Best places to visit in Greece
Georgina Willcox | 12 March 2021
Greece is a country that could easily overwhelm first-time visitors thanks to its sheer volume of historic and archaeological sites and there are so many places to see and experience. It’s a country that needs to be seen at least once in a lifetime and if you’re fortunate enough to return, there’s always something new to take your breath away. Here’s our suggestions for the best places to go in Greece.
A holiday to Crete is perfect for those seeking some sun, sea and culture! The largest of the Greek islands, Crete is known for its beautiful climate, wonderful beaches, picturesque towns and mountainous landscapes. Heraklion is the largest city of Crete. Among the most outstanding sights of Heraklion are the fortification walls of the “old city”. Discover the ancient Knossos Palace, the birthplace of the Minos civilisation. According to tradition, it was the seat of the legendary King Minos. The Palace is also connected with thrilling legends, such as the myth of the Labyrinth with the Minotaur, and the story of Daedalus and Icarus.
The land where civilisation began, when you visit Athens it will feel like stepping back in time to Ancient Greece. See the breath-taking Acropolis, an ancient citadel perched on a hilltop overlooking Athens. This wonderful settlement is home to the Parthenon, a beautiful Doric temple, and the Erechtheion, a temple dedicated to Poseidon. Discover the Panathenaic Stadium, host of the first modern Olympic Games and the only stadium in the world that is entirely built of marble. If you have a few extra days in the capital, one of the top day trips from Athens is a cruise around the Saronic Gulf, where you can visit the three wonderful islands of Hydra, Poros and Aegina.
Corfu, one of the lushest of the Greek Isles, is surrounded by dramatic blue waters and topped with tranquil hillside villages. Make sure to visit the old quarter of Corfu Town, a beautiful UNESCO World Heritage Site or simply explore the island's secluded coves and sandy beaches.
On our Greek Islands & Aegean Sea Cruise, you can discover Santorini, also known as Thira, part of the Cylades island group. It is famous for its stunning whitewash buildings with blue doors and roofs, which correlates with Greece's national flag. Many tourists visit Santorini to view the beautiful sunsets, which are considered to be the best in the world. On most Greek Islands cruises, there’s usually an opportunity to visit the Ancient Greek city of Ephesus in Turkey. It was famous for its Temple of Artemis, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Today you’ll find the remarkable Library of Celsus, one of the iconic sights of Ephesus.
On a holiday to Greece, you have to visit Thessaloniki, the second-largest city in the country and the capital of Central Macedonia. With over 3,000 years of history,Thessaloniki is considered Greece's cultural capital. There is plenty to explore, with monuments and traditions dating back to Roman, Byzantine, Ottoman and Jewish civilisations. Many of the churches are included in UNESCO's World Heritage list.
The Colossus of Rhodes, a Greek statue of Greek sun-god Helios and one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World was erected in Rhodes. Although the statue no longer exists, you can still find plenty of incredible historic sites in Rhodes. We recommend taking a guided excursion to the Acropolis of Lindos, which is set on a steep cliff and overlooks the Mediterranean sea. If you’re visiting during the height of summer, make sure to wear plenty of sunscreen and take lots of water, as there is very little shade at the top. Explore the Medieval Old Town of Rhodes, one the few remaining inhabited Medieval cities in the world and a UNESCO Heritage Site with impressive defensive walls.
When you explore Mykonos, you’ll notice some Italian influence in its architecture as it was ruled by the Venetians. For those who have a passion for Greek Mythology, you will know this was where the battle between Zeus and the giants took place. As the story goes, the giants were turned into the jagged rocks which you can see today on the soft sand. One of the best attractions to see in Mykonos are the iconic windmills, which are dotted across the landscapes and were in operation between the 16th and 20th century. Mykonos is also a popular windsurfing destination, hence the name the ‘Island of the Winds’!
Whether you’re a history enthusiast or a sun worshiper, a holiday in Greece has something to offer for everyone and there’s so much to see in this diverse country.