Best Cities in Greece to Visit in 2020

Finding the best cities in Greece is akin to looking for the prettiest flower in a field of pretty flowers. Or trying to find the smartest kid at MIT. What I’m trying to say is that you have a lot of options.

Greece has some truly spectacular cities, from the sterling white cities dangling off the cliffs of Santorini to the flowery covered ruins of Olympia. You have no shortage of options! And they all offer something vastly different.

I can’t get enough of Greece. And I’m not the only one. So I’ve gathered together some fellow travelers to help me pick out some of the best cites in Greece to visit.

Kalambaka & Meteroa

Famous for its floating monasteries built on top of rocks by monks between the 3rd – 6th centuries. Meteora is one of the most interesting destinations to explore in Greece. Beyond ancient Greek mythology and island living, Meteora offers something different from the rest of Greece. 

The city has been capturing imaginations for centuries. From monks looking for a mountain top sanctuary, to Hollywood features in films like James Bond and Game of Thrones. 

On cloudy days, you will even see the monasteries sticking out of the clouds and seemingly floating in the air — thus nicknamed “floating monasteries”.

At one point in time, there were about 24 monasteries, each built on its individual boulders. Today, only 6 remain (2 of which are taken over by nuns). If you are short of time, visit

  • The Monastery of the Holy Trinity: which was the setting for the 1981 James Bond Film “For Your Eyes Only”
  • Monastery of the Grand Meteoron: the largest of the remaining monasteries that even has a small museum for tourists
  • The Monastery of St Stephan: which was shelled during World War 2 before being restored and is now one of the biggest nunneries in the country.

Pro-tip: If you are visiting, remember to check out the opening hours of the monasteries beforehand as each takes a turn to close once a week.

For those who are into the outdoors, the boulders of Meteora are also famous for rock climbing and hikes with amazing views from the top. There are guided tours to the tallest rock in Meteora — the Great Saint — where you could overlook the entire town of Kalambaka. 

While sunsets on islands like Santorini often hog the spotlight, the sunrise (and sunset) is quite a sight to behold too. 

Written by Hendric – Read their Greece budget itinerary.

Nafplio

Looking for an alternative Greek city, beside the capital? Then you should consider the Peloponnese city of Nafplio – the first official capital of Greece.

Nafplio is a picture-perfect coastal city that lies around two hours from Athens and offers travelers the best of both worlds. Plus, it’s a laid-back seaside lifestyle and a rich and interesting history.

Nafplio has long been a significant destination in Greece. Throughout history, the city has had many different rulers staking their claim on the land. Many of them improving the port and fortifications to continue their empires.

It was only after the Greek War of Independence against the Ottoman Empire that Nafplio officially became the capital of Greece.

There are loads of fascinating sites to explore in and around Nafplio. Sites like Palamidi Castle, the Bourtzi Castle, the first parliament of Greece (Vouleftikon), the original Syntagma Square, and the Akronafplia hill. Not to mention several interesting museums, monuments, and churches too!

When you want a break from exploring Nafplio’s long and intriguing history, check out some of the beaches (both pebble and sandy). Or some of the nearby sites such as Mycenae, the Asklepion, and the ancient site of Epidaurus and Ancient Assini.

Nafplio is beautiful and bustling. It makes for a wonderful weekend getaway from the capital as well as a great stopping off point during a road trip of the Peloponnese.

It can easily be reached by car or bus, or, if you’re really pushed for time, Nafplio can be visited as a day trip from Athens, combining Mycenae, Epidaurus, Nafplio, and the Corinth Canal.

Written by Crysoula from Athens and Beyond

Athens

Facts about Greece Hero Image

To visit Greece and not spend time in Athens, is to not have seen Greece at all.

Walking among the relics of the ancient world, and following in the footsteps of its inhabitants, is exhilarating. Athens offers travelers the opportunity to closely explore historical landmarks that one usually only sees in textbooks. It’s makes it one of the best places to live in Greece.

It’s one thing to learn about the ingenuity and brilliance of the ancient Greeks in school. But another to have the opportunity to marvel at these wonders up close (and in some cases touch the remaining bits of history) is humbling.

To see how well some of the artifacts have withstood the test of time is truly awe-inspiring. Walking among ancient histories such as Hadrian’s Library and the Parthenon are a once in a lifetime opportunity. And one that cannot be re-created anywhere else.

The relics of ancient Greece have mesmerized travelers for centuries. To get to be a part of the collective that has admired them up close is stirring.

Athens has no shortage of hip places to eat and drink. Grab a Mythos beer and share a perfectly curated cheese and charcuterie board at a trendy cafe. Enjoy a romantic and unforgettable supper while looking out at the Parthenon in the evening.

Watch plates fly and break at any number of eateries that host a live cultural show during lunch or dinner. Up early? Or coming in off the tail end of a wild night out?

Swing by a corner stands and grabs a koulouri (Greek bagel) for breakfast. Stop in at Little Kook where the entire aesthetic of the restaurant – from the menus to the staff outfits and the decor change every few months. This every changing theme is fun to check out! With so many options for food, consider taking a walking food tour.

Pro Trip tip: Explore Exarcheia – a hub for political and intellectual activists. Admire street art all over the city. Or, if visiting in the summer, take in an outdoor film while a view of the Parthenon looms in the background. 

Written by Wandering Why Traveler – Check Out Their Tales of Athens

More Post About Greece

Patras

We love Patras. We visited several times, particularly back in 2006 when it was designated the European Capital of Culture. Since then, the city has flourished, becoming a place to visit rather than just a port town to pass through.

Patras is located in the Peloponnese, often considered the capital of Western Greece. It is the country’s third-largest city after Athens and Thessaloniki. And is the gateway port town to the Ionian Islands (like Kefalonia, Zakynthos, Corfu). Patras also has a large student population thanks to its popular university, which gives it a youthful, chilled, and Bohemian vibe.

The most famous site in Patras is the Medieval Patras Castle – a mini acropolis-like structure, perched on a hill, overlooking the city. It dates back to the 6th century AD when it was built by the Byzantine Emperor Justinian. Today it is used for cultural events and also has a theatre with a capacity of 640.

Patras’ location in West Greece as the gateway to Italy made it an important strategic base for the Romans. As such, they left their mark on the city, such as the ancient Roman Odeon, built-in 160 AD in Patras Old Town, which still stands proud today and is still used as a theatre. Other historical gems to look out for include; the Ancient Roman Amphitheatre, the Turkish Baths, and the Apollon Municipal Theatre.

Patras is also famous for its events, particularly the super colorful Patras Carnival in February (one of the largest Carnival events in Europe!) and the Patras International Festival every October – a music/dance festival that began in 1986.

For more, check out the Nomadic Boys Greece travel content.

Mykonos

Whether you’re looking for sunbathing on yachts, pristine beaches, or gorgeous nightlife. You can’t skip Mykonos, one of the most beautiful cities in Greece. 

Not only its beaches and nightclub scene. But this popular Greek island is also popular for many reasons. Such as food, luxury shopping, adorable whitewashed buildings, cultural activities, and romantic holidays. Because of its soothing breeze all the time, Mykonos is also called ‘The Island of the Winds’.

Summer is the peak season in Mykonos when it receives maximum footfall. Most party animals visit Mykonos between May to September when the weather is charming and the water is warm.

But if you want to avoid the party crowd, visit Mykonos during winter when the island becomes relaxed with a tranquil atmosphere.

The best way to get around Mykonos is to rent a scooter or ATV. You can explore all the beaches by a scooter at your own pace. However, buses and taxis are also available in Mykonos town.

Located in the middle of the western shore, Mykonos town offers its visitors plenty of things to do. Start your Mykonos sightseeing with the beautiful Windmills. 

This is the most iconic landmark of Mykonos which was built by Venetians in the 16th century. Stroll around the picturesque Matogianni Street and explore the beautiful souvenir shops, restaurants, boutiques, and jewelry stores. 

There are many churches in Mykonos town that draw tourists. Among which will highly recommend visiting Panagia Paraportiani. Most of these churches were built between the 15th and 17th centuries. You can also go for a day cruise around Delos and Rhenia islands. 

Delos is a popular archaeological site in Greece, whereas the Rhenia islands are perfect for swimming and snorkeling. Lastly, you shouldn’t miss the nightlife of Mykonos. 

After watching a mesmerizing sunset, head to any of the famous beach bars like Buddha bars, Nammos and Scorpios.

Greece is not a cheap European country and especially when it is Mykonos, you cannot expect cheap accommodation here. I will recommend booking the Galini Hotel, just 150 m away from the beach with basic amenities and free WiFi at a reasonable price. 

Written by: Trijit Mallick from BudgetTravelBuff

Lefkes

Perched at the top of Paros island, you will find the beautiful old town of Lefkes. This was the first capital of Paros. You can feel the history as you walk through the city. But today, it’s a popular place to visit on the island, not only because it’s so darn cute, but also because it’s a calm and peaceful place to stroll around on a nice day. 

The narrow streets are lined with old whitewashed houses, often decorated naturally with colorful bougainvillea. Sitting atop the mountains of Paros, you can get a beautiful view of the whole island, the sea, and on a clear day, you can even see Naxos. 

There are also quite a few churches and museums to visit in Lefkes. If you love shopping, you’ll find a ton of cute little boutiques and restaurants all around. Our only recommendation is to ditch the GPS and just stroll around, getting lost in the beauty of this old town. 

The best time to visit Lefkes is early in the morning, or toward the evening. It gets pretty hot up there! The best way to get to the old capital is to take the bus. From the bus stop in Naoussa, it’s a short 30-minute ride, and the view is spectacular all around!

By Carine and Dekek

Volos

Greece is famous all over the world for the ancient ruins that dot Athens and the picturesque Greek Islands. Yet there are many lesser-known villages and cities in Greece which are absolutely worth exploring too. One of them is Volos, an incredibly diverse city, situated just 330km north of the Greek capital. 

Volos is a vibrant university city that’s ideal to visit any time of year. One of the best things to do in the city of Volos is to take a stroll along the nostalgic waterfront. The waterfront’s lined with cafes and restaurants, most of which breathe an air of times past. However, the true gem of the promenade is the impressive building of the University of Thessaly which was originally built as a warehouse for the Papastratos Tobacco Company. 

Another place not to miss in Volos is Palia, which is probably the oldest neighborhood in the city. Palia is an area of old-fashioned charm that comes to life in the evening when locals and visitors alike flock to its quaint cafes and traditional tsipouradika. Which brings us to the next amazing thing you can’t miss in Volos. 

Tsipouradiko originally meant the place that only served tsipouro, the local alcoholic drink, alongside tiny meze dishes. This type of restaurant was born in Volos back in 1922. Nowadays, dining at a tsipouradiko is a unique experience in its own right. Suffice it to say that the only thing you order and pay for at a tsipouradiko is your drink of choice and all the food that comes along is on the house. 

Last but not least, Volos is an excellent base from where to explore the stunning Pelion region. The latter is the ideal year-round destination as it’s renowned for both its spectacular beaches and its gorgeous mountain villages. 

By Maria & Katerina of It’s All Trip To Me

Kastoria

One of the least-known but unbeatable beautiful Greek cities is Kastoria. Located northwest of the mainland and close to the Albanian and North Macedonian borders, the city is built inside a lake! Oh yes, Kastoria is not an island but its surrounded by water all around-almost! There is a strip of land connecting the city with the mainland.

This unique geographical location is the first that visitors will notice and get impressed about! However, there are much more to see and do in this laid-back place: stroll around the quaint old neighborhoods, observe the Byzantine chapels and the traditional mansions, hike the local paths, visit the replica of a lake-settlement from the Neolithic era, enjoy the lake and nature surrounding it and so on…

Surprisingly, the local climate is characterized by cold winters (there is even a skiing center few kilometers outside the city!) and mild (for Greek standards!) summers so Kastoria is a great alternative for those who love Greece in the summer but they can’t bear the not-so-uncommon 40C heat!

It is vital that, when you plan your itinerary for things to do in Kastoria, you need to take into account the weather and the season. For example, the lake can be completely frozen in the wintertime but you may swim in it in the summer!

Kastoria is enjoyable all year round but it’s better to consider your preferences. I have been here more than once so I believe that every season has its own charm!

Kastoria is definitely worth visiting. It’s a Greek city that lies mostly off-the-beaten-path. And a place to visit if you want to experience the real mainland Greek lifestyle away from the tourist’s crowds.

By Valentini My Shoes Abroad

Lindos

Lindos is about an hour’s drive from the city of Rhodes. It is characterized by white-painted houses and narrow, winding lanes that ultimately lead towards the Lindian Acropolis. The hilltop fortress is an archaeological site whose star attraction is the remains of the Doric-style Temple of Lindian Athena. Of course, Athena is a goddess who long ago attracted pilgrims from across the region.

For a time, Lindos was an independent city-state and celebrated as the home of Cleobulus, one of the great sages of Ancient Greece. His statue stands close to Lindos’s principal bus stop.

These days its holidaymakers from across Europe and beyond who head to Lindos for sunshine, relaxation, and a dose of history. Located on the eastern shore of the island of Rhodes, Lindos has the remnants of an ancient theatre hewn into the foot of the acropolis. This was long a stronghold of the Knights of St John and later the Ottomans. The fortress provides outstanding views over bays at either side of Lindos, including St Paul’s Bay, whose tiny chapel makes a popular wedding venue.

Long ago the sea captains who settled in Lindos had sizable stone houses built. Still known as captain’s houses, some of the properties are today used as characterful holiday homes, restaurants, or bars.

As an antidote to the stress of modern online life, few things beat going offline in Lindo’s sampling regional delicacies and strolling in the rugged hinterland. It’s a beautiful region for relaxation.

Stuart Forster of Go Eat Do  

Ioannina

Ioannina is not a very well-known city to outsiders, but it’s undoubtedly one of the best cities in Greece. And the great thing about the city is that there are lots of interesting things to see in Ioannina itself. But the city is also a great base if you want to explore the beautiful Ioannina region.

Perhaps the most fascinating aspect to foreign visitors will be Ioannina’s Islamic history which is better preserved than in other parts of Greece. The city is home to two former mosques that can be visited as museums today. But even the entire Old Town of Ioannina has kept its Ottoman character. And finally, there’s the Ottoman clock tower in the center of Ioannina.

The city also has a beautiful natural attraction that sets it apart from other Greek cities: Lake Pamvotida is a large lake that creates the perfect atmosphere for lovely walks with a gorgeous view. And in the lake, there’s a tiny islet that you can visit which is home to the Museum of Ali Paşa.

Here, you can find out a bit more about the former ruler and his assassination by the Ottoman government. 

If you still have more time in Ioannina make sure to explore the rest of the region. From the ancient oracle of Dodoni, to the dreamy villages of the Zagori region, and the fascinating Vikos Gorge. There are a ton of options for day trips from Ioannina, especially if you’re into hiking

By Nina

Myrina

Myrina is definitely an off the beaten path city in Greece, but it’s one of my favorites. It is the capital and main port of Lemnos Island in the Aegean Sea. 

You can reach Lemnos by ferry from either Athens or Kavala on the mainland, but also from a few other islands. Another option is to fly in from Athens or Thessaloniki.

Anyway, let’s get back to Myrina. The city benefits from a great natural setting. It is spread across two bays and a high rock divides them. On the rock, a medieval fort watches over Myrina and the harbor. 

The harbor-side is called Tourkikos Gialos because, during the Ottoman Empire, it was inhabited by the Turks. Besides the harbor, the small fishing port is located on the same side, as well as a lot of fish restaurants and typical Greek taverns.

The larger bay on the other side of the rock is called Romeikos Gialos, or the Roman Bay. The promenade on the seashore is full of restaurants and bars with great sea views. 

You will find sandy beaches on both sides of Myrina and the taverns aren’t missing in these areas either.

Before dinner, take a walk on the picturesque shopping street that starts in the port.

Being a little further away from Greece’s most touristic islands allowed Myrina, Lemnos to retain all the authentic charm of a Greek island.

Written by Anda

Lefkada City

Lefkada city, the capital of the island with the same name, is the biggest city in Lefkada, but also a modern resort. The city is connected with the mainland by a mobile bridge so once you arrive on the island this is the first place you will see. Narrow streets, colorful flowers, and old churches are the elements that will charm you when you walk around here.

Even though the majority of the buildings are not very old, they were erected on the medieval plan of the city, when the island was under Venetian domination. It is practically a labyrinth! The houses have anti-earthquake elements: light materials and wood structures because this is a seismic area.

Besides the marina, other places to see in Lefkada town are the main square and the shopping street. Here you will find traditional and international restaurants, local boutiques and souvenir shops. Within walking distance, you can also admire the lagoon, host to flamingos during winter months.

The closest beach to Lefkada town is Agios Ioannis, known for its old windmills and perfect for those who like water sports like kiting. It is a windy beach with blue-turquoise waters, the blue shades that made Lefkada famous. Whether you stay here or anywhere else on the island, a visit to Lefkada town is a must.

Written by Corina from Another Milestone

Parikia

Parikia, the capital and the central Port of Paros Island, is one of the best cities in Greece to visit for a short vacation. The historic town, Parikia, is known as the third-largest island, which belongs to a group of Cyclades.

The combination of modern and traditional architecture, alongside splendid seasides, trendy bars/clubs, enchanting rural villages, is all that makes the town look so beautiful. So, almost all ages of people come here to spend their holidays and make it a memorable one. 

There are plentiful things to do and discover in Paros. It includes touring the Parikia and Panagia Ektontapiliani church that holds tiny-shops, open-cinema, and a historical Byzantine church with 100 doors. 

Moreover, you can have majestic views of several glittering shores in Paros, such as- Golden Beach, Kolimbithres Beach, Glyfada Beach, and so on. Most of the beaches offer various watersports, like-surfing, windsurfing, kitesurfing, kayaking, etc. 

Otherwise, try out fishing, go for trekking or hiking, visit the elegant shops plus boutiques, stroll around the charming little streets, and explore the vivid nightlife. 

Additionally, it’s an ideal place for delicious desserts, coffee, and drinks. You can enjoy savory meals or seafood, like-octopus, and grilled chicken at restaurants, such as- Caramella Naxos, Cuore Rosso, Tavernas, etc. Plus, don’t miss out on tasting the Pumpkin pie or Gauna (a roasted mackerel) as well. 

Paros likewise offers numerous choices for hotels based on all categories of budget. Some of the best hotels in Paros include Kastro Traditional House, Kastro Cozy Guesthouse, Argonauta Hotel, etc. 

Yet, it’s most pleasant to stay over the Traditional stone house with terrace, located in Parikia old town, which is proximately 50 meters away from the sea-beaches. 

Thus, for an entirely exotic travel experience, the best time to visit Paros is during the summertime, especially from May-September.

Written by Paulina on the Road

Rethymno

Rethymno is one of the most popular holiday destinations in Greece. It is the third-largest city in Crete located between the capital, Heraklion and Chania. Rethymno showcases Greek’s history through its cobbled streets and the medieval old town.

Beautiful beaches, cultural hotspots, elegant cafes, Venetian and Turkish influenced architectures, buzzing centers, narrow streets, and the delicious Greek cuisine provide a distinct escape to the city’s visitors.

There is something for everyone in the city.

The gorgeous Venetian harbor is one of the most picturesque places to visit in Rethymno. The waterfront side of the harbor is lined up with restaurants that offer amazing views of the town. And the mountains. The other side of the harbour has a small Egyptian lighthouse, which makes the whole waterfront area more scenic.

The Rimondi is a Venetian. A designed stone fountain that has water passing through three lion’s head’s a popular landmark of Rethymno. The Fortezza fort that dates back to the 16th century overlooks the city from a small hill Paleokastro. The fort is a wonderful attraction and a must-visit in Rethymno.

Do not miss out on the famous blue steps. Which is one of the most beautiful picture spots of Rethymno, located next to Vassilis restaurant on Chimaras.

Going on a hike on the trails of the Mili gorge is one of the best things to do in Rethymno. It takes you through stunningly rich flora. The interesting walkways including tunnels, a riverbed with a waterfall, and some amazing rock formations.

Rethymno offers epic adventures, historical explorations, great eateries, and one of the finest beaches of Greece. It’s truly one of the most beautiful places to visit in Greece.

Written by Anjali Wadhwa by Cheerful Trails

Olympia

The Greek village of Olympia was the birthplace of the ancient Olympics in 776 BCE. The ancient games were subsequently held every four years until 393 CE. During that time, Greece was made up of small rival city-states. The Olympics called for a three month Pan-Hellenic truce that brought together 40,000 spectators from around the region. 

The modern Olympics today are not just a sporting event, but also create an opportunity to come together in peace.

The archaeological site of ancient Olympia is home to temples and the ancient Olympic Stadium. One of the most important temples is the Temple of Hera; Hera, according to Greek mythology, was Zeus’s wife. This is where the Olympic torch is first lit before each Olympics. 

The flame is then paraded around the world before culminating in the lighting of the cauldron at each Olympics’ opening ceremony. Another significant site is the Temple of Apollo (pictured), one of Zeus’ sons. 

When visiting, you should make time for the impressive Archaeological Museum of Olympia. Among the highlights is Hermes of Praxiteles – one of the finest marble statues dating to the 4th century BCE. 

Another noteworthy statue is Nike of Paionios, dating to 425 BCE. Nike is the Greek goddess of victory.

Many visitors arrive in the nearby port of Katakolon on cruise ships. If you only have a short time, a guided tour is advantageous as information at the archeological site is sparse. You can also download self-guided tours online. 

You can also reach Olympia by train from Katakalon or Pyrgos. If you visit Olympia by car or public transportation, there are several good hotel options nearby. 

Alternatively, you can stay in Katakolon, which has a long stretch of beaches, or in nearby Pyrgos. If you travel to Olympia from Athens on public transport, take a bus to Pyrgos and then a short train ride to Olympia. 

By Alex and Bell Kallimanis at Wanderlust Marriage Travel.

Thessaloniki

Greece’s second-largest city doesn’t attract many tourists, as most foreign visitors head straight for the beautiful beaches of the islands. And at first glance, Thessaloniki doesn’t look that attractive. It was largely destroyed by a massive fire in 1917, so downtown is mostly made up of 20th-century apartment buildings. But for history lovers, it’s a must-visit. Standing out among all the anonymous rows of apartment blocks are two impressive relics of the past.

The first is the “White Tower”, a fortified tower built in the 16th century. Similar in shape, but hundreds of years older, is the Rotunda. It was built in the early 4th century by the Roman pagan emperor (and Christian persecutor) Galerius to be his mausoleum. A few years after his death, it was converted into a church by Constantine himself. Later, the Byzantines added mosaics to the interior, which still survive. Much later, it became an Ottoman mosque, and the minaret still stands. Finally, there are Jewish tombstones with Hebrew inscriptions on the grounds as well. These are a testament to the Jewish community that flourished in Thessaloniki until World War II, when almost all its members were deported to Auschwitz and killed.

Overall, Thessaloniki is a real kaleidoscope of historic periods and cultures! Thanks to the Ottoman influence, the local cuisine is known for using spices more liberally than in other parts of Greece. You’ll definitely enjoy the many taverns and restaurants here. And, as the home of two of the country’s largest universities, the vibrant city of Thessaloniki also has a vibrant nightlife.

Contributed by Wendy Werneth of The Nomadic Vegan

Agios Nikolaos

A small coastal town in Crete, Agios Nikolaos is a hidden gem in Greece that many visitors do not know about (yet). Filled with stunning turquoise water, beautiful soft-sand beaches, and numerous open-air eateries sporting gorgeous views.

Agio Nikolaos offers the quintessential Greece vacation experience. The town boasts a laid-back atmosphere. And visitors can easily explore the beautiful streets by foot.

The most famous landmark in Agios Nikolaos is Lake Voulismeni, or just “The Lake” because of its popularity. Originally a freshwater lake, a channel was dug in 1870 to connect it to the sea. Here you will find some of the most lively scenes in Agios Nikolaos, as seafood restaurants and boutique cafes fill the area.

Across from the restaurants is a rocky cliff. Visit the cliff at night and you won’t be disappointed with the view, as reflections from the lake create a mesmerizing image. It is not uncommon to see ducks on the walkway, so just be careful where you are stepping.

Beach-lovers will surely grow fond of Agios Nikolaos, as the area is filled with some of the best beaches in Crete. Within walking distance from the lake is Kitroplateia Beach, one of the most popular beaches amongst the locals.

Here you will find a stunning backdrop of the Cretan mountains. That give you the perfect view, letting you indulge in refreshing Mediterranean Waters. When you get peckish, numerous cafes and restaurants line up behind the beach, so visitors can easily go for a second round on the beach!

Lastly, Agios Nikolaos is a great place to base yourself in. Many of the best places to visit in Crete such as Spinalonga and Gournia are excellent day trips from Agio Nikolaos.

This is a excerpt by Agios Nikolaos from Livingoutlau

Old Town Rhodes

The Old Town of Rhodes is one of the oldest medieval cities in Europe. A visit to Rhodes Old Town is one of the best things to do on Rhodes, the fourth largest of the Greek Islands. Stepping inside the walls of the old town, onto to the cobbled streets surrounded by rustic buildings, is like stepping back in time. 

The ancient city walls were built by the Order of St. John of Jerusalem in the 13 and 14th centuries and remain intact to this day. One of the popular things to do in the old town is to walk the perimeter of the town walls which offer magnificent views of the town and surrounding sea.

Another popular visitors’ attraction is the Palace of the Grand Masters which is located at the end of the Street of the Knights. The palace allows visitors to view 24 of the 158 rooms of this huge building. And contains exquisite marbles, sculptures, and Oriental furniture from the 16th and 17th centuries.

There is an abundance of fantastic seafood restaurants dotted along the maze of cobbled streets in Rhodes Old Town. The restaurants serve up fresh fish which is caught daily from the port. Rhodes Old Town is historically significant and was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1988.

Written by David, The Whole World is a Playground

Sifnos

One of the best cities in Greece is the hilltop town of Apollonia on the island of Sifnos. This teardrop-shaped gem of an island in the western Cyclades islands is popular among Greek travelers, especially those from Athens.

In Sifnos, you’ll find a volcanic island fringed in golden beaches and dotted with small villages and towns. The capital of Sifnos is Apollonia, the perfect place from which to explore the ruins, beaches, and sites of Sifnos.

From Apollonia, you can visit some of the island’s best beaches like Vathy Beach or the authentic fishing village of Faros. Along the way, stop in the medieval town of Kastro which is about 3.5 km from Apollonia. The hike is mild but the views are spectacular along the way.

Apollonia has the quintessential elements of a Greek island town. There are whitewashed buildings with blue window trim and shutters, stone streets and sweeping views of the sea. In Apollonia, you’ll find just enough nightlife to keep you entertained without drawing the constant crowds of Greece’s party islands. The tavernas, rooftop bars, and late-night restaurants are all you need for a fun night out in Apollonia.

The gorgeous town is ideal for wandering around and getting lost in the winding streets. You’ll find boutiques, dessert shops, and even street performers along your stroll.

For some of the best baklava in Greece, stop into Gerontopoulos Sweet Shop and be prepared for a treat! You should have no problem walking off your dessert and since the town is built on a hill you’ll get plenty of exercises navigating Apollonia.

Written by Robe Trotting

Chania

Chania is a charming coastal city situated in the northwestern part of the Greek island – Crete. The town which is the second largest on the island after Heraklion. A city famous for its picturesque historic Venetian harbour dating back to the 14th century. 

Today the harbour is home for a range of excellent, seafood restaurants overlooking the sea. There is also a 16th-century lighthouse and the Nautical Museum to be explored for those looking to learn more about the Chania’s heritage. And if you’re keen on leaning even more history head to Archaeological Museum of Chania. Which is housed by the former Venetian Monastery of Saint Francis. 

Don’t forget to explore colorful narrow alleys of Chania packed with interesting souvenir shops, little cafes, and traditional tavernas. 

Chania is also a great base to explore the local area. Most beautiful beaches near Chania include Balos Beach situated on a small peninsula and characterized by striking contrasts of rusty, volcanic rock and turquoise water. If you’re looking for a crowd-free beach, head to Seitan Limania situated just 22 km from Chania city centre. It’s a little hard to find, but once you there you will be swept away by the natural beauty of the beach. 

Written by Robe Trotting

Heraklion

One city in Greece that gets overlooked too often is Heraklion. Most tourists come here just to see the Palace of Knossos and then they leave, but the city itself is very interesting (and delicious). There is certainly enough to do here to spend at least two days in the city, if not more. 

The most famous things to do in Heraklion include visiting the Koules Fortress and the Venetian Harbor, seeing the Morosini Lion Fountain in the center of town, and visiting the Agios Minas Cathedral. However, you can get off-the-beaten-path in Heraklion and see the grave of Nikos Kazantzakis, who wrote Zorba the Greek and is a giant of modern Greek Literature. You should also go on a self-walking tour of Lakkos, the historic red-light district of the city.

You can spend a full day shopping in the city, especially if you’re looking for olive oil and other Cretan souvenirs. If you want to dig further into Crete history and culture, spend an afternoon at the Heraklion Archeological Museum.

From Heraklion, you can take easy day trips to Rethymnon, Chania, and, yes, you can take a tour of the Palace of Knossos, the city’s most famous site. 

Written by Stephanie from Sofia Adventures

Zante Town

Zante Town, located at the base of the hill of Bochali. Sits on the east side of the Ionian island of Zakynthos, is the capital and commercial center of the region. 

A city with a long and tragic history, it has literally been rebuilt out of its own ashes. Throughout time it’s been destroyed by an earthquake and wildfires. A ruined castle overlooking the city bears witness to its turbulent past and continued robustness. Top sights include the Venetian Castel, Solomos Square, and the Port of Zakynthos. 

Don’t miss the Byzantine Museum, with its arcade of arches, and the 16th-century Agios Markos Church with a belfry remodeled on that of St. Mark’s Basilica in Venice. The interesting Dionysios Solomos and Andreas Kalvos tombs are also worth a visit. 

Adventurous travelers will enjoy exploring the coastal areas. Swimming in the cool waters, or partaking in the numerous activities on offer at any time of the year. The best way to see the town is via the tourist train, providing a relaxed and enjoyable ride with daily guides that start from Solomos Square. 

Known for its interesting past, pretty beaches, and beautiful landscapes, Zante offers an exemplary island vacation and is well worth taking the time to get to.

Written by Rai from a Rai of Light

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