With the abundance of history and beauty here, there is an uncountable number of things to do in Greece.
Depending on what you find intriguing and worth your while, there are plenty of options of things to do in Greece for you. We are sure you will spend some time in Athens discovering the ancient city and temples. On the other hand, you can easily spend your days on the various island beaches soaking up the sun. Or, you could visit every single museum and gain a wealth of knowledge as well as learn some greek phrases. But, if you’re an outdoor adventurer, there are so many stunning mountains, winding trails, and breathtaking caves to explore. So, read through all of these things to do in Greece and let us know which ones speak to you.
1. Tour the Acropolis & the Acropolis Museum
This ancient citadel is home to some of the most famous sites in Greece. The Parthenon, the Propylaia, the Erechtheion and the Temple of Athena Nike all reside on the top of this hill, together called the Acropolis. These temples were built mostly in the fifth century and were dedicated to various Greek gods. It is now a dedicated UNESCO World Heritage site. Walking these ruins will bring you back in time to when these gods were the heart and soul of this ancient city and culture.
To understand a little more about who and what is here, check out the Acropolis Museum. It houses every artifact found on the Acropolis. The Museum, designed by Bernard Tschumi will walk you through Acropolis history in chronological order, allowing you to fully discover the wonders of this spot. As you enter in, you will see the artifacts found on the slopes leading up to the Acropolis as the hall slowly leads you upward. The middle level has the findings from all the temples, and the top level has the Parthenon marbles displayed for you to see at eye level. The museum was built over an archeological site, so you can often glance down through the glass floor to see what they have uncovered. All in all, the Acropolis and the museum is a must-do as far as things to do in Greece go.
2. Visit the Monasteries in Meteora
Meteora has some of the most stunning rock formations in all the world. On top of that, there were once twenty different monasteries built on the tops of these rock pillars. Today, only six still stand, but visiting each one could easily take up six of our spots of the best things to do in Greece. The largest of the monasteries is Monastery of Great Meteoron, the name referring to the Transfiguration of Christ. Today, there are only three monks in residence there now. It was built around 1340 and has been an attraction for tourists and the religious seeker alike.
Other monasteries worth seeing are the Holy Monasteries of Varlaam, Rousanou, St. Nicholas Anapafsas, St. Stephen, and the Holy Trinity. St. Stephen’s is the easiest and closest to get to due to it’s proximity to the main town of Kalabaka. However, The Holy Monastery of the Holy Trinity was made famous by the James Bond film, For Your Eyes Only as Roger Moore scales the rock face up to the top. So, whatever brings you to the monasteries in Meteora, they may quickly become your favorite of all the things to do in Greece.
3. Tour the Melissani Cave & Lake
Credit: Marcus Ward / Flickr
Making your way over to the islands is one of the best things to do in Greece. Specifically, we adore Kefalonia island. It is home to the stunningly beautiful Melissani Cave and Lake. You will have to pay for the boat trip into the cave, but it will be worth every penny. You’ll float on the crystal clear blue waters as the midday sun lights you up from above. The walls look like drops of honey as stalactites droop around you. The tour will be less than a half hour long, but you’re more than welcome to hang out in the cave for a while. The tour guide will tell you the history of the Nymphs that are said to have lived in this gorgeous place. So, if you find yourself near Kefalonia, make sure to put Melissani Cave and Lake on the list of things to do in Greece.
4. Hike Mount Olympus
Mount Olympus is one of the most famous mountains in the world. Home to eleven of the twelve major Greek gods, it is rich with Grecian lore. Even Zeus made the peak his throne and would meet with the rest of the gods there to discuss the fate of humanity. So, if you find yourself wanting an intense hiking adventure to the top, then get ready for the hike of a lifetime. The best base camp for starting out is the town of Litochoro. You can hitchhike or take a car to the most popular starting spot, the Prionia trailhead. Here there is a natural spring to fill up your water bottles and a tavern in case you need some more fuel for your hike. About three to four hours into your hike you will come to the Refuge Agapitos, commonly called Refuge A.
Refuge A is the most popular spot to sleep, as it houses 150 people and has good food. Book ahead if you’re hiking in the summer though. You’ll have about two to three more hours of hiking to the Mytikas summit after staying here. If you find Refuge A booked up, you can try Refuge B, also known as the Refuge Apostolides. It is a large but less busy spot with plenty of room. It is only forty-five minutes from the Mytikas summit, so it’s also an alternative on the way down. Whichever path you take, though, you will make it to the top with a little bit of determination. Know that if you want to go all the way to the peak, the last portion is a class III/IV rock climbing route, so it can be dangerous will falling rock and intense exposure. So, only do this if you’re confident in your steps.
5. Relax and Explore Folegandros
You might have expected for Santorini to end up on our list of the best things to do in Greece. While it is an incredibly popular and beautiful destination, there are other options. Folegandros is just as beautiful, and one could even consider it the new Santorini. It has the stunning sunsets without the massive tourist draws of the other islands. Three small towns for you to explore and eat your way through. All of the whitewashed buildings will welcome you home to this island. From the lovely locals to the warm swimming holes, your cares can seriously melt away on this island. From snorkeling right off the coast to eating fresh fish on the daily, there is plenty to do. If you’re needing a true escape in Greece, an escape even from the tourists, head out to Folegandros. Of the things to do in Greece to relax, this might just be our favorite.
6. Explore Greece’s First Capital, Nafplion
For a taste of beauty and the locals weekend getaway, take a trip to Greece’s first capital, Nafplion. The hotels and bed and breakfasts reflect the regalness of this city while keeping true to the Grecian culture. The main square, Syntagma Square, is paved in marble and is stunning. Surrounding it is a Turkish mosque, cafes, museums, and art-deco style houses and shops. You can stroll down to the sea from here to watch the sunset and look at the Bourtzi, or fortified inlet. There is a small island with a mini castle just off the coast, once upon a time keeping the city safe from pirates. Now it is a picturesque spot to watch the sunset. Often you will hear live music down here as well.
One of the best things to do in Greece, though, is to hike up or drive to The Palamidi Fortress. Nestled on the top Nafplion, it offers a gorgeous view of the city, the surrounding bay, and the eastern Peloponessos. It is three separate fortresses strung together, so there is plenty to explore as you wait for the perfect sunset. Know ahead of time that there are 999 steps to the top, so if you’re not up for that, grab a taxi to the top. But, spending a few days in Nafplion is one of the best things to do in Greece in our opinion.
These are just six of our favorite things to do in Greece. However, this country has so much to offer, this is just the beginning.
We didn’t even get to the glorious food you have to try or some of the other ancient sites that are well worth your time. You can drown out all your worries on any of the numerous beaches in Greece or seep yourself in the history of the nation. Touring other islands, including Crete, can bring a new appreciation for the country, as well as be an outdoor enthusiasts’ playground. So, whatever you end up doing in Greece, let us know what things you think are worth exploring, even if they’re not the norm.
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