Greece is a bucket list destination for many people. It’s no wonder why with its creation of the Olympic games, ancient ruins, beautiful islands, and fabulous food (let’s also not forget Hercules). With so much to see, how do you decide where to visit? Here are eight regions of Greece we believe are NOT to be missed!
Located west of mainland Greece, the Ionian islands are most known for Corfu and Ithaca. Corfu is a lush green island and has influences from its Venetian, French and British rulers of the past. This is where you want to go for cultural heritage, music and art. Ithaca, though not a typical Greek vacation stop, is most famous for Homer’s Odyssey. You can see Ithaca and how it inspired Homer on a day trip via boat.
Northern Mainland Greece
The northern mainland region of Greece is best known for historical and religious connections such as Thessaloniki and Mount Olympus. Thessaloniki is considered a cultural capital and is a popular destination on most Greek vacations where you can enjoy great seafood, beautiful coastlines, and historical experiences like the Byzantine Baths, see a statue of Alexander the Great, and dig into religious history. Mount Olympus is known as the home to the 12 Greek gods in mythology and is also home to beautiful flora and fauna throughout its hiking and trekking trails.
Attica is the birthplace of western civilization and rich in history. This region is famous for its archaeological sites and monuments. This region is home to Athens, the capital of Greece, where you can access the Parthenon, Acropolis, Temple of Zeus, and many great museums.
This region is most famous for Corinth and Olympia. Corinth has a rich history of being at the center of many political and religious battles. It was a Roman colony established by Caesar in 44BC and is known to Christians because of Paul’s letters in the New Testament of the Bible. A trip to see the ancient city ruins is worth your time. Olympia, as you likely know, is home of the Olympic games which began in 776BC. Olympia is home to the Temple of Zeus, the Temple of Apollo, and the Archaeological Museum. See where the original games took place and marvel at where the temples of the gods once stood.
The cluster of islands in the Saronic region are a picturesque image of Greece. Think no cars, island hopping by boat, private coves, and cobblestone pedestrian-only streets. Aegina is the most popular island in this region with its close proximity to Athens on the mainland. It is also home to the famous Aphea Temple, one of three sites in the “holy triangle.” This site is part of an equilateral triangle formed with the Parthenon and the Temple of Poseidon.
The Cyclades region is one of the more popular regions and the the one most well known to travelers as this is home to Santorini and Mykonos. But don’t limit yourself to just these well-known islands. There are 33 different islands in this region. Mykonos is known for its luxury holiday experience with both a bustling cosmopolitan city life as well as its breathtaking views of the coast. Santorini has a bit of everything including excellent gastronomy experiences, the famous white buildings with blue rooftops that are the perfect backdrop to unforgettable sunsets, and an active volcano.
Crete is Greece’s largest island and has a bit of everything for the traveler. On this island, you can see ancient archaeological sites, enjoy perfect sandy beaches, and hike through steep gorges. Two of the most popular towns to visit include Chania, the capital town closest to the Samaria Gorge and Heraklion that is home to the Koules fortress.
The Dodecanese islands are the southeastern set of Greek islands. The more popular places to visit in the region include Rhodes, a popular cruise stop for its beaches and gastronomy. Those looking for that perfect Instagram photo will want to include Symi in their travels. This island is known for how its village has such traditional architecture of two-and three-story stone houses.
So, what kind of Greek experience are you seeking? Do you have visions of that perfect photo with the white buildings with blue rooftops in Santorini? Do you want to see ancient cities and ruins like Athens?
I would love to chat with you about Greece and help you decide on which regions are just right for your next vacation and how to best pair them together.