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Chania, Crete
Chania, Crete | © VV Nincic / Flickr
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10 Greek City Breaks Perfect for Summer

Picture of Ethel Dilouambaka
Updated: 4 May 2018
Greece may not necessarily come to mind as a city break destination, but Culture Trip has set out to change that notion. Whether you want to revel in the thrills of the country’s biggest cities or prefer the relaxed vibes of its provincial urban hubs, here are 10 city breaks perfect for a summer in Greece.

Athens

It is not for nothing that Athens has been named a top destination by Trivago, an online search engine for travel. The Greek capital offers everything from city vibes, a vibrant culture and arts scene to dynamic nightlife and some beach fun along the Athenian Riviera. Whether you are looking for a relaxing beach getaway or more of a cultural adventure, you can have it all in Athens.

PARTHENON-ATHENS-GREECE
Parthenon Temple, Acropolis, Athens | Thomas Gravanis / © Culture Trip

Chania

Located on the northwest coast of Crete, Chania is known for its beauty. Along the waterfront, it boasts a stunning Venetian harbor, the famous old port as well as narrow shopping streets and waterfront tavernas. A true gem filled with Venetian and Turkish buildings, the city has a lot of options to explore in its surroundings, including beautiful beaches and isolated villages where you can discover the unique Cretan traditions and gastronomy.

Thessaloniki

Greece’s second city, Thessaloniki may have been under the shadow of more popular destinations, but that is no longer the case. This vibrant city, located on the Thermaic Gulf, features a rich collection of historical monuments and artifacts—many of which are UNESCO-listed—a blend of cultures, an entertaining nightlife, and innovative food scene. Opt for a cultural exploration of the stunning early Christian churches and monuments. Get lost in the city’s markets during a food tour, or enjoy some shopping, coffee breaks and relaxing moments by the sea before heading to the lively bar district. You can have it all in Thessaloniki.

View of the waterfront, Thessaloniki
View of the waterfront, Thessaloniki | © rmac8oppo / Pixabay

Patras

A popular destination during the Carnival season, Patras may not be the first Greek city that comes to mind. But this little harbor city has a lot to offer to the discerning traveler. A city steeped in history, Patras is home to a wide array of cool coffee shops and bars, thanks to its growing student population. Furthermore, its proximity to several ancient sites and the Ionian islands make it a great base from which to explore the surrounding region.

Ioannina

The inconspicuous city of Ioannina welcomes visitors with splendid views of Lake Pamvotida, an old quarter worth exploring, and a collection of places to break bread. Do like the locals and take a relaxing stroll along the lake. Then, be sure to make some time to visit the nearby islet. For a taste of history, visit the Kastro and meander the narrow streets of the old town, where you will stumble upon many of the city’s laid-back cafés. Reconnect with nature away from civilization with a hike in nearby Pindos National Park before stopping by Metsovo for a mouthwatering meal. Your taste buds will thank you!

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Ioannina, Greece | © betsisman / Pixabay

Kalamata

Kalamata is so discreet and secretive that few tourists actually know of its existence, but this little city by the sea in Messinia, Peloponnese, may quickly become an all-time favorite for those looking for quiet horizons. Offering all the exciting buzz of a city with the pleasure of countryside living, Kalamata and Messinia, in general, are ideal for the epicurean looking for a feast of the senses. Be it finding a splendid hidden cove, stumbling upon a forgotten taverna where you will dine like a king or exploring medieval ruins by the sea, you will make unforgettable memories.

Kavala

The seaside city of Kavala in northern Greece boasts an inviting seafront and a picturesque harbor, enabling the visitor to enjoy the surrounding urban beaches. But the city, with its aqueduct and many sites, is equally enticing. For a dive into ancient history, the nearby site of ancient Philippi offers great insight into the past, while an excursion to Mount Pangaion provides a refreshing respite out in the wild. If you are staying for a long weekend, take advantage of the city’s proximity to the green island of Thasos, less than an hour away by ferry.

old town and port of Kavala
Panorama of the old town and port of Kavala, East Macedonia and Thrace, Greece | © Stoyanh / Shutterstock

Rhodes

For those looking for a total change of scenery from gloomy high-rises and an uninspired commute, Rhodes town, with its medieval Old Town, its harbor, and picturesque shores, is just a plane ride away. Take the time to pay a visit to the Palace of the Grand Master, originally a Byzantine fortress built in the late 7th century A.D. Stroll along cobblestone streets, and admire the well-preserved buildings and bastions. The marina is great for nature lovers, especially since the city’s aquarium is one of the most important centers of marine research in the country. Don’t miss the chance to get out of the city if you can and travel along the coast while looking for the perfect hidden cove for a swim.

Nafplio

Nafplio may not be a city but more of a town; however, it will certainly remain one of the best escapes you can take in Greece. Charming and enticing, with its stunning Old Town featuring neoclassical houses, picturesque churches, and lively squares, Nafplio, located in Argolis, Peloponnese, is equally impressive since the town is home to three castles, including the Bourtzi, the Palamidi fortress, and the ruins of the castle on Akronafplia. But this romantic settlement is also an ideal base from which to explore ancient Epidaurus, Mycenae, and Tyrins, or simply to discover the gems of the Wine Roads of Nemea.

Nafplio, Greece | © imagIN.gr photography
Nafplio, Greece | © imagIN.gr photography / Shutterstock

Corfu

Discover Corfu town, with its harbor and its picture-perfect Old Town lined with pretty souvenir shops, restaurants, and cafés. Characterized by well-preserved Venetian architecture, Corfu town is certainly a marvelous place to visit. With no less than 39 churches, fascinating museums, gourmet restaurants, and cool bars, you will undeniably find some hidden gems to photograph and score a few likes on Instagram.