If you’re heading to Greece in the near future, then you’re one lucky soul. Greece is a country with sublime scenery, a decadent history, rich cuisine, and warm, friendly culture that leaves everyone feeling welcomed. Very few vacation spots offer both endless relaxation and lively evenings when you don’t return home until after sunrise. Given that there’s so much to do and see in Greece, the following will highlight a few spectacular places you’re not going to want to miss.
Meteora is a formation of towering rocks in central Greece. While the landscape itself is beautiful, the real magic of this location involves the collection of monasteries that were carved into the great heights by monks fleeing Turkish persecution as early as the 14th century. Six Eastern Orthodox monasteries remain out of the original twenty-four, and each of these beautiful constructions is nestled into terrifying, nearly inaccessible heights. Hermit monks had been living in the heights for a few centuries prior to the Turkish invasion and the construction of the monasteries. Life atop the peaks flourished as monks could safely practice their faith, coming and going by way of retractable ladders or a net hitched over a hook that was pulled up or down by a rope. Make sure to witness the sight from a distance and from within, as peeking into monastic life is a rare experience anywhere in the world.
Delphi was once the center of the ancient Greek world. The sacred precinct served as the home of Pythia, the oracle who was consulted by various rulers and high-profile people regarding decisions that impacted the entire classical world. The pillars that remain are part of an archaeological site that exists within the Parnassos National Park. Though little of the original structure still exists, this local has a mystic, mythical feeling to it as it was a central location in Greek mythology as well as a place of great historical intrigue and power.
Apparently, at one time, vapors were emitted from an opening in the earth at the location. The priestess who was serving as the oracle at the time would inhale the vapors, become intoxicated and fall into a trance that was believed to be the possession of her spirit by Apollo. Once in the trance, the priestess would prophesize about things to come. The prophesies were widely regarded throughout the Greek world, and the oracle was often turned to when decisions about war or founding colonies were being made, meaning she had a huge impact on Greek history.
The Cyclades are a collection of islands in the Aegean Sea to the southeast of mainland Greece. Island hopping can be accomplished in a number of ways, but luxury sailing yacht charters in Greece are available for those who really want to amp up the restorative nature of island life. Within this collection of islands, you’ll find Santorini, a destination made famous for its neon white buildings with blue-domed rooftops. Endless hours can be spent wandering this picturesque island with its beaches, bays, archaeological sites, and stellar wineries. Furthermore, anyone with a hint of artistic yearning tends to find themselves sketching or writing as they do because the entire island seems to be filled to the brim with inspirational sights.
Also within the Cyclades is the island Mykonos. For lively nightlife, fantastic wine, and luxurious celebrity hideaways, nothing beats Mykonos. You might be able to get a little privacy on the north beaches during the day, but in the evening, the beaches of Mykonos are filled with party vibes. Jet skiing, windsurfing, horseback riding, and parasailing are all popular activities on the island. Be prepared to stay up late.
Athens is a clash of ancient sights and modern amenities in the best possible way. The city is filled with stellar galleries, a thriving arts scene, street art galore, trendy restaurants, cobbled streets, cocktail bars, and ancient sites worth seeing. The world-famous Parthenon can be found in Athens, and the city can easily boast about being the originator of western philosophy, democracy, and the Olympic Games. Climb up to the acropolis ruins, visit the spectacular museums filled with Classical art, and wander through the remains of various temples before getting ready for a night out on the town. Athens has a vibrant energy that you don’t want to miss.
Corfu is an island on the western side of Greece in the Ionian Sea. It’s home to a collision of architectural wonders; Byzantine fortresses, Parisian-style arcades, neoclassical 19th-century British construction, and Orthodox church towers all exist within Corfu. Just outside the town, you’ll find a pastoral fantasy with verdant mountains and pristine coastlines. Turquoise water, monasteries, beaches, and a stunning old town are just a few of the sights you’re going to want to leisurely wander through.
If you’re looking for a lively few days, stop by Thessaloniki. The city is home to universities, a thriving cultural scene, art, nightlife, and winding streets filled with Byzantine churches, all the food you could want, and endless galleries. Each neighborhood has its own vibe letting you switch things up whenever you’re feeling like it, and almost nothing beats the sight of the whole city at sunset if you’ve climbed up the Byzantine walls.
If you’re someone who wants to spend some time in the great outdoors, Kefallonia is the place for you. You can rent kayaks and paddle between the white-sand beaches and wander through pretty villages nestled within vineyards and olive groves. Scuba diving in perfectly clear waters teeming with fish, and hiking mountains into the clouds are also common activities in Kefallonia. This is also a wonderful local to get away from crowded tourist-filled spots if you need a break from that.
The above list should have given you a handful of must-visit locations within Greece. The country has something for everyone, no matter what they’re interested in or what type of vacation they want. You can just as easily spend days on end at the beach, sipping a drink while overlooking azure skies, as you can spend weeks wandering through museums and archaeological sights. The food is mindblowing, and the wine is something truly special.