Greece is one of the best destinations in Europe for travelers. With delicious food, famous hospitality, historic sites, beautiful views and mild weather, it’s a recipe for a good vacation.
Because of all of the choices in places to go, it can be hard to nail down an itinerary that speaks to you in a short amount of time. That’s why we’ve made this list of the 15 best places to visit in Greece.
15 Best Places to Visit in Greece in 2023
If you’re planning an upcoming trip to Greece, you’re most likely not going to have enough time to see the entire country. Even most Greeks haven’t explored every peripherie — or province — in their home country.
Many people visiting Greece for the first time make the mistake of sticking to the well-beaten path of Athens and Santorini. While both of these places are incredible spots to visit, they shouldn’t be the only parts of Greece you explore.
Instead of exploring the most famous attractions like Acropolis, Santorini, and Crete, explore less-visited, but just as amazing sites, for a fun-filled, unique trip.
Despite being slightly larger than the state of Alabama, Greece has a wide range of climates, cultures, cuisines and experiences across its lands.
With 8,498 miles of premiere Mediterranean coastline, eight major cities and thousands of islands, Greece has everything a traveler could want.
Below you’ll find our list of the 17 best places to visit in Greece. We’ve included old favorites and under-the-radar spots, so you get to have the ultimate Greek vacation.
It doesn’t get more Greek than Corfu. Corfu is a beautiful island on the Ionian Sea with mountains in the interior and picturesque white sand beaches along the coast. With Italian, French, and Greek influences, it’s a foodie’s dream.
While it tops many people’s lists, you can still enjoy tranquility if you stick to the less-populated parts of the coast away from the larger towns.
There are beautiful beaches along the entire coast with small towns dotted throughout it too. Corfu is an incredible place to visit for just about every traveler.
If you’re looking to party and meet new people, the southern town of Kavos is where the best nightlife is. Acharavi in the north has kid-friendly beaches, a quiet town and the bluest water you’ll ever see if you’re on a more family-friendly vacation.
If you’re a history buff looking for a more off-the-beaten-path-than-Athens spot, Knossos is a dream. It’s the site of Minoan ruins from over 5,000 years ago during the Bronze Age.
The city is incredibly well-kept, so you feel like you’re walking through history. For the Greek mythology fans, Knossos holds the famous hall of kings where the story of the Minotaur and Labyrinth takes place.
If your traveling partner doesn’t appreciate history like you, good news—Knossos is on the island of Crete. While you take in the historical sites, they can enjoy the beach. We’ll discuss more of what Crete offers below.
The island of Rhodes in the Mediterranean Sea is a Greek paradise. There are stunning beaches, of course, but also wooded mountainsides, miles of hiking and quaint country villages.
Rhodes also isn’t as busy as Santorini or Mykonos, but it’s energetic enough to still have a bustling town with unique shops and restaurants.
Known as the island of the knights, Rhodes is home to the medieval town of the same name where the Order of the Knights of Saint John of Jerusalem left their mark at the UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Once you’ve walked the town’s historic grounds, head to the countryside for some of the best vineyards in Greece. Or have a more active afternoon hiking to Salakos or Kritinia Castle for outstanding views and less-visited medieval buildings.
Once you visit Meteora, you’ll wonder how it’s still a remote destination in Greece. Located in central Greece, Meteora is home to six monasteries perilously perched on sheer cliffs.
The architectural feat is one you have to see for yourself. Meteora is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and an official holy place, but it’s not just for religious or historical-minded people. Everyone will enjoy spending time gazing at and exploring the magnificent cliffs and monasteries.
You can hike up the cliffs to wander around the six mandatories still active today. The Holy Monastery of Great Meteoron is the biggest and oldest one open for visitors, so it’s a great place to start.
For more experienced hikers, the panoramic views at the Monastery of Holy Trinity are worth the difficult journey.
Crete is on so many people’s bucket lists for a good reason — it’s beautiful. With white sand and bright blue waters, Crete is what people think of when they hear “Greek island.”
You could spend your entire Greek vacation on Crete and never get bored. Crete, the fifth largest Mediterranean island, has everything a Greek vacation needs: history, culture, food, beaches and nature.
As previously mentioned, the site of Knossos is a must-visit for all history buffs and families wanting to learn about history during their visit.
For the proud beach bums, Elafonisi Beach is one of the best beaches because of its pink and white sand, gentle waves and endless sand bars perfect for getting a tan or sipping an Ouzo slushie. You should also take the time to hike through the Samaria Gorge — it’s gorgeous (no pun intended).
If you’re looking to soak up the sun on a Greek island but don’t love crowds, Kythira (also spelled Kythera) is exactly what you’re seeking. Not only is it the supposed birth site of the goddess Aphrodite, but it also has monasteries, beaches, a castle and a Venetian vestige.
If you prefer to stay in more developed areas, Kapsali, Chora, Diakofti, and Agia Pelagia are towns perfect for grabbing afternoon drinks and watching the sunset.
The best sunset watching spot is at the vestige overlooking Chora because you can wander down the hill for an authentic Greek dinner afterward.
It’s located between the mainland and Crete, so it’s a great stopover before or after a Crete adventure. You can spend your days lounging on its empty beaches or hiking to and swimming under its beautiful waterfalls along the ravine of Mylopotamos.
For the crisp, white buildings and sweeping ocean views of Santorini without the prices and crowds, Sifnos is a cheaper alternative. This city is a fantastic island to head to if you’re looking for a relaxing vacation.
It’s especially popular among families and couples, leaving the partying backpackers to the more popular islands.
The Church of the Seven Martyrs is a picturesque spot to hike up to because of its blue-domed roof, white walls and a backdrop of the Mediterranean Sea. Its waters are also perfect for sailing or diving adventures.
Foodies flock to Sifnos thanks to the famous chef Nicholas Tselementes’ love for the island. Now you can find some of the best bakeries, olive groves and restaurants in Greece dotted along the 1.5 miles of Sifnos.
Yes, it’s quite touristy, but it’s still uniquely Greek. If you visit during the calmer months — April-June and September-October — you can make the most of their warm weather without as many people.
The reduced number of tourists means you will have an easier time enjoying Santorini’s beaches and fine wine.
What makes Santorini unique is its famous caldera, formed by volcanic explosions, which you can properly take in on a sunset sailing cruise. Visitors can also wander through the iconic streets of Oia to observe the colorful building carved right into the rock.
This site does get overrun by tourists during peak season, so visit early in the day or during shoulder seasons for the best experience.
The combo of beautiful boutique resorts, crystal clear water and access to nature and hiking trails should make the island of Karpathos the next hot spot in Greece.
Luckily, you can still visit before it grows in popularity and experience the traditional way of life in the villages of Karpathos. It’s the ideal spot to unwind and spend time reconnecting with yourself and with nature.
If you do your best relaxing at the beach, Kyra Panagia and Apela are quiet with the white sand and blue waters of the more famous islands. One of the best parts of Karpathos is the excellent hiking you can do.
There are coastal hikes to secluded beaches, strenuous climbs to the top of mountains for panoramic views and meandering trails between the traditional villages in the interior.
If you’re looking for a party, look no further than the famed nightlife of Mykonos. Staying in the capital Hóra will give you access to some of the best parties, bars and clubs with the Mediterranean Sea as your backdrop.
Grab drinks in Little Venice to start the night off right with the most stunning sunset viewed from a waterfront bar (just reserve a table ahead of time).
You can grab dinner in Little Venice or head into town for some fine dining. Ending the night in the clubs with a chance to see some famous DJs like David Guetta. While the nightlife is what put Mykonos on the map, daytime isn’t too bad either.
You can spend your days at the many beaches, shopping on Matoyianni Street, or visiting local cultural sites like the Cycladic Paraportiani Church.
If you want to escape the crowds for the day, you can take a boat over to the uninhabited island of Delos to walk through some of the most important ancient ruins in Greece.
Many European capital cities are tourist traps, but Athens is not included on that list. The birthplace of democracy, modern science and western civilization itself, there is no shortage of things to do in this bustling metropolis.
You can tour the famed Parthenon for a lesson in history and culture or bike the Grande Promenade around Acropolis to take in the history at your ideal pace.
There are also museums like the National Archaeological Museum where you can learn even more about the vital influence the Greeks have had on the world.
People who enjoyed Knossos will love the historical appeal of Athens. Athens is also a foodie’s heaven because of the plethora of dining options, cuisines and dishes available in the capital city.
You can make the most of your time in Athens by joining a food tour that will take you to the best spots for authentic Greek food, so all you have to do is sit back and taste.
Kefalonia, an island in the Ionian group, is famous for its picturesque coastal towns, excellent swimming and world-class hotels and restaurants. Spread along its shore are small towns that offer charming hospitality and delicious food and drinks.
You should not miss the Cave of Melissani near Sami. Row around the lake within the roofless cave at high noon, so you can experience the magic of the entire cave filling with blue light thanks to the sun’s angle.
It’s breathtaking and surprisingly not overrun with tourists. Kefalonia is also famous for its lively reefs and shipwrecks perfect for underwater exploring. Grab your snorkel gear and head out on a scuba dive tour to experience healthy marine life.
If the “Mamma Mia” films even partially inspired your trip to Greece, you should not miss Skopelos. The iconic wedding scenes take place on its hilltop church, Agios Ioannis Kastri, where you can live out your Meryl Streep dreams.
While it’s famous because of the movies, they can’t capture the true depth of the island’s beauty. With sheer cliffs into deep blue waters, golden sand beaches and pine tree forests, it’s uniquely stunning.
Swimming and suntanning are popular activities for people wanting to relax. You can also hike up the jagged hills for sunset views.
Visitors know that the landscapes aren’t the only good thing about Skopelos. It has many unique and delicious Greek dishes. One of the must-try foods is the strifti, which is a cheese piece made with filo dough.
If you didn’t get your fill of history in Athens, plan a day trip to Mycenae. One of the most well-known historical sites in Greece, it’s where the famous King Agamemnon ruled during the Trojan War.
It was also the cultural and commercial capital of the entire Mycenaean civilization that stretched across all of Greece from 1,600-1,000 B.C. It’s extremely well-preserved and researched, so you can still walk the hallowed streets today.
Don’t miss passing underneath the Lion Gate, where two female lions carved into stone will look over you as you enter the ancient city.
There’s also the archaeological museum on-site, so you can learn more about the history of the city and see all of the artifacts that scientists have discovered in the digs that have taken place there.
You can also climb to the top of some of the Cyclopean walls for sweeping views of the surrounding countryside.
Even in a country known for its beautiful islands, the southern island of Amorgos stands apart. The best part is that its beauty is the best-kept secret in Greece because not many people visit it, so you can take in the views in peace.
One of the coolest experiences on Amorgos is hiking up the steep hills to Hozoviotissa Monastery. It’s white-washed, built into the side of the cliffs and has some of the best views of the Aegean Sea.
he local monks who are lucky enough to call Hozoviotissa home will offer samples of raki, the local liquor, and loukoumi, a Greek delicacy.
You can also stay in Chora, the charming capital of Amorgos, which has whitewashed buildings, cobblestone streets and hole-in-the-wall boutiques and restaurants. End the day by taking a dip at Mouros Beach or in their sea caves for a refreshing sunset view.
Things to Consider When Visiting Greece
Now that you’ve created your perfect Grecian itinerary from the list of places above, here are a few other things to keep in mind. They’re tips and tricks to have the best, safest, and most seamless trip to Greece!
- A lot of businesses close on Sundays, especially in smaller towns and on the islands. In the bigger cities and touristy areas, a lot of the restaurants will open up again at night, but don’t count on it. Shops and other places also typically close for the Greek equivalent of a siesta in the early afternoon.
- It’s not very Greek to get drunk. While most locals indulge in the local Ouzo spirit, they will not drink to get drunk. You shouldn’t either. Not only will reserved drinking show respect to the people around you (especially in the smaller towns), but it’s also a lot safer. You can still enjoy the famous Greek drinks during your trip, just make sure to break up your drinking with some delicious food like dolmades or moussaka.
- If visiting any religious sites like the monasteries of Meteora or the churches of Santorini, make sure you’re dressed correctly. Both men and women should have covered shoulders and legs. Pack a cover-up in your bag for the day if you want to wear a tank top outside of the church.
Frequently Asked Questions
Since you know all of the best places in Greece to visit and our tips and tricks for the ultimate vacation, read below for the answers to the most frequently asked questions about visiting Greece.
Do I need a visa for Greece?
If you’re a United States citizen and staying for less than 90 days, you don’t need a visa to enter Greece or any of the other Schengen Area countries. If you’re not a U.S. or European Union citizen, check with your local ambassador or consulate for country-specific information.
What currency do they use in Greece?
Greece uses the Euro, making it convenient to exchange U.S. dollars and travel to multiple EU countries in a single trip.
When is the best time to visit Greece?
For mild weather and fewer crowds, visit Greece from September-October or April-June. The summer season is peak tourist season and can have heat waves of over 100˚F.
What language do people speak in Greece? Can I speak English easily in Greece?
The official language in Greece is Greek. However, all public schools teach English from a young age, so most Greeks have excellent English skills, especially in larger cities and tourist hubs. Learning a few words of Greek will endear you to locals, though.
What is the best food to try in Greece?
Greek cuisine covers many cultural influences, climate zones and cooking techniques. There are many different delicious dishes to try, but the most popular ones to sample are olives and olive oil, dolmades (stuffed grape leaves), souvlaki (spit-roasted pork), and fresh fish.
The Best Places to Visit in Greece: A Summary
Greece offers something for every type of traveler:
- For history buffs. Athens, Mycenae, and Knossos will make you feel like you’ve traveled back in time to Ancient Greece.
- For social travelers. Mykonos, Santorini, and Crete are perfect spots to party, meet people and make memories.
- For low-key couples. Amorgos, Karpathos, and Skopelos will leave you refreshed.
However, any of the places on our “best places to visit in Greece” list will delight any traveler. Be sure to check out more than one. Trust us — it’ll make your trip more than worth it!