16 Best places to visit in Greece on your holiday

With over 200 islands and so much going on inland, Greece has a tremendous amount to offer the traveller. A land of pristine beaches, dazzling sea, ancient history straight from the school books and food that is enjoyed the world over: it can be difficult to know how to spend your time and make the most of your holiday. We have made things easier by narrowing your choices down to some essential places to visit when you’re heading for the Hellenic Republic.

1. Ancient and modern wonder in Athens

If we were to recommend one family destination for your Greek adventure then Crete offers an immense amount of things to do for the young and old. It is an island of contrasts which you can explore by car or decide on the resort that is right for your tastes. For those who prefer something a little livelier then Chania offers old world charm as well as an exciting nightlife. A walk around the harbour area is one of the best ways to spend a morning in Greece while the old town has a maze of streets to explore where the smell of leather goods and delicious food hangs heavily in the air.

In the North, Heraklion is often the town of choice and is the actual capital of the island. Once again there is a lot to do and see with a great mixture of beach, history and culture to be enjoyed. Book a 4x4 tour and go inland to explore Crete’s mountains, drink Raki with sheep farmers and gaze out over immense gorges. Work your way round the coast to find other charming little towns such as Matala, Rethymno and Knossos with its famous ruins. A place of diversity, you could spend multiple holidays in Crete and still find something new.

2. Meet the Oracle in Delphi

When it comes to historical significance, Delphi is hard to surpass. It is where kings would head in ancient times to get advice on which war to wage next. The mysterious riddles of the Oracles could decide the fate of nations. Only a few hours from Athens, you can tour a site that is awe-inspiring in terms of the ruins that were created to worship long gone Gods. An ancient stadium and beautiful theatre are just two of the highlights,

Once the centre of the Greek world, you win find out lots about what life was like back in those days. Take the column-strewn road up the Sacred Way through the Sanctuary of Apollo. You will be walking around on hilly rough terrain so bring a good pair of shoes. After you have seen and snapped the walls and statues, pay a visit to the Archaeological Museum of Delphi for a collection of some of the most important ancient Greek artworks anywhere. It is possible to stay overnight in the area so book a room if you want to explore this icon of ancient history in even more detail.

3. Feast for the senses in Santorini

You will have seen the pictures of the white washed building and blue domes. In reality, Santorini is as glorious in real life as it is in the many pictures and films that put its beauty at the front of their frames. If we were to choose an island designed for luxury experiences then we would go for Santotrini. In addition to the exquisite views there is culture and amazing food in abundance. For honeymooners and other romantic couples there are few better places in the world to wander and make magical memories.

Don't just go for the aesthetics but make sure you do a little exploring as well and lose yourself in ancient monasteries, intriguing churches and mysterious monuments. Discover beaches with black and white sands before heading for a local winery to sample Greek reds at their best. If you were to do just one thing? For us it has to be standing on the clifftop and looking out over the dreamy azure ocean and realising that you have found paradise on Earth.

4. Embrace the Apocalypse in Patmos

Relaxing with friends and family in the sun - it is what many of us are dreaming about right now. May we introduce the island of Kos, seemingly designed to provide this very function. One of the best looking Greek Islands around, it is hard to do better in terms of your sun, sea and sand.

The picture postcard town comes guaranteed with plenty to see and do including the plane tree of Hippocrates, where the father of medicine held sway over his students and created the foundation of modern health. Choose hot water spring swimming at Ebros Thermes. Sunbathe amongst the ruins of two early Christian basilicas at Agios Stefanos or pay homage to the Greek God of wine at the ruins of the Dionysos Temple. Visit monasteries, castles or go on a cycling tour past windmills. What draws most are the dreamy beaches and if we were to recommend an island for simply doing nothing, although there's so much to do, then you cannot go wrong with Kos.

5. History comes to life in Thessaloniki

Thessaloniki isn't the first choice for many beach lovers, but for those with one eye on history and the other on a good suntan, it is the perfect choice. First there are the ruins: few other places in Greece offer such a fascinating range of places to visit to discover wonders from both BC and AD including the famous religious monuments from the Byzantine times with mosaics that will thrill you with their intricacy and beauty. Just out of town is the tomb of Alexander the Great’s father. There are also sites that relate to Jewish and Christian history that will be of interest to the curious traveller.

The city itself is a gourmet's delight with a rich stew of different influences creating a unique local cuisine. It also offers great shopping and social excitement after dark, especially for those who enjoy a cocktail or two. If the beach is part of your must-have on holiday then it is simple to find some of the best sands in the country with a 30km ride to the Halkidiki peninsula, renowned for shallow waters that are almost invisible due to their clarity.

6. The glory of Corfu

You don't have to be a Captain Correlli fan to enjoy the beauty of one of Greece’s largest and most beautiful islands, but it is the book that has given it such prominence in recent years. Untouched but tourist friendly. Quiet but with plenty of excitement, it is one of the most beautifully balanced holidays you can enjoy in the country.

Spend the morning on a glorious beach, the afternoon in a traditional tavern or head further inland to uncover an unexpected underground lake where you can enjoy a delightful boat tour away from the boiling sun. Head up to the mountains to find the sleepy villages you adore and locals who are happy to greet you and share their traditional crafts and cuisine. Meet the turtles who swim off the harbour in Argostoli or enjoy a 19th century seaside holiday in Skiathos town where the architecture is almost as delightful as the nature.

7. Party all night in Mykonos

For many people, their first experience of a Greek holiday will have been Corfu. Although it is very popular it should not be overlooked for those who simply want to spend a week or two in a beautiful place. Ruled by the Venetians in olden days, the architecture of the island is one of its most distinct aspects which is also enhanced by British and French influences that originate from a long and interesting history.

It is the beaches that draw many to Corfu and you won't be disappointed by the perfect white sands that await you. For those looking for a luxury holiday there are plenty of options for pampering here but also reasonable prices for those with simpler needs. Behind the beach are towering mountains that can be explored for monasteries, wine tasting and visits to olive groves. Kavos is the place to go for late night clubbing. Find a village frozen in time at Paleá Períthia which has been abandoned but still retains all of its medieval charms. The weather is gorgeous pretty much all year round and winter holidays have their own particular vibe. In short, Corfu is one of those places with general appeal to all travellers and should definitely be worthy of your consideration.

8. Family time in Crete

If we were to recommend one family destination for your Greek adventure then Crete offers an immense amount of things to do for the young and old. It is an island of contrasts which you can explore by car or decide on the resort that is right for your tastes. For those who prefer something a little livelier then Chania offers old world charm as well as an exciting nightlife. A walk around the harbour area is one of the best ways to spend a morning in Greece while the old town has a maze of streets to explore where the smell of leather goods and delicious food hangs heavily in the air.

In the North, Heraklion is often the town of choice and is the actual capital of the island. Once again there is a lot to do and see with a great mixture of beach, history and culture to be enjoyed. Book a 4x4 tour and go inland to explore Crete’s mountains, drink Raki with sheep farmers and gaze out over immense gorges. Work your way round the coast to find other charming little towns such as Matala, Rethymno and Knossos with its famous ruins. A place of diversity, you could spend multiple holidays in Crete and still find something new.

9. The ideal island of Kefalonia

You don't have to be a Captain Correlli fan to enjoy the beauty of one of Greece’s largest and most beautiful islands, but it is the book that has given it such prominence in recent years. Untouched but tourist friendly. Quiet but with plenty of excitement, it is one of the most beautifully balanced holidays you can enjoy in the country.

Spend the morning on a glorious beach, the afternoon in a traditional tavern or head further inland to uncover an unexpected underground lake where you can enjoy a delightful boat tour away from the boiling sun. Head up to the mountains to find the sleepy villages you adore and locals who are happy to greet you and share their traditional crafts and cuisine. Meet the turtles who swim off the harbour in Argostoli or enjoy a 19th century seaside holiday in Skiathos town where the architecture is almost as delightful as the nature.

An island that was virtually destroyed by an earthquake in the 1950s, and also one that has a rich history from World War 2 (you should visit the moving monument to Italian soldiers massacred during that time), Kefalonia is also relatively cheap which makes it a great choice for those travelling on a budget.

10. Go Club Med in Gregolimano

For a true getaway in Greece then Club Med’s glorious Gregolimano resort on the island of Evia should be a first choice. With mountain on one side and beautiful white sandy beaches on the other, it is a true idyll also packed with lot of fun activities, opportunities to relax and local food prepared by top chefs,

We can recommend unwinding in a hammock surrounded by pine trees followed by a trip to the 1km of beach where you can enjoy every watersport under the sun. Make your home in deluxe bungalows with a sea view and enjoy day trips to visit traditional villages among beautiful mountains. Above all, you can enjoy Greece in all its glory knowing that everything is all-inclusive and designed solely for your pleasure.

11. Visit the monasteries of Meteora

Okay party people, which Greek Island should you choose to meet your needs for clubbing followed by relaxing on the beach? If you love club culture but also fancy something upmarket then Mykonos is probably your destination choice. Undoubtedly the closest Greece gets to Ibiza at its best, you will enjoy a nightlife to match anywhere else with superclubs putting on sets from superstar DJs playing the latest tunes. If you would rather be outdoors then the beach parties are quite spectacular as well.

Don't think of Mykonos as merely being awash with 24-hour party people though. It is possible to enjoy a quiet but spectacular holidays amongst the jet set and dancers. You will find plenty of traditional tavernas, undiscovered villages and undisturbed beautiful beaches to enjoy. The cobblestone streets are a joy to traverse and there are whitewashed buildings to match anything Santorini has to offer, packing your Instagram feed to the gills with unforgettable views. Sunset at the Armenistis Lighthouse is one of those once in a lifetime moments you will return to time and time again.

12. Colossal experiences in Rhodes

The Colossus of Rhodes was one of the ancient wonders of the world and, although its majesty has long gone, the island itself can still provide huge delights to the visitor. Rhodes does have a reputation as a great place to party and, indeed, there are certain areas that are ideal for the younger traveller to let their hair down. However, simply categorising the island as a place to enjoy the nightlife is to do it a big disservice as there is so much more to see and do including long, golden beaches that are amongst the best in Greece.

As you would expect from Greece, there is a rich history to explore especially in the island’s old town where medieval buildings still stand proudly against time and earthquakes, providing the visitor with a unique insight into the past. Further afield you will discover authentic Greek charm and warm welcomes in mountain villages and towns that look out from clifftops over sparkling sea. If you do want a taste of the modern you will find plenty of great shopping and the restaurants range from the very traditional to the latest food trends. An island with something for everyone, Rhodes deserves a leading spot on your Greek bucket list.

13. Mama Mia it’s Skiathos

If you are a big fan of a certain Abba-themed musical movie then you will already know Skiathos pretty well. And reality is as alluring as fiction, without Meryl Streep bursting into song every few minutes. The town of Skiathos itself is utterly seductive with its 19th century architecture. Cosmopolitan and buzzy, the taverna crowd spills out onto the cobbled roads, no more so than on the main 'Papadiamanti' street near the old harbour which will form part of your picturesque morning walks. The restaurants are marvellous and there is one that is perfect for every visitor, late nighter or early bedder.

When talking about Greece it can be too easy to focus on the beautiful beaches, but Skiathos has plenty to boast about even in such remarkable company. The sand is golden and there is plenty of room even when the crowds are there in the summer. We recommend Lalaria beach but some of the quiet coves, only accessible by boat, are ideal for those who prefer a bit more privacy. Inland you will encounter lush countryside which undulates more gently than many other mountainous regions you might encounter in Greece. You don't have to take a chance with Skiathos, it is simply glorious.

14. Classical holidays on Kos

Relaxing with friends and family in the sun - it is what many of us are dreaming about right now. May we introduce the island of Kos, seemingly designed to provide this very function. One of the best looking Greek Islands around, it is hard to do better in terms of your sun, sea and sand.

The picture postcard town comes guaranteed with plenty to see and do including the plane tree of Hippocrates, where the father of medicine held sway over his students and created the foundation of modern health. Choose hot water spring swimming at Ebros Thermes. Sunbathe amongst the ruins of two early Christian basilicas at Agios Stefanos or pay homage to the Greek God of wine at the ruins of the Dionysos Temple. Visit monasteries, castles or go on a cycling tour past windmills. What draws most are the dreamy beaches and if we were to recommend an island for simply doing nothing, although there's so much to do, then you cannot go wrong with Kos.

15. The urban charms of Nafplio

Looking for something a little more gentle than a full on beach holiday with late night dancing? The port city of Nafplio could be what you’re seeking in terms of exploration and urban beauty and is considered one of the most romantic places in Greece. The Old Town is a fresh adventure for those who love walking and waiting for new experiences to occur. You will stumble across hidden squares, Ottoman architecture, unexpected villas and streets that coil around like the snake on a Grecian urn.

If you need a break from the warm streets then pop into the splendid Archaeological Museum of Nafplio for a brilliant collection of ancient artifacts. The War Museum is well worth a visit as is the Komboloi Museum which must be the only place of its kind in the world devoted to the celebration of the humble bead. As a port town, Nafplio also offers a beach which you can find after a lovely stroll along the waterfront. Only hours from Athens, Nafplio could be a great base for further adventures on the Greek mainland.

16. Sail your ship to Zakynthos

The Colossus of Rhodes was one of the ancient wonders of the world and, although its majesty has long gone, the island itself can still provide huge delights to the visitor. Rhodes does have a reputation as a great place to party and, indeed, there are certain areas that are ideal for the younger traveller to let their hair down. However, simply categorising the island as a place to enjoy the nightlife is to do it a big disservice as there is so much more to see and do including long, golden beaches that are amongst the best in Greece.

As you would expect from Greece, there is a rich history to explore especially in the island’s old town where medieval buildings still stand proudly against time and earthquakes, providing the visitor with a unique insight into the past. Further afield you will discover authentic Greek charm and warm welcomes in mountain villages and towns that look out from clifftops over sparkling sea. If you do want a taste of the modern you will find plenty of great shopping and the restaurants range from the very traditional to the latest food trends. An island with something for everyone, Rhodes deserves a leading spot on your Greek bucket list.

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