Travelers around the world started packing their bags the moment Greece re-opened to tourists.
Where better to destress than on a picturesque beach on an idyllic Greek island?
That being said, the country has, like, thousands of them. Not to mention all the cities and sites on the mainland. So, we narrowed it down to you with these top 10 destinations.
You knew we had to start with Athens. Not only is it Greece’s modern capital, it’s the historical and cultural capital as well, from the Acropolis and Parthenon to the Varvakios Agora (Central Market).
Explore over two thousand years of history through various monuments, get philosophical over coffee in a Greek cafe, check out the local nightlife, or just wander the streets and take in the vibes.
All of of the Greek islands are rather beautiful, but in our opinion, Zakynthos may just be the most picturesque. Especially Navagio Bay, also known as “Shipwreck Beach”.
You’ll have no trouble capturing some Instagram-worthy photos here, if you’re into that sort of thing. But the soft white sand and stunning blue waters also make it a great place to swim, sail, or just relax. And that’s what vacation is all about, right?
The old towns of Chania and Rethymno are also brimming with centuries-old buildings.
But Crete is also Greece’s largest island. And with that come many beautiful beaches, including the pink sand Elafonissi Beach. Plus, Crete’s food is known as some of the best in the country, with rich flavors and fresh ingredients.
Greece’s second-largest city, Thessaloniki provides equal parts historic sites and modern delights.
Explore Roman archaeological sites and Byzantine monuments between bites of bougatsas, Thessaloniki’s favorite flaky breakfast pie. Walk the waterfront and see the White Tower, one of the city’s most famous monuments.
Or do some shopping before hitting up the nightlife. The city offers all of the above – and more.
Also known as the “Holy Mountain”, Mount Athos is one of Orthodox Christianity’s most important religious sites. It’s actually an autonomous state founded in the 10th century, with its own independent government, made up of 20 monasteries and over 2,000 monks.
However, visiting is not without its difficulties. For starters, it’s only accessible by boat, and you have to apply for a permit in advance. Plus, since the entire island is considered one big monastery, women aren’t allowed. At all. Other than the Virgin Mary, that is.
Fortunately, there are other monastic communities in Greece that are a little more accessible, including Meteora.
The name means “suspended in the air” in Greek – and it’s not hard to see why. Each of the six monasteries here are built on towering rock columns, some up to over 1,200 feet tall, and only accessible by climbing stairs cut into the stone.
The buildings themselves date back to the 14th through 16th centuries, when the area first came under Ottoman control, and have housed monks and nuns to this day.
If you search for a photo of “Greece” in your favorite search engine, Santorini will be one of the first suggestions. The stark white buildings set against the rocky coastline and blue waters are simply iconic.
Usually, the island is packed during the summer, but with tourism just getting started again, you may be able to avoid the crowds. The only question is whether you’ll use the opportunity to snap some photos or sip some Santorini wine. Hey, why not both?
If you prefer your Greek islands with a bit more historical flavor, Rhodes is another highly-recommended option.
Here, you’ll find traces of the numerous civilizations that called Rhodes home over the past few thousands years, including the Phoenicians, ancient Greeks, Byzantines, Knights Hospitaller, and Ottoman Turks. Even the island’s non-surviving ruins, like the Colossus of Rhodes, are world famous.
You can travel around Greece visiting beautiful beaches, ancient monasteries, and centuries-old Venetian architecture.
Or you can come to Corfu and do them all in one place!
We’re not saying it’s the best Greek island, but it’s certainly one of the most well-rounded, with easy access to a variety of attractions. Explore Corfu Old Town, swim at Porto Timoni, and drench yourself… er, your food in delicious locally-made olive oil.
History, architecture, culture… bleh! That stuff is for the birds.
So, if your idea of a Greek vacation is partying like it’s 2019 (you know, before all the clubs shutdown because of Covid), then Mykonos is the place to be.
The island is a favorite of international DJs and A-list celebrities, who come to get down in legendary local clubs, like Cavo Paradiso – or just hide away from paparazzo in a luxury villa.
This article originally appeared on Travel Off Path. For the latest breaking news that will affect your next trip, please visit: Traveloffpath.com
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Disclaimer: Current travel rules and restrictions can change without notice. The decision to travel is ultimately your responsibility. Contact your consulate and/or local authorities to confirm your nationality’s entry and/or any changes to travel requirements before traveling. Travel Off Path does not endorse traveling against government advisories