The 11 best places to visit in Greece

Huw Oliver

Greece is a remarkable place, always has been, and always will be. Even looking beyond that whole ‘origin of Western culture’ thing, Greece is a wonder of iconic cities, stunning architecture, incredible food and more islands than you can shake your first at, although why you’re shaking your fist at islands, we can’t be sure. Besides, there are thousands of Greek islands; that is a lot of fist-shaking.

Start with Athens, the sprawling capital of a wildly influential part of the world, and then let yourself flow through the best places to visit in Greece. There is so much to fall in love with here, you won’t know where to begin. Luckily, we’ve got some tips for you.

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Best places to visit in Greece

Athens

Athens

In higgledy-piggledy Athens – where ancient and modern, nature and civilisation, tradition and trends mingle – surprises are hidden around every corner. Traffic-filled roads mask cobbled alleys with bougainvillaea-drenched cafés and restaurants. Inside neoclassical buildings, cutting-edge galleries are thriving. The plainest entranceways can lead to an outdoor cinema serving ouzo under the starry night sky. And then you turn one way, and chances are the twinkling Parthenon’s staring right back at you. Athens is the cosmopolitan heart of Greece and all of Western culture – you must go at least once in your life.

Discover Athens:

Crete

Crete

You’ll need a car to explore Greece’s biggest island, but if you’re after golden beaches, crumbly old towns, world-class museums and UNESCO Heritage sites, Crete ticks every box. Chania in the west is the liveliest part of the island, while Sitia in the east is famed for its pristine coves and sandy beaches – a perfect rural and picturesque escape. Nature seekers could hike Samaria, Europe’s longest gorge, culture hunters should track down the Minoan palaces, and kids are guaranteed a good time at the island’s countless waterparks.

Discover Crete:

Santorini

Santorini

The scenery in Santorini , one of the Cyclades islands in the Aegean Sea, seems crafted by the Greek gods: whitewashed villages crown the island with views over its majestic coastlines, rural vineyards span huge stretches inland and the beaches are black, red, and out of this world. There’s a ridiculous amount for explorers, foodies and culture vultures to discover, from archaeological sites to swimming spots and brilliant wine and food. And trust us: this place is even more beautiful IRL than it looks on the ’gram.

Discover Santorini:

Zakynthos

Zakynthos

Better known as Zante, Zakynthos draws a party-ready crowd to its notorious Laganas nightlife strip, but this sunstruck Ionian isle – known by the Venetians as ‘the flower of the East’ – is also blessed with some of the Med’s most beautiful scenery. This includes the spectacular Shipwreck Beach, whose bright-blue waters hemmed in by sheer white cliffs can only be reached by boat, and Zakynthos Marine Park, home to slippery seals and savvy turtles. It’s truly wild – in multiple senses of the word.

Tinos

Tinos

Famous for its carved marble-fronted buildings – and, increasingly, its burgeoning food scene – Tinos is yet another jewel in the Cyclades archipelago. To get there, you’ll need to fly to Mykonos and catch a ferry. It’s worth the journey: some of the best Greek wines are produced here, and chefs from all over Europe have opened restaurants among its sage-scented hills. Most are situated in the main town of Chora – we recommend the traditional Greek menu at Thalassaki.

Naxos

Naxos

The largest of the Cyclades islands, Naxos is also one of the least explored – which means you can expect secluded sandy beaches and a low-key, laidback atmosphere that’ll make the pressures of everyday life feel worlds away. Packing an incredible amount of variety into an incredibly small space, this is a place where you can venture up into tiny high-flung mountain villages or laze on an endless chain of silky sand beaches away from the madding tourist crowds.

Corfu

Corfu

Italianate villages, ornate palaces and romantic beaches are on the cards if you visit the lush island where the Durrell family once lived. With its sundry influences left by past invaders, Corfu is a place where you can drink ginger ale with your Greek salad, stroll streets packed with Byzantine and Venetian architecture and meet modern-day monks in Paleokastritsa’s spectacular medieval monastery. And after a hard day’s sightseeing and stuffing your face, you’ll obviously want to jump straight into the Ionian Sea – never not a stunning shade of turquoise blue.

Discover Corfu:

Rhodes

Rhodes

Way back when – and we’re talking way, way back – Rhodes was home to the Colossus, one of the world’s Seven Wonders. An earthquake may have destroyed that ol’ thing in 226BBC, but the island’s Unesco world heritage-classed old town is still steeped in charm and history – thanks to a series of dazzling topsy-turvy medieval inns and fourteenth-century knight’s houses that stand to this day. Head outside the city, and the mountain villages and cliff-top towns you’ll come across are just as magical as any fairytale location. And with plenty of chic shops, decent restaurants and lively bars, you’re guaranteed some modern magic, too.

Discover Rhodes:

Thessaloniki

Thessaloniki

Once the second city of the Byzantine Empire – and later a thriving Ottoman port city connecting east and west – Thessaloniki has only been part of Greece since 1912. And that really shows. This place doesn’t feel like Greece you see in tourist brochures: its central market, Kapani, has all the colour and chaos of an Istanbul bazaar, and much Ottoman architecture remains throughout the city centre – you can even visit the house where Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the father of modern Turkey, was born. The harbourside Ladadika area hums with some of the wildest, most fun nightlife in the Balkan peninsula, with most bars and clubs open until 6am and beyond. The old town is perfect for the aimless morning-after mooch – and the ouzo and bougatsa breakfast pastries in these parts are unrivalled.

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13 of the Best Things to Do to Time Travel to Ancient Greece

13 of the Best Things to Do to Time Travel to Ancient Greece

It’s always hard to know what to do first when you visit a new place, and in Greece, where there is something for every kind of traveler, it may be even more difficult! From island hopping to exploring the best rooftop bars in Athens, to checking out the newest cultural exhibits or exploring with one day excursions, we can promise you’ll never get bored.

However, when you visit Greece, you have to spend at least a little time with history – and you definitely don’t need to be a history buff to enjoy yourself (though obviously Greece is paradise if you are!). The best part about exploring Greece is that you can get up close and personal with history while you’re here, and without showering you with Ancient Greece facts (stay tuned for future posts!), here are some of the best things to do in Greece to travel back to antiquity!

banner athens.jpg

#1 Celebrate Ancient Democracy

A visit to the Pnyx with our eBike! (Picture by Katherine Poseidon)

Greece is well-known as the birthplace of democracy, and you can visit the literal epicentre of it all, the Pnyx. This Athens must-see was where Ancient Athenians held their public assemblies, and famous figures like Pericles delivered some of history’s most important speeches. Getting here is an easy walk from the Acropolis, and takes you through the beautiful urban oasis of Philopappou Hill (for more green spaces in Athens, see here!). Just be sure you don’t get so absorbed in channeling Classical Greece that you miss the incredible city view! If you join the Classical Athens eBike tour, there is a built in stop here, and your electric bike even helps you get up the hill!

#2 Get your Hands Dirty at an Archaeological Site

The cemetery of Kerameikos (Picture by joykittyness/Instagram)

Some of the top Greek tourist attractions can be found in the country’s plentiful archaeological sites, and you can really get to the artefacts in their original habitat. One of the top ancient things to see in Athens is the cemetery of Kerameikos. Stroll through the site and it’s easy to lose track of time. Plus, it’s located in the hip area of Gazi, perfect for a drink at one of Athens’ best hidden bars. If you really want to get your hands dirty and embrace your inner Indiana Jones, you can actually take part in a real dig in Marathon – for more, click here!

#3 Get up Close & Personal on a Tour

Nothing beats getting up close with the Parthenon, guided by pros

Ancient history can be a little overwhelming, and one of the best ways to get an overview of the highlights is to join an ancient Athens sightseeing tour. There are lots of options for every kind of tourist – from creative tours for families, to tours that hit the ancient Greece landmarks. For the hard-core historians, let a pro guide you through the best things to do in Athens to get in touch with Ancient History, and stop at all the highlights, then reward yourself with dinner overlooking the Acropolis – and enjoy the modern technology that makes that incredible night-time view a reality!

#4 Explore Ancient Artefacts at Top Museums

Incredible artefacts from the tomb of Philip of Macedon in Vergina (Photo by idololatry/Instagram)

After you’ve explored an archaeological site or two, Athens ancient sightseeing continues in some of the world’s best museums. For ancient goodies, the Acropolis Museum is an Athens must-see, as is the National Archaeological Museum. Outside the capital, there are some incredible archaeological sites and museums worth exploring too. For more adventurous things to do, check out the newly reopened Archaeological Museum of Heraklion, in Crete, or the classical site of Vergina in northern Greece, near Thessaloniki, where Alexander the Great’s father was buried in full imperial splendour.

#5 Sample the Best of Ancient Greek Cuisine

Feta cheese & fresh veggies – Greek staples modern & ancient! (Photo by Katherine Poseidon)

We couldn’t leave out something for the foodies, both ancient and modern, and enjoying Greek cuisine (which we have previously praised here) makes time travel a multi-sensory experience. Visit the Museum of Greek Gastronomy to find out more about the history of Greek eats, join a food tour to sample some of the best of modern fresh ingredients, or you can even try the real food of the ancients at Archaeon Gefsis. This restaurant specialises in researching and recreating real food of Ancient Greece, and eating here is a truly unique experience!

#6 Walk in the Footsteps of the Ancients – Literally and Figuratively

You NEED a pair of ancient Greek sandals, don’t you? (Picture by @shopbird / Instagram)

While taking in a walking tour of ancient Athens, or even just strolling through the historic areas of Plaka or Monastiraki (we have a guide to some ancient landmarks besides the Acropolis here!), definitely puts you in the footsteps of the Ancient Athens. To go one step further (pun intended), explore the Athens’ shopping scene for a pair of your own sandals. Check out either Melissinos sandals for a custom made pair (joining customers like John Lennon and Jackie O) or opt for a designer pair from Ancient Greek Sandals. This is one of the best souvenirs from Greece – and we have some other suggestions here!

Athens Highlights: a Mythological Tour

Classical Athens Tour on eBike

#7 Get Out on the Water!

Ancient Greek Trireme in Flisvos Marina (Picture by alexkapellakis/Instagram)

You may not know it, but ancient Athens was known for its navy, which allowed it to be a dominant force in the ancient world. For one of the top fun things to do in Greece, get out on the water too – check out some unique activities at Yabanki Beach (like windsurfing & SUP) or explore some of the best Athens’ beaches on your own. To really channel the ancients, visit the Marina of Faliro where you can check out a trireme, reconstructed exactly as it would have been built in ancient Greece. This is one of the more quirky things to do in Athens, and also brings you down to the southern suburbs, perfectly situated for exploring some of the best bars along the tram line by the Athens riviera.

#8 Visit One of the Ancient Outposts throughout Greece

Magical Delphi! (Photo by Katherine Poseidon)

Magical Delphi! (Photo by Katherine Poseidon)

Classical Athens is definitely not the only Ancient Greece must see, and you can find incredible sites throughout the country. Visit ancient Mycenae, a citadel on a hill, or the site of Marathon where the ancient Athenians defeated the invading Persians. A little further afield, the spiritual centre of the ancient world, Delphi, is one of the best things to do in Greece – its setting is magical and the site is huge. You can join a day-trip from Athens to take care of the logistics and surrender to the magic! If you’re visiting Mykonos, take a trip across to the island of Delos, which was one of the most important spots in the ancient world and one of the most significant landmarks in Greece.

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Afternoon Acropolis Tour

#9 Join the Audience in an Ancient Greek Theatre

The incredible ancient theatre of Epidaurus.

One of Ancient Greece’s contributions to western cultural is theatre – both tragedy and comedy – and indeed the ‘amphitheatre’ itself was an Ancient Greek invitation. There are more than 50 amphitheatres throughout the country. A visit to one of these sites is one of the top things to do in Greece on its own, but taking in a performance there makes for a really unique travel experience. The ancient theatre of Epidaurus, a few hours outside of Athens, as well as the Odeon of Herodes Atticus right below the Acropolis offer life performances throughout the year. Make sure to catch one if you can!

#10 Stargaze

Incredible startrails captured over Kozani in Northern Greece (Photo by Nikos Koutoulas / Flickr)

It may seem counterintuitive to think about looking at the stars to get in touch with the ancients, especially in Athens, but the constellations are actually named after stories from Greek mythology, and astronomy was another discipline that originated with the Ancient Greeks. For one of the best things to do in Athens, visit the National Observatory for a night of stargazing. On the other hand, if you find yourself further from the lights of the Greek capital, take a moment to look up at the sky. Use the mobile app ‘Sky Guide’ to learn more about what you’re seeing, including some of the stories behind the stars. (For more useful apps for travel in Greece, see here!)

Mountaineering in Olympus (2 nights)

Hiking at Ancient Delphi

#11 Dive into an Ancient Greek Classic

Grab a classic to immerse yourself in Ancient Greece (Picture via Instagram/ingriiidhelena)

To get in touch with ancient cultures in a different way, visit Greece with one of the classics of ancient Greek literature in your pocket. We recommend Homer’s The Odyssey, if you’re looking to feel totally inspired. (Check out the thematic exhibit at the National Archaeological Museum too while you’re at it!). For lighter reading, D’Aulaires Book of Greek Myths is a classic, and a great way to get the whole family excited about ancient tourism. We have more ideas for things to do in Athens with kids here!

#12 Get Inspired by Ancient Greek Science

The mysterious Antikythera Mechanism (Photo via Flickr)

We already mentioned ancient Greek astronomy, but incredible gains in science were almost standard for the classical Greeks. They used the stars for navigation, and also developed the mysterious Antikythera Mechanism, an ancient analogue computer. Visit the Herakleidon Museum in Athens for incredible interactive exhibits focused on math, technology and art, including a model of the Antikythera mechanism.

#13 Embrace the Healing Power of Greek Nature

Greek mountain tea, a classic grandmother’s remedy (Photo @tsai_tou_vounou / Instagram)

Yet another discipline that was significantly advanced by the ancient Greeks is medicine, and we still benefit from lots of their developments. Visit Ancient Epidaurus, the most well-known centre for healing in the ancient world, and one of the top landmarks in Greece. Just getting out into nature will give you a boost. Otherwise, pick up some Greek mountain tea – a folk remedy for all kinds of colds, or visit Korres or Apivita (which both have shops in the airport!) for modern cosmetics inspired by the bounty of Greek nature.

During a visit to Greece it’s hard not to feel a little inspired by the ancient history all around you – and some of the best things to do in Greece focus around classical heritage. We hope this list has convinced you that exploring Ancient Greece is not only for the historians – try some of our ideas and let us know your favourite way to time travel!

13 of the Best Things to Do to Time Travel to Ancient Greece

13 of the Best Things to Do to Time Travel to Ancient Greece

It’s always hard to know what to do first when you visit a new place, and in Greece, where there is something for every kind of traveler, it may be even more difficult! From island hopping to exploring the best rooftop bars in Athens, to checking out the newest cultural exhibits or exploring with one day excursions, we can promise you’ll never get bored.

However, when you visit Greece, you have to spend at least a little time with history – and you definitely don’t need to be a history buff to enjoy yourself (though obviously Greece is paradise if you are!). The best part about exploring Greece is that you can get up close and personal with history while you’re here, and without showering you with Ancient Greece facts (stay tuned for future posts!), here are some of the best things to do in Greece to travel back to antiquity!

banner athens.jpg

#1 Celebrate Ancient Democracy

A visit to the Pnyx with our eBike! (Picture by Katherine Poseidon)

Greece is well-known as the birthplace of democracy, and you can visit the literal epicentre of it all, the Pnyx. This Athens must-see was where Ancient Athenians held their public assemblies, and famous figures like Pericles delivered some of history’s most important speeches. Getting here is an easy walk from the Acropolis, and takes you through the beautiful urban oasis of Philopappou Hill (for more green spaces in Athens, see here!). Just be sure you don’t get so absorbed in channeling Classical Greece that you miss the incredible city view! If you join the Classical Athens eBike tour, there is a built in stop here, and your electric bike even helps you get up the hill!

#2 Get your Hands Dirty at an Archaeological Site

The cemetery of Kerameikos (Picture by joykittyness/Instagram)

Some of the top Greek tourist attractions can be found in the country’s plentiful archaeological sites, and you can really get to the artefacts in their original habitat. One of the top ancient things to see in Athens is the cemetery of Kerameikos. Stroll through the site and it’s easy to lose track of time. Plus, it’s located in the hip area of Gazi, perfect for a drink at one of Athens’ best hidden bars. If you really want to get your hands dirty and embrace your inner Indiana Jones, you can actually take part in a real dig in Marathon – for more, click here!

#3 Get up Close & Personal on a Tour

Nothing beats getting up close with the Parthenon, guided by pros

Ancient history can be a little overwhelming, and one of the best ways to get an overview of the highlights is to join an ancient Athens sightseeing tour. There are lots of options for every kind of tourist – from creative tours for families, to tours that hit the ancient Greece landmarks. For the hard-core historians, let a pro guide you through the best things to do in Athens to get in touch with Ancient History, and stop at all the highlights, then reward yourself with dinner overlooking the Acropolis – and enjoy the modern technology that makes that incredible night-time view a reality!

#4 Explore Ancient Artefacts at Top Museums

Incredible artefacts from the tomb of Philip of Macedon in Vergina (Photo by idololatry/Instagram)

After you’ve explored an archaeological site or two, Athens ancient sightseeing continues in some of the world’s best museums. For ancient goodies, the Acropolis Museum is an Athens must-see, as is the National Archaeological Museum. Outside the capital, there are some incredible archaeological sites and museums worth exploring too. For more adventurous things to do, check out the newly reopened Archaeological Museum of Heraklion, in Crete, or the classical site of Vergina in northern Greece, near Thessaloniki, where Alexander the Great’s father was buried in full imperial splendour.

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#5 Sample the Best of Ancient Greek Cuisine

Feta cheese & fresh veggies – Greek staples modern & ancient! (Photo by Katherine Poseidon)

We couldn’t leave out something for the foodies, both ancient and modern, and enjoying Greek cuisine (which we have previously praised here) makes time travel a multi-sensory experience. Visit the Museum of Greek Gastronomy to find out more about the history of Greek eats, join a food tour to sample some of the best of modern fresh ingredients, or you can even try the real food of the ancients at Archaeon Gefsis. This restaurant specialises in researching and recreating real food of Ancient Greece, and eating here is a truly unique experience!

#6 Walk in the Footsteps of the Ancients – Literally and Figuratively

You NEED a pair of ancient Greek sandals, don’t you? (Picture by @shopbird / Instagram)

While taking in a walking tour of ancient Athens, or even just strolling through the historic areas of Plaka or Monastiraki (we have a guide to some ancient landmarks besides the Acropolis here!), definitely puts you in the footsteps of the Ancient Athens. To go one step further (pun intended), explore the Athens’ shopping scene for a pair of your own sandals. Check out either Melissinos sandals for a custom made pair (joining customers like John Lennon and Jackie O) or opt for a designer pair from Ancient Greek Sandals. This is one of the best souvenirs from Greece – and we have some other suggestions here!

Athens Highlights: a Mythological Tour

Classical Athens Tour on eBike

#7 Get Out on the Water!

Ancient Greek Trireme in Flisvos Marina (Picture by alexkapellakis/Instagram)

You may not know it, but ancient Athens was known for its navy, which allowed it to be a dominant force in the ancient world. For one of the top fun things to do in Greece, get out on the water too – check out some unique activities at Yabanki Beach (like windsurfing & SUP) or explore some of the best Athens’ beaches on your own. To really channel the ancients, visit the Marina of Faliro where you can check out a trireme, reconstructed exactly as it would have been built in ancient Greece. This is one of the more quirky things to do in Athens, and also brings you down to the southern suburbs, perfectly situated for exploring some of the best bars along the tram line by the Athens riviera.

#8 Visit One of the Ancient Outposts throughout Greece

Magical Delphi! (Photo by Katherine Poseidon)

Magical Delphi! (Photo by Katherine Poseidon)

Classical Athens is definitely not the only Ancient Greece must see, and you can find incredible sites throughout the country. Visit ancient Mycenae, a citadel on a hill, or the site of Marathon where the ancient Athenians defeated the invading Persians. A little further afield, the spiritual centre of the ancient world, Delphi, is one of the best things to do in Greece – its setting is magical and the site is huge. You can join a day-trip from Athens to take care of the logistics and surrender to the magic! If you’re visiting Mykonos, take a trip across to the island of Delos, which was one of the most important spots in the ancient world and one of the most significant landmarks in Greece.

Afternoon Acropolis Tour

#9 Join the Audience in an Ancient Greek Theatre

The incredible ancient theatre of Epidaurus.

One of Ancient Greece’s contributions to western cultural is theatre – both tragedy and comedy – and indeed the ‘amphitheatre’ itself was an Ancient Greek invitation. There are more than 50 amphitheatres throughout the country. A visit to one of these sites is one of the top things to do in Greece on its own, but taking in a performance there makes for a really unique travel experience. The ancient theatre of Epidaurus, a few hours outside of Athens, as well as the Odeon of Herodes Atticus right below the Acropolis offer life performances throughout the year. Make sure to catch one if you can!

#10 Stargaze

Incredible startrails captured over Kozani in Northern Greece (Photo by Nikos Koutoulas / Flickr)

It may seem counterintuitive to think about looking at the stars to get in touch with the ancients, especially in Athens, but the constellations are actually named after stories from Greek mythology, and astronomy was another discipline that originated with the Ancient Greeks. For one of the best things to do in Athens, visit the National Observatory for a night of stargazing. On the other hand, if you find yourself further from the lights of the Greek capital, take a moment to look up at the sky. Use the mobile app ‘Sky Guide’ to learn more about what you’re seeing, including some of the stories behind the stars. (For more useful apps for travel in Greece, see here!)

Mountaineering in Olympus (2 nights)

Hiking at Ancient Delphi

#11 Dive into an Ancient Greek Classic

Grab a classic to immerse yourself in Ancient Greece (Picture via Instagram/ingriiidhelena)

To get in touch with ancient cultures in a different way, visit Greece with one of the classics of ancient Greek literature in your pocket. We recommend Homer’s The Odyssey, if you’re looking to feel totally inspired. (Check out the thematic exhibit at the National Archaeological Museum too while you’re at it!). For lighter reading, D’Aulaires Book of Greek Myths is a classic, and a great way to get the whole family excited about ancient tourism. We have more ideas for things to do in Athens with kids here!

#12 Get Inspired by Ancient Greek Science

The mysterious Antikythera Mechanism (Photo via Flickr)

We already mentioned ancient Greek astronomy, but incredible gains in science were almost standard for the classical Greeks. They used the stars for navigation, and also developed the mysterious Antikythera Mechanism, an ancient analogue computer. Visit the Herakleidon Museum in Athens for incredible interactive exhibits focused on math, technology and art, including a model of the Antikythera mechanism.

#13 Embrace the Healing Power of Greek Nature

Greek mountain tea, a classic grandmother’s remedy (Photo @tsai_tou_vounou / Instagram)

Yet another discipline that was significantly advanced by the ancient Greeks is medicine, and we still benefit from lots of their developments. Visit Ancient Epidaurus, the most well-known centre for healing in the ancient world, and one of the top landmarks in Greece. Just getting out into nature will give you a boost. Otherwise, pick up some Greek mountain tea – a folk remedy for all kinds of colds, or visit Korres or Apivita (which both have shops in the airport!) for modern cosmetics inspired by the bounty of Greek nature.

During a visit to Greece it’s hard not to feel a little inspired by the ancient history all around you – and some of the best things to do in Greece focus around classical heritage. We hope this list has convinced you that exploring Ancient Greece is not only for the historians – try some of our ideas and let us know your favourite way to time travel!

Source https://www.timeout.com/greece/travel/best-places-to-visit-in-greece

Source https://thetravelporter.com/blog/best-things-to-do-to-time-travel-to-ancient-greece

Source https://thetravelporter.com/blog/best-things-to-do-to-time-travel-to-ancient-greece#:~:text=Classical%20Athens%20is%20definitely%20not%20the%20only%20Ancient,where%20the%20ancient%20Athenians%20defeated%20the%20invading%20Persians.

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