All Articles The most beautiful places in Greece: Santorini, Crete, and more

The most beautiful places in Greece: Santorini, Crete, and more

A couple standing on a rock at Meteora, Greece
Image: Israel Ferrera / Unsplash
Wendy Ng
By Wendy Ng8 Aug 2022 4 minutes read

Greece is a destination where the beauty of its landscape and the timeless Greek mythologies have captured imaginations and inspired travel for centuries. From the Parthenon to the postcard-perfect Greek islands, Greece has many attractions to tempt you on repeated visits.

Here’s our list of the most beautiful places to visit for your next Greek vacation.

1. The Acropolis, Athens

The Acropolis, Athens
Image: Management / Tripadvisor

The Acropolis towers over the ageless city of Athens like an enduring beacon of beauty and history. Get lost in the magnificent maze of ancient ruins–the grand Propylaea Gate, Odeon of Herodes Atticus, and Temple of Athena Nike. Join a guided tour to gain more insights into the archaeological sites, especially the Parthenon, which represents the pinnacle of classical Greek architecture.

The Acropolis is always busy so start your exploration early in the morning or late afternoon to avoid crowds. Combine your tour of the ancient site with a visit to the Acropolis Museum.

2. Santorini, Cycladic Islands

Santorini, Cycladic islands
Image: Matthew Waring / Unsplash

Santorini is one of the most beautiful islands of the Cyclades. From the crescent-shaped caldera to the picturesque villages Fira and Oia studded with white-washed houses, Santorini is stunning from any angle. Spend a few idyllic days enjoying the island’s archaeological sites in Akrotiri, and the unique Red beach and black sand Perissa beach.

Experience a different side of Santorini by visiting the island’s excellent wineries and vineyards or hopping on a sunset cruise. Santorini is famed for its spectacular sunsets so check out our guide for the best spots to view the Santorini sunset. The island is packed during the peak season so book your ferry or plane tickets early. Here are more tips about the best time to visit Santorini.

3. Delphi, Phocis

Delphi, Phocis
Image: Management / Tripadvisor

Delphi is surrounded by breathtaking Greek landscapes as it sits on Mount Parnassus and offers a sweeping vista of the Gulf of Corinth. Considered by the ancient Greeks to be the center of the world, Delphi is home to the venerated Sanctuary of Apollo and the Sanctuary of Athena Pronaia. Pilgrims used to walk the Sacred Way to the Temple of Apollo to communicate with the Gods through the Oracle who shared prophecies.

Join informative tours and visit the Delphi Archaeological Museum to learn more about Greek beliefs and ways of life. Spend a night in the town of Delphi so you’ll have more time to explore the region.

4. Hydra, Saronic Gulf Islands

Hydra, Saronic Gulf Islands
Image: Management / Tripadvisor

The jewel of the Saronic Gulf Islands, Hydra is the perfect island getaway. After a short two-hour boat ride from Athens, you’ll be transported to Hydra’s iconic curved harbor. Slow down in the traffic-free Hydra and wander through the town’s cobbled streets.

Embark on a scenic hike to Profitis Ilias Monastery and continue your trek to Mount Eros, the island’s highest peak, where you’ll be rewarded with a striking panorama of the island. Hydra deserves more than a day trip from Athens so allocate more time and include other islands like Aegina and Spetses on your itinerary.

5. Crete

Crete
Image: Management / Tripadvisor

With its sun-kissed coastlines and dramatic cliffs, Crete makes for an unforgettable Mediterranean vacation. The largest Greek island boasts the impressive Palace of Knossos and other important Minoan archaeological sites.

Relax on the pristine, pink-sand Elafonissi beach, one of the most beautiful beaches in Greece. For a hassle-free holiday, sign up for a full-day tour to explore the island’s well-preserved port cities like Chania and Heraklion. Crete’s popular Samaria Gorge National Park welcomes you with steep ravines, waterfalls, and rich flora and fauna. The best time to visit Crete is in May when flowers paint the island’s landscape with radiant hues.

6. Meteora, Thessaly

Meteora, Thessaly in Greece
Image: Management / Tripadvisor

Meteora, with its medieval monasteries built on extraordinary rock formations, is one of the most beautiful places in Greece. The name Meteora means “suspended in the air” in Greek and describes this awe-inspiring place. Today, six monasteries remain, and the oldest and largest building is the Great Meteoron Monastery. Climb the stairs to see the lavish frescoes and mosaics inside the historical buildings.

Base your visit in the neighboring towns of Kalambaka or Kastraki so you can explore the region leisurely. Join a special sunset tour of the monasteries without the daytime crowds.

7. Corfu, Ionian islands

Corfu in greece
Image: Calin Stan / Unsplash

The main island of the Ionian islands, Corfu is one of the most beautiful and hidden parts of Greece. The island’s dreamy landscape of lush mountains and cobalt blue waters is believed to have inspired Shakespeare’s last play, The Tempest.

The old town of Corfu charms with its colorful architecture featuring Venetian, French, and English influences. Experience the town’s culture as you stroll through the atmospheric streets and its landmarks—Liston and Spianada Square. The island is filled with other attractions like the Paleokastritsa Monastery and Paleokastritsa Beach. Join an island-hopping boat tour to explore the smaller Ionian islands Antipaxos and Paxos.

8. Mount Olympus, Thessaly

Mount Olympus, Thessaly in Greece
Image: Ben Dumond / Unsplash

Straddling the regions of Central Macedonia and Thessaly, Mount Olympus is Greece’s highest peak. According to Greek legends, the majestic Mount Olympus is known as the “mountain of the Gods.” Start your expedition from the hiking trail at Litochoro, the gateway to the Olympus National Park.

A full hike usually takes two days so pack proper hiking gear. Along the way, you can cool down and swim in the Enipeas and Orlias waterfalls. If you’re seeking adventures such as canyoning and more, join these outdoor tours.

9. Skopelos, Sporades Islands

Skopelos, Sporades Islands in greece
Image: dimitrisvetsikas1969 / Pixabay

With its sun-drenched beaches and bright azure waters, Skopelos is such a visual treat. In fact, the island was the setting of the musical film Mamma Mia!. The best thing to do on Skopelos is to laze on the golden beaches dotting its incredible coastlines.

Get up close with dolphins, turtles, and seals at the National Marine Park of Alonnisos Northern Sporades. Don’t forget to visit other Sporades islands like Skiathos and Skyros which are blessed with attractive landscapes, too. Late spring and early summer are ideal for visiting Skopelos when it’s peaceful and flowers are in bloom. If you visit in February, you’re in luck as the islanders celebrate the traditional Carnival.

10. Rhodes, The Dodecanese

 Rhodes, The Dodecanese
Image: Management / Tripadvisor

The Dodecanese is the southernmost archipelago of the Greek islands. The largest island of the 12 Dodecanese islands, Rhodes is a fairytale-like destination. The old town of Rhodes and the Acropolis of Lindos are characterized by medieval architecture blending harmoniously with the island’s all-encompassing natural landscape.

The glistening waters lapping on Rhodes’ flawless coastlines invite you to hop on boat tours, and swim, snorkel, and even kayak in scenic bays like Anthony Quinn Bay. Plan your island escapade just before or after the peak period in July and August to avoid crowds and still enjoy the warm weather. Check out our guide to the best time to visit Greece to plan your next trip.

Wendy Ng
Wendy is a content creator who writes about her travel experiences to escape from her city life in Singapore. Her writing journey started when she had the once-in-lifetime opportunity to live and teach in Okinawa and circumvent the world with Peace Boat. A compulsive-obsessive traveler and culture enthusiast, she believes that when we know more, we travel better. Or in true foodie spirit, when we eat more, we travel better.