What are the best places to visit in Greece anyway? It’s a huge task to decide where to go in Greece. It could take a lifetime to discover all of its beautiful islands and astounding archeological sites. Greece is one of the most popular travel destinations in the world with something to suit everyone’s needs. Beach lovers and foodies, culture seekers, and history buffs will all fall in love with Greece.
Beautiful Places to Visit in Greece
Dating back to 2000 BC, Greece is known as the birthplace of democracy and the cradle of western civilization. Some of the most beautiful places in Greece are the Greek Islands but the mainland houses rugged mountains and fascinating historic sites as well. So we are here to help you decide where to visit in Greece on your next holiday.
From whitewashed villages to its mountains, Greece is a land made for the Gods. There are so many beautiful places to visit in Greece that it really is impossible to show them all, but we are going to give it the old college try. So are you ready to discover Greece with us?
Santorini is one of the best places to visit in Greece for a Honeymoon or romantic getaway. Of all the places in Greece, this island is certainly the most famous. With its whitewashed villages and blue domes sitting high on sea cliffs, Santorini is postcard perfect. The turquoise waters glisten in the caldera below as the sun sets over the Aegean Sea.
This island paradise with awe-inspiring views overlooking the caldera has it all black-sand beaches, red-sand beaches, and golden-sand beaches. It truly is the most beautiful of the Greek islands and our favorite place to visit. But make sure to pull yourself away from its infinity pools and stunning views to see the cultural side of the island and the archeological site of Akrotiri that dates back to the 16th century BC. Read more: 25 Best Things to do in Santorini, Greece
Where to Stay in Santorini
Where to stay in Santorini – We recommend staying on the west coast of Santorini in the town of Oia or Imerovigli. Two hotels that we recommend are Iconic Santorini in Imerovigli and Adronis Luxury Suites in the town of Oia. We have an entire post dedicated to Santorini hotels. Read more: Where to Stay in Santorini
How to Get to Santorini from Athens – We flew to Santorini from Athens and there are flights daily, but you can also take the Blue Star ferry from the Piraeus ferry port just outside of Athens. It’s about 20 minutes from the city.
Meteora is one of the most beautiful places to visit in Greece that is gaining in popularity. Located in central Greece, this awe-inspiring place is a sea of 9th-century monasteries built atop massive rock monoliths. The Monasteries of Meteora are so impressive that Meteora is designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Massive sandstone spires reach 400 meters into the sky. Forming 60 million years ago, the landscape of Meteora is one of the most unique and beautiful we’ve ever seen. Monks built monasteries at the top of these mountains as a hidden retreat where they lived in seclusion and safety scaling the walls with ropes and ladders. Read more about Meteora in our post – Things to do in Meteora Greece – More than Monasteries
Where to Stay in Meteora
Where to stay in Meteora – Stay at Divani Meteora Hotel situated in the town of Kalabaka right at the base of the massive Meteora Rocks. It has a swimming pool, spa and fantastic view.
You can book this top-rated two day tour from Athens that explores Meteora Monasteries and the Delphi Archaeological Site if you don’t have the time to stay in Meteora, but we recommend at least two nights in this magical part of Greece.
How to Get to Meteora – Meteora can be reached from the city of Athens by Bus, Train, and Car. We recommend renting a car as the best way to see Meteora is to drive around to its many lookouts. Going early in the morning before the tour buses is a must.
When visiting Greece, make sure to give yourself 3 days in Athens before heading off to the golden beaches of the islands. The capital city of Greece has a blend of ancient archaeological sites fitting in harmony with the everyday lives of the people. Few cities can compete with the wonder of Athens. The ancient Acropolis towers over this beautiful city with The Parthenon, built between 447-432 BC standing at its center.
Athens has it all. Tasty cuisine, culture, history, and vibrant nightlife. Athens is one of the best places in Greece for a blend of history and excitement. From the Ancient Agora, the Theatre of Herodes Atticus, and the Temple of Hephaestus to its stunning rooftop patios and delicious food, it is a must-stop on any Greece Itinerary. Read more: The Best Things to do in Athens, Greece
Where to Stay in Athens
Where to Stay in Athens – We’ve stayed in several neighborhoods around Athens, but recommend staying near Syntagma Square or Monasteraki Square.
For luxury accommodations, you can’t go wrong with Hotel Grand Bretagne. This Ultra-luxury hotel with a rooftop restaurant/bar/pool and full-service spa has some of the best views in Athens. Check out Availability & Prices Trip Advisor / Booking.com
This past summer found an affordable hotel with beautiful views of the Acropolis at the Astor Hotel. But we have a full article breaking down Where To Stay In Athens – A Guide To The Best Neighborhoods
One of our favorite places in Greece just so happens to be one of the most recent places we visited. Epirus is located in northwestern Greece, bordered by Albania and the Ionian Sea. This is a huge region of Greece that is perfect for nature lovers. We suggest spending at least a week in Epirus as there is so much to do. Read all about it at Places to Visit in Epirus – The Best Kept Secret in Greece
This incredible region is filled with mountain villages, stunning landscapes, and beautiful beaches, this is a fantastic destination that has yet to be discovered. Making a base in the city of Ioannina we explored the stunning Stone Arch Bridges of Zagori to the most impressive monastery outside Meteora, the Kipina Monastery.
For our adventures all around Epirus, we used Alpine Zone which is the leader in adventure tourism around Epirus. Check out Alpine Zone to book your own Epirus, Adventures.
The capital of Epirus is the City of Ioannina and this city will surprise you. It is filled with Byzantine history, beautiful monasteries and museums, and lively nightlife. The most important place to see in Ioannina is the seven monasteries on the Island of the Lake.
The Monastery of Philanthropists which dates back to 1204 is one of three very important monasteries in Greece including Meteora and the Mount Athos Monastery. But there is so much more to Ioannina making it a must-visit on a Greek vacation. Read more: Things to do in Ioannina – A Little-Known Greece Escape
How to Get to Epirus: It is a 1h 15 min flight to the capital of Epirus, Ioannina (pronounced, Yo-ah-nah-nah) from Athens or you can rent a car. It is only a 4h 30min drive from Athens to Ioannina and getting to see the Greek countryside is a real treat. We know, we’ve done it!
Where to Stay in Ioannina
Ioannina is a great place to make a base to explore Epirus. Rent a car and do day trips to the surrounding villages and attractions.
Hotel du Lac is one of the best places to stay in Ioannina located within walking distance (20 minutes) of Old Town. See it on TripAdvisor / Booking.com
The Lake Hotel is also a popular conference center with a beautiful pool overlooking Lake Pamvotida. Check rates and availability on TripAdvisor / Booking.com
How to get to Ioannina: You can fly directly to Ioannina from Athens International Airport. There are daily flights to and from Athens. There are also buses from Thessaloniki which is just 3 hours away and long-distance buses from Athens.
This region of Greece has everything from beaches that rival the Cyclades Islands to the Old Town of Parga complete with traditional whitewashed houses and bright blue waters. We fell in love with the town of Parga and were surprised to see that it is one of the most beautiful destinations in Greece!
Parga rivaled the best of the Greek Islands without the over-tourism. Read more: 21 Best Greek Islands to Visit
The main attraction of Parga is Parga Castle where you can hike up for beautiful views of the colorful buildings lining the beach. Parga is located on the mainland, but it certainly feels like a Greek Isle, so even if you don’t make it to nearby Corfu, you will get your feel of what a Greek Island vacation feels like in Parga.
Nearby Valtos Beach which is often named one of the best beaches in Greece and Sivota, Preveza and Plataria have beautiful beaches as well. Make sure to relax at a beach bar to enjoy the local seafood, this part of Greece is famous for its gastronomy, which says a lot since Greek food, in general, is so amazing!
How to get to Parga: The closest airports to Parga are Aktion National Airport in Preveza (65 km) and Ioannina National Airport (103 km). From one of these airports, we suggest you rent a car to explore the area, or Prime Transfer Services is a superb company owned by our friend Vasili who can get you around from place to place in safety and comfort. Visit his website to book day tours and transfers around Epirus, Greece.
Zagori is located just outside of Ioannina and if you have a car it is an easy day trip to enjoy the adventure capital of Epirus, but we suggest making a base in the mountainous village of Metsovo.
There is the Katogi Averoff Hotel and Winery and the beautiful Averoff Gallery to see. It makes for the perfect base to enjoy all the things to do in Vikos from its scenic hiking trails to historic monasteries.
Zagori is most famous for its stone bridges, but the Vikos Gorge is not to be missed. This is one of the natural wonders of Greece and is listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the deepest gorge in the world. With hiking trails, scenic lookouts, and rich flora, this picturesque region of Greece is not to be missed.
8. Zakynthos (Zante)
While each and every Greek Island is beautiful, Zakynthos (also known as Zante in Greek) in particular, has a beautiful beach. Navagio Beach is a stunning scene of white sand, with chalky white sea cliffs reaching up from the deep azure waters. Perhaps the most famous beach in the Greek Islands, Navagiao Beach, aka Shipwreck Beach is surrounded by high white cliffs surrounding turquoise waters.
Shipwreck Beach is accessible only by boat tour making it even more pristine. You can book a small private excursion directly to the smuggler’s cove. Zakynthos is also one of the best islands for scuba diving in Greece. If you want to enjoy the water this is the island to do it.
Where to Stay in Zakynthos
Where to Stay in Zanynthos – On the East Coast of Zakynthos is the town of Zante. It is a good place to stay for nightlife and ease of getting around.
Located in the Ionian Sea, Zante is one of the seven Ionian islands. It is known as one of the best places in the Greek Islands for nightlife. But the island has so much to offer with ancient history, some of the country’s best beaches, and fantastic traditional Greek food. Read More: Things to do in Zante Greece
How to Get to Zakynthos – Ferries run to Zakynthos Island from Peloponnese. There are also flights to Zakynthos.
There is nothing better than island hopping when visiting Greece, and the beautiful island of Crete is a must stop on any Greek Vacation. Crete the largest island of all the Greek Islands and it certainly has the best beaches in Greece. You’ll also see the traditional villages and whitewashed houses that we’ve all come to know of the south.
This island has it all with high peaks, deep gorges, and pristine sandy beaches, Crete is the perfect destination for your next Greece adventure! Don’t miss taking a hike through Samaria Gorge, it is certainly one of Greece’s Natural Wonders. This national park is considered one of the most beautiful in Europe. And be sure to see Elafonisi Beach which is often considered the best beach in Greece. Read more: 23 Unique Things to Do in Crete
How to Get to Crete – We took a very pleasant ferry ride to Crete from Santorini. There are ferries from Athens to Crete, but it is 7 hours long. I would recommend flying to Crete as there are regular short flights to Heraklion.
One of the best places on the island of Crete is Knossos. Make sure to get out to see the UNESCO World Heritage Site with your own eyes. This archaeological museum contains the palace of King Minos.
We rented a car to see this and highly recommend being mobile on your Greece Holidays. We always found that having a car rental allowed us to see the everyday life of Greek residents and to get off the beaten path. Compare prices here
Knossos is a 2000-year-old ancient site that dates back to the Minoan civilization. This large bronze age archeological site is one of the best preserved in Greece and is considered one of the best museums in the country.
This private tour is an excellent way to see the best of Knossos and Heraklion City. Take a guided tour of Knossos, see the highlights of the main city of Crete, tour the old Heraklion, and try some traditional Greek food.
How to get to Crete from Athens – Crete is a long ferry ride from Athens being 5 hours. But if you break it up while you visit other islands in Greece like we did, taking the ferry is a great way to get around. There are also daily flights from Athens to the island of Crete.
Pelion is a beautiful region of Greece, located on the Pelion Peninsula of mainland Greece. Located between Athens and Thessaloniki Pelion is filled with picturesque villages that you must visit including Tsagarada, Makrinitsa, and Milies. Read More: Pelion Greece – Visiting the Unknown Paradise of Greece
Also, if you want to visit the locations of the movie Mama Mia, this is the place to be. Much of the movie was filmed in the coastal village of Damouchari. The coastal city of Volos is a beautiful city was home to Jason and the Argonauts if you love ancient Greek mythology, this is a must-stop.
Where to Stay in Pelion
Where to Stay in Pelion – We stayed at the 12 Months Luxury Resort in Tsagarada. There are local shuttles that take you around Pelion if you don’t have a car and this was a beautiful retreat.
How to Get to Pelion: If you are flying, the main hub for Pelion is Volos. It is a five-hour scenic drive north of Athens en route to another major Greek City, Thessaloniki in Northern Greece.
Skiathos was a surprising destination that takes you off the beaten path in Greece. With beautiful beaches and a thriving nightlife, Skiathos is popular with local tourists. With our car, we had a chance to explore the island and a highlight was visiting the Evangelistria Monastery founded in 1894.
Located in the northwest Aegean sea, in the Sporades archipelago, Skiathos feels like what Crete or Santorini would have been 20 years ago. This island has the same lovely whitewashed houses, sandy beaches, and the same vibe as the more popular Greek islands.
The best evenings we had in Skiathos were spent relaxing in a beachfront tavern sipping sparkling wine while eating traditional Greek food followed by spectacular sunsets while strolling along the waterfront.
Where to Stay in Skiathos
Where to Stay in Skiathos – We stayed at La Piscine Art Hotel. It was very central to everything.
How to Get to Skiathos: Ferries depart daily from Volos and Agios Konstantinos. You can take your car, (like we did) on the ferries and it is a great way to get around the island to explore its hidden beaches and beautiful villages.
Skopelos is a gorgeous island with the typical whitewashed houses with blue doors and terracotta roofs, picturesque monasteries clinging to its coast and stunning beaches. Skopelos wasn’t at the top of our list of wonderful places in Greece until we had the chance to visit this gorgeous Greek island.
Located just a hop skip and a jump from Skiathos, Skopelos is another Mama Mia destination filled with incredible scenery. . There are 360 monasteries and churches, blue waters made for diving and snorkeling, and impressive beaches with white limestone cliffs.
Where to Stay in Skopelos – The Skopelos Holidays Hotel & Spa was a lovely 5-star hotel in the main town of Skopelos where we enjoyed scenic views of the hills and bay.
How to Get to Skopelos – Ferries depart mainland Greece to Skopelos from Thessaloniki and Volos. There are also several ferries a day leaving from Skiathos. We suggest combining a trip with Skiathos, Pelion and Skopelos.
14. Costa Navarino
While the Greek islands are considered one of the best places to visit in Greece for beaches, we feel that Costa Navarino in the Southwest corner of the Peloponnese region on mainland Greece rivals the best of them. Located on the crystal clear waters of the Ionian Sea in Messinia, few tourists visit this amazing place in Greece.
Messinia is a destination unto itself with luxury resorts, olive groves, and picturesque villages making it one of our favorite places to visit in Greece. People know of the ancient ruins of Athens, but the city of Messene in the Peloponnese is just as impressive with fewer tourists. Read more: The Ultimate Guide to Costa Navarino, Greece
Where to Stay in Costa Navarino
Where to stay in Costa Navarino – The Westin Costa Navarino Resort
How to get to Costa Navarino – Costa Navarino is a 3-hour drive from Athens. We rented a car from Athens and it was a great way to have the freedom to explore its historical sites on our own
15. Voidokilia Beach
Not far from Costa Navarino is Voidokilia Beach, the most beautiful beach we’ve ever seen. Shaped like the Greek letter Omega, Voidokilia Beach is the place of legends. Homer referenced this beach in the Odyssey and it was believed to be used by King Nestor, the ancient king of Pylos. Read More: The Ultimate Guide to Costa Navarino, Greece
While everyone knows of the ancient ruins of the Acropolis, Temple of Apollo, or the Temple of Poseidon, not many have heard of the ancient city of Messene.
This well-preserved city of ancient Greece is a must-visit to see its ancient stadium and have it all to yourself. Messene is one of the Best Places in Greece Free of Crowds and Filled with centuries of history, it withstood many sieges by both the Macedonians and the Spartans.