Greece Travel Guide: The Best Places to Visit in Greece

Greece Travel Guide: The Best Places to Visit in Greece

Greece Travel Guide

Visiting Greece provides an opportunity to examine  the culture that provided many of the threads woven into the fabric of Western Civilization.   However, don’t make the mistake of thinking that visiting Greece is like a  tour through a dull, crumbling museum.  Greece is a spectacular and scenic country whose inhabitants know how to live life to the fullest.

While almost every visitor is drawn to Greece’s world-famous antiquities, few can resist focusing on sun, sand and fun when exploring the many faces of Greece. Greece is endowed with a seemingly endless coastline and thousands of islands thrown in for good measure.  Whatever your plans for touring Greece, make sure they include visiting several of the fabulous Greek Islands.  Many of you will see Greece on a cruise.  Those who do will find themselves wanting to return to spend more time touring the country’s enchanting “islands”.

Of course, the difficult question to answer is always, “which islands?” According the Greek Ministry of Tourism, the country includes over 6, 0000 islands and over 16,000km of coastline, although only 227 of its islands are inhabited.  Well, that cuts it down a bit, but read our recommendations below for a much more manageable number of destinations. Almost everywhere you go in the Greek Islands there will be opportunities for sunbathing, swimming, snorkeling, waterskiing, windsurfing, sailing and great nightlife.  Of course, many of these spectacular islands were once the home of unique civilizations and several  offer incredible archaeological adventures.

Greece is not a destination that should be rushed.  Its culture is complex and its rhythms are non-obvious to those who do not look and listen carefully.  Take your time, experience the culture and revel in the glories of a spectacularly interesting country.  But be flexible – business as usual often isn’t that in Greece, as strikes can occur, seemingly at the drop of a hat.

  • Athens

    • Athens is a place that should be on your “must see” list, but it may not be a place that will keep your attention for long.  Although Athens has several magnificent attractions, it is, also, a large, heavily populated, polluted, and relatively unfriendly metropolis.  Athens offers several important stops: we recommend that you get to it and, then, sample the Greek Islands, or the countryside, where the people seem to be somewhat friendlier.


  • Meteora

    • The monasteries of Meteora are among the most photographed scenes in the world.  Sitting atop tall spires of rock, the monasteries were reputedly built to  give religious hermits protection from thieves, but mostly from visitors who would interrupt their meditations
  • Delphi

    • One of the most famous archaeological sites in Greece, Delphi offers interesting excavations of ta major archaeological site  that was dedicated to the worship of Apollo. It is, also, known as the home of the Oracle of Delphi, the most important of the oracles in ancient Greece. The Delphi Museum includes the Charioteer and other renowned statues.
    • Visit the website of the Archaeological Museum of Delphi   for information on its exhibits and holdings.


  • Corinth

    • An interesting walled city on the sea in the south-eastern Peloponnese, Monemvasia offers a pleasant afternoon’s diversion.  The city is entered through a narrow gate followed by walkways that climb slowly around its hill.
  • Monemvasia, Greece


    • An interesting walled city on the sea in the south-eastern Peloponnese, Monemvasia offers a pleasant afternoon’s diversion.  The city is entered through a narrow gate followed by walkways that climb slowly around its hill.
    • Filled with stone walks, small houses, and good restaurants and shops, Monemvasia is a place where you could loose a lot of time. Take a walk up the hill to see the town’s fortifications, an old church, and a wonderful view of town and its setting on the water. Follow this with lunch at one of the many fine restaurants and, then, head for your next stop.
  • Cyclades Islands

    • Crete

        • The largest of the Greek Islands, Crete has been a stepping-stone to Europe from the Middle East, Asia, and Africa.
        • Crete features fantastic beaches and extensive, interesting archaeological digs related to the Minoan Civilization.  Be sure to visit the Palace of Knossos, home of King Minos, originally constructed almost four thousand years ago.
    • Naxos

        • Considered by many to be the most beautiful of the Greek Islands, Naxos has spectacular beaches and all the ingredients for a great vacation.
    • Santorini (Thira)

        • Santorini seems to tempt fate, as many of its villages sit on the sides of  the steep cliffs, along the edge of the island.  These cliffs are the remnant of large volcano that erupted, collapsed and then flooded millennia ago However, it is precisely this spectacular setting that makes Santorini such a spectacular destination.
          • Visit Fira, the island’s capital and largest settlement for good food and spectacular views.  If you are looking for houses painted white, blue domed churches, winding lanes and lots of sun, this is the place for you.
          • Reserve some time for sunbathing, swimming and water sports at Santorini’s fine beaches.
          • Akrotiri, the Island’s impressive archaeology site dating from the Bronze Age, has been closed due to renovation and the schedule for its reopening is “indefinite”, although there was a rumor that the site would open in May of 2011 it remains closed.
          • Click to read our PhotoGuide for Santorini, Greece.

Church in Santorini

  • Mykonos

      • Break out the nightlife, include superb beaches, add the jet set, and you have Mykonos. Mykonos is picturesque and is considered by many as the place to be in the Greek Islands.  Others consider it limited, offering only sun, sand and nightlife.  However, if that is what you are looking for, this might be the place.
      • Mykonos is, also, the Gateway to Delos.  Delos, a small island, was the birthplace of Apollo and  his twin Artemis and has many archaeological ruins to explore.  Many consider the archeological site here to be one of the most important and interesting in Greece.
      • Click for our photoGuide to Mykonos and Delos, Greece.

Mykonos, Greece

  • Dodecanese Islands

    • Rhodes

      • Rhodes was an important port through much of history.  As you approach the  island, you will be amazed by the medieval walled town created by the Knights of Saint John.  The island offers great scenery, pleasant people, good shopping, and  lots to do.
      • Be sure to visit Lindos to see the hilltop ruins of the Temple of Athena, providing a gorgeous view of the Aegean.  As you ascend the hill to the temple, examine the fine linens  for sale by trail-side “grannies”.
      • Rhodes was once the home of the Colossus of Rhodes, one of the “Seven Wonders of the Ancient World”.  However, no trace of the Colossus can be found today.  See our Rhodes Guide for more detail.
  • Ionian Islands

    • Kerkyra (Corfu)

      • Closest of the Greek Islands to Europe, Corfu is regarded by many visitors as one of the most beautiful places in Greece.  The island’s vegetation is luxurious compared to other of the Greek Isles.  It is a fine destination for those seeking a beach vacation and Corfu Town is known for its night life.

Corfu, Greece

  • Sporades Islands

    • Skopelos, Greece
      Skopelos, Greece


      • Located in the central Aegean close to the coast of mainland Greece, Skopelos, known as the greenest of the Greek Islands, is experiencing renewed popularity because of the box office success of the  film Mama Mia.
        • Many of the scenes in the movie were filmed on Skopelos (for example, Kastani Beach is now known as Kastani Mama Mia Beach, Agio Ioannis Beach is next to the now famous wedding chapel. etc.).
        • For information on visiting the “Mama Mia” island see this detailed website on Skopelos.
      • Hoping to duplicate the romantic atmosphere of  the movie, a large number of couples from around the world have chosen this island as the site of their wedding.  We understand that the chapel featured in the movie is reserved for those of the Greek Orthodox faith and is quite small.
      • Some scenes from the movie were filmed on neighboring island of  Skiathos.

Additional Resources

Most of the islands and towns in Greece do not have official tourism websites.  The official tourism website of Greece is Visit Greece, which provides additional information on our recommended best places to visit in Greece, as well as information on locations and attractions that did not make our list.

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