The 20 Best Things to Do in Greece (Bucket List)
You’re planning to visit Greece during your next holidays? You want to know more about the best places to visit?
You’re at the right place!
In order to help you plan your stay, i have prepared this guide of the 20 best things to do in Greece, with all the must-see attractions of the country.
Discover Athens, the Peloponnese, the Cyclades (Santorini), the Dodecanese archipelago (Rhodes) and many more amazing places to visit during your trip.
So, where to go in Greece? What are the best points of interest?
Let’s find out!
- The 20 Best Things to Do in Greece (Bucket List)
- Visit Greece: The 20 Best Places to Visit and Must-See Attractions
- 1. Athens
- 2. Peloponnese
- 3. Mycenae
- 4. Epidaurus
- 5. Monemvasia
- 6. Mystras
- 7. Olympia
- 8. Delphi
- 9. The Meteora
- 10. Thessaloniki
- 11. The Chalkidiki Peninsula and Mount Athos
- 12. The Cyclades
- 13. Dodecanese Islands
- 14. Ionian Islands
- 15. Crete
- 16. The Vikos Gorge
- 17. Euboea and the Sporades
- 18. The North Aegean islands
- 19. Greece beaches
- 20. Discover Greek Gastronomy
- Greece Tours
- You’re traveling to Greece ? These articles will help you !
- Visit Greece: The 20 Best Places to Visit and Must-See Attractions
Visit Greece: The 20 Best Places to Visit and Must-See Attractions
Let’s start this Greece travel guide with Athens, the capital city.
As one of the oldest cities in the world, Athens turns out to be surprising. The modern city is built around ancient monuments, so urban atmosphere enthusiasts will find it as enjoyable as history and mythology lovers.
If you want to visit Greece or Greek Islands, there are strong chances you’ll be flying to or from Athens. That’s a good reason to spend 2 days in one of the must-see cities in Greece.
Here are Athens 10 best points of interest:
- Acropolis: major and iconic ancient site, it’s also the most visited of the city. Here you can admire the Parthenon, the largest Doric temple in Greece. It was built in homage to the goddess Athena Parthenos, patron and protectress of the city.
- Acropolis Museum, a must-see to understand the Acropolis History and admire all its treasures.
- Ancient Agora: the political, social and administrative center of Ancient Athens.
- National Archeological Museum and its collection of Greek antiquities from the Neolithic to the classic period.
- Panathenaic stadium built in the 4th century and restored in 1895 to host the first modern Olympic Games.
- National Garden, Athens biggest public park. Relaxing and refreshing !
- Syntagma Square, house of the Parliament. There you can see the changing of the guard ceremony every hour.
- Monastiraki neighborhood, famous for its Sunday flea market and its many souvenir shops.
- Mount Lycabettus. You can walk or take the funicular to the summit to see a stunning view of Athens and the Acropolis.
- Ermou street, for shopping lovers !
For more information about Athens, you should read our complete city guide : The 20 best things to do in Athens.
To continue this list of the best places to visit in Greece, you should definitely visit Peloponnese.
Located west of Athens, the Peloponnese peninsula is full of historical sites and archaeological vestiges. Over the centuries, many civilizations have settled there and shaped a landscape worth visiting.
Peloponnese best destinations:
- Corinth Canal: artificially carved into stone, this 6 km long canal connects the Ionian Sea to the Aegean Sea, avoiding a 400 km detour for boats. It separates the Peloponnese from Continental Greece. Don’t miss the souvenir photo.
- Nemea Wine road: located in the South of Corinth, this region produces some of the best red wines in Greece.
- Nafplio: beautiful seaside city overlooked by 3 fortresses. You should definitely visit the fortress of Palameda, a large and well-built site located on a hill above the city. The view over Nafplio and the sea is wonderful! It’s definitely one of my very good surprises during my trip to Greece.
- Vouraikos Canyon: the best and most spectacular way to discover the canyon is the rack-railway that runs daily between Diakopto and Kalavrita.
- Mani peninsula: a rural and quite wild area, still spared by mass tourism. You will enjoy splendid views driving on the roads.
- Elafonisos Island: on the very South of the Peloponnese, you will find here one of Greece’s most beautiful beach: Simos beach.
I will give you more details about the places from Mycenae to Olympia later in this article.
If you wish to visit Peloponnese, you can read our detailed article: The 15 best things to do in Peloponnese.
You’re looking for more things to see in Greece and more specifically in Peloponnese? Then you should definitely go to Mycenae.
Mycenae is one of the oldest UNESCO World Heritage sites in Greece. Built on a hill, this antique city is well-known for being the home of the legendary Trojan War hero Agamemnon, considered one of the most powerful king of Ancient Greece.
On the site, you will discover the heavy stone walls surrounding the city, the royal palace and the tombstones where many gold artefacts and funerary furniture were found.
You can also visit the Mycenae Archaeological Museum to learn more about the Mycenaean civilization and this crucial period of Greek history.
For further informations about rates and schedules, you can visit the official website.
Epidaurus is also one of the best place to visit in Greece.
Along with Mycenae, it’s one of the two major archaeological sites of Peloponnese and the Argolid region. Epidaurus is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The place is well-known for its ancient theater, built in the 4th century BC. Incredibly well preserved, the Epidaurus theatre could accommodate up to 14,000 people. With its amazing acoustic, the theater is still used today for antique Greek plays representations during the Epidaurus Festival (in July and August).
The sanctuary also includes a temple dedicated to the god of medicine Asclepios, a circular building named the tholos, a stadium and a small archaeological museum. There, you can see some of the statues discovered on the site and in the surrounding area.
Visit Monemvasia is another thing to do during your trip to Greece.
This fortified city is located in the south of Peloponnese, on the East coast of Laconia. It has a quite unusual position, located on a huge rock, only connected to the mainland by a small road.
The road to Monemvasia is really unique, as the village is completely hidden by the cliff until you arrive. The houses will only appear once you’ve passed the wall of the medieval city. Cross the main gate and enter the medieval city to start discovering the village. You will for sure enjoy walking in the lower town paved alleys: It’s very cute and calm, with many shops and restaurant. Following the main street will take you to the central square, offering a nice view on the sea.
You should also definitely go up to the fortress and the upper city. From there, the view on the cliffs, city and the sea is breathtaking!
Impossible to talk about the best of Greece without mentioning Mystras. It’s one of the places I enjoyed the most when visiting the country.
The site about 10 kilometres away from Sparta on the slopes of Taygetus mountain. It’s certainely one of the most beautiful archaeological site of the Peloponnese.
Mystra was once one of the capitals of the Byzantine Empire as well as a major cultural city. Due to its dramatic History, it has been left in an advanced state of decay for a long time. Today, after an impressive restoration work (still underway), this UNESCO World Heritage Site is really worth a visit.
There, you will admire the fortress and the Kastro (Castle) as well as many churches and monasteries in a beautiful environment.
Also located in the Peloponnese, Olympia Archaeological Site is a must-see attraction in Greece.
If you want to learn more about Olympia, you definitely have to visit the Olympia Archaeological Museum. The best is to do it before visiting the Archaeological Site.
You’re travelling to Greece and you’re interested about ancient history? Then you should definitely visit Delphi archaeological site.
In Ancient Greece, this city was considered to be the center of the world and was thus extremely important. It’s is especially famous for being the place where the Oracle of Delphi (also named the Pythia) transmitted Appolo’s directives from the gods to humans.
For over 6 centuries, the Pythia’s prophecies have shaped Greek History: Citizens and kings were coming from all over the country to get answers to their questions.
The UNESCO World Heritage site of Delphi Stands on Mount Parnassus, which adds a stunning natural beauty to the historical remains. The views over the valley and the sea are astonishing!
In the antique area, you can admire the Temple of Apollo where the Pythia delivered the oracles, the theatre and the stadium that hosted the Pythic Games.
The entrance fee also includes an access to Delphi Museum. The visit will help you understand what the site looked like, and includes many remains and statues found in Delphi.
9. The Meteora
If you are planning a road trip to Greece, and wondering what are the best places to visit, then you should definitely include The Meteora to your journey. It was literally my biggest crush during my trip.
The Meteora is located in central Greece, 5 hours drive from Athens and 3 hours from Thessaloniki. Despite being far from the two major cities, it is still one of the most visited places in the country. Once you’re there, you will understand why!
The scenery is extraordinary. The rock formation of The Meteora results from the erosion due to an ancient inland sea. The name literally means “rocks suspended in the air“. The rocks are really impressive but the craziest part is that, on the top of some of them, monasteries were built!
Until the 1920s, the only way to access the monasteries was an ingenious system with cables and pulleys. It was used by the religious to go to the top of the rocks into nets or baskets. Nowadays, you can visit 6 monasteries, but don’t worry! Stairs has been carved into stone, and a road connects the monasteries. There, you will enjoy stunning views of the landscape.
Spend at least 1 day on the site, or more if you want to visit the inside of the monasteries (each entrance fee is €3). The largest monastery, the Monastery of Great Meteoron, is really worth a look. As the highest of the 6, it sits on a 610 meters high hill!
The Meteoras is really a must-see tourist attraction in Greece.
During your visit in Greece, you really should go to the city of Thessaloniki.
Located north of Greece, it’s less touristic than some other places, but still the 2nd biggest city of the country.
What are the best things to do in Thessaloniki, Greece:
- White Tower: former prison and torture place, it’s the most iconic monument of the city.
- Thessaloniki Waterfront, where you will find many bars and restaurants.
- Modiano Market to buy the best local products!
- Arch of Galerius and Rotunda, 2 Roman monuments
- Archaelogical Museum of Thessaloniki and its collection of remains from Greek Macedonia (not to be mistaken for the Republic of Macedonia)
- Take a look at the many Churches: Agios Pavlos, Agios Dimitrios, Agia Sofia, Agios Nikolaos Orfanos, Ossios David
- Thessaloniki Citadel and its walls located in the upper city, and famous for its sunsets views.
- Via Egnatia, a must for shopping-lovers!
- Visit a Greek Navy helicopter carrier and/or Submarine, if they are docked during your stay.
To plan your trip to Thessaloniki, have a look at our detailed guide: Visit Thessaloniki: Top 12 Things To Do and Must-See Attractions.
11. The Chalkidiki Peninsula and Mount Athos
Let’s continue our Greece tourist guide with the Chalkidiki Peninsula.
The Chalkidiki Peninsula regroups, in fact, 3 peninsulas located Southeast of Thessaloniki.
- Kassandra peninsula
- Sithonia peninsula
- Mount Athos peninsula, a UNESCO World Heritage Site
The first two peninsulas are well-known for having many luxurious seaside resorts and hotel complexes. There are Spas, casinos, golf and tennis courts, private marinas and luxury shops. Here, tourists can also enjoy splendid beaches with turquoise water, small coves and the land is covered with pine forests.
The atmosphere is completely different in the Mount Athos peninsula! It’s the home of the Monastic State of Agion Oros, an autonomous state inside Greece and Europe. There are still nearly 2,300 Orthodox monks living in the 20 monasteries located around the Mount.
If you wish to go to Mount Athos on a pilgrimage, please note that the access is highly regulated: only men have the right to enter, and you must ask at least 6 months in advance for a special permit to go there. And still, only 10 non-Orthodox people and 100 Orthodox people per day are allowed on the site.
If you can’t obtain a permits for Mount Athos or for women, cruises departs from Uranupolis (the nearest city). You’ll be able to get a glimpse of some of the monasteries. Tickets costs around €30, for a 3 hour cruise.
12. The Cyclades
If you plan to visit Greece, you certainly can’t miss its most iconic destination: The Cyclades islands.
When you think of the Cyclades, the island of Santorini is probably the first one you think about! The picture of the white church with its blue dome, overlooking the sea is famous all over the world. But did you know there are 24 inhabited islands in the Cyclades archipelago?
- Santorini: the romantic island, visited by thousands of people, where the sunsets are magical! If you want to know more about Santorini, you should read our detailed article: Visit Santorini: Top 12 Things To Do and Must-See Attractions
- Mykonos: The best place to go if you want to party all night long at the sound of world famous DJs.
- Amorgos: the island where the movie “The Big Blue” was filmed. It’s also a great destination for hiking lovers!
- Naxos: the largest island of the Cyclades. The beaches here are wonderful!
- Paros: where you can visit lovely villages and enjoy beautiful beaches. You can read our detailed article about Paros here: Visit Paros.
- Andros: another great destination for hiking lovers.
- Delos, for its renowned antique sites.
- Tinos and its remote mountain villages.
If you want to know everything about the Cyclades, have a look at our definitive guide: Visit the Cyclades : Top 15 Things To Do and Must-See Attractions.
13. Dodecanese Islands
Let’s continue this list of the best things to do in Greece with the Dodecanese Islands.
Rhodes, the largest of the Dodecanese Islands is famous for its long sand beaches and wooden valleys. When visiting Rhodes, there are 2 things you must see: The old town of Rhodes, with its castle and fortifications and the lovely village of Lindos. Don’t forget to climb up to Lindos Acropolis, where you’ll have an amazing view over the bay!
Rhodes also has a large number of seaside resorts, making it a very popular destination for all inclusive stays.
You can read our guide to know everything about Rhodes: How to visit Rhodes?
The other Dodecanese best islands are:
- Halki, with only 300 inhabitants. A great quiet place to spend the whole day at the beach.
- Symi where you will find one of Greece’s most beautiful village. From Rhodes, you can easily access Symi on a daytrip.
- Karpathos, an island where traditions and landscapes were preserved from mass tourism.
- Kos, the 2nd largest Dodecanese Island, known for its sandy beaches, luxury hotels and nightlife.
- Tilos for nature lovers and bird watchers!
- Patmos and its impressive hilltop monastery
- Leros: if you like hiking and quiet places.
- Leipsoi, one of the smallest and most authentic islands of the Dodecanese!
14. Ionian Islands
If you are looking for what to do in Greece, you can definitely add the Ionian Islands to your list!
Located west of Greece, the Ionian Islands are known for having a milder climate and lush green landscapes. You will also find sublime coves and crystal clear water beaches. There, you will find some of the best sights of Greece!
What are the best places to see in the Ionian Islands?
- The city of Corfu is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Throughout its history, Corfu has been occupied by the Venetians, the French and the British. The result is a very interesting mixture of architectural styles, making the city quite unique! You have to take a walk to the Liston, a pedestrian esplanade with many arcades. You can also discover the Achilleion, a palace built for Empress Sissi of Austria.
You will also find beautiful creeks all over the island. Why don’t you try the famous Glyfada beach, or the west coast creeks near Paleokastritasa?
- Cephalonia is an Island with a beautiful scenery and authentic small villages.
There, you must-see: Argostoli, the capital; the Assos Castle; Fiskardo and its Venetian houses; the Lake Cavern of Melissani and Myrtos Bay, a cove dominated by high cliffs.
- Leucadia: you will find amazing beaches along its west coast.
- Zante: home of the first marine National Park in Greece. The protected Caretta-Caretta species of sea turtles come here to nest.
- Ithaca: famous for being Ulysses homeland in Homer’s literature masterpiece “The Odyssey”. You won’t find any large beaches here, only small coves that are sometimes only accessible by boat.
- Paxos (or Paxi): the main attraction here is the Agios Nikolaos, an historical monument said to be designed by Leonardo Da Vinci. You can also visit, by boat, several sea caves.
- Cythera: According to Greek mythology, the goddess of Love Aphrodite was born on this island. If you want to enjoy some quiet time on an authentic island, with no large hotels or beach clubs, you should definitely go there!
Our tour of Greece highlights continue with Crete. The largest of the Greek Islands sometimes feels like a small country on its own!
The best things to do in Crete includes:
- Heraklion: the capital and largest city. You should visit the Archaeological Museum!
- Knossos Palace and Archaeological Site, residence of King Minos (known for The Legend of the Minotaur). One of Greece most important archaeological site.
- Balos Lagoon and its incredible turquoise blue water.
- Elafonisi beach, with its pink sand and crystal clear water.
- The Samaria Gorge is among the longest in Europe. You can explore it through a 16km long hike!
- Chania with its old town full of historic buildings and local craft shops.
- Spinalonga, an island north east of Crete. It used to welcome lepers.
- The Lasithi Plateau also called “the 10,000 mills valley” because its ancient white sails windmills.
- Dikteon Cave, said to be the birthplace of Zeus.
16. The Vikos Gorge
The Vikos Gorge is one of the things to see in Greece. If you like hiking, it’s a great destination!
It is located in the Zagoria region, North West of Greece, 2:30 hour drive from The Meteora.
With its nearly 900 metres depth and 12 km length, the Gorge is among the deepest in the world. As it’s very narrow, you will find it very impressive!
Once there, you can follow several hiking trails and itineraries to admire the preserved landscapes. In any case, remember that you are in a quite remote area, and be sure to have the right equipment! Don’t forget to bring hiking shoes, water bottles, sunscreen and hats. You should also notify your hotel about your itinerary.
The best known hike is 12km long and goes from Monodendri to Vikos, but don’t worry if you don’t want to walk that much. You will also find shorter itineraries, and sometimes you can even park your car near the view points. I strongly recommend you the one near Oxia!
17. Euboea and the Sporades
Euboea and the Sporades won’t be on the first page of a Greece tourist guide. But if you want to travel off the beaten path, that’s a destination you should consider.
Euboea is, after Crete, Greece’s second largest island. On its coast, you’ll find small seaside resorts, mostly frequented by the locals. It’s also a great place for hiking! The most known place to hike is the Dimosari Gorge, located South of Euboea. There, you can walk for 4 hours on a 10km trail, going down through the forest to reach the sea. That’s a great way to combine hiking and sunbathing at the beach!
You can also climb to the top of Euboea, the 1,743m high Mount Dirfys. The trail starts in the Steni mountain village.
Since the ancient times, Euboea is also famous for the Loutra Edipsou (or Edipsos) Thermal Springs. It’s said that Aristotle bathed in those waters!
The Sporades are an Archipelago of 4 Islands:
- Skiathos is the most touristic island. There are more than 60 sand beaches ! As tourism is very developed, you will find plenty of hotels, cafes, restaurants and souvenir shops.
- Skopelos: on this island you can enjoy beautiful and less crowded beaches. Did you know that the movie “Mamma Mia” was shot here?
- Alonnisos: is a must for hiking lovers, with more than a dozen marked trails. The island is also part of a marine National Park, to protect the endangered Monk Seals. During summer, you can also go on a cruise to see dolphins!
- Skyros has 2 totally different landscapes. The north is very green, with fertile valleys and hills, while the south is arid and often beaten by the wind. Skyros is the largest of the Sporades Islands, but also the most peaceful and the least touristic. A great place for relaxing holidays!
18. The North Aegean islands
You visited all the classics of a stay in Greece? If you believe that you are out of things to see, you should definitely take a tour to the North Aegean Islands!
These islands are the closest to Turkey.
The North Aegean Islands includes:
- Chios: an island with many medieval villages and beautiful beaches.
- Lesbos and its picturesque villages where you will find beautiful paved alleys or an oriental influence.
- Samos, is famous for its sandy beaches and its small coves. The goddess Hera (wife of Zeus) and the famous mathematician Pythagoras were born on this island.
- Icaria: Some says Dionysus, the God of Wine and Pleasure was born on this Island. To honour him, the inhabitants are organizing the Panigyria, a traditional Greek festival with dances and alcohol. Icaria’s beaches are among the most beautiful of the Aegean Sea.
- Lemnos: a volcanic island with large beaches.
19. Greece beaches
Where to go in Greece to enjoy beautiful beaches ?
A good thing about Greece is that, wherever you go, there’s a strong chance you can enjoy beaches. Well, as long as you’re traveling on the coast, of course!
So, what is a “beautiful beach”? It’s only up to you! Whether you like large sand beaches, pebble beaches, small coves, luxury beaches with deckchairs and sunshades, or more intimate locations, there will always be a beach you’ll enjoy in Greece.
Here are some of Greece’s best beaches to help you choose!
- The Shipwreck Beach (also called Navagio), on the Ionian Island of Zakynthos
- The Balos Lagoon in Crete
- Myrtos Bay, on the Ionian Island of Kefalonia
- Elafonisi Beach in Crete
- Simos Beach, on Elafonissos Island, Peloponnese
- Sarakiniko Beach, on Milos Island, The Cyclades
- St Paul Bay, on the Dodecanese Island of Rhodes
- Lalaria Beach in Skiathos, The Sporades
- The Channel of Love (also known as “Canal d’Amour”) in Corfu
- Voidokilia beach in Peloponnese
You will notice that I haven’t mentioned Santorini’s 2 most famous beaches: Perissa Beach and its volcanic black sand, and the Red Beach. In my opinion, there are much more extraordinary beaches in Greece!
20. Discover Greek Gastronomy
Another famous Greece attraction is its typical food. So, what will you eat during your stay in Greece?
Let’s look at the traditional dishes you have to try during your trip!
- Tzatziki is a Greek sauce made with goat’s (or sheep’s) yoghurt and cucumbers. The one we ate also had a lot of garlic!
- Greek salad: cucumbers, olives, feta cheese, peppers.
- Moussaka: a dish made of aubergines, minced meat and bechamel sauce.
- Fasolada, a traditional bean soup.
- Souvlakis and gyros: a pita filled with chicken or pork, a yoghurt sauce, salad, tomatoes and fries. To tell you the truth, it was our daily lunch!
- Greek Yogurt is not only a legend. You will find it in every restaurants, and it’s often served for desert with fruits and honey. It tastes nothing like those you can buy in a supermarket!
- Portokalopita: a Phyllo dough cake, made with Oranges. If you don’t like Oranges, you can always try the (as delicious) lemon one. It’s clearly my favorite Greek desert!
- Ouzo, an anise-flavoured alcohol, served as a digestif.
On Voyagetips.com, I give you all my best tips and itineraries to plan your trip to Greece by yourself. (All my Greece articles are here)
However, if you prefer to book a Greece tour with a travel agency, I recommend you to check the 10 best Greece tours by clicking the button below:
And you, now that you know what to see: where do you want to go and what do you want to visit in Greece?
Greece travel guides
- Buy the Lonely Planet Greece guide on Amazon.com or on Amazon.co.uk
- Buy the DK Eyewitness Greece guide on Amazon.com or on Amazon.co.uk
You’re traveling to Greece ? These articles will help you !
Discover all my articles about Greece: All my articles to help you plan your trip to Greece are listed there.