Discover the best Things to do in Greece! From surfing to hiking and from cycling to sailing, the list of things to do in Greece is endless! Whether you're an adventure lover or a history nerd, there are things to do for every taste and budget that will make you fall even deeper in love with Greece. In brief:
And here is a list with the best things to do in Greece if you want to:
1. Visit the big cities
Greece may be popular for its islands & amazing countryside locations on the mainland but spending at least one weekend in one of its big cities is a must so that you can experience the country's culture & modern life.
The largest city in Greece & also its capital is Athens, where the biggest airport of the country is also located.
Following Athens, the second most populated city is Thessaloniki, located in the northern part of Greece.
Both of these cities are super vibrant at any time of the year & they are famous for their nightlife.
In addition, you will find all kinds of activities to do, including visiting various types of restaurants, bars, clubs or coffee shops, cinemas, landmarks & monuments, shopping centers, museums, other cultural institutions & much more!
You can also spend some time near the sea; Athens Riviera is full of beaches to visit & Thessaloniki has a lovely seafront promenade, although you can't swim there.
In both of these cities, you will be able to move around easily, by using either the public transport or a car or another vehicle.
Discover the best things to do in Athens & Thessaloniki.
2. Travel to the popular islands
For anyone who visits Greece, spending a few days exploring at least one of its islands is a must! The islands are a great option for everyone, from luxury travellers to budget visitors and no matter what your preferences are, you will surely find a charming island getaway that suits you. There are over 100 inhabited islands in Greece in total; for this reason, if you are visiting Greece for the very first time, we recommend sticking to the popular islands that offer the widest variety of facilities, where you will find many things to see and do. The most popular islands in Greece are well-developed in terms of tourism infrastructure but at the same time, they offer an authentic atmosphere you will not get to see at any other location in Greece.
The most visited island group in Greece is certainly the Cyclades. The largest Cycladic islands can easily be approached from Athens by ferry or airplane and they are lovely at any time of the year, although most of them are mainly known as summer destinations. Santorini and Mykonos, for instance, ensure an amazing island vacation thanks to their postcard-like landscapes, stunning sunset views and amazing tourist facilities.
If you would like to visit a place that is famous for its vibrant nightlife, Mykonos and Paros are probably the top islands to add to your bucket list.
For those looking for a slightly calmer destination, Naxos is a great choice and it also happens to be one of the best places to introduce yourself to the Cycladic gastronomy.
At all of these islands, you will find both touristically developed places and unspoiled spots, including small villages and other secret locations.
Nevertheless, the highlight of your island vacation will certainly be the time spent at the beach. The Cycladic islands have some of the best beaches in Greece, with crystal clear waters and silky sand or small pebbles. There are both organized and unorganized beaches to visit, with plenty of watersport facilities as well.
Last but not least, Crete, which is the biggest island in Greece, is full of amazing places to see. Due to its size and variety of beaches, attractions, towns and natural landscapes it is really hard to point out just a few things to see and visit. In any case, if you find yourself there, you should not skip a visit to Chania and Rethymno towns. These coastal picturesque towns with the lovely architecture will simply steal your heart!
It is a common secret that Crete can brag about having some of the most amazing beaches in Greece. The list is endless but Balos and Gramvousa islet should be on the top of your Cretan beach bucket list, followed by the pink-sanded Elafonissi beach, the turquoise waters of Falassarna, the palm forest of Vai and Preveli beach.
Heraklion is the fourth biggest town in Greece and in this region you will find the UNESCO site of Knossos Palace, which was built around 7000 BC and consists of well-preserved ruins of the lost Minoan civilization.
Lastly, Crete is home to some of Greece's most impressive gorges which are perfect for long hikes if you feel like going on an adventure!
In addition to the Cyclades, other islands with an entirely different scenery have been attracting an increasing number of visitors. The Ionian for instance, such as Corfu, Lefkada and Kefalonia are considered some of the most beautiful destinations in Greece, since they combine dense forests with long beaches that have turquoise sea waters and are covered with golden sand.
They are also full of interesting locations to visit, like mountainous villages and towns with a Venetian architecture.
It is good to know that Lefkada is the most famous kitesurfing destination in the Ionian Sea, while in addition to its vibrant nightlife, Zakynthos island boasts one of the world's best beaches, Navagio (Shipwreck) and boat tours that will take you there are available.
Other popular islands to visit are the Dodecanese, where a traditional style of architecture is combined with lovely beaches and excellent tourist facilities.
At the same time, many opportunities to get active and try sports are offered.
The most visited islands in the Dodecanese group are Rhodes and Kos. Rhodes stands out for its intense nightlife, while also providing charming beaches, windsurfing spots and ancient monuments. Kos is an excellent destination for its facilities including beach resorts and wellness retreats. In fact, both of these islands are well-known for having some of the best 5-star all-inclusive resorts in Greece.
Other Dodecanese islands worth visiting include Kalymnos, which has become a Mecca for rock climbers and Nisyros, where you can walk on the crater of the second most famous active volcano in Greece after the Volcano of Santorini!
In addition, Chora town in Patmos island is one of the prettiest island towns in the country and it houses the impressive monastery of Saint John.
Karpathos is another gem of the Dodecanese, with amazing beaches where you can swim and authentic villages to visit, like the colorful settlement Olympos.
The Saronic group is the nearest one to Athens and in fact, many Athens-based locals view these islands as a great opportunity for a weekend getaway.
The Saronic Islands consist of Hydra, Spetses, Aegina, Poros and Agistri. Hydra and Spetses have the most aristocratic and cosmopolitan atmosphere and they are full of old mansions. Frequent ferry crossings are scheduled every day and it is good to know that cars are not permitted on these islands.
Aegina, Poros and Agistri are known for their authentic atmosphere, beautiful nature and lovely beaches and they offer a breath of fresh air as a momentary escape from the city.
Another great option would be Skiathos, Skopelos, Alonissos and Skyros, known as the Sporades islands. They are located near the Greek mainland and are perfect if you're based in Thessaly.
At these islands, you will find picturesque villages to visit and beaches with crystalline waters. Sporades are particularly popular among watersport enthusiasts and hikers. Skiathos is famous for its nightlife, with several clubs and bars that are full of life during the summer months. Skyros, on the other hand, is known for its non-touristy atmosphere and Alonissos is one of the best locations for nature lovers. Skopelos is also peaceful and has been attracting an increasing amount of visitors since it was used as a filming location for the musical Mamma Mia.
3. Spend time at the beach
Greece is best known for having some of the most beautiful seashores in the world and for many travellers, being able to spend time at a beachfront location is a top priority when visiting the country.
All Greek islands without exception have truly amazing beaches! no matter whether you choose to visit the Cyclades, the Sporades, the Ionian Islands, the Dodecanese or any other island group or island, it is certain that you will enjoy your time spent at the beach.
At the same time, many stunning beachfront locations can also be found on the mainland of Greece, including the beaches on the coastline of Attica, also known as the Athenian Riviera, Elafonisos in the region of Peloponnese, Parga in Epirus, Pelion in Thessaly and the beaches of Halkidiki, at the northern side of Greece.
4. Go on a romantic trip
Greece is full of romantic places to visit and Santorini is probably the top romantic destination in the country. Staying at a luxury hotel with a private pool or at one of the famous cave-houses, enjoying golden sunsets, exploring the culinary scene and going wine tasting are some of the activities that have made Santorini so popular among honeymooners and couples.
Milos, Mykonos, Rhodes and Crete are also popular for a romantic holiday due to their sunset views, picturesque scenery and beautifully designed suites for two.
For the love-doves who would rather organise a getaway to a mainland destination, the cities of Nafplion and Thessaloniki, as well as the castle-town of Monemvasia are among the top romantic places to visit.
If you prefer a mountainous destination, then Pelion and Zagorochoria will offer you sunny days with long forest walks and cozy nights with hot drinks by the fireplace.
Honeymoon suites and villas or other accommodation facilities for two are available in all of these destinations.
5. Visit an ancient monument
With so many archaeological sites, ruins and museums that reflect the country's rich history and culture, Greece is one of the top destinations for history nerds!
In addition to the Acropolis of Athens and the Parthenon, the most famous ancient monument in Greece, there are countless large or small monuments and ruins scattered all over the countryside and the islands.
Some of the best archeological sites in Greece include Delphi, Ancient Olympia, Epidaurus and Mycenae.
As far as the islands are concerned, the most significant ones include Knossos in Crete, the Cycladic island of Delos near Mykonos and Akrotiri in Santorini.
In addition, various Medieval or Venetian castles are located in Greece and many fortresses or other historic buildings can be found on the islands (Corfu, Rhodes) or the mainland (Monemvasia, Mystras, Nafplion).
6. Taste the local cuisine
The Mediterranean cuisine is believed to be the secret to a good quality of life in countries of southern Europe and Greece is no exception!
Your vacation in the country is the right time to introduce yourself to the local gastronomy and discover mouth-watering delicacies that are a staple of the Greek culture!
Athens, Thessaloniki and the other big cities offer the widest variety of options in terms of dining facilities, including international cuisine and restaurants that are suitable for those on a special diet.
The islands and the countryside of Greece are also full of taverns and restaurants where you can try traditional dishes.
Touristy destinations like Santorini and Mykonos provide significantly more options, such as fine-dining facilities and international cuisine restaurants.
In Greece, regional cuisine is also a thing, which means that every place offers at least a few special dishes or treats, usually depending on what's seasonally and geographically available. Some other places renowned for their local gastronomy are Naxos, Tinos, Sifnos and Chania or Heraklion in Crete.
In addition to all the tasty local products to try, cooking workshops may also be offered at some destinations. If you decide to go for a gastronomy-oriented vacation, you will not be disappointed!
7. Go clubbing
Many locations all over Greece are famous for their vivid nightlife, since Greek people themselves seem to be very into partying. Clubs, bars and beach bars in Greece are always full of life during the summer and the weekends and in most cases they remain open until the early morning hours. If you are looking for a place that is full of nightlife options to spend your vacation, the most popular partying islands like Mykonos, Ios, Paros, Crete, Rhodes, Corfu and Kos are the obvious answer, as well as the largest cities on the mainland which are full of nightclubs: Athens, Thessaloniki and Patra.
8. Have a fun family time
Greece is the ideal destination for families and a wide variety of facilities and activities are suitable for visitors of all ages. It is considered a very safe country and even if you decide to visit a party place like Mykonos, you will surely find several quiet spots.
Some of the best family destinations in Greece are the friendly and welcoming islands of Naxos, Kos, Rhodes, Corfu, Zakynthos and Crete, where there are many fun things to do in order to bond as a family while exploring around. You may also opt for a family-friendly hotel that is all-inclusive or seafront, so that you can simply relax and spend the entire day at the beach.
The cities are another great option; Athens and Thessaloniki may not offer as many opportunities for a seaside vacation as the islands, but they are full of museums, parks and sights to discover.
During your holidays with kids, don't skip a visit to one of the country's biggest waterparks and theme parks!
9. Try a watersport
Watersports such as scuba diving, windsurfing, sea kayak and kitesurfing are quite popular in Greece during the summer months.
The weather conditions at islands or beachfront resorts, as well as the safe and shallow sea waters create the perfect opportunity to have fun in the sea! Modern watersport facilities that offer courses and equipment are available at almost every island and several seaside locations of the Greek mainland.
The Cycladic islands, such as Paros and Naxos are highly recommended for watersports like windsurfing and kitesurfing thanks to the strong winds of the Aegean Sea. The Ionian Islands are also known for their ideal weather conditions. For instance, in Lefkada you will find several spots that are good for kitesurfing.
10. Reconnect with nature
The natural scenery of Greece is quite diverse, especially if we consider the small size of the country. Mountains, forests, beaches, lakes and fields are all part of the wonderful nature and no matter where you choose to go on vacation, time spent in nature is beneficial in so many ways!
Many locations all around Greece have listed National Parks for preservation purposes, from small islands such as Alonissos and Kefalonia, to tall mountains on the mainland like Parnassos and Olympus. Mount Olympus has the highest mountain peak in Greece and offers one of the country's top hiking routes.
Some other popular hiking trails pass through National Parks of unique beauty, such as Samaria Gorge in Crete and Vikos Gorge in Zagorochoria.
Several hiking trails can also be found in Peloponnese and the Cycladic Islands, where nature is not as dense and more often than not, they will take you to remote chapels, secluded beaches and other amazing places. In addition to hiking, rock climbing opportunities are available in various locations, including Kalymnos island which is one of the best climbing destinations in Greece as well as the imposing Meteora where bird watching holidays as well as truffle hunting expeditions are possible as well.
11. Attend a cultural event
When visiting Greece, the best way to find out more about its culture is by having fun along with the locals. During your vacation, it is a great idea to see if any special events are available so that you can join.
Most events take place in big cities such as Athens, Thessaloniki and Patra, although some of them are also organized in the Cycladic islands or Crete.
The biggest and most significant festival is the Athens and Epidaurus Festival, which is hosted in the Ancient Theater of Epidaurus every summer, from July to August, allowing both Greek and foreign visitors to attend plays, concerts and other intriguing performances.
Various cultural events are also available at different locations from late spring to early autumn months, as well as traditional celebrations that are usually linked to religious events or national holidays and take place even in the tiniest islands and villages.
Are you looking for places with a calming atmosphere where you can let go of stress and heal your body and soul? Wellness centers, yoga facilities and spa resorts offer relaxing treatments and beauty services at some of Greece's best therapeutic retreats, both on the islands and the mainland.
Thermal springs can also be found at various locations in Greece, including the islands of Santorini, Ikaria and Kos, Edipsos near Athens and Pozar Baths at the northern part of Greece. With such a mild climate, clear air and unspoiled nature, it is no wonder that people from all over the world end up in Greece for health tourism in order to treat conditions of the body and spirit.
13. Stay at a camping site
Staying at organized or free camping sites is a popular lodging alternative in order to save money when travelling in Greece. Camping is a great choice for all budget travellers, including families, and numerous camping sites are located among dense greenery and at a short distance from the beach, allowing you to experience the best parts of the local nature.
Some of the best camping sites in Greece can be found in Halkidiki, Naxos, Serifos, Antiparos and Elafonisos, while for those who are more into free camping, the islands of Donoussa, Anafi, Koufonisia, Iraklia and Crete are only a few amazing options to name. In addition to regular camping, new types of camping such as glamping have been gaining increasing popularity, allowing you to combine camping with luxury accommodation and get the best of both.
14. Visit a winter resort
Although Greece is mostly known for its seaside resorts, its mountainous destinations are a true gem and particularly beautiful for winter holidays in Greece. Arachova, Kalavryta, Meteora, Pelion and Zagorochoria are some of the most charming areas on the Greek mainland, with dense forests and stone-built villages, allowing you to see a different side of Greece, away from the coastline.
At many of these places you will also find skiing and snowboarding facilities. Even if you are not into this type of sports, it is always fun to visit a mountain chalet for a cup of hot cocoa while gazing at the snow falling outside the window.
In addition to all of these countryside locations, Athens, Thessaloniki and the other big cities are a safe choice during the winter, as well as some islands which remain lively throughout the whole year, like Crete, Rhodes and Corfu. Visiting Greece during the winter will allow you to explore indoor places, including museums, galleries, ecclesiastical monuments, theaters, cinemas and shopping centers. If you are planning to spend Christmas in Greece, you can visit the country's biggest Christmas parks as well: the Mill of the Elves in Trikala, Dreamland Park in Drama, Starland Park in Ioannina, Christmas Factory in Athens, Paramythohora in Halkidiki and Asterokosmos in Thessaloniki.