Packed full of history, favour, and islands, Greece is a destination that’s unlikely to disappoint. The only question is — what are the best things to do in Greece?
If you’ve ever tried Greek food, you’ll know why this is number one on the list. And if you haven’t… get yourself to Greece immediately (or a Greek restaurant at the very least).
Make sure to try Greek salad (with white cheese and olives… yum), moussaka, stuffed grape leaves, gyros (the Greek version of a kebab) and everything else on offer. A plate of meze is a good place to start. Plus, if you have a sweet tooth, the country is certainly not lacking in pastries and sweets.
Greece is famous for its plethora of sun-soaked islands, each with its own character and flavour. Some are accessible by plane, but getting out on the water is a much more popular way to explore.
You can hire a yacht (including a crew) for a luxury option, or take advantage of the network of ferries that connect the islands. Choose between paying for tickets individually, or pick up a ferry pass to save money on tickets. Hostelbay wants to change the way we travel to the Greek Islands with their ferry passes — and I’m happy to be convinced.
3. Drink ouzo
Considered Greece’s national drink, ouzo is a great accompaniment to a plate of meze (see #1 again). It’s got a strong aniseed flavour, so might not be the best choice if that isn’t a taste you like — but try it anyway! If you decide it isn’t for you, Greece produces some very nice wines and beers too. You’re sure to see Mythos beer everywhere you turn; this is mostly produced in Thessaloniki.
4. Head to Santorini
It’s iconic for a reason! The village of Oia is the one you’ll have seen hundreds of photos of in advertising images of Greece, with its white houses, blue-domed churches, and narrow streets. Check it out for yourself to enjoy the amazing views and tasty food that’s on offer (see point #1).
5. Visit an orthodox church
If you’ve never been in an orthodox church before, you’re in for a treat. They’re quite different to Catholic churches, though equally impressive. The walls are often decorated with very brightly painted representations of the stories of the saints, and the “iconostas” (the icon-covered screen that separates the nave from the sanctuary) are often spectacular.
6. Head north
While Athens and the islands have their charm, and are where most first-time visitors flock to, the north of the country is also worth your time. We particularly enjoyed our time in Thessaloniki, which has a convenient bus link to Skopje, Macedonia — it’s an excellent place to start a trip through the Balkans! Northern Greece also borders Bulgaria and Turkey, with Albania to the north-west, so you have plenty of options for onward travel.
7. Hang out at the beach
That said, make sure to take some time out while you’re in Greece. With almost 14,000km of coastline, there’s a beach with your name on it, just waiting for you to stretch out and enjoy it.
8. Go to the Acropolis
Athens’s most famous sight is also one of those iconic bucket list items that’s a must-visit while you’re in the country. Make sure to budget enough time to look around the remains of the Parthenon and other spectacular buildings that make up the Acropolis complex.
9. Get some history
The Acropolis is a good start, but the whole country of Greece is drenched in history — you’ll find it wherever you look! Whether you’re interested in classical studies, archaeology, Roman ruins, or World War Two (or anything else, almost) Greece has something for you to explore.
10. Visit Meteora
At the top of my wish-list for my next trip to Greece is a visit to this complex of six monasteries built on sandstone rock pillars. They were built in the 14th century to resist the Turkish occupation and appear to be suspended in the air — hence the name “Meteora” which means exactly that.
Greece is one of those countries that will surprise you with each return trip. You’re sure to discover a new facet of this fantastic country each time you visit, whether that’s a new location, a better understanding if its history, or just one more delicious local dish.
What are your top things to do in Greece? What’s on your wish list? Leave a comment below.