Greece is a popular destination for holidays, known for its beautiful beaches, ancient ruins, stunning landscapes, delicious food, and warm hospitality. Here are some popular destinations and activities to consider for your Greece holiday:
Athens, the capital city of Greece, is a must-see destination for anyone visiting Greece. Known as the cradle of Western civilization, Athens is home to some of the world’s most iconic ancient ruins, including the Acropolis, the Parthenon, and the Temple of Olympian Zeus. In addition to its historical attractions, Athens also boasts a vibrant street life, with lively markets, charming cafes, and bustling squares. The Plaka neighborhood, with its narrow cobblestone streets and picturesque architecture, is a particular favorite of visitors. From delicious traditional Greek cuisine to vibrant nightlife, Athens has something to offer every traveler.
Santorini is one of the most popular destinations in Greece, famous for its picturesque white-washed buildings, blue-domed churches, and stunning views of the Aegean Sea. Visitors can explore charming towns such as Oia and Fira, take in the island’s stunning sunsets, and enjoy a range of activities such as hiking, wine tasting, and sunbathing on the island’s beautiful beaches. Santorini is also a popular destination for romantic getaways and honeymoons, with luxurious hotels and villas offering stunning views and first-class service.
Mykonos is a party island, famous for its vibrant nightlife, stylish bars and clubs, and beautiful beaches. In addition to its party scene, Mykonos also boasts picturesque villages with charming whitewashed houses, quaint churches, and narrow alleys. Visitors can take a stroll through Little Venice, an area of the island with colorful houses built right on the water’s edge, or explore the island’s historical sites, such as the Delos Island archaeological site, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Mykonos also offers a range of water sports, including windsurfing, jet-skiing, and scuba diving.
Crete is the largest of the Greek islands, known for its beautiful beaches, stunning landscapes, ancient ruins, and delicious cuisine. Visitors can explore charming villages, such as Chania, with its picturesque harbor and narrow streets, or the Venetian town of Rethymno. The island also offers a range of outdoor activities, including hiking in the Samaria Gorge, one of Europe’s longest canyons, or visiting the stunning Elafonisi Beach, known for its pink sand. Food lovers will appreciate the island’s delicious traditional cuisine, including dishes such as dakos, stuffed vegetables, and fresh seafood.
Corfu is a beautiful island in the Ionian Sea, known for its Venetian architecture, stunning beaches, and verdant landscapes. Visitors can explore the island’s charming Old Town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, with its narrow streets, colorful houses, and impressive fortresses. The island also offers a range of outdoor activities, including hiking in the Corfu Trail, a 220-kilometer long-distance footpath, or swimming and sunbathing on one of the island’s many beautiful beaches. Corfu is also famous for its delicious cuisine, including traditional dishes such as pastitsada, sofrito, and bourdeto.
Rhodes is a beautiful island with a rich history, stunning beaches, and a charming Old Town. Visitors can explore the island’s ancient ruins, including the Acropolis of Lindos and the Palace of the Grand Master of the Knights of Rhodes. The island’s Old Town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is a maze of cobbled streets, charming shops, and historic buildings, including the impressive Palace of the Grand Master. Rhodes also offers a range of outdoor activities, including windsurfing, kitesurfing, and hiking in the island’s stunning natural parks.
The Peloponnese is a peninsula located in the southern part of Greece, known for its ancient ruins, beautiful beaches, and charming villages. Visitors can explore ancient sites, such as the Olympia archaeological site, the birthplace of the Olympic Games, or the ancient city of Mycenae, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Peloponnese also offers a range of outdoor activities, including hiking in the Taygetos Mountains or swimming in the crystal-clear waters of the Myrtoan Sea. Food lovers will appreciate the region’s delicious cuisine, including traditional dishes such as souvlaki, moussaka, and pastitsio.
Greek cuisine is one of the most delicious and healthy cuisines in the world, known for its use of fresh ingredients and simple yet flavorful dishes. Visitors can enjoy traditional dishes such as moussaka, a layered casserole made with eggplant, potatoes, and ground beef, or souvlaki, grilled skewers of meat served with pita bread and tzatziki. Other popular dishes include dolmades, stuffed grape leaves filled with rice and herbs, and spanakopita, a savory pie made with spinach and feta cheese. Seafood lovers will appreciate the fresh fish and seafood dishes available in many restaurants, including grilled octopus, calamari, and prawns.
Greece is home to some of the most beautiful beaches in the world, with crystal-clear waters, stunning scenery, and a range of activities for visitors to enjoy. Some of the most popular beaches include Myrtos Beach on the island of Kefalonia, known for its turquoise waters and white pebbles, or Navagio Beach on the island of Zakynthos, a stunning cove accessible only by boat. Other popular beaches include Balos Beach on the island of Crete, with its pink sand and turquoise waters, or Sarakiniko Beach on the island of Milos, known for its unique lunar landscape.
Greece is home to over 6,000 islands, each with its own unique character and charm. Visitors can take a ferry or book a cruise to explore some of the most popular islands, such as Mykonos, Santorini, or Crete, or venture off the beaten path to discover hidden gems such as the island of Hydra, known for its traditional architecture and car-free streets, or the island of Folegandros, a quiet and peaceful island with stunning beaches and charming villages. With so many islands to choose from, there’s an island in Greece to suit every taste and budget.
Famous food in Greece
Greek cuisine is renowned for its use of fresh ingredients, simple preparation methods, and delicious flavors. Here are some of the most famous foods in Greece:
- Moussaka – A classic Greek dish made with layers of eggplant, spiced ground beef or lamb, and a creamy béchamel sauce. It is then baked until golden brown and served as a hearty main dish.
- Souvlaki – Grilled meat skewers served with pita bread, tomatoes, onions, and a tangy yogurt-based sauce called tzatziki. It can be made with pork, chicken, or lamb.
- Spanakopita – A savory spinach and feta cheese pie made with layers of flaky phyllo pastry. It is a popular appetizer or side dish in Greece.
- Greek Salad – A refreshing and healthy salad made with tomatoes, cucumber, red onion, green bell pepper, Kalamata olives, and feta cheese. It is typically dressed with olive oil, lemon juice, and dried oregano.
- Dolmades – Stuffed grape leaves filled with a mixture of rice, herbs, and sometimes ground meat. They are served cold as an appetizer or meze.
- Taramasalata – A creamy dip made from fish roe, olive oil, lemon juice, and bread crumbs. It is typically served with pita bread or as a spread on toast.
- Pastitsio – A baked pasta dish made with layers of macaroni, spiced ground beef or lamb, and a creamy béchamel sauce. It is then topped with grated cheese and baked until golden brown.
- Greek Yogurt – A thick and creamy yogurt with a tangy flavor. It is often served with honey, nuts, or fruit for breakfast or as a healthy snack.
- Baklava – A sweet pastry made with layers of phyllo dough, honey, and chopped nuts. It is a popular dessert in Greece and throughout the Middle East.
- Gyro – A popular fast food in Greece made from meat that is roasted on a vertical spit and then sliced and served in a pita wrap with tomatoes, onions, and tzatziki sauce. It can be made with pork, chicken, or lamb.
Famous Festivals and Events
Greece is a country rich in history and culture, and there are many festivals and events that celebrate its traditions and heritage. Here are some of the most famous festivals and events in Greece:
- Carnival of Patras – This is one of the biggest and most popular carnivals in Greece, held in the city of Patras in February or March. It features parades, costumes, music, dancing, and lots of traditional food and drink.
- Athens Epidaurus Festival – This is a summer festival that takes place in Athens and the nearby ancient theater of Epidaurus. It features performances of theater, music, and dance, both from Greece and from around the world.
- Athens Marathon – This is one of the most famous marathons in the world, held every November. It follows the route taken by the ancient Greek messenger Pheidippides, who ran from the city of Marathon to Athens to announce the Greek victory over the Persians.
- Easter – Easter is the most important religious holiday in Greece, and it is celebrated with a variety of customs and traditions, including church services, feasting, and egg cracking games.
- Ochi Day – This is a national holiday in Greece, celebrated on October 28th, to commemorate the Greek rejection of the Italian ultimatum in 1940, which led to the start of the Greek-Italian War.
- Athens Pride – This is an annual LGBTQ+ pride event held in Athens in June, featuring parades, parties, and cultural events.
- Thessaloniki International Film Festival – This is a major film festival held every November in the city of Thessaloniki, featuring a selection of films from Greece and around the world.
- The Feast of the Assumption – This is a religious holiday celebrated on August 15th, marking the ascent of the Virgin Mary into heaven. It is celebrated with church services, processions, and feasting.
- The Feast of St. Demetrius – This is a religious festival celebrated on October 26th in Thessaloniki, in honor of the city’s patron saint. It features church services, processions, and traditional dances.
- The Festival of Roses – This is a festival held every May in the town of Nafplio, celebrating the rose harvest with parades, music, and food.
Visiting Greece after the Economic Crisis
Because of the infamous economic crisis, some have been wondering whether Greece is still a viable option for travel. However, they needn’t worry, as Greece is still a great travel destination for people of all ages, whether they’re visiting the country for the first time or not. Many of the tourist sites in Greece are thousands of years old so the economic crisis has had zero effect on these. Although some transport services have been suspended you’ll still be able to get around. Hiring a car in some areas might even be a better option if you enjoy the great outdoors.
Here are some of the places you can visit in Greece that are a little off the beaten tourist trail and still very much open for business as usual:
Zante is a popular Ionian island, known for the variety of activities available for tourists. It’s a great part of Greece to explore so be on the lookout for last-minute holidays to Zante. The northwest is mountains and scattered with quiet villages, which are perfect for hiking and exploring. The rest of the island is filled with vineyards and olive grooves, catering for visitors who want to enjoy fine meals during their holiday. Zante is known for its pristine beaches, such as Smugglers Cove, a mix between high cliffs and clear waters fit for swimming. The beach is accessible by boat and it is a great getaway for everyone in need of some peace and quiet. In the north of Zante, tourists can also visit the popular Blue Caves and go snorkeling. Visitors should definitely stop by the National Marine Park of Zante in the south of the island, where a breeding program dedicated to the Caretta sea turtle, an endangered species, has been recently founded.
Located in the northwest of mainland Greece, the city of Arta is known for its archeological sites. It is a popular destination, without being overwhelming, and tourists can enjoy both hiking and cycling in the nearby Tzoumerka mountain range, and they can sunbathe close to the Amvrakikos Gulf. History buffs can visit the thirteenth-century Byzantine Castle, the Bridge of Arta, and various private of state-owned museums such as the Skoufa Folklore Museum to learn more about the city. Visitors can also enjoy the hot spring baths at Hanopoulou Baths, which are recommended for skin treatments and also to help battle arthritic illnesses. Arta is also surrounded by various traditional villages, which can all be toured by car or motorbike.
This entire mountain region is known as a safe haven during winter. There are various towns in which tourists can stay, depending on what they plan to do during their trip. The town of Stymphalia is a great departure point if you want to visit more places in the region, but it also boasts its own unique attractions, such as Lake Stymphalia and the nearby bird observatories, the ancient city of Stymphalos, and even a local environmental museum. Trikala is a small market town and mountain resort, with several churches, ruins, and monasteries worth visiting, but also the famous Flambouritsa Valley, where visitors can practice numerous sports, such as skiing. Horseback riding is also very popular in the area, especially since there is a riding center nearby to provide all the necessities. The town of Feneos successfully combines archaeological sites (Ancient Feneos and the Temple of Asclepius) and mountain sports (at the Ziria Sports Ski Centre). Tourists can enjoy a variety of outdoor activities, such as hiking, cycling, skiing, and paragliding.
Despite the economic crisis, you can still visit Greece. Whether you’re traveling in the summer or winter, Greece offers a wide variety of travel destinations for all types of budgets so give it a go!