As the birthplace of democracy, literature, medicine, and Western civilization, Greece is one of the most fascinating countries not just in Europe, but in the entire world. It also happens to be one of the most beautiful, with spectacular natural wonders and remarkable places just waiting to be explored.
Whether you’re exploring the historic capital of Athens or hopping between the different islands in the south (there are over 200 of them!), Greece has plenty to offer in terms of breathtaking attractions. Waterfalls, beaches, mountains, canyons – you name it, Greece has it!
With so many different sights to explore, this article is just the first in a series covering all the remarkable places in Greece!
Photo By: Clement Souchet
Translating to “hovering in the air,” these towering canyons are topped by six Greek Orthodox monasteries. However, it isn’t just its religious significance that makes Meteora so unique. These rock formations are so rare that historians, scientists, and geologists have difficulty agreeing to how they came about. But whatever the reason, they’re definitely one of the most remarkable places in Greece we’ve seen!
Photo By: Ververidis Vasilis/Shutterstock
These stunning alpine lakes on Mount Tymfi and Mount Smokilos are steeped in mystery. Locals claim that the lakes were created by a pair of fighting dragons, while others believe that they were named after the Alpine Newt, a dragon look-a-like that lurks in the waters. Either way, it’s worth the hike to the top to see these breathtaking natural beauties.
3. Navagio Beach
Photo By: Alex Azabache/Unsplash
Surrounded by plunging rock formations and shockingly blue waters, this beach is actually a hidden cove only accessible by boat. It’s also known as Shipwreck Beach, named after the slowly decaying boat that crashed on the shores while smuggling cigarettes, booze, and supposedly, human bodies. But besides this tragic story, Navagio Beach remains one of the most pristine places on the island of Zakynthos.
4. Faro Tourlitis
Photo By: Lemonakis Antonis/Shutterstock
Take a peek off the coast of Andros, and you’ll find this mystical lighthouse, rising from the ocean surrounded by nothing but turquoise blue waves. The original structure was built in 1897, although it was unfortunately destroyed during WWII. The building that stands there today is a reconstructed model built in the 1990s and was the first automated lighthouse in all of Greece.
5. Vikos Gorge
Photo By: Bill Higham/Flickr
Located on the southern slopes of the Pindus Mountains is the monstrous canyon known as the Vikos Gorge. A paradise for hikers and backpackers, the gorge is known for its lush valleys, flowing rivers, and nearly 3,500-foot tall canyon walls. In fact, it’s one of the deepest gorges in the world, coming in second to the Grand Canyon.
6. Dikteon Cave
Photo By: Jerzy Strzelecki/Wikipedia
This sacred cave on the island of Crete is believed to be where Zeus was born and raised. Its located approximately 3,360-feet atop Mount Dicte, one of the largest mountains on the Lassithi Plateau. The interior of the cave is also equally as impressive, with massive chambers, stalactites, and even a lake that was considered to be the drinking spot for the god.
7. Xigia Sulfur Beach
Photo By: dronepicr/Flickr
The island of Zakynthos is home to one of the most unique places in Greece – as long as you don’t mind the smell of sulfur. The beach is located next to a sulfur spring, which gives the water a faint, milky hue and its distinct, somewhat foul-smelling odor. However, it’s still worth going for a swim. Sulfur is known to ease joint pain and to heal certain skin conditions.
8. Lemnos Rocks
Photo By: hsunny/Shutterstock
One look at this otherworldly landscape, and you’ll question whether these rocks were formed by aliens or Greek gods. However, these bizarre, ball-shaped rocks are actually petrified lava formations. It’s a strange sight to see, especially considering they’re dotted along the coast of the Aegean Sea.
9. Spinalonga Island
Photo By: ERROR_420/Pixabay
This abandoned island off the coast of Crete was once home to Europe’s last remaining leper colony. An estimated 1,000 people lived on the island when it shut down in 1957 after a cure for leprosy was discovered. Visitors can now make their way to this historic island to see the remnants of a church, schoolhouse, and cafes that were built in town.
10. Elafonisi Pink Beach
Photo By: Miguel Virkkunen Carvalho/Flickr
This natural wonder is one of the most remarkable places to visit in Greece. Located on the southwest coast of Crete, this mile-long beach is famous for its pink sand, which is actually not sand at all! The color comes from crushed up seashells, which gives the shores its vibrant, pink shade unlike anything you’ll ever see in Europe. The waters are also warm and shallow (less than 3-feet deep), so it’s worth a visit for a relaxing beach day.
Photo By: Ververidis Vasilis/Shutterstock
The beautiful mountainous region of Zagorohoria is comprised of 46 tiny villages and over 160 arched bridges. Surrounded by nothing but dramatic cliffs, tree-lined hills, and sprawling valleys, this remote area is ripped right from the pages of a fairytale.
12. Melissani Cave
Photo By: Marcus Ward/Flickr
From the outside, Melissani Cave looks just like any other rock formation. But enter into the chamber, and you’ll find a sparkling lake surrounded by a green forest and some of the clearest water you’ll ever lay eyes on. The opening at the top of the cave draws in sunlight, making the water glimmer and shine from all angles.
13. Sarakiniko Beach
Photo By: s_kaisu/Shutterstock
Covered in a lunar landscape of chalk-white volcanic rocks, this is one of the most unusual beaches to visit in Greece. Years of wind and rain have eroded the cliffs to their current shape, which is starkly contrasted to the vibrantly blue waters of the Ionian Sea. Go for a swim and see for yourself why this beach has affectionately been nicknamed the Moonscape of Milos.
14. Drepano Beach
Photo By: Aerial-motion/Shutterstock
Greece is home to some pretty spectacular beaches, but Drepano Beach near Igoumenitsa is considered one of the most beautiful. The long stretch of sand jets out into the ocean, making this peninsula look more like a small island. It can be a bit windy here, which is great if you’re interested in wind or kite surfing.
15. Red Beach, Santorini
Photo By: Caroline Vincelent/Flickr
Why relax on soft golden sand when you can hang out at a red beach instead? Located on the glamorous island of Santorini, this beach’s captivating cliffs and rocks are a rusty shade of red, colored by the pulverized volcanic rocks surrounding the island. It’s one of the most unique beaches not just in Santorini but in all of Greece.
16. Natural Pool in Koufonissi
Photo By: Nikos Theologou/Flickr
The natural pool on the edge of Koufonissi may be small, but it’s a hidden oasis filled with crystal blue waters. There’s no better view than going for a dip while admiring the ocean right in front of you! It’s relatively unknown, so you might just get the chance to enjoy this swimming hole for yourself!
17. Sidari, Corfu
Photo By: Andrew Mayovskyy/Shutterstock
There are many fascinating sights to see in the resort town of Sidari, but perhaps the most famous is the Canal d’Amour or Channel of Love. Romantics will believe that swimming the canal with your special someone means you’ll stay in love forever. However, any traveler will surely enjoy a visit, especially considering the mineral-rich and natural healing properties of the water!
18. Seitan Limania Wave Pool in Crete
Photo By: Katarzyna Tyl/Pixabay
This zig-zagging natural pool is one of the most remarkable places in Greece to go swimming. Despite being small in size, this beach has crashing waves that are perfect for splashing around in. Thrill-seekers can also jump off the nearby rocks for a more heart-racing adventure.
19. Papingo Rock Pools
Photo By: dinosmichail/Shutterstock
At the end of a short 20-minute hike, you’ll come across these sparkling pools surrounded by layered limestone canyon walls. The water is refreshing and cold, which is great for those needing to cool off from the humid Greek weather. Just make sure to pack your sneakers – you’ll have to climb some of the walls in order to reach the waters.
20. Orlias Waterfall
Photo By: RODKARV/Shutterstock
Cascading down the northeastern side of Mount Olympus is the Orlias Waterfall. Though technically there are two waterfalls in this canyon, the lower falls is the best one for swimming. The plummeting stream is the perfect backdrop while you go for a swim in the emerald green pools at the base.
Wow! Those are a lot of beautiful places in Greece, right? As we mentioned, this is just the first article of a multi-art series about Greece. Let us know in the comments if there are any particular places you’d like us to feature next!