Greece is known for its history, culture, and beautiful sights, from major cities to historic temples. Besides the capital, Athens, there are so many more places to see and explore!
As the southernmost country in Europe, Greece boasts a long coastline with hundreds of islands to explore. Spend a day tanning at one of Greece's stunning beaches or hike up the mountains to visit the temples of gods.
So whether you're backpacking through Europe or looking to relax at one destination, look no further for the best places to visit in Greece.
Tip: Planning to visit Greece next fall? You may need an ETIAS travel authorization. The system is expected to be introduced in November of 2023 and will be mandatory for all countries that are Schengen visa-free. Check if you'll be needing an ETIAS here!
6 Best Areas in Greece to See!
Mykonos, also known as "The Island of the Winds", is one of the many Greek islands scattered along the coast. It's popular for its nightlife, and specifically a great place to go for the LGTBQ+ community since it's known to be an ally!
Since it's one of the more popular Greek islands, expect to spend a little more here. And if you're looking to avoid the biggest tourist crowds and stretch your dollar, consider visiting Mykonos from mid-May to June.
Although it's well-known as the party island, tourists will find that Mykonos has a lot more to offer. So, if you're looking for a place that allows you to have a good time on the town and explore cute little towns during the day, make a stop into Mykonos.
Before you make your final decision about visiting this Greek island, remember that it's important to know where to stay in Mykonos.
Fun Things to Do in Mykonos
The number one thing to do in Mykonos is obviously enjoy it for what it's known for: its nightlife and parties! If you're looking for hot spots, try stopping into Scropios for great music or 180 Sunset Bar for their delicious and creative cocktails.
Trying to see what Mykonos has to offer aside from the partying? You can make a trip to see the Panagia Paraportiani Church, one of the most photographed spots, feast by the seaside on local eats, or participate in a number of cool water sports at one of Mykonos' many beaches.
If you've already planned to include Mykonos in your Greek trip, find more details about the best things to do in Mykonos!
The northern-most destination on this list is the second-largest city in Greece after Athens, the capital.
Thessaloniki is known as a student city, with more than 1 out of every 10 residents there being a student. Expect the nightlife scene to be lively, energetic, and filled to the brim with students. Thessaloniki also boasts some unique historical monuments for the history lovers out there.
What's There to Do in Thessaloniki?
In a city filled with students, expect there to be many free walking tours hosted by energetic students thrilled to show you their beautiful city.
If you choose to journey alone, start at the white tower which sits at the heart of the city next to the Mediterranean sea. Previously a prison known for the many executions held there, non-prisoners can now enter the towers and climb its steps for a panoramic view of the city. If you're lucky, you might even get in for free!
Go see the Roman Agora, an ancient Roman market that now houses the remains of a theatre and two Roman baths. The ancient Rotunda is one of the oldest buildings in Thessaloniki. Although it has sustained some severe damages from earthquakes, the mosaics inside have been restored for visitors to view.
Just outside of Thessaloniki are the Meteora monasteries and the famous Mount Olympus. Both boast some of the highest destinations in Greece.
Explore Meteora, a UNSECO-listed site, on a day trip tour from Thessaloniki, or if you're looking for something a bit more active, go on a trekking experience tour of Mount Olympus and see the mountain of the gods!
If you're flying into Greece, you'll likely be landing at the Athens international airport right outside of, you guessed it, Athens. How could we leave out the capital of Greece in a guide to Greek destinations?
The best way to describe Athens is ancient Greek monuments surrounded by a thriving urban city. There's a lot of ways to see this beautiful city, including taking walking tours that you can join so that you see the city through a local's eyes.
If you're a bit nervous about whether there are safety concerns in Athens, you're not alone. Lots of travelers wonder about safety in busy capital cities like Athens. Compared to many popular travel destination, Athens is fairly safe, but you still need to take the proper precautions!
What Are the Best Things to Do in Athens?
The Acropolis is a must-see when you're in Athens.
It's an ancient citadel sitting on a massive outcrop above the city of Athens. Many classic, historical landmarks are located on the Acropolis, including the Parthenon, Temple of Zeus, Theatre of Dionysus, and many more.
Right next door is the Acropolis museum which is also a popular place for tourists.
The museum houses all artifacts found in the acropolis area. Visit the ancient agora, roman agora, and national archaeological museum for more historic structures. In my opinion, this is definitely a must see! Check out the museum tickets here!
To experience urban life in Athens, go shopping in Plaka or Ermou. Try your luck at Monastiraki's Sunday flea market or watch the changing of the guards at Syntagma square. Psiri is the place to go if you're looking to experience the Athenian nightlife scene.
For a more relaxed experience, take a stroll through the National garden, Athen's biggest public park.
Finally, don't forget to check out the Panathenaic stadium which was restored in 1895 to host the Olympic games. For more ideas of things to do in Athens, check out our blog about the best things to do in Athens.
The Peloponnese peninsula is located to the south of Greece, covering a massive area. It is filled with many UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
The Peloponnese peninsula contains the Byzantine city of Mystras and Olympia, the birthplace of the Olympics. Peloponnese is a must-go if you're visiting Greece for the history and ancient architecture.
Where to Go in Peloponnese?
For the mythical believers, visit Mycenae and see the tall walls believed to be built by cyclopses. Immerse yourself in the medieval walled town of the Byzantine empire in Mystras or take a ride down the Corinth canal to admire the bare limestone walls.
Olympia is another UNESCO site located in Peloponnese. The ancient Olympic games were held, and the ruins of the stadium, gymnasium, and Temples still remain for visitors to see.
To learn more about the ancient Olympic games, visit the nearby Museum of the Ancient Olympic Games. Take a walking tour to explore and soak up the historical sites surrounding Olympia!
The great theatre of Epidaurus and Nafplio are also notable places to visit in Peloponnese.
As arguably the most popular destination in Greece, Santorini is the most picturesque Greek island and the best island to visit. Santorini's blue and white landscape is iconic and one of the first images that come to mind when mentioning vacations in Greece.
From exploring the small towns to soaking in the sun on the beach, there are lots to do in Santorini, Greece.
What to See in Santorini?
There are so many things to do in Santorini—I recommend staying a few days! But, on the top of every list of things to do in Santorini is watching the sunset in Oia.
The streets get a little crowded around sunset, but the warm golden glow cast over Santorini's winding streets makes it all worth it. If you're looking to soak in the sun before sunset, head out to the black sand beaches such as Kamari beach. Boat rides around the island are perfect for those wanting a better view of the cliffs and volcanic islands.
Wander around the villages of Pyrgos, Megalochori, and Imerovigli. These charming villages make up the iconic view of Santorini, so don't be afraid to spend a few hours getting lost in their winding streets. Santorini is also known for its wine industry, so go for the traveler's favorite wine tasting tour if you have the time!
How could we leave out the largest of the Greek islands, Crete? Crete is made for the adventurer! It's home to archaeological sites such as the Minoan ruins, Samaria Gorge, and Balos Lagoon. The vibrant coastlines to scenic mountains are bound to keep you entranced during your stay in Crete.
What Is There to Do in Crete?
Gaze upon the Knossos, Europe's oldest city and the capital of the Minoan civilization. Visit the Heraklion Archaeological Museum to see the world's largest collection of Minoan artifacts. Traverse the ravine of the Samaria Gorge or hike around the Balos Lagoon to view the natural wonders that Crete has to offer.
If you're one for monastic architecture, visit the Arkadi Monastery and Holy Trinity Monastery. For beach lovers, Falassarna beach is often mentioned as one of the best beaches in Europe. So if you're looking to relax during your time in Crete, Falassarna beach is the place to be.
Nightlife in Greece
Aside from the 5 major destinations mentioned above, I also have a few locations for the social butterflies in the group.
Zakynthos is known for its bustling nightlife, while Skiathos has beautiful beaches and a notable nightlife scene as well. If you'd like to experience Greek nightlife but don't plan to stay for long, the Halkidiki islands would be the best option for you.
Spend your day on Sithonia, the island of beaches, or Athos, the island of monasteries. Go bar hopping in Kassandra when night comes to make the most of your trip.
Be sure to plan your accommodations ahead of time if you're looking to go out and party. It's important that you book a reliable Greece hostel or hotel that is convenient and a safe distance from your night activities!
Where in Greece Do I start?
So, how do I pick which places in Greece to visit? It really depends on who you're going with and what kind of traveler you are.
Santorini would make for a great vacation spot for first-timers or families due to its nature as a tourist hub. Areas within Peloponnese would be best for avoiding tourists as most gather around the major islands and cities.
Athens is the one city that everyone must visit when in Greece. As a major city, it is well rounded in terms of attractions. It includes many historical and cultural monuments for visitors to explore.
If Greece is just a pit stop for you, stop at Athens for a full Greek experience. Make sure to check out all of the incredible things to do in Athens while you're there!
Flying to Greece?
If you're still looking at flights for your trip to Greece, make sure you're booking the cheapest flights available on the market with SkyScanner!
SkyScanner helps you find the cheapest flights available so that you wouldn't have to pay for a flight ticket and save that money for more things to do or for food!
Travel to Greece with Pilot
Are you inspired by all the locations on this list? Use Pilot to plan your next Greek excursion.