Exploring Greece’s Exquisite Gems: Greece is the Word..
Greece, a land steeped in ancient myths and timeless beauty, has captivated travelers with its enchanting landscapes and rich history. We embarked on a journey to discover the 5 best places that Greece had to offer. From the sun-soaked islands to the historical marvels, our experiences were nothing short of extraordinary. These however, are our top 5..
Map of Greece Showing Bordering Countries:
Map Showing Greece Location in Europe:
Countries Bordering Greece:
Greece is bordered by 4 countries: Albania, Bulgaria, Republic of Macedonia and Turkey. 3. Which seas flow around Greece and its many islands? The Aegean Sea, Ionian Sea and Mediterranean Sea flow around Greece. Albania, Bulgaria, Macedonia and Turkey
Our Top 5 Best Places to Visit in Greece:
1. Santorini: A Dreamlike Escape
Our voyage began on the sun-kissed shores of Santorini, where whitewashed buildings cascade down cliffs into the azure Aegean Sea. Strolling through Oia’s labyrinthine streets at sunset, we felt like we were in a postcard come to life. Savoring local delicacies at cliffside tavernas, we watched as the sun dipped below the horizon, igniting the sky with hues of pink and gold.
Breakfast Spot: Start your day at Melenio Cafe in Fira, where you can savor flaky pastries and rich Greek coffee while gazing out at the sea.
Coffee Break: The Athenian House in Oia offers breathtaking caldera views and aromatic Greek coffee to invigorate your senses.
Sundowner: Catch the sunset at Santo Wines, a winery perched on the cliffs, while sipping on local vintages and taking in the panoramic vistas.
Little Gem: Did you know that Santorini’s crescent shape is a result of a massive volcanic eruption that occurred around 3,600 years ago, leading to the collapse of the volcano’s center?
2. Athens: A Journey Through Time
In Athens, we stepped into the footsteps of ancient philosophers and rulers. The Parthenon’s grandeur left us awe-struck as we wandered around the Acropolis. At Plaka, the old city’s charming lanes beckoned with boutique shops and quaint cafes. Exploring the Acropolis Museum, we marveled at the artifacts that unveiled Greece’s storied past.
Breakfast Spot: Start your day with a traditional Greek breakfast at Café Avissinia in Monastiraki, complete with freshly baked bread, olives, and feta cheese.
Coffee Break: Pause at Tailor Made, a hip coffee spot near Syntagma Square, where artisanal coffee and unique blends are a treat for the senses.
Sundowner: Head to A for Athens Rooftop Bar, where you can enjoy a cocktail against the backdrop of the illuminated Acropolis.
Little Gem: The olive tree, symbolizing wisdom and peace, has been sacred to Athenians since antiquity. There’s an ancient olive tree near the Erechtheion that’s believed to be over 2,500 years old!
3. Crete: Where Myth Meets Reality
Crete transported us to an era of myth and legend. In Knossos, the ancient Minoan palace revealed stories of a bygone civilization. As we hiked the Samaria Gorge, the dramatic scenery and pure air invigorated our spirits. Lounging on the idyllic beaches of Elafonisi, we felt time slow down amidst the pink sand and turquoise waters.
Breakfast Spot: Dive into a Cretan breakfast at Kritamon in Heraklion, featuring local cheeses, honey, and aromatic herbs.
Coffee Break: Discover hidden courtyards and enjoy strong Greek coffee at To Mikio Café in Chania’s old town.
Sundowner: Relax at Balcony Hotel’s terrace in Chania, sipping on refreshing cocktails as the sun sets over the Venetian harbor.
Little Gem: The Samaria Gorge is not only the longest gorge in Europe but also home to several endemic plant species, making it a haven for nature enthusiasts.
4. Mykonos – The Jewel of the Cyclades:
My journey took an exhilarating turn as I landed on the shores of Mykonos, a paradise where the rhythm of life was set to an endless party beat. From the moment I stepped foot on the island, it was as if the energy of the night came alive, filling the air with laughter, pulsating music, and the enchanting glow of disco lights. Beneath the star-studded sky, I danced like there was no tomorrow, losing myself in the vibrant atmosphere and forging connections with fellow revelers.
But as the sun rose, Mykonos unveiled yet another side of its multifaceted personality. The island transformed into a serene oasis, offering quiet beaches where I could unwind and the streets of Mykonos Town embraced a charming tranquility. As the day unfurled, I explored hidden corners, found treasures in boutique shops, and savored local delicacies in quaint cafes. Mykonos, a place where the night pulsates with fervor and the day soothes the soul, had truly captured my heart in its rhythmic embrace.
Breakfast Spot: To fuel up for the day, I ventured to Kounelas Fish Tavern in Mykonos Town. Their hearty Mediterranean breakfast spread, complete with olives, feta, and freshly baked bread, set the perfect tone for a day of exploration.
Coffee Break: For a mid-morning pick-me-up, I discovered Yummy Mykonos Café, tucked away in a cobblestone alley. The aroma of strong Greek coffee accompanied by a sweet bougatsa pastry transported me to a blissful state of relaxation.
Sundowner: As the sun began its descent, I found myself at Scorpios, a beachfront haven that transformed into a haven of tranquility during sunset hours. Sipping on a carefully crafted cocktail, I watched as the sun painted the sky with an array of colors, bidding farewell to another vibrant Mykonos day.
Little Gem: Among the winding streets of Mykonos Town, there lies the famous windmills. These iconic structures have stood for centuries, harnessing the island’s powerful winds and becoming a symbol of Mykonos’ charm.
5. Meteora: Monastic Marvels
Our grand finale was Meteora, a destination that left us in awe of both nature’s power and human determination. As we stood atop towering cliffs, I marveled at monasteries perched like eagles’ nests, seemingly touching the sky. The serenity and spirituality of the place felt like a meditative balm for my soul.
Breakfast Spot: Start your day at Café Meteora, savoring local treats and strong Greek coffee while admiring the views.
Coffee Break: Enjoy a peaceful moment at Kalambaka’s Agora Café, surrounded by lush gardens and the stunning backdrop of Meteora.
Sundowner: Head to Theopetra Estate, a local winery, to savor organic wines as the sun sets behind the majestic rocks.
Little Gem: The name “Meteora” means “suspended in the air” in Greek, a fitting description for these otherworldly rock formations that seem to defy gravity.
Did we mention the Food in Greece? EAT!
Embarking on a culinary journey through Greece is like unearthing a treasure trove of flavors that resonate with both tradition and innovation. My taste buds were tantalized by the symphony of tastes and aromas, leaving me with unforgettable memories.
One of my personal favorites was indulging in spanakopita, a flaky pastry filled with spinach and feta, an explosion of earthy and tangy notes in every bite. The simplicity of a Greek salad, adorned with plump tomatoes, crisp cucumbers, and creamy feta, was a refreshing revelation against the backdrop of warm afternoons.
And then there’s souvlaki, succulent pieces of grilled meat or vegetables nestled in a pita, drizzled with tzatziki and wrapped in a warm embrace. But perhaps the pinnacle of my gastronomic journey was relishing a bowl of fresh seafood stew, lovingly prepared with local catch, fragrant herbs, and a splash of olive oil. Greece’s culinary artistry, woven with authenticity and passion, transformed each meal into a cherished memory.
Essential Things to Know Before Traveling to Greece:
Before embarking on your adventure to Greece, here are some essential things to know that will ensure a smooth and enjoyable trip:
- Travel Documents: Ensure you have a valid passport with at least six months of validity beyond your planned departure date. Depending on your nationality, you might need a visa to enter Greece, so check the visa requirements well in advance.
- Currency: The official currency of Greece is the Euro (EUR). It’s advisable to have some local currency on hand for small purchases, but credit cards are widely accepted in urban areas.
- Language: The official language is Greek. While many Greeks working in the tourism industry speak English, it’s a good idea to learn a few basic Greek phrases to enhance your travel experience.
- Local Customs: Greeks are known for their warmth and hospitality. It’s common to greet people with a smile and a handshake. When visiting churches or religious sites, modest dress is appreciated.
- Tipping: Tipping is customary in Greece. In restaurants, a service charge might be included in the bill, but leaving a small tip for good service is appreciated. It’s also common to round up taxi fares and leave a small tip for hotel staff and tour guides.
- Health and Safety: Greece is generally safe for travelers. It’s a good idea to have travel insurance to cover any unexpected medical expenses. Tap water is safe to drink, but bottled water is also readily available.
- Transportation: Greece has an extensive public transportation system, including buses, ferries, and trains. Renting a car can be a convenient way to explore more remote areas, but be aware that Greek drivers can be assertive.
- Time Zone: Greece operates on Eastern European Time (EET), which is UTC+2. During Daylight Saving Time (from the last Sunday in March to the last Sunday in October), it shifts to Eastern European Summer Time (EEST), which is UTC+3.
- Weather: Greece experiences a Mediterranean climate with hot, dry summers and mild winters. Summers (June to August) can be very busy, especially in tourist hotspots, so consider visiting during the shoulder seasons of spring (April to June) or fall (September to October).
- Cultural Etiquette: Greeks take pride in their culture and history. It’s important to respect religious sites, traditions, and customs. Avoid discussing sensitive topics like politics and religion unless invited to do so.
- Electricity: The standard voltage is 230V, and the frequency is 50Hz. Greece uses the Type C and Type F sockets, so you might need a plug adapter if your devices have a different plug type.
- Emergency Numbers: In case of emergencies, dial 112 for general emergencies, 100 for police, and 166 for medical assistance.
By keeping these essential tips in mind, you’ll be well-prepared to immerse yourself in Greece’s rich culture, stunning landscapes, and warm hospitality.
How to Get to Greece:
Getting to Greece is relatively easy due to its well-developed transportation infrastructure and its popularity as a tourist destination. Here are the primary ways to get to Greece:
1. By Air:
Greece is well-connected to major international cities through its numerous international airports. The main international airport in Athens, Eleftherios Venizelos International Airport (ATH), is the largest and busiest in the country. There are also several other international airports in popular tourist destinations like Thessaloniki, Heraklion (Crete), Rhodes, and Corfu. You can find direct flights from many major cities in Europe, North America, Asia, and the Middle East.
2. By Sea:
Greece’s extensive coastline and numerous islands make sea travel a popular option. There are ferry connections between mainland Greece and various Greek islands. You can travel by ferry from nearby countries like Italy and Turkey as well. Major ferry ports include Piraeus (Athens), Rafina, Patras, and Igoumenitsa. Ferries vary in terms of speed and comfort, ranging from regular passenger ferries to high-speed catamarans.
3. By Train:
Greece is well-connected to neighboring countries by train, particularly through its northern borders. The international train services connect Greece with Bulgaria, North Macedonia, and Turkey. You can take a train to Thessaloniki from these neighboring countries and then continue your journey within Greece.
4. By Bus:
International bus services connect Greece with neighboring countries as well. The bus network might be less extensive than trains, but it’s a viable option if you’re traveling from nearby destinations.
5. By Car:
If you’re traveling from nearby countries with good road connections, driving to Greece can be an option. However, make sure to research border crossing requirements, driving regulations, and road conditions in the countries you’ll be passing through.
6. Cruise Ships:
Greece is a popular destination for cruise ships, particularly in the Mediterranean region. Many cruise itineraries include stops in major Greek cities and islands, offering travelers a taste of Greece’s diverse beauty.
Before traveling to Greece, make sure to check the latest travel advisories, entry requirements, and any guidelines or restrictions that might be in place. Additionally, consider the time of year you plan to travel, as this can impact the availability of transportation options and the overall travel experience.
How to Get Around Greece:
Getting around Greece is relatively easy and convenient, thanks to its well-developed transportation network. Whether you’re exploring the mainland or hopping between the islands, there are various transportation options to choose from:
1. Domestic Flights:
Greece has a network of domestic airports, making it easy to fly between major cities and popular islands. Airlines like Aegean Airlines and Olympic Air operate frequent flights, particularly during the tourist season. Flying is a quick way to cover long distances and reach remote islands.
2. Ferries and Catamarans:
Ferries and high-speed catamarans are essential for island hopping. The ferry network connects the mainland to the islands and also links the islands to each other. Ferries vary in terms of comfort and speed, with high-speed options offering quicker journeys between major destinations. Popular ferry routes include Piraeus (Athens) to Santorini, Mykonos, Crete, Rhodes, and more.
3. Public Buses:
Greece has an extensive bus network that connects cities, towns, and villages across the mainland and islands. KTEL is the main bus company operating intercity and regional routes. Buses are a cost-effective way to travel within a region and explore the countryside.
Greece’s train network connects major cities like Athens and Thessaloniki with suburban and regional areas. While trains are not as extensive as in some other European countries, they offer a comfortable and scenic way to travel. The main train operator is TrainOSE.
5. Metro and Trams:
In major cities like Athens and Thessaloniki, you can use the metro and tram systems to get around efficiently. The Athens Metro, for example, provides easy access to key attractions, neighborhoods, and transportation hubs.
6. Taxis and Ride-Sharing:
Taxis are readily available in most cities and towns. You can hail a taxi on the street or find them at designated taxi stands. Ride-sharing services like Uber operate in certain cities as well.
7. Rental Cars and Scooters:
Renting a car or scooter gives you the flexibility to explore at your own pace, especially in areas with limited public transportation. However, be aware that driving conditions in some places can be challenging, and traffic rules might differ from what you’re accustomed to.
8. Cycling and Walking:
Exploring on foot or by bicycle is a great way to experience local culture and scenery at a leisurely pace. Many towns and cities have pedestrian-friendly areas, and some islands are well-suited for cycling.
9. Guided Tours:
Guided tours, whether on foot, by bus, or by boat, offer a convenient way to explore specific regions and attractions while benefiting from local insights and expertise.
When planning your transportation in Greece, consider factors like your itinerary, budget, and the areas you want to explore. Keep in mind that during peak tourist seasons, transportation options might be busier, so it’s a good idea to book tickets in advance when possible.
FAQ – Best Places to Visit in Greece and Traveling to Greece in General
Traveling to Greece: Frequently Asked Questions
1. Do I need a visa to travel to Greece?
Citizens of many countries, including the EU, the USA, Canada, Australia, and most other Western countries, do not require a visa for short stays (up to 90 days) in Greece. However, it’s essential to check the visa requirements based on your nationality before you travel.
2. What is the currency used in Greece?
The official currency of Greece is the Euro (EUR). ATMs are widely available, and credit cards are accepted in most establishments. It’s a good idea to carry some cash for smaller purchases, especially in rural areas.
3. What’s the best time to visit Greece?
The best time to visit Greece is during the shoulder seasons of spring (April to June) and fall (September to October). The weather is pleasant, and tourist crowds are thinner compared to the peak summer months.
4. Is it safe to travel to Greece?
Greece is generally a safe destination for travelers. Petty theft can occur in crowded areas, so it’s advisable to take standard precautions. Also, be aware of any travel advisories and follow local guidelines, especially in remote or less-traveled areas.
5. What languages are spoken in Greece?
The official language is Greek. While most Greeks in the tourism industry speak English, it’s helpful to learn a few basic Greek phrases to enhance your travel experience.
6. What’s the tipping etiquette in Greece?
Tipping is customary in Greece. It’s common to leave a small tip (around 5-10%) for good service in restaurants. Tipping taxi drivers, hotel staff, and tour guides is also appreciated.
7. How’s the public transportation system in Greece?
Greece has a well-developed transportation network, including domestic flights, ferries, buses, and trains. Public transportation is reliable and connects major cities, towns, and islands. However, some remote areas might have limited services.
8. Can I drink tap water in Greece?
Tap water in Greece is generally safe to drink. However, in some islands or remote areas, it might be preferable to drink bottled water.
9. What’s the local cuisine like?
Greek cuisine is known for its Mediterranean flavors and fresh ingredients. Enjoy dishes like moussaka, souvlaki, Greek salad, and baklava. Seafood is also abundant, especially in coastal areas.
10. Are there any cultural etiquettes to keep in mind?
Greeks are warm and hospitable people. Greeting with a smile and a handshake is common. When visiting churches or religious sites, modest dress is appreciated. Be mindful of local customs and respect traditions.
11. Do I need travel insurance for Greece?
While not mandatory, having travel insurance is highly recommended. It can cover medical emergencies, trip cancellations, and other unexpected situations that might arise during your trip.
12. Can I use my mobile phone in Greece?
Most major mobile networks have coverage in Greece. Check with your provider for international roaming options or consider getting a local SIM card for better rates.
13. How do I handle emergencies in Greece?
In case of emergencies, dial 112 for general emergencies, 100 for police, and 166 for medical assistance.
Before traveling to Greece, it’s important to research and plan accordingly to ensure a smooth and enjoyable trip. Always stay informed about the latest travel advisories and entry requirements, and embrace the beauty and culture that Greece has to offer.
Places to Visit in Greece: Frequently Asked Questions
1. What are the must-visit islands in Greece?
Greece boasts numerous beautiful islands. Some popular choices include Santorini for its stunning sunsets, Mykonos for vibrant nightlife, Crete for its diverse landscapes, and Rhodes for its historical charm.
2. What are the top historical sites in Greece?
Greece is a treasure trove of history. Iconic sites include the Acropolis in Athens, the ancient theater of Epidaurus, the Palace of Knossos in Crete, and the archaeological site of Delphi.
3. Which cities should I explore in Greece?
Athens, the capital, is a must-visit for its blend of ancient and modern. Thessaloniki offers a vibrant cultural scene, while Nafplio captivates with its charming streets and waterfront.
4. Are there any off-the-beaten-path destinations worth exploring?
Yes, consider Meteora with its monasteries perched atop rock formations, the remote beauty of Zakynthos’ Shipwreck Beach, and the traditional villages of Pelion.
5. What natural wonders should I not miss?
Explore the dramatic Samaria Gorge in Crete, hike through the Vikos Gorge in Zagori, and visit the ancient volcanic landscapes of Nisyros.
6. Where can I experience Greece’s ancient history and mythology?
Delve into mythology at the Oracle of Delphi, explore the ancient Agora in Athens, and visit the Palace of the Grand Master of the Knights of Rhodes.
7. What are some iconic coastal destinations?
Navagio Beach on Zakynthos, Elafonisi Beach in Crete, and Porto Katsiki in Lefkada are among the stunning beaches you should not miss.
8. Where can I experience traditional Greek village life?
Explore the white-washed streets of Oia in Santorini, the charming alleys of Chora in Mykonos, and the authentic beauty of Mani Peninsula villages.
9. Are there any UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Greece?
Yes, Greece is home to numerous UNESCO-listed sites, including the Historic Centre of Athens, the Medieval City of Rhodes, and the Monasteries of Meteora.
10. What’s the best way to explore the Greek islands?
Ferry services connect most islands, offering a picturesque and relaxing way to hop between them. Consider island hopping to experience a variety of landscapes and cultures.
11. Where can I enjoy Greece’s culinary delights?
You can savor Greek cuisine throughout the country, but Athens, Thessaloniki, and the coastal towns are known for their seafood and traditional dishes.
12. Can I visit ancient ruins and historical sites in the winter months?
Yes, many historical sites are open year-round, including Athens’ major attractions. However, note that some island-specific activities might be limited during the winter season.
13. How can I explore the Greek mainland’s natural beauty?
Discover the dramatic landscapes of Vikos Gorge, hike through the lush forests of Pelion, and marvel at the mountain scenery in Zagori.
14. What’s unique about the architecture in Greece?
Greece’s architecture showcases a blend of ancient and modern influences. Look out for neoclassical buildings in Athens, Cycladic-style architecture in the islands, and traditional stone houses in the villages.
Greece is a land of rich history, breathtaking landscapes, and vibrant culture, offering a plethora of destinations to explore and experiences to cherish. Whether you’re interested in history, natural beauty, or culinary delights, Greece has something to captivate every traveler.
You more than 5 places to visit in Greece? ⬇️ ⬇️ ⬇️
Our 5 Best Places to Visit in Greece – Final Thoughts:
Greece’s best places offer a mesmerizing blend of history, natural beauty, and warm hospitality. From Athens’ ancient treasures to Santorini’s romantic sunsets, Crete’s diverse landscapes to Meteora’s spiritual aura, each destination promises an unforgettable experience. Embrace the timeless allure of Greece, where myths and legends come alive amidst stunning scenery.
So, pack your bags, and let this enchanting country weave its magic on your soul. Kalo taxídi! (Bon voyage!)
Or maybe you’d prefer something a little more off the Beaten Track in Greece?
Nestled in the heart of the Cyclades, Milos Island is a hidden gem that beckons to those seeking unspoiled beauty and tranquil charm. Known for its unique geological formations and crystal-clear waters, Milos offers a captivating blend of dramatic landscapes and serene beaches.
The island’s coastline is a canvas painted with secluded coves, rugged cliffs, and hidden sea caves waiting to be explored. From the lunar-like Sarakiniko Beach to the enchanting Kleftiko Bay, where ancient pirates once sought refuge, Milos’ beaches are a testament to nature’s artistry.
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Our 5 Best Places to Visit in Greece – By David John
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