Best Things to Do in Greece
It's rare to find white-sand beaches, buildings thousands of years old, natural wonders, and UNESCO sites all in one place. From chilling on remote islands to hiking ancient volcanoes, here are just a few of the best things you can do on a visit to Greece.
If you're looking to incorporate any of these experiences during your trip, get in touch with our local specialists in Greece, who can help you organize a unique adventure. Connect with a local specialist.
Sail Around Corfu Island
Outdoor cafés and a relaxed pace of living: island life in Greece is exactly how you'd imagine. Off the western mainland, Corfu is the biggest of the Ionian islands. You could spend your time exploring the Venetian buildings and fortress (the Palaio Frourio) in Corfu Old Town, looking out to Albania from unspoiled beaches on the northeast coast, buying olive wood everything, or checking out the local villages among the cypress and fir trees. But how about a bit of yachting? Wonderful, smaller islands surround Corfu — and you can visit them by sailboat.
If you’ve never sailed before, you could charter a boat with a skipper, then set out into the turquoise waters of Corfu and over to the islands of Paxos and Antipaxos. A trained crew will sort out your port passes at each dock, they'll find you the best restaurants, and they’ll help you out if you or your boat gets into any difficulties. Read more about an exciting day cruise to Paxos and Antipaxos.
Get a Calf Workout in Meteora
Meteora is a UNESCO World Heritage Site known for its centuries-old monasteries that sit precariously atop ancient limestone pillars. It’s less well-known for its hiking, but — to start — the steep trail that leads from the outskirts of the laid-back village of Kalambaka to the 14th-century Monastery of the Holy Trinity is amazing.
Your rewards for the trek include great views out to the region's valleys and pinnacles. And when you get back down to the town of Kalambaka, you can pop into a local taverna for roast lamb, fried zucchini balls, and a celebratory shot of ouzo. You can learn more about Meteora in our Ultimate Guide and check out a fun, guided hike to the ancient rocks.
Go Back in Time at the Acropolis
One of the most important sites in the Ancient World, the Parthenon, has towered over the city of Athens since 447 BCE. The Pentelic marble that makes up the Acropolis ruins is especially beautiful at sunrise and sunset, plus the crowds will be fewer then. If you can, time your visit for the early morning or late afternoon. There’s also the Acropolis Museum to visit. It features five stories of ancient statues, sculptures, and frieze panels that date back to the 5th century BCE.
For a more in-depth look at Athens, consider this 4-day tour that takes you through the city's highlights. To get the full experience, consider a combined tour featuring both the Acropolis and its museum.
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Trek the Samaria Gorge on Crete
In the White Mountains National Reserve on the island of Crete, you’ll find one of the longest gorges in Europe. The nine-mile hike through Samaria Gorge takes a full day, especially if you stop to seek out the 450 species of flora, from peonies to dragon arum, that thrives here.
On this hike, you'll start at the trailhead in Xyloskalo, which is 4,101 feet above sea level, so the first couple of miles of trail lead straight down the side of the gorge via steep switchbacks and steps. You’ll be crossing loose rock deep in the canyon till you reach the seaside village of Agia Roumeli, which is home to some very welcome bars and a pretty beach.
After working up an appetite, you'll want to indulge in some of the farm-to-table culinary specialties that Crete is known for. Check out this 6-day food tour, featuring tours of the island's olive groves and vineyards.
Hike the Caldera Rim on Santorini
On the island of Santorini, it’s possible to hike between the picture-perfect towns of Fira and Oia along the rim of the volcano's caldera. The walk covers six miles and takes about four hours if you’re going at a relaxed pace. Starting in the main town of Fira, along the way, you’ll go up hills, skirt Byzantine churches, peer into the depths of the caldera, and — with any luck — reach Oia, just in time to watch the sunset over the Aegean Sea.
For more activity ideas, check out this guide to getting off the beaten path on Santorini.
Visit the Olive Groves of Kalamata
From wandering among olive blossoms in spring to seeing the rich autumn harvest in fall, any of the seasonal stages of Greece’s gnarled and twisted olive trees is worth seeing. You can find olive groves all over the country, but perhaps the most famous are in Kalamata on the Peloponnese peninsula, southwest of Athens. In particular, the villages of Thouria and Sperchogia are known for their bountiful olive harvests. While you’re in the area, it’s worth visiting an eleotrivio — where olives are transformed into various grades of oil — to see how it’s made and to buy all the extra virgin you can.
To get the full experience, consider taking a cooking class at an olive grove, learning how to craft traditional Messenian dishes with a professional chef.
Sail Around Milos Island
The island of Milos in the Cyclades is known for its crystalline waters, white-rock arches, and sea caves. Its coastline is some of the most picturesque in Greece, which makes it an ideal place for a sailing excursion. Take a day cruise from the port in Adamantas and check out some charming fishing villages, including Skinopi, Klima, Areti, and Fourkovouni. Enjoy the scenery as you sail to the famous rocks of Cape Vani and take a break at the Sykia Caves to swim and snorkel.
Read more about what to see while cruising around scenic Milos.
Go Wine Tasting around Nemea
The Greek mastery of drinks goes far beyond classics like ouzo and raki and fully embraces the country's ancient winemaking history. In particular, the terrain in locations like Nemea is perfect for making wine. This spot is an hour and a half drive west of Athens on the Peloponnese Peninsula and home to some great local wineries.
After a tasting or two, visit the historic and charming city of Nafplio! It’s surrounded by beaches and home to some gorgeous plazas and hidden alleyways by the sea. Also nearby is the Mycenae archaeological site, which is UNESCO World Heritage-listed, and the Ancient Theatre of Epidaurus. It’s also a World Heritage Site, and for a good reason. Dating back to the 4th century BCE and exceptionally well-preserved, its incredible acoustics allow even theater-goers in the very top row to hear actors on the stage perfectly clearly.
Try this Nemea wine experience, which involves a visit to three boutique wineries with activities at each, including a stroll through the vineyards, observations of the wine-making process, and plenty of tastings, of course.
Cretan Villages Food and Culture Tour
Crete's Apokoronas region is dotted with rural villages, wineries, rolling hills, olive groves, and some of the best gastronomy on the island. Get your bearings and a history lesson in the town of Gavalochori by visiting the Folklore Museum of Apokoronas, then head out into the countryside. Stop in Vrises for its traditional distillery, Emprosneros for its ancient theater and cheesemaking facilities, and Fres to enjoy a meal at one of its famed tavernas. Consider taking a culinary tour of the region or combine a visit with other excursions focused on Greek cuisine.
Bike Tour & Beach Picnic on Mykonos
Mykonos is quite hilly, which means you can easily find scenic vistas across the island. One of the best ways to conquer these hills is by bike. Follow a leisurely route that makes its way to Fokos Beach via a coastal trail that passes through rocky terrain and offers exceptional views. At the beach, savor a picnic lunch provided by the island's own organic Vioma Farm. Read more about this delicious bike tour and discover other fun activities on the island.
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