Greece is a fascinating country where history and culture equal its natural beauty. Strategically located between Europe and Asia, Greece is one of the most influential countries in the history of the West. The concept of civilization, democracy, the Olympic Games, literature, the study of history, politics and the basic principles of science and mathematics were born in Greece.
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It is precisely this historical importance that has left Greece with an artistic and architectural heritage that is very difficult to find anywhere else in the world.
If you add to this the beauty of its coasts and islands, bathed by the Mediterranean and the Aegean, its small and picturesque villages and the Mediterranean forests, you will realize that it is not difficult to find 15 beautiful places to see in Greece. In fact, it would be easy to name many more.
A route of the tourist places of Greece must always begin with its capital, Athens.
The beauty of Athens begins in its name. It was born more than 3,000 years ago, thanks to the maritime trade that came to the port of Piraeus. It was here that democracy was born and the ideas and thoughts of its philosophers, writers, mathematicians, politicians and historians marked the evolution of Greece, Rome and Western culture in general.
Athens is home to the most important architectural monuments to be seen in Greece. The Parthenon stands imposingly on the Acropolis, from where, along with other temples and buildings, it dominates the Greek capital. Other emblematic places where you can learn about the art and history of the city are the Ancient Agora, the Roman Agora, Mount Licabeto, the Acropolis Museum and the Temple of Olympian Zeus.
To take the pulse of the city, walk aimlessly through the neighbourhoods of Plaka, Monastiraki, Anafiótika or the Central Market in Athens. Despite the harsh impact of the economic crisis on Greece, the Athenians still have a strong Mediterranean spirit and are trying to make the most of life.
Although there are many islands to visit in Greece, the best known of all are those that form the Santorini archipelago.
The white façades – and blue lintels and doors – of the houses in the villages that overlook cliffs that die at sea, appear on any postcard of tourist places in Greece.
You can tour the islands that make up Santorini by boat. The most romantic village is Oia, although most of them are reached by ferry to Fira. Hire a boat trip and take a dip in some very different beaches. You can also rent a car or a motorbike and visit archaeological sites such as Akrotiri and ancient Thira.
Santorini is considered one of the most romantic places in the world, so don’t miss its legendary sunsets.
Another island to see in Greece is Naxos.
Naxos is the largest and most fertile of the Cyclades islands that lie in the Aegean. The rain is generous in the area and allows the population of the island to live from the collection of fruits and vegetables, also relying on livestock and tourism.
As usual in Greece, in Naxos you will find several archaeological sites – including an ancient Venetian fortress – and beautiful beaches. Two of the worthwhile ones are very close to the capital: Agia Anna and Agios Prokopios. The latter is perfect for nudist lovers.
The best way to move around Naxos is by bike, quad or buggy.
The largest island of the Dodecanese is only 18 km from the Turkish coast and has a great legacy of myths and legends, as well as some of the most famous beaches to visit in Greece.
In Rhodes, the myth says that Helios fathered 8 children with the nymph Rodo, daughter of Poseidon. She is the origin of the name of the island and its more than 300 days of sunshine a year.
The capital of the island – also called Rhodes – has the Medieval City, declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. The Archaeological and Byzantine museums are the most visited.
The village of Lindos, 47 km southeast of Rhodes, has the reputation of being the most beautiful village to be seen in Greece. If you’re more of a sunbathing man in front of crystal clear waters, visit the beaches of Elli, Kalithea, Ladiko or Faliraki.
If partying is one of the things you want to do in Greece, you can’t miss the island of Mykonos.
In summer, Mykonos becomes the Ibiza of Greece. Electronic music takes over the many bars and clubs on the beaches and tens of thousands of young people give it their all until dawn.
However, the rest of the year Mykonos is a quiet place, with just over 10,000 inhabitants who lead a routine life in the streets of whitewashed houses in Chora, its capital. Most of the island’s beaches are nudist, especially those of Paranga, Paradise, Panormos or Platis Gialos.
Another of the main places to visit in Greece is the second largest island of the Ionian Islands, Corfu.
Battles and conquests shaped the history of an island that also possesses great natural beauties.
In the north, Sidari is a must see. The erosion of the sea and the wind have shaped the rocks, creating truly unique coves. From there, you can go to visit the ruins of the Byzantine castle of Angelokastro, located on a hill with very good views. Other northern beaches are Glyfada and Liapades.
In the south, the most important town is Lefkimi and you should not miss Bouka beach and Korission lake.
Once in the capital, Corfu, there are many places of interest such as Achilleon Palace, Paleokastritsa Monastery, the old and new fortresses and the Byzantine Museum.
The archaeological site of Delphi was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO and is included in all the lists of tourist sites in Greece.
In ancient times, the oracle of Delphi was located here, inside a temple dedicated to the Greek god Apollo. Delphi was considered in the Greek world as the center of the universe.
Today, Delphi is a small town located on the southern slope of Mount Parnassus. From the archaeological point of view, you can’t miss the temple of Apollo, the theatre – with a capacity of about 5,000 spectators – and the archaeological museum.
Greece’s second largest city – with over 1 million inhabitants – is also a major port in the northern Aegean.
Thessaloniki is situated about 500 km north of Athens and its attractions are often overshadowed by the splendour of the capital. However, Thessaloniki is a charming city with a vibrant nightlife.
It is a pleasure to stroll through the narrow streets of the Turkish walled quarter of Kastra, which are lined with 19th century wooden houses. The promenade then takes you into a maze of streets lined with churches, ancient mosques, Roman ruins and museums.
One of the tourist places in Greece where you can spend a few days.
Zakynthos is another of the Ionian Islands in Greece.
Zakhyntos has the typical orography of the Ionian Islands, with a mountainous and rugged area (to the west and north) and a flat and fertile one (to the south). The best beaches of Zakynthos are in its southern zone and the ones of Laganás, Argasi, Keri and Vassiliko stand out.
Other more hidden beaches are those of Gerakas, Aguios Nikolaos and Maurantsis. From the capital, you can take a boat to visit the small paradisiacal islands of San Juan and Plemomari, Maratonisi and Peluso.
The city of Zakynthos is rather small and the old Venetian castle stands out.
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Located between Crete and Rhodes, in the middle of the Dodecanese archipelago, is another island to see in Greece.
Karpathos is one of the most unknown islands in the country, which makes it one of the places to visit in Greece if you are looking for tranquility, nature and peace.
It is a mountainous island that must be travelled by car in order to discover every corner of it. Although there are beautiful and deserted beaches – some of which do not even have names – the real charm of Karpathos lies in its two sets of small villages, called Catajoria and Panojoria. In the first group, Volada, Piles, Ozoas and Apero stand out, with their typical white houses and quiet life.
This small island of the Cyclades has almost 120 km of quiet beaches where you can enjoy its many days of sunshine.
The main city and port to which the ferry arrives is Parikia. This is another typical Greek coastal town, with low whitewashed houses and narrow streets where life goes by with parsimony.
It’s worth renting a buggy and exploring the mountainous area of the island in an original and fun way. A visit to the islands of Antiparos and Despotico – which are part of Paros -, the villages of Costo, Piso Livadi, Marmara and Lefkes, the old marble quarries of the Marathi area and the beaches of Drios, Marcello Beach, Kolymbithres and Monasthi is almost a must.
Among the things to do in Greece you cannot miss the place where the Olympic Games were held in antiquity.
The first Olympic Games were held here, in honour of Zeus, in 776 BC. These games were part of the four Panhellenic Games of Ancient Greece, the others being the Pythian Games – held in Delphi and dedicated to Apollo -, the Nemean Games – in Argos and as a tribute to Hera – and the Isthmian Games, in Corinth and in honour of Poseidon.
In Olympia you will be moved by the ruins of the original stadium where the competitions were held. There are also remains of Phidias’ studio, the gymnasium and the Temple of Zeus.
To complete your visit, visit the Olympia Archaeological Museum and the Museum of the Ancient Games.
Located in the west of the island, Chania is considered one of the most beautiful cities in Crete.
It has an interesting history. Inhabited since the Neolithic period, it lived a period of decline with the arrival of the Arabs, followed by another period of splendour with the Venetian occupation. Later it was conquered by the Turks and today it is the second most important city in Crete.
The most beautiful thing about Chania is its picturesque fishing port, situated at the foot of the White Mountains (Lefta Ori).
Among the most interesting sights of the city are the Firkas fortress, the lighthouse of Chania, the market, the mosque of the Jenizards, the Etz Hayyim synagogue, the Venetian walls and the Oasis and Kalamaki beaches.
At the northern end of the Aegean Sea is the island of Thassos, a real treasure to be visited in Greece. Here, in addition to beaches with crystal-clear waters, you will find all the elements of Greek culture and tradition.
Thassos has a beautiful natural environment, near the Gulf of Keramoti and the mouth of the Nestos River. It has a mountainous orography, with beautiful coves here and there and dense forests of Mediterranean pines, firs and oaks. Not in vain, three quarters of the island are occupied by trees.
The most famous beaches are Skala Kallirachi, Skala Potamia, Aliki, Limeas and Limenaria, but the streets of the mountain villages of Prinos or Kazaviti are also worth a stroll.
Between July and September there is the Thassos Festival, a cultural event with theatre performances, dance and other activities to immerse you in the culture of the island.
Heraklion is the capital of the island of Crete.
The city was known by many different names throughout history, eventually keeping its Roman name.
The wall surrounding the city – 4 km long and with 7 bastions, of which there are still remains – was built by the Venetians in the 15th century. This triangular wall is one of the treasures of Heraklion, along with its old port, the fortress of Koules, the Municipal Market, the Loggia and the Fonte Morosini, located in the centre of Plateia Venizelos.
It is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful tourist sites in Greece.