The ten best places to visit in Greece include Athens, Thessaloniki, the Greek islands of Crete, Mykonos and Santorini, and sites like Epidavros and Delphi.
The ten best places to visit in Greece inevitably overlaps a little with our Top Ten Things to Do in Greece page, but there are some differences. For example, Athens is one of the best places to visit but seeing the Acropolis and Parthenon are among the best things to do. As another example, Crete is among our best places to visit but seeing Knossos and hiking the Samaria Gorge are among our top ten things to do.
The Greek capital, Athens, would be number one in whatever order you listed the best places to visit in Greece. It makes a great weekend break destination, but a few days more is even better, to give you time to visit the Acropolis, the Acropolis Museum, and the National Archaeological Museum, just for starters.
We've sometimes spent weeks in Athens when researching guidebooks and stories, and have never run out of things to see and do. Be warned, though, that some people don't take to Athens. It is noisy and busy, like any big city, and in summer it can be unbearably hot. But we love it. See our Athens page for more ideas.
Crete is different, there's no doubt about it. It's the biggest Greek island, and the most southerly of the main islands. The people say they are Cretans first and Greeks second, while the wonderful hospitality you find throughout Greece is doubled on Crete.
Crete also offers something for everyone. You can find busy beach resorts if that's your thing, or quiet beaches if you prefer. There are dramatic mountain ranges, and deep gorges for hiking, like the Samaria Gorge. There are numerous important archaeological sites like Knossos and Phaistos, and there's some of the finest food and wine in the country. What more could you ask? See our Crete page for more information.
You can visit Delphi on a day trip from Athens, and if you have the time to do it then you definitely should. It's the most important archaeological site in Greece, and as well as being historically fascinating it's set in a beautiful location in the Parnassus Mountains, with sweeping views over miles of olive groves all the way down to the Gulf of Corinth. See our Delphi page.
It's hard to choose between the many significant archaeological sites in the Peloponnese, like Mycenae and Ancient Olympia, but this time we're choosing Epidavros. We had to miss it off our list of the Top Ten Things to Do, choosing Ancient Olympia instead, so let's redress the balance. The ancient theatre at Epidavros is a remarkable sight, dating back to the 4th century BC. Remarkably, it is still used today, for performances every summer during the Athens and Epidavros Festival. See also our Epidavros page.
There's probably no more remarkable sight in Greece than the twisted rock formations that jut out of the Plain of Thessaly, and with the monasteries of Meteora built onto and into them. Read our Meteora page for more information.
It's hard to choose individual Greek islands when they all have such different characteristics. Do we choose a personal favourite like little Symi, or somewhere fascinating like Corfu? They're both contenders for a list of best Greek islands, but instead we let other Greek visitors make the choice and have opted for Mykonos. It's undoubtedly lovely, and as one of the most popular of all Greek islands in terms of visitor numbers, it clearly has lots to offer. Find out what on our Mykonos page.
The former Greek capital, Nafplion, on the Peloponnese, is definitely a personal favourite. It's beautiful, charming, with a lovely waterside location, and it's small enough for you to feel you're getting to know it well. There are a few small but interesting museums, a couple of old fortresses (and a third on a picturesque offshore island), and good dining and shopping. See our Nafplion page.
If you like outdoors Greece and have a sense of adventure, then you could easily spend a week or two in the Pindus Mountains. There's terrific hiking, including the Vikos Gorge, and there are characterful old mountain villages. There are also, after Mount Olympus, some of the highest mountains in the country. Take a look at our Pindus Mountains page to see what it's like.
We've yet to meet anyone who hasn't fallen in love at first sight with Santorini. As soon as you see those whitewashed villages clinging to the slopes of what was once a volcanic crater, you can't fail to be charmed. As you stay longer you discover what there is to do on Santorini, and fall in love even more. Little wonder that it is one of the most visited of all the Greek islands, despite its fairly small size. See our Santorini page for some inspiration.
Greece's second city has never been too much on the radar of visitors from overseas, which only adds to its appeal. You might visit for a day if you were having a beach holiday on nearby Halkidiki, but otherwise why would you choose a city break in Thessaloniki when you could go to Athens? There are plenty of reasons, including lots of excellent museums, and if you have already visited Athens then give a thought to Thessaloniki. See our Thessaloniki page for some reasons why.