Travelers have ventured to Greece for millennia for its remarkable history, enchanting mythology, and mesmerizing landscapes. The majesty of classic destinations like Athens and Santorini have become beacons for tourists both of which highlight the grand spectacles of mainland and island charm.
Whether searching for a mountain retreat or secluded seaside resort, a hidden harbor or the location of a mythical battle, the following inspirational list looks beyond common destinations to uncover some of Greece’s best-kept secrets.
The charismatic island at the edge of the Dodecanese lies less than 2,625 feet from the Turkish coast and fiercely guards its Greek identity. For millennia, the tiny island has acted as a crossroads for seafaring communities and major civilizations. The birthplace of Zeus offers panoramic views, Byzantine monasteries, and stunning contrasts between the Mediterranean's blue waters and white sands.
The stunning island of Ithaca gained prominence thousands of years ago with a mention in the Homeric legend The Odyssey. The Ionian Island retains its mythical allure with isolated sandy beaches and picturesque fishing villages. Boutique hotels offer a touch of contemporary luxury and the fjord-like bay shimmers alongside the iconic architecture. With the pairing of lively cafes and the island’s more than 30 archeological sites, this island provides a totally unique experience.
Milos has one of the most exotic landscapes in the Aegean Sea. Its beaches glow pink and orange in contrast to emerald hues of the water. Secluded caves contain legends of pirates from the Middle Ages and charming homes glint with vibrant colors. Families and couples alike can enjoy the ancient catacombs, archeology museum, and the endless natural wonders.
Three charming harbor villages overlook the sapphire waters and pebbly white beaches. Ancient olive groves rise up the inland hills amid dense vineyards. Taxi boats travel between towns and the unspoiled coves isolated by sheer limestone cliffs. Luxurious villas, wild myrtle, pine, and cypress trees grow on the neighboring island of Antipaxi, and the prized Venetian architecture of the capital highlight Paxi’s distinctive beauty.
The unexplored island of Chios contains 24 preserved Medieval villages. Unique decorative architecture, geometric designs, the remains of impregnable fortresses, and mastic production give a glimpse into the island's culture. The individual styles of each village showcase the variety of traditions present in the region. Byzantine streets overlook seaside streets and densely packed white houses allow travelers to traverse across the rooftops.
The gorgeous region of Mani spreads across the Peloponnese’s southern edges and is made up of steep foothills, unspoiled coves, snowcapped mountaintops, and remarkable medieval villages hidden in thriving olive groves. The network of coastal caverns host stalagmites, stalactites, and the mythological entrance to the underworld. Cape Tenaro captures the imagination of visitors with a temple to Poseidon at the edge of the European continent. This location is notable as it is first mentioned in Homer’s epic poem, the Iliad.
Instead of the quintessential beaches and ancient history for which Greece is known, the northern region of Epiros highlights the diversity of the country with natural marvels ranging from verdant forests to reflective mountain lakes. Epirus feels worlds away from the Cycladic architecture of Mykonos or the ruins on the Athenian Acropolis. Instead, Venetian remnants and wildlife including wolves, brown bears, and birds of prey amaze visitors.
The preserved castle town of Monemvasia exudes a fairytale ambiance. The medieval fortress rises up the foothill with homes, vaulted alleyways, and stairs carved out of the sea rock. Byzantine, Ottoman, and Venetian influence line the cobbled lanes that date back to the 13th century and embody the picture of medieval charm. Enjoy panoramic views of the sea from Venetian villas and then relax in Turkish baths.