On the Southeastern side of Europe sits an ancient country known as Greece consisting of thousands of islands with breathtaking landscapes that attract millions of travelers from all over the world annually. Greece is situated on the southern end of the Balkan Peninsula, neighboring Bulgaria, Turkey, and Albania. Although Greece is home to many islands, that’s not the only reason travelers visit this beautiful country. Greece is also known for its rich history, heritage, and culture, apart from offering magnificent natural wonders.
The historical significance of Greece is secret to none. From being the hometown of the original Olympic Games to being the birthplace of Democracy itself, Greece is the ultimate dream place for every history student out there. The number of historical sites this country alone holds has the power to take you back into a long-gone age.
Top 10 Greece vacation destinations
Considering the enormous number of must-see sites, it’s almost impossible for one to get the most of Greece in a single tour. It would be unfair even to try fitting all of the stunning spots that Greece has to offer in this one read. However, we have decided to save the day by compiling a list of 10 unmissable vacation destinations in Greece. If you’re planning to give the homeland of philosophy a visit, make sure you don’t miss out on the following places.
Athens is best known for being the cradle of Western civilization and the capital of modern-day Greece. With a mix of modern and ancient infrastructure, the city of Athens is home to dozens of historical sites holding archaeological mementos dating back to more than a millennium ago. Being the epitome of Western civilization, the city of Athens brings you the ancient temple of Zeus, which is one of the top places to visit in this city.
Other than that, you may visit the museum of Acropolis, which is home to several hundred historical monuments that define the traditions of this land. Even if history is not your thing, you’d still find dozens of things to do in the heart of Greece since Athens is also known for being the central economic hub of Greece. So, you can lace up your shoes and go for a long walk in the market streets of Athens. The city truly glows up to its most entire night when restaurants and clubs become crowded with locals and foreigners.
Santorini is often referred to as the gem of the Aegean Sea. This volcanic island falls in the Cyclades category of Greek islands. Known best for its breathtaking scenery, Santorini would make you want to stay forever. The entire island consists of a wide variety of spectacular spots. Apart from having its active volcano, the island of Santorini has several villages and small towns that are explored by tourists throughout the year.
Also known as Thira, much of what Santorini is today was because of the massive volcanic eruption over 3000 years ago. However, in terms of historical sites, Santorini does not fall short either. From Byzantine churches to ruins of a massive earthquake in Mesa Gonia dating back to 1956, Santorini is home to multiple ancient civilizations that have long been gone. So, there are no chances that you’ll regret adding the volcanic island of Santorini to your go-to list.
Also known as Zante, Zakynthos offers you a once-in-a-lifetime kind of experience through its radiant nightlife. It sits in the center of the Ionian Sea and provides a plethora of festive activities for those who visit this heavenly island. Zakynthos is filled with mesmerizing white beaches that meet clear blue water along with massive pale cliffs. That is why aquatic activities such as swimming and boating are among the most preferred activities by tourists in Zante.
As far as its center of attention is concerned, the signature spot of Zakynthos can be found at the Navagio beach, where an old shipwreck rests. Zakynthos is also famous for its Marine Park, where endangered species of turtles reside. Much of this island’s beauty can be found on its exotic shores and luxurious resorts, where lights truly shine to their fullest at nighttime. Tourists also head for Zante town, where historical destinations such as the Venetian Castle and the Solomos Square can be explored.
Just alongside the coast of Turkey sits a medieval city of Europe on the island of Rhodes. Thanks to its historical significance, Rhodes has secured its place in our list of must-visit places in Greece. So, what does this place offer? Everything! Much like Athens, Rhodes brings you the best of ancient and modern civilizations. Be it luxurious 5-star hotels or old-age museums, and this place has them all.
As for its signature spot, the capital of Rhodes is famous for an olden giant statue of Helios, the Greek sun god. This statue was erected after a successful defense against the enemy, and it went on to be known as the Colossus of Rhodes. Although much of it has been destroyed due to a severe earthquake and several other reasons, it was one of the world’s seven wonders. Besides that, Rhodes Island can give you a good time to your tastebuds thanks to its authentic cuisines and festive bars.
Up next on our list of Greece’s incredible places is another island situated in the Ionian Sea. Much like its counterparts, Corfu is well-known for its momentous heritage and dazzling beaches. Therefore, it would have been unfair not to add Corfu to this list since this island boasts stunning shores filled with fine-grained white sand and green mountains like the cherry on top of the cake.
Roam around in the streets of old Corfu and explore the city’s historical wonders while you enjoy your authentic Greek salad. Corfu is famous for being the place where Greek mythology began. Countless battles and conquests occurred on this island, so you can surely expect Corfu to be filled with history lessons. After you’re done exploring its rich cultural heritage, be sure to jump into the turquoise blue waters of this magnificent island and have a good time relaxing.
Just around a two-and-a-half-hour drive away from Athens is the town of Delphi, which has its roots going back to around 8 BC. This town was initially constructed as a religious center of worship devoted to a Greek god called Apollo. According to Greek mythology, the land of Delphi was considered to be the center of the planet. Due to its religious significance, both leaders and laymen worldwide would travel to this land to pay the Oracle a visit.
The entire sanctuary is full of ancient artifacts but what truly makes this place stand out is the Temple of Apollo. Although not all of the ruins have been preserved, the town of Delphi still offers enough to make any traveler its fan immediately. Furthermore, Delphi has an old stadium where the Pythian Games were introduced. These games were considered the second most important after the Olympic Games, which makes the old stadium worth a visit as well.
If you’re a fan of partying, then this one is for you. In the Aegean Sea sits Mykonos, a Greek island that is all about nightlife, luxuries, music, yacht parties, and dance clubs. This might sound like a place where you’ll need to head with a heavy wallet. But, on the contrary, money is not a problem since Mykonos brings much more to the table. Apart from being the attraction of renowned DJs from all over the world, the island of Mykonos offers several other activities that won’t cost a fortune.
For example, there are dozens of small restaurants, cafes, hotels, art streets, museums, and even churches where you can make the most of your visit to Mykonos. However, Mykonos is typically famous for its super nightclubs where LGBTQ+ people get to have the time of their lives. Overall, Mykonos is an excellent place for every traveler. A limited budget in Mykonos certainly won’t stop you from having the time of your life.
Often referred to as the second capital of Greece, Thessaloniki is also one of those destinations that you do not want to miss out on. Comprising of business, trade, and art centers, Thessaloniki is the city where most Greek cultural festivals and events occur. Even back then, at the time of the Byzantines, Thessaloniki was considered the second-largest metropolitan hub while Constantinople was the first. Not much has changed in the city since it is still a social, political, and economic center for Greece.
However, much of Thessaloniki is different from other Greek cities because the city was not made a part of Greece itself until 1912. Therefore, in the old markets of Thessaloniki, you’ll find a mix of both Turkish and Greek cultures. As for tourism activities, Thessaloniki is best for shopping and partying since the markets and nightlife are simply incomparable.
The word “Meteora” literally translates to suspended in the air, and quite frankly, this place was named Meteora for a valid reason. Meteora is home to several natural formations of cliffs that are home to some of the oldest orthodox churches and monasteries. Officially recognized by UNESCO as a heritage site, Meteora gives you the best of both worlds, nature, and history. Here you’ll find gigantic rock formations reaching sky-high with beautiful ancient architecture erected on the top.
The inhabitants of Meteora have been living on these natural skyscrapers and praising their God since the 14th century, and we don’t think things are changing anytime soon. Isolated from the modern world, the monks of these religious temples and monasteries are regularly visited by tourists seeking spiritual enlightenment. Even if that’s not of your interest, we highly recommend adding Meteora to your list of to-visit places due to the jaw-dropping natural wonders of this place.
To wrap up our list, we have Crete as the final list of must-see Greek destinations. Of course, Crete will most likely require more than one visit for complete exploration, but that’s just one reason why this island is unique. Since Crete is the biggest island in Greece, there’s no denying that the more time you spend exploring this destination, the more you’ll fall in love with it. Exotic beaches, crystal clear seawater, delicious food, and museums enriched with history are just some of the things that you get to experience in Crete.
The entire place is filled with the spirit of Greece. Chania town is the spotlight of this island; it is home to the Venetian Lighthouse and the Archaeological Museum, along with dozens of lively restaurants, bars, and cafes. If you’re a thrill-seeker, we’d recommend heading for Samaria, a 10-mile-long trail that ends at the Mediterranean where you may enjoy the absolute best of Mediterranean cuisine.
Greece is a country which you’d long remember even years after visiting it. Most only think of Greece as a place of history, whereas it is much more than that. The pinnacle of natural beauty sits in the vibrant islands of this country, and the only way to truly experience them is through visiting the place yourself.