canal d’Amour, a natural passageway with a legend that says if you swim through it, you’ll find your soulmate. How dreamy is that?
Corfu is one of the best places to visit in Greece because it really does have it all. Spend your days exploring Old Town, lying on a white-sand beach or cycling through the woods. The choice is yours!
For a perfect Instagram paradise filled with hues of blue and white, surrounded by the Mediterranean, there’s no better place than Santorini.
One of the most well-known places in Greece due to its sheer beauty, the Cycladic island of Santorini is basically heaven on earth — it’s bound to leave you breathless!
The whitewashed villages are built into hillsides overlooking rocky crags leading to the sea. Spend your days traversing the stairs that take you higher and higher until you’re looking out over the water or dive into the turquoise oasis yourself.
Besides the postcard views, this island is full of remarkable places to eat, dazzling nightlife, and volcanic beaches that you’re sure to remember forever.
If you’re looking for some blood-pumping fun while on the island, a jet ski tour is one of the must-do things while on Santorini and is one of the best ways to explore the open waters. This island is also a great place to go sea kayaking, paddleboarding, and diving, ideal for an adventure-filled vacation!
No matter what you do, you’re sure to fall head over heels in love with Santorini and you’ll understand why it’s one of the top tourist attractions in Greece! This island simply cannot be missed on a trip to Greece.
For more on Santorini: What to Do in Santorini, Greece
If you’re looking for the best place to party in Greece (and arguably, in all of Europe), look no further than Mykonos, an island of hedonism and pure fun.
From massive resorts to cliffside nightclubs to beach parties lasting until dawn, Mykonos draws people from all over the globe to party on the shores of the Mediterranean. This island, which is also part of the Cyclades islands, is quite cosmopolitan and upscale but still retains an unmistakable Greek charm with small winding streets and whitewashed houses set back on the hillsides.
Aside from the wildness of this Greek island and tourist crowds, Mykonos has plenty of hidden spots where you can pass peaceful days by at the beach. Quiet coves, clear water and nothing to do but relax… Sounds pretty good to me!
Another Cyclades island that should be on your list of “where to visit in Greece” is Naxos, the largest but most beachy of floating landmasses.
While crowds of tourists make a beeline straight for Santorini, Mykonos or other more famous Cyclades islands, Naxos offers a more laid-back atmosphere and chilled out vibe. It’s outstandingly green on this island, with lush hillsides with little villages built right into them, perfect for exploring on a sunny day.
The island is also riddled with beaches and is home to the longest beach in the Cyclades! Here you’ll find white sand, clear water, and plenty of room to spread out and make the place your own.
As the largest island in the Cyclades, it’s no wonder Naxos is home to stunning attractions to round out the cultural aspect of your trip.
The most famous of such attractions is the Temple of Apollo, sitting just beside the island’s main city, Chora. It’s one of the first things you see when arriving on the island by ferry. It’s a fun visit where you can learn about the history of Naxos, so don’t miss it!
Get ready for another one of the top Greece destinations: Zakynthos. It offers visitors two things: gorgeous beaches and unmatched nightlife.
Seriously, this is one of the best places to party in Greece, so if you’re looking for a good time after the sun goes down, it doesn’t get much better than Zakynthos.
Besides the endless music bumping from bars and clubs, this island located in the Ionian Sea is home to some of the most idyllic beaches known to man. Little stretches of white sand with a wide-open sea in front, surrounded by towering, white limestone cliffs… I mean, the scenes on this Greek island could be out of a movie, they’re that stunning.
The most famous of these spots is Shipwreck Cove aka Navagio Beach which has postcard views out over the water.
Spend your days relaxing on the sand and your nights dancing until the sun comes up. What more can you ask for on a holiday to Greece?
Crete is the largest island in Greece and thus offers plenty to do to keep visitors occupied on their Mediterranean getaway.
Each part of the island offers something different, from rolling green hills to rocky mountains to small villages and large metropolitan centers. You can find it all in Crete, which is why it’s one of the best places to visit in Greece.
Whether you’re strolling along the Old Venetian Harbor or wandering through the maze of Rethymnon Old Town, you’re bound to fall in love with this charming Greek paradise.
Besides exploring every corner of the island, Crete is also a great place to check out age-old archaeological sites like the Arkadi Monastery, the Palace of Knossos, and of course, the Heraklion Archaeological Museum.
That’s not all! One of the best parts about Crete is that it’s home to some positively breathtaking beaches and lagoons, filled with turquoise water that simply draws you in. Take a dip in the warm (and photogenic) Balos Lagoon or head to Elafonisi Beach to spread out on the sand, surrounded by craggy mountains.
For more on Crete: Top Things to Do in Heraklion, Crete
Without a doubt, one of the most unique and interesting places to visit in Greece is Meteora, massive cliffs with monasteries perched on top.
Built during the Middle Ages, Greek Orthodox monks sought the space atop gigantic sandstone pillars sitting 1,200 feet in the air as a prime place for their monasteries. As they were so far out of the way (especially for the time period), this was the ideal place for these monks to seek isolation and avoid religious persecution.
The Meteora cliffs overlook the villages in the north of Greece, while also being towered over by massive mountains in the background. Out of the original monasteries, six still remain inhabited and welcome visitors with open arms.
The monasteries range in difficulty when it comes to access, but most are easily reached from the towns of Kalabaka and Kastraki which sit at the base of the cliffs.
Meteora makes a great day trip from Athens as it’s a four-hour drive away and also easily accessible by train. It’s also only three hours from Thessaloniki, perfect if you want to spend a free day exploring another part of Greece!
An absolutely charming seaside city, Nafplio has long been one of the best cities to visit in Greece,
Nafplio has seen a great deal of foreign influence throughout its history, with marks made by the Ottomans, Byzantines, Venetians, and more, especially since the city was once the capital of Greece. You can clearly see how the different empires molded the city to create what stands today.
A thrilling mix of past and present (like most of the best places in Greece), there are loads of things to do in Nafplio, which has a glorious Old World charm, with all the modern amenities needed for a comfortable holiday. Visit places like the Palamidi Castle built by the Venetians or the Acronauplia fortress, constructed during the Bronze Age in between feasting at some of the delectable restaurants throughout the city.
Nafplio is renowned for being one of the most romantic cities in all of Greece, with small streets perfect for getting lost in, secluded coves all to yourself, and a huge range of accommodation suited to all tastes and budgets.
A city filled with myths and mystery, Mycenae is one of the best places to go in Greece for any history lover. That said, be warned that you may have a hard time discerning what really happened and what’s an old folktale once you make your way through the astounding archaeological sites.
Mycenae reached its peak more than 3,500 years ago, when it was surrounded by walls so high and menacing, they could have only been built by the Cyclopes. It’s said to have been ruled by no other than King Agamemnon and is featured in stories as famous as the fall of Troy — so yeah, you could say Mycenae played a pretty important role in history.
Surrounding the ruins of the old city are rolling hills and far off mountains, standing tall as rocky crags in the distance. It’s a truly remarkable place to visit just to see the sheer manpower and engineering skills that were needed to build Mycenae in the first place.
To have a deeper understanding of what Greece looked like during ancient times, you will not be disappointed by Mycenae. It’s definitely a must-see in Greece!
For a hassle-free visit, consider taking a full-day guided tour from Athens that also includes a visit to Epidaurus.
An island in a different part of the country, Rhodes is actually closer to Turkey than it is to Greece. It makes for a glorious vacation spot which is why it’s one of the best places to visit in Greece, no matter what type of traveler you are.
As the historical capital of the Dodecanese Islands, Rhodes has a long and turbulent past which still shines through in the island’s Old Town and archaeological ruins. Walk the Street of the Knights to get a feel what the main part of Rhodes felt like during Medieval times and visit the Palace of the Grand Masters to see how royalty once lived.
Other notable places to visit in Rhodes are the Colossus of Rhodes, the Acropolis, and the Castle of Old Town!
You’ll see a whole host of influences throughout Rhodes from Ottoman to Italian to strong Greek, of course, making it a captivating place to learn about history.
Besides the massive historical component to the island, Rhodes is also delightfully beachy, with plenty of places to enjoy the warm waters, from long stretches of sand to quiet secluded coves.
A stunning peninsula made up of three “legs,” Halkidiki is located in northern Greece and includes Kassandra, Sithonia, and Mount Athos. Here’s why it’s one of the top Greece destinations.
Kassandra is a tourist mecca, with beautiful beach resorts, long stretches of white sand, and the ocean as far as the eye can see. There are upscale dining options, shopping galore, and insane nightlife, making it a fun place for a weekend trip.
The second leg, Sithonia, is more remote and thus less touristy than the first leg of Halkidiki. Around Sithonia, you’ll find dozens of secluded coves, perfect for a day of peace and quiet. There are more than 100 beaches around Sithonia all boasting water with different hues of blue, so this is definitely where you want to be if you’re after a sandy vacation.
Finally, Mount Athos is the last leg of Halkidiki and acts as an autonomous state as an Orthodox spiritual center. There are more than 20 monasteries around Mount Athos, with around 2,000 monks residing there.
Unfortunately, women aren’t allowed at Mount Athos, a tradition that’s been upheld for more than 1,000 years, but men are free to visit this astounding religious site. One way everyone can enjoy the area is to take a sightseeing cruise where you’ll get to see the western part of Mount Athos.
One last place that’s worth adding to your list of the best places to visit in Greece is Skiathos, a little island off the east coast of the country.
Skiathos is renowned for its beaches (some of which are considered to be the best in the world!), fruit trees, and scenes that resemble those depicted in Mamma Mia. No, the movie wasn’t filmed here, but yes, it does look just like the little Greek town they run around the entire time.
The island is full of resorts and has a backdrop of mountains just about anywhere you go. There are monasteries tucked away in the hills and little towns perfect for strolling around in the evening. When you’re hungry, feast away on fresh seafood on the port as you overlook the sea…
If you’re a scuba diver, there are some awesome dive sites that have just opened up for exploration in recent years, so you can expect a pristine ecosystem and some unforgettable underwater moments!
No matter what kind of vacation you’re looking for, you’re sure to find it now that you know the best places to go in Greece! This country has so much to offer visitors, whether you want to learn about the rich historical past, soak up the present day, or have a mixture of the two.
You’ll find it all in Greece, so what are you waiting for, it’s time to start planning your trip!
PS: Don’t forget to check out our Europe packing list to make sure you’ll have everything you need for your Greek escapade.
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