Greece’s mountainous coastal beauty and rich classical inheritance are almost overwhelming. From the Acropolis in Athens to the Bronze Age archaeological site of Knossos, there is no shortage of sun-bleached ancient-ruins to explore. But no visit is complete without hopping between some of the Greek Archipelago’s 6,000 islands, or meandering along the thousands of miles of coastline. Pristine beaches, sheltered coves, impossibly clear waters, fresh seafood and crisp white wines make Greece an absolute paradise. Enjoy a breathtaking sunset on a chartered cruise, relax at luxurious seaside resorts, head to the hills to live the mythology of Delphi, or gaze upon Meteora’s monasteries perched atop perilous cliffs. No matter where you go, thousands of years of history and incandescent Aegean seas under striking Mediterranean sun await you.
For a city of its size, Athens is a pleasant blend of ancient architecture and the buzz of modernity; with an easily walkable city center, an array of shaded parks and a sea breeze will keep you cool after visiting Hadrian’s Library or the Roman Agora. Experience the splendor of the Acropolis, and then climb Mount Lycabettus at sundown for a panoramic view of the city and get a true feel for the magnificence of ancient Greek architecture. Archaeological sites date back to the 5th century BCE and offer a well-preserved glimpse of an inspiring civilization. Delve into the city’s history but make sure to explore the modern side of Athens that is bursting with art galleries, stellar restaurants, nightclubs, and outdoor cafés.
Whether you are searching for glowing white-sand beaches and luxury resorts, a vibrant city or a tranquil village, Greece’s largest island has the place for everyone. Visit the seasonally snowy peaks of the White Mountains in the morning and dive into crystal-clear seas in the afternoon. Explore the Palace of Knossos, Rethymnon’s Venetian harbor, or hike Mount Idha and the Samaria Gorge, and then cool off and relax on one of the island’s many beaches.
A sacred sanctuary city of ancient Greece, perched on the slopes of Mount Parnassus, Delphi is known as the center of the earth in Greek mythology. Tour the Temple of Apollo, the Castalia Spring and the Arcade of the Athenians and enjoy spectacular views over the valley of Phocis. After a day spent travelling through time, relax and enjoy traditional Greek cuisine in the nearby village of Arachova.
A testament to human determination and ingenuity, Meteora is home to breathtaking monasteries balanced atop jutting pinnacles of sandstone. Take a hiking tour of the monasteries, visit local caves, or go on a guided mountain-bike tour, and enjoy yet another of Greece’s distinct landscapes. Meteora is UNESCO World Heritage-listed and visiting the abundant religious and archaeological sites, and the incredible countryside, is profoundly fulfilling.
This Greek island is known for its cosmopolitan nightlife and luxurious hotels. High season is July through August, so Mykonos is most enjoyable to visit in September and early October. When the summer crowds depart, you will find quiet streets and have beaches to yourself. In addition to a thriving nightlife and resort culture, Mykonos has the best shopping in Greece.
Nafplion is a romantic town filled with Venetian and neoclassical architecture, posh boutiques, and seaside cafés. The Palamidi Fortress is a challenging hike that rewards hikers with incredible views, and is a favorite among visitors. A relaxing place to spend a couple of nights, Nafplion makes a great base to visit nearby towns like Corinth, Epidaurus and Mycenae.
Whitewashed houses clamber up the clifftops of the capital city Fira, reflecting the brilliant light of the Mediterranean sun and bursting into stark relief against the azure Aegean sea. With distinct topography across the island from a volcanic eruption 3,600 years ago, Santorini is known for its dramatic pebbly White Beach, Red Beach, and Black Beach, named for the colors of the surrounding cliffs. Visit the archaeological sites of Akrotiri, or hunt out the locals’ spots in Fira for fresh fish and wash it down with a taste of the fiery anise-flavored liquor ouzo.
An intersection of East and West, Rhodes Island is an historical tapestry stretching from the Hellenistic Greeks to the Italians in the 20th century. Being situated much closer to Turkey than mainland Greece makes it possible to visit Turkey on the same trip, though you will find it effortless to spend a whole week relaxing on the island. With stunning beaches, vibrant nightlife, historical sites like the Temple of Athena, and a fascinating mix of churches, forts, and mosques, Rhodes has it all.