Set in southeastern Europe, and boasting thousands of breathtaking islands in the Aegean and Ionic Seas, Greece is a country that remains virtually unrivalled in the sheer volume and diversity of its historical and cultural repertoire. For centuries visitors have been drawn to the country’s spectacular natural landscapes and rich archaeological sites, which contain the relics of four millennia of ancient culture. From the bustling nightlife of Mykonos to the breathtaking sunsets of Santorini and exquisite turquoise waters everywhere you look, Greece’s islands are arguably its biggest drawcard. Must-see heritage attractions include the numerous ancient structures of Athens; Meteora Monasteries, one of the world’s most remarkable ecclesiastical sites; the towering Mount Olympus, home of the gods; and of course Delphi, Greece’s most sacred site where the oracle once answered the questions in the temple of Apollo.

Best time to visit

Easter to mid-June for the weather and fewer crowds


  • Dining out beneath the floodlit Acropolis in Athens
  • Taking a walk in spring through the Mani or Arcadia mountains in the Peloponnese
  • Island-hopping from Piraeus to Mykonos, Delos and Naxos
  • Hiking through Crete’s dramatic Samaria Gorge
  • Wondering at the monasteries of Meteora, perched high on their pinnacles of rock
  • Catching that first glimpse of Santorini’s sheer cliffs and whitewashed buildings



Spanakopita (spinach pie), moussaka (layers of eggplant or zucchini, minced meat and potatoes topped with cheese and baked) or, for something sweet, baklava (layers of filo pastry filled with honey and nuts) and of course the famous Greek salad



Greek coffee, the national drink – it is served in a small cup with the grounds and no milk.  Ouzo, the most popular aperitif in Greece, is distilled from grape stems and flavoured with anise.



Greeks wear blue trinkets to ward off the evil eye, gum mastic has been used since ancient times to cure ailments from stomach ache to snake bite.  If you arrive in a Greek town in the early evening in summer, you could be forgiven for thinking you have arrived mid-festival.  This is the time of the volta, when everyone takes to the streets, refreshed from their siesta, dressed up and raring to go.





Dominating the Attica region of Greece, the country’s capital, Athens, is one of the oldest cities in the world. For over two and a half centuries, the astonishing Greek temples and monuments of Athens have continued to intrigue and amaze visitors from around the world. This icon of western civilization seamlessly combines ancient history with modern architecture and a surprisingly lively atmosphere. This is particularly apparent in areas at the foot of the Acropolis, Anafiotika, Plaka, Monastiraki and Thissio where visitors will find numerous extraordinary Neoclassical buildings, trendy and traditional cafes and shops, and narrow winding streets with historical treasures at every turn. Once you have had a culture fix, try some mouth-watering Greek cuisine at one of the city’s fine local restaurants before indulging in the insatiable nightlife at the chic cocktail bars and waterfront dance clubs.




The largest of the Greek islands dotting the Mediterranean Sea, Crete is set just off the southernmost part of the country at the entrance to the Aegean Sea. This legendary island, considered one of the most important birthplaces of Greek culture, features the remnants of ancient civilizations, breathtaking landscapes, vibrant cities and sun-kissed mountain villages. The terrain is characterised by deep gorges, fertile valleys, spectacular mountains and remarkably scenic beaches. Visitors can hike through the stunning Samaria Gorge, Europe’s longest; sample an array of Greek cuisine and locally produced wine; visit the Cave of Zeus on the slopes of Mount Ida, said to be the birthplace of the mythological Greek god; or kayak, snorkel, dive and boat through crystalline waters around the island. Don’t miss the Minoan art and relics at the Heraklion Archaeological Museum.

Zakynthos Island



Located in the Ionian Sea, the Greek island of Zakynthos is the third largest in the Ionian Archipelago. Dubbed ‘The flower of the east’, the island is known for its exquisite natural beauty, dramatic landscapes and crystal-clear turquoise waters. Visitors can enjoy swimming and a variety of watersports at the beautiful beaches of Agios Nikolaos, Alykanas and Tsilivi. The undeniable highlight of the island is its infamous 1980 shipwreck, tucked away on the spectacular Navagio Beach, a picturesque and secluded cove encircled by impressive towering cliffs and only accessible by boat. Don’t miss the beautiful ‘Blue Caves’, cut into the cliffs at Cape Skinari. Spend a leisurely afternoon taking in a public concert at the enormous historic Solomos Square, or meander along the charming waterfront.




Set in the Cyclades Archipelago at the heart of the Aegean Sea, the paradise-like Paros Island is renowned for its spectacular beaches, idyllic traditional villages and exciting nightlife. The island boasts 38 magnificent soft, sandy beaches, characterised by white sand lapped by crystal-clear turquoise waters and fringed with restaurants and beach bars. The eastern beaches are perfect for windsurfing and kite surfing, and there are numerous magnificent scuba diving spots, as well as guided trips to the uninhabited islets of the Aegean Sea, close reefs and old wrecks on offer. Historic attractions include intriguing castles, ancient monasteries, a Mycenaean Acropolis, Byzantine Museums, two folklore museums, a wine museum, and more. Nature lovers will delight in the chance to explore the Valley of Butterflies, where butterflies reproduce in the summer months.




The picturesque Greek town of Rethymno, resting along the honey-coloured shores of the northern coast of Crete, offers a rare combination of history and modern-day luxury, with its ornate Venetian-era old town, tropical beaches, welcoming warm water, and mouth-watering Cretan cuisine. Rethymno offers a lively atmosphere and an eclectic mix of architectural gems, alluring museums, beautiful churches, and historically significant landmarks, of which the magical Fortezza of Rethymno, the insightful Archeological Museum, the striking Guora Gate, and the magnificent Municipal Garden are among the most iconic. In the heart of the magical old town lies the picture-perfect Venetian Harbour, seemingly the most romantic area of the city, travellers can enjoy its tavern lined streets and admire the views over the azure waters decorated with bobbing fishing boats.




Situated just off Greece’s northwest coast in the Ionian Sea, the cosmopolitan island of Corfu is among the most beautiful of all the Greek islands. It is most famous for its emerald mountains, sun-baked olive groves, and crystal-clear waters lapping the rugged coastline. Visitors can explore the maze of narrow cobblestoned lanes in the Venetian old quarter of Corfu Town; discover the picturesque cottages covered in wisteria, bougainvillaea, jacaranda and roses scattered around the island; and enjoy the many delightful beaches. Don’t miss the opportunity to trace the steps of the famous author, Gerald Durrell, who spent a few years of his childhood exploring the beauty and wildlife of this enchanting island in his widely acclaimed book: My Family and Other Animals.




Delphi is situated in southern Greece, about 180 kilometres northwest of the capital of Athens. This area consists of two separate sites: the modern village of Delphi, where visitors will find lodging and other amenities, and the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the same name. This ancient archaeological area, situated on the slopes of legendary Mount Parnassos, was once considered the centre of the universe and retains a truly special atmosphere. Make sure to see the Sanctuary of Apollo, ruins dating back more than 2,500 years, and take an informative walking tour of the vast area. This can be complemented excellently with a visit to the Delphi Archaeological Museum. Finally, those looking to explore the countryside surrounding Delphi will find many scenic stops, including the pretty seaside village of Galaxidi.




Encompassed by swathes of virgin pine forests, the idyllic town of Skopelos enraptures with gorgeous scenery and blissful tranquillity in the Sporades Islands of the Aegean Sea. Scattered across the island are small villages with white-washed houses, charming hotels, restaurants and small churches that cling on sloping streets. The capital of Skopelos Town set on the north-east coast rises steeply up the slopes of two hills, reaching impressive Byzantine monasteries. At its peak is an old Venetian fortress that offers sweeping views of the sea. Traipse along the hilly landscape through a network of old mule trails that crisscross pine forests, olive groves and hidden villages. Don’t miss an opportunity to visit the Church of Agios Ioannis Kastri, an 18th-century chapel perched atop a barren sea rock that boasts spectacular sea views.




Classically known as Thera and officially Thira, the picturesque island of Santorini dots the South Aegean Sea. Some destinations have stunning beaches and breathtaking natural landscapes, while others have extraordinary ancient cities and excellent restaurants. The popular Greek island of Santorini is blessed with all of these attractive features and more. This lovely volcanic island in the Cyclades lies in the middle of the Aegean and is well known for its strikingly white cliff-side homes with their pretty deep blue rooftops. Visitors will be treated to dramatic ocean views, pristine beaches, traditional Grecian architecture, many fascinating historical sites, fine dining, and numerous, excellent local wineries. With all of this on offer, it is little wonder that this remarkably romantic island has become one of the world’s most popular island getaways.




Set in the southeastern Aegean sea, the island of Rhodes is the largest of the Dodecanese Islands known for their Byzantine churches, medieval castles and ancient archaeological sites. Renowned for its beaches, picturesque villages and seaside resorts, Rhodes is a popular tourist destination offering the perfect blend of traditional, cosmopolitan, and cultural attractions. Visitors can look forward to enjoying several wonderful sights including: the Acropolis crowning Lindos Village, boasting panoramic coastal views; and the well-preserved Old Town, featuring the medieval cobblestoned Street of the Knights. Don’t miss the Palace of the Grand Master, an impressive Byzantine fortress.


Agios Nikolaos

Resting on a spectacular eastern peninsula of the Greek island of Crete, the coastal town of Agios Nikolaos, also called Ayios Nikolaos, is sandwiched between dramatic mountains and the serene waters of the Mediterranean Sea. The town features Lake Voulismeni, a former sweet-water lake, tucked behind the harbour and lined with lively cafes and restaurants. This cosmopolitan town offers a picturesque waterfront, alluring promenade and narrow tree-lined streets fringed with a blend of traditional houses and neoclassical buildings. History enthusiasts will enjoy exploring the Archaeological Museum, which showcases Minoan relics found in the area; and the Folklore Museum, with woven textiles, embroideries, handicrafts. Other popular activities include: hiking, diving, golfing, and boat trips. Make sure to spend a leisurely afternoon sunbathing at swimming at the beautiful Kitroplatia Beach.





Situated on the island of Crete, the city of Heraklion serves as the capital of the island and is the fourth largest city in Greece. This cosmopolitan centre boasts a number of thriving urban cafes and restaurants, a vibrant nightlife, and excellent shopping – all within close proximity of renowned ancient ruins. The breathtaking, intricate and massive Palace of Knossos was, according to legend, designed to be so complex that it was impossible to find the way out, and its Labyrinth is known as the dwelling place of the Minotaur, famous in Greek Mythology. Other heritage attractions include the enormous Archaeological Museum, which displays relics from the Minoan and post-Minoan era; and the fascinating historic city centre. Make sure to see the Byzantine-era Cathedral of Agios Titos, one of the most important monuments in Crete.




The Greek island of Kos (also Cos) lies in the Aegean Sea, forming part of the famed Dodecanese island group. With 112 kilometres of coastline and a spectacular array of beaches, not to mention some unique cultural sights on offer, it is unsurprising that Kos is one of the country’s most popular tourist hubs. The main port of entry is also known as Kos, where you can view the ruins of the Ancient Gymnasium, admire the view of the harbour from the 14th-century Neratzia Castle and visit the Tree of Hippocrates. In terms of beach retreats, the action is generally split between Kardamena (on the southern coast) and the southwestern beaches of the Kefalos Isthmus, which include the highly-regarded Paradise Beach and some of the island’s best diving and snorkelling sites.Set against a looming backdrop of the mighty Dikeos Mountains, the balmy island of Kos fully warrants its reputation as one of the favourite destinations in the Grecian Dodecanese. The island astonishes with tall palm trees, endless sandy beaches, towering crags and lush landscapes. While travellers are often lured by the gorgeous beaches, lively Kos Town is filled with whitewashed buildings that house cafés, bars and restaurants that overlook the picturesque Mandraki port. History lovers are enthused by the millennia-old archaeological sites abundant in the area, boasting a stimulating cultural kaleidoscope of Roman ruins, Greek monuments and Ottoman relics. Top choices include the iconic Hippocrates’ Asclepeion, Nerantzia Castle of the Knights of Saint John, late 14th-century walls erected to keep out Sultan Bayezit I, and the Tree of Hippocrates.




The small, charming port town of Nafplio is situated on the Argolic Gulf in the northeast of the Peloponnese Peninsula, just one and a half hours by car from Greece’s capital, Athens. The town is known for its remarkably scenic location, overlooking a picturesque harbour and presided over by two medieval castles, including the spectacular Palamidi fortress. At the centre of Nafplio’s historical Old Town lies the large, marble-paved Syntagma Square, lined with quaint cafes and featuring the Arsenal, a stately building occupied by a fascinating museum. At the other end of the square, a historic mosque now occasionally functions as a cinema. Nafplio serves as a popular weekend getaway for Athenians eager to escape the big tourist crowds of the city and enjoy Nafplio’s excellent restaurants, boutique shops, impressive architecture, quayside cafes, fine beaches and old-world atmosphere.


Situated on a bay on the north coast of the Gulf of Corinth in western Greece, the coastal town of Nafpaktos is known for its picturesque vistas. Historically known as Lepanto, which was the site of the famous battle of Lepanto. Featuring the perfect combination of sea and mountain views, this destination is popular all year round. It boasts medieval charm, fairytale street scenes and scenic natural landscapes. Visitors can explore the quaint Venetian Port, relax on the laid-back beaches, and discover the beautiful surrounds. Don’t miss a visit to the castle of Nafpaktos, built on the top of the hill the castle offers breathtaking views over the town and glistening bay.



Sandwiched between the Myrtoan Sea and the Argolic Gulf is the island of Hydra, widely regarded as one of the most beautiful islands in Greece. Bereft of flashy cars and noisy motorcycles, this picturesque paradise favours bygone means of travel where donkeys and water taxis are the primary means of transportation. The crescent-shaped harbour boasts an exciting array of quaint restaurants, shops, markets, and galleries that overlook the sea. Adding to the romantic landscape are the whitewashed grand mansions and over 300 churches and six monasteries that line the narrow cobblestone streets. Points of interest include the Monastery of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary, Historical Archives Museum, Koundouriotis Art Museum, Ecclesiastical Museum, and Rafalia’s Pharmacy – the oldest pharmacy in Greece.



The stunning island of Skiathos lies off Greece’s eastern coast, and is the most popular in the Sporades archipelago. The island is actually an extension of the forested Mount Pelion area, and is thus green and abundant with fig, olive, plum, and almond trees as well as grapes. Famous as the location for the box-office movie Mamma Mia, the island sees a growing number of tourists flock to its 60 powdery white beaches, crystalline turquoise waters and luxury hotels. The island’s lush hilly interior wonderful for walking, with the inclines well worth the effort for their astounding views and the chance to explore the historic old town and array of heritage buildings. A thriving nightlife scene in the town centre and numerous bustling waterfront clubs along the old harbour provide the perfect opportunity for a fun night out.Engulfed by a thick tangle of green island forest, the tiny Greek island of Skiathos rests along the Pelion Peninsula in the Aegean Sea and forms part of the famous Sporades Islands. On the southeastern edge of Skiathos lies Skiathos Town, the pulsing nerve-centre of the isle that hums with the frenetic energy of busy tavernas, cafes, restaurants, bars and nightclubs. In picturesque Old Skiathos, boutique stores, galleries, restaurants and elegant white mansions line the narrow paved streets. Visitors can be immersed in the exquisite natural surroundings and enjoy numerous watersports at over 60 beaches, or enjoy a scenic stroll through the wooded hillsides. Other must-see sites include Kounistras Monastery, the Evangelistria Monastery, the ruins of Kastro and the pine-wood islet of Bourtzi, home to the ruins of a medieval Venetian fortress.



Set in southeast Ithaca, roughly 24 kilometres from Vathy, in an amphitheatre-like formation along the bay’s hills around its cove, Kioni is a breathtaking Greek destination. Phenomenal views from the village heights encompass the brightly coloured fishing boats and magnificent large yachts that dot the bay and lie moored in the harbour, creating wonderful photographic opportunities. Discover the local heritage of this town, which has origins in the 16th century, by exploring the winding paths lined with renaissance architecture; dine at one of the incredible seafront restaurants to experience the mouth-watering fresh seafood and regional delicacies; or watch the sunset while sampling an impressive array of cocktails at one of the chic, stylish local bars.



A hidden gem remotely situated within the Dodecanese island chain, the Greek island of Symi is likely to render any visitor speechless. Vibrantly coloured mansions of neoclassical architecture span the port of Gialos while picturesque traditional houses stretch out onto the upper village of Chorio. The two areas are connected by the vivid blue Kali Strata staircase, a challenging climb of 450 steps. Views from the summit offer sweeping vistas of the evocative townscape. The island’s exquisite beauty is further enhanced by the steep and undulating topography encompassed by the emerald green waters of the Aegean sea. Visitors can enjoy dining at the many traditional cafes and taverns that line the waterfront, enjoy a boat ride on the waters of the island, or stop by at the Monastery of Archangel Michael.



The Greek island of Lesbos (often spelt Lesvos) is located in the North Aegean Sea. This is the third-largest island in Greece, and visitors are encouraged to rent their own vehicle to discover all that it has to offer. In the capital, Mytilene, be sure to visit the Teriade Museum, with works by Picasso, Matisse, Chagall and others, and the extraordinary Archaeological Museum. In western Lesbos, nature lovers can hike through the incredible Petrified Forest, formed 20 million years ago by volcanic activity, and history enthusiasts can explore the Byzantine monastery of Moni Ypsilou, with its small but magnificent museum of Byzantine icons and manuscripts. The island is home to a number of excellent beaches, including Vatera on the south coast (one of the longest in Greece), and Anaxox, which features an impressive castle.



Out of all of the Cyclades – the group of islands that surround the sacred Greek island of Delos – Mykonos is perhaps the most famous. It is known for its gorgeous green rolling hills, exquisite beaches and the glamorous, cosmopolitan crowd that typically vacations here. While Mykonos makes for an ideal base for archaeological day trips to the nearby islands, the island itself has plenty to offer. Spend your days exploring the quaint winding alleyways strewn with iconic whitewashed houses; sailing around the picturesque harbour and out into the glistening Aegean Sea; unwinding on the idyllic beaches, and dining in the numerous fine restaurants. If it’s unforgettable nightlife, a bit of luxury, and plenty of natural beauty you are after, Mykonos is undoubtedly the destination for you.



Situated just off Greece’s northwest coast in the Ionian Sea, the cosmopolitan island of Corfu is among the most beautiful of all the Greek islands. It is most famous for its emerald mountains, sun-baked olive groves, and crystal-clear waters lapping the rugged coastline. Visitors can explore the maze of narrow cobblestoned lanes in the Venetian old quarter of Corfu Town; discover the picturesque cottages covered in wisteria, bougainvillaea, jacaranda and roses scattered around the island; and enjoy the many delightful beaches. Don’t miss the opportunity to trace the steps of the famous author, Gerald Durrell, who spent a few years of his childhood exploring the beauty and wildlife of this enchanting island in his widely acclaimed book: My Family and Other Animals.


Thessaloniki is a port city on the Thermaic Gulf in northern Greece. This perennial tourist favourite is the country’s second-largest city, and offers a wealth of cultural sights in addition to its vibrant cafe culture and nightlife scene. The symbol of the city is the photogenic White Tower – a wonderfully preserved 16th-century structure – while many of its incredible Byzantine churches (such as Agios Demetrios, Agia Sophia and St. Nikolaos Orfanos) have been inscribed on UNESCO’s World Heritage List. The Archaeological Museum of Thessaloniki is a must-visit, as is the Museum of Byzantine Culture, while the city is also home to a range of first-rate art galleries. With so much to see, don’t miss out on the free City Walking Tours, which depart daily at 6.30pm from the Rotunda.


Situated in the Aegean Sea, the Greek island of Naxos is the largest of the Cyclades Archipelago. Its fertile landscape features ancient ruins, quaint mountain villages with sheep-dotted slopes, and vast stretches of magnificent beaches. With their crystal-clear waters, soft white sands and watersports such as swimming, windsurfing, kitesurfing and surfing on offer, the beaches here provide the ultimate holiday experience, while the island’s lush interior makes it an ideal destination for hiking and mountain biking enthusiasts. Make sure to visit the mysterious Cave of Zas, filled with incredible stalactite formations and dedicated to Zeus in ancient times. The wide variety of historic attractions includes breathtaking Venetian mansions, Byzantine country churches, and the medieval old quarter of Kastro, with its centuries-old stone paving, arches and buildings.



One of the most significant archaeological and tourist destinations in Greece, Olympia is best known as the birthplace of the most important sporting event of all time: the Olympic Games. Set on the breathtaking Peloponnese Peninsula, with the same name as its ancient site, this sacred area, known as the ‘Valley of the Gods’ contained many treasures of Greek art, such as temples, monuments, altars, theatres and statues – much of which is still evident today in the famous well-preserved ruins. The ancient site sits alongside a charming little traditional Greek village, which provides all the tourist facilities visitors might desire. The site was originally not actually a town but a sanctuary, with buildings associated with the annual games and the worship of the gods. Make sure to visit the impressive museums, too.


The volcanic island of Milos or Melos is the southwesternmost island in the Greek Cyclades group. Boasting some intriguing heritage, arguably the most beautiful beaches in the Aegean, and an excellent fresh seafood culinary scene, the island is a holiday paradise. More than 70 stunning beaches form part of an intricate network of geological formations, creating mesmerising, ever-changing, art-like scenes of multiple colours and shapes. Swim, snorkel and dive in warm, turquoise waters through tunnels and arches; explore ancient pirates’ chambers cut out of the stone; or try lamb or fish cooked in the geothermal sand at Paleochori Beach. Milos is home to the ruins of a 7000-seater amphitheatre, highly significant catacombs, a castle, and numerous folk art (and other) museums. Art enthusiasts can discover the famous Milos Venus statue, and night owls will delight in the thriving nightlife at Adamantas.



Situated on the Greek island of Rhodes, the ancient village of Lindos is crowned with an impressive monumental acropolis offering sweeping views of the Aegean Sea. This acropolis features towering gates, an open-air courtyard, and the small Doric temple of Athena with a statue dedicated to the Greek goddess. Lindos is the second most visited archaeological site in Greece. Visitors can explore the picturesque whitewashed buildings of the well-preserved Lindos Village, enjoy a relaxing day on one of the spectacular beaches, and visit the Virgin Mary of Lindos Church, located in the heart of the village and lined with intricate 15th-century frescoes. Architecture and history lovers will enjoy the overlays of Byzantine, Frankish and Turkish structures around the town. Don’t miss the magnificent ancient theatre of Lindos at the foot of the Lindos Acropolis.


The Greek island of Patmos lies in the eastern reaches of the Aegean Sea. Known as the ‘Holy Island’ – and officially inscribed on UNESCO’s World Heritage List since 1999 – Patmos is an absolute must for history-lovers and culture enthusiasts. This is the island where St. John is said to have written the Book of Revelation, and it is possible to visit the so-called Cave of the Apocalypse, which is found between Skala (a vibrant port town with great markets to explore) and the hilltop settlement of Chora. Other key activities include relaxing on the inviting sands of Petra Beach, Psili Ammos and Vaghia Beach, as well as boat trips to the nearby islet of Marathi, where the renowned Pantelis Restaurant serves excellent seafood.


Set roughly in the centre of the Aegean Sea and surrounded by several other islands, the beautiful Greek island of Syros perfectly blends modern and traditional Greece. It is the smallest island in the Cyclades Archipelago and serves as a ferry transportation hub in the Aegean, and boasts a cosmopolitan capital, some quaint seaside villages and lovely quiet beaches. Syros is most famous for its Turkish Delight (loukoumia), a soft, pink, chewy sweet which is their speciality, made from rose water, pistachios and almonds. The city boasts an excellent variety of wonderful eateries offering mouth-watering traditional Greek cuisine, with fantastic vistas of the glittering seas. History lovers can explore the fascinating architecture of Ermoupolis, capital of the Cyclades, with its must-see port and some of the most spectacular 19th-century buildings in Greece, as well as an array of breathtaking churches.