• Athens, Greece


Greece offers sunshine, whitewashed houses with bright-blue shutters, delicious food, and a relaxed lifestyle. And, as the cradle of Western civilization, it has some of the world's greatest ancient monuments. While it's a late bloomer in the modern age and retains echoes of a simpler, time-passed world, contemporary Greece has one of Europe's fastest-changing cultural landscapes. With its classical past, hang-loose present, and edgy future, Greece offers something for every traveler.


At a Glance

▲▲▲ Athens Greece's capital, featuring the ancient world's most magnificent sight — the Parthenon atop the Acropolis hill — plus excellent museums, an atmospheric old town, the lively Central Market, and funky neighborhoods bursting with avant-garde nightlife.

▲▲▲ Nafplio Greece's first capital is a cozy port with an elegant old town, energetic street life, and a cliff-topping fortress offering dramatic sea-and-mountain views; handy to nearby ancient sites (Mycenae and Epidavros).

▲▲▲ Hydra Idyllic island getaway, convenient to Athens and the Peloponnese, with picturesque harbor, casual beaches, enticing coastal hikes, and no cars (but plenty of donkeys).

▲▲ Olympia Birthplace of the Olympic Games, this famous site has evocative temple ruins, a still-functional stadium (and original starting line), an intimate museum of ancient masterpieces, and a town nearby.

▲▲ Delphi These dramatic mountainside ruins, near the town of Delphi, are draped with the Sanctuary of Apollo, where ancients came to consult the oracle; a great museum displays statues and treasures found on-site.

▲▲ Mykonos This quintessential, popular island island has a postcard-perfect whitewashed village, old-fashioned windmills, and pulsating nightlife; ruins on nearby Delos mark the birthplace of Apollo and Artemis.

▲▲ Santorini This stunningly situated, romantic island — actually the lip of a volcano's flooded crater — is renowned for the cliff-clinging white villages, blue-domed churches, volcanic-sand beaches, and spectacular sunsets.

▲ Epidavros Best-preserved theater of the ancient world, with unbelievable acoustics.

▲ Mycenae Legendary mountaintop palace/fortress with iconic Lion Gate, massive beehive tomb, and mythic links to the Trojan War.

▲ Kardamyli Cozy, unspoiled beach town, providing a handy jumping-off point for the Mani Peninsula.

▲ Mani Peninsula Easiest for drivers, this remote, rustic region has seaside villages, eerie ghost towns, Byzantine churches, spectacular caves (Pyrgos Dirou), stark ridges, and jagged coastlines.

Monemvasia An old fortress town, dating from Venetian and Byzantine times, caps a gigantic rock peninsula jutting out into the sea.