Greece, a land where ancient history intertwines with breathtaking natural beauty, is a destination that has captivated travelers for centuries. This Mediterranean gem, known as the cradle of Western civilization, has an illustrious history that dates back thousands of years. From the mythical tales of gods and heroes to its contributions in philosophy, mathematics, and the arts, Greece’s influence on the world is immeasurable. Today, Greece stands as a living testament to its rich heritage, offering travelers an opportunity to step back in time while indulging in its modern charms.
In this comprehensive travel guide, we invite you to embark on a journey through Greece’s diverse landscapes, vibrant cities, and ancient ruins. Whether you’re an avid history buff, a sunseeker looking for idyllic beaches, or a gastronomic explorer craving Mediterranean flavors, Greece has something to offer every traveler.
Geography and Regions:
Greece’s geographical diversity is nothing short of astounding. Located in southeastern Europe, it consists of a mainland, which is predominantly mountainous, and numerous islands scattered throughout the Aegean and Ionian Seas. The country’s terrain ranges from rugged mountains like the Pindus range to fertile plains and stunning coastlines.
- Mainland Greece: Athens, the capital, and Thessaloniki, the second-largest city, are both situated on the mainland. Athens, the birthplace of democracy, is a vibrant metropolis steeped in history, while Thessaloniki offers a blend of modernity and tradition. The mainland also boasts iconic destinations like Delphi, known for its ancient oracle, and the Meteora monasteries, perched atop towering rock formations.
- The Greek Islands: Greece is famous for its islands, each with its unique charm. The Cyclades, including Santorini and Mykonos, offer stunning sunsets, white-washed buildings, and crystal-clear waters. Crete, Greece’s largest island, boasts Minoan ruins and picturesque villages. The Ionian Islands, like Corfu and Zakynthos, are lush and green with Venetian influences. Meanwhile, the Dodecanese and Sporades islands offer a quieter, more traditional Greek experience.
History and Culture:
Greece’s history is a tapestry woven with threads of myth, legend, and fact. It’s the land where the Olympic Games were born, where the wisdom of philosophers like Plato and Aristotle flourished, and where the tales of the Iliad and the Odyssey were composed. Ancient Greece was home to some of the world’s greatest thinkers, artists, and warriors.
Today, remnants of this glorious past can be found throughout Greece. The Acropolis in Athens, with its Parthenon temple, is a UNESCO World Heritage site and an enduring symbol of classical Greek architecture. Delve into the archaeological sites of Knossos in Crete, Epidaurus, and Olympia to witness the echoes of ancient greatness.
Greek culture is deeply rooted in traditions that span millennia. Music, dance, and festivals play a significant role in everyday life. Experience a traditional Greek dance, such as the sirtaki or tsamiko, and partake in local celebrations like Easter and Greek Orthodox Easter, where you can savor delicious, home-cooked food and join in lively festivities.
Cuisine and Gastronomy:
Greek cuisine is a delight for food enthusiasts. Fresh, local ingredients are the cornerstone of Greek cooking, and Mediterranean flavors take center stage. Olives, olive oil, feta cheese, honey, and aromatic herbs like oregano and thyme are just a few staples in Greek dishes. Savor mouthwatering classics like moussaka, souvlaki, and tzatziki.
Dining in Greece is not just about the food; it’s also about the experience. Tavernas, small family-run restaurants, offer an authentic taste of Greek hospitality. Sip on local wines and spirits like ouzo while enjoying a meal under the warm Mediterranean sun or amid the cozy ambiance of a traditional Greek eatery.
Greece, with its mesmerizing landscapes, deep historical roots, and culinary delights, is a travel destination that promises an unforgettable experience. Whether you’re wandering through ancient ruins, lounging on pristine beaches, or savoring the flavors of Greek cuisine, you’ll find that Greece’s timeless beauty is as captivating today as it was in the days of gods and heroes. So, pack your bags, immerse yourself in Greek culture, and get ready for an adventure that will leave you with cherished memories for a lifetime. In this comprehensive travel guide, we will explore the many facets of Greece, providing you with insights, tips, and recommendations to make the most of your journey through this enchanting land. Welcome to Greece!
Greece City Guide: A Brief History Of Greece For Visitors
Greece, a land steeped in myth and history, is a captivating destination for travelers seeking to explore the roots of Western civilization. This enchanting country, located in southeastern Europe, has a rich and complex history that spans thousands of years. From the mythical tales of gods and heroes to the birth of democracy and the golden age of philosophy, Greece has played a pivotal role in shaping the world as we know it today. In this comprehensive historical guide for visitors, we will delve into the captivating narrative of Greece’s past, offering insights into its ancient wonders, medieval empires, and modern struggles and triumphs.
Ancient Greece: Birth of Civilization (c. 2000 BC – 323 BC)
- Minoans and Mycenaeans: The history of ancient Greece begins with the Minoans on the island of Crete, known for their advanced civilization and the palace of Knossos. Following their decline, the Mycenaeans rose to prominence on the Greek mainland, leaving behind impressive citadels like Mycenae and Tiryns.
- The Age of Heroes: Greek mythology comes alive in this era, with tales of heroes like Achilles, Odysseus, and Heracles. The Trojan War, as recounted in Homer’s epic poems, the Iliad and the Odyssey, is a central event of this time.
- The Birth of Democracy: In the 5th century BC, Athens emerged as a leading city-state, known for its democratic experiment under figures like Cleisthenes and Pericles. The Acropolis, Parthenon, and Agora were built during this golden age.
- The Persian Wars: Greece faced the mighty Persian Empire in a series of conflicts, including the famous Battle of Marathon. The Greeks, led by figures like Themistocles, ultimately triumphed.
- The Peloponnesian War: Athens and Sparta, the two leading city-states, engaged in a protracted conflict that ended in the decline of both powers. Thucydides chronicled this war in his “History of the Peloponnesian War.”
Hellenistic Period and Roman Greece (323 BC – 330 AD)
- Alexander the Great: The Macedonian king, Alexander, conquered an immense empire, spreading Greek culture across Asia Minor, Egypt, and beyond. His legacy, known as the Hellenistic period, saw the fusion of Greek and Eastern influences.
- Roman Conquest: Greece became a province of the Roman Republic and later the Roman Empire, but Greek culture continued to thrive, with prominent philosophers like Epictetus and epic poets like Apollonius of Rhodes.
Byzantine Empire (330 AD – 1453 AD)
- Byzantium: The eastern half of the Roman Empire, centered in Constantinople (modern-day Istanbul), became known as the Byzantine Empire. This period witnessed the rise of Orthodox Christianity and the construction of magnificent churches like the Hagia Sophia.
- Iconoclasm and Iconophilia: The Byzantine Empire grappled with religious controversies, including the iconoclastic debates over religious images, which ultimately led to the triumph of iconophilia.
- The Fourth Crusade: In 1204, Crusaders from Western Europe sacked Constantinople, marking a significant turning point in Byzantine history. The Byzantine Empire never fully recovered.
Ottoman Rule and Greek Independence (1453 – 1821)
- Ottoman Domination: Greece endured over four centuries of Ottoman rule, with the Ottomans establishing a system of local governance and extracting tribute from the Greek population.
- The Greek War of Independence: The 19th century saw the rise of Greek nationalism and the outbreak of the Greek War of Independence in 1821. The struggle for freedom was championed by heroes like Theodoros Kolokotronis and Lord Byron.
Modern Greece (1821 – Present)
- Independence and Nation-Building: Greece finally achieved independence in 1830, with the support of European powers. The modern Greek state was established, and a Bavarian prince, Otto, became its first king.
- 20th Century Turmoil: Greece experienced political upheaval, including a monarchy, republic, and military junta. The country also played a role in both World Wars and the Greek Civil War.
- European Integration: Greece joined the European Union in 1981, marking a new era of economic development and stability. However, the country faced significant challenges during the European financial crisis in the late 2000s.
Greece’s history is a captivating tapestry that continues to influence the world today. As a visitor to this remarkable country, you will have the opportunity to walk in the footsteps of ancient philosophers, explore the remnants of once-great empires, and witness the indomitable spirit of a people who have endured centuries of change and challenge. Whether you are drawn to the ancient ruins of Athens, the medieval splendor of Byzantium, or the struggle for modern Greek identity, Greece’s historical narrative is sure to leave an indelible mark on your journey. As you embark on your exploration of Greece’s rich history, prepare to be transported through time and to discover the enduring legacy of this extraordinary land.
Greece Top Attractions and Best Places to Visit
Home to one of the world’s most revered civilizations, Greece has left an indelible mark on the world in many areas that include philosophy, political science, mathematics and sports to only name a few. Because of this, and its outstanding natural environment and remarkably healthy cuisine, Greece has been one of the most popular travel destinations in the world for many years.
Whether it’s the many crumbling columns of a former giant in the world 2,000 years ago, the countless islands that fan out across the Aegean towards Turkey that contain timeless experiences just waiting to be lived, or late night meals that turn into all-night parties, Greece has a peak travel moment that has your name on it.
Greece has been struggling in the wake of a devastating recession brought on by the global financial crisis. If we wish to help them, one can start by discovering this timeless nation in the coming months, as every travel dollar will go a long way to help get this classic destination back on its feet!
What To Do
After getting settled into your accommodation in Athens, the icon of a nation likely lies within visual range, calling out to you to visit its ancient bones. The Parthenon, which served as the temple to the goddess that watched over Athens in the olden times, was once the shiniest gem in the crown of the Acropolis, the site of the ancient city of Athens that is seated on a high plateau that cowers over where the present day city resides. Other monuments to various Greek gods are also present, such as the Erectheion, which worships Attica and Poseidon, as well as Athena.
Located near the modern day settlement of the same name, Delphi used to be the temple that housed the oracle of the god Apollo. Considered by Greeks to be the centre of the universe, the scenery of the surrounding mountains will help you to understand why they thought this way about this site. Hiking and cycling opportunities abound in this area, so don’t be in a big rush to move on from here when you get to Delphi.
Birthing the movement that gave rise to the best known athletic event in the history of sports, Olympia was the site of a set of athletic competition that took place every four years from about the 8th century BCE to the 4th century AD. Even though the original site today is mostly ruins from the days of yore, the Olympic flame in the modern games is always lit for the first time at the original Olympia stadium using a parabolic mirror near the Temple of Hera, making this place a must for those who eat, breathe and live sports.
After the Roman period of Greece has passed into the annals of history, the Byzantine Empire assumed cultural and imperial control over the land here. As such, magnificent monasteries were built atop sheer plateaus in Meteora, soaring above the landscape in a scene that may make you gasp upon first sighting it on your travels.
These pillars of stone, broken apart by earthquakes in the ancient past, and shaped by the elements in the eons that followed, were originally only accessible and rope and ladder … today, getting there is much easier, but do respect the sanctity of the monks and nuns that still reside here by covering up, keeping your voice down and acting like you would to be considered an ideal house guest.
While Greece is definitely heavy on cultural highlights, we would be remiss if we ignored the hedonistic, beautiful and sanguine islands that are scattered across the Mediterranean and Aegean Seas like pearls off a broken necklace.
Playing hopscotch between these gems is highly advised for those that have the time, as Corfu, Santorini, Mykonos, and Zakynthos, among countless others will stick with you throughout the remainder of your traveling days as one of the best trips to make anywhere in the world.
Corfu is where the young, fabulous and beautiful should head for sleepless nights and cheap free flowing Greek wine. White sand beaches, crystalline waters, and old but character-filled provincial towns will keep you occupied during the day, while the thumping nightlife after the sun goes down will keep you moving as long as you can hold out.
Santorini should be the photographer’s choice, as the whitewashed houses and the deep blue doors, window shutters and domes will cause the visually stimulated to cry out in excitement upon arrival. Built on the remnants of a giant volcanic explosion that occurred 3,500 years ago, the visages here will make for an excellent romantic getaway.
Mykonos will appeal to those seeking out a cosmopolitan experience that caters to the needs of just about anybody, as this island is by far the most developed and touristed locale of the major Greek islands. Those that prefer the same sex will especially enjoy their holiday here, as the scene here ranks alongside Ibiza and Gran Canaria as having one of the best gay scenes in Europe.
Other Cultural Attractions: Trip to Greece
Finally, those seeking a pleasant holiday in the Aegean that includes a visit to one of the most famous “hidden” beaches in the world will want to set sail for Zakynthos. Shipwreck Beach has been plastered on computer backgrounds around the world, and while most have no clue where it could be, more and more people are finding it here on this formerly low-key Greek isle.
Those who are also seeking to do good will want to look into volunteering with a sea turtle charity. There are a number that do excellent work on this island protecting and nurturing loggerhead sea turtles, helping them get the best possible leg up on a tough life in the ocean that lies beyond.
What To Eat
A treat that is well-loved in the mornings in Greece is Spanakopita, which is a spinach pie that is also filled with feta cheese, onions, and bits of egg. Also enjoyed as a snack during much of the day, it satisfies with its savoury blend of flavours.
Those seeking grilled meats should opt for a Souvlaki, which commonly uses pork as the main protein, though chicken are lamb are commonly featured. While humble in nature, it has been enjoyed in Greece stretching back into prehistoric periods, making it a must try when in the country.
Those seeking something more vegetable based should try Moussaka, a layered dish that consists of eggplant on the bottom, minced lamb in the middle, and a custardy top that will delight most that consume it. Given the low meat input, this dish is easy to customize to suit vegetarians.
Finally, end your multi-course Greek feast with a sweet and light Baklava. This dessert is a pastry that is imbued with chopped nuts and is often drizzled with honey, giving it a flavour that is just sweet enough, while providing a texture that truly satisfies!
Top 101 Things To Do in Greece For Visitors
Greece, a land of timeless beauty, rich history, and warm hospitality, offers a multitude of experiences for travelers seeking to explore its diverse landscapes, vibrant culture, and iconic historical sites. From the historic treasures of Athens to the idyllic islands of the Aegean, Greece has something to offer every type of traveler. In this extensive list, we present the top 101 things to do in Greece, ensuring that your visit to this Mediterranean gem is nothing short of extraordinary.
1. Explore the Acropolis: Begin your Greek adventure in Athens by visiting the Acropolis, an iconic symbol of ancient Greece, and marvel at the Parthenon, Erechtheion, and Temple of Athena Nike.
2. Wander through Plaka: Stroll through the charming neighborhood of Plaka, with its cobblestone streets, traditional Greek tavernas, and quaint shops.
3. Visit the National Archaeological Museum: Delve into Greece’s rich history at the National Archaeological Museum in Athens, home to an extensive collection of ancient artifacts.
4. Witness the Changing of the Guard: Head to Syntagma Square to witness the Evzones, the presidential guards, perform the ceremonial Changing of the Guard in their distinctive uniforms.
5. Discover Ancient Delphi: Explore the ancient sanctuary of Delphi, known as the “Center of the World” in antiquity, and visit the Temple of Apollo.
6. Marvel at Meteora: Journey to Meteora, where monasteries perched atop towering rock pillars offer breathtaking views and a glimpse into Greek Orthodox monastic life.
7. Hike the Samaria Gorge: Take on the challenge of hiking the Samaria Gorge in Crete, one of Europe’s longest canyons, and soak in the stunning scenery.
8. Experience the Santorini Sunset: Witness the world-famous sunset over the caldera in Oia, Santorini, while savoring local wine and cuisine.
9. Visit the Palace of Knossos: Explore the Minoan ruins at the Palace of Knossos in Crete, the legendary home of King Minos and the Minotaur.
10. Go Island Hopping: Embark on an island-hopping adventure in the Cyclades, visiting iconic destinations like Mykonos, Naxos, and Paros.
11. Relax on Elafonissi Beach: Unwind on the pink sand beaches of Elafonissi in Crete, surrounded by crystal-clear waters and stunning natural beauty.
12. Take a Boat Trip to Navagio Beach: Discover Navagio Beach on Zakynthos Island, accessible only by boat and famous for its shipwreck and turquoise waters.
13. Explore Ancient Olympia: Visit the archaeological site of Ancient Olympia, the birthplace of the Olympic Games, and see the Temple of Zeus and the Stadium.
14. Discover Mycenae: Explore the ancient citadel of Mycenae, home to the legendary King Agamemnon, and admire its cyclopean walls and royal tombs.
15. Taste Greek Cuisine: Savor authentic Greek cuisine, from moussaka and souvlaki to baklava and loukoumades, at local tavernas.
16. Visit Epidaurus: Witness a performance at the ancient Theater of Epidaurus, renowned for its remarkable acoustics.
17. Explore Rhodes Old Town: Wander through the medieval streets of Rhodes Old Town, a UNESCO World Heritage site, and visit the Palace of the Grand Master.
18. Go Scuba Diving in the Mediterranean: Dive into the crystal-clear waters of the Mediterranean Sea and explore underwater caves, shipwrecks, and vibrant marine life.
19. Discover the Temples of Selinunte: Explore the ancient Greek temples of Selinunte in Sicily, Italy, a testament to the Greek influence in the Mediterranean.
20. Sip Greek Coffee: Sip traditional Greek coffee at a local café and savor the experience of leisurely people-watching.
21. Visit the Palace of the Grand Masters: Explore the Palace of the Grand Masters in Rhodes, a stunning medieval fortress that once served as the Knights of St. John’s headquarters.
22. Explore Nafplio: Wander through the charming town of Nafplio, with its Venetian architecture, lively squares, and historic Palamidi Fortress.
23. Hike the Vikos Gorge: Trek through the Vikos Gorge in the Zagori region, known as one of the deepest gorges in the world, surrounded by pristine nature.
24. Discover Delos Island: Take a boat trip to Delos, an archaeological gem in the Cyclades, and explore its ancient ruins, including the Terrace of the Lions.
25. Visit the Palace of the Knossos: Explore the Minoan Palace of the Knossos in Crete, home to the legendary Minotaur and an architectural marvel of its time.
26. Marvel at the Monasteries of Meteora: Witness the monasteries of Meteora, perched atop towering rock pillars, and visit some of the active monastic communities.
27. Take a Dip in the Blue Caves: Dive into the Blue Caves of Zakynthos, where sunlight filters through the crystal-clear waters, creating a mesmerizing blue hue.
28. Experience Greek Orthodox Easter: Participate in the vibrant and deeply religious celebrations of Greek Orthodox Easter, featuring candlelit processions and feasts.
29. Attend a Traditional Greek Wedding: If you’re lucky, you might witness a traditional Greek wedding, complete with lively music, dancing, and heartfelt rituals.
30. Discover Ancient Corinth: Explore the ancient city of Corinth, known for its imposing Temple of Apollo and Acrocorinth fortress.
31. Hike the Santorini Caldera: Embark on a scenic hike along the Santorini Caldera, offering panoramic views of the island’s dramatic landscape.
32. Visit the Archaeological Site of Vergina: Explore the archaeological site of Vergina, a UNESCO World Heritage site, and see the tomb of Philip II of Macedon, father of Alexander the Great.
33. Attend a Greek Music and Dance Performance: Enjoy a traditional Greek music and dance performance, featuring bouzouki music and energetic dances like the sirtaki.
34. Discover Thessaloniki: Explore Greece’s second-largest city, Thessaloniki, known for its historic White Tower, vibrant nightlife, and diverse culinary scene.
35. Admire the Temple of Hephaestus: Visit the well-preserved Temple of Hephaestus, also known as the Hephaisteion, in Athens’ Ancient Agora.
36. Explore Monemvasia: Discover the medieval town of Monemvasia, a “hidden” gem located on a small island, connected to the mainland by a causeway.
37. Dive into Greek Mythology: Immerse yourself in Greek mythology by reading ancient epics like the Iliad, the Odyssey, and the Theogony before your trip.
38. Discover the Archaeological Site of Akrotiri: Explore the ancient Minoan city of Akrotiri on Santorini, often referred to as the “Pompeii of the Aegean.”
39. Visit the Archaeological Museum of Heraklion: Delve into the Minoan civilization at the Archaeological Museum of Heraklion, which houses artifacts from Crete’s ancient past.
40. Experience a Greek Kafeneio: Step into a traditional Greek kafeneio (coffeehouse) and engage in conversation with the locals over a cup of Greek coffee.
41. Explore the Byzantine City of Mystras: Wander through the remarkably preserved Byzantine city of Mystras, with its medieval churches, palaces, and fortifications.
42. Take a Sailing Trip in the Cyclades: Sail around the Cyclades islands on a traditional Greek sailing boat, experiencing the beauty of the Aegean Sea.
43. Taste Fresh Seafood: Savor the catch of the day at a seaside taverna, enjoying the freshest seafood prepared with Mediterranean flavors.
44. Attend a Greek Summer Festival: Join a local summer festival, featuring traditional music, dance, and cultural celebrations.
45. Explore Ancient Thebes: Visit the ancient city of Thebes, where the legendary stories of Oedipus and Antigone unfolded.
46. Discover the Palace of Phaistos: Explore the archaeological site of Phaistos in Crete, home to the enigmatic Phaistos Disc, one of the earliest examples of writing.
47. Visit the Temple of Poseidon: Head to Cape Sounion to see the Temple of Poseidon, perched on a cliff overlooking the Aegean Sea.
48. Take a Wine Tasting Tour: Explore Greece’s emerging wine regions, such as Santorini and Nemea, and indulge in wine tasting at local wineries.
49. Experience the Thessaloniki International Film Festival: If you’re in Thessaloniki in November, attend the renowned film festival, showcasing international and Greek cinema.
50. Explore the Byzantine Churches of Thessaloniki: Admire the stunning Byzantine churches of Thessaloniki, including the Rotunda and the Church of Saint Demetrios.
51. Go Rock Climbing in Kalymnos: For adrenaline junkies, Kalymnos offers world-class rock climbing opportunities, with stunning seaside cliffs.
52. Visit the Archaeological Site of Paestum: Journey to Paestum in Italy to explore its ancient Greek temples, offering a glimpse into Magna Graecia.
53. Discover Delphi’s Sacred Way: Walk the Sacred Way in Delphi, lined with ancient treasuries and monuments, leading to the Temple of Apollo.
54. Take a Ferry to Hydra: Explore the car-free island of Hydra, known for its picturesque harbor, charming architecture, and artistic community.
55. Attend a Greek Theater Performance: Enjoy a performance of a Greek tragedy or comedy at an ancient theater, such as Epidaurus or Athens’ Herodes Atticus.
56. Go Olive Oil Tasting: Discover the art of olive oil production and taste a variety of extra virgin olive oils at a local olive oil farm.
57. Explore Byzantine Monasteries in Patmos: Visit the island of Patmos and explore the Cave of the Apocalypse and the historic Monastery of Saint John.
58. Take a Sunset Cruise in Santorini: Embark on a romantic sunset cruise around Santorini’s caldera, complete with dinner and breathtaking views.
59. Learn Traditional Greek Dancing: Join a traditional Greek dance class and learn popular dances like the kalamatianos and tsamiko.
60. Visit the Archaeological Museum of Delos: Explore the Archaeological Museum of Delos, housing artifacts from the sacred island’s rich history.
61. Discover the Archaeological Site of Ancient Messene: Explore the well-preserved ruins of Ancient Messene in the Peloponnese, including a stadium and theater.
62. Take a Cooking Class: Learn to prepare Greek dishes like moussaka, dolmades, or tzatziki in a cooking class with a local chef.
63. Explore the Old Venetian Harbor of Chania: Wander through the picturesque old Venetian harbor of Chania in Crete, with its colorful buildings and waterfront restaurants.
64. Attend a Greek Festival: Experience a traditional Greek festival, such as the Athens and Epidaurus Festival, featuring a diverse range of performances.
65. Visit the Palace of Nestor: Explore the Palace of Nestor in Pylos, another remarkable Mycenaean archaeological site in the Peloponnese.
66. Go Sea Kayaking: Paddle through the crystal-clear waters of the Greek islands on a sea kayaking adventure, exploring hidden coves and sea caves.
67. Discover the Archaeological Site of Eleusis: Explore the sacred site of Eleusis, home to the Eleusinian Mysteries, one of ancient Greece’s most important religious rituals.
68. Attend a Greek Wedding: If you’re invited to a Greek wedding, embrace the festivities, dancing, and delicious food, and perhaps even break plates in celebration.
69. Visit the Archaeological Site of Myndus: Explore the ruins of Myndus, an ancient Carian city, on the Bodrum Peninsula in Turkey, with views of the Aegean Sea.
70. Take a Helicopter Tour of Santorini: Soar above the dramatic landscapes of Santorini on a helicopter tour for panoramic views of the island.
71. Go Mountain Biking in Crete: Discover Crete’s rugged terrain and picturesque landscapes on a mountain biking adventure.
72. Explore the Palace of the Grand Master in Rhodes: Step inside the Palace of the Grand Master in Rhodes, a stunning example of medieval architecture and art.
73. Visit the Temple of Apollo Epicurius: Travel to Bassae and see the Temple of Apollo Epicurius, a UNESCO World Heritage site known for its innovative design.
74. Take a Ferry to Amorgos: Visit the tranquil island of Amorgos, famous for its beautiful Chora (main town) and the Monastery of Panagia Hozoviotissa.
75. Go Birdwatching in the Prespa Lakes: Explore the Prespa Lakes region in northern Greece, a haven for birdwatchers with diverse avian species.
76. Discover the Archaeological Site of Epidaurus: Visit the ancient Theater of Epidaurus and the Sanctuary of Asclepius, a UNESCO World Heritage site.
77. Attend a Greek Language Class: Enroll in a Greek language class to immerse yourself in the local culture and improve your communication skills.
78. Explore the Archaeological Site of Mycenae: Visit the Lion Gate, Treasury of Atreus, and other ancient structures at the archaeological site of Mycenae.
79. Take a Sunset Jeep Safari in Zakynthos: Explore Zakynthos’ rugged landscapes and hidden gems on a thrilling sunset Jeep safari.
80. Visit the Archaeological Site of Pella: Discover the ancient capital of Macedonia at Pella, where you can see well-preserved mosaics and structures.
81. Take a Boat Trip to Paxos and Antipaxos: Explore the pristine beaches and turquoise waters of Paxos and Antipaxos on a boat excursion.
82. Discover the Archaeological Site of Thera: Explore the ruins of ancient Thera on the island of Santorini, offering panoramic views of the island and sea.
- Attend a Greek Music Concert: Enjoy live Greek music at a local taverna or outdoor venue, featuring instruments like the bouzouki and baglama.
- Go Windsurfing in Naxos: Experience the thrill of windsurfing in the windy waters of Naxos, a popular destination for water sports enthusiasts.
- Visit the Archaeological Site of Akrai: Explore the archaeological site of Akrai in Sicily, Italy, with its ancient Greek theater and ruins.
- Take a Hot Air Balloon Ride in Cappadocia: If you’re traveling to Turkey, extend your trip to take a hot air balloon ride over the otherworldly landscapes of Cappadocia.
- Attend a Greek Tragedy Performance: Experience the emotional power of a Greek tragedy performance at an ancient theater.
- Visit the Palace of the Grand Master in Rhodes at Night: See the Palace of the Grand Master illuminated at night for a magical and romantic atmosphere.
- Discover the Archaeological Site of Aigai: Explore Aigai, the ancient capital of Macedon, where the tomb of King Philip II was unearthed.
- Take a Cruise to Symi: Embark on a day trip to Symi, a charming island known for its colorful neoclassical buildings and picturesque harbor.
- Discover the Palace of the Grand Masters in Rhodes at Night: Witness the Palace of the Grand Masters in Rhodes, bathed in golden light after sunset.
- Go Horseback Riding in Crete: Experience the natural beauty of Crete on horseback, riding through landscapes ranging from beaches to mountains.
- Visit the Archaeological Site of Gortyn: Explore the ancient city of Gortyn in Crete, where you can see the famous Gortyn Code, one of the earliest known legal codes.
- Take a Scenic Drive on the Peloponnese Peninsula: Enjoy a road trip through the Peloponnese, discovering its diverse landscapes and historical sites.
- Attend a Traditional Greek Baptism: If invited, attend a Greek baptism ceremony, a significant event celebrated with religious rituals and festive gatherings.
- Discover the Archaeological Site of Perge: Extend your journey to Turkey and explore the ancient city of Perge, known for its well-preserved ruins.
- Go Horseback Riding in Santorini: Ride horses along the beaches and trails of Santorini for a unique perspective of the island’s beauty.
- Visit the Archaeological Site of Miletus: Explore the ancient Greek city of Miletus in Turkey, home to a well-preserved theater and agora.
- Attend a Greek Orthodox Church Service: Participate in a Greek Orthodox church service to observe the rich religious traditions of the country.
- Discover the Archaeological Site of Eleutherna: Explore the archaeological site of Eleutherna in Crete, known for its ancient cemetery and historical artifacts.
- Reflect at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier: Pay your respects at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Athens’ Syntagma Square, where the Evzones stand guard.
As you embark on your Greek odyssey, remember that Greece is a land of immense cultural and natural diversity, offering an array of experiences that cater to every traveler’s interests. Whether you’re drawn to the ancient wonders, seeking relaxation on pristine beaches, or eager to savor the flavors of Greek cuisine, Greece’s abundance of attractions promises to leave you with unforgettable memories and a deep appreciation for this remarkable country. Enjoy your journey through Greece, and may it be filled with adventure, discovery, and the warmth of Greek hospitality. Opa!
What To Eat and Drink in Greece
Greek cuisine is a delightful tapestry of flavors, influenced by the Mediterranean climate, centuries of tradition, and the vibrant cultural mosaic of the region. Known for its simplicity, freshness, and emphasis on high-quality ingredients, Greek food is both a culinary delight and a cultural experience. In this extensive guide, we will explore the diverse array of dishes and beverages that make Greek cuisine a true gastronomic journey.
a. Tzatziki: A classic Greek meze made from yogurt, cucumber, garlic, and dill. It’s a refreshing dip served with warm pita bread or as an accompaniment to grilled meats.
b. Spanakopita: A savory pastry filled with spinach, feta cheese, onions, and herbs, all encased in layers of flaky phyllo dough.
c. Dolmades: Vine or grape leaves stuffed with a mixture of rice, herbs, and often minced meat, served with a drizzle of lemon juice.
d. Taramasalata: A creamy dip made from fish roe (usually carp or cod), bread crumbs, olive oil, and lemon juice. It’s enjoyed with pita bread or as a spread on sandwiches.
e. Octopus Salad: Tender octopus slices, typically grilled or boiled, served with olive oil, lemon, and a sprinkle of oregano.
2. Main Courses:
a. Moussaka: A hearty casserole made with layers of sautéed eggplant, ground meat (usually beef or lamb), tomatoes, and béchamel sauce.
b. Souvlaki: Skewers of marinated and grilled meat (often pork or chicken), served with pita bread, fresh vegetables, and tzatziki.
c. Pastitsio: A baked pasta dish resembling lasagna, with layers of tubular pasta, ground meat, béchamel sauce, and cheese.
d. Stifado: A slow-cooked beef or rabbit stew, flavored with shallots, red wine, tomatoes, and aromatic spices.
e. Gemista: Bell peppers or tomatoes stuffed with a mixture of rice, vegetables, and sometimes ground meat, baked until tender.
3. Seafood Delights:
a. Grilled Sea Bass or Sea Bream: Whole fish, seasoned with olive oil, lemon, and herbs, then grilled to perfection.
b. Psari Plaki: Baked fish fillets with tomatoes, onions, garlic, and herbs, often topped with olives and capers.
c. Calamari: Tender squid rings, battered and fried, served with lemon wedges and sometimes tzatziki.
d. Garides Saganaki: Shrimp cooked in a rich tomato sauce with feta cheese, served hot and bubbling.
e. Horta: Boiled or steamed wild greens, such as dandelion or chicory, dressed with olive oil and lemon juice.
4. Vegetarian and Vegan Options:
a. Fasolada: A hearty bean soup, often referred to as the national dish of Greece, made with white beans, tomatoes, onions, and herbs.
b. Briam: A medley of roasted vegetables, including eggplant, zucchini, potatoes, and bell peppers, drizzled with olive oil and herbs.
c. Fava: A creamy dip or spread made from yellow split peas, typically served with olive oil and onions.
d. Gigantes Plaki: Giant baked beans cooked in a rich tomato sauce, often served as a side dish or meze.
e. Revithosoupa: A chickpea soup flavored with onions, olive oil, and lemon, often garnished with fresh herbs.
5. Desserts and Sweets:
a. Baklava: Layers of flaky phyllo dough filled with chopped nuts and sweetened with syrup or honey.
b. Loukoumades: Deep-fried dough balls, similar to donuts, drizzled with honey and sprinkled with cinnamon or chopped nuts.
c. Galaktoboureko: A custard-filled pastry made from semolina, layered with phyllo dough and soaked in syrup.
d. Kourabiedes: Butter cookies dusted with powdered sugar, often flavored with almonds or walnuts.
e. Rizogalo: Creamy rice pudding, flavored with vanilla and cinnamon, often served chilled.
6. Greek Cheeses:
a. Feta: A tangy and crumbly white cheese made from sheep’s milk or a combination of sheep’s and goat’s milk, used in salads, pies, and as a topping.
b. Graviera: A hard cheese with a sweet and nutty flavor, often grated over pasta dishes or served as part of a cheese platter.
c. Kasseri: A semi-soft, yellow cheese with a mild and slightly tangy taste, commonly used in grilled cheese sandwiches or as a pizza topping.
d. Halloumi: A semi-hard cheese that’s perfect for grilling or frying, known for its unique texture and salty flavor.
e. Manouri: A creamy, semi-soft cheese made from a blend of sheep’s and goat’s milk, often enjoyed with honey and nuts as a dessert.
7. Greek Beverages:
a. Ouzo: Greece’s iconic anise-flavored aperitif, typically served with a splash of water that turns it cloudy white.
b. Tsipouro: A strong spirit, similar to grappa, made from grape pomace. It’s often served as a digestif.
c. Greek Coffee: A strong and finely ground coffee prepared in a small pot called a briki and served with grounds settled at the bottom.
d. Greek Wine: Greece has a long history of winemaking, with indigenous grape varieties like Assyrtiko, Agiorgitiko, and Xinomavro producing exceptional wines.
e. Frappé: A frothy iced coffee, made by shaking instant coffee, sugar, and water, then served over ice with milk or cream.
8. Regional Specialties:
Each Greek region boasts its own culinary specialties. In Crete, you might enjoy dakos, a bread and tomato salad, while on the island of Rhodes, you can savor pitaroudia, fried chickpea fritters. The cuisine in northern Greece is influenced by Balkan flavors, while in the Peloponnese, you’ll find hearty dishes like kokkinisto, a tomato-based stew.
Greek cuisine is a celebration of simple, fresh ingredients and time-honored recipes that have been passed down through generations. Whether you’re enjoying a leisurely meal at a seaside taverna, sampling mezedes in a traditional kafeneio, or savoring homemade dishes at a local’s home, Greek food invites you to embrace its flavors and the warm hospitality of the people. So, indulge in the pleasures of Greek gastronomy, and let your taste buds embark on a delicious journey through this Mediterranean culinary wonderland.
Top Restaurants In Greece
From the bustling streets of Athens to the serene shores of the Greek Islands, this country offers a diverse range of dining experiences. In this guide, we present some of the top restaurants in Greece that promise to delight your palate with their exceptional cuisine and unique settings.
1. Varoulko Seaside (Athens):
- Cuisine: Seafood, Michelin-starred
- Overview: Located on the Athens waterfront, Varoulko Seaside is a Michelin-starred restaurant helmed by Chef Lefteris Lazarou. It’s celebrated for its innovative seafood dishes that showcase the flavors of the Aegean Sea. The elegant dining room offers stunning views of the sea, making it a romantic and memorable dining destination.
2. Spondi (Athens):
- Cuisine: French-Mediterranean, Michelin-starred
- Overview: Spondi, the first restaurant in Greece to receive two Michelin stars, offers a fine dining experience in a neoclassical mansion. Chef Angelos Lantos combines French culinary techniques with Greek ingredients to create exquisite dishes. The extensive wine list complements the gourmet menu.
3. Kokkina Pitharia (Crete):
- Cuisine: Traditional Cretan
- Overview: Located in the heart of Crete, Kokkina Pitharia offers an authentic Cretan dining experience. The restaurant is known for its warm hospitality and traditional dishes made with locally sourced ingredients. Try the Cretan salad, lamb dishes, and cheese platters while enjoying live music and dancing.
4. Selene (Santorini):
- Cuisine: Mediterranean
- Overview: Selene, situated in the picturesque village of Pyrgos on Santorini, is a celebrated restaurant known for its creative Mediterranean cuisine. Dishes incorporate local ingredients like fava beans, capers, and sun-dried tomatoes. The restaurant also hosts cooking classes for those interested in learning the secrets of Greek cuisine.
5. Arsenis Taverna (Nafplio):
- Cuisine: Traditional Greek
- Overview: Arsenis Taverna is a beloved family-run restaurant in Nafplio, offering a cozy and welcoming atmosphere. Known for its fresh seafood and traditional Greek dishes like moussaka and pastitsio, it’s a favorite among both locals and tourists. The warm hospitality adds to the charm.
6. To Kanoni (Rhodes):
- Cuisine: Greek
- Overview: To Kanoni, located in the medieval town of Rhodes, provides a memorable dining experience within the ancient city walls. The menu includes a wide range of Greek dishes, and the rooftop terrace offers breathtaking views of the historic town and the sea.
7. Ta Kymata (Corfu):
- Cuisine: Seafood
- Overview: Ta Kymata, situated on the beautiful island of Corfu, specializes in seafood dishes prepared with the freshest catches of the day. Dine al fresco with your feet in the sand, enjoying the sea breeze and stunning views of the Ionian Sea.
8. Avli (Rethymno, Crete):
- Cuisine: Cretan
- Overview: Avli is a charming restaurant located in a historic Venetian mansion in Rethymno. It serves traditional Cretan dishes, and the menu is a tribute to the island’s culinary heritage. The restaurant’s courtyard is a peaceful oasis for dining.
9. To Perasma (Santorini):
- Cuisine: Mediterranean
- Overview: To Perasma, nestled in the charming village of Oia on Santorini, is renowned for its Mediterranean cuisine. Dine on the terrace overlooking the caldera while savoring dishes like grilled octopus and fresh fish. The sunset view is a highlight.
10. Ithaki (Vathy, Ithaca): – Cuisine: Greek-Mediterranean – Overview: Ithaki is a hidden gem located on the island of Ithaca, offering a serene dining experience by the sea. The menu features a fusion of Greek and Mediterranean flavors, and the restaurant is known for its attentive service and romantic ambiance.
11. Gefseis Sti Thalassa (Thessaloniki): – Cuisine: Seafood – Overview: Gefseis Sti Thalassa, meaning “Tastes by the Sea,” is a seafood restaurant in Thessaloniki. It offers a wide variety of fresh seafood options, from grilled fish to seafood risotto, all served with stunning sea views.
12. To Kanoni (Zakynthos): – Cuisine: Greek – Overview: To Kanoni, located on the island of Zakynthos, offers a traditional Greek dining experience with a menu featuring local specialties like moussaka and fresh fish. The restaurant’s waterfront location provides a picturesque setting.
13. Bacchus Restaurant (Santorini): – Cuisine: Mediterranean, Asian Fusion – Overview: Bacchus Restaurant, situated in Fira on Santorini, offers a unique blend of Mediterranean and Asian flavors. Dine on the terrace with views of the caldera and enjoy dishes like sushi and seafood risotto.
14. Metaxi Mas (Santorini): – Cuisine: Greek, Mediterranean – Overview: Metaxi Mas, located in the village of Exo Gonia on Santorini, is a traditional Greek taverna known for its grilled meats, local wines, and cozy atmosphere. It’s a favorite among both locals and tourists.
15. To Perasma (Symi): – Cuisine: Seafood, Mediterranean – Overview: To Perasma, located on the picturesque island of Symi, offers a seafood-focused menu with a Mediterranean flair. Enjoy fresh catches and traditional Greek dishes while gazing at the beautiful harbor.
These top restaurants in Greece offer a wide range of culinary experiences, from Michelin-starred fine dining to charming family-run tavernas, all showcasing the rich flavors of Greek cuisine. Whether you’re savoring the catch of the day by the sea or indulging in traditional Greek dishes in historic settings, Greece’s culinary scene promises to be a highlight of your journey through this captivating country. Bon appétit!
Tours For Visitors To Greece
Whether you’re interested in ancient archaeological sites, pristine beaches, delicious cuisine, or vibrant cities, Greece has something to offer every type of visitor. To help you plan your trip, let’s explore a variety of tours and experiences that you can enjoy while visiting Greece.
1. Athens – The Cradle of Western Civilization:
No trip to Greece is complete without a visit to Athens, the capital and the heart of ancient Greece. Start your journey with a guided tour of the Acropolis, a UNESCO World Heritage site and the iconic symbol of Athens. Marvel at the Parthenon, the Erechtheion, and the Odeon of Herodes Atticus while learning about their historical significance.
After exploring the Acropolis, take a stroll through the charming Plaka neighborhood, known for its winding streets, colorful houses, and traditional Greek tavernas. A guided walking tour in Plaka can immerse you in the local culture and history.
2. Santorini – The Romantic Island:
Santorini is famous for its stunning sunsets, crystal-clear waters, and unique architecture. You can book a boat tour around the island to see the picturesque villages perched on cliffs. Don’t miss a visit to Oia to witness one of the most breathtaking sunsets in the world.
For a deeper understanding of Santorini’s volcanic history, take a guided tour of the archaeological site of Akrotiri, often referred to as the “Minoan Pompeii.” This ancient city was buried by a volcanic eruption and offers a fascinating glimpse into the past.
3. Crete – The Island of Legends:
Crete is Greece’s largest island, rich in mythology and history. Consider a guided tour of the Palace of Knossos, home to the legendary Minotaur and King Minos. Explore the labyrinthine ruins and hear tales of Greek mythology from knowledgeable guides.
To experience the natural beauty of Crete, embark on a hike through the Samaria Gorge, one of Europe’s longest gorges. It’s a challenging yet rewarding trek, with awe-inspiring scenery and unique flora and fauna.
4. Delphi – The Oracle of Apollo:
Delphi, nestled in the scenic Parnassus Mountains, was once considered the center of the world in ancient Greece. Visit the archaeological site and its museum to learn about the Oracle of Apollo and the ancient Greek religious practices. A guided tour here can provide valuable historical context.
5. Greek Islands Cruise:
Embarking on a Greek Islands cruise is an excellent way to explore multiple destinations in one trip. Cruises typically include stops at popular islands like Mykonos, Rhodes, and Corfu. Enjoy the comfort of a cruise ship while immersing yourself in Greek culture and history at each port of call.
6. Culinary Tours:
Greek cuisine is world-renowned for its Mediterranean flavors and fresh ingredients. Consider taking a cooking class or food tour to learn how to prepare traditional dishes like moussaka, tzatziki, and baklava. You can also explore local markets, like the Athens Central Market, with a knowledgeable guide to sample authentic Greek products.
7. Thessaloniki – The Cultural Hub:
Thessaloniki is Greece’s second-largest city and a cultural hotspot. Join a guided tour to explore its diverse architecture, including Roman, Byzantine, and Ottoman influences. Visit the White Tower, the Archaeological Museum, and the Rotunda, a UNESCO World Heritage site.
8. Peloponnese – Ancient Wonders:
The Peloponnese peninsula is home to numerous archaeological wonders. Take a guided tour of Mycenae, where you can explore the ancient citadel and the famous Lion Gate. Don’t miss a visit to Epidaurus, known for its remarkably well-preserved theater, which still hosts performances today.
9. Meteora – Monastic Marvels:
Meteora is a UNESCO World Heritage site famous for its monasteries perched atop towering rock pillars. Join a guided tour to discover the history and spirituality of this unique place while enjoying breathtaking panoramic views.
10. Outdoor Adventures:
Greece offers fantastic opportunities for outdoor enthusiasts. Consider hiking the trails of Mount Olympus, the mythical home of the Greek gods, or kayaking in the crystal-clear waters of the Ionian Islands.
Greece is a diverse and captivating destination with a wide range of tours and experiences to suit every traveler’s interests. Whether you’re a history buff, a beach lover, a foodie, or an adventure seeker, Greece has something special to offer. To make the most of your visit, consider booking guided tours to gain deeper insights into the country’s rich history and culture while enjoying its natural beauty and warm hospitality.
Greece Accommodations Guide: Hotels, Guesthouses and Hostels
When planning your trip to Greece, one of the key considerations is your accommodation. Greece offers a wide range of options to suit every budget and preference, from luxury hotels to charming guesthouses and budget-friendly hostels. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore each of these accommodation types to help you make the best choice for your stay in Greece.
Greece boasts a plethora of luxurious hotels, particularly in popular destinations like Athens, Santorini, Mykonos, and Crete. These hotels offer top-notch amenities, impeccable service, and breathtaking views. Here are a few examples:
- Santorini Grace Hotel, Santorini: This boutique hotel in Santorini offers elegant rooms, a spa, and a beautiful infinity pool overlooking the Caldera.
- Hotel Grande Bretagne, Athens: Located in the heart of Athens, this historic hotel offers opulent rooms, rooftop dining with Acropolis views, and a world-class spa.
- Blue Palace, Elounda, Crete: Set on the island of Crete, this beachfront resort offers private villas, a tranquil spa, and several dining options.
Boutique hotels in Greece provide a more personalized experience with unique design elements and often feature fewer rooms than larger luxury hotels. They are perfect for travelers seeking a touch of charm and individuality:
- Mystique, Santorini: This boutique hotel in Oia offers cave-style rooms, a stunning infinity pool, and dramatic views of the Aegean Sea.
- Cavo Tagoo, Mykonos: Known for its minimalist design and upscale amenities, this boutique hotel on Mykonos boasts a stylish infinity pool and luxurious spa.
- Kinsterna Hotel, Monemvasia: Located in a restored Byzantine mansion, this boutique hotel in the Peloponnese offers historic charm, a gourmet restaurant, and a peaceful courtyard.
If you’re looking for a more authentic Greek experience, consider staying in a traditional guesthouse or “pension.” These family-run establishments provide a cozy and intimate atmosphere:
- Mama Nena Charming Hotel, Nafplio: This charming guesthouse in Nafplio offers comfortable rooms, a lovely garden, and a warm, welcoming ambiance.
- Villa Ilias, Santorini: Nestled in the heart of Fira, this family-owned guesthouse offers stunning caldera views and a genuine Greek hospitality experience.
- Guesthouse Arsenis, Meteora: Located near the monasteries of Meteora, this guesthouse offers simple yet comfortable rooms with a backdrop of dramatic rock formations.
For budget-conscious travelers, Greece offers a variety of affordable options, including hostels and budget hotels:
- Athens Backpackers, Athens: This popular hostel in Athens offers clean dormitories and private rooms, a lively rooftop bar, and a central location near the Acropolis.
- The Youth Hostel, Rhodes: Situated in the medieval town of Rhodes, this hostel offers budget-friendly dorms and a communal kitchen for self-catering travelers.
- Oasis Hotel, Paros: This family-run budget hotel in Paros offers clean and comfortable rooms, a swimming pool, and a convenient location close to the beach.
Vacation Rentals and Villas:
If you prefer more space and independence, consider renting a vacation home, villa, or apartment in Greece. Platforms like Airbnb and Vrbo offer a wide range of options in various destinations:
- Villa Amara, Zakynthos: This stunning villa on the island of Zakynthos offers private access to the beach, a swimming pool, and luxurious amenities for a group or family.
- Apartment in Plaka, Athens: Stay in a cozy apartment in the historic Plaka neighborhood of Athens, allowing you to explore the city at your own pace.
- Traditional Stone House, Pelion: Experience rural Greece by renting a traditional stone house in the picturesque village of Pelion.
In Greece, you’ll find accommodations that cater to all tastes and budgets, from luxurious hotels with world-class amenities to cozy guesthouses that offer a more intimate glimpse into Greek life. No matter where you stay, the warm hospitality and stunning surroundings of Greece will ensure a memorable travel experience. Be sure to book your accommodations well in advance, especially during the peak tourist season, to secure the best options for your trip.
Greece 7 Day Travel Itinerary
A 7-day travel itinerary for Greece can be a fantastic way to explore some of the country’s highlights, but it’s important to note that Greece is a diverse nation with a lot to offer. This itinerary will focus on Athens, Santorini, and Crete, providing a mix of historical exploration, stunning landscapes, and relaxation. You can adjust the itinerary to your interests and the time of year you visit.
Day 1: Arrival in Athens
- Arrive at Athens International Airport.
- Transfer to your hotel in Athens.
- Check-in and freshen up.
- Start your Athens adventure with a visit to the Acropolis, the symbol of the city. Explore the Parthenon, Erechtheion, and Odeon of Herodes Atticus.
- Stroll through the historic Plaka neighborhood for lunch and shopping.
- Enjoy a traditional Greek dinner at a local taverna.
- Explore Monastiraki Square and the bustling Monastiraki Flea Market.
Day 2: Athens Historical Tour
- Visit the National Archaeological Museum, one of the world’s most significant museums of ancient Greek art and culture.
- Explore the ancient Agora, which was the heart of Athens in ancient times.
- Head to the Panathenaic Stadium, the site of the first modern Olympic Games in 1896.
- Visit the Temple of Olympian Zeus and Hadrian’s Arch.
- Enjoy a leisurely dinner in the vibrant Psiri district, known for its nightlife and restaurants.
Day 3: Day Trip to Delphi
- Depart early for a day trip to Delphi, a 2.5-hour drive from Athens.
- Explore the archaeological site of Delphi, home to the Oracle of Apollo.
- Visit the Delphi Archaeological Museum, which houses an impressive collection of artifacts from the site.
- Enjoy lunch in the nearby town of Delphi.
- Return to Athens for a relaxing evening.
Day 4: Athens to Santorini
- Check out of your Athens hotel and transfer to Athens International Airport.
- Fly to Santorini, a short and scenic flight.
- Arrive in Santorini and transfer to your hotel.
- Check-in and take in the breathtaking caldera views.
- Enjoy a romantic dinner in one of Santorini’s cliffside restaurants.
Day 5: Explore Santorini
- Visit Oia, known for its iconic blue-domed churches and stunning sunsets.
- Explore the village’s narrow streets, art galleries, and boutiques.
- Relax on the famous Red Beach or Kamari Beach.
- Explore the archaeological site of Akrotiri, often called the “Minoan Pompeii.”
- Return to Oia for a memorable sunset experience.
Day 6: Santorini to Crete
- Check out of your Santorini hotel and transfer to the ferry port.
- Take a ferry to Crete, the largest Greek island.
- Arrive in Heraklion, the capital of Crete.
- Visit the Heraklion Archaeological Museum to see ancient Minoan artifacts.
- Enjoy dinner in the historic Old Town of Heraklion.
Day 7: Explore Crete
- Drive to Knossos, the ancient Minoan palace and archaeological site.
- Explore the labyrinthine ruins and learn about Minoan civilization.
- Visit the charming town of Rethymno, known for its Venetian harbor and Old Town.
- Stroll along the waterfront and enjoy a seafood lunch.
- Return to Heraklion for your last night in Crete.
- Savor a Cretan dinner with local specialties.
Day 8: Departure
- Depending on your flight schedule, you may have time for some last-minute souvenir shopping.
- Check out of your hotel and transfer to Heraklion International Airport.
This 7-day itinerary provides a well-rounded experience of Greece, combining the historical richness of Athens with the stunning beauty of Santorini and the cultural treasures of Crete. Of course, Greece offers many more destinations and experiences, so feel free to extend your stay or adapt the itinerary to your interests and preferences. Regardless of how you choose to spend your time, Greece is sure to leave you with unforgettable memories of its history, culture, and natural beauty.
Where To Visit After Your Trip To Greece?
After your unforgettable trip to Greece, you may be eager to continue your explorations in the surrounding regions. Greece is strategically located in Southeastern Europe, making it a fantastic starting point for further travel adventures. Here are some compelling destinations to consider visiting after your trip to Greece:
Just a short ferry ride from several Greek islands, Turkey is a fascinating country that seamlessly blends Europe and Asia. Istanbul, the country’s largest city, offers a treasure trove of history, culture, and architecture. Explore iconic landmarks such as the Hagia Sophia, Blue Mosque, and Topkapi Palace. Don’t forget to sample delicious Turkish cuisine and experience the vibrant Grand Bazaar.
In addition to Istanbul, Turkey boasts stunning natural wonders like Cappadocia’s otherworldly landscapes, the ancient city of Ephesus, and the beautiful beaches along the Turkish Riviera.
Italy is a neighboring country that can be easily reached from Greece by ferry or a short flight. Start your Italian journey in Rome, where you can marvel at the Colosseum, Roman Forum, and Vatican City’s St. Peter’s Basilica. Enjoy the world-famous Italian cuisine in local trattorias and pizzerias.
Next, head to Florence to admire Renaissance art and architecture, including Michelangelo’s David and the Florence Cathedral. Continue to Venice for a romantic gondola ride through its iconic canals.
Finally, explore the Amalfi Coast for its breathtaking coastal vistas and picturesque towns like Positano and Amalfi.
Croatia, with its stunning Adriatic coastline and historic cities, is a fantastic destination to consider. Start in Dubrovnik, often called the “Pearl of the Adriatic,” and explore its well-preserved medieval Old Town. Walk along the city walls for panoramic views of the Adriatic Sea.
Next, make your way to Split, known for the impressive Diocletian’s Palace. You can also explore Croatia’s numerous islands, including Hvar and Korčula, each offering their own unique charm.
Don’t miss the beautiful Plitvice Lakes National Park, famous for its cascading waterfalls and turquoise lakes.
Cyprus, an island nation in the Eastern Mediterranean, is another excellent choice for post-Greece travel. Its rich history is evident in sites like the ancient city of Kourion and the medieval Kolossi Castle.
Explore the capital, Nicosia, which is divided between Greek and Turkish Cypriot areas, offering a unique cultural experience. Relax on Cyprus’s stunning beaches and enjoy Mediterranean cuisine with a Cypriot twist.
For a taste of ancient history and culture, consider a trip to Egypt. Start in Cairo, where you can explore the Pyramids of Giza and the Sphinx. Visit the Egyptian Museum to see countless artifacts from ancient Egypt, including the treasures of Tutankhamun.
Take a Nile River cruise to Luxor and Aswan to discover more ancient temples and monuments. Don’t miss the Valley of the Kings, Karnak Temple, and the temple complex of Abu Simbel.
The Balkans offer a diverse range of destinations, each with its own unique appeal. Explore the historic streets of Dubrovnik in Croatia, venture into the rugged mountains of Montenegro, or discover the rich history of Bulgaria’s Sofia and Plovdiv. Further east, you can explore the vibrant cities of Belgrade in Serbia and Bucharest in Romania.
If you’re interested in experiencing the Middle East, countries like Israel, Jordan, and Lebanon are within reach. Explore the holy city of Jerusalem, discover the ancient city of Petra in Jordan, or savor Lebanese cuisine in Beirut.
Greek Islands and Mainland Extensions:
Of course, you can also continue your exploration of Greece by visiting other Greek islands or the mainland. Consider exploring more of the Cyclades, Ionian Islands, or the northern regions of Greece, such as Thessaloniki and Meteora.
Albania, situated just across the Ionian Sea from Greece, is an up-and-coming destination. Explore the historic city of Berat with its well-preserved Ottoman architecture and Gjirokastër, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Albania also boasts pristine beaches along the Albanian Riviera and the beautiful shores of Lake Ohrid.
Bulgaria, located to the north of Greece, offers a mix of historical and natural attractions. Visit the ancient city of Plovdiv, one of Europe’s oldest continuously inhabited cities. Explore the Rila Monastery, a UNESCO World Heritage site, and hike in the stunning Rila Mountains. Bulgaria also has picturesque towns like Veliko Tarnovo and Bansko.
Serbia, in the heart of the Balkans, is known for its vibrant capital, Belgrade, which boasts a lively nightlife and rich cultural scene. Discover historic monasteries like Studenica and Sopoćani, both UNESCO World Heritage sites. Explore the picturesque town of Novi Sad on the banks of the Danube River.
Romania offers a diverse range of experiences, from the stunning castles of Transylvania, including Bran Castle (often associated with Dracula), to the charming streets of Sibiu and Cluj-Napoca. Don’t miss a visit to the Painted Monasteries of Northern Moldova, also a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Budapest, the capital of Hungary, is a city of thermal baths, historic architecture, and vibrant nightlife. Stroll along the banks of the Danube River, visit the Buda Castle, and soak in the Széchenyi Thermal Bath. Hungary also offers picturesque towns like Eger and Pécs.
Slovenia, a small yet incredibly diverse country, is known for its stunning landscapes. Explore the enchanting Lake Bled with its iconic island church and castle. Visit the captivating Skocjan Caves, a UNESCO World Heritage site, and the charming capital, Ljubljana.
Malta, located in the central Mediterranean, is a historical and cultural gem. Explore the ancient walled city of Valletta, visit the megalithic temples of Ħaġar Qim and Mnajdra, and relax on the beautiful beaches of Gozo and Comino.
Morocco, located in North Africa, is a land of vibrant souks, stunning desert landscapes, and historic cities. Start in Marrakech, with its bustling medina, beautiful palaces, and the famous Jardin Majorelle. Explore the imperial city of Fes, known for its well-preserved medieval architecture. Don’t miss the opportunity to trek in the Sahara Desert or visit the coastal city of Essaouira.
Cyprus and the Greek Islands:
If you fell in love with the Greek islands, continue your island-hopping adventure. Consider exploring the Cyclades islands like Mykonos, Naxos, or Paros, or venture to the Dodecanese islands like Rhodes and Kos. Alternatively, explore the less-visited islands in the Ionian Sea, such as Zakynthos and Corfu.
Western Mediterranean Cruise:
Embark on a Western Mediterranean cruise to explore multiple destinations in one trip. Cruise itineraries often include ports in Spain (Barcelona, Valencia), France (Marseille, Nice), and Italy (Naples, Sicily), offering a diverse range of cultures, cuisines, and historical sites.
Montenegro and Croatia:
Continue your exploration of the Adriatic coast by visiting Montenegro and Croatia. Discover the charming town of Kotor, Montenegro, nestled between dramatic cliffs and a stunning bay. Explore the picturesque Croatian islands like Korčula, Mljet, and Vis, known for their beautiful beaches and historic towns.
Prague and Central Europe:
Consider a journey to Central Europe, starting with Prague in the Czech Republic. Explore Prague’s historic Old Town, Prague Castle, and the iconic Charles Bridge. Continue your journey to Vienna, Austria, for its classical music heritage, and Budapest, Hungary, for its thermal baths and historic architecture.
Vienna and Beyond:
Begin your trip in Vienna, where you can explore its grand palaces and enjoy classical music performances. Continue to explore Austria’s stunning Alpine landscapes in Salzburg, known as the birthplace of Mozart, and visit the charming lakeside town of Hallstatt.
If you’re ready for a more exotic journey, consider traveling to Southeast Asia. Start in Bangkok, Thailand, to explore its vibrant street life and historic temples. Continue to Cambodia to visit the awe-inspiring Angkor Wat temple complex. Explore the bustling city of Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) in Vietnam and relax on the pristine beaches of Phuket, Thailand.
Whether you choose to venture into neighboring countries or further explore Greece, the Mediterranean region is a treasure trove of history, culture, and natural beauty. Each destination offers its own unique experiences and will leave you with lasting memories of your Mediterranean adventure.
Greece Travel Guide: Final Thoughts
Greece, with its rich history, stunning landscapes, and warm hospitality, is a timeless and alluring travel destination. As we conclude this Greece travel guide, let’s reflect on some final thoughts to help you make the most of your visit to this remarkable country.
A Land of Myths and Legends:
Greece is the birthplace of Western civilization and the setting for countless myths and legends. From the ancient gods and goddesses of Olympus to the heroic feats of Achilles and Hercules, Greece’s history and mythology have left an indelible mark on the world. Exploring the archaeological sites, temples, and museums allows you to connect with this rich heritage.
Greek cuisine is a highlight of any visit. Savor traditional dishes like moussaka, souvlaki, and Greek salad made with the freshest ingredients. Try local delicacies such as baklava, spanakopita, and fresh seafood in coastal towns. Don’t forget to pair your meals with a glass of Greek wine or ouzo.
Greece’s landscapes are incredibly diverse. From the dramatic cliffs and whitewashed buildings of Santorini to the lush forests of northern Greece and the rugged terrain of the Peloponnese, the country offers a wide range of natural beauty. Whether you’re a beach lover, a hiker, or an adventure enthusiast, Greece has something for you.
Hospitality and Warmth:
Greek hospitality, known as “philoxenia,” is legendary. Locals are welcoming and often eager to share their culture and traditions. Don’t be surprised if you’re invited to join in a traditional dance or offered a taste of homemade food while exploring the countryside.
Historic and Cultural Treasures:
Greece is home to numerous UNESCO World Heritage sites, including the Acropolis in Athens, the archaeological sites of Delphi and Olympia, and the monasteries of Meteora. These sites are not just relics of the past but living testaments to Greece’s enduring cultural legacy.
The Greek islands are a major draw for travelers. Each island has its own unique charm, from the bustling nightlife of Mykonos to the peaceful tranquility of Milos. Whether you’re seeking relaxation, adventure, or romance, there’s an island that suits your desires.
Greece’s beauty has inspired poets, artists, and philosophers for centuries. The pristine beaches, crystal-clear waters, and stunning sunsets of the Greek islands are truly unforgettable. Athens, with its juxtaposition of ancient and modern, offers a unique blend of history and contemporary culture.
Accessibility and Convenience:
Greece is well-connected to the world, with international airports in Athens, Thessaloniki, and many islands. The country’s efficient ferry network makes island-hopping a breeze. English is widely spoken in tourist areas, making it easy to communicate and navigate.
Plan and Explore:
While it’s essential to plan your trip to Greece, leave room for spontaneity. Some of the most memorable experiences may come from wandering through picturesque streets, stumbling upon a hidden gem, or striking up a conversation with a local.
Respect and Preservation:
Lastly, as a responsible traveler, remember to respect Greece’s cultural heritage and natural environment. Adhere to local customs, support sustainable tourism practices, and help preserve the beauty of this magnificent country for future generations.
Greece is a country that offers an immersive journey through time, culture, and beauty. Whether you’re exploring ancient ruins, relaxing on a pristine beach, or savoring delectable Greek cuisine, your trip to Greece is sure to be filled with unforgettable moments. Greece’s charm, history, and authenticity will leave a lasting impression, and you’ll likely find yourself yearning to return to its shores, again and again, to uncover more of its magic.