How to Take a Greece Vacation

by  Melissa Klurman | Jan 10, 2020
Greece / Ihor_Tailwind/iStock

There are few places as inspiring and evocative as Greece. The cradle of western civilization was the home of gods of myth and poetry, plus writers, sculptors, and artists — all who have influential work that are still stunning to witness a millennium later. In Athens, you can walk in the footsteps of history, then enjoy urban culture and arts. Head out into the countryside to taste the land at wineries, olive groves, and farms. Then, island-hop around Greece’s 6,000 islands to explore some of the 277 of which are inhabited; each one offers a unique taste of the county well worth exploring. 

Where to Go in Greece

Peloponnese, Greece / Gatsi/iStock

Peloponnese: After you’ve explored the wonders of Athens, head an hour southwest to the claw-shaped Peloponnese peninsula. Filled with historical marvels, these are spots that feel like they should only be in books. Here, you'll find the storied halls of Olympus (also known as the temple of Zeus, where the modern day Olympics were created); the Lion Gate of Mycenae, which Homer wrote about in The Odyssey; and the ancient theater of Epidaurus, a UNESCO site that was used to honor the god of medicine. After you’re done exploring the ancient ruins, hit the beach on some of Greece’s most scenic shores along the Gulf of Messina.

Mykonos: This postcard-perfect spots in the Cyclades is known for three things: the beautiful port city of Chora; Little Venice, where rustic windmills hug the Aegean Sea and spin in the breeze; and the party-all-day (and night) vibe on the  southern side of the island that draws an international cadre of nightlife lovers.

Santorini, Greece / transurfer/iStock

Santorini: Widely considered the most romantic island in the Aegean, this crescent-shaped oasis in the Cyclades Islands was shaped by a volcanic activity that created soaring cliffs over a sunken caldera. The dramatic results are the cliff-side cities of Fira and Oia where white cubist houses built into the landscape stare into the mesmerizing blue sea; the sunsets here are so spectacular that you could plan a vacation around watching them.  

Crete: From the Venetian architecture of Chania to the Minoan ruins at Knossos —known as as “the oldest city in Europe” — plus the beauty of its secluded white sand beaches, Greece's largest island is brimming with breathtaking vistas, rich culture, and some of the best food in the country. 

The Best Time to Visit Greece

Greece in summer / Balate Dorin/iStock

Summer is the most popular time to visit Greece, especially July and August during the peak of vacation season: but temperatures can soar as the summer heats up. To get more temperate weather (and smaller crowds) come in the shoulder season, April to June, and September to October.

How to Have a Greece Honeymoon

Greece is a honeymooners paradise, with spectacular islands dotting the turquoise waters. Start the memorable getaway with a few days in Athens to soak up the historic sites, and then head out to sea. Sailing around the islands is a great way to reach exclusive hideaways like Patmos (Julia Roberts and Kate Moss are among the elite who spend time here) and Paros. Alternatively, focus on popular nightlife spots like Mykonos, the rural delights of Naxos, or scenic Santorini — depending on whether your ideal newlywed vacation is focused on beach time and relaxation or action and adventure. 

Athens, Greece / milangonda/iStock

Things to Do in Athens

Classical sites and modern architecture mingle in the storied streets of this historical city celebrated in mythology and considered the heart of Ancient Greece. The bleached columns of the Acropolis and the Parthenon are archaeological highlights, but if the lines are too long (or the temperatures too high), you’ll gain insights, great views, and close ups with artifacts at the neighboring Acropolis Museum. Be sure to take some time to explore the twisting streets of the Plaka, a neighborhood full of cafes and tavernas where you can sample a taste of the local culture.

Athens, Greece
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