When it comes to sunshine-packed holidays, one place in the world can guarantee such a request, Greece. If you’ve never been to Greece before then it should be on your bucket list. Make it your goal to discover the best places to visit in Greece, you will be rewarded with eternal visuals and amazing memories. And if you’ve already visited, I’m sure you’d be glad to visit again!
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Best destinations in Greece
If you’re planning your first trip to Greece, you might want to see a little bit of everything: Greece’s amazing culture and archaeological sites, the old churches, and the interesting museums. There are so many great places to visit in Greece that it can be puzzling to decide where exactly you should go.
Are you into those magnificent whitewashed landscapes and blue domes? Do you wish to wander along the cobblestone alleys adorned with pink bougainvillea? Are you a fan of water sports and stunning beaches? This list outlines a few hints of the best Greek destinations, with some iconic places you can include in a first-timer’s Greece itinerary or even on your second visit to Greece. Take a look!
Henry Miller once said, “It takes a lifetime to discover Greece, but it only takes an instant to fall in love with her”.
The first place to start your quest for the best places to see in Greece should be the capital, and you’ll instantly fall in love. Athens will always be a city that inspires one to wonder and marvel.
This ancient city bore the fundamentals of the democracy we enjoy today. The cradle of civilization and philosophy will take your breath away. Athens is a destination that proudly displays the remains of its ancient glory. Nearly 2500 years old, the Acropolis is not the only landmark you can admire. Athens is brimming with countless sites to visit.
The capital’s archaeological sites are all easily accessible by foot and most of them can be toured within a day. However, Greece’s cultural importance goes well beyond the capital, as you will be able to see on this list!
Athens is one of the best places in Greece for nightlife, culture, and history. It’s a wonderful place in Greece for families, for solo travelers, and for couples too!
>> Where to stay in Athens
Here are three great places to stay in Athens that are good value for money.
- Brown Acropol by Brown Hotels: Located in Omonia (Rated 9.7), check the latest prices here.
- Athinas Street Inn: In the city center (Rated 8.9), see more details and the latest prices here.
- Hotel Katerina: Also in the city center (Rated 8.6), you can compare the room prices here.
- Check more accommodation in Athens on Booking.com.
>> Best value for money tours in Athens
2. Santorini (One of the most amazing places to visit in Greece!)
Probably the most famous Greek destination is Santorini. This incredible island brings visuals that belong to a kind of magical place. The landscape is surreal and it has spurred speculation of being part of the long lost Atlantis. Truth or myth, once you have visited Santorini, it’s easy to see the origin of that myth.
Santorini is one of the best places to visit in Greece. Even if it’s sometimes overcrowded and too touristic, a trip to Santorini is one of those things you should do at least once in your lifetime!
There are plenty of gorgeous views and romantic landscapes in every area of the island. However, if you’re after those idyllic images you’ve seen over and over again, the Caldera is the first place to visit.
There are hundreds of things to do in Santorini, no matter where you go or where you stay.
My most favorite thing to do on the island is to take pictures. I usually get up early and wander around the different villages having fun with my camera. I’ve been doing it for a while and I’ve also written a guide about taking photos in Santorini.
Usually at 10 am, the streets start to get crowded. So, after a morning wandering around, it’s time to put my camera away and find a cute quaint cafe with a view.
If you’re looking for places to visit in Greece with children, don’t think that Santorini is only about romance and honeymooners! It can be great to visit Santorini with kids.
The Archaeological Site of Akrotiri is one of the most important prehistoric settlements in Greece, dating back to the Bronze Age. The site is on the southernmost tip of Santorini and children love to visit Akrotiri.
Akrotiri underwent massive destruction by the Theran eruption (around 1600 BC). As a consequence the city remained buried under the ashes of the volcano for ages, thus being preserved until its discovery a few decades ago.
If you want to explore inland Santorini, rent a car, and make your own itinerary. Include the hidden gems of Pyrgos and Vothonas villages in your itinerary. They are ideal places to go in order to taste the local gastronomy and discover some of the best wineries in Greece.
Santorini is one of the most photographed Greek islands and certainly a popular place in Greece for a honeymoon. What could be more beautiful than a romantic holiday in Santorini?
>> Where to stay in Santorini
These places to stay in Santorini have great ratings and very affordable prices, take a look.
- Roula Villa Studios and Apartments in the village of Perissa (Rated 9.2). You can read the reviews and check the prices here.
- Chez Sophie is in the village of Kamari (Rated 9.5), you can see details and latest prices here.
- Caldera Romantica is a beautiful place in the area of Akrotiri (Rated 8.8). Check photos and the latest prices here.
- If you are ok spending a bit more, check accommodation overlooking the Caldera on Booking.com.
>> These tours allow you to discover the best of Santorini if you’re short of time and are great value for money
3. Crete (My absolute favorite place in Greece!)
Cretan customs, cultural, and behavioral patterns are found nowhere else in Greece. Crete is definitely one of the best places in Greece and it deserves a spot in your travel bucket list.
Crete qualifies as an entire region rather than just an island. It has its own dialect and variations of it, as well as unique local ways of life. Be patient with me though… it’s the place I chose to call home! There’s no way I’ll be short of words talking about Crete. Since the island is really huge, I’ve divided this destination into regions.
If you’re short of time, jump right to the next place to visit in Greece. Instead, if you are – just like me – all about Crete, check the complete Crete travel guide, or take a look at the 50 unmissable things to do in Crete.
The regions in Crete
Crete comprises four distinctly different regions. The more you explore, the more you’ll be able to unveil the best of each of them. If your curiosity leads you to explore the island in detail, you’d be clearly better off by renting a car. Don’t know where to start? This guide about driving on Crete will make it much easier for you!
Crete is great for a family holiday, although not exclusively. It offers a plethora of vibrant experiences for every kind of traveler.
Region of Chania
From left to right, west to east, we first find Chania. The region home to the most astonishing beaches in Crete, including the famous lagoon of Balos and the incredible pink sand beach of Elafonisi. But there are plenty of other beaches in West Crete, some lesser-known and worth discovering.
Another key place to visit in Greece is the old town of Chania with its romantic Venetian harbor. To stay at an ideal location, choose a top-rated city hotel in Chania close to the seafront, the views will be unforgettable.
Chania is a city full of history and legends that make it a one of a kind destination in Greece. Besides, Crete’s mild climate allows for extended beach holidays even in months that are colder in other parts of Europe.
>> These are two of my absolute favorite tours in Chania, super convenient and fun!
The Chania region makes one of the best places to visit in Greece: Great beaches, gorgeous old town, the imposing White Mountains, and heartfelt hospitality.
Region of Rethymnon
Rethymno, similarly to Chania, also has a picturesque harbor and a Venetian old town worth a visit. In fact, the charm of the city lies mostly in its labyrinth of alleyways with impressive buildings from the Venetian and Turkish domination of the island.
Rimondi Fountain is one of those places. It has a unique Renaissance charm and they say that if you drink from the fountain, chances are you will return to the city.
Among some of the best things to do in Rethymno, a visit to the historic Arkadi Monastery is always a good idea. You will have to drive towards the mountains for about half an hour to reach this impressive site. If you’re wondering how much time you would need to visit the top places in the region, check this Rethymnon itinerary.
>> These are convenient and truly original experiences to explore the hidden gems of Rethymnon
Region of Heraklion
The capital city of Crete is Heraklion, and it is also the 4th largest city in Greece. Despite being Crete’s most cosmopolitan town, it has a historical charm that will grab your attention. If you are planning to visit, check these different itineraries to see the best of Crete’s capital and the places nearby.
The port is home to the impressive Koules fortress and the city’s wall fortifications which were built during the Venetian era. However, the reason why Heraklion is one of the best places to visit in Greece is Knossos, the magnificent Minoan Palace, just a few minutes from the center.
The Archaeological Palace of Knossos is a remarkable ancient settlement where the mysterious Minoan civilization strived for centuries, as far back in time as the Bronze Age. A visit to the palace is great to learn about the unique past of the island
You can visit the site catching the bus from the old bust station of Heraklion. The ticket is about €2. A taxi from the city center will charge you less than €10.
>> Check these top-recommended experiences in Heraklion
Region of Lasithi
My second favorite region in Crete is Lasithi. Lonely and isolated, it’s the perfect place in Greece for a relaxing holiday. Those who can afford to upgrade their stay can soak in magnificent sea views in Elounda. The village is located about 10 kilometers from Agios Nikolaos, facing the beautiful Mirabello bay.
This is one of the best resorts in Greece, known for being home to some luxurious hotels. In fact, Elounda is thought to have the highest rate of landings of private helicopters all over Greece.
In Elounda, you can enjoy the unique views of the nearby island of Spinalonga.
Those in search of the more authentic Lasithi should definitely consider renting a car and embarking on a day trip to the Lasithi Plateau. Once there, make a stop to check the stunning geological formations in the Cave of Zeus, in the village of Psychro.
Another pretty mountain village you can check in Lasithi is Kritsa. It stands in the mountains, less than 30 minutes from Agios Nikolaos. It’s fairly easy to visit by car, or with public transport. You can take the bus at Agios Nikolaos’ main bus station, the trip takes about half an hour and the bus ticket is 2 euros.
>> If you’re looking for a hassle-free tour in Lasithi to explore the region like a local, take a look at these interesting tours with very reasonable prices
Don’t be surprised to find Crete in virtually every list including the 10 top places to visit in Greece. Crete is perfect for adventure, unique landscapes, and breathtaking beaches.
>> Where to stay in Crete
Here are the four places I prefer (and where I’ve personally stayed) in Crete, I’ve decided to add one for each of the regions. This article will help you choose which is the best region to stay in Crete.
- Casa Delfino Hotel & Spa is my absolute favorite hotel in Chania Old Town (Rated 9.5), you can check the prices here.
- Archipelagos Hotel is a super convenient place to stay in Rethymnon (Rated 9.3). Check the reviews and the prices here.
- Galaxy Hotel Iraklio is a great hotel downtown Heraklio, with a super pool! (Read my review – Rated 8.9) The latest prices and reviews are here.
- Porto Maltese Boutique Estate is the place where I like to stay when in Agios Nikolaos (Read my review – Rated 8.9), Read the reviews and check the prices here.
- There are hundreds of great hotels to stay in Crete. Check more Crete hotels, read reviews, and compare prices on Booking.com.
I usually like to say that if I hadn’t moved to Crete, I would be living in Naxos. And I mean it. In my opinion, Naxos is one of the best places to visit in Greece. It has a unique Cycladic atmosphere, there’s a great nightlife and, yet, it’s less crowded than other more popular islands.
Since it’s bigger than most of the islands in the Aegean, there’s plenty to do in Naxos. And certainly, the more you travel around, the more you will want to stay.
One of the most surprising things about Naxos is the landscape made of green valleys and imposing mountains with small villages that treasure old habits and traditions of Greece.
The island is quite big, so renting a car is the best option you have to explore those areas off the beaten path. Include in your itinerary villages like Halki, Filoti, or Apeiranthos. They are located quite close to each other and can make a great day trip when in Naxos. If you’re into Greek gastronomy, make a point to sample the local cheeses and spoon sweets too.
There are awesome beaches along the coast of Naxos. Many of them can be rightfully included among the best beaches in Greece. There are also imposing archaeological ruins scattered around the island, starting with the magnificent Portara that welcomes you to Naxos, but also the Temple of Sangri, and the mysterious Kouroi.
The island of Naxos is one of the best places in Greece for a family holiday or a vacation with friends. It’s a great Greek destination to explore, relax, and have fun too!
>> Where to stay in Naxos
Here are three convenient places to stay in Naxos plus the stunning villa that hosted us a few years ago.
- Sahara Apartments is a convenient accommodation in Kastraki (Rated 9.6). You can check the prices and reviews on Booking.com.
- Hotel Semelis near the spectacular beach of Agios Prokopios (Rated 9.2). Check the latest prices on Booking.com.
- Vasilikos Studios is in the tranquil village of Agios Georgios (Rated 9.0). Compare prices and check availability on Booking.com
- We were so lucky to be hosted in these magnificent villas of the Naxian Collection (Rated 8.0)! Check the prices and reviews on Booking.com.
>> Check these captivating organized activities on Naxos island
Mykonos is probably the best island in Greece for partying and having fun. It’s a great place to go with friends if you’re into clubbing and dancing the night away. Yes, that’s what Mykonos is known for. However, the island is also one of the greatest places in Greece for beaches.
Some of the most beautiful beaches in Greece are on the coast of Mykonos. Pristine shores, soft golden sand, and unique emerald bays that are just too pretty to be real.
Besides, the old town of Mykonos, with its typical Cycladic architecture, cobblestone alleys, white churches, and windmills is a place that seems to come right out of a perfect postcard.
Although you wouldn’t think of Mykonos as a great place to go with kids, we took a holiday with the family on the island and it was magnificent. There are indeed many things to do in Mykonos with children, there are interesting museums and natural landscapes, plus some very safe and shallow bays.
Mykonos can be a bit overpriced in specific locations that are more exclusive. Yet, if you manage to book well in advance, you won’t be spending a lot more than on other hot destinations in Greece.
Mykonos is the best place in Greece for partying. There are dozens of clubs, beach bars, and discos. Mykonos is also known for its tolerance to gay tourism and private atmosphere!
>> Where to stay in Mykonos
These are three great value-for-money places to stay in Mykonos. The first of them is where we stayed a few years ago.
- Acrogiali Hotel – Platys Gialos (Rated 9.4) Check prices on Booking.com.
- Casa Grande Hotel – Platys Gialos (Rated 9.0) More info on Booking.com.
- My Mykonos Retreat – Ornos (Rated 8.1) Check availability on Booking.com.
- Or you can check more properties in Mykonos on Booking.com.
>> Go off the beaten track in Mykonos and discover a different side to the island
One of the safest places in Greece to travel with kids is definitely Corfu. It was one of the first islands I visited as a solo mom with my kids and everything went really smooth. The island is very big and green, as it receives a lot of rain during the cold season. The Ionian sea is incredibly beautiful and the beaches amazing.
Paleokastritsa is among our favorite beaches in Corfu. The water is slightly colder than in other places as it’s surrounded by beautiful caves that you can also explore with a boat. A cool day trip to Paxos and Antipaxos by boat took us to explore these small islands with stunning views, pristine seas, and lush vegetation.
Corfu is one of the top places to visit in Greece because of its history, its sights, and the relaxed beach life on the island. If you are looking for a great holiday destination in Greece, big enough to explore and have fun, whether it is as a couple, with the family, or alone, look no further than Corfu.
Corfu has every ingredient for a great holiday in Greece. Stunning landscapes, great beaches, and delicious gastronomy. It’s also a very safe place in Greece to visit with the family.
>> Where to stay in Corfu
Check these convenient hotels in Corfu, they have great reviews and acceptable prices.
- Anemona Studios is located in one of my favorite places on the island, Paleokastritsa (Rated 9.1). It has rooms from €25/night on Booking.com.
- Anna Apartments is in the village of Kontokali (Rated 9.1). Find more info on Booking.com.
- Christakis is in Sidari, close to the dreamy Canal d’Amour (Rated 9.0). Check availability and compare fees on Booking.com.
- If you didn’t find available rooms in any of the hotels above, check more hotels in Corfu on Booking.com.
>> Check these top-rated experiences to enjoy the best of Corfu
Just an hour away from the bustling city of Athens, Hydra is a small island on the Saronic Gulf. It’s a great city break when you’re staying in the capital of Greece. In almost no time from the Port of Piraeus, you will be stepping into the Greek island vibe and lifestyle.
Life on the island is tranquil and slow. There are no cars, nor bikes or motorcycles, in fact, donkeys and horses are part of the local landscape and are one of the most famous features of Hydra Island.
However, there’s more to do on the island than just checking the donkeys by the port. If you spending just a day in Hydra, walk along the coast to discover the hidden coves and the small seaside settlements that will come your way. Just stop for a swim at the cove that appeals you the most, and then move on to the next Hydra beach.
If you’re not into walking long distances, you can reach further beaches hiring a taxi boat at the main port. Once you’re done swimming and sunbathing, explore the village, have an ice cream by the sea, or eat in one of the many tavernas at the port of Hydra.
And don’t forget to check the beautiful sunset while you’re waiting for your ferry to take you back to Athens.
Hydra is a small island close to Athens and it’s a unique place in Greece for a city break or a day trip from the capital. Hydra is close enough to Athens for you to visit in a day.
>> Where to stay in Hydra
The island of Hydra is very small and the accommodation offer is rather limited, if you want to obtain great fees, it’s a good idea to book in advance. These are three convenient places to check on the island.
- Filenia Hotel – Hydra (Rated 8.6) With rooms from €75/night on Booking.com.
- Sidra Hotel – Hydra (Rated 8.9). Check here for prices and more details on Booking.com.
- Hydras Chromata – Hydra (Rated 9.3). Read reviews and check prices on Booking.com.
- It’s also possible to check more Hydra hotels on Booking.com.
>> Check these great tours that offer a fantastic highlight of Hydra
One of the hot Greek islands for holidays is Paros, definitely one of the coolest places in Greece for holidays. Home to unique beaches, traditional settlements, a quaint little port, and mouthwatering gastronomy, a trip to Paros will create everlasting memories to anybody visiting
There are plenty of things to do in Paros since the island is rather big and usually busy in summer. One of my favorite places is the mountain village of Lefkes. If you visit during the gastronomic festival, you can sample snails dishes that have gained Lefkes and name in the Cycladic islands.
There are also interesting buildings you can visit in Paros, such as the Byzantine church of Panagia Ekatontapoliani or the spectacular rests of the Frankish Castle, a Medieval Fortress overlooking the sea.
As far as sunbathing is concerned, Paros has some of the best beaches in Greece. Santa Maria Beach is a paradise for water sports since it has perfect wind conditions. On the other hand, the stunning beach of Kolymbithres will amaze you with a landscape of smooth rocks and shallow, crystal waters.
Paros has quickly become the new Santorini of Greece minus the crazy price tags. The island features a perfect Cycladic atmosphere but also has great nightlife, unique gastronomy, beautiful mountain settlements, and heavenly beaches to enjoy. Paros is the place to go for young people in Greece.
>> Where to stay in Paros
Here are some good places where you can book your stay on the island of Paros
- Marisa Rooms is in the capital of the island, Parikia (Rated 9.2). Find rooms from €38/night on Booking.com.
- Roses Beach Hotel is another top-rated place in Paroikia (Rated 9.3). Check here for more details on Booking.com.
- Piperaki Rooms is in the romantic town of Naoussa (Rated 9.4). Read the reviews and compare the prices on Booking.com.
- It’s also possible to check more Paros hotels on Booking.com.
>> These two tours at sea are great value for money!
The world-famous view of the turquoise waters on the Navagio Beach (also known as the Shipwreck Beach) of Zakynthos is one of those images that make you want to book your holiday in Greece asap!
As a matter of fact, Zakynthos is one of those magical Greek islands you don’t want to miss. It has become one of the trendy places to visit in Greece, chosen by thousands tourists from Europe every season. But there’s a lot more to do on this island.
The best way to go about Zakyntos is by car. The island is not as big as Rhodes, Corfu, or Crete, and can be seen traveling independently.
The coast of Zakynthos is a famous place in Greece to spot sea turtles, there are different tours and immersion excursions you can choose from if you want to see these beautiful creatures really close.
Other than the must-do day trip to Zakynthos Town, one cool thing to do in Zakynthos is to visit the spectacular Porto Azurro. The paradisiac beach features beautiful rocks that emerge from the crystal waters surrounded by an incredibly green landscape. The area is also great for snorkeling.
One of the best things to do in Greece is to rent a car and explore the landscape. It’s quite easy to travel by car and it’s certainly the best way to discover the hidden landscapes of Zakynthos.
>> Where to stay in Zakynthos
On this list, there are three of the top-rated, convenient hotels in Zakynthos
- Hotel Varres is a convenient accommodation in Zakynthos Town (Rated 8.9.). Check prices and availability on Booking.com.
- Fiore Beach Studios is in the area of Vasilikos (Rated 9.1). Prices and more info on Booking.com.
- Memories Apartment is a great place to stay in the town of Lagana (Rated 9.1) Check availability and compare fees on Booking.com.
- If you didn’t find available rooms in any of these hotels, check more hotels in Zakynthos on Booking.com.
>> These three classic excursions in Zakhyntos are among the most popular activities to enjoy on the island
Patmos is an off-the-beaten-track destination in Greece. It’s located in the Dodecanese cluster of islands, and it’s considered one of the most exclusive places to visit in Greece.
The island, one of the best places in Greece for religious tourism, is visited by hundreds of tourists every year, eager to know everything about the famous Cave of the Apocalypse and the historic Monastery of Saint John. The monastery stands on top of the old town of Patmos, a place full of stunning fortified mansions and maze-like cobblestone alleys.
There are many more things to do in Patmos other than visiting the spiritual centers on the island. The main settlement and port, Skala is great for dining, shopping, or sitting for a drink in the main square, close to the Marina.
There are plenty of beaches in Patmos to choose from, some of them of unique beauty, Agrio Livadi and Lampi are two of the nicest shores on the island.
However, if you’re looking for a beach that takes your breath away, hike until you reach the blue waters of Psili Ammos. The beach is somewhat hard to reach but the relaxing vibe of the place is totally worth it.
Some might consider Patmos an island off the beaten track and somewhat too exclusive. However, the calm atmosphere of Patmos is what makes the locals proud. If you’re looking for a different place where to go in Greece, Patmos won’t disappoint you!
>> Where to stay in Patmos
These are three top-rated and convenient hotels in Patmos
- Byzance Hotel is in the coastal town of Skala (Rated 9.0). With rooms from €55/night on Booking.com.
- Patmos Aktis Suites and Spa is a beautiful, minimalistic hotel right by the stunning beach Grikos (Rated 8.9). Check prices on Booking.com.
- Captain’s House is just minutes away from the port of Skala (Rated 9.0). Check availability and compare fees on Booking.com.
- If you didn’t find available rooms in any of these hotels, check more hotels in Patmos on Booking.com.
>> Check these two different ways to explore the Monastery ofSaint John and other highlights in Patmos
Heading to Greece soon? I’m sure these resources will help you plan the perfect holiday on the Greek islands!
- Start by heading right to my Greece travel guide for in-depth details you need to know about Greece. You can also check my post to plan a trip to Greece with children!
- Probably, you’re planning to experience the thrilling island-hopping experience. Head to this article and read about the best cruise ports in Greece.
- If you’re a fan of immersions, don’t miss the 10 best spots in Greece for scuba diving.
- Finally, to have updated information about the island of Crete, as well as about the rest of Greece, join my private group on Facebook about Crete and download a copy of my West Crete Travel Guide to have it always with you if you visit Crete!
Finally, make sure you’ve got everything you for a hassle-free trip!
- Ferry and plane travel from one island to the other is much (really very much!) easier with a comfortable, roomy but also light carry-on… Nothing beats my Osprey backpack, the most loyal travel partner over the last 5 years. I just love it. To join tours, explore archaeological sites, and visit museums, this little crossbody bag is always around.
- I always take my Nikon D7200 for the best shots of the island I’m lost without any of them. In summer I also carry good sunscreen lotion since the sun in the Aegean can be pretty merciless.
- Greece is a fairly safe destination, however, I’m sure you know that it’s always better to travel with an insurance policy for complete peace of mind. My favorite? World Nomads. Already left home? Buy your travel insurance online now!
- Always bring with you a good travel guide! Lonely Planet’s Best of Greece & the Greek Islands is filled with inspiring photos and focuses on Greece & the Greek Islands’ most popular attractions to experience the best of the best.
- Airfares to Greece are very different from one airline to the other, make sure you always compare ticket prices with a powerful search engine. And once in Greece, don’t miss the romantic opportunity of traveling by sea. I always choose Let’s Ferry to visit the islands or to travel home to Crete from Athens. It has a powerful search engine to get the right ticket you need!
- Driving in Greece can take you to places you never thought to see. Find the cheapest rental car using a good car rental search engine. Discover Cars searches over 500 trusted rental companies for you to find the best deal. Compare prices for rental cars in Greece here.
Do you have everything you need? Then you just have to get ready to discover the beauty of Greece!
And what about you? Which of this places in Greece are you planning to visit soon?
Let me know in the comments below!
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About the Author
Hola! I’m Gabi. Welcome to The Tiny Book – Crete Travel Blog! I moved to Crete to explore the island all year round. I love taking pictures and driving on the mountain roads of Crete. I’m a beach freak and on this island I’ve found heaven on earth!