Best Things to do in Greece for a Perfect Vacation
- DHRUVALAKSHMI PAITHANKAR
- UPDATED Aug 16, 2018
- 767 Views
Greece is the country that is known for its intriguing mythological stories, archaeologically important ruins, thousands of colorful islands, sun-kissed beaches, rustic villages, and exceptional natural beauty. With a plethora of things to do in Greece, it is no wonder that it attracts all types of travelers with its magnetic allure. But, amidst all the touristy madness, Greece has successfully preserved its exquisite vibes and appealing charm that can be found in the corners of the Greek islands. And that is why it can be overwhelming to plan a trip to Greece, especially when you want to have a wholesome experience. So, check out this list of some of the best things you can do and places you can visit when you are vacationing in Greece.
1. Explore the best of Athens
The city of Athens is the beating heart of the ancient Greece that is shrouded with numerous fascinating mythological stories. It is home to different monuments that help us understand the early Western civilization. From the temple of Parthenon to the citadel of Acropolis and from the Byzantine monastery of Daphni to the temple of Hephaestus, you will get to see the ruins that date back to thousands of years. These are the archaeological sites that have become the popular tourist attractions in Greece and the identity of the country as well.
Do not forget to visit the vibrant neighborhoods of Plaka and Kolonaki to soak in the rustic Greek island vibes. Go to the Acropolis Museum to see the extensive collection of thousands of ancient artifacts. You can also spend an evening at Syntagma Square to see the bustling side of Athens.
2. Tour the famous museums in Greece
The only way to understand the captivating history and heritage of Greece is to visit the museums that are scattered all over the country. If you are spending limited time in Greece, then you can consider going to the Archaeological Museum of Delphi, National Archaeological Museum in Athens, Archaeological Museum in Heraklion, and the Museum of Olympia. These are the places that show you how past has shaped up the country we see today. Make sure to take a guided tour to make the most of your time here.
There are some lesser-known Greek museums that are perfect for history buffs. You can go to the Museum of Byzantine Culture in Thessaloniki, War Museum in Kilkis as well as the industrial museum of Technopolis in Athens.
3. Lose yourself in the magical Santorini
The pull of glamorous Santorini is hard to resist. The picturesque beauty of whitewashed houses that overlook the deep blue ocean attracts millions of travelers throughout the year. If you are looking forward to the perfect Santorini holidays, then you must take a walk in the town of Fira and explore the caldera edge. Go to the coastal village of Kamari to get your share of unexplored beaches and take a tour of the ruins of Akrotiri that were buried in volcanic ash till 1967.
Its flourishing wine industry and scrumptious local delicacies make sure that you have a great time here. Taste the goodness of cherry-sized tomatoes while eating Tomatokeftdes, try the fish dish of Brantada, and end your meal with the traditional dessert of Melitinia cookies.
4. Dance the night away on the beaches of Mykonos
Mykonos, one of the famous islands in Greece, is known for its bustling nightlife scenes. Its summer party destinations Paradise Beach and LGBT-friendly Super Paradise Beach are a must-visit for those who are looking for partying on the beaches in Greece. There are numerous cafes, hotels, restaurants, bars, and pubs that line the shores that make it the ideal vacation destination in Greece. If you want to truly experience the Mykonos nightlife, it is recommended to stay in the town of Mykonos itself.
Even though your nights will be spent partying and club-hopping, there are a plethora of things to do in Mykonos during the day. From stopping by the famous Mykonos Windmills that are dotting the island to visiting the historic churches, you have so much to look forward to!
5. Take a walk in Delphi Sanctuary of Apollo
Recognized as the UNESCO World Heritage Site, Delphi is a unique ancient sanctuary that has played a significant role in the history of Greece. Delphi looks stunning with the backdrop of majestic mountains. This sacred site houses the ruins of different structures including the Temple of Apollo, Stoa of the Athenians, The Theater, and numerous Athletic statues. Considered to be the center of the world in old days, this site is the little slice of paradise for history-buffs today.
If you take a tour of the Delphi Archaeological Museum, you will get to see hundreds of artifacts that are exhibited in 14 different rooms. Established at the foot of the archaeological complex, this museum is a great place to learn about history.
6. Experience the fusion of culture and history on Corfu Island
Even though the soul of Corfu is Greek, the parts of this island were shaped uniquely during the Venetian, French and British rule in the past. The place that has witnessed a turbulent history has become one of the popular Greek islands amongst tourists. The list of points of interest in Corfu is so long that you will have to be on your toes during your trip here. The village of Paleokastritsa has a monastery that dates back to 1225. The Old Fortress that represents the past and Palace of Achilleion that carries an influence of ancient architecture are must-visit.
This greenest island in Greece also offers a chance to enjoy outdoor recreational activities. Keep in mind that the best time to visit Corfu is from April to May and from September to November to enjoy everything to the fullest.
7. Feel humble at the monasteries of Meteora
Meteora monasteries are one of the most impressive places to visit in Greece. The skyline here is dominated with natural hill-like rounded boulders and steep rock pillars. But, when you look carefully, you will see more than 20 monasteries dotting the top of these structures. This sight itself is so majestic, that it is enough to evoke the feelings of awe and spirituality in anyone. Out of a total number of 24, there are 6 monasteries that are still functioning today. Breath-taking vistas and soul-soothing tranquility make this site worth visiting.
These dramatic landscapes are ideal for seasoned hikers and rock climbers. Though it is a challenging and dangerous task, you will meet numerous adrenaline-seekers here who conquer these rock pinnacles.
8. Soak in the beauty of Melissani Cave
Melissani Cave is a natural wonder that holds an interesting place in the mythology as well as tourism. It is an underground lake with deep blue water that is nestled amidst the dense green forest. There is an opening that allows the sun rays to mingle with the lake water creating a spectacular picture where surrounding honey-browns rocks bask in the magical bluish-golden glow. The cave that has succeeded in maintaining its mythical appeal is a sight to behold.
There is an underground tunnel that takes you to this opening by boat. Opt for a tour with a guide as the tunnel can be confusing to navigate for amateurs.
9. Visit the Palace of the Grand Master of the Knights of Rhodes
Palace of the Grand Master is a well-preserved Gothic castle that has the ability to take you back in Medieval times with its imposing architecture. This palace that has been the spotlight of the Rhodes Island is visited by thousands of tourists every year. Originally built in the 7th century, some parts of this structure could not be saved from the ravages of time, the renovations are done in such a way that maintains the ancient charm of this palace.
It is now converted into a history museum that will tell you the intriguing tales from the past. Though all the rooms are not open to the public, the exhibits of different historic artifacts are enough to give you the idea of how the whole palace actually is.
10. Hike through the Samariá Gorge
Considered to be one of the longest gorges in Europe, Samariá Gorge is the Mecca for hikers and nature-lovers. Sprawling over 16 kilometers, it is home to several steep, serpentine trails. These magnificent landscapes were formed by a small river that was running between the White Mountains. You will come across some of the endangered bird species while wandering around. Most of the hotels around this area arrange one-day tours to this area that also include pick-up and drop to the entrance of the gorge.
Keep in mind that this gorge is open only from May to October and only when the weather permits. Activities like swimming and camping are also strictly prohibited. Try to go with a guided tour instead of exploring this area on your own.
11. Click photos at the pink beaches of Elafonisi
The charming little island of Elafonisi is a protected nature reserve that is famous for its pink sandy beaches in Greece. When millions of crushed seashells were mixed with the powdery white sand over the centuries, the beach started carrying the hues of pink making it one of the most picturesque beaches in Europe. The shallow water that allows swimming and a long stretch of beach that is good for taking a leisurely walk to make it a favorite spot amongst families.
Adventure-enthusiasts who love windsurfing will find this beach great for riding a wind. There are a couple of basic beach-bars and other facilities that will make your visit worthwhile.
12. Conquer the great Mount Olympus
There are instances that make you realize how tiny you are in front of nature. Hiking the Mount Olympus is one such activity that shows the enormity of nature. With the combination of more than 50 peaks and gorges, this mountain makes sure to fill its visitors with incomparable euphoria. You will find numerous climbing and mountaineering routes here as well. This tallest mountain in Greece is known for having the rich biodiversity including endemic plants as well as rare and endangered animal species.
Keep in mind that hiking here is not for the amateurs and children under 14 are not allowed to visit the area alone. Be prepared for the exhausting exploration that is worth every step.
13. Explore the unexplored at the uninhabited islands
The joy of visiting the unexplored, uninhabited islands is something that you should not miss. The Keros island that is located northwest of Amorgos, the island of Spinalonga that is near the town of Plaka and Rhenia Island next to Mykonos are some of the places that are lesser-known. Visiting the uninhabited islands of Greece will give you a break from all the bustling atmosphere on the touristy beaches.
Not all such islands allow its visitors to stay overnight. So, you will need to plan a day-trip to these places. Make sure you have all the necessary permissions to go here.
14. Be a part of the medieval times at Monemvasia
When you visit the tiny village of Monemvasia that is located on the small island near Peloponnese, you will feel like you have stepped back in time. This village still looks like something that is straight out of the medieval times with its well-preserved fortress and town walls. Its historic stone houses that overlook the ocean and winding alleys that take you to ancient Greece will steal a piece of your heart with its unspoiled beauty.
Remember that this village is yet to be developed as a tourist destination. So, you may not find luxury hotels and fine dining restaurants here. But, everything that Monemvasia offers is worth experiencing.
15. Take a walk through the ruins of Knossos
Greece is the country that has preserved its ancient history well. The archaeological site of Knossos is one such example where you will get to learn different things about the first Neolithic settlement that date back to 7000 BC. This largest Bronze Age archaeological site is also known as the oldest city in Europe. So, when you take a walk a here, you are actually tracing the footsteps of the very first man that lived in Europe. Isn’t that thought enthralling?
There are still many questions that are unanswered about Knossos. But, visiting the ruins and learning about the past are some of the best things to do in Greece. You will easily need more than half a day to wander around here.
Let Greece cast its magical spell on you for it will be the best thing that can happen to any wanderer!