“It takes a lifetime for someone to discover Greece, but it only takes an instant to fall in love with her.” ~ Henry Miller.
Whilst sitting in the dentist’s chair, I’m not focussing on the work that’s about to be done to my teeth. It doesn’t bother me at all – my mind is already off fantasising about Greece. Maybe I’ll imagine sunning myself by the turquoise waters of Mykonos or savouring every bite of fried saganaki cheese watching the red sun descend over Santorini.
There are just so many wonderful reasons to visit Greece, I always find myself daydreaming about my experiences there and longing to return. While I’ve been fortunate to have visited a few times, I’m endlessly compiling a list in the back of my mind of even more unique places in Greece to visit in the future. You can never be too prepared, right?
While there are a number of obvious reasons to travel to Greece that are repeated over and over, I’m about to provide some alternate perspectives that haven’t been mentioned before.
If you’re thinking about planning a trip to Greece, allow me to convince you why visiting this gem of the Mediterranean is always a great idea. Read on for more!
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14 Inspiring reasons to visit Greece during your lifetime
You may find these are actually reasons not to visit Greece because once she captures your heart, she will forever be calling you to return!
The most unforgettable sunsets
When mentioning the Greek island of Santorini, the first thought that will likely pop into your head would be the unrivalled sunsets. It’s true, watching the sun slowly creep down across the Mediterranean from the caldera is nothing short of breathtaking!
The evening sky gradually transitioning into vibrant red and oranges is like watching Mother Nature invisibly paint a real-life picture before your eyes. It’s no wonder shots of this anticipated daily event are so sought after by visitors.
The most popular location in Santorini to enjoy the sunset is in Oia, however I felt watching the sunset here was a little overrated. In recent years the village has fallen victim to overtourism issues, attracting crowds, noisy drones and irresponsible tourists climbing on rooftops in order to capture their photos.
TIP: While one of the best reasons to visit Greece is the sunsets, it’s important to note Oia is NOT the only place to experience them! The most unforgettable sunset I witnessed was actually eating dinner at a restaurant in Fira, and another was at a rooftop bar in Athens. For the best experience, I’d recommend not following the crowds – learn how to “be invisible” and avoid contributing to overtourism during your trip!
Geothermal wonders to revitalise your body and mind
Once you know, this may seem obvious but you may not realise at first that Greece is a land of geothermal wonders. Natural hot springs are not uncommon throughout the country, which are an ideal way to relax and recharge whilst on holiday.
Bathing in natural hot springs are believed to have health benefits such as relieving pain, boosting blood circulation, healing skin issues and reducing stress. Not to mention the social side of chatting to locals whilst you’re there.
I took a cruise to the active part of Santorini’s volcano, jumping off the wooden cruise boat into the warm waters below. In the shallow sections where I could stand, the rocky surface beneath the water was orange from iron oxide caused by volcanic activity – staining the soles of my feet!
There are over 850 geographical locations throughout Greece for thermal springs that have been used since ancient times!
Natural thermal springs in Greece
- The turquoise waters and cave of Lake Vouliagmeni, 25mins drive south of Athens (read more in my 3 days in Athens itinerary!)
- Thermal Springs of Thermopylae, Fthiotida, famous for where the “Battle of 300” took place
- Therapeutic clay at the mud baths of Krinides, Kavala, 175kms from Thessaloniki, dating back to the Byzantine era
- Pozar Thermal Baths of Aridaia, sitting 390 metres above level and 1.5 hours drive from Thessaloniki.
Archaeological sites are gifts from the past
Did you know Greece is home to 18 of the 400 UNESCO World Heritage sites in Europe? It’s a very humbling experience to step along stone paths that are millennia old and walk amongst weathered pillars that were once grand buildings. If these ancient treasures could talk, imagine the stories they could share!
It’s incredible to think that any of the archaeological sites still remain today, having endured thousands of years of weather and hardships such as wars and revolutions. They truly are gifts from a time long past.
I was thoroughly impressed with the specialty-built Acropolis Museum in Athens. While old fuses with new in the building’s design, it houses some of the original statues that once stood outside only to be weathered by the elements (so yes, the Caryatids you see now are actually replicas).
Significant archaeological sites in Greece to consider visiting
- Acropolis and Ancient Agora of Athens
- Palace of Knossos, Crete
- Archaeological site of Delphi
- Temple of Poseidon, Sounion
- Akrotiri, Santorini
- Meteora, Thessaly
- Medieval City of Rhodes, Rhodes
- Stadium of Olympia, Olympia
- Delos Island, the birthplace of Apollo
- Mycenae, one of the oldest ancient civilisations in Greece
TIP: As UNESCO World Heritage sites have the potential to attract millions of visitors every year, it’s a wise decision to know how to be a responsible tourist and use my overtourism solutions when visiting these ancient sites.
Tickets to archaeological sites & museums to book in advance
To be an organised and prepared tourist, I’d highly recommend booking tickets in advance. Some even allow you to skip-the-line entirely!
Variety of beautiful beaches
I must admit, before I visited many beaches throughout the world I took the soft white sand beaches of my home, Australia, for granted. While I now appreciate we are very spoilt here, Greek beaches come especially close!
If you love spending your days lounging on the beach and hope to mix up the scenery during your trip, consider this just one of the many reasons to visit Greece.
Santorini itself has a variety of coloured beaches, including red, white, golden and even black sand beaches. While I feel Mykonos is overrated to an extent, there’s no denying Santorini beaches beaches are top notch!
NOTE: My fellow Aussies, I know this may seem strange but keep in mind some beaches throughout Greece charge you a fee for access to a beach chair. The etiquette is to use the chairs rather than throwing your towel on the sand to sit on. On the bright side, these beaches have waiters to bring you drinks and snacks, so you won’t need to budge from your spot!
More noteworthy beaches to visit in Greece
- White sands nestled amongst cliffs of Navagio Beach, Zakynthos (Shipwreck Bay)
- Golden sands of Paleokastritsa Beach and Marathias Beach, Corfu
- Grassy umbrellas lined along the cove of Super Paradise Beach, Mykonos
- Breathtaking blue waters of Myrtos Beach, Kefalonia
- Shallow waters hugging a huge golden stretch of sand at Agios Prokopios, Naxos
- Jaw-dropping lagoon of Balos Beach in Chania, Crete. This Crete travel guide outlines more of the best beaches to enjoy during your stay!
Many personalities in one
There are so many brilliant facets making up Greece, it would be a shame not to experience at least a taste of each. It’s one of those rare destinations where you can do a lot, or not much at all!
In the mood to party? The islands of Mykonos and Ios are for you. Prefer romance? Santorini and Corfu experiences have you covered. Love ancient archaeological sites? Athens, Delphi, Knossos, Rhodes and numerous others are waiting to share their incredible history with you.
Combining all this with the cuisine and natural scenery, at the risk of sounding cliche there truly is something for everyone, especially if you choose to explore Greece off the beaten path!
Breathtaking vantage points
Remember I mentioned earlier how I witnessed one of the most unforgettable sunsets of my life from an Athens rooftop bar? Greece is bursting with vantage points to take in breathtaking views of local scenery. You’d likely regret not including any on your Greece itinerary!
Viewing the local regions from high above is an awesome reason to travel to Greece. There’s just something magical about taking in the scenery from vantage points that help you better understand the scale of the location. And it’s fun to seek out iconic landmarks in teeny-tiny form, too!
From steep hillsides and cliff edges to rooftop bars and oceanside spots, Greece’s scenery will leave you wanting more.
Notable vantage points in Greece
- Acropolis, Athens
- Filopappou & Lykavittos Hills, Athens
- Temple of Poseidon, Sounion
- Caldera of Santorini
- Windmills of Mykonos
- Navigio (Shipwreck Bay), Zakynthos
Generally speaking, it’s affordable
What is the most you’ve ever paid for a bottle of water before? After surviving the gruelling climb up Lykavittos Hill in 38°C summer heat (not the wisest of decisions), I would have paid up to 10€ for one out of necessity! However, this was not the case – an older man was sitting out the front of the Chapel of Agios Georgios church beside a small esky filled with chilled icy water bottles. I could not believe he only charged me 50 euro cents!
Is Greece expensive to visit? “Expensive” is a relative term. Travelling in Greece is not a bargain in comparison to southeast Asian countries, but it can definitely be cheaper than its neighbouring western European nations.
Generally speaking as an Australian where we have some of the highest costs of living in the world, any European country that isn’t Nordic, Switzerland or part of the UK is generally affordable in my opinion, hehe.
Here are some average prices of common things tourists would spend their money on whilst in Greece:
- Acropolis tickets: €20
- Acropolis Museum tickets: €5 during the off-season (1 November – 31 March) or €10 during peak season (1 April – 31 October)
- Lunch at a café: Under €10
- Mid-range restaurant meal for 2 people: €40
- Takeaway coffee: €2.80
- Beer: About €4 (domestic beer about €1.30 at the supermarket)
- Loaf of bread: €0.80
- Athens 5-day Metro ticket: €8.20 (or €1.20 for 90 minutes)
- Express bus to Athens airport: €5.50 (or 3-day tourist tickets €20 including return airport transfers)
- 4-5 star hotel: €130 – €210 per night during peak season (with Acropolis views – it can only get cheaper than this for 3 star hotels and no view of the Acropolis!)
Fantastic shopping and souvenirs
While there are some luxury and high-end stores on islands such as Mykonos and Santorini, you don’t need to spend a fortune when shopping in Greece. Artisanal souvenirs are budget-friendly and a great way to support local businesses.
Handmade leathergoods, especially sandals, are very reasonably priced and high quality (I still have a pair from my first visit to Greece in 2008!)
Handmade clothes in quirky little boutiques are abundant. Ladies, there are so many lovely dresses – it may be a good idea to bring a small suitcase just to carry all your purchases home!
Paintings are also wonderful momentos so you can reminisce about Greece from your living room. I picked up a few hand-painted canvases and admire them every day. It may not be apparent at first, but trust me when I say shopping is one of the great reasons to travel to Greece.
More traditional souvenirs from Greece
- Worry beads (kompoloi)
- Evil eye charms (mati)
- Byzantine ceramic bowls and Greek pottery
- Olive oil and olive wood products
- Bouzouki, traditional Greek string instruments
- Ouzo, Greece’s star-anise flavoured alcoholic beverage
Unique white and blue buildings
I don’t know about you, but when I think of Greece I picture unique white buildings against a backdrop of vibrant blue skies and lapping waters. Have you ever wondered why some villages in Greece have uniformly coloured buildings of blue and white? It’s not to match the Greek flag!
During the late 1930’s, an outbreak of cholera swept Greece, including the Cycladic islands (southeast of the mainland). Authorities at the time ordered all buildings to be whitewashed with a limestone disinfectant to prevent the spread.
While the buildings are no longer required to be white by law, you’ve got to admit the contrasting blue rooftops and shutters against the refreshing white are now an icon of Greece – you’d be hard-pressed to find them anywhere else.
Greek food and beverages
The cuisine alone is one of the major benefits of going to Greece. As with many nations that hug the shores of the Mediterranean, indulging in delicious food is a major part of the culture and this is reflected in the welcoming Greek hospitality.
I perpetually crave the delectable lemoni patatas (lemon potatoes) I enjoyed from a rooftop restaurant in Athens, the unforgettable fried saganaki cheese overlooking the sunset over Santorini’s caldera (that I’ve never been able to replicate), or the shot of ouzo I was welcomed with when checking into at my Athens hotel.
Greek coffee is also delightful – more on this down the page.
If you’re like me, you’ll link foods to experiences – there are many to be had! Try delicious Greek dishes such as moussaka just like your mother would make (like a Greek lasagne with potato – but better), satisfying gyros as a savoury street snack (pita-like bread filled with shredded meat, hot chips, tzatziki, tomato), or sweet desserts such as loukoumades (Greek honey doughnuts) and baklava (honey and pistachio layered pastries).
The core ingredients of Greek cuisine include herbs such as rosemary, oregano and thyme, tomatoes and potatoes. Proteins comprise of lamb, chicken, beef and pork.
Seafood is also a major favourite in Greece, with octopus, fish and prawns (shrimp) very common dishes. Sampling olives is a must in Greece, with the burgundy-coloured Kalamata variety coming out on top. These make up a perfect Mediterranean diet!
Welcoming, laid back culture
If you’re after a destination where you can chill and relax as you wish, this is a big reason to visit Greece.
There is a dominant drinking culture amongst young people, and by that I don’t mean alcohol specifically (as getting completely drunk is what NOT to do in Athens). I’m referring to local cafes and tavernas where you can sit with a Greek coffee in hand and watch the world go by for hours.
I’ll never forget spending an entire afternoon in Athens enjoying the café culture. In the Plaka neighbourhood, the oldest in Athens.
It was so special being able to sit amongst locals beneath the Acropolis and enjoy slowing down to take it all in. I definitely was able to experience a little slice of Greek culture this way.
Greek Islands tend to run on “island time”, where scheduled buses turn up late (or not at all). While this may be the opposite of what you’re used to at home, just go with it! It’s all part of the Greek experience.
Locals are chilled and love children, making Greece a great destination for families. Shopkeepers and restaurant owners are friendly. Whilst they may stand outside their establishments to welcome customers, you can rest assured that they won’t harass you down the street like people do in other countries.
In my experience, everyone we encountered was so kind without making us feel pressured or intimidated into spending our money with them.
While there are plenty of things to do in Greece during the daytime, a whole new side is waiting to be discovered after the sun sets over the country.
Nightlife in Greece is varied and fun, with tavernas (pubs) and nightclubs to keep you entertained until the early hours.
Is there a better way to end a balmy summer’s day than to cool off with a Mythos beer, local glass of wine or refreshing Greek cocktail? With people spilling out onto the streets to enjoy the night, it really is a fun and enjoyable atmosphere.
I personally found nightlife more fun in Santorini than Mykonos, as it seems folks on the latter island don’t tend to begin their night out until midnight.
Keep in mind though, there can be expensive cover charges at the popular nightclubs. Make sure to research first so you’re not surprised at the door!
TIP: The party-goers starting late is actually beneficial if you plan to hit the beach clubs early the next morning. Most people will be nursing a hangover or sleepig the day away, leaving the best beach chairs available!
Perfect vacation weather year round
While summers in Greece are undeniably hot (30°C), the shoulder seasons and winter are much milder. This is the best time to visit Greece if you’re hoping to avoid tourist crowds!
To give you an idea of climate throughout the year, you may find the below averages for Athens helpful (in degrees celsius):
- December – February (winter): Low 7°C / High 14°C
- March – May (spring): Low 13°C / High 20°C
- June – August (summer): Low 23°C / High 33°C
- September – November (autumn): Low 12°C / High 20°C
In terms of rainfall, June – August average the least amount of rainfall (4mm) while December – January averages the most (50mm). As you can see, the overall climate in Greece is quite mild, making it the perfect destination all year round.
No qualms about safety
To be completely honest there is a lot of graffiti in Athens and residential buildings that have fallen into disrepair, but despite this the city still feels safe overall. Local Greeks keep to themselves for the most part, and business owners are kind, hospitable and polite.
In our taxi from Athens airport to our hotel, our driver wanted to practise his English and we got chatting. He was so lovely we decided to hire his taxi services for a day during our time in Athens!
He drove us the scenic way down the Athenian Riviera to Cape Sounion to explore the Temple of Poseidon, as well as visit the stunning Lake Vouliagmeni. We probably would not have visited these places without his knowledge, so I am very grateful for our encounter.
As a female visiting Greece, I always felt welcome and never unsafe or harassed. This was a huge contrast to neighbouring Istanbul, Turkey where I was hissed at and made to feel intimidated by locals in the streets, even when walking with my male partner.
TIP: When partying at night spots throughout popular Greek Islands, I’d highly advise against accepting drinks from people you don’t know or leaving drinks unattended, but that could be said for almost anywhere.
Pickpockets throughout Greece aren’t rife as they are in other parts of Europe such as Paris, Rome or Prague. In saying that, while I never personally witnessed any petty crime in Greece it’s best to still be on your guard on public transport and in busy areas.
My detailed guide to how not to look like a tourist can help!
Concluding the reasons to travel to Greece
From its amazing sunsets and vantage points to ancient archaeological sites, enviable nightlife, delicious cuisine, volcanic beaches and laid back culture, I hope these reasons to travel to Greece have provided you with insight into what you could expect during your own trip.
Do these inspiring reasons convince you to visit Greece someday? Let me know in the comments below! While you’re here, don’t forget to check out my Athens travel tips for advice on how you can “blend in” and make the most of your visit, or compare Athens hotel prices here.
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Until next time,
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