Though I love
Athens just as much as the next travel-obsessed person, the entirety of Greece is too beautiful to just stay in its capital city. From Santorini to Mykonos, there are so many breathtaking Greek islands and mainland towns to explore. Whether you’re looking for party-friendly beaches or picturesque cliffside villages, Greece has endless Insta-worthy vacation destinations to offer. Ahead are 10 you’re definitely going to want to add to your Mediterranean bucket list.
Mykonos Town, Mykonos, Greece
Well known for its vibrant nightlife scene that attracts top DJs, Mykonos is the perfect getaway if you’re looking for (a lot of) fun in the sun. Want to take a break from the party-centric beaches? You’ll find tons to explore in the heart of the city. The main village, referred to as Chora by the locals, is a whitewashed labyrinth packed with charming cafés, boutiques and shops. The city’s narrow streets are closed to traffic during the day, making Mykonos an extremely pedestrian-friendly destination, easily explored sans car. The entire city is filled with interesting buildings and architecture, but for real architecture fanatics
, Mykonos’ most famous church, is a must-see.
Agios Nikolaos, Crete, Greece
Overlooking the picturesque shores of Mirabello Bay, Agios Nikolaos is a charming coastal town on Crete (Greece’s largest island). Complete with a bustling marina, beautiful beaches and numerous luxury resorts, Agios Nikolaos is the perfect warm weather getaway. If you need a time out from tanning, taste the local flavours on a tour of
Cretan Olive Oil Farm
, located just north of the city.
Thessaloniki, Greece Though Greece’s many islands are breathtaking, Thessaloniki, Greece’s second largest city, might just entice you to stay on the mainland. A cultural melting pot, Thessaloniki is dripping with old world charm and new-age sophistication. Transport yourself back in time with a stroll through the Old Town or marvel at the iconic 16th century White Tower in the heart of the city. Then experience modern Thessaloniki as you enjoy the city’s contemporary art museums, avant-garde galleries and buzzing nightlife scene.
Oia, Santorini, Greece One of the most picturesque villages in all of Santorini, Oia is carved into steep volcanic cliffs, giving visitors sweeping views of the islands and waters below. Speaking of killer views, Oia’s sunsets are considered to be among the best in the world. The best view is from the ruins of Oi Castle at the top of the village, but head there early to snag your spot as sunset viewing is a popular tradition for tourists and locals alike.
Chora, Ios, Greece Considered to be the biggest party island in the Mediterranean Sea, people of all ages flock to Ios for its nightclubs and dance floors. During the day, if you can tear yourself away from the island’s numerous beaches, the charming city of Chora is magical. Located just a 20-minute walk from the main port, Chora’s tiny cubed houses, white chapels and winding streets are perfect for travel photography and a delight to explore.
Lindos, Rhodes, Greece Home to numerous ancient and medieval monuments, Lindos is the perfect vacation destination for history buffs. Lindos’ clifftop acropolis, located at the top of the city, is one of Greece’s most visited archaeological sites. A 10-minute walk or a five euro donkey ride from the village, the awe-inspiring ancient ruins of the Temple of Athena date back to the 4th century. Back towards the main city outside of the acropolis, Tharri Byzantine Monastery, The Ancient Theatre and the 15th century Church of Virgin Mary are all worth a visit.
Rethymno, Crete, Greece
Situated on Crete's northern coast, Rethymno is known for its charming Old Town, Byzantine churches, and long sandy beachfront. Below the city’s Venetian fortress, the Old Quarter’s maze of winding streets is a shopper’s paradise, packed with boutiques and stores selling everything from jewellery and leather to Cretan spices and pottery. After a morning of sightseeing and shopping, relax on
lined with restaurants and bars.
Parikia, Paros, Greece Located in close proximity to many other Greek islands such as Mykonos, Paros is easy to squeeze into your itinerary while travelling in Greece. Its bayside capital, Parikia, boasts stunning traditional blue and white architecture and dreamy beaches. Though there are many to choose from near the city centre, Kolympḗthres beach on Paros' north coast is worth the trek. The beach’s epic rock formation swimming coves and crystal clear waters are beyond gorgeous.
Naxos, Greece The largest (and greenest) island of the Cyclades, Naxos is an ideal destination for adventure seekers. From windsurfing to horseback riding, there are dozens of outdoor activities available in Naxos to fill up your daytime itinerary. Hiking trails lead to vineyards and olive groves, while deep sea diving might lead to you a wreck site. Whatever type of thrill you’re seeking, Naxos is definitely a choose-your-own-adventure type of city.
Imerovigli, Santorini, Greece When you close your eyes and imagine the idyllic hillside villages of Santorini, you’re most likely picturing the whitewashed city of Imerovigli. Insanely charming and known for its intoxicating sunsets (just like Oia), Imerovigli is the perfect Greek city to visit on a romantic getaway. Called the "balcony to the Aegean", heading out on a sailboat here is also a must.
Looking for the perfect place to stay in Greece?
Small Luxury Hotels of the World
has stunning properties in each of these Greek cities and their loyalty programme,
, is free to join. In addition to enjoying personalised perks and bespoke experiences during your stay, members can take 10% off the best available rate, and receive complimentary Wi-Fi and breakfast at all SLH hotels. Bonus: Invited members can take advantage of early check-in and late check-out for maximum relaxation during your vacay. Score!