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The Best Places to Experience Greek Culture in Greece

The Best Places to Experience Greek Culture in Greece

Picture of Ethel Dilouambaka
Updated: 20 November 2017

If you want to experience Greece, there are countless ways and places where you can. Each comes with a collection of traditions and customs, since history has shaped their own uniqueness, which makes the country more than just its islands or capital. While there is no single “best place to experience Greece” per se, you can discover its captivating culture and enchanting appeal by visiting different areas throughout the territory.

Peloponnese

This peninsula located in the southern part of Greece is a wonderful destination boasting a rich history, fascinating archaeological sites, a collection of Byzantine churches and a plethora of Instagram-worthy locations. Home to the sites of ancient Olympia, Epidaurus, Mycenae, Mistras, Pylos, ancient Corinth or beautiful little towns such as Nafplio, Gytheio or Monemvasia, Peloponnese is one of the best spots to soak up some Greek culture. From little villages hidden in the mountainous range of Arcadia to medieval castles of Koroni, the region bursts with myths, natural beauty and charm waiting to be explored.

Well-preserved ruins of the temple of Apollo protected by large canopy in Bassae, Greece ©  Inu / Shutterstock

Thessaloniki

The 1997 European capital of culture, Thessaloniki is more than just the second city of Greece. The capital of the Macedonian region, it is a cultural hub blessed with a deep, multicultural past. A crossroad between the East and the West, Thessaloniki is a melting pot with Greek, Turkish, Jewish and Balkan influences, which makes it a great destination for a city trip. Besides, the laidback city enjoys a booming artistic scene and has proved to be an edgy food hotspot.

People enjoying the sunny weather near seaside in Thessaloniki © Anton Chalakov / Shutterstock

Corfu

The most popular of the Ionian islands, Corfu has a lot to offer the demanding traveler. Stunning beaches, delicious cuisine, a picturesque capital and a verdant interior perfect for nature lovers and hiking enthusiasts. But besides these, Corfu has a load of unique traditions and customs, coming from its strong multicultural past. And although it is a famous summer destination, we highly recommend you visit it for Orthodox Easter, where you can truly experience the authenticity of its heritage.

View of the Corfu town, Greece | © Kite_rin/Shutterstock

Crete

Without any doubt, Crete is worth a mention. Not only is this island large enough to satisfy a week-long stay, it is also the birthplace of the Minoan civilization, and home to a whole range of attractions and activities for the entire family. Better rent a car and take the time to explore everything it has to offer. Sun worshippers, foodies, history buffs and nature lovers will all enjoy the spectacular beaches, the age-old landmarks and archaeological treasures, the stunning landscapes and the vibrant gastronomy while enjoying a memorable stay on the island. We are sure you’ll be coming back for more.

Agios Nikolaos is a picturesque town | © photoff / Shutterstock

Chios

Another island riddled with history and traditions, Chios, in the Eastern Aegean Sea, is known throughout Greece and abroad for the production of mastic, or mastiha, a resin used for many purposes, including a flavorful liquor. And although the island is bordered by many wonderful beaches, Chios has a fantastic medieval past still visible today. Featuring the medieval mastiha-producing villages known as the Mastihohoria, such as the beautifully-decorated Pyrgi, Chios is home to Byzantine monasteries, medieval castles and many unique traditions.

The village of Pirgi, Chios, is known for the decorative designs on the exterior walls of its houses | © Nejdet Duzen/Shutterstock

Ioannina

The underrated region of Epirus, with its natural parks, high and rugged peaks and mountain villages combines a rural flair with balkanic flavours. Its capital, Ioannina, is a pleasant town with a beautiful historic center and several landmarks dating from the Ottoman period. A stroll in the old town, a boat ride on lake Pamvotida, a relaxing afternoon in one the many coffee shops and you will definitely understand the characteristic vibe of this charming town.

Ioannina city center | © kostasgr/Shutterstock

Ioannina city center | © kostasgr/Shutterstock

Athens

Whether you love it or hate it, Athens is a city that leaves no one neutral. The country’s capital, with its historic center dotted by landmarks, its chaotic bustle and its proximity to the city, is often seen as an untamable beast by many visitors. But for the discerning eye, it is filled with culture, torn between a distant past and an uncertain present. But give it a chance and you’ll be surprised by what you will encounter. With more theaters than Broadway or the East End, a fair share of museums and art galleries, plenty of coffee shops and bars and an irresistible charm, once it lets itself be discovered, Athens is definitely your gateway to experience Greek culture.

View of Acropolis and the city of Athens, Greece | © Kite_rin/Shutterstock

View of Acropolis and the city of Athens, Greece | © Kite_rin/Shutterstock