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. With its long history, incomparable sights, and simple way of life, Greece has a timeless appeal.
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, and funky neighborhoods bursting with avant-garde nightlife.
▲▲▲ Nafplio Greece's first capital and 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 trails, and no cars (but plenty of donkeys).
▲▲ Olympia Birthplace of the Olympic Games, with evocative temple ruins, a still-functional stadium (and original starting line), an intimate museum of ancient masterpieces, and a town nearby.
▲▲ Delphi Dramatic mountainside ruins of the Sanctuary of Apollo (near the town of Delphi) and a great museum displaying statues and treasures found on-site.
▲▲ Mykonos Quintessential, popular island with a postcard-perfect whitewashed village, old-time windmills, and pulsating nightlife; ruins on nearby Delos mark the fabled birthplace of Apollo and Artemis.
▲▲ Santorini Stunningly situated, romantic island — actually the lip of a volcano's flooded crater — renowned for its cliff-clinging white villages, blue-domed churches, volcanic-sand beaches, and spectacular sunsets.
▲ Epidavros Site of the best-preserved theater of the ancient world, with unbelievable acoustics.
▲ Mycenae Ruins of the Mycenaeans' legendary mountaintop fortress — dating back to roughly 1300 BC, nearly a millenium before Athens' golden age — with the iconic Lion Gate, a massive beehive tomb, and mythic links to the Trojan War.
▲ Mani Peninsula Remote, rustic region of seaside villages, eerie ghost towns, Byzantine churches, spectacular caves, stark ridges, and jagged coastlines (best for drivers); its best jumping-off point is the cozy, unspoiled beach town of Kardamyli.
▲ Monemvasia Old fortress town, dating from Venetian and Byzantine times, capping a gigantic rock peninsula jutting out into the sea.