Greece is renowned for its natural beauty and fascinating history. Greece has ancient archeological sites, numerous islands, sandy beaches, as well as a tropical Mediterranean climate, making it one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world. Besides Athens, the archaeological site of Delphi and the monasteries of Meteora are among the best sights to see on the mainland. However, most people come here to catch a boat to the islands; Santorini, Mykonos, Corfu and Crete are the most popular — and for a good reason!
But, let’s take a closer look at the top tourist attractions
1) Acropole: The Jewel of Athens
Athens has always been associated with the Acropolis, which is a rocky peak rising in the heart of modern Athens, and which is home to three temples from the 5th century B.C. Of these, the Parthenon is the most famous, consisting of 58 columns that support a roof and are decorated with ornate pediments and friezes. There is a pedestrian street, the Archaeological Field, which runs for two and a half kilometers beneath the Acropolis, connecting it with other ancient sights in Athens, such as the Ancient Agora, the Roman Forum, Kerameikos, and the Temple of Olympian Zeus.
2) Santorini: The Volcanic Island
Santorini, the most unique of all Greek islands, is renowned for the rock towns of Fira and Oia, which are located on the island’s west coast, overlooking a deep blue sea. Santorini is famous for its whitewashed cubic buildings, some of which have been converted into boutique hotels with infinity pools, making it one of the most romantic wedding and honeymoon destinations. On the south and east coasts of the island, visitors can sunbathe and swim on the black volcanic sand beaches. You can also visit the Akrotiri archaeological site, an ancient Minoan settlement buried under lava after the volcanic eruption about 3000 years ago.
3) Mykonos: The Epitome of Luxury
Among the most charming destinations in Greece, Mykonos has a number of elegant boutique hotels, upscale restaurants, and live music venues that make for a memorable evening. Another thing you should see on Mykonos is Paraportiani (a whitewashed church in Mykonos Town). There are also many sandy beaches on the island’s south coast (accessible via bus and taxi from Mykonos Town), as well as the option for a daily cruise at Delos; a majestic, tiny island full of archeological treasures. Celebrities flock to the island, so if you wish to have the same experience and feel like a celebrity too, book one of the many luxury Mykonos villas and enjoy your vacation as an ancient, Greek God would!
4) Meteora: The Monasteries on the Rocks
Thessaly is a plain where you can see the rocky remains of this famous island surrounded by the never-ending monasteries of Meteora, one of the most unusual sights in Greece. UNESCO has listed six monasteries as World Heritage Sites. Six of them are open to the public. Each monastery is reached by several flights of stone steps carved into the rocks, and it is filled with trembling candles, religious icons, Byzantine frescoes, and burning incense. Kalambaka is the nearest town and you need to spend at least one day in the area to visit all six monasteries.
5) Delphi: The Ancient Temple
UNESCO has designated Delphi (located 180 kilometers northwest of Athens) as a World Heritage Site. The ancients were drawn to this area because of the dramatic ravine on the lower slopes of Mount Parnassos, where Apollo (god of light, prophecy, music, healing) and the Oracle were worshipped. Several temples, a theater, and a stadium date back to the mid-8th century B.C. and are still collapsed; nearby is the Delphi Archaeological Museum, which displays a remarkable collection of artifacts from the area.
6) Corfu: The Old Town
Corfu is an island situated in the Ionian Sea, off the west coast of mainland Greece. UNESCO has declared Corfu, the capital of the island, which has been dominated for centuries by the Venetians, a World Heritage Site, due to its beautiful Italian architecture. Thus, take a stroll through the romantic sidewalks only to discover two 16th-century fortresses, as well as the arcade Liston, full of old-fashioned cafés and, in addition, visit Saranda and Butrint in nearby Albania – this is available via sailing boats and excursion boats, which depart from Corfu.
7) Samaria Gorge: The Experience of a Lifetime
A top attraction for lovers of great fun on the island of Crete is the gorge of Samaria. 16 kilometers long and only four meters wide at its narrowest point, it extends from Omalos (1,250 meters) in the White Mountains to Agia Roumeli, for the Libyan Sea. Depending on your fitness level, it could take between 5 and 7 hours to walk. As they are steep and rocky in places, you should wear good hiking boots and carry plenty of water. In summer, guided tours can be arranged from Chania and Rethymno to the gorge, which is located in the Samaria National Park, which is on the UNESCO list.
8) Nafplio: The Old Castle in The Sky
Nafplio is an attractive destination for Athenians and people from all over the world. It is often called the most beautiful city in Greece. It was built on a small peninsula on the east coast of the Peloponnese and became the first capital of modern Greece in 1828 before Athens took over. There are neoclassical mansions and churches throughout the old town, which overlooks the 18th-century Palamidi Fortress. The nearby attractions include Tyrrhenian, Epidaurus Theater, and Ancient Corinth.
9) Thessaloniki: The Jewel of the North
Greece’s second-largest city after Athens, Thessaloniki (Thessaloniki), is situated on the Aegean Sea in northern Greece. Since 316 BC, it has been a port city for Greeks. Because of its proximity to Bulgaria and Turkey, it has always been a crossroads of different cultures and religions. The main tourist attractions are the UNESCO Byzantine Churches, but there are also plenty of Roman monuments (including the Triumphal Arch of Galerius and the 4th century Rotunda), the 15th century White Tower on the beach, and an excellent Byzantine Museum.
10) Zagori: Picturesque Sceneries
In the mountains of Pindos in northwestern Greece, near Ioannina city, the remote area of Zagori is known for the stunning, picturesque, and dramatic landscapes that cross hiking trails. Here you will find Zagorochoria, about 46 old stone villages, the most famous of which are Papingo and Monodendri, full of traditional hotels and homes with antique furniture and fireplaces. The main attraction of Zagorochoria is the Vikos Gorge hike, but other things you can do in the area include mountain biking and paragliding, as well as canyoning and rafting under the Voidomatis Gorge.