Imagine stepping into a world where history comes alive, ancient ruins whisper tales of glory, and where the sun-kissed shores of the Aegean Sea invite you to unwind. Welcome to Greece! In this blog post, we’ll take you on a comprehensive tour of Greece’s top destinations, ancient sites, and natural wonders, showcasing the best things to do in Greece. From exploring UNESCO World Heritage Sites to island hopping in Santorini, Mykonos, and Crete, prepare to embark on the adventure of a lifetime.
Table of Contents
- Explore UNESCO World Heritage Sites & Island Hop in Greece.
- Experience Santorini’s Sunsets, Mykonos’ Beaches & Crete’s Ancient History.
- Enjoy Culinary Adventures, Historical Cities and Towns, Natural Wonders & more!
Things to Do in Greece
1. Discover Greece’s UNESCO World Heritage Sites
A journey through Greece’s rich history commences at its UNESCO World Heritage Sites, where you’ll find a seamless blend of ancient ruins, architecture, and cultural significance. The Acropolis of Athens, the incredible archaeological site of Delphi, and the majestic Meteora Monasteries are prime examples of these captivating sites, showcasing the country’s deep connection to its past and the birthplace of Western civilization.
The Acropolis of Athens, a cornerstone of ancient Greece, houses awe-inspiring edifices, including the Parthenon, the Temple of Athena Nike, and the Erechtheion. These iconic monuments are a testament to ancient Greek architects’ brilliance and enduring influence on the world. Just a stone’s throw away, the Acropolis Museum houses a treasure trove of artifacts and sculptures, including original marble inscriptions from the Parthenon, revealing the beauty of ancient archaeological sites.
Delphi, the sanctuary of the god Apollo, is another must-see World Heritage Site, featuring remarkable archaeological sites like the Temple of Apollo, the Treasury of the Athenians, and the ancient Gymnasium. After exploring the ruins, you can visit the Delphi Archaeological Museum to marvel at ancient treasures and immerse yourself in the rich history of this captivating location. For a different perspective, head to Meteora, a complex of monasteries built atop towering sandstone rock pillars. The breathtaking monasteries, surrounded by the landscape’s natural beauty, showcase the dedication and artistry of the monks who constructed them.
These UNESCO World Heritage Sites merely mark the start of your exploration of Greece’s abundant history. As you explore the country, you’ll discover countless archaeological sites, ancient cities, and architectural masterpieces that continue to captivate visitors worldwide.
2. Experience Island Hopping
Island-hopping in Greece is a distinctive medley of scenic landscapes, quaint towns, and memory-making experiences. Santorini, Mykonos, and Creta are popular destinations for island hopping, each boasting its own set of attractions and breathtaking scenery.
You’ll be mesmerized in Santorini by stunning sunsets and volcanic landscapes, while Mykonos offers luxurious beaches and vibrant nightlife.
On Crete, Greece’s largest island, you can immerse yourself in ancient history and wander through varied landscapes, guaranteeing an unforgettable journey for all visitors. While Crete offers a unique experience, don’t forget to explore the beauty of northern Greece as well.
Santorini: Sunsets and Volcanic Landscapes
Santorini’s fame as a romantic destination is well deserved. The island’s enchanting sunsets and volcanic landscapes provide a mesmerizing backdrop for honeymooners and couples seeking a dreamy getaway. The picturesque towns of Oia and Fira, perched atop the island’s caldera cliffs, offer breathtaking views of the shimmering Aegean Sea.
The island’s geological history is as fascinating as its sunsets. Santorini, a volcanic island, was shaped by a dramatic volcanic eruption that occurred during the Tertiary period, creating its iconic crescent shape. This catastrophic event also inspired an intriguing legend. Santorini either burst away from Libya in a natural disaster or was crafted from a special piece of land chipped away from the country by the gods.
As you explore Santorini, don’t miss the chance to visit the island’s main attractions, such as Fira, Oia, and Akrotiri. Wander through the narrow streets of Fira and Oia, admiring the traditional Cycladic architecture and vibrant blue domes of the local churches. In Akrotiri, you can delve into the island’s ancient past by visiting the prehistoric settlement buried by a volcanic eruption around 3,600 years ago.
The allure of Santorini extends far beyond its sunsets and volcanic landscapes. As you continue your island-hopping adventure, you’ll discover more captivating destinations, each with its own unique charm.
Mykonos: Luxurious Beaches and Vibrant Nightlife
Mykonos, famed for its lavish beaches and lively nightlife, provides a mix of relaxation and entertainment. The island’s charming Cycladic architecture provides a picturesque setting for a day spent exploring Mykonos Town and the island’s many attractions. Some things you can do in Mykonos include:
- Shop for designer clothes at local boutiques
- Find unique pieces at art galleries
- Unwind at the beautiful beaches, where crystal-clear waters and golden sands await.
Immerse yourself in the island’s rich history by touring its archaeological sites, such as:
- The ancient city of Delos is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the mythological birthplace of the twin gods Apollo and Artemis.
- The nearby island of Delos is a popular day trip destination and an essential part of Mykonos’ allure.
- The archaeological site, dating back to the Archaic and Hellenistic periods, offers a fascinating glimpse into the island’s ancient past.
After exploring Delos, head to Sithonia, a hidden gem on the Halkidiki Peninsula, where secluded coves and pristine beaches provide the perfect setting for relaxation and adventure. From sun-soaked beaches to vibrant nightlife, Mykonos is a destination that caters to every traveler’s desires. As you continue your island-hopping journey, you’ll find more enchanting destinations, each offering a unique blend of attractions, landscapes, and experiences.
Crete: Ancient History and Diverse Landscapes
Crete, the largest Greek island, boasts diverse landscapes, ancient historical sites, and beautiful beaches that cater to every traveler’s interests. As one of the top Greece tourist attractions, some of the highlights of the island include:
- Elafonissi Beach
- The Minoan Palaces of Knossos and Phaistos
- Samariá Gorge
- Psychro Cave
Visiting these places is a must for anyone exploring the fabulous nature of the Mediterranean country.
The Palace of Knossos:
- Largest Bronze Age archaeological site on Crete.
- Former residence of King Minos, son of Europa and Zeus in mythology.
- To fully appreciate its significance, visiting the Archaeological Museum in Heraklion first, which houses a wealth of artifacts from the Minoan civilization, is recommended.
Venture to the Venetian harbor of Chania, where you can:
- Explore the old fortifications and stunning architecture dating back to the Venetian period.
- Stroll along the harbor, enjoying the beautiful sea panorama.
- Sample delicious Mediterranean cuisine at the many bars, restaurants, and cafes that line the coastline.
The allure of Crete encompasses much more than its varied landscapes and extensive history. As you continue your island-hopping adventure, you’ll uncover more captivating destinations, each with its own unique charm and attractions.
3. Embark on a Culinary Adventure
Embark on a culinary journey that will excite your taste buds and expose you to the true essence of Greece. Sample traditional dishes, local wines, and fresh seafood, all while exploring the country’s rich food culture.
Indulge in the flavors of Greece by trying mouthwatering dishes like:
- Moussaka, a layered eggplant and meat casserole
- Souvlaki, skewered grilled meat served with pita bread
- Spanakopita, a savory spinach and feta cheese pie wrapped in flaky phyllo pastry
These traditional dishes showcase the diverse ingredients and flavors that make Greek cuisine appealing.
Celebrate your Greek adventure with a glass of locally produced-wine. Sample:
- Retsina, a unique wine flavored with pine resin
- Assyrtiko, a crisp white wine native to Santorini
- Moschofilero, a fragrant and floral wine from the Peloponnese region
Each sip offers a taste of Greece’s rich winemaking tradition.
Don’t forget to savor the bounty of fresh seafood Greece offers. From tender octopus and succulent squid to flavorful mussels, the country’s coastal waters provide an abundance of delicious seafood options to enjoy. Whether you’re dining at a seaside taverna or a bustling city restaurant, your culinary adventure in Greece will be an unforgettable experience.
4. Visit Historical Cities and Towns
No visit to Greece is complete without a tour of its historic cities and towns, where ancient ruins, medieval architecture, and modern attractions coexist harmoniously. Nafplio, Rhodes, and Corfu are prime examples of such destinations, each offering a unique glimpse into Greece’s rich past.
Nafplio, a charming town on the Peloponnese Peninsula, boasts an array of attractions, including:
- Syntagma Square, which boasts two Turkish mosques and the Archaeological Museum. This museum houses historical artifacts dating back to the Prehistoric period.
- Arvanitia Promenade, where you can enjoy a leisurely stroll along the coast and enjoy the beautiful views.
- The Old Town, with its narrow streets, fortifications, and remnants of Nafplio’s past.
Explore these attractions and immerse yourself in the rich history and beauty of Nafplio.
Rhodes, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is important in Greece’s history. The Palace of the Grand Masters, a medieval castle built by the Knights of St. John in the 14th century, is a popular tourist attraction that showcases the island’s maritime history. Explore the ancient city of Delos, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and the mythological birthplace of the twin gods Apollo and Artemis.
Corfu, located in the Ionian Islands, is a picturesque island that blends history, architecture, and natural beauty. The Old Corfu Town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, features captivating architecture and historical sites dating back to the Venetian period. Stroll through the streets, visit charming churches, and sample the delicious fusion of Greek and Venetian cuisine at local restaurants.
5. Explore Greece’s Natural Wonders
The stunning beauty and diverse landscapes of Greece are evidenced in the country’s natural wonders, which are some of the top attractions in Greece. From the dramatic gorges of Samaria and Vikos to the awe-inspiring rock formations of Meteora, these destinations are perfect for hiking and outdoor enthusiasts.
The Samaria Gorge, a national park in Crete, offers incredible hiking trails that cater to a range of skill levels. The hike includes:
- Starting at Xyloskalo, also known as “wooden stairs”
- Passing through a breathtaking landscape with altitudes ranging from 200 to 1,000 meters
- Covering a total length of 13 kilometers
- Taking approximately six hours to complete
This allows you to fully immerse yourself in the park’s pristine natural beauty.
Vikos Gorge, another favored hiking spot, provides stunning viewpoints and diverse trails to explore. The trek begins in Monodendri, a village in Zagori, and leads you to Dilofo, a mountain village that offers a gentle descent into the gorge. As you hike through this breathtaking landscape, you’ll be surrounded by the unspoiled beauty of Greece’s countryside.
Meteora, a complex of unique rock formations in Thessaly, Greece, is an incredible destination for those who love the great outdoors. The breathtaking monasteries perched atop towering sandstone rock pillars showcase the dedication and artistry of the monks who constructed them. Hike through the stunning landscape, marveling at the natural beauty and the architectural wonders that Meteora has to offer.
6. Dive into Greek Mythology
The history, culture, and landscape of Greece are deeply imbued with Greek mythology, reflecting the essence of ancient Greek culture. By visiting iconic sites such as the Palace of Knossos, the Temple of Apollo, and Mount Olympus, you can step into a world where ancient legends come to life.
The Palace of Knossos, located on the island of Creta, was the residence of the mythical King Minos, the son of Europa and Zeus. Explore the palace’s unique architecture and delve into its ancient history by first visiting the Archaeological Museum in Heraklion, which houses a wealth of artifacts from the Minoan civilization.
The Temple of Apollo in Delphi is another iconic site steeped in Greek mythology. This ancient sanctuary was dedicated to the god Apollo and was home to the famous Delphic Oracle. Explore the temple and its surrounding archaeological sites, such as the Treasury of the Athenians and the ancient Gymnasium, to gain a deeper understanding of the site’s mythological significance.
Mount Olympus, the highest mountain in Greece, is yet another destination that holds a special place in Greek mythology. Known as the home of the gods, this majestic peak has inspired countless legends and stories throughout history. Whether you’re a seasoned hiker or simply an admirer of ancient tales, a visit to Mount Olympus is sure to leave you in awe of Greece’s rich mythological heritage.
7. Relax on Idyllic Beaches
The idyllic beautiful beaches of Greece provide the perfect setting for relaxation and sunbathing. Navagio Beach, Myrtos Beach, and Elafonisi Beach are just a few examples of the pristine sands, crystal-clear waters, and stunning scenery that await you on the shores of Greece.
Navagio Beach, commonly known as Shipwreck Beach, is a beautiful black-sand beach on the western shore of Zakynthos in Greece. It is a highly popular tourist destination and attracts numerous visitors every year. The beach gets its name from the cargo ship Panagiotis that ran aground there in 1983, adding an air of mystery to the already breathtaking location. Accessible only by boat, Navagio Beach offers a secluded paradise for travelers seeking a tranquil escape.
Myrtos Beach, located on the northwest part of Kefalonia Island, is another picturesque destination that offers:
- Pristine natural beauty
- A serene atmosphere
- Golden sands
- Crystal-clear waters
- Facilities such as sun loungers, umbrellas, showers, and bars
These amenities ensure a comfortable and enjoyable visit.
Elafonisi Beach, situated on the southwestern tip of Crete, is a stunning beach that boasts powdery pink sands and turquoise waters. This beautiful beach is ideal for swimming and sunbathing, and its pristine natural beauty makes it a must-visit destination for beach lovers. As you relax on these idyllic beaches, let the gentle waves and warm sun transport you to a world of tranquility and bliss.
8. Experience Greek Culture through Festivals and Events
Through its vibrant festivals and events, Greek culture comes to life, providing visitors with a firsthand encounter with the country’s traditions and customs. From the Athens Epidaurus Festival to Corfu’s Easter celebrations and the Santorini Wine Festival, immerse yourself in the sights and sounds of Greece’s lively cultural scene.
The Athens Epidaurus Festival, an annual event that takes place in the ancient theater of Epidaurus, features performances of ancient Greek plays, as well as modern plays and musicals. This exciting festival showcases the country’s rich theatrical heritage and offers visitors a chance to enjoy world-class performances in a stunning historical setting.
Easter celebrations in Corfu are another opportunity to experience Greek culture up close. This vibrant event features traditional dances, music from around the world, and even games with locals. It’s a wonderful way to immerse yourself in the customs and traditions of Greece while enjoying the warm hospitality of the people of Corfu.
The Santorini Wine Festival is an annual celebration of the island’s unique wines, featuring wine tastings, live music, and traditional Greek food. As you sip on the island’s finest wines and sample delicious local cuisine, you’ll be surrounded by the beauty and charm of Santorini’s picturesque landscape. Whether you’re a wine enthusiast or simply looking to experience Greek culture, these festivals and events offer unforgettable memories and a taste of the country’s rich heritage.
9. Admire Ancient Theaters and Stadiums
The ancient theaters and stadiums of Greece, which highlight the country’s rich cultural heritage, offer a window into the past. The Theatre of Epidaurus, the Panathenaic Stadium, and the Ancient Theatre of Delphi are prime examples of these awe-inspiring structures, each with its own unique history and significance.
The Theatre of Epidaurus, an ancient theatre located in the Peloponnese, is known for its amazing acoustics and stunning architecture. This incredible structure was built in the 4th century BC and is still used today for performances during the Athens Epidaurus Festival.
A visit to this ancient theatre allows you to experience:
- The power and beauty of Greek drama
- The incredible acoustics that allow every word to be heard clearly
- The stunning architecture that has stood the test of time
It is truly a unique and unforgettable experience.
The Panathenaic Stadium, an ancient stadium in Athens, was originally built in 330 BC and was the site of the Panathenaic Games, the most important festivities in Athens. This stadium is quite impressive due to its ability to accommodate various concerts and exhibitions dedicated to Greek culture. Such events are held here today. As you explore the stadium, you can imagine the excitement and energy of the ancient games that once took place here.
The Ancient Theatre of Delphi, another iconic site steeped in Greek mythology, was dedicated to the god Apollo and was home to the famous Delphic Oracle. This ancient sanctuary offers a fascinating glimpse into Greece’s mythological past and a chance to explore the temple and its surrounding archaeological sites.
As you admire these ancient theaters and stadiums, you’ll be transported back in time to an era when Greek culture flourished and the legends of gods and heroes were born.
10. Explore Greece’s Maritime History
The rich cultural heritage of Greece is inextricably intertwined with its maritime history. By visiting the Maritime Museum of Crete, the Palace of the Grand Masters in Rhodes, and the ancient port of Piraeus, you can uncover the fascinating stories and achievements of the country’s seafaring past.
The Maritime Museum of Crete, located in the picturesque city of Chania, exhibits the history of shipping and shipbuilding in Greece. As you explore the museum’s collection, you’ll gain an appreciation for the country’s maritime prowess and the important role it played in shaping Greece’s history.
In Rhodes, the Palace of the Grand Masters stands as a testament to the island’s maritime history. This medieval castle, built by the Knights of St. John in the 14th century, is a popular tourist attraction and an amazing place to explore Greece’s maritime past. As you wander through the palace’s halls and courtyards, you’ll be transported back to an era when knights ruled the seas and trade flourished in the Mediterranean.
The ancient port of Piraeus, the largest port in Greece and one of the oldest ports in the Mediterranean, has been an important hub since ancient times. Today, the port is bustling with activity, offering visitors a chance to explore Greece’s maritime history while enjoying the modern amenities and attractions of the city.
As you delve into Greece’s maritime past, you’ll uncover:
- The fascinating stories of seafaring adventurers
- Legendary battles
- The enduring influence of the country’s naval achievements on its rich cultural heritage.
From exploring iconic UNESCO sites. World Heritage Sites and island-hopping in the Aegean Sea to delving into the country’s rich mythology and maritime history, Greece offers a wealth of experiences and attractions for every traveler. As you embark on your journey through this ancient land, you’ll uncover the secrets of its past, bask in the beauty of its landscapes, and immerse yourself in the warmth of its culture. Come and discover the timeless allure of Greece – a destination that truly offers something for everyone.
Frequently Asked Questions
Where should I go for the first time in Greece?
Start your Greek adventure by visiting the ancient city of Athens and exploring the Acropolis, then move on to the stunning islands of Mykonos or Santorini for fantastic wineries, nightlife, and breathtaking scenery.
What are some must-see sights or experiences in Greece?
Discover ancient history at the Acropolis Museum and Parthenon in Athens, explore the ruins of Delphi, go on a Greek island cruise, stroll through the old town of Nafplio, visit the ancient city of Epidaurus, and relax in the hot springs of Therma – all not to be missed when visiting Greece!
How to do Greece in 7 days?
Embark on a magical seven-day journey in the beautiful country of Greece! Start off in Thessaloniki, explore Athens and its iconic Acropolis, go to Corfu to visit the stunning Paleokastritsa Monastery, have a wonderful time discovering Naxos’ 13th-century citadel and wrap it up with a romantic Red Beach trip in Santorini. Enjoy your perfect Greek holiday!
What is number 1 tourist attraction in Greece?
The Acropolis of Athens is one of the most iconic tourist attractions in Greece. Located atop a limestone hill overlooking the city of Athens, the ancient site features the remains of several magnificent ancient buildings. A symbol of Western civilization, it is a must-see for visitors to Greece.
What are some of the top UNESCO World Heritage Sites to visit in Greece?
Explore the amazing Acropolis of Athens, marvel at Delphi’s monuments and sacred ruins, and take in the incredible sights at Meteora – some of the most captivating UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Greece!