Top 10 things to experience in Greece

For culture lovers, adventurers and history buffs, Greece never fails to amaze. From island hopping to wine tasting, Greece offers all of the destinations and experiences that you want in a vacation.

Experience ancient Athens before a day of sunbathing or check out some of the region’s top museums and ancient wonders. It’s best to book a long trip, because once you arrive you won’t be in a hurry to leave!

Athens - The capital city and the birthplace of the Western world, this 3,000 year old city is famous for its ancient landmarks such as the Acropolis and Parthenon.

Volos - This charming coastal port at the foot of Mount Pelion is brimming with coffee shops and traditional seafood restaurants.

Heraklion - Located on Crete, the largest of the famous Greek islands, the modern-day terraced resorts in the harbour give way to countryside with quiet villages and olive groves.

Thessalonika - Greece’s second-largest city is famous for its cultural scene — the historic city centre comes alive at night and often hosts festivals and other social events.

Halkidiki - One of the best spots for amazing beaches and unspoilt natural beauty, this peninsula boasts some of Greece’s busiest resorts.

The Acropolis, which means ‘high city’ in Greek, can be seen from anywhere in Athens. The flattened hilltop is crowned by the Parthenon, an ancient Greek temple made entirely from marble. It was built around 2,500 years ago to house a giant statue of Athena, the goddess after which the city of Athens was named. If hiking up and down the hillside wears you out, head for a rest at the National Garden. Previously known as the Royal Gardens, this expansive park is a peaceful oasis from the rush of the city. Located behind the Greek parliament building, it includes a small zoo and a botanical museum.
The famous cliffside houses on the island of Santorini are a staple of travel photography. Perched on the rim of a volcano, the white-washed houses and the blue-domed churches contrast beautifully with the deep blue Aegean Sea. And it’s not just a feast for the eyes — Santorini is renowned for its restaurants and has some of the most delicious seafood in the Mediterranean. Guided ‘gastronomy tours’ can take you through the countryside on an epic journey of wine and food indulgence.
Known in Greek Mythology as ‘the Cave of Nymphs’, Melissani Cave on the island of Kefalonia is a spectacular fusion of light and water. The monumental cave system is flooded by crystal-clear fresh water and must be accessed by boat. The tour takes visitors through a narrow passage that widens impressively into the Great Hall. Here, the sunlight streams in through the collapsed ceiling, dappling the rocky walls and lake waters with a magical natural light show.
It’s easy to see why this 16km stretch of gorge is one of Crete’s major tourist attractions. It was spectacularly carved out millions of years ago by a river between the White Mountains and Mount Volakias. The hike along the old river bed is considered a must-do for visitors — it takes around 4 to 7 hours and winds through ancient forests, then cuts between vertical cliffs through the mountains to emerge at Agia Roumeli on the Libyan sea.
Mount Olympus is the highest mountain in Greece and the legendary home of the ancient Greek gods. At its base sits the ancient village of Dion, where Alexander the Great made sacrifices to the gods before leading his armies to conquer the known world (the site is preserved in the village’s archaeological park and museum). Anyone wanting to climb Mount Olympus will need to depart from the town of Litochoro, which is easily accessible by train and bus. There are several trails, depending on your level of hiking experience and fitness, as well as refuges (basic accommodation for trekkers) on the east side of the mountain.

Dolmades - These grape-leaf parcels are stuffed with various combinations of rice, mince, herbs and pine nuts depending on the region.

Moussaka - An iconic Greek dish consisting of layers of eggplant, minced lamb, herbs and spices topped with cheese and béchamel sauce.

Octopus - Greece is famous for its seafood, and octopus is enjoyed many ways — from whole char grilled baby octopus to marinated tentacles served in stews.

Baklava - This sweet Mediterranean treat consists of ground nuts, honey and golden filo pastry drizzled with syrup.

Greece has developed a reputation in recent years as one of the best places to windsurf. The shallow water and consistent wind make this region ideal for beginners and advanced windsurfers alike. The best islands for windsurfing are Artemis and Paros. For out-of-the-way windsurfing spots, check out Andhros, Vasiliki and Naxos.

With thousands of years of culture, it’s not surprising that Greece has more than a few ghost towns and historic villages. Nestled beside Mount Taygetos, Mytras is one of the country’s most beautiful ghost towns. The fortified city is a journey back to the 14th and 15th centuries.

Another interesting journey is the ancient village of Lindos on Rhodes. This town includes picturesque cobbled streets, a labyrinth of ancient homes and a phenomenal view of the surrounding area.

Greece is famous for its idyllic and tranquil beaches. If sunbathing is your favourite pastime, you cannot afford to miss out on Myrtos Beach or Ornos Beach. While Ornos is known for its beauty and access to tavernas, Myrtos is the place to go for picturesque blue waters. Outside of these top beaches, you should make sure to check out Sweetwater beach, Paradise Beach, Banana Beach and Red Beach before you leave the country.
DISCLAIMER: While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of all information as of the date of publishing, Allianz Global Assistance does not accept liability for any errors or omissions. Allianz Global Assistance strongly recommends seeking the guidance of a professional travel agent/agency for further information on a specific destination. On your next trip, whether to another province or country, ensure you have travel insurance as it may assist you in cases of unforeseen medical emergencies and other types of mishaps that can happen while you travel. Travel insurance does not cover everything, please always refer to the policy document for full terms and conditions, including limitations and exclusions. Travel insurance is underwritten by CUMIS General Insurance Company, a member of The Co-operators Group of Companies, administered by Allianz Global Assistance, which is a registered business name of AZGA Service Canada Inc.
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