Discover Greece: 30 Awesome Things to Do for an Unforgettable Visit

| Alexandre Chambon / Unsplash
Ethel Dilouambaka

Undecided on what to do or where to go during your next trip to Greece? Should you stay in Athens for a week or forego it altogether and head to the islands? And if you go to the islands, where to go first? If you still can’t make a plan, here is a helpful guide on the best things to see or do in Greece.

1. The Acropolis of Athens

Ruins, Architectural Landmark, Historical Landmark

Photo by Constantinos Kollias on Unsplash

A trip to Greece requires a stop through Athens to see the Acropolis. Anywhere you are in the center, the sacred rock of the Acropolis is a dominant sight to marvel at. This magnificent creation, comprising of several monuments and temples is a unique insight into Greece’s glorious past and rich culture. Oh and don’t forget to stop by the Acropolis museum either. It is where most of the artefacts found in and around the Acropolis hill are exhibited.

2. Athens

Architectural Landmark, Historical Landmark

Amazing cityscape in Attica, Athens, Greece.
Datingscout / Unsplash

Although Athens may sometimes be seen as a lay-over before hitting the islands, the capital of Greece is a fine destination in itself. Perfect for a long weekend city trip from many European cities, Athens is a mixture of modernity and antiquity where traces of the past cohabit with contemporary life. While chaotic for many, it boasts a dynamic nightlife, age-old monuments and hidden gems dotting the center. But don’t forget that Athens also has its fair share of beaches and its beautiful Riviera, which brings an added bonus for the urban traveler.

3. Thessaloniki

Historical Landmark

The aerial view photo of Thessaloniki at sunset is a breathtaking sight, showcasing the city in all its glory as the warm, golden light of the setting sun illuminates its ancient and modern buildings.
Bill Moum / Unsplash

Often forgotten, discreet Thessaloniki is also another must when it comes to discovering the real Greece. The Lady of the North, as it is often dubbed, has many charms that will easily seduce the discerning traveler. Blessed with a rich culture, vibrant food scene and a plethora of sights, Thessaloniki definitely deserves a visit.

4. Attend a panigiri

Natural Feature

Greeks are a very social people. They may be loud for European standards but this can be explained by the fact their life is spent outdoors. The weather certainly helps to do that but another reason is also that Greeks are passionate people who enjoy spending time together. One of the best ways to witness this is at a panigiri. These local feasts are usually held in honor of a saint on the saint’s day and involves eating, drinking and dancing until the wee hours of morning. Even if you do not know any moves, overcome your shyness and join the fun when the band starts playing. You will quickly see why a panigiri is a highly-anticipated social event.

5. Visit a church

Architectural Landmark

Church rooftop in Santorini, Greece
Matt Artz / Unsplash

Greece is a very religious country and this is also visible in the number of churches that can be found in each city and village. And don’t get us started on the islands. Even if you are not religious yourself, visiting a church is something you should do while visiting Greece. Adorned with colorful frescoes and icons, the sacred sanctuaries will astonish.

6. Visit the country during Easter

Historical Landmark

Besides the splendid destinations it has to offer, Greece is a country where traditions are held dear. While it is a major summer destination, Greece has proved it is a fun spot for all seasons, but you should particularly give Greece a chance during Easter. Indeed, Greek Orthodox Easter is a major celebration throughout the country, with each region having its specific traditions. It is a magical time to see the country as it is slowly waking up from winter hibernation and nature is showing its true colors. Plus, you will surely be able to enjoy better prices.

7. Visit a local farmer’s market


Handmade jam in glass jars, Nafplion, Greece
Jason Mavrommatis / Unsplash

You may wonder why we added a visit to the farmer’s market in this list of things to do in Greece, but if you know anything about Greece, you will quickly understand why. Full of life and animation, the markets are the heart of Greek life. Whether in a tiny village or big city, every neighborhood has a market day. It is where older locals meet for a weekly chat with the neighbors and where visitors can score some of the freshest seasonal produce. Greek honey, spices and many other things can be taken home as souvenirs.

8. Try some ouzo


While some will grimace with disgust, visitors should definitely try some ouzo. For those who have never tasted it, visiting Greece is the perfect opportunity. Sure, not everyone likes anise-flavored things, so of course if this is your case, you can forget it, but if you are pretty open to anything, who knows, you may end up liking it.

9. Drink coffee


Greeks, just like Italians, are very serious about their coffee. You will see them drink one on their way to work or school, on the beach or virtually anywhere else. Don’t be surprised if you spot them sitting for hours in a café, even if they are done with coffee just to chat, this is just how Greeks socialize. And no one, not even the waiter, will come and ask them to leave once their cup is empty. So why not give it a go? Whether you prefer cold or warm coffee, with or without sugar, this is definitely something you need to try.

10. Olympia

Historical Landmark

Olympia, Greece
James Lee / Unsplash

Home to the first ancient Olympic Games, held every four years to honor Zeus, Olympia features among the most important archaeological sites in Greece. In the western Peloponnese, this magnificent site welcomes visitors from across the whole world and plunges them into a distant past, where they can learn all about the Olympic Games, through the exploration of the site, which includes the ancient stadium, the gymnasium, the temples of Zeus and Hera, as well as the workshop of ancient Greece sculptor Phidias. A visit to Olympia is not complete without a stop at the nearby Archaeological Museum were many of its impressive artefacts are on display.

11. Delphi

Architectural Landmark, Historical Landmark

An overview of Delphi from above, Athens, Greece
DiChatz / Unsplash

Thought to be the center of the earth, Delphi, located at the foot of Mount Parnassos (or Parnassus) is undeniably one of Greece’s most interesting archaeological sites in Greece. Home to the most important Delphi oracle in the ancient world, Delphi welcomed pilgrims from all over the Mediterranean Basin who came to inquire of god Apollo through the prophecies of the Pythia, the high priestess of his temple.

12. Meteora

Historical Landmark, Natural Feature

Meteora, Greece
Steve Petty / Unsplash

A spectacular sight to behold, Meteora, with its age-old monasteries perched on surreal rock formations, is another must-see destination. Located in central Greece, Meteora (which means suspended in the air) is home to 24 14th-century Byzantine monasteries built on top of rock pillars where monks could seek refuge from the Ottoman empire. The area was already a shelter for hermits and ascetics in the 10th century who were looking to live away from the world and closer to God. Out of all the monasteries in Meteora, only six are still in function and open to the public so don’t miss a chance to go visit this splendid site and to explore the neighboring region.

13. Zagorohoria

Architectural Landmark

Tucked somewhere in the Pindus Mountains in Epirus, northwest Greece, the isolated region of Zagori is home to a cluster of over 40 stone villages, known as Zagorohoria. Surrounded with breathtaking and scenic landscapes, these villages are perfect for hiking. Very close by, visitors will find the Vikos Gorge, one of the deepest in the world. The other attractions in the region include paragliding, mountain biking and rafting.

14. Nafplio

Architectural Landmark

A popular weekend destinations for Athenians, Nafplio is a picturesque little town in the Peloponnese. Set on a bay on the eastern coast of the region, it was the first capital of the modern Greek State in 1828, until Athens took over in 1834. As such, the city has preserved its alluring charm and is filled with neoclassical villas. Overlooked by the Palamidi Fortress, dating from the 18th century, it is very close to major sights such as Ancient Corinth, Epidaurus or Tyrins.

15. Temple of Poseidon, Cape Sounio

Architectural Landmark, Historical Landmark

Temple Of Poseidon, Sounio
Cristina Gottardi / Unsplash

At the southernmost tip of the Attica peninsula, 70 kilometers away from Athens, the Cape Sounio is known to be the place where Athenian king Aegeus jumped into the sea to his death when he thought his son Theseus was killed by the Minotaur, giving his name to the sea. But Cape Sounio is more than just a place of legend. It is home to the Temple of Poseidon. While the first version was destoyed by the Persians in 480 BC, the second version, of which a few columns still stand today, was built in 440 BC.

16. Epidaurus

Archaeological site

Ancient Theatre of Epidaurus, Greece
Andy Fluet / Unsplash

In the region of Argolis, in Peloponnese, Epidaurus is known around the world for its ancient theater. Built in the late 4th century BC, the theater of Epidaurus served to host religious ceremonies in honor of god Asclepius, whose healing center was located nearby. Famous for its incredible acoustics, this classical theater is still used today. Indeed, every summer it hosts performances of ancient Greek drama.

17. Monemvasia

Architectural Landmark

Founded under the Byzantine empire during the 6th century, the town of Monemvasia is a stunning medieval town in the southeastern part of Peloponnese. Nestled on a big rock, Monemvasia is a magical place where you can step back in time. Invaded by the Crusaders, the Venetians, and the Turks, the city was a fortress reachable only by boat, although in recent years a causeway was built to connect the town to the mainland.

18. Santorini

Natural Feature

Santorini, Greece.
AXP Photography / Unsplash

A top destination in Greece, Santorini ranks high among the most romantic destinations in the world. This volcanic island in the Cyclades experienced a severe volcanic eruption, which gave the island its current aspect. Blessed with unique beaches with red or black sand, the island is home to picture-perfect villages on top of the caldera, luxurious beach resorts and a dynamic wine production scene.

19. Patmos

Sports Center

The island of the Apocalypse, Patmos is a place with intense spiritual charisma. According to Christian tradition, it was in a cave of the island that Saint John was inspired to write the Book of Apocalypse after he had a vision. This is the reason why there is a large monastery of Saint John in Chora, the capital of the island. Chora is a beautiful place to walk around and enjoying a view to the Aegean Sea, but the most touristy place of the island is probably the village of Skala.

20. Crete

Natural Feature

The largest island in Greece, Crete is a little country in itself. Home to glorious beaches, impressive landscapes and traces of magnificent civilizations, Crete boasts a scenic interior, with the Samaria gorge, and a rich gastronomic culture.

21. Zakynthos

Architectural Landmark

Navagio Beach, Zakynthos, Greece
Max van den Oetelaar / Unsplash

The verdant island of Zakynthos is located in the Ionian Islands. While the island is known for the numerous parties held there, Zakynthos (or Zante) is a beautiful island blessed with natural beauty, pristine beaches and turquoise waters. The main town of the island has a number of historical and ancient sites to offer but probably one of the top attractions is the Navagio beach (also known as the Shipwreck beach, where you can see beautiful white shores and crystal waters.

22. Delos

Natural Feature

Right next to the Cosmopolitan island of Mykonos lies Delos, the mythical place where twins Artemis and Apollo were born. Legend has it that Leto, the mother of the twins, was seduced by Zeus and to escape his wife’s scorn, Leto was forced to settle in Delos. The island was then considered a sacred place during ancient times. While the island has been inhabited in the past, it underwent a purification process in the 5th century BC, where birth and death was prohibited on its soil. After its destruction in 88 BC, the history of the island remains unknown, but today, the island is an open-air museum where visitors can explore on a day trip.

23. Knossos Palace

Architectural Landmark, Historical Landmark

Knossos Palace, Φειδίου, Heraklion, Greece
Martijn Vonk / Unsplash

Covering over 20,000 square meters, the Minoan Palace at Knossos is located near Heraklion in Crete. Decorated with beautiful frescoes still visible today, the palace featured many rooms and according to the myth of the Minotaur, a labyrinth. Minos Kalokairinos, a Cretan antiquarian was the first to excavate the site in 1878, which allowed him to discover that the palace was built on a previous palace, which was destroyed in an earthquake in 1700 BC. The second palace, rebuilt right after, was again destroyed, by a fire in the 14th century BC and was never rebuilt.

24. Prespa Lakes

Church, Park, Ruins

Located in the Florina region, the Prespa lakes are one of the most important wetlands in Europe. This paradise where visitors can enjoy observing migratory birds is located 850 meters above sea level. Perfect for bird watching aficionados, the lakes are an ideal destination for those looking for some peace and quiet in the middle of paradise.

25. Corfu

Natural Feature

Corfu, Greece
Tobias Reich / Unsplash
Corfu ranks among the most beautiful islands of the country. Situated on the north-western part of the country in the Ionian Sea, it is a cosmopolitan island where you can enjoy its unique character. Corfu Town is particularly beautiful, with its Venetian architecture, small streets and many sights. The island is dotted with charming villages and astonishing beaches, and thanks to its great location, a vacation in Corfu can be combined with some island hopping to the other Ionian destinations.

26. Rhodes

Natural Feature

Rhodes Old Town, Greece
Ben Morris / Unsplash

Close to Turkey, the largest island of the Dodecanese, Rhodes is little gem. Take time to explore its capital, UNESCO-listed Rhodes Town, which is enclosed by impressive fortifications, built by the Knights of St. John in the 14th century. Explore the cobbled streets of the old town on foot or discover the coastal town of Lindos, with its Acropolis. The island also has many beautiful beaches perfect for a day under the sun.

27. Ikaria

Natural Feature

Ikaria, Greece
Sarah Mutter / Unsplash

Named after Icarus, son of Daedalus, who fell into the nearby sea when his wax wings melted from the sun, Ikaria is often dubbed the island where people forget to die. Blessed with stunning beaches of golden sand and turquoise waters, the island is a relaxed haven where you can spend a laidback vacation. With picturesque villages, wineries and a relaxed way of life, it is a place where we can all learn a thing or two about taking a step back and actually living in the moment.

28. Mystras

Architectural Landmark

A fortified town located on Mount Taygetos in the Peloponnese, Mystras (or Mistras) is located near the town of Sparti. It was a powerful city in the last decades of the Byzantine era, and now consists of an old town surrounded by walls and an imposing palace at the top of the hill. Known today for its beautiful Byzantine churches with striking frescoes, Mystras is now silently surrounded by splendid nature. Visitors can stop by the modern village of Mystras, which features traditional architecture and picturesque little squares.

29. Melissani Cave, Kefalonia

Natural Feature

Melissani Cave or Melissani Lake, also Melisani is a cave located on the island of Kefalonia, Greece.
Branko Besevic / Unsplash
Kefalonia, or Cephalonia, is an Ionian island south of Corfu. It has splendid beaches, lush vegetation and a delicious local cuisine. One of the many wonders of the island is Melissani Cave, 10 kilometers from the main city, Argostoli. The cave is home to an underground lake and features an opening on to p that lets the light inside and gives the impression that boats are actually floating in the air. Even though the tour lasts only 15 minutes, we guarantee you will remember the experience for a long time.

30. Little Venice, Mykonos

Architectural Landmark

Known as the Greek Ibiza, Mykonos is a favorite summer hotspot for A-list celebrities, partygoers and sun worshippers, with its plethora of beach bars and clubs, world-class restaurants and high-end boutiques. Our favorite spot on the island though is Little Venice, the westernmost part of Mykonos town. With houses built directly on the coast edge and balconies hanging over the water, spectacular views and delicious waterfront dining.

Culture Trip Summer Sale

Save up to $1,395 on our unique small-group trips! Limited spots.

Edit article