While its economic reputation has taken a battering, Greece remains a premier-league travel destination. Its incredible historic sites span four millennia, encompassing both the legendary and the obscure. Its convoluted coastline is punctuated by superb beaches, while its mountainous interior urges you to dust off your hiking boots and explore. Yet perhaps its greatest riches are the islands, ranging from backwaters where the boat calls twice a week to resorts as cosmopolitan as any in the Mediterranean. Standing in the shadow of the Acropolis feels other-worldly.
Greece is full of such moments. Step into the ring where Olympians first competed. Climb steps hewn out of stone to Meteora’s monasteries, perched atop towering rocks. Contemplate the oracle’s insights from the grandeur of Delphi, take in a starlit drama at an ancient outdoor theatre and be stunned by massive marble sculptures dredged up from the Aegean. But then you’ll encounter bold modern art, the melancholic throb of rembetika (blues songs) and artisans creating new work from traditional techniques. Greece has endless cultural pursuits and a calendar bursting with festivals, holidays and exhibits.
The secret to Greek cooking is often found in the chef’s garden. Basic ingredients such as feta and olive oil are at home across Greece, but the regional produce and cooking styles make travelling here a culinary adventure. Taste herbs and mountain greens you’ve never heard of, mussels steamed in ouzo, bread baked with olives, and fish straight from the sea. Taste-test regional cheeses: crumbling feta, honeyed soft cheeses and sharp, hard rounds. Find Italian influences in risottos and pasta or Turkish spices woven into delicate sweets. A traditional-cooking renaissance has chefs lifting time-honoured recipes to new gourmet heights.
Top 10 Places to Visit in Greece
1. Greek Islands – The many Greek islands are a major hotspot for tourists from all around the world every summer. Each and every island of Greece, no matter its size and location, has its own individuality and character and this is why all of them are worth visiting. The beautiful and exotic Greek islands are everything you wish for your relaxed and memorable summer holiday and enjoying beautiful beaches with clear water, ancient ruins, colourful harbours, charming villages and accommodation, active volcanos, and more. With more than 2000 islands to choose from you may be overwhelmed to make a decision at first but soon you will be able to find your place. Among the most idyllic, picturesque, and popular Greek islands are Santorini, Mykonos, Rhodes, Corfu.
2. Athens – Athens is the capital city of Greece, a vibrant, eclectic and mesmerizing blend of modern-day life and old-world charm that has been inhabited for more than 3000 years. In history, Athens is widely known as the “birthplace” of the Western civilization and democracy. Nowadays, there is so much to be explored and enjoyed in the city through all its modern and ancient features. Some of the highlights in Athens include visiting the Acropolis, the Parthenon, the Ancient Agora, the Theatre of Dionysos.
3. Crete – Crete is the largest Greek island. This heavenly piece of land caressed by the turquoise sea is a home to stunning contrasts of cultures, people, religions, landscapes, views, history, cuisines, and lifestyles. Crete’s landscapes vary from the laidback coastline to majestic and rugged mountains and the idyllic countryside sprinkled with olive trees. The cityscape is no different as here you can find yourself in a modern and cosmopolitan city and a charming and atmospheric village within a day.
4. Meteora – The Greek word Meteora actually means “suspended in the air” and this is the perfect description for this blend of a natural and man-made wonder of spectacular cliffs rising up to almost 400 meters into the air with an atmospheric monastery on top of every rocky “needle” overlooking the villages Kalambaka and Kastraki. Dating back to the 14th and 16th century, the ancient monasteries at Meteora were built by monks seeking spiritual isolation.
5. Delphi – Just right after the Acropolis in Athens, Delphi is the second most popular tourist destination in Greece. Delphi was once considered as the centre of the Earth of by ancient Greeks. In fact, this sacred spot dedicated to the god Apollo and home to the important oracle, Delphi is located in about two and a half hours from Athens along the slopes of the breath-taking and majestic Mount Parnassus. Some of the most significant structures in Delphi that you should visit include the Temple of Apollo, the Athenian Treasury, the theatre, and the Hippodrome.
6. Peloponnese – Initially, the name of Peloponnese was Morea, which means a mulberry leaf and this wide peninsula located in the southernmost region of the country and Europe and connected to the mainland by the Rio-Antirrio bridge actually looks a lot like a leaf. Peloponnese is a perfect spot for getting to know the ancient cultures better through its classical Greek temples, Venetian fortresses, Byzantine churches, and Mycenaean palaces. Among the big number of ancient ruins dotted around the peninsula, you can explore Olympia where the first Olympic Games were hosted.
7. Halkidiki – Halkidiki is yet another popular peninsula (actually a system of three separate peninsulas) in Greece located approximately close to the city of Thessaloniki. Halkidiki is a perfect spot for enjoying some of the best beaches in mainland Greece and the Sithonia peninsula is known for the lively and enjoyable beaches. The other peninsula called Kassandra is mostly visited by young people and groups since it is mostly known for the buzzing nightlife, while as a juxtaposition, the third peninsula called Athos is mostly known for the monks and their monastery where only men pilgrims are allowed to visit. The Monastery of Athos is accessible by boat only.
8. Zagori – Zagori is geologically one of the most beautiful regions of Greece, boasting amazing natural beauty, two natural parks, dense forests, rugged mountains, powerful rivers, and more. Zagori is located in northwestern Greece and it is a home to many little, charming, and atmospheric villages, many of them featuring grand stone houses. The numerous paths connecting the villages make up for a great opportunity for hiking and trekking.
9. Thessaloniki – Thessaloniki is the second largest city in Greece and the cultural capital of the country thanks to the many lively festivals, social event, and the buzzing nightlife scene the city is a home to. In addition, Thessaloniki offers both a glimpse at the old-world and historic life and a taste of the comforts and joys of the modern day. Some of the main attractions in the city include the Byzantine walls, the White Tower, Turkish baths, the colourful food markets, many museums and art galleries.
10. Cape Sounion – Cape Sounion is best known for the ancient ruins of the Greek temple of Poseidon. The cape is located at the southernmost tip of the Attica peninsula. The ruins of the god of the sea’s temple are perched on the headland and surrounded on three sides by the sea, which ensures some breath-taking views.