20 best things to do in Greece

A Greek philosopher once said, “The only true wisdom is knowing that you know nothing” – except when you know you want to visit Greece.

Located in the Balkan region and surrounded by a trifecta of seas (Ionian, Aegean and Mediterranean), Greece has no shortage of things to do. Get your dose of history with ancient ruins and temples; feast on local ingredients, like tomatoes and olive oil; lay on the beach and do nothing but relax. Land or sea, there is something for everyone.

Whether you’re here for inspiration or to flesh out your travel itinerary, here are the top must-do activities to try while exploring this magical land.

Step back in time by visiting the Acropolis (Athens)

The ancient Erectheion temple at sunset on the Acropolis hillMilos Bicanski/Getty Images

Starting the list with perhaps the most classic recommendation, the acropolis is a must. The ancient citadel is where you can take in sweeping views of Athens while admiring notable monuments such as the Parthenon, Erechtheion, Propylaea, and Temple of Athena. Go through the Acropolis Museum to learn more about its history, too.

Take an Authentic Cooking Class (Athens)

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Although you can take a cooking class anywhere in Greece, Athens offers a diverse range of cuisines. CookinAthens and Greek cuisine teach classic dishes like spanakopita and moussaka, and Ergon House is a good option for adventurous eaters – consider puffing some peinirli pastry with chicken, Gruyere and truffle.

Sip famous white wines (Santorini)

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Santorini is known for its iconic white wines produced from the island’s native white grape, Assyrtikoas well as Greece athiri and aideni varieties. With vineyards scattered across Santorini – from Santo Wine Estate at Vineyard Venetsanos and Gavalas wine estate – there are plenty of tastings for visitors to take part in (many with waterfront views, of course).

Taste tomatoes at the Tomato Industrial Museum (Santorini)

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Make your way to the Tomato Industrial Museum to Santorini to understand how the island’s small-fruited tomatoes get their unique sweet flavor. Wander at your leisure through the old factory converted into a museum and learn about the traditional methods of growing, processing and producing tomatoes. Then, enjoy the succulent fruits during a cooking class or lunch at coffee.

Find a good place to watch the red sunset (Santorini)

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Sunset is arguably the most wonderful time of the day on the island of Santorini. Tourists and locals alike flock to a rooftop, seaside restaurant, or as close to the water’s edge as possible to watch the sun turn bright red and disappear behind the horizon. An alternative and fun way to admire the sunset: on a sunset catamaran cruise.

Go shopping in Little Venice (Mykonos)

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There are plenty of reasons to venture to Mykonos Town, from windmills to open-air restaurants and vibrant nightlife, but an undeniable (and almost unavoidable) must-do is shopping in Little Venice. . As its name suggests, the cobblestone shopping district resembles the Italian city, the home of explorer Marco Polo and a major trading hub along the Silk Road to Asia, according to UNESCO. Today, Little Venice is a one-stop-shop for all your evil eye bracelets, honey in a jar and white dress needs.

Dip your toes in crystal blue water (Mykonos)

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There are several beaches in Mykonos where you can enjoy the blue waters of the Aegean Sea. If you are staying in the Old Port area, check out the small strip of beach called Choras Mikonou or take a leisurely stroll to the nearby Megali Ammos. Other notable beaches around the island include Psarou, Kalafatis, Paradise, Super Paradise, Agios Stefanos and Ornos.

Visit the birthplace of Apollo (Delos)

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A 30-minute ferry ride (more or less the winds that day) from Mykonos will take you to the island of Delos, a UNESCO World Heritage Site where Apollo was born, according to mythology. Beyond this extremely cool detail, you can explore the ancient ruins of a trading and religious center from the first millennium BC.

Climb the Mountain of the Gods (Mount Olympus)

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Cue “I can go the distance.” Mount Olympus is the highest point in Greece and is epic, literally – it’s known in mythology as the home of the gods. However, this climb is far from easy and often takes two days to reach the summit, but you can always take a half-day hike or visit the tourist village of Litochoro at the base.

See the birthplace of the Olympic Games (Olympia)

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While the first modern Olympics were held in Athens in 1896, the ancient games called Olympia home. Now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Archaeological Site of Olympia dates back to the 10th century BCand with that comes ruins galore – from the Temple of Zeus to ancient sports training areas.

Explore the story mentioned in “The Iliad” and “The Odyssey” (Mycenae)

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If you’re looking to delve into the history of the Trojan War and Homer’s tales, visit the ruins of the city of Mycenae, where mythology says King Agamemnon ruled. Stroll through the Lion’s Gate, the main entrance lined with lion statues, and marvel at architectural structures dating back to the second millennium BC.

Swim along a lunar beach (Milos)

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Sarakiniko Beach on the island of Milos is nicknamed Moon Beach, and it’s easy to see why: its chalky white crater surface and curvy formation give it a lunar vibe.

Learn more about olive oil production (Crete)

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Crete, the largest island in Greece, is home to several olive oil mills and farms worth visiting. Paraschakis Family Olive Oil and Cretan company of the Lyrakis family offering tours of olive oil factories and products, and Cretan olive oil farm provides practice olive oil making experienceas well as additional activities such as cheese making class and cooking lessons.

Visit a blue zone island where locals enjoy a long life (Ikaria)

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The island of Ikaria is small but mighty, as evidenced by its Blue Zone status which states that Icarians have longer lifespans than most people in the world. Adopt the Mediterranean diet (goat cheese and honey from the island are a must), take part in a wellness retreattake a siesta on Messakti beach and do as the locals do.

Have your own “Mamma Mia!” » adventure (Skopelos)

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The small island of Skopelos is where “Mammia Mia!” was filmed, and a ferry ride is all that separates you from your own Meryl Streep-inspired adventure. As well as its superb beaches, visit the historic capital, Chora, and its churches, castles and monasteries, explore the forest of Mount Delfi and pass by the chapel of Agios Ioannis, where Meryl Streep runs at the end of the “Winner Takes All” scene.

Go on a hiking quest (Corfu)

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Corfu is the second largest island in the Ionian Sea, so you know there’s plenty of unspoiled land to explore. There’s the Corfu Trail, a long-distance route that guides walkers through the island’s diverse landscapes. If you have several days on hand you can do the full 111 miles, otherwise you can join the trail where is closest to you.

Visit the sanctuary of Delphi, where the oracle of Apollo once spoke (Delphi)

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The archaeological site of Delphi is a Unesco World Heritage and the house where the oracle of Apollo at Delphi once spoke. In ancient times, people came from near and far to visit this religious center and receive an oracle from the Pythia, the priestess of Apollo.

Get your dose of multicultural history (Thessaloniki)

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While ancient Greek history will always reign supreme in Greece, the city of Thessaloniki is historically known for its religious diversity seen through its many museums and monuments: the jewish museumthe Roman Agorathe Ataturk’s Housethe Rotundathe Archaeological Museumto name a few.

Dine on the island where the Greek cookbook was invented (Sifnos)

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Sifnos is home to the first cookbook ever published in Greece in the early 1900s, written by Nicolas Tselementes, and the emphasis on food on this Cycladic island is still relevant. Eat across Sifnos adding these dishes to your favourites: revithada (chickpea stew) lamb mastelo (simmered braised lamb), revithokeftedes (fried chickpea dumplings) and melopita (honey pie) for dessert.

Bathing in natural hot springs (Evia)

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Do as the ancient Greeks did and soak in the natural hot springs. The island of Euboea, or Evia, is home to Edipsos, one of Greece’s most famous spa towns, and visitors travel far and near for the potential healing effects of the hot springs.

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