Best Summer Destinations in Greece: Most Popular Places for a Great Vacation

summer destinations in greece

Traveling to Greece is an experience that is both exciting and enriching, and there are many things to see and do in this beautiful country.

In this article, we will explore some of the top summer destinations in Greece and provide some tips for travelers.

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The Most Popular Summer Destinations in Greece

Summer destinations in Greece

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Greece is a country steeped in history and culture, with a landscape that is breathtakingly beautiful, hospitable people, and mesmerizing traditions.

Known as the birthplace of democracy, Greece is a country that is filled with ancient ruins, stunning beaches, picturesque islands, and a cuisine that is mouthwateringly delicious.

And in summer, it can be an exciting destination for a seaside holiday. So let’s now discover what are the most popular (and top-visited) summer destinations in Greece!


popular summer destinations in greece

Athens, the capital city of Greece, is a place where you will breathe culture and history. The city offers visitors a wide range of activities and sights to explore.

The city, just like the rest of the country, is one of the most popular summer destinations in Europe (yet, the city offers many memorable experiences in winter too.)

Here are some of the top things to do in Athens:

Visit the Acropolis

summer destinations in greece

The Acropolis is one of the most famous landmarks in Athens and for good reason. This ancient citadel sits atop a hill overlooking the city and is home to several impressive ruins, including the Parthenon, the Propylaea, and the Erechtheion.

You can read more about all the most important sites in the Acropolis here. Alternatively, you can book a guided tour that also includes a visit to the Acropolis Museum to learn everything about these must-see Greek landmarks.

Explore the Ancient Agora

summer destinations in greece

The Ancient Agora was the heart of ancient Athens and was once the center of political, social, and commercial activity.

Today, you can explore the ruins of temples, marketplaces, and government buildings and learn about life in ancient Athens.

You can visit with a very affordable pre-booked e-ticket that includes skip-the-line access and an. You can purchase the ticket online here.

Discover the National Archaeological Museum

summer destinations in greece

The National Archaeological Museum is one of the world’s top museums and is home to an impressive collection of ancient Greek artifacts, including pottery, sculptures, and jewelry.

The museum is at 44, 28is Oktovriou Street, and the summer visiting hours ( from April 1st to October 31st) are as follows:
Tuesday: 13:00 – 20:00
From Wednesday to Monday: 08:00 – 20:00

A private guided tour is the best way to experience the visit and learn everything about the most outstanding pieces to check out in the National Archaeological Museum

Wander Through Plaka

summer destinations in greece

Plaka is a charming neighborhood in the heart of Athens that offers a glimpse into the city’s past. With its narrow streets, colorful houses, and quaint cafes, Plaka is the perfect place to wander and explore.

Besides, the area is also an excellent location if you’re looking for affordable Greek souvenirs to take back home for friends and families.

Admire the View from Mount Lycabettus

summer destinations in greece

Mount Lycabettus is the highest point in Athens and offers stunning views of the city. I suggest you hike to the top or take a funicular to the summit and once there, you can relax, enjoy a coffee or a cold drink, and stay until the sun sets over Athens… it’s truly an unforgettable view!

Visit the Temple of Olympian Zeus

Temple of Olympian Zeus.
Temple of Olympian Zeus.

The Temple of Olympian Zeus is one of the largest ancient temples in Greece and was dedicated to the god Zeus.

While much of the temple is in ruins, you can still marvel at the size of the remaining columns and the scale of this impressive structure.

Explore the Benaki Museum

summer destinations in greece

The Benaki Museum is a fascinating museum that showcases the art and culture of Greece from ancient times to the present day.

The museum’s collections include everything from ancient Greek artifacts to contemporary art and fashion.

The museum is at 1 Koumpari Street, and it opens from 10 am to 6 pm and it’s closed on Tuesdays. You can get the entrance tickets here.

Stroll Through the National Gardens

summer destinations in greece

The National Gardens are a peaceful oasis in the heart of Athens and are home to a variety of plants, trees, and wildlife.

When here, go ahead and enjoy a leisurely stroll through the gardens or relax on one of the many benches. Many of them stand under the trees, for a much-needed shade break in summer!

Watch the Changing of the Guard

Summer destinations in Greece
Evzones in Summer (khaki) uniform.

The Changing of the Guard is a popular attraction in Athens and takes place in front of the Parliament Building every hour, on the hour.

Over here, it’s possible to watch as the soldiers perform their intricate dance-like movements and snap a few photos.

To do so, head to Syntagma Square, reach the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier right on the Parliament, and find the right spot to have a perfect view of the ceremony.

Enjoy Greek Cuisine

summer destinations in greece

Athens is home to a vibrant food scene, and visitors should not miss the chance to sample some of the city’s famous dishes, such as moussaka, souvlaki, and the most popular sweet, baklava.

Be sure to visit one of the many tavernas or restaurants in the city and indulge in some delicious Greek cuisine.


summer destinations in greece

Santorini is a beautiful island in the Aegean Sea and is – together with the capital of the country – arguably, the most popular destination in the country.

Santorini is known for its stunning sunsets, whitewashed buildings, and blue-domed churches. It is a popular destination for honeymooners and couples, but it is also a great place to visit for anyone looking for a relaxing vacation.

The island is home to a few beaches of rare beauty including Red Beach, and two incredible black sand beaches, Perissa and Kamari. A good part of the island is surrounded by cliffs with stunning views of the Aegean Sea.

Apart from the beaches, Santorini is also home to many wineries, where travelers can taste some of the local wines. The island is known for its Assyrtiko wine, which is a white wine that is made from grapes grown on the island.

Here are some of the top things to do in Santorini:

Visit Oia

Oia, church and domes by the sea, Santorini Itinerary
General view of Oia, North of the island, and certainly a must in your Santorini itinerary.

Oia is one of the most picturesque villages in Santorini and is famous for its white-washed buildings and blue-domed churches.

Stroll through the narrow streets, admire the views of the caldera, and watch the sunset from the famous Oia Castle.

Local’s tip: If you enjoy reading and curious books, then don’t miss a stop at Atlantis Bookstore in Santorini, one of the most famous shops on the island

Explore Fira

summer destinations in Greece
Fira, Santorini.

Fira is the capital of Santorini and is home to a variety of shops, restaurants, and museums. This is another enchanting settlement, although often crowded with one-day visitors.

Here, you can explore the narrow streets, take in the views of the caldera, and visit the Archaeological Museum and the Museum of Prehistoric Thera.

Hike the Caldera Trail

summer destinations in greece

The Caldera Trail is a popular hiking trail that runs along the cliffs of the Caldera from Fira to Oia. The trail offers stunning views of the sea, the villages, and the volcanic landscape.

Those planning to hike the trail during summer should carry plenty of water, apply sunscreen, and wear a hat. Besides, hiking early in the morning or at sunset will help you avoid the hottest hours of the day.

Visit the Ancient City of Akrotiri

Vases, archaeological site in Akrotiri, Santorini.
Vases, the archaeological site in Akrotiri, Santorini.

The Ancient City of Akrotiri is an archaeological site that was buried by volcanic ash in the 17th century BC.

You can visit the site to explore the ruins of the city, including houses, public buildings, and frescoes.

The archaeological site is covered by a roof, which makes it an excellent visit during the hottest hours of the day in summer and to get away from the merciless rays on the island.

Head here to purchase the entry tickets in advance.

Swim at Red Beach

summer destinations in greece

Red Beach is a beautiful beach with red volcanic sand and crystal-clear waters. At the beach, you can swim, snorkel, and sunbathe while enjoying the unique scenery.

To get there, you will first need to reach the village of Akrotiri and then hike on the side of the cliff to descend to the beach.

Since the Akrotiri Archaeological Site and the Red Beach are in the same area, it’s a good idea to get to the beach after visiting the site. The sunsets from Akrotiri’s Red Beach are spectacular.

Take a Boat Tour

summer destinations in greece

Boat tours are a popular way to explore the island and see the caldera from a different perspective. It’s a great idea to take a sailing tour, a catamaran tour, or a sunset cruise.

In fact, there are tours for all budgets, some of them include food while others allow you to dive and explore the interesting volcanic sunbed, typical of Santorini’s coast.

This is one of the best-selling boat tours in Santorini.

Visit Santo Wines

wine - fruit - vinsanto Santorini

Santo Wines is a popular winery that offers wine tasting and tours.

During the visit, you can taste the local wines, learn about the history of winemaking on the island, and enjoy the views of the caldera.

If wine-making is something you enjoy, there is a good wine museum to visit on the island. You can also book a wine tour to visit different wineries and taste some of the best labels in Santorini.

Relax at Santorini’s Hot Springs

summer destinations in greece

The hot springs in Santorini are said to have therapeutic properties and are a popular spot for relaxation.

It’s possible to take a boat tour to the hot springs and enjoy a swim in the warm waters. Most tours normally take you to visit the island of Nea Kameni where you can take the path to the crater of the active volcano and then head to Palea Kameni, where you will swim in the volcanic hot springs.

This particular tour also takes you to Thirassia, where you’ll have free time to explore Manolas or then head to Oia to enjoy the sunset.

Explore the Village of Pyrgos

village, Santorini, alley, Greece

Pyrgos is a traditional village in Santorini that offers a glimpse into the island’s past. You can explore the narrow streets, admire the views, and visit the medieval castle. I visited Pyrgos during Easter and the experience was stunning.

If you’re looking for more things to do in Santorini, then check out my complete travel guide to the island or the section of the blog devoted to Santorini.


summer destinations in greece

Mykonos is another popular island in the Aegean Sea and is known for its nightlife and party scene. It is a popular summer destination in Greece for young travelers, but it is also a great place to visit for anyone looking for a fun and lively vacation. You can read about visiting Mykonos’ beaches with kids here.

The island is home to many beaches, including Paradise Beach, Super Paradise Beach, and Ornos Beach, although my favorite beach is Elia, one of the widest shores on the island.

The beaches are known for their crystal-clear waters and are perfect for swimming and sunbathing.

Apart from the beaches, Mykonos is also home to many bars and clubs, including the famous Cavo Paradiso, which is known for its all-night parties.

The island is also home to many restaurants serving traditional Greek food, including fresh seafood and grilled meats.

Here are some of the top things to do in Mykonos:

Explore Little Venice


Little Venice is a charming neighborhood in Mykonos town known for its colorful houses that hang over the water.

Once you have reached the district, stroll along the waterfront, admire the views, and enjoy a drink at one of the many bars and restaurants.

Also in this area, you will find one of the most iconic views of the island, the whitewashed church of Panagia Paraportiani, which is – in fact – five churches built together (you can discover more about this church down below).

Visit the Windmills


The Windmills of Mykonos are one of the island’s most famous landmarks. You can climb to visit the mills on the hills to take in the views of the sea and the town or check out the mills by the sea, known as Kato Mili.

No matter what you choose, you will learn a lot about the history of wind power on the island.

If you’re interested in learning more about these iconic giants of Myknonos, head to this article I’ve written completely devoted to these mills.

Party at Paradise Beach

summer destinations in greece

Paradise Beach is one of the most famous beaches in Mykonos, known for its lively beach parties and nightlife.

If you’re eager to enjoy the music, dance on the sand, and swim in the crystal-clear waters, this is the right place to check out in Mykonos in summer.

Explore Mykonos Town

Crete or Mykonos: Mykonos Chora

Mykonos Town is a picturesque town with narrow streets, colorful buildings, and bougainvillea flowers.

This whitewashed settlement is a lively place in summer when dozens of people wander the alleys ready to take the perfect snapshot of Mykonos.

To explore the area better, it’s a good idea to join an organized tour to explore the town, visit the churches and museums, and shop for souvenirs.

Relax at Psarou Beach

Cavo Psarou, Mykonos.

Psarou Beach is a beautiful sandy beach with turquoise waters and a relaxed atmosphere.

It’s a good idea to spend a whole day on this beach. You will be able to sunbathe on the loungers, swim in the sea, and enjoy a meal at one of the beachfront restaurants.

Take a Boat Tour

summer destinations in greece
The coast of Rhenia, (courtesy of Golden Yachting and Sailing).

Boat tours are a popular way to explore the island and see the nearby islands of Delos, an impressive archaeological site, and Rhenia, a paradisiac island with emerald waters where swimming and jumping off the boat is one of the most fun things to do!

To visit both islands, you can take a sailing tour, a catamaran tour, or a sunset cruise. This is the boat trip we recommend.

Visit the Church of Panagia Paraportiani

White Cycladic church
Panagia Paraportiani in the Little Venice district.

The Church of Panagia Paraportiani is a unique church in Mykonos Town that consists of four small chapels merged together and a fifth one sitting on top.

During the visit to this tranquil square in the backstreets of Little Venice, you can admire the architecture of the whitewashed churches as well as admire the views of the sea and the town.

Enjoy Greek Cuisine

summer destinations in greece

Mykonos is another of the many Greek islands also known for its delicious Greek cuisine, including fresh seafood, grilled meats, delicious village-style sausages, and local cheeses.

Whenever in Mykonos, you should not miss the chance to sample the local cuisine at one of the many tavernas on the island.

For a more refined experience, you can also check out one of the high-end restaurants that, in the last few years, have started populating every corner of the island.

Go Scuba Diving

summer destinations in greece

Mykonos is a great destination for scuba diving, with crystal-clear waters and a variety of marine life. Why not take a diving tour to explore the underwater world of the Aegean Sea?

Click here to find out all the diving opportunities you can find on the island. This article with the best scuba diving spots in Greece includes a special section devoted to diving in Mykonos, check it out!

Watch the Sunset at Armenistis Lighthouse

summer destinations in greece

The Armenistis Lighthouse is located on the northern tip of the island and offers stunning views of the sea and the sunset. Once here, enjoy the views, take photos, and learn about the history of the lighthouse and the impressive marine past of Mykonos.

You can find all my articles about Mykonos in this section of the blog.


Balos Beach, one of the places to visit in this 10 days in Crete visit.

Well, it’s the turn of the island where I live!

Crete is the largest island in the country and one of the top summer destinations in Greece. It’s known for its beautiful beaches, stunning mountain scenery, and rich history.

The island is home to many ancient ruins, including the Palace of Knossos, which is a must-see for any traveler to Crete.

Apart from the historical sites, Crete is also home to many beautiful beaches, including Elafonisi Beach, the heavenly Balos Beach, and Falasarna Beach. These, but also other equally incredible beaches, feature crystal-clear waters and some of the most stunning views you will ever experience in your life!

Crete is also known for its cuisine, which is based on fresh local ingredients, the so-called Cretan Diet. On Crete, you will find top-quality extra virgin olive oil, fragrant thyme honey, and an incredible choice of cheese.

In every Cretan city, as well as in the mountain villages, there are many restaurants serving traditional Cretan food.

As you might know, The Tiny Book regularly publishes articles about everything you can do and see on the island, and all my Crete guides are published here.

Here are some of the top things to do in Crete:

Visit the Palace of Knossos

Minoan Palace, bull fresco, red columns

The Palace of Knossos is one of the most important archaeological sites in Greece and a must-visit for history enthusiasts.

The palace was the center of the Minoan civilization and features beautiful frescoes, impressive architecture, and intriguing myths and legends. You can visit on your own, maybe following this independent visitor’s guide, or book an organized tour of Knossos to learn every secret of the site.

Explore the Old Town of Chania

summer destinations in greece

Chania is one of the most beautiful towns in Crete (and Greece). It features picturesque narrow streets, historic Venetian architecture, and a charming harbor with an Egyptian lighthouse.

When checking out the old town, you can explore the Turkish district, visit the museums and churches, and enjoy a meal at one of the many restaurants and traditional tavernas.

Hike the Samaria Gorge

summer destinations in greece

The Samaria Gorge is a stunning natural landmark in Crete and a popular hiking destination. The gorge is 13 km long (although the total hike is about 16 km) and features beautiful scenery, wildflowers, and rare wildlife.

If you plan to hike Samaria in Summer, head there early in the morning and carry enough sunscreen to avoid sunburns. You can hike shorter gorges like Imbros, also in the region of Chania, and other fantastic canyons scattered all over Crete.

And if you don’t feel like doing Samaria on your own, there are dozens of organized tours that will take you there and organize the whole experience for you!

Relax on Elafonisi Beach

summer destinations in greece

Elafonisi Beach is one of the most beautiful beaches in Crete, with pink sand, turquoise waters, and a relaxed atmosphere. Spending a day at Elafonisi gives you plenty of opportunities to sunbathe, swim, and enjoy a picnic on the beach. Water sports are also popular in Elafonisi.

You can get there on your own, or get in touch with me so I can get you there with my own van and driver!

Visit the Venetian Fortress of Rethymno

summer destinations in greece

The Venetian Fortress of Rethymno is a beautiful landmark in the town of Rethymno, with impressive architecture, stunning views, and a rich history.

When checking out the old town of Rethymnon, explore the fortress, walk along the walls, and enjoy the views of the town and the sea.

Take a Boat Tour

Boat Trips Crete - Balos
Boats in Balos Lagoon.

Boat tours are a great way to explore the island and see the nearby islands and beaches. There are dozens of boat tours available on every coast of the island and in each region.

Take a sailing tour, a catamaran tour, or a snorkeling tour on the Libyan Sea to the impressive sunbed of South Crete. Here, you will find some of the best boat tour options available in Crete every summer.

Visit the Archaeological Museum of Heraklion


The Archaeological Museum of Heraklion is one of the most important museums in Greece, with a rich collection of artifacts from the Minoan civilization.

During the visit, you will learn about the history and culture of Crete and admire the beautiful objects on display which make this, one of the most important museums in the country.

Relax in Loutro village

summer destinations in greece

Loutro is a charming fishing village in Crete situated on the southern coast in the Chania region, facing the Libyan Sea.

The place is better known for its crystal-clear waters, peaceful atmosphere, and stunning scenery. During a trip to Loutro, you can relax, swim, and enjoy the local cuisine at one of the tavernas. Check out this complete guide to plan your visit to Loutro.

Visit the Monastery of Arkadi


The Monastery of Arkadi is a historic landmark in Crete, with impressive architecture, beautiful frescoes, and a tragic history.

The monastery played a key role in the Cretan resistance against the Ottoman Empire and is now a symbol of freedom and bravery. For more details to organize the visit, check out this post about Arkadi.

Taste the Local Cuisine and Enjoy the Cretan Diet

Cretan food

Crete is known for its delicious cuisine, with grilled meats, fresh greens, pulses, and local cheeses.

One of the best things to do in Crete is sample the local specialties, such as dakos, kaltsounia, and sfakianopita, at one of the traditional tavernas on the island.

Tips for Travelers Visiting Greece in Summer

When traveling to Greece, especially in summer, there are a few tips that can help make your trip more enjoyable:

If Summer is too crowded, visit in the shoulder season

Vai Palm Beach, Crete

Greece is a popular destination for tourists, and the peak season is during the summer months which goes from June to August.

If you want to avoid the crowds and enjoy milder weather, consider traveling during the shoulder season (April-May, September-October).

Learn a few Greek phrases

summer destinations in greece

While many Greeks speak English, learning a few basic phrases in Greek can go a long way in showing respect and building connections with locals.

Some useful phrases include “hello” (yassou), “thank you” (efharisto), and “please” (parakalo). I’ve written a guide to know what to expect when trying to communicate in Greece, you can read it here.

Dress appropriately

summer destinations in greece

Despite the crazy summer vibes and some stunning naturist beaches scattered here and there, Greece is – and remains – a conservative country, and it’s important to dress appropriately, especially when visiting religious sites.

Avoid wearing shorts and sleeveless tops when visiting churches or monasteries, and cover your shoulders and knees. Carrying a lightweight sarong in your backpack will make this much easier. If you’re getting ready to pack to visit some of the islands, this packing list for Crete can be of incredible help!

Try the local cuisine

summer destinations in greece

Greek cuisine is delicious and diverse, with many regional specialties. I, myself, have guided a gastronomic tour of Crete for years and I still see people surprised at the freshness and genuine tastes you can find in the country.

Be sure to try the local dishes, such as moussaka, souvlaki, and tzatziki, and sample the local wines and cheeses.

Be mindful of the environment

summer destinations in greece

Greece is home to some of the most beautiful beaches and landscapes in the world, and it’s important to be mindful of the environment when traveling.

Avoid littering, use eco-friendly products, don start fires, especially on very hot or windy summer days, and respect local wildlife.

Plan ahead for a summer in Greece

summer destinations in greece

Greece has many popular destinations, and it’s important to plan ahead to avoid disappointment.

Book your accommodation and transportation in advance, especially during the peak season, and consider visiting some of the lesser-known destinations to avoid crowds.

Be prepared for the weather

summer destinations in greece

While Greece has a Mediterranean climate with mild winters and hot summers, it’s important to be prepared for the weather, especially if you’re traveling during the shoulder season when some rains can occur.

But if you’re traveling to Greece in summer, don’t forget to bring sunscreen, sunglasses, and a hat f. For colder months, instead, do pack some layers for further comfort.

Take public transportation

summer destinations in greece
Tram in Athens.

While renting a car can be convenient, taking public transportation can be a more affordable and eco-friendly option, especially if you’re traveling within the cities.

Greece has an extensive network of buses on the islands as well as trains on the mainland, and taxis are readily available. Moving from one island to anoter by fery is also a great option to see the country.

Experience the local culture

Dancing in the sunset - greece
Dancing by the sea in Greece.

Greece has a rich cultural heritage, and it’s important to experience the local culture when traveling. Besides, Greece’s culture and traditions represent one of the main reasons to visit Greece.

So, go ahead and attend a traditional Greek dance performance, visit a local festival or celebration, or learn about the local customs and traditions.

Explore the natural beauty

Vai Palm Beach, Crete

While Greece is known for its history and culture, it’s also home to some of the most beautiful natural landscapes in the world.

Explore the mountains, valleys, lakes, and forests of the mainland, or visit the stunning islands and beaches of the Aegean Sea.

Be aware of scams

summer destinations in greece

Unfortunately, like any tourist destination, Greece has its fair share of scams and pickpocketing when it comes to big cities or crowded tourist places.

Be aware of your surroundings, keep your belongings close, and avoid carrying large amounts of cash.

Respect local customs

summer destinations in greece

Greece is a conservative country, and it’s important to respect local customs and traditions. Dress modestly, especially when visiting religious sites, and avoid public displays of affection.

Also, take into account the so-called “silence hours” from 3 to 5 avoid making loud noises or playing loud music as siesta is still a tradition that’s very much alive, mostly in small villages.

And for the love of God, do wear a T-shirt when you’re not on the beach! Or do you visit your hometown supermarket with a bare chest??

Important Practical Information to Visit Greece this Summer

summer destinations in greece

If you are a citizen of the European Union or the Schengen Area, you do not need a visa to travel to Greece as these countries have a visa-free agreement.

Citizens of many other countries, including the United States, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, also do not need a visa for stays of up to 90 days for tourism purposes.

However, if you are a citizen of a country that is not visa-exempt, you will need to apply for a travel visa before traveling to Greece.

You can check with the Greek embassy or consulate in your country to find out if you need a visa and the requirements for the application process.

It’s important to note that even if you do not need a visa, you will still need a valid passport that is valid for at least six months beyond your planned departure date from Greece.

summer destinations in greece

In conclusion, Greece is a fascinating and beautiful country with a rich history and culture.

By following these tips and taking the time to explore some of the top destinations, you can have an unforgettable and enriching travel experience in Greece.

summer destinations in greece

Whether you’re interested in ancient ruins, beautiful beaches, or delicious cuisine, Greece has something for everyone. So pack your bags, learn a few Greek phrases, and get ready for an adventure of a lifetime!
Are you planning to visit any of these summer destinations in Greece soon?

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summer destinations in greece

About me:

Gabi Ancarola | The Tiny Book

Gabi Ancarola

I have lived in Chania, Crete, since 2016. As a local, I have an intimate knowledge of the island. I host culinary and concierge tours and experiences in Crete and write about the island for several travel media. During the last five years, I have helped many travelers plan the perfect holiday in Crete. I co-authored DK Eyewitness Top 10 Crete and had more glasses of frappe than any regular person could ever handle.

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