Let’s start this travel guide on places to visit in Greece with Athens , the capital.
Being one of the oldest cities in the world, Athens is an amazing city to discover. The modern city is built around ancient monuments , so lovers of urban atmospheres will find it as pleasant as lovers of history and mythology.
If you wish to visit Greece or the Greek Islands, there are strong chances of flying to or from Athens. This is a good reason to spend 2 days in one of the most beautiful cities in Greece.
What to see in Athens? Here are the 10 best points of interest in the city:
- The Acropolis: the most iconic and important site, it is also the most visited place of interest in the city. Here you can admire the Parthenon, the largest Doric temple in Greece. It was built in homage to the goddess Athena Parthenos, patron and matron of the city.
- The Acropolis Museum , a must visit if you want to understand the history of the Acropolis and admire all its treasures.
- The Ancient Agora: the political, social and administrative center of Ancient Athens.
- The National Archaeological Museum and its collection of Greek antiquities from the Neolithic to the Classical period.
- The Panathenaic Stadium built in the 4th century and restored in 1895 to host the first modern Olympic Games.
- The National Garden , the largest public park in Athens. Relaxing and refreshing!
- Syntagma Square , where the Parliament is located. Here you can watch the changing of the guard ceremony every hour.
- Monastiraki district , famous for its Sunday flea market and for the many souvenir shops.
- Mount Lycabettus . You can walk or take the funicular to the top to enjoy a breathtaking view of Athens and the Acropolis.
- Via Ermou , for shopping lovers!
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2. The Peloponnese
To continue this list of the best places to visit in Greece , you should definitely visit the Peloponnese .
Located west of Athens, the Peloponnese peninsula is rich in historical sites and archaeological remains. Over the centuries, numerous civilizations have settled here and shaping a landscape that deserves to be visited.
What to see in the Peloponnese:
- Corinth Canal: Artificially carved in stone, this 6km long canal connects the Ionian Sea to the Aegean Sea, which is a detour that saves boats 400km. It separates the Peloponnese from mainland Greece. Don’t forget to take a souvenir photo.
- The Nemea Wine Route: located south of Corinth, this town produces some of the best red wines in all of Greece.
- Nafplio: a splendid city by the sea dominated by 3 fortresses. You should definitely visit the Palameda fortress, a large well-built site located on a hill above the city. The view over Nafplio and the sea is wonderful! It is certainly one of the surprises that I most enjoyed during my trip to Greece.
- Vouraikos Gorge: The best and most spectacular way to discover this canyon is the cog railway that runs through Diakopto and Kalavrita every day.
- The Mani peninsula: a rural and quite wild area, still spared from mass tourism. You can enjoy beautiful views by driving along the roads.
- Cervi Island: just south of the Peloponnese, you will find here one of the most beautiful beaches in Greece: Simos beach.
I will give you more details on the places ranging from Mycenae to Olympia later in this article.
If you want to visit the Peloponnese, you can read our detailed article: The 15 best things to do in the Peloponnese.
Are you looking for other places to visit in Greece and more specifically in the Peloponnese? Then you should definitely go to Mycenae .
Mycenae is one of the oldest UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Greece. Built on a hill, this ancient city is known for being the home of the legendary Trojan War hero Agamemnon , considered one of the most powerful kings of ancient Greece.
On the site, you will discover the heavy stone walls that surround the city, the royal palace and the tombstones where many gold artifacts and funerary furnishings have been found.
You can also visit the Archaeological Museum of Mycenae to learn more about the Mycenaean civilization and this pivotal period of Greek history.
Epidaurus is also one of the best places to visit in Greece.
Together with Mycenae, it represents one of the two main archaeological sites of the Peloponnese and the Argolis region. Epidaurus is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The place is best known for its ancient theater, built in the 4th century BC. Incredibly well preserved, the theater of Epidaurus could seat up to 14,000 people.
With its extraordinary acoustics, the theater is still used today to host performances of ancient Greek operas during the Epidaurus Festival (in July and August).
The sanctuary also includes a temple dedicated to the god of medicine Asclepius , a circular building called a tholos , a stadium and a small archaeological museum . There, you will also be able to see some of the statues discovered on the site and in the surrounding area.
Visiting Malvasia is another of the things to do during your trip to Greece.
This fortified city is located in the south of the Peloponnese , on the east coast of Laconia. It has a rather unusual position, in fact it is situated on a huge rock and is connected to the mainland only by a small road.
The road to Malvasia is truly unique, as the village is completely hidden by the cliff until you arrive at the place.
In fact, the houses will begin to emerge only after passing the medieval city wall. Go through the main gate and enter the medieval city to start discovering the village.
You will certainly love to stroll through the cobbled alleys of the lower town : it is very nice and quiet, with many shops and restaurants . Following the main road you will arrive at the central square, which will offer you a beautiful view of the sea.
You should also definitely go to the fortress and the upper town. From there, the view of the cliffs, the city and the sea is truly breathtaking!
What to see in Greece? Impossible to talk about the best of this location without mentioning Mystras . It is one of the most beautiful places to visit in Greece as well as one of the ones I enjoyed visiting the country the most.
The site is located about 10 kilometers from Sparta on the slopes of Mount Taygetos . It is certainly one of the most beautiful archaeological sites in the Peloponnese.
Once, Mystras was one of the capitals of the Byzantine Empire as well as a major cultural city. Due to its dramatic history, it has been left in an advanced state of neglect for a long period of time.
Today, after an impressive restoration work (still in progress), this UNESCO World Heritage Site is truly worth a visit.
There, you will admire the fortress and the Kastro (Castle) as well as a number of churches and monasteries in a beautiful setting.
The city of Mystras is divided into 2 parts, the upper and lower city, and therefore has 2 entrances . If you have a car, you can park in the upper car park to visit the upper city, then drive to the lower city to visit it (or vice versa). Don’t forget not to throw away the tickets!
Whether you visit Mystras in one way or another, you will have to make a climb at some point . So don’t forget to bring your hiking shoes or sneakers !
Located in the Peloponnese, the Archaeological Site of Olympia is one of the places to visit in Greece.
Olympia is known for being the birthplace of the Ancient Olympic Games .
They were in fact organized in this place every 4 years , from 776 BC to 393 AD, before they were banned. Nowadays, the Olympic Torch Lighting Ceremony takes place in Olympia before each opening of the Modern Olympic Games.
On the ancient site, you will see the ruins of the Temples dedicated to the Greek gods Zeus and Hera , as well as sports facilities such as the stadium and gymnasium .
You may need to stretch your imagination to imagine what the monuments were like, but luckily you will find a multitude of explanatory signage on the site.
If you want to know more about Olympia, you should definitely visit the Archaeological Museum of Olympia . It would be best to do this before visiting the archaeological site.
Are you traveling to Greece and are you interested in its ancient history? Then you should definitely visit the archaeological site of Delphi .
In ancient Greece, this city was considered the center of the world and was therefore extremely important. It is particularly famous for being the place where the Oracle of Delphi (also called Pythia) transmitted the directions of Apollo from the gods to humans.
For over 6 centuries the prophecies of the Pythia have shaped Greek history: Citizens and kings came from all over the country to get answers to their questions.
The UNESCO World Heritage Site of Delphi stands on Mount Parnassus , which adds outstanding natural beauty to the historical remains. The views over the valley and the sea are incredible!
In the ancient area , it is possible to admire the Temple of Apollo where the Pythia delivered the oracles, the theater and the stadium that hosted the Pythian Games.
The entrance ticket also includes access to the Delphi Museum . The visit will help you understand what the site was like and includes a series of remains and statues found in Delphi .
If you are planning a holiday in Greece and wondering which are the best places to visit, you should definitely include Meteora in your trip. It was literally my biggest discovery on my trip.
Meteora is located in central Greece , 5 hours drive from Athens and 3 hours from Thessaloniki . Despite being far from the two big cities, it is still one of the most visited places in the country. Once there, you will understand why!
The scenery is extraordinary. The rock formation of Meteora derives from the erosion due to an ancient inland sea. The name literally means “rocks suspended in the air” . The rocks are really impressive but the craziest part is that monasteries have been built on top of some of them!
Until the 1920s , the only way to access the monasteries was via an ingenious system of cables and pulleys. It was used by the religious to go to the top of the rocks in nets or baskets .
Nowadays, it is possible to visit 6 monasteries , but don’t worry! Stairs have been carved into the stone and there is a road connecting the monasteries. There, you will enjoy a breathtaking view of the landscape.
Spend at least 1 day on the site, or more if you wish to visit the interior of the monasteries (each entrance ticket costs € 3). The largest monastery, the Great Meteora Monastery , is really worth a visit. As it is the tallest of the 6, it is located on a hill 610 meters high!
Meteora is absolutely one of the best places to visit in Greece.
During your trip to Greece, you should really visit the city of Thessaloniki .
Located in the north of Greece , it is less touristy than other places, but it is still the 2nd largest city in the country.
What to see in Thessaloniki, Greece:
- White Tower : former prison and place of torture, it is the most iconic monument of the city.
- Thessaloniki seafront , where you will find many bars and restaurants.
- Modiano market to buy the best local products!
- Arch of Galerius and Rotonda , 2 Roman monuments
- Thessaloniki Archaeological Museum and its collection of remains from Greek Macedonia (not to be confused with the Republic of Macedonia)
- Date un’occhiata alle numerose Chiese : Agios Pavlos, Agios Dimitrios, Agia Sofia, Agios Nikolaos Orfanos, Ossios David
- The citadel of Thessaloniki and its walls are located in the upper city and are famous for its sunsets.
- Via Egnatia , a must for shopping lovers!
- Visit a helicopter carrier and / or submarine of the Greek Navy , if they are anchored during your stay.
To plan your trip to Thessaloniki, take a look at our detailed guide: Visiting Thessaloniki: 12 Must-See Attractions.
11. The Halkidiki peninsula and Mount Athos
We continue our tourist guide on Greece and its places of interest with the Halkidiki peninsula .
The Chalkidiki Peninsula groups 3 peninsulas located south-east of Thessaloniki.
- The Kassandra Peninsula
- The Sithonia Peninsula
- The peninsula of Mount Athos , a UNESCO World Heritage Site
The first two peninsulas are famous for hosting several luxurious seaside resorts and hotel complexes . Here are spas, casinos , golf and tennis courts, private marinas and luxury shops. Here, tourists can also enjoy beautiful beaches with turquoise waters , small bays and the ground is covered with pine forests.
The atmosphere is completely different on the Mount Athos peninsula! It is in fact the seat of the Monastic Republic of Mount Athos , an autonomous state within Greece and Europe. There are still nearly 2,300 Orthodox monks living in the 20 monasteries located around Mt.
If you wish to go to Mount Athos on a pilgrimage, keep in mind that access is highly regulated: only men have the right to enter , and you will have to apply, at least 6 months in advance, for a special permit to visit this place.
And as if that were not enough, only 10 non-Orthodox and 100 Orthodox people are allowed on the site per day .
If you cannot get a permit for Mount Athos or if you are a woman, there are still cruises that depart from Ouranoupolis (the nearest town). You will be able to take a look at some of the monasteries.
Tickets cost around € 30 for a 3-hour cruise.
12. The Cyclades
If you are planning to visit Greece, you cannot miss its most iconic destination: the Cyclades islands .
When you think of the Cyclades, the island of Santorini is probably the first one that springs to mind! The image of the white church with its blue dome, overlooking the sea, is famous all over the world. But did you know that there are 24 inhabited islands in the Cyclades archipelago?
- Santorini: the romantic island, visited by thousands of people, where sunsets are magical! If you want to know more about Santorini, you should read our detailed article: Visit Santorini: the 12 best things to do
- Mykonos: The best place to go if you want to party all night with world famous DJs.
- Amorgos: The island where the movie “The Big Blue” was shot. It is also a great destination for hiking lovers!
- Naxos: the largest island of the Cyclades. The beaches here are gorgeous!
- Paros : where you can visit charming villages and enjoy beautiful beaches. You can read our detailed article about Paros here: Visit Paros .
- Andros : Another great destination for hiking lovers.
- Delos , for its renowned ancient sites.
- Tinos and its remote mountain villages.
13. Islands of the Dodecanese
Let’s continue with this list of the best places to visit in Greece with the Dodecanese islands .
Rhodes , the largest of the Dodecanese islands is famous for its long sandy beaches and wooden valleys. When visiting Rhodes, there are 2 things to see absolutely: the old town of Rhodes with its castle and fortifications and the pretty village of Lindos . Don’t forget to go up to the Acropolis of Lindos , where you can enjoy a splendid view of the bay!
Rhodes also has a large number of seaside resorts , making it a very popular destination for all-inclusive stays .
You can read our guide to know everything about Rhodes: How to visit Rhodes?
The other islands of the Dodecanese that you can visit during your trip to Greece are:
- Calchi , with only 300 inhabitants. A great quiet place to spend the whole day at the beach.
- Simi , where you will find one of the most beautiful villages in all of Greece. From Rhodes, you can easily access Symi in one day.
- Karpathos , an island where traditions and landscapes have been preserved from mass tourism.
- Kos , the second largest island in the Dodecanese, known for its sandy beaches, luxury hotels and nightlife.
- Piscopes for nature lovers and bird watchers!
- Patmo and its imposing monastery perched on the hill
- Leros : if you like hiking and quiet places.
- Lipsoi , one of the smallest and most authentic islands in the Dodecanese!
14. Isolate Ionia
If you are looking for what to do in Greece , you can definitely add the Ionian Islands to your list!
Located in the west of Greece , the Ionian Islands are known for having a milder climate and lush landscapes. You will also find sublime coves and beaches with crystal clear waters. There, you will find some of the best attractions in all of Greece!
What are the best places to see in the Ionian Islands?
- The city of Corfu is a UNESCO World Heritage Site . Throughout its history, Corfu was occupied by the Venetians, the French and the English. The result is a very interesting mix of architectural styles that make the city truly unique! You absolutely must take a walk to the Liston , a pedestrian promenade with many arcades. You can also discover the Achilleion , a palace built for the Empress Sissi of Austria.
You will also find beautiful coves all over the island. Why not try a trip to the famous beach of Glyfada or to the coves of the west coast near Paleokastritasa?
- Kefalonia is an island with beautiful scenery and authentic small villages .
There, you absolutely must see: Argostoli , the capital; the castle of Assos ; Fiskardo and its Venetian houses; Melissani Cave Lake and Myrtos beach, a bay dominated by high cliffs.
- Leucadia : you will find beautiful beaches along the west coast.
- Zakynthos : home of the first marine National Park in Greece. Protected species of Caretta-Caretta sea turtles come here to nest.
- Ithaca : famous for being the homeland of Ulysses in Homer’s masterpiece of literature “The Odyssey”. Here you will not find large beaches but only small bays which are sometimes only accessible by boat.
- Paxos (or Paxi): The main attraction here is Agios Nikolaos, a historical monument said to have been designed by Leonardo Da Vinci. It is also possible to visit several sea caves by boat.
- Kythera : According to Greek mythology, the goddess of love Aphrodite was born on this island. If you want to enjoy some tranquility on an authentic island, without big hotels or beach clubs, you should definitely come here!
Our tour of the best places to visit in Greece continues with Crete . The largest of the Greek islands sometimes gives the impression of being a small country in its own right!
Here are the best places to visit in Crete:
- Heraklion : the capital as well as the largest city. You should visit the Archaeological Museum!
- The Palace of Knossos and the Archaeological Site , the residence of King Minos (famous for the legend of the Minotaur). One of the most important archaeological sites in Greece.
- The Balos Lagoon and its incredible turquoise blue water.
- Elafonisi Beach , with its pink sand and crystal clear water.
- The Samaria Gorge is among the longest in Europe. You can explore it on a 16 km hike!
- Chania , with its old town full of historic buildings and local craft shops.
- Spinalonga , an island in the northeast of Crete. It was once used to welcome lepers.
- The Lasithi plateau is also called “the valley of 10,000 mills” because its ancient white sails make the windmills turn.
- Psychro’s cave , which is said to be the birthplace of Zeus.
16. The Vikos Gorge
Vikos gorge is undoubtedly one of the places to visit in Greece. If you like hiking, you will find it a great destination!
It is located in the Zagoria region of northwest Greece, a 2:30 hour drive from Meteora.
At almost 900 meters deep and 12 km long , the gorge is among the deepest in the world. Being very narrow, you will be amazed by the scenery!
Once there, it will be possible to follow numerous hiking trails and itineraries to admire the preserved landscapes. In any case, remember that you will be in a fairly remote area so make sure you have the proper equipment with you!
Don’t forget to bring hiking shoes, water bottles, sunscreen and hats. You should also notify your hotel of your itinerary.
The most famous hike is 12km long and goes from Monodendri to Vikos , but don’t worry if you don’t want to walk that much.
You will also find shorter routes and sometimes you can even park your car near the viewpoints. I highly recommend the one near Oxia!
17. Euboea and the Sporades
Euboea and the Sporades certainly won’t be on the front page of a travel guide about Greece, but if your goal is to travel off the beaten track , this is a destination to consider.
Euboea is, after Crete , the second largest island in Greece. On its coast, you will find small seaside tourist villages , mostly frequented by the locals.
It is also a great place to hike! The best known place for hiking is the Dimosari Gorge , located south of Euboea.
There, you can walk for 4 hours on a 10km trail, descending through the forest to reach the sea. It’s a great way to hike and get some sun on the beach at the same time!
You can also climb to the top of Euboea, the 1,743m high Monte Dirfi . The trail starts in the mountain village Steni.
Since ancient times, Euboea is also famous for the thermal springs of Loutra Edipsou (or Edipsos). Aristotle is said to have bathed in those waters!
The Sporades are an archipelago made up of 4 islands:
- Skiathos is the most touristic island. There are over 60 sandy beaches! As tourism is highly developed here, you will find many hotels, cafes, restaurants and souvenir shops.
- Skopelos : on this island you can enjoy beautiful and less crowded beaches. Did you know that the movie “Mamma Mia” was shot here?
- Alonnisos : is the perfect place for hiking lovers, with over a dozen marked trails. The island is also part of a marine national park, to protect the endangered Monk Seals. During the summer, you can even go on a cruise to see dolphins!
- Sciro has 2 totally different landscapes. The north is very green, with fertile valleys and hills, while the south is arid and often windswept. Sciro is the largest of the Sporades Islands, but also the quietest and least touristy. A great place for relaxing holidays!