Central Greece Tourism and Travel Guide

A history that has shaped the world, beauty that outshines most places and culture so captivating, you wish you were born here. Greece is arguably among the top five destinations in most travel itineraries. Made of 2000 islands of which only 160 are inhabited, this small country promises larger-than-life experiences. Home to the grand Acropolis, Mount Olympus and Parthenon, Greece is a delight for history lovers and each city promises a world of experiences. Greece is situated along the endless coast of the Aegean Sea and offers travellers the company of surreal views, picturesque beaches, historical sites and a food culture unlike any other in the world. The locals have played an integral part in making Greece tourism popular across the world. Inspired, creative and passionate about art and music, there isn’t a city in the country where you won’t find a smiling face and a helping hand. Greece is often referred to as the cradle of Western culture, the founder of democracy and the sites in the country are a strong testament of this reputation. Whether you are exploring Meteora’s monasteries, hiking to Mount Olympus or losing yourself in the majestic architecture of the Acropolis, the dreamlike feeling will not leave you. Another significant part of Greece tourism is the country’s mesmerising beaches. Azure waters and sunny skies instantly capture the hearts of nature lovers and soon you find yourself hopping from one beach to another. But that’s not all. There is something in Greece tourism for adventure enthusiasts as well. Kayaking, windsurfing, forest treks and hiking up volcanic mountains are just a few examples of what awaits you when you set out to explore Greece tourism. The Greeks are passionate about life and a few days here are all you need to fall in love with the country, the people and life itself.
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Top Attractions In Greece

Best Time To Visit Greece

Greece has a Mediterranean climate and is a year-round destination. While some months are more popular than others, you can prepare a trip to explore Greece tourism according to your budget. The country is sunny throughout the year and you can expect a lot of outdoor activities and celebrations while exploring Greece tourism. The northern part of the country faces extreme cold weather so it's important to be prepared. 

 

If you are travelling on a luxurious budget, you can plan your trip to explore Greece tourism between June and August. July and August are the most expensive months to travel in since the weather is absolutely perfect for sightseeing and relaxing at the beach. 

 

For those who are travelling on a budget, you can plan your trip to explore Greece tourism between March and June. Mainland Greece is busiest between June and September and it's best to book your tickets well in advance. To make the most of your trip, it's also advisable to customise your Greece tourism itinerary according to activities and places you want to explore.

Visa Information For Greece

Greece is part of the Schengen countries of the European Union. For a tourist visa with a stay of up to 90 days, Indians have to apply for type C Schengen short-stay visa. Tourist visas for Greece can be applied three months before the date of travel and not later than 14 days of departure. The approximate fee for a Greek Schengen visa application is around 60 Euros or approximately Rs.5000. The visa fee is non-refundable.

 

To apply for a visa, the application form has to be downloaded from the Greek embassy website and you have to choose a Visa Facilitation Centre (VFS) and a tentative date of appointment. Once the form is complete, it has to be printed and brought to the application centre, along with requisite documents. 

 

The key documents required for a Greek visa include a valid passport issued within the last ten years, with a validity of at least three months post the return date, two passport size photographs, medical insurance coverage of at least €30,000 or Rs.23,52, 560, flight reservations, hotel reservations or proof of sponsorship, a bank statement for the last six months and income tax returns for two years. The passport should have at least two blank pages. A copy of the identification page and a copy of all visa pages is also required. Generally, the processing time for a Greek visa is 15 days, though it may extend depending on individual cases.

Top Attractions In Greece

Athens

Can one explore Greece tourism without visiting the most popular city in the country? We don’t think so. The ancient capital of the world, Athens is an astonishing mix of tradition, heritage and contemporary influences. Athens is situated around the Acropolis, that is visible from almost all parts of the city and is the most significant historical site of Greece tourism along with being the most beautiful. The earliest settlements in Greece can be traced back to 7000 years. Exploring the highlights of Greece tourism in this gorgeous city feels almost surreal and is completely worth it. The cradle of western civilisation, Athens is responsible for the origin of democracy and is a significant city when one discusses the evolution of world politics. 

 

When exploring Athens, you must keep aside at least three to four hours for the Acropolis. There are many guided tours of the temple city and if it suits your budget, we certainly recommend including a tour in your Greece tourism itinerary. If you don’t want to spend money on a guided tour, we suggest scouting local travel haunts for free walking tours. The city is a delight to explore and you can always choose an audio tour that might cost you less. The Acropolis, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, stands tall amidst the mesmerising city of Athens as a symbol of ancient Greece. An erstwhile centre of education, art and democracy, the Acropolis has endured years of destruction by different rulers until it was declared as a heritage site in 1987. The temple city is still undergoing restoration work and most of the remains here have been replaced by casts. If you would like to take a look at the originals, we suggest heading to the Acropolis Museum after your visit. Most travellers suggest heading here early in the morning or late in the evening if you’d like to avoid the crowds. 

 

Besides the grand Acropolis, you must save space in your Greece tourism itinerary for the Acropolis Museum, the Temple of Olympian Zeus, Ancient Agora, the Kanellopoulos Museum, Cape Sounion and the Temple of Poseidon. Apart from a tour of historical delights, you can explore the innumerable cafes in the city and enjoy an evening as Greeks do. Travellers have said that the nightlife in Athens is the best in Europe and you can’t help but enjoy yourself in this enthralling city. If you are an art enthusiast, you’ll be surprised by the huge variety of art that adorns the streets of Athens and is reflected in cafes and restaurants as well. It’s no wonder that Athens was recognised as the artistic and intellectual capital of the world in 430 BC, since the city still retains its fervour to innovate and inspire. 

 

Mykonos

Better known as the ‘Island of Winds’, Mykonos is an integral part of Greece tourism and is among the most visited destinations in the country. Party lovers and beach bums find Mykonos attractive owing to its gorgeous beaches and lively nightlife. Whether you are a water sports enthusiast or simply want to relax on the beach, Mykonos has a beach for everyone. If you are looking to spend your days on gorgeous beaches dancing to melodic tunes and enjoying delectable food, we recommend spending a few days at Paradise Beach. Paraga and Psarou are two other beaches that are favourites among party hoppers. We suggest sticking to the south coast if you are interested in an action-packed holiday. On the other hand, the north coast is ideal for nature lovers and peace seekers. Panormos, Agios Sostis and Myrsine are quiet beaches that offer respite from the crowds and promise a memorable experience. Luxury travellers can also head to Ornos for a rejuvenating holiday and to try the best of Greek cuisine. If windsurfing is on your mind, Agio Ioannis is a great option.

 

Away from the mesmerising beaches of Mykonos lie the stunning city of Hora and Áno Merá village. Hora seems right out of a postcard with bougainvillaea adorned streets, charming cafes and ancient churches. The city is crowded during peak season but it’s a delight to explore nevertheless. We highly recommend including three to four days in Mykonos in your Greece tourism itinerary if you don’t want to miss out on any of the attractions. Hora also promises a busy itinerary with visits to the Archaeological Museum, the Aegean Maritime Museum and shopping in Matoyánni Street. The city is replete with designer boutiques, and you can expect a wonderful time browsing through the latest in Greek fashion and interacting with locals. Art galleries are another common sight in Hora and most art lovers extend their stay owing to the wide variety of art in the city. Áno Merá village, on the other hand, is a quiet refuge from the crowds of Mykonos. The village is centred around a public hall and is home to numerous charming cafes and small boutique stores.

 

Santorini

Santorini is counted among the biggest tourist attractions in Greece tourism and for all the right reasons. Dreamy sunsets, cobbled streets, sprawling resorts and a busy nightlife ensure that this volcanic island is on the top of any Greece itinerary. Officially known as Thira, Santorini owes its unique landscape to a massive volcanic eruption. The eruption resulted in a caldera surrounded by craggy, vibrant cliffs. While there is much to keep you busy in Santorini’s picturesque villages, you can expect a rejuvenating and quiet holiday on this scenic island. 

 

Fira is the island’s bustling capital that is home to numerous villages. A walk through the town takes you past beautiful houses, charming cafes and quirky restaurants. Every corner offers a picturesque view and if your camera batteries aren’t charged, you will surely regret it. A maze-like path takes you to numerous villages and gorgeous churches so ensure that you keep aside three to four hours for your walking and cycling tours. Imerovigli that is situated 15 minutes from Fira is the highest point on the island and the views from here are absolutely gorgeous. 

 

Another attraction that drives tourists who are exploring Greece tourism to Santorini is its spectacular beaches. Kamari is a popular beach that is known for its black sand. The beach is situated in a town of the same name and it’s a delight to explore the restaurants and cafes here. If you are in the mood to admire surreal sunsets, we also recommend choosing accommodation here. If you descend three hundred steps from Oia, you’ll reach the awe-inspiring Amoudi Bay. The sparkling red cliffs and the typical white-washed buildings of Santorini add life to this dreamy village. Travellers head here for swimming and relaxing at the beach and this is the best way to spend time in Amoudi Bay. The beach here is rocky so it’s best to carry appropriate footwear.

 

Crete

The largest island in the country, Crete packs in a bundle of experiences for travellers exploring Greece tourism. Crete was the centre of Minoan civilization and you can see traces from the erstwhile era in the island’s architectural wonders. From idyllic beaches to stunning hills, the landscape of Crete is considered to be the most beautiful in Greece. 

 

You can spend time exploring the city on foot or book a few hikes in your Greece tourism itinerary. Home to Europe’s longest gorge, Samaria Gorge, Crete is a delight for adventure enthusiasts and nature lovers. Nature lovers must keep some time for a visit to Spinalonga in their Greece tourism itineraries. The island is situated close to Crete and can be reached by boat. Perfect for history lovers, Spinalonga offers you a glimpse into Venetian history through its many marvels. The short tour will take you through the ruins of the old fortress, a church and a cemetery. Typically the tour is between three to four hours but you can choose to stay longer to take in the sights. 

 

But Crete’s most visited historical attraction is undoubtedly the Palace of Knossos. The capital of Minoan Crete, it is home to the ruins of the erstwhile city. The city was reconstructed by a British archaeologist and stands untainted to this day. You can admire the architecture and aesthetic design of the buildings while marvelling at the skillfully designed drainage system and floor plans. It’s best to explore the site with a travel guide so that you can learn more about the history of the palace and Minoan society. It can easily take you the entire day to explore this marvel so ensure you keep aside sufficient time in your Greece tourism itinerary. There is so much to do in Crete that you can easily spend three to seven days on the island. Shopping tours, unforgettable culinary experiences, cycling tours and tours of scenic villages are some of the things that you must tick of your Greece itinerary. Koules Fortress, Lassithi Plateau, Elafonissi Beach, the Historical Museum of Crete and the Lychnostatis Open Air Museum are a few places that should certainly be a part of your Greece tourism itinerary when you are exploring Crete.

Activities And Things To Do In Greece

Go caving in Melissani Cave

A visit to Melissani Cave on Kefalonia Island offers nature lovers and adventure enthusiasts an unmissable opportunity. If you are exploring Greece tourism then make sure this features in your Greece itinerary. The four-kilometre long cave was formed due to erosion of soft rocks. What sets apart Melissani Cave from other caves is the splendid lake situated inside the cave. An underground water body that was discovered in 1951, it’s what makes the cave extremely popular in Greece tourism. 

 

Travellers can go into the cave through a tunnel and come out to the site of the lake and glide across the serene waterbody. A popular activity for adventure enthusiasts, it’s definitely worth the time and money. We recommend keeping aside at least three to four hours in your Greece tourism itinerary if you want to enjoy the activity without rushing.

 

Hike to Mount Olympus

Would you like to hike to the tallest mountain in Greece? If your answer is yes, you must make space in your Greece tourism itinerary for Mount Olympus. Dedicated to Zeus, the mountain is on the list for most travellers exploring Greece tourism. The hike to the top of the mountain can take two to three days. You can choose from different summits depending on your interests and skills. Mytikas and Skolio are the most popular owing to cleaner trails and beautiful views. While you can hike any time of the year, summer is the ideal time as there is less risk of avalanches as per the Greece travel guide.   

 

Numerous adventure agencies organise hiking tours to Mount Olympus and we recommend choosing one that suits your budget. If you are a skilled hiker, you can even venture out on your own. However, locals suggest that group tours are the safest option. A local adventure agency will plan the route for you, organise food and bedding along with an enthralling guided tour tracing the mythological history of the mountain. If you aren't an experienced hiker, you can opt for hiking tours to the lower trails. Besides awe-inspiring views, you'll come across beautiful waterfalls so you keep your camera fully charged when exploring this part of Greece tourism.

Where To Stay In Greece

Featuring sprawling resorts, luxurious hotels and cosy homestays, Greece tourism has everything that travellers need for a comfortable holiday. While some travellers claim that Greece is an expensive country to visit, it completely depends on when and how you travel. Let's take a look at some of the accommodation options that are part of Greece tourism.

 

Luxurious hotels in Greece

Exploring Santorini and Mykonos will be incomplete if you don't spend at least one night in a sprawling resort overlooking the sea. The resorts that are part of Greece tourism are designed for travellers who enjoy the good things in life. Let's take a look at some of the best resorts that are part of Greece tourism.

 

  • Four Seasons Astir Palace Hotel, Athens
  • Kivotos, Mykonos
  • The Merchant’s House, Corfu
  • Lichnos Beach Hotel and Suites, Parga
  • Iconic, Santorini
  • Kirini, Santorini

 

Mid-budget hotels in Greece

Exploring Greece tourism on a medium-sized budget comes with a bundle of surprises. You can enjoy a variety of activities and a comfortable stay if you make your bookings in advance and travel during the shoulder season. Here are a few mid-budget hotels that are part of Greece tourism.

 

  • The Athens Gate Hotel, Athens
  • Daios Luxury Living, Thessaloniki
  • Finikia Memories, Santorini
  • Adonis Hotel, Mykonos
  • Alice Inn, Athens

 

Budget hotels and hostels in Greece

Budget travellers need to plan and make bookings in advance if they'd like to explore Greece tourism within a certain budget. There are numerous hotels and hostels spread throughout the country that offer travellers a memorable experience. Let's take a look at some of the hotels that are part of Greece tourism.

 

  • The Seaside Beach Hotel, Santorini
  • Coco-Mat Eco Residences, Serifos
  • Artemoulas, Mykonos
  • Aeolos Hotel, Mykonos
  • Agora Residence, Port of Chios
  • Sun Day Villa, Achlia

 

Some of the best hostels that are part of Greece tourism are:

  • Athens Backpackers, Athens
  • Bedbox, Athens
  • Little Big House, Thessaloniki
  • Paraga Beach Hostel, Mykonos
  • Far Out Beach Club, Ios

Cuisine And Best Places To Eat

Greeks are extremely proud of their heritage and culture. It's no surprise then that the Greeks take their food seriously. Whether you are staying at a hostel, visiting a few locals or enjoying food in a cafe, you'll never be disappointed with the local food. You will notice that there is always more than enough food to pass around and all celebrations are focussed around a variety of dishes and beverages.

 

Olive oil, seafood, lemon juice, dips and meat are used in almost all dishes. In fact, taramasalata is a dip that is a common accompaniment with most salads and starters. Moussaka is another dish that is made from fried aubergine, minced meat and potatoes. The dish is baked and also comes with a vegetarian version. Dolmadakia or stuffed grapes, koulouri or soft bread, feta me meli or Greek pastry, souvlaki or grilled meat, gyro and spanakopita are other popular dishes that are served in almost all Greek cities. 

 

Since food is such a big part of Greece tourism, it’s evident that restaurants and cafes will make up most of your Greece tourism itinerary, especially if you are a foodie. While there are popular restaurants spread across the country, we suggest exploring Greece tourism on your own for small surprises. Some of the popular restaurants that are part of Greece tourism are Spondi and Funky Gourmet in Athens, Ambrosia Restaurant in Lindos, Cava Alta in Pyrgos, Marco Polo Cafe in Rhodes Town and Kontos in Naxos.

How To Travel In Greece?

It's often said that the best way to explore a place is by walking and this holds true for Greece as well. Most travellers suggest that walking is the best way to explore cities such as Athens. In fact, most of the tourist attractions in Athens can easily be reached on foot. Taxis are another popular means of transport when exploring Greece tourism. It's best to check the prices before you hail a cab since drivers tend to overcharge, especially in mainland Greece. The yellow cabs are metered but the grey ones aren't and you'll have to agree on a rate before starting the trip. Ferries and hydrofoils are what most travellers opt for when they are hopping between islands. While most islands have airports, some of the smaller ones are accessible only by ferries. Ferries might be inconvenient since there is no guarantee of a seat but it's a great option if you are on a budget trip when exploring Greece tourism.

Typical Costs In Greece

If you think that exploring Greece tourism is only restricted to luxury travellers, you might want to reconsider. Greece tourism welcomes all kinds of travellers as long as you know the right season to travel in and if you make your bookings in advance. A few free walking tours and group tours also help in reducing cost. Let's take a look at per day costs for all kinds of travellers in Greece.

 

Luxury travellers can expect to spend between Rs.20,000 and Rs.30,000 per day while exploring Greece tourism. This amount is inclusive of premium travel options, museum tours, eating out and enjoying the nightlife that Greece tourism offers. 

 

Mid-budget travellers who would like to explore Greece tourism should keep aside between Rs.7000 and Rs.15,000 per day. This cost can vary depending on your itinerary. To keep the cost low, you should book in advance, opt for hostels, enjoy the local food and travel by foot whenever possible.

 

Budget travellers interested in exploring Greece tourism should keep aside a budget of Rs.4000 per day. This amount will vary depending on your itinerary. To reduce per day costs, you can choose hostels over hotels, eat local food, book a few walking tours and opt for local transport.

FAQs

Which are the best places to visit in Greece?

The best places that are part of Greece tourism are Athens, Santorini, Crete, Chania Town, Mykonos, Cape Sounion, The Peloponnese and Meteora.

 

What are the best things to do in Greece?

Greece tourism offers travellers numerous things to do, especially if you are a nature lover and an adventure enthusiast. Some of the best things that you should include in your Greece tourism itinerary are cycling tours in Santorini, trekking to Mount Olympus, beach hopping in Mykonos, taking a culinary tour in Crete and windsurfing at the beaches of Mykonos. 

 

How many days should my Greece itinerary be for?

Your Greece tourism itinerary will completely depend on your budget and interests. However, it is best to spend three to fifteen days exploring Greece tourism. Even though the country is small, it packs in varied experiences that you wouldn’t want to miss. 

 

Which are the best islands to visit in Greece?

The best islands that are part of Greece tourism are Santorini, Naxos, Mykonos, Hydra, Rhodes, Crete and Antiparos. Each island that is part of Greece tourism offers something different so it's best to plan your itinerary after cursory research.

 

Which are the best places to stay in Santorini?

The best hotels and resorts in Santorini are Erosantorini, Grace, Canaves Oia Suites, Adronis, Afroessa and Katikies Hotel.

 

What should I pack for my vacation to Greece?

The climate in Greece is Mediterranean and it’s important to always be prepared for hot days and sudden downpours. The five essentials for your Greece vacation are:

  1. A pair of sturdy beach slippers
  2. An overnight bag for sudden hiking tours
  3. Mosquito repellant
  4. A jacket if you are visiting the northern part of the country
  5. Beachwear and swimming essentials

 

Which are the best restaurants in Athens?

The best restaurants in Athens are Vassilenas, Funky Gourmet, Matsuhisa, Aegli Zappeio, Eleas Gi and Varoulko Seaside. 

 

Which are the most sought after historical tourist attractions in Greece?

Greece tourism is full of wonders for history lovers. Some of the best historical tourist attractions in Greece are the Acropolis and the Acropolis Museum in Athens, Delphi, the monasteries in Meteora, Corfu Town, the Temple of Apollo in Corinth and the Palace of Knossos.

 

Which are the lesser-known places that are part of Greece tourism?

Greece is a small country and while the popular cities and islands are on the list of all most travellers, there are a few hidden gems. Some of the beautiful hidden gems that are part of Greece tourism are the island of Paros, Ancient Messene, Paxi and Antipaxi, Zagori, Diapontia Islands and the island of Kythera.

 

Is Greece safe for solo travellers?

Greece is counted among the safest places in Europe for solo travellers, especially if you are a woman. The country is home to numerous hostels that are ideal if you are travelling alone and offers various group tour packages that will make travelling from city to city far safer.

Written by Kirat Sodhi. She is a proud mom of three cats and lives for lemon tea, a good book and spontaneous travel plans.