The Most Beautiful and Unspoilt Villages to Visit in Greece

Step back in time when you visit the picturesque village of Monemvasia in Greece
Step back in time when you visit the picturesque village of Monemvasia in Greece | © Acavalli / Getty Images
Culture Trip Travel Team

Escape the crowds of Santorini and Mykonos by visiting these idyllic Greek villages, untouched by rampant tourism. From the mountainous Florina region to the sun-soaked Cyclades islands, we’ve hand-selected the prettiest untouched destinations for a tranquil getaway.

Explore many of these villages by chartering a boat through SamBoat – no experience necessary. Alternatively, book a week-long sailing adventure with Dream Yacht Charter to explore further afield.

1. Papigo, Epirus

Architectural Landmark

Stone houses of traditional architecture and a narrow cobblestone street in Mikro Papigo in Epirus, Greece
© dinosmichail / Alamy Stock Photo

Epirus, one of the most underrated regions of Greece, is home to a collection of 40-something villages called Zagorohoria, on the Pindus mountains. Papigo is one of the most popular, but still very under-developed. Think 18th-century stone cottages and cobblestone streets, surrounded by soaring peaks, often shrouded in mist in the early morning. Make sure you stop in Stérna for your morning coffee and a home-made pastry. Later, cool off from the afternoon heat in the canyon rock pools.

2. Vatheia, Laconia

Architectural Landmark

Aerial view of the tower houses in the abandoned village of Vatheia on the Mani Peninsula in Laconia
© VASILIS VERVERIDIS / Alamy Stock Photo

Head southwest from Athens to the Mani Peninsula. Then drive to its southernmost tip and you’ll find the almost abandoned town of Vatheia. You can spot its distinctive spiky towers from miles away, a reminder of its heyday in the 18th and 19th centuries. However, as of 2011, there were only 33 inhabitants, due to severe rural exodus over the past few decades. Roam among the abandoned houses and try to imagine the village during its glory days. Let’s hope that the little village will soon be reborn.

3. Nymfaio, Florina

Architectural Landmark

Stone houses and walls, cobblestone streets and buildings with tin rooftops in Nymfaio, a traditional settlement in Florina
© Eleni Mavrandoni / Alamy Stock Photo

High in the mountains of Florina, you’ll find Nymfaio, a little gem of cobblestone streets and stone houses. It’s a favourite winter destination for Greeks, but relatively undiscovered by foreign tourists. Come summer, it’s a prime spot for wine tasting as it is surrounded by one of the best wine regions in northern Greece. Don’t leave without visiting the Arcturos Environmental Centre, just above the town – it’s a rehabilitation home for injured wolves and a refuge for mistreated circus bears that couldn’t survive in the wild.

4. Fiskardo, Kefalonia

Natural Feature, Architectural Landmark

Several boats at the port of Fiskardo in Kefalonia island, with buildings with terracotta rooftops next to the beach
© Constantinos Iliopoulos / Alamy Stock Photo

The little port town of Fiskardo, on the northern side of Kefalonia, is a too-often-forgotten destination on the Ionian island. Connected to the neighbouring islands of Ithaki and Lefkada, Fiskardo has a charming promenade bordered by fish tavernas, cafes and restaurants where you can enjoy freshly caught seafood. Combine your visit with an afternoon of swimming in the nearby picturesque coves.

5. Makrinitsa, Pelion

Architectural Landmark

Whitewashed buildings on a cobblestone street with plants in Makrinitsa, Greece
© Nataliya Nazarova / Alamy Stock Photo

Dubbed the Balcony of Pelion, thanks to its location 600m (1,969ft) above sea level, Makrinitsa boasts spectacular views over the gulf of Volos. Wander along the pedestrian-only streets, lined with traditional houses that have retained their original architecture, lending a real charm to the town. Take a seat in a taverna in the pretty main square and watch the world go by, before joining the hiking trails that snake through the nearby forest, masking old churches and deserted settlements.

6. Monemvasia, Laconia

Architectural Landmark

A sandy beach, a church and traditional houses built into the cliffs in Monemvasia in Laconia
© PASTA IMAGES / Alamy Stock Photo

The only way to get to the fortified town of Monemvasia in the Peloponnese is via a causeway connected to the mainland. It was once described by the Greek poet Yannis Ritsos as looking like a stone ship, setting off to sea. Admire the bougainvillea-covered houses that cling to the cliffside, offering panoramic views over the water, before climbing up to the medieval castle. It’s easy to see why this quaint town is among the most romantic honeymoon destinations in Greece.

7. Mesta, Chios

Architectural Landmark

A cobblestone street through stone buildings with some plants in Mesta, Chios
© Arda Savaşcıoğulları / Alamy Stock Photo

Tucked away on the island of Chios, you’ll find the Mastihohoria – a collection of small villages known for the cultivation of mastic, or mastiha, a resin once considered like the island’s own gold. In fact, the villages’ labyrinthine street layout was made to confuse intruders, who wanted to control the region’s lucrative livelihood. Head to Mesta, one of the prettiest and best-preserved; the beautiful old mansions show the former wealth of the inhabitants.

8. Hora, Folegandros

Natural Feature

A zigzag path going up to the Church of Panagia, above the whitewashed Chora town in Folegandros, on a clifftop
© AegeanPhoto / Alamy Stock Photo

Off the beaten track, Folegandros is home to a beautiful hora (meaning town in Greek), perched on the edge of a cliff at 200m (656ft) above sea level. It offers panoramic views over the Aegean Sea. The main town, though more similar to a small village, features sun-bleached houses, with colourful wooden doors and windows. Make your way up to the Kastro, the castle, and take the time to admire the beautiful churches you will encounter along the way.

Set sail for these beautiful towns by hiring a yacht for the day through SamBoat, or book a multi-day sailing trip with Dream Yacht Charter.

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