From guided tours around the magnificent ancient sites and museums to swimming, snorkeling, and sunbathing on and off the glorious beaches, and hiking, trekking, horseback riding, and walking in the remote countryside, Greece offers endless things to do while on holiday. Sailing between the islands is a favorite with vacationers, and day cruises from Greek ports run to nearby islands, as well as around the coastline.
Two-day trips from Athens to spectacular Santorini are a delight and daytrips, also run from the capital, to Mycenae and Epidaurus are a must. Whether you’re touring by boat or bus, knowledgeable guides can give you a useful history lesson while stopping at wayside taverna for lunch or at a beachside eatery for a leisurely supper. For the more adventurous, climbing in the mountainous regions is a thrill and, for those needing pampering, the famous thalassotherapy spas at Elounda give the experience of a lifetime.
Most visitors take a guided day trip of the great landmarks of Athens, with the Parthenon the premier attraction. Tours can include the National Archaeological Museum, which is well worth a visit for the treasures excavated from the sites of Greece’s ancient civilizations. Look for stunning gold jewelry and grave masks from Mycenae. Viator offers informative day tours taking in all the popular sites.
Set in the Peloponnese, the eerie late Bronze Age citadel at Mycenae sits on a hill between two mountains, immersed in legends and foul deeds including human sacrifice. The Mycenaean civilization crashed in 1200 BC, having dominated most of the Mediterranean world for hundreds of years. In Homer epics, the infamous Helen of Troy fled the citadel and royal husband Menelaus for her love of the Trojan Prince Paris, thus starting the Trojan War. Day tours from Athens are offered by a number of companies, including Greek Tours.
One of the most romantic ways to visit the Greek islands is by hiring a skippered yacht for a multi-day cruise. Various itineraries are available, with the added bonus of landing on remote beaches to explore unspoiled countryside, as well as mooring at charming fishing harbors lined with little shops and tavernas. GA Adventures has a good choice of boat tours for all budgets and lengths.
The Ancient Greeks regarded Mount Olympus, the highest peak in Greece, as the home of their pantheon of gods. Nowadays, its refuges and stark peaks are home to climbers and hikers eager to enjoy stunning views from its high slopes and summits. The massif itself sits in its own national park, a whopping 400,000 acres of natural beauty. Sherpa Walking Holidays offers a joint Mount Olympus and Vikos Gorge package.
Unless you’re used to miles of steep, stepped streets, riding a donkey is the best way to get from the harbor to town on the magical island of Santorini. Set on 45 degree slopes of the caldera of a massive volcano which exploded some 5,000 years ago, its eruption marked the end to the Minoan civilization and helped create the legend of Atlantis. The sparkling, whitewashed houses overlook the ocean-inundated crater gives one of the most spectacular views in all of Greece. Top Santorini Tours offers sailing trips, wine tours, and scuba diving in the area.