2017 brought about 30 million visitors to Greece, many of which explored the islands. Affordable prices, over 300 days of sunshine, picture-perfect landscapes and a vibrant and rich history make Greece a sought-after destination. But next year, we highly suggest you venture beyond picturesque Santorini and busy Mykonos to explore forgotten or underrated places that surely do not lack in authenticity and beauty. Here are the top places to visit in Greece in 2018.
One of the smallest islands of the Dodecanese island complex, Kastellorizo is a quaint place to visit. Though this far-flung island may not be the most popular destination in the Dodecanese, it certainly rewards those who dare give it a try. A prosperous island in the past, thanks to its convenient location, Kastellorizo, also known as Megisti, boasts colourful neoclassical mansions in its main harbour, tranquil and unspoiled beaches, hidden coves only accessible by sea and spectacular sights to behold. If you are looking for an authentic hideaway far from the hustle and bustle of the popular islands, then Kastellorizo is what you need.
Mani, the central peninsula of Peloponnese, is undeniably underrated yet it never disappoints. Boasting sweeping coastal fishing villages, winding roads, beautiful vistas and uncrowded shores, Mani is ideal for those who want to explore the mainland. The Diros Caves are worth a visit but don’t stop there. The abandoned Vathia village, perched high above the sea, will seduce history lovers with its quintessential tower houses. The sandy shores of Skoutari, the abrupt cliffs of Cape Tenaro, the southern point of the peninsula or the lively port town of Gytheio are all Instagram-worthy areas worth exploring.
Lying on the edge of the Cyclades, Anafi is the hidden paradise you didn’t know you needed. Home to less than 300 permanent residents, Anafi is a low-key haven where visitors can find relaxation and tranquillity. Think Cycladic villages, meandering paths, impressive peaks, sandy beaches and a few archaeological sites to discover. If you are a traveller who loves to explore without a travel guide and simply want to experience the destination you are in, Anafi may just be what the doctor ordered.
For those who need a little bit of adventure on their holidays, Epirus may just be what you need. Touch down in Preveza, a beautiful coastal town facing the Ambracian Gulf, where you will enjoy dining at the waterfront and having drinks in the old town. A long stretch of beaches connecting the town to Parga is perfect for relaxing afternoons but if you need a bit of action, kayak down the Acheron river or hike your way through the rugged peaks of the region. The site of the ancient city of Nicopolis will amaze history buffs, while the nearby Lefkada island is the perfect destination for a day trip.
Located at the crossroad between the Cyclades and Dodecanese, Astypalaia (or Astypalea) is an island where you will feel like you’ve travelled back to simpler times. This little island has a rich history that stems centuries, an impressive Venetian castle, a striking hora (main town) and sun-bleached villages as well as peaceful coves and beaches. A little paradise for hiking lovers and scuba diving aficionados, Astypalaia is a tranquil island where the weary will find peace and serenity (and delicious cuisine).
The mainland has a lot to offer, even in the northern parts of the country. Case in point: Kavala. This low-key city is the perfect destination for a quick getaway from the bigger agglomerations. This little gem by the sea, set on the foot of Mount Symvolo, boasts a lot of character, cute squares lined with cafes and bars, sandy beaches nearby, the archaeological site of the ancient city of Philippi as well as a proximity to Thassos island, one of Greece’s best-kept secrets.
For an alternative to the crowded streets of Santorini, minus the Caldera View, Milos has a lot to offer. Blessed with geological formations, including the spectacular ‘beach’ of Sarakiniko, where you will feel like you landed on the moon, volcanic Milos has a laid-back vibe and a je ne sais quoi which makes it one of the most underrated yet worthwhile destinations in Greece. The rocky cliffs of Kleftiko, the plethora of whitewashed villages and secluded beaches where you will perfect your tan are just a few of the extras that come with the package.
The little town of Galaxidi is hardly found in travel guides – and we’re not surprised. This coastal outpost in central Greece, near the archaeological site of the sanctuary of Delphi, has nothing pretentious. But what it lacks in publicity it more than compensates with its beautiful neoclassical mansions, its lively harbour and its rural atmosphere. A great base to explore the region, including the mountain village of Arachova, Galaxidi will happily surprise the daring traveller willing to give it a chance.