Your vacation in Greece & the islands

The mainland of Greece and the Greek islands are globally known as one of the world’s top destinations, attracting millions of visitors from around the world every year.
With its countless islands, friendly people, vast culinary scene, rich history, picturesque destinations, natural beauty and impressive coastline, this small Mediterranean country has so much to offer!

If you made it to this article it is probably because Greece has already earned its spot in your travel bucket list. Keep reading to get a taste of Greece and find information that will help you plan your vacation!

Table of Contents:
Plan your trip | About Greece | Seasons | Where to stay | Culture | Destinations

How to plan your trip

The first thing to consider is what type of holiday you are interested in.
Do you enjoy spending time on the beach or the mountains? Are you more of a nature lover or a city enthusiast? Would you like to immerse yourself in the local culture, visit off-the-beaten-track places, or stick to the most significant landmarks in popular locations?

You may also plan your vacation around your passions; watersports, hiking, climbing, gastronomy, history, art, or something else. For instance, those fond of sports may choose a tourist destination to exploit the abundance of relevant facilities.

Other, less adventurous visitors may opt for a more relaxing vacation where they can engage in less intense activities such as horse riding, biking, and golf.

On the other hand, some people’s primary interest may be to get to know a specific side of life in Greece. Special packages compatible with your personal interests are available, including culture, history, and food, that will give you an insight into particular aspects of the local culture and its roots.

Make sure you take all these things into account in order to plan a kind of vacation that corresponds to all your preferences.

Once you decide what your dream holiday will comprise, we suggest you browse the best destinations in Greece until you find one (or more) that clicks with you! There are numerous possible destinations that we will have a more detailed look at later on, including but not limited to islands, cities, rural villages, mountainous areas, and coastal resorts. Don't hesitate to combine them if you feel like doing it!

For some interesting facts about Greece, check out our travel info section.
On these pages, you will find some general information that may be useful, as well as some tips and tricks that will help you avoid future inconveniences.
It is highly recommended to do your research in advance and collect information about Greece that will help you plan your trip trouble- and stress-free for the best possible experience.

Not sure what to do once you get there?
Finding something that suits you is not as hard as it sounds, although the options are limitless! In our list, we have included several different activities, categorized by type.

Your vacation with Greeka

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About Greece

Being the crossroad of three continents (Europe, Asia, Africa), Greece is one of the most visited places not only in the Mediterranean area but also in the world.
Despite its small size, it is considered one of the top holiday destinations in Europe, thanks to its diverse natural landscapes, rich culture and easy-going people.
Both the mainland and the islands of Greece are touristically developed and full of facilities and no matter where you choose to spend your vacation, you will be warmly welcomed.
Discover more about the country.

Vacation for all seasons

Known as one of the sunniest places in the world, Greece is truly delightful at every time of the year.
When organizing your vacation, plan your trip according to your schedule and free time, as this country is considered a destination for all seasons!
There are always plenty of places to see outside the high season (July and August).
Learn more about the weather in Greece and figure out the best time to visit each destination.

Where to stay

Pick your accommodation wisely, since the place you will stay can make or break the experience!
Luckily for you, Greeks take hospitality very seriously and the country has built a (very) good reputation for a reason.
In most places you will receive a heartwarming welcome and the hosts will make you feel like meeting family after a long time.
Accommodation in Greece is not a mere business; it is one of the things that make this destination so special and one of the reasons you might be visiting again someday.

To help you find your home away from home in Greece, we provide a well-organized selection of the best hotels, where you will also find other accommodation types for all budgets, from luxurious villas to guesthouses, camping, and more!
Pick a category and/or your destination and explore the options!

Local Culture

Your vacation in Greece will be the perfect opportunity to experience the local life and get to know several interesting aspects of the Greek culture of both the past and the present.

For instance, the roots of the concept of hospitality date back to antiquity and continue to affect the contemporary rhythms of life, contributing to the local tourism development.
Most Greek people are ready to welcome all visitors, willing to help you, and always up for some chit-chatting.
This friendliness has been embedded in the Greek attitude for hundreds, if not thousands of years.

During your vacation, you will have many chances to get a better understanding of the rich history and how it contributed to shaping the current form of the country.
Both on the mainland and many Greek islands, numerous archeological sites are seen as major tourist attractions: the Acropolis of Athens, Ancient Olympia, Delphi and Epidaurus house some of the most important monuments, while even the big cities have an “old” district where you can still see the remnants of the past.
The oldest archaeological miracles of Greece come from the Classical Era, the Bronze Age, and even prehistory!
The Byzantine era also left its mark, with countless churches and monasteries in every corner of the country.
Several findings from different periods can be spotted in the archeological museums scattered all over Greece. You certainly have to dedicate some time of your vacation to sightseeing!

Modern Greece however, is a whole different story…
The Greeks have many distinctive cultural traits in common with other Mediterranean people in addition to their innate open-heartedness and extroversion, they are all about having fun and living life to the fullest!
Athens, for instance, the capital city is often described as a city that never sleeps, since it remains lively all night long, similarly to the other big cities of Greece and of course, the islands (during summer).
With hundreds of clubs, bars, cafes, restaurants and taverns, Greece boasts a vivid nightlife that lasts until the early morning hours. Theaters and music halls for all tastes remain open on weekends and weekdays, adding hints of music and vividness to the Greek urban landscape.

The countryside is equally lively, with numerous festivals and cultural events known as panigiria taking place annually, in every place of the country, including the small villages.
Most of them are related to the Orthodox calendar since a large part of the Greek population is religious and many different aspects of life or culture have been influenced by religion.
By participating in one of these celebrations, you will have the opportunity to get to know the locals better, taste the traditional cuisine, and have fun the Greek way. This kind of event takes place on the islands as well, even though many of them are more popular for their modern club and beach bar parties.
For example, Mykonos, Rhodes, Corfu and Ios represent more or less the same kind of entertainment. No matter where you’re planning to spend your vacation, the only thing guaranteed is that you will not get bored!

Another major aspect of Greek culture is gastronomy. Every time you have lunch or dinner during your vacation in Greece, you will have a chance to experience a culinary adventure and try a Greek take on one of the world’s tastiest and healthiest cuisines - Mediterranean cuisine.
The gastronomical scene in Greece is vast enough to find something you like no matter your preferences.
In addition to the traditional taverns, great restaurants that may either be budget-friendly or gourmet are available.
The cosmopolitan cities, as well as many islands in Greece, provide a variety of options to choose from, including not only the Greek cuisine but also the international one.
Keep in mind that a large part of rural life in the countryside of Greece depends on farming and agriculture and the relatively small-scale production means that it is not difficult to get your hands on high-quality traditional products.
As you will find out during your vacation, each area has unique local products and may have gotten famous thanks to them.
Feel free to try out anything you like and buy something to take a piece of Greece back home with you as soon as your vacation is over.

Choosing your destination

Whether you are visiting Greece for your summer or winter vacation, a variety of options is available and, in some cases, it might even be possible to see more than one place in just one trip to Greece, depending on how many days you are planning to stick around.
The warm Mediterranean weather with its relatively mild winters makes a vacation in Greece perfect at any time of the year.
Most visitors consider Greece a summer destination and although the summer sunshine is certainly something else, Greece has much more to offer than its high-season islands.
Keep in mind, however, that some locations may be at their best during a particular time of the year, and choose your destination accordingly.

What are some of the best destinations for a vacation in Greece?

• The islands

Counting more than 200 inhabited islands and hundreds of deserted islets, Greece offers countless opportunities to spend your vacation close to the sea.
The warm, safe and crystal clear waters of Greece, along with numerous sandy or pebbly beaches have made the country famous on a global level.
Most travelers decide to visit these destinations during July and August, which is why many Greek islands are often overcrowded during the high season.
Nonetheless, the warm weather makes it possible to visit them during the late spring or early autumn, too.
A decent amount of islands, usually the larger ones, are lively all year round, even during the winter, while the smaller islands or those mostly dependent on tourism are practically empty during the off-season months.

During your vacation, it is possible to visit more than one island and parts of the mainland, thanks to the regular ferry and plane connections that create the ideal circumstances for fascinating island-hopping opportunities.
Below, you will find the most popular islands of the country that you may want to include in your trip:

The Cyclades

The most visited place in the Aegean Sea and the entire country of Greece is the Cyclades, a part of the Aegean Sea islands.
Photographs from islands such as Mykonos, Santorini, Paros, Milos and Naxos are taking over the web. These places attract an increasing number of international visitors thanks to their picturesque landscapes and romantic sunsets.
At the same time, the Small Cyclades subcomplex, also known as the Lesser Cyclades, has been gaining popularity for its alternative destinations, like Koufonisia and Schinoussa.

The Dodecanese 

The Dodecanese Islands are also quite famous, with the most popular being Rhodes, Kos and Patmos.
Rhodes is the largest and capital of the island group, with a population of more than 115.000 and an impressive main town.
All the Dodecanese Islands are mostly visited during the summer for their stunning beaches and their southern location ensures that the sea waters are warm enough in the early autumn and late spring.
The medieval architecture of the Dodecanese islands is quite impressive as well.

The Ionian Islands

The Ionian Islands lie on the western side of Greece, not far from the Greek mainland.
The most popular are Corfu, Zakynthos, Lefkada and Kefalonia and they attract all kinds of visitors, from families and regular tourists to campers.
Upon visiting these islands, you will realize that they offer one-of-a-kind sceneries you won’t come across in any other place in Greece.
This is a result of a combination of long sandy beaches with turquoise waters, dense forests and villages or towns with Venetian architecture influences.

Crete

The largest island of Greece is Crete, located in the southern Aegean Sea.
It attracts numerous visitors at any time of the year and has a population of more than 600.000 people.
The landscape of Crete is very diverse, from big cities to small rural villages and tall mountains to seafront resorts.
Crete also has a special gastronomic scene and produces lots of traditional goods.

Evia

Evia is the second biggest island in Greece after Crete.
It is located very close to the region of Attica and is connected to the Greek mainland via a bridge.
At the same time, it can also be approached by ferry. Its proximity to the Greek capital makes it a great option for day trips.

Other island groups

The charming Sporades and the picturesque islands of the Saronic Gulf are two more groups of islands worthy of a visit!
The latter are located close to Athens and many people use them as weekend getaways. It is highly recommended to plan a short trip there during your vacation in Athens or the Cyclades.
Northern Aegean Islands are also worth taking a look at. For instance, Samos and Chios combine a magnificent natural setting with picturesque villages and a cosmopolitan atmosphere.

• The mainland

Despite its relatively small size, the mainland of Greece offers a diversity of places to explore, from popular locations and big urban centers to winter resorts and other small gems hidden in the Greek countryside.
Spending your vacation traveling around the mainland of Greece is one possibility, while you may also combine it with a trip to the islands.
Of course, if you are particularly attracted to one specific location, you can spend all your days in Greece getting to know the place better.
Below, you will find some mainland vacation options:

City Vacation

The big cities of Greece, such as Athens and Thessaloniki, attract thousands of visitors every year.
Spending at least a few days in one of the cities is a great opportunity to experience authentic urban life and explore the city’s rich cultural background.
The cities of Greece are full of cafes, bars and clubs, have a diverse gastronomical scene, at least a few commercial streets with a cosmopolitan aura, several significant historic landmarks and different types of museums or galleries.
The entertainment options are limitless and the Greek urban landscape has a unique charm!

Coastal Vacation

Greece is surrounded by sea, so its coastline is quite long and full of amazing seafront areas.
The Athens Riviera is an excellent option if you’re staying in the city, while Halkidiki is very close to Thessaloniki.
Other popular coastal destinations on the mainland of Greece are the lovely town of Parga facing the Ionian Islands, the picturesque Nafplion, or the beachfront villages around Corinth Gulf that make a great day trip from Athens.
The Peloponnese is also full of stunning seaside places to explore, such as Monemvasia and Gythio.

Mountain Vacation

Although Greece is mostly famous for its beaches, it does not lack impressive mountainous destinations that are full of dense forests, hiking trails, streams and waterfalls.
Most of them are situated in central or northern Greece and are preferable for visiting during the winter when it gets snowy and Christmassy.
Ski centers may also operate in some of them.
The most popular destinations for mountain vacations include Arachova, Pelion, Zagorochoria, Meteora and Kalavryta.

Landmark hunting

Archaeological sites and other places of interest that date back to the distant past are scattered all around the mainland of Greece.
If you are a history enthusiast, you may want to include at least a few of the following destinations in your trip: Delphi, Olympia, Mycenae, Cape Sounio, Knossos (in Crete), Delos (near Mykonos) and more.

You can find all the relevant information about the major mainland destinations here.

It is well-known that Greece offers countless possibilities that fascinate every kind of traveler, no matter what they may be looking for.
Think about what your dream vacation would consist of and Greece will certainly live up to your expectations!
Have a look at the suggested vacation packages in our travel guide and find the ones most appropriate for your needs.
Make sure to check out our travel services to plan a wonderful trip with your family, partner, friends, or on your own!

Vacation by location:

Popular vacation destinations

Information about a vacation in some of the most popular holiday destinations of Greece:

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