Fascination Destination Travel Guides

15 worth-the-visit places in Greece that are not Athens or the islands

April 28, 2017

Greece is a very popular travel destinations. Especially the historic Athens and the paradise-like islands with the typical blue and white houses attract travellers from all over the world. But this country offers so much more than the capital and the wonderful beaches of its countless islands. For getting you some change, we will show you 15 places in Greece that you should have seen, but are not Athens nor the islands.

 

1. Olympus

Olymp

Let’s start with a very untypical destination, which is at the same time one of the most mythological places in Greece. When you think about holidays in Greece, normally, you will think about the fantastic beaches and not about huge mountains. This special Mountain is not any mountain, but the famous Olympus, home of Zeus and the other Greek gods as well as scene for so many stories of the Greek mythology. It is the highest mountain in Greece and in reality not the home of gods, but for a very diversifies flora and fauna, protected bu the UNESCO. From the city Katerini, you have singular views on the mountain and its with the seasons changing colours. You should climb this mythological mountain at least once in your life. The view from there reaches over the whole area and is just breathtaking!

2. Thessaloniki

Thessaloniki

Thessaloniki is the second biggest city in Greece, a modern metropolis and most important centre of this region. It is located in the northern part of Greece at the sea. The rich history and many different influences from foreign cultures marked the capital of Macedonia until nowadays. Here, you will find remains of the Roman, Christian, Byzantine, Osman and Turkish reigns. All culture-interested will be delighted and will always find something new to discover. You should definitely visit the landmark of the city, the thousands of years old war monument, the impressive arch of Galerius. The antique Forum is still preserved from Roman times and will send you back in time. In Ladadika, you can enjoy the lively nightlife of Thessaloniki in the many bars in the colourful houses. Cycling along the beach promenade and passing the port, just to see the sunset, will for sure be a highlight. From the walls of the Heptapyrgion castle, you can overview the whole city, if you want to get active and climb the stairs. Also people who want to relax, will find their favourite places, while strolling around the city centre, over the typical markets, famous places and streets and then eating the delicous, typical Greek food.

3. Zagori

Zagori

Zagori is a paradise of villages, bridges and monasteries, surrounded by high mountains, untouched forests and deep gorges. Everything here is made from stone and shows the visitors a diversified and exceptional architecture. Get lost in this magical place in the heart of the Tymphi mountains, at the shores of the raging river Voidomatis or in the narrow streets of the romantic mountain villages. While hiking, you can best discover the nature here. Go and search for the most beautiful stone bridge, stone house or monastery. This area offers amazing views at every time of the year. You should really check it out.

4. Meteora

Meteora

In Meteora, you will be completely amazed! The reason for this are the very old monasteries built in dizzy heights on sandstone rocks. This is truly something you should not miss. In total, there are 24 monasteries, but only six are still in use. The others are hardly accessible or in danger of collapsing. They were constructed after the example of the holy Mount Athos, whose monastery is also worth a visit, by the way. You almost have to visit one of the still accessible monasteries, but pay attention to the dress code and the closing days. For climbers, this is also a magic place. Because of the high sandstone rocks, there are endless opportunities and the views are just amazing.
Where you can stay:
Hotels in Athens

5. Edessa Waterfalls

Edessa

Edessa is mostly known for its waterfalls and already the name lets indicates its grandeur. Edessa means something like ‘castle on the water’ or ‘city at the water’. The waterfalls came into being after a strong earthquake and are one of the most stunning in Europe. Enormous amounts of water burst into the depth and the highest of them, Karanos, has a height of more than 70 metres. A unique natural wonder, which you should not miss and also represents a change to the beaches of Greece!

6. Metsovo

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1000 metres above sea level, the mountain village Metsovo sits enthroned on a mountain. This wonderful village is layed out like an amphitheatres and is surrounded by firs and beeches. The wood panelling of the houses together with the tiled roods create the special charm of this city and let it seem so untypical Greek. You should take a picture with the two statues of the bears at the bear square, it is simply tradition! In the Averoff gallery, the art fans amongst you can find over 200 paintings and sculptures of Greek artists. Go for a stroll in this picturesque village and have a look at the different houses and villas of former merchants, relax at the artificially constructed lake, which smoothly fits into the landscape, or, in winter, go on the small ski run of Politses. Yes, you can also go skiing in Greece!

7. Cape Sounion

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Not far from Athens and reachable in a one day trip, lies the Cape Sounion. There, you will find the temple of the sea god Poseidon. The majestic temple sits enthroned on the point of the peninsula Attiki and overlooks the cliffs, blue sea and small beaches. These beaches are accessible for free and wonderful for swimming or sunbathing. The view reaches over the ocean tp the islands Kea, Kythnos and the Peloponnese. Simply stunning! Especially for watching the sunset, this place is perfect and even with the many people who will have the same idea worth to see. If you want to avoid the masses, you should go there in the morning and you will be able to enjoy the calmness and closeness to nature. In particular when being in Athens, you should not miss to plan a trip to Cape Sounion.
Where you can stay:
Hotels in Athens

8. Sparta – Mystras

Mystras4

Mytras is a fortressed city not far from the antique Sparta. Sparta was, even with a very untypical layout of the city without walls and an acropolis, the second most powerful people in Greece. In the North of the modern Sparta, you can visit the remains of the antique Sparta. Mystras lies close by and consists of a village and a Byzantine ruin, which is the most visited attraction in Peloponnese. Because of the unique architecture and being an intellectual, cultural and artistic centre, it is part of the UNESCO world heritage. Have a look at the ruins if the old city of Mystras and the remains of Sparta to immerse into the history of Greece.
Where you can Stay:
Mazaraki Guesthouse

9. Kerkini Lake

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The Kerkini Lake is the third biggest artificial lake in Greece. But this is not a reason that makes it special. What makes it so special is its unique environment. When thinking about Greece, we think about old ruins and the sea and not about wonderful lakes. But it is exactly what Kerkini is! It was constructed for reasons of flood protection, but now, is an important damp biotope. Nature and animal lovers are just about right here as they can find many interesting species. More than 30 sorts of freshwater fishes and more than 300 kinds of birds live here under protection. You can even catch a view on the by extinction threatend water buffalos. When you paddle over the peaceful lake or cycle at its shores, you will feel like in a different world. Just disconnect and enjoy the scenery. At all seasons, the lake is a wonderful photo motif. The forest is an oasis of calmness and in the close by village of Ana Poria, you can get refreshments in a cosy Cafe or traditional restaurant. What are you waiting for?

10. Delphi

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Delphi is especially known for myth of the Delphic Oracle. This is what everyone knows about this place, but there are so many more myths, like the one about Apollon killing the dangerous, winged snake Python or that in the old times it was thought to be the middle of the world. In honouring of Apollon, the pythic games were initiated, the second most important after the Olympic Games. Nowadays, you can visit the excavation site of the Apollon and Athena temples, some treasure houses, die hall of the Athenians, the holy street as well as the scene of the pythic games. All this is part of the UNESCO world heritage and majestically rises over the modern small village of Delphi. It is the perfect place for a time travel and honestly, you should once visit the ‘centre of the earth’.
Where you can stay:
Hotels in Athens

11. Pilion at volos

Pilion

Pilion is a peninsula in the east of Greece, where the haven city is Volos is lactated at the sea. The city was reconstructed after a heavy earthquake and now, has a very contemporary townscape. The houses are modern and the modern football stadium fits perfectly with the rest. This can be a very welcome change to all the antique cities. And finally, we will talk about the beach! The wonderful in Pilion are the paradise-like beaches. I think, we don’t even have to say more about that. Get you swim suits and set off for your holiday!
Where you can stay:
Amanita Traditional Hotel

12. Nafplion

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Nafplion is definitely one of the most beautiful and romantic cities in Greece. This city is as full of mythology and historic houses as the ones mentioned before, but the special thing about Nafplion is the Venetian, Turkish and Frankish influences as well as its ideal location and unique charm. Here, you can discover antique walls, medieval castles, monuments and statues, while strolling through the paved roads of the old town, passing along neoclassic manor houses, Turkish balconies and fountains. The main attractions are the historic Syntagma Square and the Palamidi castle, which can only be reached after climbing 99 stairs – but trust us, it is worth the effort. What you should not miss is Bourtzi, a Venetian fortress on top of the rocks of Nafplion. In summer, you can get there by boat and of you’re lucky, you will even be able to participate in one of the many festivities there. Go and discover the former capital of Greece!
Where you can stay:
Mazaraki Guesthouse

13. Kastoria

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Kastoria doesn’t want to fit into the typical Greek image. One time, it looks like Canada, another like Switzerland… Here, houses, churches and trees line along the lake shore of Kastoria and mirror on the surface. All this is surrounded by the mountains of Macedonia, Grammos and Vitsia and looks like a painting, every season with different colours. We can’t even decide which would be the best time of year to see it the lake and the wonderful city. Discover the lake shores by bike or on foot, pass by the dragon cave and stroll through the beautiful quarters of the city, being the centre of fur trade and look in one of the manufactures. One thing is absolutely sure: this place is unique and very untypical!

14. Arachova

Arachova

Arachova is a especially picturesque mountain village at the slope at Parnassos. The mountainous environment and the charming village create ideal conditions for an amazing holiday. it is the perfect place to get active and go hiking in the mountains or try the three ski runs of the Parnassos, which is famous for these. We have to admit: going skiing is not the thing you expect when going to Greece, but the conditions are excellent and the scenery just magical. The small town with the many colourful houses looks so peaceful and calm, but at night surprises with a extremely vibrant nightlife. You see: the possibilities are diverse and it is completely up to you to choose.
Where you can stay:
Hotels in Athens

15. Parga

Pargapanorama

Another city with stunning beaches! Parga lies directly at the sea and has the typical Greek charm, but nevertheless, distinguishes itself from other cities in northern Greece. The colourful painted houses snuggle on to the hill over the clear blue ocean; the ruins of a castle rise above the city. Here, you here the wind blowing in the leaves and with every breeze, you get a sense of scent of the citrus fruits. Sounds like a dream? But it is not! Sun lovers gather this region in summer and feel on top of the world. Just do the same and discover Parga with its beaches, monasteries, islets and special charm.

You see: there is so much more to Greece than you would have thought. We just showed you a small glimpse of its diversity, but there is so much more. Just go and explore this country and don’t hesitate to share other destinations or experiences with us.

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