Want to know which are the Top 10 Outstanding Places To Visit in Greece? Then you are at the right place. With over 250 inhabited islands and the mainland rich in history and culture all backed by stunning azure waters and sun-bathed beaches, Greece dazzles travelers with endless destinations to explore. White-washed Cycladic cubed houses compete with Minoan Palace ruins and Byzantine fortresses carved into cliffs for your attention across Greece’s landscapes encompassing mountains, olive groves, and the glimmering Aegean and Ionian seas.
Discover ancient history or party the night away on vibrant modern islands. Laze on quiet golden stretches of sand or hike up dramatic gorges blanketed in wildflowers. Sail into hidden coves only accessible by boat or get lost wandering medieval walled alleys filled with crumbling temples and faded frescoes. From the iconic Acropolis to the remote monasteries of Meteora, here are the top places making Greece the treasure it remains today.
Let’s take a look at our list of Top 10 Outstanding Places To Visit in Greece
As the buzzing capital and transport hub, one of the most outstanding places in Greece, Athens introduces most visitors to iconic ancient Greek history with a side of modern grunge flair. Face to towering marble face with the pillar-fronted Parthenon watching over the city perched atop the Acropolis plateau. Trace hands over the notches and grooves of the ancient Agora below, the spiritual heart of ancient Greek civic life where Socrates and his philosophic cronies first pontificated the meaning of truth.
The excellent Acropolis Museum makes the perfect final stop to admire relics of the classical era. After getting your fill of crumbled temples and golden age wonders, jam out to pulsing nightlife pockets around Monastiraki or boho Exarcheia to experience Athens’ modern energy today. This place is one of the most popular places in Greece.
2. Island of Santorini
No image says iconic Greece more than the whitewashed stone villages cascading down stark black volcanic cliffs towards the sparkling blue Aegean sea of Santorini. Arguably the most beautiful of the Cycladic Islands, Santorini mesmerizes visitors with its unusual geological landscape dotted with churches topped with bright blue domed roofs overlooking the sea and vine-trailing stone alleyways that seem to maze for miles.
After stretching your legs exploring clifftop towns like Oia and Fira or the ruins of ancient Akrotiri, find a locals’ taverna to sip on the island’s famed Assyrtiko wines as you watch incomparable sunsets splash vivid hues of purple and tangerine over the sea framed by the surrounding lava carved cliffs. This place is one of the most visited places in Greece.
Journey back in time to the religious epicenter of the ancient Greek world walking amid the richly preserved ruins of Delphi. Strategically nestled on the slopes of Mount Parnassos, overlooking olive tree-speckled hills rolling to the edge of the Gulf of Corinth below, ancient Greeks flocked here to consult the mysterious pronouncements of the Oracle Pythia before momentous decisions.
Pilgrims followed the Sacred Way passing restored Treasury houses and the Sanctuary of Athena lined with intact Doric columns where intricate ancient rituals took place in hopes of glimpses into the determined fates meted out by the ruling gods. Equally stunning to the ruins themselves is the landscape of Delphi with its sweeping views across olive groves making for contemplative wanders after chasing the ghosts of myths past. This place is one of the most popular places in Greece.
Is it the dozen remote Byzantine-era mountaintop monasteries impossibly perched atop towering sandstone rock pinnacles surrounded by mist floating in jungle valley skies or the trek there zigzagging through the boulders below that enchant Meteora where ancient spirituality embedded itself into the stony cliffs? Like outtakes from a James Bond or Indiana Jones movie set, the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Meteora seems to defy imagination as much as gravity itself with abbeys like Varlaam or Roussanou cloistered atop towering pedestals over 600 ft high well before construction cranes existed.
Start early before the sporadic inter-monastery connecting trails fill with hikers carefully treading wooden bridges spanning between outcroppings said to inspire the floating mountains of Pandora for real.
5. Rhodes Island
Enter the medieval Old Town on Rhodes Island through delicately arched stone gateways rimmed with fairy tale towers and unexpectedly wander lost into the crossroads of Byzantine, Roman and ancient Greek influences from crusader knights to Egyptian sultans once ruling these fortress walls and cobbled lanes.
Pastel-hued houses smothered in bright pink bougainvillea flames hide Zeitoun boutique shops trading in leather and silver spices scents floating beside 15th century Inns of the Tongue of Knights ready for exploration without ever exiting the fortressed city gates.
Clear your mind with a walk along the northern walls towards cutting-edge art installations sharing stories of those passed at the Kahal Shalom Synagogue Museum just steps from ocean views dotted with windmills powering the ever-evolving island today. This place is one of the most popular places in Greece.
Largest but somehow most authentic of the chic Cycladic sisters, Naxos confidently embraces her natural beauty enhanced not dominated by historic hand-hewn marble temples peering from olive grove-dotted mountains to Mycenaean fortress remains carved into oceanside stones.
Whether meandering the Kastro castle district’s shopkeeper-dotted lanes, stepping foot onto barely there islets at sunset, or traversing donkey trails to mountainside monasteries sipping local citron liqueurs, Naxos’ layers nicely unroll themselves without pretension.
Let friendly locals at generations-old tavernas explain which of the island’s much-loved cheeses or olives to drizzle with their homemade honey before toasting to your health watching another hallmark Aegean sunset reflected on whitewashed walls turning golden in the fading dusk light.
Tumbling back in time with a motor vehicle in sight, he arrives at the mythical muse-inspiring island of Hydra by boat only 2 hours from Athens yet eons away in tranquility. Named for the freshwater springs that long quenched thirsty sailors passing by, Hydra reawakens the senses with harbor front cafes serving the morning’s catch.
At the same time, feline companions lazily watch from whitewashed window sills overhead in harmony. Painters set up easels cascading down to inviting turquoise waters as sounds of a lone violin keep rhythm to the riggings of wealthy yacht masts bobbing about, hints of Sophia Loren glamor days floating in the salty sea air. Wander inland Hydra’s stone-laid paths scented by nearby cypress trees standing guard over the lightly peppered impossibly preserved mansions and humble monasteries that artfully refused to tumble during many an era. This place is one of the most popular places in Greece.
Cosmopolitan coastal Thessaloniki never sits still for long basking in her ancient Mesopotamian roots while embracing cutting-edge public markets, ultramodern art galleries, and a beloved White Tower proudly overlooking this second capital from her oft-fought-over strategic harbor melting pot location.
Sizzling grills infuse heavy sea air at the Modiano-covered food market as conversations bounce between dialects and languages sounding of home for refugees welcomed over lifetimes blending into Thessaloniki’s very social mien. Cars honk trumpeting around Aristotle Square plaza while hardy Spartan plane trees lining the Via Egnatia wear their resilience marking east-west trade routes in shaded bark.
Join university students pub crawling along Ladadika district’s vibrant cobblestones past Ottoman architecture creaking up towards ancient Roman agora remains waiting to share their centuries of shifting Thessaloniki tales. This place is one of the most popular places in Greece.
Dramatically rising like an island citadel literally cleaved from mainland Peloponnese rock, the medieval walled lower town of Monemvasia completely transports visitors to romantic glory days with salt and stone village lanes tucked below the ruins of a castle fortress clouded in mountain mist high atop the single slab of rock.
Enter the tiny time capsule village through an arched tunnel into slender alleyways hiding local stone masons and delicate Abacarus silver filigree herb charms warding off evil spirits still handcrafted in ateliers.
Pass tiny bright blue-roofed churches and lively cafes emerging lakeside where boats bob upon deep blue seas before selecting lux cave-style rooms or suites packed inside the lower town’s sea-carved caves no modern resort designer could envision. This place is one of the most popular places in Greece.
10. Crete Island
Embrace your inner goddess rising in nature’s palm at the birthplace of great Zeus soaring skyward from Crete’s mountain cave womb where Cyclopean walls of ancient palaces echo millennia-old rituals and rites. Between the reverberations, soak mantle deep into over 250 miles of island coastline blessed with cerulean waters, outstretched beaches guarded by palm trees, and blessed home to the oldest known olive tree groves dating before Venetian walls kept wayfaring secrets of civilizations growing mighty before fading embers cooled ice age to ancient Minoans. This place is one of the most popular places in Greece.
Through the largest Greek isle unfurled from end to end passes sacred grounds, great battlefields, crossroad remnants of fallen kingdoms, and the very intersection of myth-making during Europe’s medieval to classical awakenings etched in weary stones roaming shepherds and their sure-footed friends know to avoid during their evening wanderings.
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Comparison of Key Highlights
|Ancient sites like Acropolis & Agora, museums, nightlife districts
|Iconic island with cliffside towns, sunsets, volcanic backdrop
|Ruins of ancient Oracle & Sanctuary site, Sacred Way processional route
|Byzantine monasteries set atop towering rock pillars
|Walled medieval Old Town with Crusader history
|Largest Cyclades island with historic sites + authentic island beauty
|Vehicle-free island with harbor, cats, mansions, nature
|Northern coastal capital with White Tower, food scene, diverse history
|Lower cliffside village, upstairs fortress, small island ambiance
|Rich ancient Minoan sites, beaches, caves, olive groves, Zeus lore
Frequently Asked Questions
How should I plan my travel itinerary for Greece?
With limited time, focus your visit on 2 or 3 locations rather than attempting to squeeze in too many places. Common routes include mainland Athens paired with nearby islands like Hydra, Naxos, or Santorini. Island hop shorter distances like Naxos, Paros, and Mykonos over a week. Or base yourself for a few days each on Crete and Rhodes exploring neighboring smaller isles by quick ferry trips. Get creative crafting a custom route tailored to your priorities.
What is the best way to get around Greece?
Greece offers diverse transport around the mainland and between widespread islands:
- Island hop on efficient ferries – especially in the Cycladic Islands. Book ahead in peak season for cars if needed.
- The public bus network extends to even small villages fairly regularly
- Rental cars ideal for rural countryside or mountain destinations
- Between Athens, Thessaloniki, and other cities fast, affordable trains run regularly
- Flights connect major airports to Santorini, Crete, Rhodes, and farther island/mainland cities
When is the best time to visit Greece?
April-June or September-October typically see pleasant spring and fall Mediterranean temperatures around the 70s, fewer summer crowds, and lower prices on travel and hotels before peak season hits. July/August sizzles in 90s+ temps but island nightlife amps up. In cooler months like March or November, sights retain shorter hours, and many islands partially shut down.
What currency does Greece use?
Greece is part of the European Union economic zone using the standard Euro € currency. Cash machines are widely available to withdraw Euro funds as needed. Visa and Mastercards are widely accepted, especially in cities and tourist centers. Have some cash on hand for islands, small villages, and street markets/kiosks still preferring cash.
How much does a trip to Greece cost?
With both budget backpacker hostels and luxury resorts to pick from, Greece can accommodate a wide range of travel styles and budgets. Daily per-person budgets:
- Budget / Camping – $50+
- Mid-range Hotels – $100-150
- High-end Resorts – $250+
Factor in transportation like ferries, dining out often, activities like sailing trips or guided tours, shopping, and entry fees to ancient sites bumping up costs too. But with reasonable hotel deals even during high season and inexpensive gyros to go, it’s easy to customize your budget.