It has been said that to travel is to live. If this is true, then traveling in Greece is living at its finest. From the Mediterranean Sea to the top of Mount Olympus, Greece is packed full of sights and things to experience.
Greece is often referred to as one of the world’s most beguiling countries due to its abundance of things to see and do. However, the architecture, food, or the sceneries alone are reasons enough to travel here.
There are endless beaches, archaeological sites, museums, monasteries, mountains, and islands, each with its unique character.
If you’re new to the whole idea of independent travel and want to go exploring and sightseeing but don’t quite know where to start, Greece is one of the best places for first-timers. It’s a compact country filled with treasures around every corner.
If you want to be a part of English-speaking crowds, you can stay in traveler-heavy areas like Mykonos, Santorini, Rhodes, Crete, or Corfu.
For planning your stay in Greece, I have compiled a list of ten amazing things to do in Greece that absolutely everyone must experience.
Visiting other destinations in Greece? Check out our other delicious guides:
- The 10 Best Chania Restaurants
- The 8 Best Restaurants in Athens, Greece
- The Best Walking Food Tour Of Athens
- The Top 12 Best Greek Dishes
- The 10 Most Amazing Things To Do In Greece
- Summary Of The 10 Amazing Things To Do In Greece
The 10 Most Amazing Things To Do In Greece
Athens’ Acropolis is one of the world’s most important archaeological, historical, and cultural sites and a symbol of the national struggle and triumph.
There is no other ancient religious structure on earth larger than this UNESCO World Heritage Site, which occupies twelve hectares of land.
It dates from what has been termed “The golden age of Greek art,” and was constructed around the 5th century BC and soon became a symbol of the spirit and culture of classical Greece.
While this is a must-see site during your trip to Greece, it may be a better use of your time if you go first thing in the morning or late in the afternoon (assuming that you’re planning to see any other sites on the Acropolis on the same day).
I learned the hard way—and by the hard way, I mean waiting almost two hours in line on a Sunday morning. I had arrived at the site around 8 AM for opening time, but they didn’t open up until 9 AM. Also, the Parthenon is best avoided at peak tourist times. There are far fewer people visiting in the early morning or later afternoon, allowing you to appreciate more of what you see.
The Acropolis is just one of the sites that you must see when visiting Greece. There are many more to consider, each with its history and character, which you can easily combine to tailor-fit your vacation.
Olympus, the sacred mountain crowned by the Titan’s fortress, has been admired for thousands of years. Its marble peaks glisten white in the summer sun and turn blue when covered with snow.
Mount Olympus is the cradle of Greek mythology, where extraordinary events took place – gods fought each other on its slopes, its forests were home to nymphs, heroes gained glory on its heights, and monsters terrorized the land around.
The mountain is easily accessible by public transport, either from Athens or Hymettus. The ascent takes about an hour, so don’t forget to bring some drinking water to the trailhead. It’s also advisable you have good hiking boots since the way can get rocky once you get off track.
Also, you can get to the top by car, although this is only recommended for the truly bold.
The mountain offers a relaxed climb for hikers, but if you’re not keen on roughing it out in the total wilderness, perhaps bringing along a local guide is a must.
You’ll be rewarded handsomely with incredible scenery that does not need to be embellished.
Folegandros is a small island found in the Cyclades and lies northeast of Santorini and south of Sikinos. With its traditional architecture and narrow streets that lead to a cluster of whitewashed houses, Chora, the little town of Santorini, is almost as picturesque as Oia on Mykonos or Methana on Santorini. Many people call it “the new Santorini.”
This fantastic island is the smallest of the Cyclades, and has some incredible views of whitewashed houses perched on the hillside that march down to a charming harbor.
Its large bay has traditionally been known as “Porto Palo,” meaning “The Harbor under the Rock.” It is situated just north of Delos between Mykonos and Naxos, forming the east side of the Cyclades.
With its winding stone paths, lush vegetation, and natural springs associated with ancient fertility rituals, Folegandros has an antique Greek feel about it.
Delos was a center of ancient Greek culture, and it is easy to see why. Thanks to its history as an archaeological site, it has retained much of its past glory. Delos’ surroundings are also filled with other famous places, such as Mykonos, Naxos, Paros, and Antiparos.
The nearby islands of Tinos and Syros are other sites that you can explore for their historical significance.
Delos is home to one of the largest amphitheaters in the country, stunningly well-preserved marble quarries, and a unique maze.
The Great Lithograph of Delos, discovered in the ruins of the Temple of Artemis, is one of the most important of its kind and documents a unique period of Greek history, that of the uprising against Persia and of Delos’s transition from a private to an autonomous polis.
Meteora is situated in the Penevaidiki region of central Greece. The name means “middle of the sky.” It was founded by four great monks—Nikephoros, Ioannikios, Konon, and Nilus. These monks were tired of city life and decided to dedicate themselves to God, pulling away from civilization and its distractions.
In 1349 the monks fled from the invading Turks and took their refuge in cloisters built on top of huge sandstone boulders that were once part of mountains that had been worn down over time.
As you enter the Meteora valley, the rocks start to stand out. The bedrock is very porous, full of holes known as spilos (“holes”) in Greek. Some are naturally covered with vines, while others are big enough for a human to fit in, forming the otherworldly feeling I experienced when walking among them.
Once you reach your location of choice, the monks come every morning with their donkeys to take people up. Considering everyone else who wants to go up thinks the same thing, you also have to avoid the crowds during your visit.
Mykonos is a small yet vibrant island that combines sandy beaches, rocky hills, bustling nightlife, and charming traditional villages.
The main Mykonos Town is located on a small hill called Tourlos, from where you can enjoy breathtaking views across the island and sea. However, one of the best ways to explore Mykonos and take in the full beauty of the Greek landscape is by bike.
Mykonos is hilly. And that means that there are plenty of scenic vistas to be marveled at, especially if you choose to leave the main drag and tackle some trails. But, for me, biking is the best way to do it.
It’s smooth, easy (though Mykonos doesn’t seem like an “easy” island), and you have the chance to see the island from a very different perspective. And who knows how many other travelers might want to join in!
Wine tourism is a great way to immerse yourself in the Greek culture while also learning about this art, history, and science. Wine lovers will find an abundance of wines for sale here, while amateur connoisseurs may become new converts.
There’s more to Nemea’s gently undulating terrain than meets the eye. In addition, the region is home to one of the most celebrated grape varieties in Greece and one of its most significant Protected Designation of Origins.
Many of Europe’s leading grape varieties are successfully grown in the hillside vineyards, surrounded by olive groves and cypress trees (Chardonnay, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah). The Nemea wine industry has gained international renown for its aromatic grape, Agiorgitiko, attracting oenophiles’ attention.
The wineries offer a wide range of experiences, and each one is unique. You can expect guided tours of vineyards and cellars, as well as wine tasting with local products. Do not forget to pick up a bottle or two of full-bodied, spicy Agiorgitiko at the end of your tour here.
The island of Santorini is part of the Cyclades group in the Aegean Sea, and it is universally known for its picturesque panoramic views, whitewashed villages, and dramatic terrain. Santorini is the perfect destination for nature lovers, active explorers, and adventure seekers.
The island was formed by an intense volcanic eruption over 3,500 years ago, which led to the caldera, or semicircular crater, that extends about six6 kilometers outward from the island’s southern tip.
This caldera is where the towns of Fira and Ia are now perched, offering some spectacular sunset-watching opportunities across the Aegean.
One of Europe’s longest gorges can be found in the White Mountains National Reserve on the island of Crete. From peonies to dragon arum, there are 450 varieties here, making the nine-mile trek through Samaria Gorge a full day’s hike.
You’ll begin this hike at the trailhead in Xyloskalo, which is 4,101 feet above sea level, so you’ll hike straight down the side of the gorge using steep switchbacks and steps.
There are some very welcoming bars and a beautiful beach in the seaside village of Agia Roumeli, which you will reach after crossing loose rock deep in the canyon.
Crete’s farm-to-table culinary specialties will be on the agenda after you work up an appetite. You can explore the olive groves and vineyards of this island on this six-day food tour.
While today many people associate the name Corfu with the Ionian island’s illustrious literary past, traditionally, it is better known for fruit, fishing, and tourism. Corfu was first settled by humans some 10,000 years ago. During this time, the island saw various inhabitants who built settlements in caves around the island.
If Corfu’s pristine beaches, brilliant blue waters, and scenic landscapes haven’t captured your heart (or rented yacht), perhaps the island’s history might. Like most of Greece, Corfu sports a history that traces back to the ancient Hellenes.
Snorkeling the turquoise waters around Corfu, you’ll see that its underwater topography is even more distinctive than its coastline. Everywhere you look, you’ll face an arch, a barrier reef, or a pair of tiny islands.
The area protected by these reefs results in some of the most protected bays in the Mediterranean Sea. Cypseli, Gouvi, Agni, and Lazareta are just some of the beaches which enjoy these conditions. And while many people associate Corfu with beaches, there are larger land spaces to be enjoyed here.
Summary Of The 10 Amazing Things To Do In Greece
Greece is an island nation that boasts over 3,000 years of civilization, with vast archaeological sites that will take your breath away. Greek vacations also include sampling the local cuisine in the many tavernas scattered across the islands and coastal towns of the country.
You’ll find castles, abbeys, theaters, churches, monasteries, towers, palaces, mosques, statues, and temples ― most of them dating way back to antiquity.
So, whether you’re interested in seeing classical ruins, scrambling through gorges filled with wildflowers, sailing on the Ionian Sea, or getting involved in a little bit of everything, you’ll find what you’re looking for in Greece.
Wander through Santorini, marvel at the architecture on Corfu, or get active on the beaches of Kos – Greece is calling for an exciting and unforgettable vacation!