If you are a first-time visitor to Greece you want to know what not to miss. There are many different places that get all of the attention as tourist destinations, but let’s take a look and see what places in Greece you must check out on your first visit to get the best variety of what this diverse country has to offer!
One island that is not only unique but also conveniently located close to Athens in Hydra. Hydra is an enchanting Greek island known for its restaurants lining the main port and the inevitable flashback to the turn of the century and beyond as there are no cars allowed on the island. The charm of the winding narrow pathways that lace the city are one way to experience Hydra.
Looking for something different you can try on your vacation? For those looking for an alternative view of the island, you can see the island on horseback! Check out Harriet’s Hydra Horses where tours are offered for 1-5 people, however, if pre-arranged 6-100 people are welcomed to a group tour.
When in Greece you must see the Acropolis and visit the Acropolis museum — it is an amazing and unforgettable experience. Also, there are many other things that you might want to check out while in Athens.
You can spend the day in roaming the ancient streets of Monastiraki or divert from the main tourist attractions and check out the town of Anafiotika nestled under the Acropolis that transports you to a Mediterranean island!
Or you can take a bus to visit the near by ruins of Sunio. Instead of going to the traditional beaches around Athens you can always take a taxi or bus to check out the unique cave lake of Lake of Vouliagmeni, located in Vouliagmeni.
Rhodes is a breathtaking island with stand-out fortifications of the town of Rhodes winding around the medieval town. It has quaint little squares and tavernas throughout its villages.
Why Rhodes? Yes, this island is a big tourist destination — but for all of the right reasons! You can spend your time seeing the ancient ruins such as the Acropolis of Lindos which is your reward after completing a climb of the steep footpath reaching 116 meters-high rock above Lindos to reach this beautifully preserved Acropolis!
Or if you want something different to do check out Petaloudes — the Valley of the Butterflies!
It is far away from the mainland so do plan to spend some time on a boat making the journey to the largest island in Greece, Crete.
Crete is a great place to see if you are able to fit it into your itinerary. Every year people visiting Greece come to Crete to visit the ruins of the ancient city of Knossos to experience what remains from the capital of Minoan Civilization.
Also, as the largest island in Greece, Crete has a coastline of 1,046 km (650 miles) — which makes for some extraordinary beaches. With crystal clear waters and sand in a variety of colours, Crete’s beaches are unforgettable – in fact, this year (2017) of the 486 Blue Flag awarded beaches in Greece, 112 of the eco-labeled beaches are located on Crete!
The Greek island of Corfu is full of breathtaking views, enchanting towns, museums and other activities that you might just miss out on if you are not in the wise! Don’t get caught up doing the typical tour of Corfu while you’re visiting this island brimming with hidden treasures for you to discover.
Besides seeing Kérkyra old town, be sure to try some the favourite local dish which is unique to Corfu called “sofrito.” Corfu has many Italian influences because of its proximity to Italy, which you will see right away once you visit this island and foodies go wild for the island’s classic combination of beef cooked in a local white wine sauce, with garlic and fresh parsley!
While on Corfu, don’t miss out on a unique opportunity to visit Paleá Períthia, the Venetian-era village hidden in the north slope of island summit Mt Pandokrátor to be transported back into time! The village was abandoned after the 1960’s and has undergone many restoration projects since then — including the restoration of the 14th-century church of Agios Iákovos O Pérsis which you see as you approach the village.
With its iconic volcano cliffs and white washes buildings, Santorini is a great place to get to know Greece. The island has everything from wine vineyards to tours on the volcano caldera — not to mention the beaches!
Want to get to see the island from a different perspective? Why not rent a scooter while there — if you feel confident in your scooter-driving skills, that is, since the roads are steep and narrow. There are plenty of rental companies that can provide you with a scooter from different towns on the island, as well as many located in Karterados, which is 1 km (0.6 miles) from Fira.
You will probably want to check out the commonly visited tourists attractions such as the beaches of Kamari and Persia, and for a treat check out experiencing the true culture and uniqueness of the island by staying in places such as Fira, Imerovigli or Oia. These towns are built into the cliffs, which are very beautiful and full of little cafes, shops and places of interest. Exploring this island by bike is amazing and the possibilities are limitless!
You may have never heard of this island but once you see the photos you will want to visit and understand why Milos is one place in Greece you should see!
Experiencing Greece for the first time should be a bit like a sample pallet of all that the mainland and islands have to offer. The island of Milos is unique and memorable and you’ll get some fantastic photos to wow your friends and family with when you get home — especially from the moonscaped beaches!
This island has history — after all this is the place where the famous Greek statue known to Greeks as Aphrodite of Milos, or Venus de Milo, (which now resides at the Louvre) was discovered by a farmer on the island some 200 years ago.
Text by: Magnús Ólafsson