Finest locations to go to in Greece

Selecting one of the best locations to go to in Greece is an virtually not possible activity. Dwelling to a whole bunch of islands, buzzing metropolitan cities steeped in historical past and tradition, and a shoreline that spans virtually 16,000km, the nation really has one thing for everybody. 

Composite image of the best places to visit in greece - milos, mykonos and athens

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Composite picture of one of the best locations to go to in greece – milos, mykonos and athens

In case you’re in search of one of many greatest European metropolis breaks, you would begin with Athens, the birthplace of Western civilization. These days it’s a metropolis of contrasts the place you’ll discover archaeological websites nestled subsequent to full of life espresso outlets, market stalls and cocktail bars. Or you would head to the greatest Greek islands, all possessing their very own distinctive attraction, delicacies, and beautiful surroundings. Then there’s every little thing in-between: the mountainous landscapes, towering cliffs, and limitless seashores that you just’ll discover throughout the nation. 

We now have included a mix of locations on this checklist – from a few of the greatest islands in Europe, to accessible areas of the mainland. Whether or not you’re in search of solar, sea, sand, tradition, or a buzzing culinary expertise, as one of many greatest locations to go to in Europe, Greece can satiate all these needs.

The perfect locations to go to in Greece

1. Athens

No journey to Greece can be full with no journey to its capital, Athens. A sprawling, fashionable metropolis ignored by the Acropolis, a citadel that is sat on prime of a rocky outcrop since fifth century BC. Even when you’re not serious about historical past, it is onerous to not marvel on the historical Greek monumental advanced, which might be seen from nearly each nook of the town. It is a true bucket checklist expertise. As soon as you’ve got scaled the heights of the Acropolis, head down to take a look at the museum which particulars the historical past of the location and metropolis as an entire. 

Subsequent, head all the way down to the center of Athens, beginning with Monisteraki and its buzzing road stalls and tavernas. In case you’re after road meals, head to Kosta’s Souvlaki the place you’ll be able to seize a pitta stuffed with pork, beef or hen with onion, tomato and Kostas ‘secret’ tomato sauce. If you wish to sit down with the locals for a meal (or simply impress your folks along with your insider information), head to Avli, a country taverna that you may entry by way of an unmarked door at Agiou Dimitriou 12. As soon as you discover the door – which admittedly might be onerous – you will discover a full of life yard filled with small tables, scrumptious meals, jugs of native wine and stay music. 

For nice eating, head to Hytra, a Michelin star restaurant in Koukaki – a inventive neighborhood, situated within the shadow of the Acropolis. Benefit from the 11-course tasting menu which takes reimagines conventional Greek recipes, re-creating them with freshly sourced uncooked supplies. If the meals wasn’t sufficient to persuade you, the panoramic view of the Acropolis might be. Head there at sundown for some really breathtaking views.

Then there are the bars and occasional outlets, of which Athens has many. Go to Minu in Psyrri, a minimalistic haven the place you should purchase mood-boosting crops and handcrafted homeware, or just sip your espresso and take within the city oasis. Keep in Psyrri which is filled with cocktail bars (we suggest Juan Rodriguez however you might have a lot to select from). 

Prime tip: Obtain ‘Beat’ – Greece’s reply to Uber. Many of the metropolis’s yellow taxis function with the app however costs are far decrease (and language limitations stored to a minimal).

2. Milos

Eschew a few of the extra standard islands and head to Milos for a very romantic vacation. Accessible by way of a brief flight from Athens or a ferry experience from the favored islands of Santorini, Paros or and Mykonos, this distinctive island is price including to any travel-hopping itinerary. 

The volcanic island within the Aegean sea has been rising in recognition over latest years however it nonetheless stays unblemished by swelling tourism. Brimming with stunning seashores and crystal clear waters, it gives every little thing you’d anticipate from a Greek Island. However the really distinctive factor about Milos is its spell-binding lunar landscapes. Its chalk-white cliffs overlooking the azure-blue ocean really feel (fairly actually) other-worldly. Sarakiniko Seaside boasts white rock formations which have smoothed and formed over time, providing you with the feeling you’re strolling on the moon. For a very distinctive expertise, head to the seashore earlier than 8am and immerse your self within the huge, chalky panorama. Drink within the view of the white-bone moonscapes, then soar into the azure sea under. The seashore doesn’t supply a lot pure shade so if you wish to keep away from the most popular time of the day, plan to go to the seashore for the sundown. We suggest touring in Might or early June – making it one of many greatest locations to go to in June. August is sizzling – and windy, which makes swimming troublesome. 

There isn’t any public transport working to the seashore, so take into consideration renting a automotive, scooter, or ATV. The seashore is round 10 minutes from Adamas and Plaka so taxis are additionally cheap.

Prime tip: There aren’t any eating places or bars at Sarakiniko seashore, so come prepared with water and meals. It’s not removed from close by cities however you’ll have to hop within the automotive to get there. Be braced: there are additionally no public bathrooms. 

3. Zakynthos

Zakynthos island is thought for its wild nightlife, however do not be deterred by its social gathering status, because the island gives a lot extra. Its airport is small however extraordinarily well-served, that means you’ll be able to typically reap the benefits of the greatest vacation offers on supply. Even in the course of the summer season, you may get flights from the UK mainland for underneath £40.

As soon as once more, renting a automotive is advisable to essentially scale the island and expertise its breathtaking views of their full glory. However if you cannot, think about staying in Zante City – the island’s capital, the place the central bus station is situated. Filled with picturesque Venetian-style homes and buildings, the city is the cultural hub of the island. However to essentially immerse your self within the island tradition, head to Vasilikos, the village and neighborhood which is situated round 15 kilometers south of the city. This a part of the island is decidedly sleepy, making it one of many greatest European holidays for households however solo vacationers or {couples} would get pleasure from it simply as a lot. Whereas away the day on Gerakas Seaside, an extended, golden seashore on the southern tip of the peninsula, dwelling to the well-known Loggerhead Turtles who nest in protected areas of the seashores. Banana seashore, the largest seashore on the island can be situated close by. A protracted, broad seashore with glowing and shallow waters, it’s also possible to participate in an array of watersports right here. 

When you’ve got a automotive, take a 15-minute experience to Porto Mela, a taverna perched on Dafni seashore that serves up all of the favorites plus a choice of recent seafood. In case you’re feeling adventurous, attempt rabbit in pink sauce (kouneli stifado) – one of many island’s signature dishes. Like most Greek delicacies, it is scrumptious, messy, and completely unpretentious. Most eating places may have totally different stifado choices with different meats on supply too. Wash it down with a carafe of native wine – the island is dwelling to many massive vineyards and it’s normal for households to supply their very own.

The summer season is lengthy in Zante, with excessive temperatures working from Might to early October, making it one of many greatest locations to go to in October – when you go initially of the month.

Prime tip: Whereas the south is wealthy with nature, seashores, and delicacies, do not go away Zante earlier than visiting the north finish of the island the place the well-known Navagia seashore is situated. In any other case referred to as shipwreck seashore, the stays of the MV Panagiotis ship have been planted on the white sand because the ship sunk in 1982. It is accessible solely by boat, however keep away from reserving a ship to particularly go there – as an alternative discover an itinerary that features Navagia seashore as a part of an island tour. Normally, you will pay the identical worth however see a number of locations. 

4. Kalamata

You would possibly know the identify due to Kalamata’s well-known olives, however the capital of Messinia gives a lot extra than simply that. A pit cease for a few of the greatest cruises and served by many main airways, Kalamata is a critically underrated vacation vacation spot. Positioned 2.5 hours away from the capital, it is a standard hotspot for Athenians and different Greek vacationers however it’s nonetheless fully unspoiled by the swarms of worldwide vacationers. Make no mistake although – it is a metropolis constructed for tourism, with luxurious resorts, nice delicacies, and limitless seashores. By summer season, the beachfront is the place to be, lined with eating places and seashore bars that keep open till the early hours. In winter, the picturesque outdated city livens up. You possibly can go to the fort or the archaeological museum however one of the best factor to do in Kalamata is simply to do nothing in any respect and spend days wandering between seashore bars, tavernas and dipping within the crystal blue water. There are limitless sandy and pebbled seashores alongside the shoreline which progressively get quieter and quieter as you edge away from the principle marina.

You are spoilt for decisions in relation to delicacies, however pay a go to to the taverna of Kosta Vassiliadis (Stou Kosta). Recurrently featured in prime restaurant guides, every little thing is native and every little thing is recent – from the meat, to fish to the verdant salads. The taverna is comparatively onerous to search out except you might have a GPS however that does not deter the crowds: it is at all times packed – and for a motive. Anticipate to see Kostas floating from desk to desk chatting to everybody and introducing the meals. As all one of the best tavernas do, they provide their very own twist on the classics. The moussaka right here is made with finely sliced veal as an alternative of minced meat, layered on prime of sliced aubergines and completed with a bechamel sauce. To pattern one of the best native wares although, let your server select your dishes for you. It goes with out saying, too, that you must pattern the native olives whenever you’re there. 

The tempo of life is sluggish in Kalamata however it has a full of life nightlife. Within the middle, get pleasure from a wonderfully blended cocktail in Luna Loungeor native favourite, Bistroteca. Town might be loved by all ages, making it one in every of greatest holidays for over 60s and households alike.

Prime tip: Take a day journey to the village of Kardamylli, underneath one hour away from Kalamata. The sleepy village sits under the Taygetos Mountains so is ripe for mountain climbing, however you will get equal pleasure simply taking within the attraction of the settings. The drive via the slim, sloping mountains is picturesque and comparatively brief however is admittedly fairly terrifying when you’re not used to Greek roads. In the course of the summer season season, buses run roughly 3 times a day.

5. Santorini

No checklist of one of the best locations to go to in Greece can be full with out mentioning Santorini. Most likely essentially the most well-known Greek island, Santorini is without doubt one of the prime summer season locations worldwide and residential to a few of the greatest luxurious motels on this planet. The island will get extraordinarily busy in the course of the peak summer season months, making it one of many greatest locations to go to in September or between March and April when it is marginally quieter. 

The windswept volcanic island is thought for its whitewashed cubiform homes and mesmerizing sunsets. For one of the best viewpoint, shut your day within the picturesque village of Oia (which is unsurprisingly one of many prime 10 locations to get engaged worldwide). As probably the most photographed islands, you would possibly really feel as if you’ve got already seen the Santorini blue domed church buildings, and volcanic coves – however experiencing it firsthand is a wholly totally different expertise. As with in every single place in Greece, you are spoilt for selection in relation to meals. Strive domatokeftedhes – tomato fritters made with sun-blushed Santorini tomatoes. Wash them down with a glass of Assyrtiko wine from one of many island’s 20+ wineries. The microclimate of the island offers a fertile setting for the uncommon, high-acidity grape. 

Prime tip: Contemplate discovering a personal tour information – not solely can they provide you insider ideas however they might help you navigate the island’s winding vistas. Extra crucially, they’re going to know one of the best routes to keep away from crowds.

6. Thessaloniki

Greece’s vibrant second metropolis, Thessaloniki gives tradition, historical past, meals and journey, but for some motive, it typically will get ignored as a metropolis break vacation spot. So far as Greek cities go, Athens can typically be overwhelming, however Thessaloniki is decidedly much less dizzying – to not point out, a lot milder, that means that summers are much less sticky and humid. Though it is nonetheless throbbing with character and has a buzzing arts, foodie and music scene, the tempo is distinctly slower than the capital.

Begin the day with the town’s well-known bougatsa, a breakfast pastry with custard encased in scrumptious flakey filo pastry. Stroll alongside the seafront (the town is greatest explored by foot, so carry your greatest strolling sneakers). Marvel on the Partitions of Thessaloniki, the church buildings, monasteries and Byzantine baths, all included within the UNESCO checklist of World Heritage Websites (the town has 15 on the checklist in whole). Go to the White Tower, a monument and museum on the waterfront of the town, constructed within the fifteenth century after the autumn of Thessaloniki to the Ottomans. Subsequent go to Aristotelous Sq., the central sq. and beating coronary heart of the town. By this level, you will be hungry, so it is time to speak about meals as soon as once more. Though there is a mild rivalry between Athens and Thessaloniki, the nation’s second metropolis is the place you will discover one of the best delicacies. 

For meat-eaters, Opsopoion Maganeiai, which interprets as ‘magical cooking’ delivers on its promise, serving up plates of exquisitely seasoned steak cuts with a small however well-curated menu of starters. It is pretty small, so e book forward. For vegetarian decisions, head to rOOTS Vegetarian & Vegan Place, a metropolitan eatery with an expansive and inventive menu. Though it is easy to search out vegetarian appetizers in every single place in Greece, discovering a devoted vegetarian restaurant is hard as a number of the delicacies is centered round meat. Past these locations, look out for little ‘ouzeries’ – small venues that serve glasses of sturdy native liquors of tsipouro or ouzo accompanied by meze dishes. In the meantime, the gyros in Thessaloniki are unequalled:  pitas filled with meat, tomato, onion, fries and tzatziki (as soon as once more, vegetarian choices are straightforward to come back by too, which is uncommon in Greece).

Though you would simply spend a full week or so within the metropolis, it is price escaping to Halkidiki which is accessible by way of automotive or bus inside one hour. The intoxicating blue-green panorama combines rugged mountainous cliffs, unique seashores, and inexperienced pine forests. The greatest nature holidays within the UK supply spectacular surroundings, however Halkidiki’s ethereal panorama is other-wordly.

Prime tip: As per the remainder of the nation, the most popular months are in summer season so one of the best occasions to catch the great climate are between July to September. Nonetheless, in early November the town hosts the Worldwide Thessaloniki Movie Competition making it one of many greatest locations to go to in November when you’re in search of a cultural repair. Because it’s a global competition, most movies may have each English and Greek subtitles. 

7. Mykonos

A preferred cease on the greatest mini cruises, Mykonos is thought for its dry and windy local weather, windmills, white streets, stunning seashores – and naturally, its nightlife. Regardless of its social gathering status, nonetheless, the island caters to all pursuits and ages. Full of luxurious villas, motels and premium eating places, it is undoubtedly one of the best island for movie star recognizing and actual VIP therapy. Begin your day people-watching within the outdated city of Chora with a espresso. Your order, no matter the place you might be in Greece ought to be a fredde espresso: a potent iced black espresso that comes with or with out sugar. We suggest getting breakfast in Gioras Bakery, the oldest working bakery on the island which has belonged to the identical household for over two centuries. Decide up a spanakopita, a filo pastry with layers of spinach, feta and crunchy, golden pastry. For a luxurious eating expertise, take a look at NOA which gives a contemporary taverna menu, with an enormous deal with farm-to-table eating. 

You are spoilt for selection in relation to seashores, however our favourite is Agios Sostis seashore. Unspoiled, compact, and distant, there aren’t any seashore bars (or shelter) at this tranquil seashore, so do carry your personal towels – and many solar lotion. The island is windy, however do not let that idiot you into considering the solar is not blazing sizzling. Subsequent to the seashore is Kiki’s taverna, a hang-out favored by locals, and for good motive. Open day by day till the solar goes down, the restaurant gives beautiful recent meals at cheap costs. 

Contemplate taking a ferry to Syros, a neighboring island simply half-hour away from Mykonos which has its personal distinct character. Cosmopolitan and Cycladic, the principle city is constructed amphitheatrically on two hills, making for a novel panorama. It is positively quieter than Mykonos however it’s certainly not sleepy and is filled with buzzing espresso outlets, eating places and stay music venues. 

Prime tip: Costly does not equate to good high quality, so plan your meals earlier than you head out. It is easy to be coaxed into sitting someplace with a pleasant sea view, notably within the middle of Chora and the seashores of Platis Gialos, however costs might be exorbitant and the standard of the meals might be comparatively low. The island is brimming with unforgettable eateries, a lot of that are very cheap, so plan earlier than you head out. Equally, analysis seashore bars and eating places earlier than you go to them – some venues at Platis Gialos cost $50 for sub-par cocktails, whereas neighboring ones will supply drastically decrease costs for a similar setting and high quality.