Wondering where to go in Greece? It’s a huge task deciding what to choose as the best places to visit in Greece. It could take a lifetime to discover it all, but these places are a good start.
Greece is one of the most popular travel destinations in the world with something to suit everyone’s needs. Beach lovers and foodies, culture seekers, and history buffs will all fall in love with Greece. Dating back to 2000 BC, Greece is known as the birthplace of democracy and the cradle of western civilization.
Some of the best places to visit in Greece are the Greek Islands but the mainland houses rugged mountains and fascinating historic sites as well. So we are here to help you decide where to visit in Greece on your next holiday.
Best Places to Visit in Greece
From whitewashed villages to its rugged mountains Greece is a land made for the Gods. There are so many beautiful places to visit in Greece that it really is impossible to show them all, but we are going to give it the old college try.
Meteora is one of the best places to visit in Greece that you’ve probably never heard of. This dreamlike destination is a sea of 9th-century monasteries built atop massive rock monoliths. Meteora’s landscape alone makes it one of the most beautiful places to visit in Greece. It is dreamy. Massive sandstone monoliths reach 400 meters to the sky. Forming 60 million years ago, the landscape of Meteora is one of the most unique and beautiful we’ve ever seen.
Read all about the Monasteries of Meteora Greece here.
Monks built monasteries at the top of these spires as a hidden retreat where they lived in seclusion and safety scaling the walls with ropes and ladders. There are 6 monasteries remaining and between the ancient ruins and dreamy fairytale landscape this is definitely at the top of the best places to visit in Greece.
How to Get to Meteora
Meteora can be reached from the city of Athens by Bus, Train and Car. We recommend renting a car as the best way to see Meteora is to drive around to its many lookouts. Going early in the morning before the tour buses is a must.
- Where to stay in Meteora – Stay at Divani Meteora Hotel situated in Kalabaka town right at the base of the massive Meteora Rocks.
- Book this top-rated two day tour that explores Meteora Monasteries and the Delphi Archaeological Site from Athens.
No trip to Greece would be complete without a visit to Santorini. Of all the places to visit in Greece, this island is certainly the most famous. With its whitewashed villages and blue domes sitting high on sea cliffs, Santorini is postcard perfect. The turquoise waters glisten in the caldera below as the sun sets over the Aegean Sea.
Check out A Photography Guide to Santorini
Ancient Akrotiri and Sandy Beaches
Santorini is an island paradise with awe inspiring views overlooking the caldera. It truly is the most beautiful of the Greek islands. But make sure to pull yourself away from its infinity pools and stunning views of the caldera to see its beaches and the archeological site of Akrotiri that dates back to the 16th century BC. With black-sand beaches, red sand beaches and golden sand beaches Santorini has it all. This island is your one shop stop in Greece that offers everything.
How to Get to Santorini from Athens
We flew to Santorini from Athens and there are flights daily, but you can also take the Blue Star ferry from the Piraeus ferry port just outside of Athens. It’s about 20 minutes from the city.
- Where to stay in Santorini – We recommend stay in the town of Oia or Imerovigli. Two hotels that we recommend are Iconic Santorini in Imerovigli or Adronis Luxury Suites in the town of Oia.
While the Greek islands are considered one of the best places to visit in Greece for beaches, we feel that Costa Navarino in Southwest corner of the Peloponnese region rivals the best of them. Located on the crystal clear waters of the Ionian Sea in Messinia, this little-known destination is a must see in Greece.
Voidokilia Beach is the most perfect beach we’ve ever seen. Shaped like the Greek letter Omega, Voidokilia Beach is the place of legends. Homer referenced this beach in the Odyssey and it was believed to be used by King Nestor, the ancient king of Pylos.
Messinia is a destination unto itself with luxury resorts, olive groves, and picturesque villages making it one of our favourite places to visit in Greece.
Read More: The Ultimate Guide to Costa Navarino, Greece
How to get to Costa Navarino
Costa Navarino is a 3 hour drive from Athens. We rented a car from Athens and it was a great way to have the freedom to explore its historical sites on our own
4. Zakynthos (Zante)
While each and every Greek Island is beautiful, Zakynthos (also known as Zante in Greek) in particular, has the most stunning scene of white sandy beaches, with chalky white sea cliffs reaching up from the deep azure waters.
Located in the Ionian Sea, Zante is known as one of the best places in the Greek Islands for nightlife but the island has so much to offer with ancient history, sea caves and marine life, adventures, and fantastic traditional greek food.
Read – Ultimate Greek Food Guide
One of the best things to see on Zante is Navagio Beach – aka shipwreck beach. From the top, you’ll see extraordinary views of the island and the white sandy beach surrounded by cliffs. This beautiful beach really offers one of the best views in all of Greece. Hike to the lookout for views of this must-see beach in Greece. With Gorgeous sea caves and crystal clear waters, Zante is a popular alternative to the more popular places in Greece like Crete or Santorini.
How to Get to Zathynthos
Ferries run to Zakynthos Island from Peleponese. There are also flights to Zakynthos.
Read More: Things to do in Zante Greece
Athens is one of the best places to visit in Greece for a blend of history and excitement. The capital of Greece has a blend of ancient ruins fitting in harmony with the everyday lives of the people. The ancient Acropolis towers over this beautiful city with The Parthenon, built between 447-432 BC standing at its center.
Read more: 24 Amazing Things to do in Athens, Greece
Places to visit in Athens
There are so many ancient ruins in Athens. Besides the Acropolis, some of the best places to see in Athens are Ancient Agora, the Theatre of Herodes Atticus, and the Temple of Hephaestus. The National Archaeological Museum is a great stop to learn all about Greek Mythology and history and don’t miss seeing and the Temple of Zeus.
Athens has it all. Food, Culture, history, and a vibrant nightlife. Besides the ancient ruins scattered throughout the city, there are picturesque neighborhoods in Athens including the lovely neoclassical buildings, and balconies overflowing with all kinds of flowers in the Plaka neighborhood.
Where to Stay in Athens
Chances are, no matter where you choose to go in Greece, you will be staying in Athens for at least a night or two. We have a comprehensive guide to Athens to help you decide which neighborhood it eh best for you.
Crete is the largest island of all the Greek Islands and it certainly is a must see place in Greece. This island has it all with high peaks, deep gorges and pristine sandy beaches, Crete is the perfect destination for your next Greece adventure!
Don’t miss taking a hike to Samaria Gorge, and be sure to see Elafonisi Beach which is often considered the best beach in Greece.
Read More: 23 Unique Things to Do in Crete
One of the best places to visit on the island of Crete is Knossos. Make sure to get out to see the UNESCO World Heritage Site with your own eyes. This archaeological museum contains the palace of King Minos.
Knossos Archeological Site
It dates back to the Minoan civilization more than 2000 years ago. This large bronze age archeological site is one of the best preserved in Greece and is considered one of the best museums in the country.
How to get to Crete from Athens
Crete is a long ferry ride from Athens being 5 hours. But if you break it up while you visit other islands in Greece like we did, taking the ferry is a great way to get around. There are also daily flights from Athens to the island Crete.
Pelion is a beautiful region of Greece, located on the Pelion Peninsula. It is a five-hour scenic drive north of Athens en route to another major Greek City, Thessaloniki in Northern Greece. Located between Athens and Thessaloniki Pelion is filled with picturesque villages that you must visit including Tsagarada, Makrinitsa, and Milies.
Beautiful Mix of Mountains and Beaches
Also, if you want to visit the locations of the movie Mama Mia, this is the place to be. Much of the movie was filmed in the coastal village of Damouchari.
The coastal city of Volos is the main hub where you’ll be flying into. This beautiful city was home to Jason and the Argonauts if you love Greek mythology, this is a must-stop.
How to Get to Pelion
Pelion is a five-hour drive from Athens taking the Greek National Greek Road of Athina to Thessaloniki. You can take the bus from Athens. There is an airport in Volos.
Skiathos was a surprising destination that takes you off the beaten path in Greece. With beautiful beaches and a thriving nightlife, Skiathos is popular with local tourists. Located in the northwest Aegean sea, in the Sporades archipelago, Skiathos feels like what Crete or Santorini would have been 20 years ago. This island has the same lovely whitewashed houses, sandy beaches, and the same vibe as the more popular Greek islands.
Exploring the Island
It’s an easy ferry ride from Pelion and driving around the island to find hidden pockets was the most fun we had. With beautiful beaches and hiking trails, there are plenty of things to do. The best was relaxing in a beachfront tavern sipping sparkling wine while eating Greek food and enjoyed one of the most romantic vacations we had in Greece. Don’t miss visiting the Evangelistria Monastery founded in 1894.
How to Get to Skiathos
Ferries depart daily from Volos and Agios Konstantinos. You can take your car, (like we did) on the ferries and it is a great way to get around the island to explore its hidden beaches and beautiful villages.
While we are in the area, be sure to keep driving to visit Thessaloniki. Thessaloniki is the capital of Macedonia in Northern Greece. It has a feel of being in Turkey with Turkish Baths and monuments from the Byzantine and Roman eras. Be sure to walk around the old town to see ancient sites like the Roman Market, Hammams, and the Byzantine Churches. Don’t miss the White Tower that is the symbol of Thessaloniki, the tower reaches 33 meters into the air.
11. Mount Olympus
When we hiked Mount Olympus, I couldn’t believe that we were actually on this mythical mountain. Located in Thessaly, Mount Olympus stands 2,917 m (9,570 ft) high and its natural beauty is not to be missed. Passing through waterfalls and dense forests, Mount Olympus feels worlds away from civilization.
Mountain of the Greek Gods
Even if you only climb a portion of the Mountain of the Gods, do it. A good place to start is at the nearby town of Litochoro. We entered at the Prionia trail head and walked down from there on this lovely day trip in Greece.
If you are a fan of Greek mythology, you must see Mount Olympus with your own eyes.
How to Get to Mount Olympus
As you have probably guessed, we feel that the best way for getting around Greece is by car and highly recommend a car rental. But you can also get ot Mount Olympus by public bus from Thessaloniki and Athens.
12. Archaeological Site of Messene
While everyone knows of the Acropolis, Temple of Apollo, or the Temple of Poseiden, not many have heard of the ancient city of Messene. This well preserved city of the ancient Greeks is a must visit place in Greece. Filled with centuries of history, it withstood many sieges by both the Macedonians and the Spartans.
It is not nearly as visited as other ancient destinations in Greece but it was definitely one of our favourite. We had the chance to visit Messene free from crowds, walking through Hellenistic agora, theatre, and stadium with nobody else around. If you visit Costa Navarino, be sure to add the Ancient City of Messene on to your places to visit in Greece.
How to Get to Messene
You can take a bus from Athens which is approximately 3 1/2 Hours. Buses also run from Kalamata and Costa Navarino organizes day tours to Messene.
Mykonos belongs to the Cyclades group in the Aegean Sea and has long been one of the most popular places in Greece for twenty-somethings getting away from it all.
It is the second most visited place in Greece right after Santorini and with good reason. Its world famous golden sand beaches falling into crystal clear waters attract people to its shores for beach time and nightlife.
Exploring the Island
But there is more to the island than partying and nightlife. There are many historic places. Be sure to visit the archaeological site of Delos. This UNESCO World Heritage Site was the birthplace of Apollo and Artemis of Greek Mythology.
It is best known for its beautiful windmills lining the shore which have become the symbol of the island. Built by the Venetians in the 16th century, they are incredibly well preserved. And a not-to-miss place to visit on Mykonos is the town of Alefkandra known as Little Venice.
How to Get to Mykonos
Like all the Greek islands, it is easy to get there by ferry from the other islands. It is possible to take the ferry from Athens as well. You can also fly directly from Athens or your home country.
Known as Knights Island, Rhodes is a Greek Island on the Aegean Sea that is draped in history and natural beauty. Inhabited since prehistoric times a visit to Rhodes offers the perfect blend of history and beautiful scenery.
Combined with ancient history, great beaches, and nightlife, it is also one of the most popular places to visit in Greece. A part of the Dodecanese Islands, Rhodes (like many other Greek Islands) has beautiful beaches and crystal clear azure waters.
History of Rhodes
Notable places to visit in Rhodes are the Acropolis of Lindos, Rhodes Old Town, and relaxation at Lindos Beach (Limanaki Agios Pavlos). Rhodes was an important location for the Trojan War in 1184 BC where the Dorians. It has survived centuries of earthquakes and wars making it one of the most interesting places to visit in Greece.
Delphi Archaeological Site is a famous place to visit in Greece. This ancient temple located at the top Mount Parnassus dedicated to the Greek God Apollo is awe-inspiring. The ancient Greeks, revered Delphi s their center of worship.
UNESCO World Heritage in Greece
This UNESCO World Heritage Site is one of the best things to see in Greece With the Temple of Apollo standing all at is center. Delphi dates back to the 8th century BC and is one of the top destinations in Greece for beauty and history. The ancient temple complex of Apollo sitting atop the high mountain makes for an incredible scene.
How to Get to Delphi
Delphi is a popular day tour from Athens that you can organize an easy excursion to. You can also take a bus to Delphi. It is 3-hours from Athens. We highly recommend renting a car.
- Book this highly rated private day tour from Athens to Delphi where you’ll explore the UNESCO-listed Delphi Archaeological Site and marvel at ancient statues of the Charioteer and the Sphinx of Naxos at the Delphi Archeological Museum
With each visit to a new destination in Greece, we are mesmerized by its beauty. There are so many places to visit in Greece, it could take a lifetime and we are okay with that. We look forward to going back again and again.
And these are the best places to visit in Greece. Where have you been in Greece? Is there a place we should add? Let us know in the comments below.