Greece is a spectacular country to visit. As the cradle of European civilization, it boasts an awe-inspiring history and a distinctive culture that blends Eastern and Western traditions that have influenced the whole world. It is a beautiful place too, with thousands of stunning, craggy islands picked out against the azure blue of the Mediterranean, majestic snow-topped mountain ranges, gorgeous beaches, and ancient ruins everywhere you look.
Due to the variety and richness of Greece’s vacation potential, it would be impossible to list all the places that are worth visiting in this magnificent country. Evidently, with so many tourist spots to choose from, it can be hard to decide where to go, and even a little overwhelming! So, if you are planning a Mediterranean cruise next year and want some ideas and inspiration (as well as a few suggestions that won’t break the bank), read on and discover the most amazing corners of Greece to visit.
Probably the most famous vacation destination in Greece and certainly one of the most visually arresting places in Europe, Santorini is a blazing white jewel set against the crystal-clear turquoise waters of the Aegean Sea. Whitewashed houses clinging to stark rocky cliffs give Santorini a unique look, while volcanic beaches and out-of-this-world sunsets complete the picture. With attractive rural villages, great hiking trails, and some of the country’s best restaurants, Santorini fully deserves its exceptional reputation.
Greece’s capital city is ancient, fascinating and vibrant, combining the excitement and liveliness of a modern metropolis with extraordinary history and culture. Athens is the birthplace of democracy. It boasts some of the most impressive ancient ruins in the world—especially the Parthenon and the Temple of Zeus. It will delight history lovers who want to explore the rich culture of ancient Greek civilization. Meanwhile, it also offers plenty of entertainment and haute cuisine. Athens is one of those cities that just keeps popping up with new, exciting experiences plus attractions, and you could explore it for years and never get bored.
Crete is Greece’s largest island and a superb destination in its own right. But a trip to Crete would be incomplete without an exploration of Knossos, the capital of the ancient and mysterious Minoans. This Bronze Age civilization ruled the area over 5,000 years ago, and Knossos provides a tantalizing glimpse of the might and power of this remarkable culture. The ruins include eye-catching mosaics, exquisite pottery, the fantastical Hall of Kings, along with the site of the Labyrinth from the ancient legend of Theseus and the Minotaur. A trip to Knossos lets you roll back the curtain and take a few steps through the mists of time. This experience should be an unmissable part of any Greek vacation.
The Greek mainland is often overlooked, with the gorgeous islands and coastal resorts taking most of the attention. However, there are some truly stunning places to see further inland, and Meteora is among the most delightful of them. Extraordinary rock formations stretch upwards towards the sky and provide the foundations of Meteora’s outstanding monasteries, which have been awarded double UNESCO World Heritage status for art and architecture. This is a unique place, an amazing combination of natural beauty and religious devotion, and should not be missed.
Another off-the-beaten-track option to wrap up your exciting sojourn, Skyros is an undiscovered jewel of an island hidden away in the Aegean. While many Greek islands can be overwhelmed by visitors, particularly in the summer, Skyros remains relatively pristine and is a real gem as a result. With dark pine forests in the north and gorgeous beaches in the south, connected by a dramatic coastline, this is a picturesque spot in one of the loveliest islands in the Mediterranean!