Greece is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world. Millions flock to its shores yearly to enjoy the sunny weather, beautiful beaches, and tasty food. However, there is much more to Greece than just its tourism industry. The country has a rich history dating back thousands of years, and its culture has profoundly impacted the development of Western civilization.
From the ancient Greek philosophers to the celebrated architects of the Parthenon, Greece has produced some of the most influential thinkers and artists in human history. It is also home to some of the most stunning natural scenery in the world, from the snow-capped mountains of Olympus to the turquoise waters of the Aegean Sea.
Whether you’re looking for a relaxing beach vacation or an opportunity to explore one of the oldest cultures in existence, a Greece vacation is sure to please.
1. Athens – A Unique Blend of Ancient History with Modern Amenities
Athens is the capital of Greece and one of the oldest cities in the world. Athens is the perfect vacation destination for those who want to experience the best of both worlds. The city offers a unique blend of ancient history and modern amenities, with something to suit every taste.
The Acropolis is a must-see, and don’t forget to visit the Parthenon and the Temple of Athena Nike. For something different, check out the Museum of Cycladic Art or take a stroll through the National Gardens. If you’re looking for a bit of nightlife, Athens has plenty to offer, from traditional tavernas to chic bars and clubs. And, of course, no trip to Athens would be complete without sampling delicious local food.
You can explore the Acropolis, one of the most iconic sites in the world, or enjoy a stroll through the Plaka, a charming neighborhood lined with shops and restaurants. Athens is also home to several world-class museums, including the National Archaeological Museum and the Benaki Museum. And when it’s time to relax, there are plenty of cafes and tavernas where you can enjoy traditional Greek food and wine.
2. Santorini – Cliff-Side Views, White-Washed Villages, and Beautiful Sunsets
Santorini is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Greece. The island is known for its cliff-side views, picturesque white-washed villages, and beautiful sunsets. The island is home to several active volcanoes, and its beaches are blanketed with bright white sand. In addition, Santorini is rich in history and culture.
You can enjoy many activities, including swimming in the Mediterranean Sea, exploring the island’s many hiking trails, and sampling the local cuisine. The island’s capital, Fira, is located on the edge of a cliff overlooking the caldera, a volcanic crater created by a massive eruption in the 16th century. From Fira, you can take a cable car or donkey ride down to the port and take a ferry to one of the other nearby islands.
Other popular attractions in Santorini include Red Beach, where you can sunbathe on the red sand, and the archaeological site of Akrotiri, an ancient city buried by volcanic ash following the eruption.
3. Mykonos – Spectacular Beaches, Fashionable Lifestyle, and Vibrant Nightlife
Mykonos is a Greek island that is part of the Cyclades archipelago. It is known for its sandy beaches, picturesque villages, and white-washed houses with blue windows. Mykonos is well-known for its spectacular beaches, fashionable lifestyle, and vibrant nightlife. It is also home to several archaeological sites, including the ruins of an ancient fortress and a temple dedicated to the goddess Aphrodite.
Enjoy activities such as swimming, sunbathing, windsurfing, and sailing. There are also many historical and cultural sites to explore, such as the ancient city of Delos and the Mykonos Windmills.
One popular activity is taking a boat tour around the island. This is a great way to see the coastline and get a glimpse of traditional architecture. In addition, there are plenty of restaurants, bars, and clubs to keep you entertained on your Greece vacation.
4. Crete – Sandy Beaches, Quaint Villages, and Tranquility
Crete is the largest island in Greece and one of the most visited tourist destinations in the Mediterranean. With its sandy beaches, turquoise waters, and quaint villages, Crete offers a sense of tranquility that is hard to find elsewhere.
Popular activities on the island include swimming, hiking, exploring ancient ruins, and sampling the local cuisine. The island is home to numerous archaeological sites, beautiful beaches, and beautiful scenery.
You can explore the ruins of the Palace of Knossos, enjoy the views from Mount Ida, or relax on the beach. Crete is also a great place to try traditional Greek food, such as dolma (stuffed grape leaves) or souvlaki (skewers of grilled meat).
5. Rhodes – Beaches, Picturesque Villages, Mountain Views, and Ancient Ruins
Known as the “Island of the Roses,” Rhodes is home to beaches, picturesque villages, mountain views, and ancient ruins. Rhodes is the largest island in the Dodecanese chain. The island has a Mediterranean climate, with warm summers and mild winters. You can enjoy various activities, from exploring the island’s rich history to relaxing on its sandy beaches.
One of the most popular things to do in Rhodes is visiting Old Town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Old Town is home to several historical landmarks, including the Palace of the Grand Master and the Street of Knights. You can also stroll through the atmospheric narrow streets lined with shops and cafes.
Another popular activity is taking a boat trip to nearby islands, such as Symi or Kalymnos. Boat trips typically depart from the port of Mandraki and offer a chance to enjoy the scenery of the Aegean Sea.
6. Corfu – Beaches, Clear Waters, and Fascinating History
Corfu is a beautiful Greek island located in the Ionian Sea. It is known for its beaches, clear waters, and fascinating history. You can explore the island’s Venetian fortresses, hike through its mountainous landscapes, and enjoy its Mediterranean cuisine. There are also many opportunities for water sports, such as swimming, sailing, and windsurfing.
One of the most popular things to do in Corfu is visiting Old Town. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is full of winding streets and medieval buildings. You can also explore the Palace of Saint Michael and Saint George, built in the 19th century.
Another popular activity is to take a boat trip to one of the many nearby islands. These trips usually include stops at popular tourist attractions, such as the Blue Grotto on Capri. Corfu is also a great place to try new foods, as the island is known for its fresh seafood and traditional Greek dishes.
7. Thessaloniki – Beaches, Historical Sites, and Rich Culture
Thessaloniki, Greece’s second-largest city, offers various attractions for vacationers. The city’s Mediterranean climate makes it an excellent destination for beach lovers, and its many historical sites provide a window into Greece’s rich culture. Thessaloniki is also home to several festivals, including the International Film Festival and the Thessaloniki Jazz Festival.
One of the most popular things to do in Thessaloniki is to cruise down the Thermaic Gulf. This offers incredible cityscape views, including the White Tower and the Acropolis. There are also plenty of old churches and Byzantine buildings to admire. Another popular activity is to visit the Macedonian Tomb of King Philip II.
This massive tomb was built for Alexander, the Great’s father. If you’re looking for something more active, you can go hiking or mountain biking in the nearby Olympus National Park. Or, if you want to relax, you can enjoy a coffee or meal in one of Thessaloniki’s many outdoor cafes on your Greece vacation.
8. Zákynthos – Landscapes, Crystal-Clear Waters, and A Relaxed Mediterranean Atmosphere
Zákynthos is a Greek island in the Ionian Sea that offers a beautiful natural landscape, crystal-clear waters, and a relaxed Mediterranean atmosphere. The island is home to numerous beaches, including the world-famous Shipwreck Beach, caves, and cliffs. In addition, Zákynthos is home to several traditional villages where you can experience the local culture and cuisine.
You can enjoy various activities, including swimming, sunbathing, hiking, and exploring charming villages. The island’s capital, Zákynthos Town, is lovely to stroll around and sample the local cuisine. For a truly unforgettable experience, visit Navagio Beach, where you can swim in crystal-clear waters or relax on the white sand beach surrounded by cliffs.
9. Paros – White-Sand Beaches, Turquoise Waters, and Lively Towns
Paros is a Greek island that has everything you could want in a Greek island getaway with its white-sand beaches, turquoise waters, and lively towns. Vacationers can spend their days lounging on the beach, exploring the island’s many hiking trails, or enjoying the nightlife in one of Paros’ villages.
One of the most popular things to do in Paros is to chill out on one of the many beaches. The island has a coastline of over 130 kilometers, and there are plenty of secluded coves and sheltered bays to choose from. Another popular activity is to explore the island’s numerous medieval villages. These villages are often built on hilltops, offering wonderful views over the surrounding countryside.
Finally, no visit to Paros would be complete without trying local food. The island is well-known for its fresh seafood; plenty of restaurants and tavernas serve delicious dishes.
10. Parga – Beaches, Mountains, and Incredible Scenery
Parga is a beautiful seaside town located on the Ionian coast of Greece. The town is situated between the mountains and the sea, offering views in every direction. Parga’s port is home to traditional Greek fishing boats, and the town’s beaches are perfect for swimming and enjoying the incredible scenery. In addition to its natural beauty, Parga is also home to several historic landmarks.
You will find plenty of things to keep you busy, from exploring the quaint streets and shops to relaxing on the beach or enjoying a delicious meal in one of the many restaurants.
One of the most popular things to do in Parga is to take a boat cruise around the bay, which offers breathtaking views of the town and surrounding coastline. Another popular activity is to visit one of the many ancient castles in the area, which provides a glimpse into Parga’s rich history.
11. Hydra – White-Washed Buildings, Cobbled Streets, and Charming Cafes
Hydra is a small island off the Peloponnese coast and a haven for artists, writers, and bohemians. No cars are allowed on Hydra, so the only way to get around is by foot, donkey, or water taxi. This makes for a very tranquil and relaxed atmosphere. The island’s main town is filled with white-washed buildings, cobbled streets, and charming cafes.
Nearly everyone who visits takes time to walk around the beautiful harbor, lined with restaurants and cafes. In the center of town, there’s a good mix of shops, from high-end fashion to local arts and crafts. And, of course, no trip to Hydra is complete without spending some time on one of the many beaches. You can find everything from secluded coves to lively Stena Beach, where you can swim and enjoy the views on your Greece vacation.
12. Naxos – Charming Villages, Beautiful Beaches, and Great Mediterranean Weather
Naxos is the largest of the Cyclades islands and boasts many activities and attractions for vacationers. Naxos is home to several charming villages, each with its unique character. n addition, Naxos is home to some of the most beautiful beaches in the world, with crystal-clear water and soft sand. The island is also great for enjoying the Mediterranean climate, with mild winters and warm summers.
Whether you want to relax on the beach, explore ancient ruins, or participate in outdoor activities, Naxos has it all. Famous beaches include Agios Georgios Beach, Plaka Beach, and Orkos Beach. For those interested in history, the island is home to the Temple of Apollo, the Venetian Castle, and the Ancient Market. Naxos also offers plenty of opportunities for hiking, biking, and windsurfing.
13. Nafplio – Neoclassical Buildings, Old-World Feel, and Charming Cafes
Nafplio is a beautiful, historic town on the Peloponnese peninsula in Greece. The town is situated on a bay, with a Venetian fort overlooking the harbor. Nafplio was once the capital of Greece, and it still has a distinctly old-world feel. The streets are lined with neoclassical buildings, and there are plenty of cafes and restaurants to enjoy.
You can enjoy the old town’s narrow streets and its Venetian-style architecture. Many of the town’s buildings date back to the 18th century. The town’s fortress, Palamidi, is also worth visiting. Venetians built the fortress and offers stunning views over the town and surrounding area. Another popular attraction in Nafplio is Bourtzi, a small island fortress that can be reached by boat from the harbor.
14. Milos – Beautiful Beaches, Caves, and Cliff-Side Villages
Just off the coast of mainland Greece, Milos is home to some of the most breathtaking beaches in the world. Milos offers a chance to relax on its many beaches, explore its caves and cliff-side villages, and enjoy the unique landscapes formed by centuries of volcanic activity.
One of the most popular things to do in Milos is to take a boat tour around the island. This is a great way to see the island’s impressive cliffs, caves, beaches, and many small villages.
Another popular activity is hiking or biking in the island’s mountainous interior. There are many trails to choose from, and the views are breathtaking.
The island’s location strongly influences the cuisine of Milos. Fish and seafood are widely available; many dishes feature fresh, locally-caught ingredients.
15. Patmos – History, Beaches, and Quaint Villages
Patmos is a small Greek island best known as the site of the biblical Apocalypse of John. In recent years, however, it has become a popular tourist destination. Enjoy its beautiful beaches, clear blue waters, and quaint villages. There are also several important historical and religious sites on the island, including the Monastery of Saint John the Theologian and the Cave of the Apocalypse.
One of the most popular things in Patmos is exploring the island’s caves. The most famous is the Cave of the Apocalypse, where Saint John is said to have received his visions of the future. Other notable caves include the Cave of the Seven Sleepers and the Cave of Hercules.
You can also enjoy hiking, biking, and horseback riding through Patmos’ countryside or relaxing on one of its many beaches. For those interested in history, there are several archaeological sites, including the ruins of ancient temples and the Palace of the Grand Master.
Plan Your Greece Vacation Today!
Greece is a renowned vacation destination, offering many activities to enjoy amidst its gorgeous natural beauty. With its plethora of pristine beaches, blue waters, and quaint villages, it’s no wonder Greece is often considered a paradise on Earth. In addition to its physical appeal, Greece is rich in history and culture, providing an educational aspect to vacationers.
Whether you’re interested in exploring the ruins of ancient civilizations or simply soaking up the sun on a beautiful sandy beach, a Greece vacation won’t disappoint!
This article originally appeared on Wander With Alex. Featured Photo Credit: [@lukaszimilena/DepositPhotos]
Alexandrea Sumuel is a travel writer and the founder of the Wander With Alex travel blog, where she provides vacationers and travel enthusiasts with trip ideas, travel guides, news, and itineraries. She travels to experience, eat, and explore-- and, on occasion, escape! Alex’s mission is to help people travel a little easier.