Ahhh Greece…it boasts jaw-dropping historic sites spanning four millennia, breathtaking beaches lapped by an emerald sea and an azure skyline, and it spreads out over more than 70 inhabited postcard perfect islands. Add the sugar cube white-washed houses, mind-blowing landscapes and the myriad of mythology—and you can see why thousands are inexplicably drawn to this wondrous country.
We’ve taken a look at some of the most stimulating activities and destinations to visit in Greece, to help you get the most out of your trip. So if you’re looking for some holiday inspiration read on…
Amble around the ancient ruins
Greece is absolutely full of them—so much so we could write another top ten based solely on the country’s raved-about ruins! Must visits include the Acropolis (Athens), the Parthenon (Athens), the Acropolis (Rhodes), the Temple of Apollo (Delphi), the Palace of Knossos (Crete) and the Temple of Olympian Zeus (Athens). History buffs might also want to visit the National Archaeological Museum and the Benaki Museum in Athens, to soak up several millennia of Greek history.
Ski down the snowy slopes
Think Greece is all about beaches and ancient ruins? Think again! It also boasts a multitude of mountains that will satisfy even the most passionate snow aficionados during the winter months. Choose from popular ski resorts including Parnassos, Kalavrita, Kaimáktsalan, Vasilitsa, 3-5 Pigadia and Mainalo, which give other European resorts a run for their euros.
Hang out at the Hellenic Festival
Or if music, dance, theatre and classical Greek dramas are more your cup of tea, then don’t miss the Hellenic Festival. Held in venues including the 2nd century AD Odeon of Herodes and the 4th century BC Epidaurus amphitheatre in Athens, the festival runs from May to September and attracts thousands of people every year.
Climb Mount Olympus
Home to the ancient Greek gods, this mythical mountain is steeped in heavenly history, giving it a somewhat surreal vibe. More than 10,000 people climb this mighty mountain each year, usually over three to four days with a registered hiking company. Its highest peak scrapes the sky at 2,919 metres, where you will be able to survey the world just like the thunderbolt-throwing Zeus of yesteryear.
Splash out on a spa
And what better way to relax after a strenuous spot of mountain climbing than by indulging in a wonderful spa? Greece has a plethora of spas, thermal springs and hydrotherapy centres where you can rest those weary feet and soothe your aches and pains.
Marvel at the Meteora Monasteries
Meteora means ‘suspended in the air’ and looking at this photo you can see why! The monasteries are nestled in a region of almost inaccessible sandstone peaks and were built as a retreat for monks who wished to escape the expanding Turkish occupation. Dating back to the 14th and 16th centuries, there were originally 24 monasteries, but only six remain intact today. You can get there by bus or taxi from Athens.
Wade into the water sports and water parks
It’s a scorching hot country during the summer months so you’re going to want to cool down. Luckily Greece has excellent facilities for water-based sports such as sea-kayaking, rafting and canoeing. It’s also a top diving and scuba destination thanks to its rich marine life and coral. One of the best diving areas is said to be Skiathos. And if you are travelling with children, head to Aqualand Waterpark in Corfu, one of the best in Europe.
Indulge in some island hopping
You knew this would be in the top ten somewhere didn’t you! Greece is a sailor’s paradise thanks to more than 6,000 islands and islets that can be navigated by boat in the Aegean and Ionian Seas. You can spend weeks exploring the bays, coves, sand dunes, coastal caves and secluded beaches. Another option is to explore the 3.5km long Melissani Cave in Sami on a small boat.
Have a blast on the beaches
You’ll find more stunning beaches in Greece than you can shake a beach towel at—fact! From chic party beaches, to family-friendly sandy spots and secluded shorelines, there are beaches to suit everyone. Try Elafonisi (Crete), Limnionas Beach (Pelion Peninsula) and Paleohori (Milos)—three of the Rough Guides’ top 20 Greek beaches.
Sample Greece’s fine wines
Well, why not? After all you’re on holiday and somebody has to drink them! And as one of the oldest wine-producing regions in the world, there are sure to be some wines that tickle your taste buds in all the right places. Want to learn how to make wine or sample some award-winning fine wines? Just contact the tourist office to see where the top local vineyards are.