Located in southeast Europe, Greece is made up of a very mountainous and hilly mainland peninsula and thousands of islands. These mini paradises are scattered around the Ionian, Myrtoan, and Aegean Seas, and there is remarkably more than 13,500 kilometers of coastline for you to explore.
While some parts of the country are home to dramatic gorges and stunning mountain peaks, others consist of peaceful countryside and beautiful beaches. Wherever you go, you are sure to come across a wealth of amazing historical sights, archaeological ruins, and charming towns and villages displaying the country’s ancient past.
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Set in the northeast of the country, Western Thrace is so named because it lies next to Eastern Thrace, which is part of Turkey. Also lying next to Bulgaria, it has a unique mix of cultures and religions; its strategic location means that there are lots of interesting archaeological sites and old buildings, dating back to the Ancient Greeks, the Byzantines, and the Ottomans.
Nestled away between the peaceful Nestos and Evros rivers and the pristine, untouched deltas that spread out around them, the region has some lovely nature. The beautiful Rokapi mountain range is scarred with gorges and valleys that slowly give way to a scenic coastline.
While charming towns and villages are scattered around its diverse landscapes, it is the cities of Alexandroupolis, Didymoteicho, and Stravoupoli that attract the most visitors. The archaeological sites at Anastasioupoli and Abdera are also very popular.
The largest region in the whole of Greece, Macedonia encompasses much of the northern realms of the country. It is bursting with incredible mountain scenery, stunning beaches, and fascinating historic cities and towns. It is in this part of Greece that most of the ancient kingdom of Macedon was once found, so as you travel around, you’ll find many monuments to Alexander the Great.
While much of the region is quite mountainous, it is Macedonia’s lovely coastline, beaches, and seaside towns that attract the most visitors. The majority of tourists head to the three narrow peninsulas of Chalkidiki or the area surrounding Mount Olympus, from which you can climb the legendary mountain.
There is history at every turn here; the ancient towns of Kavala and Veria are worth checking out, while the lively capital of the region, Thessaloniki — also the second-largest city in the country — is also delightful to visit. For amazing mountain scenery and archaeological ruins, many people head to Drama, while Mount Athos and its monastic communities also make for an interesting trip.
Home to a diverse array of landscapes, Thessaly is bordered by the Pindus mountain range to the west. Its two principal cities of Trikala and Larissa are located on a low-lying plain that leads to coastal mountains at Ossa and Pelion, as well as the glimmering Aegean Sea. Despite having been ruled by the Ottomans for over four hundred years, there is very little in the way of buildings or monuments in Thessaly to show for it.
The main attraction in the region are the incredible mountaintop monasteries at Meteora, which are breathtakingly beautiful. The stunning scenery at Plastira Lake and Olympos National Park also draws a fair share of visitors, who come for the fantastic hiking and photogenic panoramas.
Due to its fertile soils, there is lots of picturesque countryside in Thessaly, with sprawling farmland giving way to dramatic mountains and charming villages. The quaint seaside towns of Amaliapolis and Agria should be on any traveler’s itinerary.
Lying between the Pindus mountain range and the Ionian Sea, Epirus borders Albania in the northwest of Greece. Most of its territory is covered in mountains and forests, with the Vjose and Acheron rivers running through it, and dramatic valleys and gorges to explore, such as the spectacular Vikos Gorge.
While the interior is very alpine in terms of its climate and topography, the coast is blessed with warm Mediterranean temperatures, and is home to many charming fishing villages, such as Ammoudia, Parga, and Syvota.
There plenty of history to discover throughout the region, with the fantastic walled city of Ioannina and the Bridge of Arta among its main draws. In the municipality of Zagori, you’ll find breathtaking mountains, endless forests, and impressive gorges.
Central Greece is bordered on three sides by water; the Ionian Sea lies to its west, the Corinthian Gulf to its south, and the Aegean Sea to its east. Despite its long coastline, the region is very mountainous, with a number of peaks looming to over 2,000 meters. Many gleaming lakes and gurgling rivers can be found hidden away in its picturesque countryside.
Alongside the peaceful seaside towns of Itea, Galaxidi, and Messolonghi, there are lots of other interesting places to visit. The ruins of Delphi and the Ossios Loukas Monastery are among the most impressive.
The large island of Euboea is also included as part of Central Greece; it too has some beautiful scenery on show. Glorious mountains lie next to its rugged shoreline, and the towns of Chalcis and Eretria are home to several interesting archaeological sites.
Home to the nation’s capital, Attica is the most populous region in the country. While Athens, with its monuments, museums and mesmerizing historical sights is the undoubted highlight of the area, there are a wealth of other great things for you to see and do.
Located on a peninsula jutting out into the Aegean Sea, Attica is home to a number of beautiful mountains; these contrast delightfully with the low lying plains that house most of the region’s population and the scenic coastline that is bordered by such inviting waters.
Besides the capital, one of the main draws here is the Athens Riviera, which runs from the port of Piraeus all the way to Sounio. Along this stretch of coastline, you’ll find some beaches, seaside resorts, and a plethora of restaurants, bars, and hotels.
This large peninsula in the south of Greece is separated from Attica and Athens by the historic Corinth Canal that runs between them. The region has plenty of crumbling ruins and archaeological sites, such as those of Mycenae, Epidaurus, and the Temple of Epicurius Apollo.
A fascinating place to travel around, Peloponnese’s long coastline is dotted with beautiful bays, harbors, and seaside towns and villages. Nafplio, Pylos, Koroni, and Karamata are all worth a visit, while in the interior, Argos and Sparta boast a multitude of historic sights.
Offering the perfect combination of history, culture, and breathtaking nature, the Peloponnese makes for a great holiday destination. The warm waters surrounding the peninsula make for some fantastic swimming, windsurfing, and sailing, while the Lousios and Neda river valleys lend themselves perfectly to hiking.
Stretching all the way from Ereikousa and Corfu in the northwest of the Ionian Sea down to Kythira and Antikythera in the south, the Ionian Islands are enchanting to visit; each has its own vibe and energy.
Renowned for their delightful sandy beaches and crystal clear waters, the islands are full of beautiful nature. There are plenty of historic towns to explore too as the islands were once occupied by the Venetians, British and French, with Corfu Town, Zante, and Argostoli among the most popular.
While the ‘Seven Islands’ of Corfu, Paxos, Lefkada, Ithaki, Kefallonia, Zakynthos, and Kythira are the main ones that everyone visits, there are loads of other smaller islands that are worth checking out, with lots of hidden gems to be discovered.
Although the stunning archipelago is made up of over 2,200 islands and islets, only 33 of them are actually inhabited. The Cyclades contain some of the most famous and popular islands in the whole of Greece, with Santorini and Mykonos the pick of the bunch.
Lying in the southern part of the Aegean Sea, the archipelago is easily visited by boat from Athens, and lots of people go island hopping from one to the other. The islands look very impressive; many of them are quite arid and rocky, making the dazzlingly white mountaintop villages stand out beautifully against the dark backdrops.
Although the iconic islands of Santorini and Mykonos are justifiably the main draws, there are loads of other great islands on offer; the volcanic rock formations on Milos, the archaeological site at Delos, and the beaches at Paros are all noteworthy attractions.
Closer to Turkey than to mainland Greece, the Dodecanese are a fantastic group of islands located in the southeastern Aegean Sea. The largest, most popular, and most important island is Rhodes, which is home to so many fascinating historical sites – as well as lots of beautiful scenery.
Ruled at various times by the Romans, Ottomans, and Italians, the islands boast a number of archaeological sites. Their charming towns and villages are replete with an amazing array of architectural styles, with some places being more touristy in nature and others more peaceful, relaxed, and authentically Greek.
As the scenery is generally stunning, the Dodecanese attract crowds of visitors, who come for the picturesque beaches and pleasant weather. The islands of Kos, Kalymnos, and Symi are highly rated, and the sparkling waters that surround them offer a wide array of watersports.
The largest of the Greek islands – and one of the biggest in the whole of the Mediterranean – Crete is located south of the Peloponnese and has over a thousand kilometers of delightful coastline for you to explore.
While the island certainly has more than its fair share of glorious beaches, Crete is actually home to a diverse array of landscapes, with rugged mountains, dramatic gorges, and sprawling vineyards all waiting to be discovered. Tucked away in the amazing countryside are a wealth of archaeological sites, crumbling ruins, and historic towns and villages. These display Crete’s ancient history, with everyone from the Minoans and Venetians to the Ottomans and Romans having ruled the island at one point or another.
Due to its intoxicating mix of history, culture, and nature, Crete is a trendy destination. Every summer, visitors flock to the delightful cities of Heraklion, Chania, and Rethymnon, which boast so many incredible sights. The Minoan Palace of Knossos and the scenic island of Spinalonga are just two of the must-see attractions.
Although they lie quite far apart, the North Aegean Islands are often grouped together and mainly hug Turkey’s western coastline and the shores along northeastern Greece. Lesbos is the most popular among foreign visitors. Because the islands are less well known than many of Greece’s other islands, they are a lot more peaceful and relaxing to visit, offering a more authentic side to the country.
As the islands have been permanently settled for around seven thousand years, there is lots of history to get stuck into. Wherever you go, you’ll come across impressive ruins and archaeological sites, with Christian Basilicas lying side-by-side with the remains of Ancient Greek temples.
The scenery varies quite substantially from island to island; Agios Efstratios is quite arid and volcanic, while others like Thanos are more green, mountainous, and full of gorgeous bays and beaches. In general, the North Aegean Islands lend themselves perfectly to all kinds of outdoor activities. Swimming, snorkeling, and sailing are all very popular, while their mountainous interiors are ideal for hikers and rock climbers.
Covered in beautiful woodland, with forest-coated mountains gently sloping down to beautiful beaches and charming fishing villages, the wonderful Sporades Islands are very fertile. They can be found just off the east coast in the Aegean Sea.
Due to its unforgettable scenery, the archipelago is worth checking out if you have the chance. It offers a quieter, more peaceful alternative to many of Greece’s more popular islands, with lots of sleepy villages and towns to visit – each with its own idyllic beaches and picturesque harbor.
While Skiathos is the most well-known – and therefore the most crowded – both Alonnisos and Skopelos are home to some gorgeous coastline and beautiful beaches. Skyros also boasts some impressive mountain scenery.