Stunning Things to Do in Greece

Stunning Things to Do in Greece

“The Greeks invented everything,” claim the Greeks. It might be an exaggeration, but the land sure is an integral part of human history. It is, therefore, no wonder that the country is a favorite destination for international travelers. If you didn’t already know, Greece is a country located in southeastern Europe. It is home to thousands of islands that are found throughout the Aegean and Ionian seas. Most known for its ancient history, Greece is the birthplace of democracy, philosophy, and the Olympic Games. Its capital, Athens, is one of the oldest cities globally and is home to archeological wonders like The Parthenon, The Roman Forum, and the Temple of Olympian Zeus.

With over 6,000 different islands and islets located in the Aegean and Ionian Seas, of which only 170 are inhabited, Greece is a must-visit destination. However, with over 15 international airports and so many different islands, it can be a little bit overwhelming choosing where to go first. And we don’t blame you as the Greek islands have a little bit of something for everyone. 

So, if you are looking to travel back in time or spend some time in paradise, then Greece is the perfect place for you. But before we get into the nitty-gritty of which islands you should visit and some of the things to do in Greece, let’s take a look at some vital information before taking a flight: 

  • If you’re a US citizen, you will need to apply for a valid ETIAS visa waiver.
  • See the U.S. Embassy's web page regarding COVID-19. 
  • The currency in Greece is the Euro (EUR). Automated teller machines (ATMs) can be found throughout the country. 
  • If you want to enjoy a large number of Greek Islands in a short period of time, then the Dodecanese Islands are a perfect place to start. This area comprises 15 larger islands plus 150 smaller ones in the southeastern Aegean Sea and Eastern Mediterranean. The best way to visit all these islands is by chartering a yacht in Greece. 
  • Known as the birthplace of philosophy, it is the birthplace of Greek philosophers such as Socrates, Aristotle, Plato, Epicurus, and Seneca.
  • The country's rich historical legacy is reflected in part by its 18 UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
  • Greece is one of the most visited countries in Europe. 
  • Make sure that you spend some time in Athens. Take the time to visit the Acropolis and Parthenon, take a pre-dinner stroll, do some local shopping and enjoy a local Greek feast topped off with some ouzo. 
  • Some foods you need to try while in Greece include moussaka, papoutsakia, souvlaki, and seafood. 

How to Get to & Around the Islands 

When visiting a country with so many exciting places, it is essential to plan the trip wisely and choose what is considered to be a must-see. Nevertheless, where you decide to go in Greece depends on your personal preferences and time in the country.

Not only does Greece have a major international airport in Athens, but it also has several other airports on popular Greek islands, like Santorini, Corfu, Crete, Rhodes, Kos, and Mykonos—to name a few. If you want to skip Athens altogether, you can do that. 

Island hopping is a way of life in Greece. Most islands are connected by ferries. However, booking ferries can be complicated and expensive, especially during the peak season when prices are higher and many routes are either sold out or not running. Another complication arises if you plan to visit Greece during the shoulder season (April-May and September-October), as many ferry routes are suspended. As a result, chartering a yacht in Greece can come in handy. 

Cruise around the Cyclades, Dodecanese, Sporades, and Ionian on your own private yacht, all on your own terms. Enjoy wild landscapes, explore secluded caves, jump head-first into turquoise blue waters, stop off at stunning white-washed fishing villages and dine on fresh seafood at local taverns—anything is possible when chartering a yacht in Greece. 

Best Time to Visit 

The best time to visit Greece is between May and September, which is also the peak season. July and August are the hottest, busiest, and most expensive months. Be aware that the temperature can go up to the mid-90s in the summer months, so if you are looking to beat the crowds and the heat, make sure to visit during the shoulder seasons. During this time, you’ll still be able to enjoy the nice weather, visit the islands, go swimming and sunbathe without all the hassle of the summer crowd. 

In the winter, the temperature can drop to the low 60s, and if you’re planning to go to the north of the country during this time, the temperature can be even colder. Some regions in Greece get either heavy rain or even snowfall during the winter months. If you plan on chartering a yacht in Greece, then we’d recommend avoiding coming during the low season. 

What to Pack

Greece is the ultimate summer vacation hotspot. It is all about island living, so you should consider that when you are packing your suitcase. You should also think about what types of activities you'll be doing. If you are heading over to Mykonos to party the night away, then your suitcase will probably look different than if you plan on heading to a low-key island to soak up the sun on the beach. No matter what island you plan on visiting, keep in mind that you should mix in some casual looks with a couple of fancy pieces just in case. 

Here's what you must have in your bag when you go to pack so you can have the maximum of this trip:

  • Hats, sunglasses, sunscreen to be protected from sun rays. 
  • Bug spray
  • Flip-flops
  • A small daypack to keep your items, especially if you plan on doing any hiking
  • Dresses, skirts, t-shirts, shorts
  • Swimsuit
  • Lightweight sweater or jacket
  • Camera or your phone 
  • Chargers, adapters (Greece uses Euro plug)

Things to Do in Greece

As mentioned before, Greece has many islands, which are divided into groups. There are the Argo-Saronic Islands near Athens, the Cyclades in the central part of the Aegean Sea, the Dodecanese Islands in the southeast between Crete and Turkey, the Ionian Islands in the west of the Ionian Sea, the North Aegean in the west coast of Turkey and the Sporades in the coast of Euboea. All of these groups have a mix of larger and smaller islands; some are even uninhabited. 

As you can see, there are many more islands to explore other than Mykonos and Santorini. So which islands should you put on your travel wishlist? What are some things to do in Greece? Here are a few of the most visited, beautiful Islands and what you should visit on your trip: 

The Cyclades

The Cyclades are the most famous island group in the Aegean Sea and are famous for its architecture in white and blue, traditional lifestyles, picturesque villages, beautiful landscapes and idyllic beaches. Located in southern Greece between Athens and Crete, the Cyclades are made up of 39 islands, 24 of which are inhabited. 

Both Mykonos and Santorini are part of the Cyclades, which means “encircling islands.” They are so named because they form a rough circle around the sacred island of Delos, which was the legendary birthplace of Artemis and her brother Apollo. If you do want to charter a boat in the Cyclades, then it is recommended that you start your charter in Mykonos or Paros. The distance between Athens and Santorini is too far to accomplish in a one-week charter. As a result if you do want to start in Athens then we’d recommend a two week charter. 

The distance between islands in the Cyclades is around 20 miles or a 4 hour sailing time, so if you do plan on chartering a yacht in this area, choose which islands you want to visit wisely. 

Things to do in Santorini Island

Probably one of the most famous islands in all of Greece, Santorini is part of the Cyclades and is located in the south end of the Aegean Sea.  It is best known for the towns of Fira and Oia, built on the edge of a high caldera near to the sea. The distinguished architecture of the white-washed buildings and the natural beauty of the sea make Fira and Oia a romantic destination.

The black volcanic sand beaches on the south and east coast of the island are popular among tourists. Those interested in history and culture can visit the archeological site of Akrotiri, an ancient Cycladic Bronze Age settlement buried in volcanic lava. Santorini also produces a range of wines from approximately 40 indigenous Greek grape varieties. It is most famous, however, for its sweet, rich wine, Vinsanto. If you are interested, you can always visit some of the wineries on the island, such as Santo Wines or the Venetsanos Winery.

Things to do In Mykonos

Another famous island in Greece is Mykonos, a popular destination for those seeking exciting nightlife. The largest town on the island, Mykonos Town, is best known for its luxurious hotels, sea-food restaurants, and music venues. There are also many sandy beaches on the Island.

A popular tourist spot is the beautiful white-washed church in Mykonos Town, the Panagia Paraportiani. The Municipal Library and two museums, the Archaeological Museum of Mykonos and the Aegean Maritime Museum, will please those looking for historical tourism.

The Dodecanese Islands

The Dodecanese Islands are located in the southeastern Aegean Sea between the Cyclades and the coast of Turkey. Although these particular islands are less popular than the Cyclades, they still pack a powerful punch. These islands are known for their medieval castles, Byzantine churches, gorgeous beaches, and archeological sites. The most popular islands are Rhodes, Kos, and Karpathos. 

Things to do on Rhodes

Rhodes is the largest island within the region and has an airport, meaning you can fly directly to the island. Often called The Island of the Knights, due to the time when the island was controlled by the Knights of St. John of Jerusalem, Rhodes is best known for the Colossus of Rhodes, a statue of the Greek sun-god Helios that is considered one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Helios is an important figure as mythologically speaking, Rhodes was said to have emerged from the sea as a gift from Zeus to the god Helios. 

Although the Statue is lost, Rhodes Town itself is worth visiting. The Rhodes Old Town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is one of the best-preserved medieval towns in Europe. It is also a car-free medieval old town that can be toured on foot. It is the perfect place to explore paved labyrinthine alleys, visit quaint little shops and enjoy monuments like the Venetian Castle, the Street of the Knights, and the Palace of the Grand Master.

Nearby are other tourist destinations, like the coastal towns of Lindos and Marmaris, each with its own attractions. Rhodes is also an excellent location for scuba diving, SUPing, kitesurfing, and hiking if you are into sports. Once you finish exploring, then make sure to take the time to taste some of Rhode’s spectacular cuisine. Some of the local dishes you should try on:

  • Pitaroudia: a traditional vegetarian recipe of chickpea dumpling which pairs perfectly with a tahini dip sauce. 
  • Tahinopita: a Cypriot cake flavored with sesame paste—it’s vegan.
  • Fanouropita: a sweet pie also called “The lost and found cake” traditionally served on St. Fanourios Memorial Day on August 27.
  • Melekouni: a traditional treat made of sesame seeds and aromatic thyme honey. 
  • Katimeria: another traditional Cypriot pastry dessert that can be served with honey, epsima, carob syrup, or plain sugar on top. 

The Ionian Islands

The Ionian Islands are located on the west coast of Greece and are also known as the Heptanese or Seven Islands. Nevertheless, the group does include many smaller islands as well as the seven main islands. The seven main islands include Zakynthos, Ithaca, Corfu, Kefalonia, Lefkada, Paxi (or Paxos), and Kythira. These islands are famous for their gorgeous beaches and lush greenery. Many people also consider this particular region as a great family sailing destination. Fun Fact, Homer’s Odyssey takes place on these islands, principally on the island of Ithaca. 

Things to do in Corfu Island 

Corfu is known as one of the most beautiful Ionian islands. It is known for its beautiful sand beaches, delicious cuisine, and architecture influenced by the Venetians. Corfu’s cultural heritage reflects years spent under Venetian, French and British rule before being united with Greece in 1864. Corfu is also known as the emerald island as it is one of the greenest islands in Greece. Fun fact, it is home to more than two million olive trees.

So if you are looking to relax in nature, then Corfu is the island for you. Here are some places that you should visit on the island: 

  • Paleokastritsa is a village in northwestern Corfu. The bay of Paleokastritsa is rumored to be where Odysseus disembarked and met Nausica for the first time. 
  • Erimitis is located on the northeast side of the island, and it is home to six beaches, three lakes, and is a shelter for rare birds and animals.
  • Arkoudilas Beach is one of the quietest beaches in Corfu and is located in the southeast of the island. 
  • Perithia is the oldest Corfu village located on the northern side of the island. Considered a ghost village, it was originally established in the 14th century, during the Byzantine times.
  • Porto Timoni is a double beach (the two beaches form two bays) on the west coast of Corfu. You can access the beach on foot or by boat. It is considered to be one of the most beautiful beaches in all of Greece. 
  • Danilia is a replica of a 30s Corfiot village that has hosted a few movies like the James Bond movie “For your eyes only” in 1980. 

There are beaches, museums, and architectural wonders to explore. This island is home to several famous festivals, like Ta Karnavalia or Carnival, held in February/March, introduced to the Greeks by the Venetians. 

The Region of Crete 

Crete is the largest and most populous island in Greece. It is also the fifth-largest island in the Mediterranean Sea. If you liked Rhodes and Santorini, you’ll love Crete. It has many archaeological sites, museums, ruins and beautiful beaches that you can visit. The island is also known for its Mantinades-based music (typically performed with the Cretan lyra and the laouto) and has many indigenous dances, the most noted of which is the Pentozali.

Some interesting places to visit in Crete include: 

  • The Palace of Knossos: is one of the most important archaeological sites in Crete.
  • Heraklion Archaeological Museum: the best in the world for Minoan art. 
  • Samaria National Park: a great place if you’d like to go for a hike. 
  • The beaches of Crete: there are many, but the most famous is Elafonisi, famous for its pink sand. 
  • The Fortezza of Rethymno: is one of the best-preserved castles in Crete. It was built by the Venetians in the 16th century and is now open to the public. 

Crete is the largest island in Greece, so don’t feel bad if you don’t have time to explore the whole island. You certainly will have the best time whatever you decide to do. 

The Saronic Gulf

Last but certainly not least, if you want to stay a little closer to Athens, then you can explore the Saronic Gulf. Although often overlooked, these islands are known for their beautiful natural landscapes, secluded coves, and stunning cerulean waters that are perfect for snorkeling, diving, or swimming. The islands of the Saronic Gulf include Aegina, Agistri, Poros, Hydra, and Methana. One of the more popular islands of the region is Hydra, which is often compared to Italy’s Capri. The island is home to fishing villages, beautiful harbours, and many different hiking trails. Hydra also doesn’t have any cars, and people use donkeys to get around. After visiting Hydra, we also recommend stopping over to visit Poros, one of the most beautiful islands in this particular region. 

Yacht Charter In Greece

Yes, there are several hotels and various accommodations in the Greek Islands, but why not consider alternatives? A yacht charter in Greece allows you to truly explore the island at your own pace. There are so many places to explore in Greece that it is no wonder that more charter yachts are based here than anywhere else in the Mediterranean. So where do you want to go?

A charter yacht is one of the best ways to explore the world while maintaining your social distance. But most of all, you’ll have beautiful views to watch while you sail to the most stunning islands and have the best time of your life. Isn’t that incredible?

A private yacht charter is one of the most social distance vacations you can go on. The best part? You can unpack your bags once and wake up somewhere new every day. How exciting is that? The yacht will bring you to secluded coves and anchorages to snorkel, swim, and even get up close and personal with some sea life. 

Many people think that chartering a yacht is out of their price range. However, this is not necessarily true. It all depends on your needs and wants. We have a personal chef that can customize a menu based on your preferences and any food allergies or dietary restrictions that you may have. Many of our yachts are stocked with water toys like stand-up paddleboards, kayaks, and a dinghy that can be used for tubing, water skiing, and wakeboarding. We also can include the option to scuba dive from the yacht. Other less common amenities still available on some yachts include an e-foil board, seabob, sea scooters, snuba, and kiteboarding. If you’d like, there is even an option to have a hot tub or jet ski on one of our bigger yachts. 

If you are interested in learning more about chartering a yacht in Greece, let us know your dates, budget,  and the number of guests, and we would be happy to walk you through the process.  A catamaran that sleeps six people and has a captain can be as low as $10,000 per week. When you add a captain and all meals and drinks to make it all-inclusive, the rates start around 15k then go up to 50k or more depending on the degree of luxury you want. 

Are you ready to pack your bags for your Grecian vacation? Here are just a couple of things to do in Greece. So let’s make your dream a reality. It’s your time to come to the stunning Greek Islands and have the best time on your own private yacht.