Best things to do in Greece (islands, mainland experiences, must see attractions, villages)


There’s no denying that there are countless amazing things to do in Greece!

 

Archaeological sites, natural beauty, fantastic beaches, fascinating culture, picturesque villages… This country is full of surprises!

 

The best part? Greece has something to offer to every type of traveler, from couples to adventure lovers. To find the best activities in Greece for your taste, keep reading!

Things to do in Greece in a Nutshell

Cyclades

Santorini → Sunset views from Oia and Fira, dramatic caldera, volcanic landscape

Mykonos → Sunset cocktails at Little Venice, Photo shoots in front of the Windmills, Beach parties at Super Paradise beach

Dodecanese

Rhodes → Visit the Palace of the Grand Master, Enjoy the panoramic view from the Acropolis of Lindos, Wander the Valley of butterflies

Kos → Visit the Ancient Gymnasium, Boat trip to Kastri islet, Do windsurfing at Mastihari and Kefalos beaches

Sporades

Skiathos → Explore the Sea Caves, Choose between the over 60 beaches of the island, Romantic walk on the waterfront, Party at the Old Harbor area

Skopelos → Enjoy the view from Glossa village, See the romantic Agios Ioannis Kastri church of the Mamma Mia movie, Take a dip in the crystal clear waters of Stafylos beach

Ionian

Corfu → Discover the traditional villages, Visit the Achillion Palace, Enjoy the view from the Old and New Fortress, Swim through the canals at Canal d’ Amour beach

Zakynthos → Go to the super-popular Shipwreck beach, Explore the Blue Caves, Boat trip to Marathonisi Islet, Visit Askos Stone Park and the Venetian Castle

Crete

Chania → Visit the exotic Balos and Elafonissi beaches, Take a stroll at the Venetian port, Hiking through Samaria Gorge, Bungee jumping at Aradena Bridge, Explore Lake Kournas

Heraklion → Explore the Minoan Palaces of Knossos and Phaestos, Visit Cretaquarium, See where the hippies used to spend their time on Matala beach

Mainland

Athens → Acropolis hill, the Parthenon, Temple of Hephaestus, Herodes Atticus theatre, Arch of Hadrian, Temple of Olympian Zeus, Kallimarmaro Stadium

Thessaloniki → Arch of Galerius, White Tower, Thessaloniki Castle, Rotonda, Bey Hamam, Roman Market, Byzantine Museum, Archaeological Museum, Waterworks Museum

 

The best things to do in Greece for couples

 

 

The best things to do in Greece for history buffs

 

 

The best things to do in Greece for nature lovers

 

 

The best things to do in Greece for beach enthusiasts

 

 

The best things to do in Greece for party animals

 

The best things to do in the Greek islands

 

The Cyclades

 

 

The most popular island group in Greece, the Cyclades, consists of 200 stunning islands. Some of them are super-famous, like SantoriniMykonos, and Paros while others remain off the beaten tourist trail, like Anafi and Sikinos. No matter what type of traveler you are, you’ll find your own paradise destination in the Cyclades!

 

Santorini

Enthralling sunset views, dramatic caldera, lunar beaches, spellbinding scenery, and volcanic landscape

 

Things to do: Boat trip to Santorini volcano, Sunset watching from Oia and Fira, Wine tasting

 

Plus: Akrotiri settlement, Museum of Prehistoric Thera, Emporio Castle, Archaeological Museum

 

Mykonos

Cosmopolitan beaches, luxurious hotels & villas, legendary beach parties, and beautiful Cycladic architecture

 

Things to do: Day trip to Delos island, Sunset cocktails at Little Venice, Photo shoots in front of the Windmills, Beach parties at Super Paradise beach, Enjoy a luxurious beach day at Psarou and Paranga beaches

 

Plus: Panagia Paraportiani, Delos Archaeological Museum, Gyzi Castle, Archaeological Museum

 

Paros

Traditional mountain villages, endless sandy shores, ideal for water sports and swimming, delicious seafood, and vivid nightlife

 

Things to do: Day trip to Lefkes village, Windsurfing at Golden beach, Dining and clubbing at Naousa and Parikia

 

Plus: Panagia Ekatontapiliani Monastery, Venetian Castle, Archaeological Museum

 

Sifnos

Beautiful ceramics, epic local cuisine, quaint villages, numerous Cycladic churches, and excellent restaurants

 

Things to do: Dine at the excellent restaurants of Apollonia, Spend the day at Chrisopigi beach, Visit the medieval Kastro village, Eat traditional cookies and sweets

 

Plus: Church of Seven Martyrs, Folklore Museum, Chrisopigi Monastery, Ecclesiastical Museum

 

Naxos

Long sandy shores, watersports, archaeological sites, Venetian/Cycladic architecture, and the greenest landscape in the Cyclades

 

Things to do: Watch the sunset from the Portara, Wander the Castle quarter in Naxos Chora, do windsurfing and kite at Mikri Vigla beach,

 

Plus: Temple of Demeter, Marble quarries, Melanes Kouros, and Apollonas Kouros statues

 

Koufonisia

Remote paradise, exotic beaches, turquoise waters, boho vibe, and unspoiled natural landscape

 

Things to do: Boat trip to Kato Koufonisi, Discover the Sea Caves, Eat fresh fish at the cute fish taverns of the island, Explore the whole island on foot

 

Plus: Agios Georgios Church, Archaeological site in Kato Koufonisi
Related: Greece Island Hopping Travel Guide

 

The Dodecanese

 

 

The Dodecanese chain lies in the southeastern part of Greece, opposite the southwestern coasts of Turkey. Rhodes, the biggest and most popular island of the Dodecanese, is known for its Medieval architecture, idyllic beaches, and archaeological sites. On other islands, like Kalymnos and Astypalea, which are relatively untouched by international tourists, you’ll get a sense of wilderness unlike anywhere else!

 

Rhodes

UNESCO-listed Medieval Old Town, cultural hub, archaeological sites, Medieval festivals, excellent restaurants, and amazing beaches

 

Things to do: Visit the Palace of the Grand Master, Enjoy the panoramic view from the Acropolis of Lindos, Wander the Valley of butterflies, Walk along the Street of the Knights, Spend the day at Anthony Quinn beach

 

Plus: Archaeological Museum, Ancient Kamiros, Filerimos Monastery, Archaeological Museum

 

Kos

Verdant landscape, history, vivid nightlife, ideal for cycling and low-key family holidays,  luxurious resorts, and fantastic beaches

 

Things to do: Visit the Ancient Gymnasium, Boat trip to Kastri islet, Do windsurfing at Mastihari and Kefalos beaches, Discover the Basilicas of Saint Stephen, Take a dip into the Thermal Springs

 

Plus: Asklepieion, Neratzia Castle, Casa Romana, Hippocrates Cultural Center

 

Symi

Picturesque port, colorful buildings, dreamy scenery, remote, artists’ paradise, and super-photogenic

 

Things to do: Take photos of the picturesque port, Go for a romantic walk along the port promenade, Enjoy the panoramic view from the Venetian Castle, Spend the day at Gialos beach

 

Plus: Panormitis Monastery, Roukouniotis Monastery, Nautical Museum

 

Astypalea

Cycladic architecture, unspoiled landscape, off the beaten tourist trail, breathtaking views, and ideal for a romantic holiday

 

Things to do: Enjoy the mesmerizing view from the Venetian Castle, Take photos of the traditional Windmills, Explore Drakos Cave, Relax on Agios Konstantinos beach

 

Plus: Archaeological Museum, Panagia Portaitissa church, Saint John Monastery

 

Karpathos

Remote, wild natural landscape, perfect for a quiet holiday, crowd-less, traditional customs and events, quaint villages, activities in nature, and folklore

 

Things to do: Visit the picturesque Olympos and Menetes villages, Follow the hiking trails, Swim in the crystal clear waters of Apela beach, Enjoy the beautiful sea view from the Acropolis of Arkassa

 

Plus: Ancient Potideon, Province House, Cave of Poseidon, Saria Islet

 

The Sporades

 

 

The Sporades is a group of Greek islands on the northwest part of the Aegean Sea. Considered an off the beaten track destination, the Sporades islands have unique natural beauty and a stunning landscape. They attract both travelers who seek peace away from the crowds (Alonissos, Skyros) and youngsters that want to have fun (Skiathos)! The Sporades island complex also has many uninhabited islands, which form a Marine Park, home to endangered sea animals.

 

Skiathos

Amazing beaches, vivid nightlife, verdant natural landscape, sightseeing, and hiking

 

Things to do: Explore the Sea Caves, Choose between the over 60 beaches of the island, Romantic walk on the waterfront, Party at the Old Harbor area

 

Plus: Evangelistria Monastery, Bourtzi, Strofilia lagoon

 

Alonissos

Quiet, hiking, monk seals and dolphins, unspoiled beaches, and nature

 

Things to do: Evening walk at Rousoum Gialos village, Boat trip to the Marine Park, Hiking and mountain biking

 

Plus: Mavrikis Folklore Museum, Blue Cave, Agios Georgios church

 

Skopelos

Mamma Mia filming location, fantastic beaches, lush natural landscape, crystal clear water, and traditional architecture

 

Things to do: Enjoy the view from Glossa village, See the romantic Agios Ioannis Kastri church of the Mamma Mia movie, Take a dip in the crystal clear waters of Stafylos beach

 

Plus: Photography Centre, Cultural Heritage Museum, Gourouni Lighthouse

 

Skyros

Crowdless, remote, traditional villages, hiking, sea caves, and diverse natural landscape

 

Don’t miss: Meander through the narrow streets of Chora, Enjoy the view from the Medieval castle, Trekking in nature

 

Plus: Skyros ponies, Agios Nikolaos church, Agios Georgios monastery

 

The Ionian

 

 

Famous for its exotic beaches, verdant nature, and delicious food, the Ionian islands are one of the most popular island groups in Greece. Zakynthos, Corfu, Lefkada, and Kefalonia are the most popular islands of the Ionian chain, but there are also some small paradise islands, like Paxi and Ithaca, that are worth a visit!

 

Corfu

Scrumptious cuisine, a picturesque main town, sightseeing, Venetian architecture, beautiful beaches, and seaside resorts

 

Things to do: Discover the traditional villages, Visit the Achillion Palace, Enjoy the view from the Old and New Fortress, Swim through the canals at Canal d’ Amour beach, Stroll around Spianada Square

 

Plus: Museum of Asian Art, Mouse Island, Municipal Gallery, Mon Repos Palace

 

Zakynthos

Tropical beaches, lush green scenery, Caretta-Caretta sea turtles, vivid party scene, and dramatic landscapes

 

Things to do: Go to the super-popular Shipwreck beach, Explore the Blue Caves, Boat trip to Marathonisi Islet, Visit Askos Stone Park

 

Plus: Post Byzantine Art Museum, Solomos Museum, Venetian Castle

 

Paxi

Exotic beaches, turquoise waters, unspoiled nature, traditional villages, scuba diving, and sailing

 

Things to do: Boat trip to Antipaxos island, Take a dip in the turquoise waters of Voutoumi beach, Boat trip to Agios Nikolaos islet

 

Plus: Folklore Museum, Logos village, Olive Press Museum

 

Kefalonia

Fantastic beaches, romantic, lush green landscape, family destination, sandy coasts, and picturesque seaside villages

 

Things to do: Visit the picturesque Fiskardo village, Boat tour at the Melissani Cave, Take a dip into the exotic waters of Myrtos, Antisamos, and Lourdas beaches

 

Plus: Archaeological Museum, Drogarati Cave, Katavothres, Kipoureon Monastery

 

Lefkada

Dramatic natural setting, tropical beaches, romantic destination, water sports, verdant landscape, and traditional villages

 

Things to do: Savor the dramatic setting of Egremni and Porto Katsiki beaches, Hike to the Nidri Waterfalls, Explore the Sea Lakes

 

Plus: Faneromeni Monastery, Castle of Agia Mavra, Archaeological Museum

 

Crete

 

 

The biggest island in Greece and one of the biggest ones in the Mediterranean, Crete has a long history and unique natural beauty you won’t find anywhere else! Exotic beaches, dramatic gorges, worldwide famous cuisine, stunning archaeological sites…Crete has it all and even more. Crete is divided into three provinces: Chania, Heraklion, Lasithi, and Rethymnon.

 

Chania

Venetian architecture, chart-topper beaches, romantic and family-friendly destination, and trekking paths

 

Things to do: Visit the exotic Balos and Elafonissi beaches, Take a stroll at the Venetian port, Hiking through Samaria Gorge, Bungee jumping at Aradena Bridge, Explore Lake Kournas

 

Plus: Gramvousa, Frangokastello Fortress, Naval Museum of Crete

 

Heraklion

High-perched villages, Minoan palaces, vivid nightlife, fantastic beaches, and Venetian architecture

 

Best things to do: Explore the Minoan Palaces of Knossos and Phaestos, Visit Cretaquarium, See where the hippies used to spend their time at Matala beach

 

Plus: Archaeological Museum, Koules Fortress, Matala Caves, Agiofaraggo beach, Museum of Natural History

 

Lasithi

Amazing natural setting, world-class resorts, untouched by mass tourism, exotic beaches, Medieval castles, and quaint villages

 

Best things to do: Spend the day at the palm tree forest on Vai beach, Visit the cosmopolitan Elounda resort, Hike along the Gorge of The Dead, Boast trip to Spinalonga Islet

 

Plus: Agios Nikolaos sea lake, Ha gorge, Zakros Minoan Palace

 

Rethymnon

Venetian buildings, picturesque harbor, cosmopolitan resorts, monasteries, lush gorges, and traditional villages

 

Best things to do: Wander through the picturesque Rethymnon Old Town, Visit the exotic Preveli beach, Watch the sunset at the Venetian port, Take a stroll along the beach promenade

 

Plus: Preveli monastery, Archaeological Museum, Fortezza, Rimondi Fountain, Arkadi monastery

 

The best things to do in the Greek mainland

 

Athens

 

 

The capital of Greece and one of the oldest cities in the world, Athens has a lot to offer in terms of sightseeing and activities! The historic center of Athens is the place to go for archaeological sites and entertainment, while the suburbs are perfect for a more laid-back vibe and nature.

 

Sightseeing: Acropolis hill, the Parthenon, Temple of Hephaestus, Herodes Atticus theatre, Arch of Hadrian, Temple of Olympian Zeus, Kallimarmaro Stadium, Ancient Agora, the Temple of Poseidon

 

Nature: National Garden, Philoppapou hill, Lycabettus hill, Pnyx hill, Athens Riviera, Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center

 

Museums: Acropolis Museum, Archaeological Museum, Goulandris Museum, Museum of Cycladic Art, Byzantine Museum, Benaki Museum, National Museum of Contemporary Arts

 

Thessaloniki

 

 

Thessaloniki is the second-largest city in Greece. Also known as the Nymph of the Thermaic Gulf, Thessaloniki is a vibrant metropolis, where ancient and modern meet. This town is known for its vivid party scene, entertainment, laid-back vibe, and friendly people, that’s why it’s one of the locals’ favorite destinations.

 

Sightseeing: Arch of Galerius, White Tower, Thessaloniki Castle, Rotonda, Bey Hamam, Roman Market

 

Museums: Byzantine Museum, Archaeological Museum, Waterworks Museum, Museum of Macedonian Struggle, Balkan Wars Museum, Macedonian Museum of Contemporary Art, Cinema Museum

 

 

Peloponnese

 

 

Peloponnese is a peninsula that lies in the southern part of Greece and is connected with the Greek mainland by the Isthmus of Corinth bridge. A place associated with legends and mythology, Peloponnese, is graced with numerous archaeological sites. Thanks to its diverse natural landscape, this peninsula is a great choice for both beach and mountain holidays in Greece all year round!

 

Nafplio

Romantic seaside town, neoclassical buildings, picturesque, Greece’s first capital, and fortresses

 

Don’t miss: Mycenae archaeological site, Akronafplia Fortress, Bourtzi Fortress, Palamidi Fortress, Komboloi Museum, Archaeological Museum, Syntagma Square

 

Mani Peninsula

Off the beaten tourist trail, exotic beaches, quaint villages, wild natural landscape, and olive groves

 

Don’t miss: Mount Saggias, Cape Tainaro, Diros Cave, Areopoli, Arapakis Tower, Byzantine Museum, Sklavounakou Tower

 

Monemvasia

Medieval city, castle town, a natural fortress, romantic, and picturesque setting

 

Don’t miss: Agia Sofia church, Elkomenos Christos church, Portello, Archaeological Museum

 

Olympia

Mother of the Olympic Games, mythical town, archaeological site, and hiking spot

 

Don’t miss: Ancient Stadium, Archaeological Museum, Philippeion, Temple of Hera, Temple of Zeus, Ancient Olympic Games museum

 

FAQs

 

When is the best time to visit Greece?

 

Summer seems to be the best season to visit Greece, but it’s not the only option. Although in the summer the weather is hot, the sun shines, and the water is warm enough for swimming, it’s also the most crowded season in Greece. To skip the excessive crowds and enjoy the good weather, opt for late spring (May), early summer (June), and early fall (September). But, if you want total isolation and peace, your best bet lies in early spring and late fall.

 

How to get to Greece?

 

The best way to get to Greece is by air. Athens, the capital of Greece, is connected with numerous international airports via many direct and indirect daily flights. Even if you travel from a European country or the USA or Australia, your best bet is to fly to Greece. Keep in mind that air ticket prices are higher during the peak season (June to August) and drop in shoulder season. If you’re traveling to Greece from a European country or the UK, you can also opt for a train or a car journey.

 

Why is Greece famous?

 

Greece is famous for its enduring history, beautiful islands, diverse natural landscapes, delicious cuisine, and tons of archaeological sites. Greece is also known as the birthplace of democracy, philosophy, and western medicine, and the founder of the Olympic Games.

 

What should you see in Greece?

 

Every town and island in Greece has a lot to offer in terms of sightseeing. However, there are some places you shouldn’t miss. Some of the most important landmarks of the country are the Acropolis hill, the Parthenon, the Acropolis Museum, Delos island, Santorini volcano, the enormous rocks in Meteora, the Oracle of Delphi, and the Medieval Old Town of Rhodes.

 

What are the best places to visit in Greece for couples?

 

Santorini is the most famous destination for a honeymoon in Greece, but definitely not the only one. Other romantic places to visit in Greece are Corfu, Plaka neighborhood in Athens, Astypalea, Folegandros, Monemvasia, and the Medieval Rhodes Town.

 

What are the most famous foods in Greece?

 

Greek gastronomy is famous all around the world! Some of the most popular dishes to try in Greece are moussaka, pita gyro, souvlaki, spanakopita, Greek salad (Horiatiki), dolmadakia, tzatziki, loukoumades (Greek doughnuts), and feta cheese.

Read also: Top choices of all inclusive resorts and hotels in Greece