6 Reasons to Visit Mainland Greece Over Its Islands

Beautiful Mani, in Peloponnese
Beautiful Mani, in Peloponnese | © travelspot / Pixabay
Ethel Dilouambaka

Every year, thousands of people flock to Greece, eager to enjoy some well-needed sea fun or maybe to dig into the nation’s rich past and culture. But a majority of these visitors head straight to the islands, leaving behind a wealth of treasures on the mainland. Here are a few reasons why you should give the mainland a chance over the islands.

Breathtaking landscape

While the islands are known around the world for their stunning beaches and exotic charm, the same can be said about the mainland. Greece’s extensive coastline boasts stunning beaches and coves just like the islands. Across the mainland, you’ll also find high mountains ideal for trekking adventures, verdant valleys and a collection of cities and towns waiting to show you their best secrets.

Dragonlake in Epirus, Greece

Enchanting regions

Beach in Halkidiki

Diverse history

From Frankish enclaves to Macedonian towns, Venetian fortresses and Ottoman mosques, without forgetting to mention Byzantine churches, the rich, diverse history on the mainland will enthrall you. The century-old villages of Zagori will seduce you with their austere charm balanced with the luxuriant greenery surrounding them, while the well-preserved Roman and Ottoman architecture of Thessaloniki combined with the Byzantine vestiges in Greece’s second city will take you to a distant past.

Thessaloniki, capital of Macedonia region

A wealth of possibilities

Maybe you are looking for an urban escape or a quiet getaway in the wild. Or perhaps you want to simply relax on a beach, complete with a refreshing drink in hand. Or maybe you just want to explore ancient sites before rafting your way down one of the strongest streams. Well, you may be surprised to learn that you can have it all on the mainland. For example, party like a king at a beach bar in Halkidiki, or trek your way through the mythical kingdom of centaurs in Pelion. There is so much more to the mainland than you know.

Makrinitsa village, Pelion

The most epic road trip itineraries

There is something magical about road trips, don’t you think? Well, why not include it in your holidays in Greece? Whether you opt for a five-day or 15-day itinerary along the mainland, you can have an exhilarating experience roaming the roads of Greece. Take a tour of the wineries of Nemea, and admire the stone houses of Mani. Then head straight to the ancient site of Olympia before crossing over to central Greece to take in the grandeur of Meteora on your way to Vergina, home of the Macedonian Kings, before reaching Thessaloniki, where you can visit ancient sites and party your heart out.

View of Semeli vineyard in Nemea, Peloponnese

Incredibly delicious cuisine

Finally, a trip to mainland Greece is a perfect excuse to taste the local culinary culture. While Greece may not be the first wine country to come to mind, its variety of landscapes and its century-old wine-making tradition makes it an ideal place to discover local labels in Northern Greece. Also, you will certainly enjoy delicious locally produced olive oil and fresh olives in Messinia. You can learn how feta cheese is produced or simply join in on a local feast in Thessaly to sample delicacies as well.

Cheese shop in Metsovo, Epirus
landscape with balloons floating in the air


Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world

Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.

Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.

Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.

Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.

We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.

Winter Sale Offers on Our Trips

Incredible Savings

Edit article