Greece entices travelers with its picturesque islands, exquisite ruins, flavorful fare, and hospitable locals. From cosmopolitan Athens to the precipitous Meteora monasteries, numerous breathtaking sights await.
1. Acropolis crowns Athens
Dazzling Landscape The sprawling Acropolis complex presides over lively Athens, capped by the iconic Parthenon temple. The archaeological and Byzantine museums exhibit treasures spanning eras. Eclectic neighborhoods like Plaka mix antiquity with modern liveliness through winding alleys, cafes, and shops.
2. Minoan Majesty Pervades Crete
Diverse Beauty Crete dazzles visitors with its diversity, from the elegant capital Heraklion to the ruins of ancient Minoan civilization and rugged mountainous interiors to palm-lined beaches. The island’s natural and historical gems earned it the moniker “Island of the Gods.”
Mystical Oracle Beckons from the Mountain Foothills At the base of Mount Parnassus, Delphi’s ruins transport guests back over 2,500 years. Pilgrims once flocked here, seeking prophecies from the legendary Oracle of Delphi at the Temple of Apollo. Nearby theaters and stadium ruins round out this ancient religious epicenter.
hosts performances in its acoustically flawless theater. Remarkably preserved from the 4th century BC, Epidaurus’ theater delivers near-perfect acoustics and a sublime setting. Its 55 semi-circular rows wrap a wide circular stage backed by a lovely landscape, just as audiences relished plays here thousands of years ago.
Santorini entrances visitors with its whitewashed villages clinging to volcanic cliffs, offering spectacular caldera-view sunsets. Visitors explore black sand beaches, hike trails between villages, and take in the serene Aegean vista.
Carefree Mykonos lures partygoers with its vibrant nightlife and LGBT-friendly culture against a backdrop of Cycladic beauty. During the day, lounging on its lovely beaches recharges guests while enjoying its charming hilltop villages and windmills.
Ancient Treasures Abound on Cycladic Gem Delos Among the Cyclades, history buffs flock to Delos to explore one of the Mediterranean’s most important mythological, religious, and commercial centers. Magnificently preserved ruins transport you back over two millennia as you stroll the Sacred Harbor and Temple District.
8. The Dodecanese Delight with Beauty
History Galore Beyond the Cyclades, the Dodecanese Islands hold their own as history and nature intermingle seamlessly. Rhodes Town impresses with medieval castles, markets, towers, and gates. Scenic beaches, caves, quaint mountain villages, and ancient sites round out its diverse beauty and heritage.
9. The Sporades
For a road-less escape, visitors head to the lush Sporades and its four islands. Skiathos boasts over 60 largely unspoiled beaches, while Skyros’s craggy peaks give way to verdant valleys, and Alonissos wows hikers with seven pristine paths.
Authentic Corfu Beckons Beyond the Resorts Lush Corfu retains cultural authenticity, legendary hospitality, and abundant natural beauty beyond its lively resorts near Paleokastritsa. Venture inland among olive and cypress groves to discover scenic mountain villages where life carries on much as it has for generations.
11. The monasteries of Daphni and Nea Moni
Daphni showcases the finest Byzantine mosaics. Just outside Athens lies the 11th-century Daphni Monastery and its exquisite golden mosaics, considered masterpieces of Byzantine art. The UNESCO World Heritage Site envelops guests in a serene, spiritual setting within an olive grove.
12. Ancient Olympia
Ancient Olympia evokes the original Olympic spirit. Travelers explore the original site of the ancient Olympic Games, held for over a millennium amid verdant Peloponnesian olive groves. Ruins include ancient stadiums, gymnasiums, temples, and the workshop of the revered sculptor Phidias.
Hilltop Mystras Reveals a Byzantine Time Capsule Seemingly frozen in time on a steep Peloponnesian slope near Sparta, the abandoned medieval city of Mystras transports you back centuries with its cobblestone paths, frescoed cave chapels, and remarkably preserved structures.
In the Argolis plain below, Mycenae brings Homeric legends to life through the ruins of the fortified citadel from the era of mythical Trojan War heroes like Agamemnon. Don’t miss the iconic Lion Gate and Beehive tombs just outside the ancient walls.
Monemvasia’s Medieval Majesty Perched Atop the Sea On the southeast Peloponnese, discover the perfectly preserved medieval town of Monemvasia, spilling down from a gigantic rock tied by a land bridge to the mainland. Its sea-facing stone mansions and peaked-roof homes resemble a real-life magical painting.
Meteora’s Precipitous Monasteries Defy Gravity At Meteora, sheer sandstone pinnacles vault nearly 1,000 feet toward the heavens in central Greece, atop some perched centuries-old monasteries. The mind-boggling sight of these remaining six “floating” cliffside religious retreats never fails to inspire wonder among visitors.
17. Vikos Gorge
Vikos Cliffs Carve Europe’s Deepest Gorge In mountainous Epirus, northern Greece, trekkers descend half a mile down toward booming water at the bottom of the Vikos Gorge, etching Europe’s deepest canyon, which runs 12 miles long, beckoning the intrepid.
Ancient Legacies Converge in Cosmopolitan Thessaloniki, Northern Port Metropolis Thessaloniki boasts eclectic architecture reflecting its strategically important history under Roman, Byzantine, and Ottoman rule. Its eponymous Archaeological Museum illuminates regional history through a vast collection centered around Alexander the Great’s Macedonian dynasty.
19. Mount Athos
The monk-ruled peninsula of Mount Athos has forbidden admittance to women for over 1,000 years. Ten non-Orthodox men per day receive rare permission to step back in time and glimpse Athos’ 20 monasteries, where 2,000 monks seek spiritual awakening in splendid isolation.
20. The Local Gastronomy
Taste Your Way Through Greece’s Delectable Cuisine Beyond sightseeing, savoring Greece’s fresh, flavorful fare makes any visit complete—from hearty moussaka, bright Greek salads, cool tzatziki yogurt dip, to sweet baklava for dessert. Opa!