Known for its plethora of ancient ruins, whitewashed villages, sunny beaches, tasty cuisine and friendly atmosphere, it is no wonder that Greece ranks among Europe’s top travel destinations. Greece is made up of a mountainous mainland and hundreds of islands where each one offers its own share of stunning landscapes, historic sites, nightlife scenes and cultural delights.
A walk around the old neighborhoods reveals the coexistence of different eras in cities’ heart. Old mansions, many of them well-preserved, luxurious department stores and small intimate shops, fancy restaurants and traditional taverns are located one next to another. All have their place here! The Greek spirit, a force of creativity and renewal throughout Greece’s long history, has yet again transformed the urban landscape. Greece is a unique destination that combines business and pleasure in the best possible way! It is one of the most charismatic locations in terms of natural beauty, with mild climate conditions, a combination of landscapes from sea to mountains and appropriate for vacation and business activities throughout the year! Luxurious hotels with services that combine entertainment, leisure areas and excellent conference facilities, constitute yet another powerful incentive for someone to enjoy a magnificent city break or even close a business deal in Greece! Even museums can wonderfully combine a tour to an archaeological site with a philosophical conference, thus demonstrating the magnificence of ancient civilization through modern culture! Moreover, there are innovative scientific centers and exhibition areas that can accommodate small or large scale conference events, with state-of-the-art technical specifications including audiovisual
Sprawling, globalized Athens is an obligatory, almost unavoidable introduction to Greece
Greece's capital is filthy, noisy and often frustrating. But once you look past the smog, you'll love its vibrant cafes, pedestrian sidewalks and lush parks. And unlike other ancient cities, all the historic monuments are clustered together for easy access.
Aside from the show-stopping Acropolis it offers a truly metropolitan range of cultural diversions, from museums to concerts; well-stocked shops; gourmet restaurants and stimulating clubs, plus an excellent transport infrastructure.
Visit the Agora, the ancient square that was once the center of commercial and political life in Athens. Though in ruins, there's still plenty to see: the Stoa of Zeus, the Temple of Apollo, the Altar of the Twelve Gods, and the Odeon of Agrippa.
For a glimpse into the seedier but no less charming side of Athens, visit Psiri, the ancient enclave of anarchists and rebels. Its narrow streets vibrate with cafes, restaurants and boutiques. If you're there on a Sunday, visit the flea market in the adjoining neighborhood of Monastiraki, where you can buy just about anything.
Main attraction: The Acropolis, the elevated ancient site where the granddaddies of Western civilization once roamed.
Thessaloniki is Greece’s second-largest city and the capital city of the Macedonian region of Northern Greece.
A city of diverse beauty and hospitable people. Thessaloniki has always been a crossroad of civilizations, a place where the East and West meets, where great cultures and religions have been mixed. Gastronomy, events, world-class heritage sites, shopping are some of the things that visitors can indulge in.
Not to mention the distinctive student vibe that is an integral part of its charm as the city hosts country’s largest university campus, the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki.
The compact size of the city and the walking distance proximity of the top-attractions make Thessaloniki an ideal city-break destination.
Lively festivals, social events and a buzzing nightlife make this city the cultural capital of Greece. Comprised of a historic city center and commercial district, Thessaloniki offers both old and new attractions from its Byzantine walls, White Tower and Turkish baths to colorful food markets, museums and art galleries.
Main attraction: The tomb of Philip, father of Alexander the Great.
Second to the Acropolis in Athens, Delphi is Greece’s most popular archaeological site. Located about two and half hours from Athens along the slopes of the awe-inspiring Mount Parnassus, Delphi was once revered by the ancient Greeks as the center of the earth. Dedicated to the god, Apollo, Delphi was an important oracle and holy place for worshiping Apollo. In ancient times, people would come to this sacred spot to inquire of the priestess for advice on a wide range of topics from farming to relationships and politics. Over time, as the popularity of the Oracle of Delphi increased, so did the offerings. Temples and monuments were built, and the wealth of the area spread to establish the surrounding city that remains today. Significant ruins and structures at Delphi include the Temple of Apollo, the Athenian Treasury, Altar of the Chians, the theater, stadium and hippodrome that once hosted events of the ancient Pythian Games. The town of Delphi offers plenty of hotel accommodation, restaurants, shops and taverns as well as historic churches, interesting museums and art galleries. As Delphi is a popular day trip from Athens, tourists will find a number of bus tours from the capital city. The town of Delphi is within walking distance of the archaeological site, so walking is the primary transportation within the area although taxis are available.
The Peloponnese (pel-o-pon-ih-sos) is the stuff that legends are made of. Numerous myths were born out here but today this region is far from a fable. It boasts historical sites, with classical temples, Mycenaean palaces, Byzantine cities, and Frankish and Venetian fortresses. You can rub shoulders with the ghost of Agamemnon at Mycenae, mighty redoubt of a once great civilization, or flex your muscles at ancient Olympia, spiritual home of the Olympics. You can cite Oedipus in the Theatre of Epidavros or be entranced by Mystras, where the Byzantine civilization died in the 14th century. Greece’s first capital, Nafplio, is today a cosmopolitan and romantic city; captivating, too, is the Venetian stronghold of Monemvasia. The region’s natural playground truly mesmerises, with lofty, snowcapped mountains, lush gorges, valleys of citrus groves and vineyards, cypress trees, streams and sun-specked beaches. Spring is the perfect time for DIY explorations. Hike in the wildflower-covered mountains of Arkadia, or in the rugged Mani, which bristle with fortified tower houses. Summer is a beach bum’s delight: the beaches of Messinia are among Greece’s finest. Winter brings snow to the higher ground and a chance to launch yourself down Mt Helmos on skis. For centuries Greeks have fought hard against invaders of their Peloponnese paradise; today foreigners are far from repelled (ask the permanent influx of Brits). Filoxenia (hospitality) is as strong here as anywhere in the country. The locals claim to have the best of everything to give. And that’s no myth.
The Greek word meteora means “suspended in the air,” and this phrase aptly describes the spectacular cliffs that rise more than 1,200 feet into the air overlooking the villages of Kalambaka and Kastraki in the north central mainland of Greece. What makes these cliffs even more inspiring are the historic monasteries perched along the summits. Dating back to the 14th and 16th centuries, these monasteries were built by monks who had been living in nearby caves, seeking spiritual isolation and freedom from religious persecution. Out of faith and sheer determination, it took years for the monks to transport their religious materials up the cliffs by way of ropes, baskets and ladders. While there were originally 24 monasteries, only six of them remain intact today. Accessible by a staircase carved from the cliffs, the monasteries contain some of the world’s best examples of religious manuscripts and art works, which can be viewed on-site. In addition to the monasteries, Meteora is also home to several rare bird and flower species. This makes Meteora a great place to enjoy outdoor recreation. At the base of the cliffs are the main towns of Kalambaka and Kastraki, peaceful and beautiful villages that offer accommodation, shops, restaurants and tavernas as well as a number of Byzantine churches, Greek temples and other interesting historic sites.
A popular yachting destination located in the Adriatic Sea, Corfu is the northernmost of Greece’s Ionian Islands. As well as immersed in Greek mythology, Corfu also reflects the diverse cultural and architectural influences of the many foreign empires that ruled it down through the centuries from Roman to Byzantine, Venetian, British and French. While Corfu Town is the island’s most important town because it is where most tourists arrive either by plane, cruise ship or ferry, the village of Benitses is the most popular due to its gorgeous scenery and abundance of hotels, shops, restaurants and taverns. Tourists looking for a variety of lively nightlife choices will most likely find it in the town of Roda. The village of Lakones offers a peaceful escape where tourists can relax at outdoor coffee shops while admiring picturesque views across the Paleokastritsa bay. One place not to be missed is Nyphmes, a place of lush beauty and nymph legends. One of Corfu’s top tourist magnets is its beautiful beaches that range from the golden sands of the west side to the quiet, pebbled coves of the east side. Some of the island’s best beaches include Glyfada, Barbati, Kassiopi, Acharavi and Agios Georgios. With the exception of chaotic driving, Corfu presents one of Europe’s safest environments for travelers. Getting around Corfu is easy with buses, bikes and scooters.
Best known for the famed Colossus of Rhodes, one of the Seven Ancient Wonders of the World, Rhodes is a popular European destination due to its geographical beauty and historical significance. Located in the Aegean Sea near the coast of Turkey, Rhodes is the capital and largest island of the Dodecanese archipelago. Rhodes is also regarded as one of the most beautiful islands of Greece because of its lush pine forests and countless number of brilliant flowers like bougainvillea and hibiscus. Inhabited since the latter part of the Stone Age, Rhodes boasts one of the world’s longest and most captivating histories. Today, the island is riddled with important historic sites and archaeological ruins such as the medieval Old Town, the Governor’s Palace, Rhodes Footbridge, the Acropolis of Lindos and the Temple of Apollo. While the city of Rhodes is the island’s chief city, numerous villages and tourist resorts abound throughout the island. Picturesque towns allow weary travelers to relax while lively cities offer modern attractions and energetic nightlife. Some of the most popular tourist towns in Rhodes include Lindos, Afantou, Faliraki, Archangelos and Ialysos. Rhodes can be reached by airplane, cruise ship and ferry services. Tourists can get around the island by public bus, cars, motorbikes and mopeds.
One of the most popular destinations in Greece, Santorini may be one of the more expensive islands but definitely one of the most picturesque. Part of the Cyclades group, Santorini is well-loved for its cliff-hanging villages, Venetian castles, scenic wine country and legendary sunsets. While Santorini consists of numerous villages, the most famous are Fira and Oia, which cling to cliff sides overlooking the turquoise sea. Hundreds of zigzagging steps ascend and wind through these villages of cobblestone lanes and whitewashed houses with blue-domed roofs. The sunset views from Oia are regarded among the most stunning in the world. Tourists can reach these villages by way of a cable car from the seaport or opt for a mule ride. Other significant places in Santorini include Akrotiri, an excavated site of an ancient Minoan city preserved by ash from a volcanic eruption during the Bronze Age. Additionally, the island is home to two of the youngest volcanic islands in the Eastern Mediterranean, Nea and Palia. A tour to these smoking islands offers views of steaming lava flows. Unique beaches are also one of Santorini’s many crowd-pullers. The most popular of these include Perissa, Red Beach with its red sands and cliffs, and Kamari with its black sands. Santorini can be reached by flights from Athens, cruise ships and ferry connections. A good way to explore the island is by cycling, ATV rentals and motorbikes.
Only 80 km away from Athens, the city of the sacred fountain of Arethousa is the main gate to the island of Evia. Thanks to its strategic geographic position, the city has remained a crossroad of cultures and ideas over the centuries, an apple of discord for many foreign conquerors. Today the cosmopolitan city of Chalkida, the administrative and commercial centre of the island built on both sides of Evripos straits, is a popular destination among Athenians for short breaks away from the hustle and bustle of the capital city. Thanks to its impressive ultra modern cable bridge, the access to the city has now become easier and quicker. Chalkida is particularly famous for the tidal phenomenon that takes place in Evripos, i.e. the swift change of water direction every six hours, created by the Moon’s pull. During each change of direction the water stops moving for about eight minutes. An ideal place to watch this unique phenomenon is the sliding Negroponte Bridge. Another favourite meeting point for the locals is the waterfront; a charming pedestrian street lined with elegant cafes and restaurants buzzing with life day and night! Make a point of visiting the following quite impressive edifices: the Red House- the city’s landmark, a neoclassical building with four clay statues on its top and the Town Hall, known for its beautiful harmonious architecture. Karababas fortress, a superb Venetian fort, stands on the top of Kanithos hill, offering a bird’s eye view of the city and Evoikos Gulf. Don’t forget to visit: Τhe Archaeological Museum/ The Municipal Library/ the Municipal Art Gallery/ “Kamares” site/ the Roman Aqueduct/ Emir Zade Turkish Mosque / the Folk Art Museum/ the Spring of Arethousa/ the Railway Station/ the poet Giannis Skaribas’ tomb located at Karababas Fortress/ the Byzantine church of St. Nicholas and the Early Christian Basilica of St. Paraskevi; there is a big bazaar held on July 26th (St. Paraskevi feastday) and the city “wears” a festive mood
In mid-winter, most Greek mountain ranges turn white with snow, offering a mood of calmness with frozen crystal lakes, vast valleys and picturesque mountain villages. Then, the various winter sports centers, skiing clubs and hiking trails open up. The mainland of Greece has thus the most popular resorts in winter. The Greek islands decline in winter, as they are most famous for their beaches and transport to the Greek islands becomes less frequent in winter. Most hotels and seaside taverns there close and only a few accommodation options are open all year round, mostly in large islands, such as Corfu, Crete and Rhodes. If you are looking for sightseeing, you should know that most archaeological sites and castles are open in winter. A good time to visit Greece in winter would be Christmas. All towns and villages decorate their own Christmas trees and light up Christmas lights all along the streets. Most municipalities organize cultural events with musical concerts, theatre performances, street shows and exhibitions with Christmas themes. The hotels organize parties for the Christmas Day and the New Year’s Eve with live music and traditional Greek dancing. Another popular festival that period of year in Greece is the Carnival. It usually takes place in late winter or early spring and last for forty days, but most celebrations are held in the last weekend of the Carnival. People are dressed up with strange costumes, masks and make ups. Large parades are organized and music is heard all over towns and small villages. The last Sunday of the Carnival is the most popular. Next day, the Clean Monday, is the beginning of the Lent in Greece. This day, people gather at the central squares, eat traditional lent food and dance together local dances. Therefore, whether you are looking for pure nature, extreme winter sports or big celebrations, Greece is a great winter destination and would certainly give you another aspect of this beautiful country.
Arachova is a mountainous village nestling picturesquely at the foot of Mt. Parnassós in Viotia, Southern Greece. It is the most cosmopolitan winter destination in Greece, a great favorite for passionate ski lovers and celebrities, or just first-time visitors who wish to relax in a dreamy mountainous setting with modern tourism facilities. Its modern ski resort, its close proximity to Athens, and its breathtaking mountainous landscape are the strongest reason why people should visit. The landscape around Arachova is mostly grasslands and rocky with a great variety of flora and fauna, making it ideal for cycling, hiking, trekking, parasailing from the hills, strolling, and relaxing. In summer, camping in the forest and several beaches also make the area popular. Apart from the mountain activities, it is also famous for its bustling nightlife! There are a plethora of bars and clubs up and down the streets of Arachova. If bar hopping and clubbing are not your thing, wander around the narrow cobblestoned pedestrian streets to become even more enchanted with the town and sample some of the very tasty local cuisine. Hand-woven carpets, rugs, and textiles are the souvenirs to buy when in Arachova. There are two churches within the town; the largest is Agios Georgios which is situated on top of a hill with views overlooking Arachova. This Byzantine Church is dedicated to the town’s protector saint and one must walk up several stairs in order to reach the church. Various elegant first-class hotels or traditional guest houses offer luxurious accommodation. Get involved in outdoor activities such as hiking or ski down the slopes of Mt. Parnassos at the biggest downhill ski resort in Greece. The mountain’s high altitude offers ski lovers long-lasting snow cover at the peaks.
Among the steep slopes of Mt. Mainalo in the Peloponnese nestle the mountain villages of Dimitsána, Stemnítsa and Vytína. Get a deeper insight into Greek history by visiting the places where the Greek Revolution of 1821 against the Turks actually began; a place synonymous with legendary heroes, fierce battles and glorious achievements. Today thanks to its proximity to Athens and its striking beauty Mountainous Arcadia is one of the most popular winter destinations in Greece. The village of Dimitsána; built like an amphitheatre overlooking the Lousios River, Lousios valley and the plains of Megalopoli, Dimitsána is nicely surrounded by snow covered mountain tops and lush pine tree forests. Some of its most famous sights are the six remaining legendary Gunpowder Mills that used to produce gunpowder for the Revolutionary War, the Philosophou and Timiou Prodromou Monasteries; the archaeological site of Gortyna and the houses of heroes of the Revolution. The village of Stemnitsa is a typical traditional Arcadian settlement set amidst ancient plane and fir trees. It boasts grand stone mansions, Byzantine churches, cobblestone paths, a beautiful square and an interesting Folklore Museum. At the heart of Mountainous Arcadia, among the slopes of Mt. Mainalo, lies the most popular tourist destination in Arcadia, Vytina, famous for its unique architecture and blessed with a rugged landscape. Home to a number of legendary heroes of the Revolutionary War, Vytína faced the rage of the Turks many times and the village was burned down on 7 occasions! Vytína used to be an important centre of for the textile industry and woodcraft but today the economy is largely based on tourism.
At the heart of Epirus, nestling among the steep and snowy slopes of the Týmfi mountain range stand the Zagorochoria villages. A complex of 46 picturesque traditional villages built in a magical setting amidst pine and fir trees with one of the most beautiful and diverse ecosystems in Europe. Its unique traditional architecture, impressive stone mansions and undulating, natural forest surroundings are the perfect ingredients for an unparalleled destination, ideal for action-packed holidays! Visit Zagóri’s most picturesque villages; Monodéndri is a restored stone village. Stroll down its narrow streets past the village’s stone courtyards; take the rocky trail starting from the central square that leads you to Vickos Gorge, which is awe-inspiringly deep! From there, admire the Monastery of St. Paraskevi nestling on a rock overlooking the Vickos Gorge. Mikro and Megalo Papigko, Aristi, Kipi and Dilofo are just some of the precious gems of Zagori. Gaze at the beautiful stone bridges which connect the villages. These are architectural masterpieces of superb craftsmanship which are often associated with legends and other local traditions. Don’t miss the opportunity to walk the famous Vradeto Stairs at the edge of Vickos Gorge. These stone 1,200 meter stairs connect the villages Vradéto and Kapésovo, and they were the only access to Vradéto village until 1973! Traditional stone-built guesthouses offer a warm environment to rest in after your day has come to an end; enjoy a glass of fine wine by the fireplace before going to sleep or a delicious breakfast with fresh local products before starting your day! Experience the true magic of Zagorochória: have a delicious meal in a mezedopoleío (local tavern) and taste the famous local pies accompanied by sweet local wine!
Only a few kilometers away from the busy port of Volos in Thessaly stands mythical Mt. Pelion, which according to Greek mythology was the home of the mythical Centaurs, creatures who were half man and half horse. Ancient Greek heroes such as Achilles, Jason and Theseus came to Mount Pelion to master the arts taught by the Centaurs. Mount Pelion is home to 24 beautiful villages. The unique combination of superb natural surroundings, dense greenery, cascading waterfalls and gorges, romantic bays with crystal clear waters and outstanding local architecture make for a “four seasons’ destination” that attracts visitors all year long. Pelion boasts some of the most famous traditional villages in Greece; set against an idyllic backdrop of shimmering olive groves, dense forests and lush fruit orchards, these stone-built villages are the true gems of Pelion. Visit the lovely old village of Tsagaráda –home to a 1,000-year-old plane tree; Makrinitsa, the so-called balcony of Pelion, which affords magnificent views over the Aegean; Portaria, which thanks to its impressive traditional mansions has successfully managed to preserve its traditional color untouched by time, and Chánia, with its famous ski centre. Discover one of Pilion’s best kept secrets: the tiny, exquisite cove of Fakistra; the highlight is a stream that springs from the mountain and flows into the sea. It is rather difficult to get down to it but it certainly worth it; even in winter the setting is very romantic; pure magic. Follow a scenic route from the village of Milies...by train! Take the legendary Pelion stream train, a narrow-gauge rail track built more than a century ago by the father of the surrealist painter Giorgio de Chirico, which crosses stone bridges and passes through rugged landscapes; all the stations are of unique architectural interest. Visit the village of Damouchari, where several scenes from the movie Mamma Mia were filmed!
Monemvasia is a town founded in the middle ages on a small peninsula in the Peloponnese and is linked to the mainland by a short causeway. The town’s name is derived from the two Greek words, mone and emvasia, meaning “single entrance.” Monemvasia is one of the most romantic places in Greece. The historical town is nestled on top of a large rock next to the sea overlooking Palaia Monemvasia Bay with striking views of the sunrise and sunset. The stunning natural landscape in combination with the magnificent medieval fortress and stone-built settlement lined with narrow cobble-stoned streets makes it a romantic getaway and an attractive choice for weddings held within and outside the fortress walls, as well as a wonderful honeymoon destination. The town was ruled and occupied by the Byzantines, the Ottoman Empire, and the Venetians, resulting in various styles of architecture on the island. Besides the enchanting castle, there is a small hamlet with no more than 10 houses to discover. It can be reached by taking a stroll up a zig-zagging pathway. Moreover, there are ancient walls, guardhouses, towers, large water cisterns, ruins of historic buildings along with beautifully restored stone buildings, and forty churches (the Byzantine style dominates in most of them). The most important churches of the island are Elkomenos Christos and Agia Sofia. The Muslim Mosque has been preserved and houses the Archaelogical Museum of Monemvasia. Monemvasia is split into two parts. “Palaia Monemvasia” or “Old Monemvasia” is the area surrounding the castle. A new area called “Nea Monemvasia” or “New Monemvasia” has been built offering modern facilities and many taverns, cafés, and bars. In summer you can swim at the beautiful beaches and there is camping available.
Lake Plastira is a man-made lake that has since developed its own ecosystem. The lake is named after Nikolaos Plastiras, who originally envisioned and inspired this project. The scenery is enchanting as the lake is an exquisite turquoise color and surrounded by mountains and thick forests. We highly recommend the route around the entire lake, and to stop off at the many villages along the way. Canoes, kayaks, and water bicycles are for rent on the lake, as well as bicycles that you can use to explore some of the villages or lakeside views. Hiking and fishing are other common activities. There are botanical gardens in Neohori that displays local plants of the area, a dam at one end of the lake, a couple of wineries in two different villages where you can taste local wine, monasteries, and horseback riding available.A little further away there are bridges, the Monastery of Korona, the Monastery of Pelekiti, the Monastery of Petra, the Gaki Cave and the Kaimakia Cave Waterfalls, and a ski resort near Elati.
Mountainous Corinthia is occupied by the Kyllini Mountain, located in the south-eastern side of the prefecture of Corinthia, which was a part of Arcadia in antiquity. Today the mountain is also called Ziria. The beautiful surroundings and the rich land relief of the area make the mountain a popular destination, as it is also relatively close to Athens. The mountain is full of small villages, like Trikala, Evrostini, Velina or Goura, most of them being today ready to host the visitors. There are plenty of hotels, guest houses and hostels, restaurants and taverns. The biggest of the villages of this area, Trikala, is consisted by three settlements; Kato (lower), Mesaia (middle) and Ano (upper) Trikala. But the highlight of the area is the artificial lake Doxa with the small island in the middle. The element of mythology is very intense in this area. Here is the lake Stymphalia where Hercules killed the Stymphalian Birds with his bow to accomplish his sixth labour. According to the myth, the birds where man-eating and had beaks of bronze. Kyllini (or Ziria) is one of the few Greek mountains which have so many tops over 2000 m in altitude. Five of them are in the Big Ziria and three in the Small Ziria, the highest of which, called "High Top" is 2.374m high. A large plateau is extended at the feet of that complex of peaks. Collected waters are forming two beautiful lakes every winter and spring, the Kefalogianni Lake to the east and the Dasios Lake to the west. The waters of the second lake flow underground to the so called "Small Source" towards the settlement of Middle Trikala. Between the Small and the Big Ziria, the wonderful Flabouritsa Valley is located, retaining many streams and waters springing under age long trees and disappearing to underground flows. The peaks of Kyllini rising above the plateau and the Flabouritsa Valley are registered in the European network "NATURA 2000" as sites of particular interest.