Our Pick of the Best Greek Tourist Attractions
From Athens to the 6,000 islands, get to know Greece's top attractions.
Greece is a country with around 6,000 islands adorned with a range of pebbly and sandy beaches. And yet, despite being one of Europe’s best sun-and-sea destinations, it’s also the continent’s superpower as far as history and culture goes. As one of the most iconic landmarks in the world, the Acropolis alone is worth the air miles. And with all this philosophy and these ancient traditions floating around, this kind of holiday makes for the perfect opportunity to research tourist attractions in Greece on Wikipedia and on Plum Guide, so you can show off to the rest of the people on your trip and the folks back home. Pretend you simply always knew that the Acropolis dates back to the 5th century B.C. and that the Delphi archaeological site was a pilgrimage for the Apollo deity.
And hey, we at the Plum Guide won’t begrudge you the occasional day at the beach, relaxing on the strands of Corfu or Crete, between trips to the museums and crumbling landmarks. Just make sure to exaggerate the amount of time you spent learning about culture and history when you talk about your holiday upon your return (just don't mention the tan).
We’ve already written the word Acropolis a few times, so let’s get this big boy out the way first. If you’re not sure what it is, it’s that big thing in Athens with columns and a half-destroyed pediment. Perched atop a cliff in the heart of the city, this symbol of Western Civilisation is number one on every list of Greece's tourist attractions. Why is it so darn important? Well, this complex was a citadel that contained a range of temples and important buildings, including the famous Parthenon that was dedicated to the goddess Athena. It’s considered the hub of Ancient Greek civilisation, and was all things at once: a citadel, an ecclesiastical treasure and a home to kings. It's remarkably well-preserved, so it's like stepping back millennia. It's also lit up at night, making for quite the spectacle.
No, this isn’t cheating. The Acropolis Museum is a totally separate tourist attraction in Greece, and its modern sheen is almost a protest against the crumbling ramparts of the Acropolis. A Swiss architect designed the museum with a swanky glass and steel structure, with wide, spacious exhibit halls within. Mosey through the halls and pick out some of the intriguing artefacts that once belonged to the Acropolis. The Moschophoros statue of a man carrying a calf on his shoulders is one of the highlights, dating back to the 6th century B.C. Rest those weary legs on the terrace of the café, which has perfect views of the citadel itself.
When it comes to Greek tourist attractions, Delphi is one of the most fascinating. It’s the centre of the world. Or, at least, that’s what the Ancient Greeks thought. You can even find the exact spot considered to be the core point, known as the Omphalos. This means navel in Greek, so you’ll be doing even more navel-gazing than usual on this trip. Make your way around the rickety ruins of an Athena temple complex, which makes for a spectacular foreground to the mountains of the Pleistos River Valley. The archaeological site is a UNESCO landmark, and was a place of pilgrimage for those worshipping the god Apollo. He was the god of light, prophecy, music and healing… but you already knew that, right? Just make sure to remember these titbits, so you can regale your partner or kids with such facts and stories. Point out with a knowing tone where the temples, theatre and arena probably once stood.
Now, these are just ridiculous. These old-world monasteries are perched precariously atop narrow strips of rock that seem to have been suddenly propelled into the sky. It’s another UNESCO site, and you'll get the best views of your life from a climb of their stairs (we know, but you can do it… just this once, and then relax on a beach for the rest of the trip).
There are too many Greek islands to name – around 6,000, actually. But Crete and Corfu are two of the most iconic islets, draped in pebble and sand beaches. At the former, stay at the White Gladiolus or the Shades of the Sea among other beauties. Head to the latter’s Paleokastritsa beach area and check in at the Corfu Aquarium and the Monastery Paleokastritsa.
Zákynthos is a bit of a party island with a stunning coastline, while Mykonos is a rank above, attracting top celebs. You’ll feel right at home. For something totally different and unforgettable, head to Santorini, which is pockmarked (but in a good way) with cliffs carrying rustic white homes. Its sand is black with volcanic powder, while the archaeological site of Akrotiri makes for a fascinating day trip once you’ve become a fully transformed lobster from days at the beach.
Stay at one of our professionally vetted Plum Guide homes on the island of Kefalonia. That's right: we've had experts check them out to ensure they're just right, so you can stay at such homes as the Sprinkle of Sage and the Sprinkle of Sea Salt knowing they've been primped and preened to your very exacting standards.