Unique “Greek” Destinations & Trips

Voidokoilia

Photo: By Georgios Karabelas

[ 1 ] BEST REGION NEAR ATHENS

The Mythical Peloponnese

KYPARISSI

Kyparissi Villages

If you need to avoid the … paparazzi, this is the place. A beautiful, amazing, relaxing location. Kyparissi is the kind of destination that if you discover yourself, you’ll only let your closest friends know because you are afraid of spoiling it. kyparissi

Kyparissi was an ancient sanctuary of Asclepius (god of medicine). At some point in its history the people of this lush valley of olive trees, pine, and carob left the coast and moved to a higher point where the village was hidden from the sea and the pirates who raided the coast.kyparissi

kyparissi Related tours that include or can include this destination:

5-Day Tour of the Mythical Peloponnese

The Ultimate 7-Day Greek Experience

Sparta & Mystras Day Tour

MONEMVASIA

Monemvasia Castle Town

The castle town of Monemvasia: the “stone ship” of the Greek poet Yiannis Ritsos: the cross-road of civilizations throughout the centuries. Byzantines, Franks, Venetians, the Pope, the pirates, and Ottomans have all left indelible marks of their domination on this magic rock. monemvasia Castles and walls, old mansions, narrow cobblestone pavements, churches, old short arches, arcs, escutcheons, marble imperial thrones, Byzantine icons are giving the impression of an imaginary town untouched by the passing of time. Entering the castle through its unique entrance where the town of Monemvasia took its name from, a journey to the past begins, from the 6th century when the castle was initially inhabited, until nowadays.

Monemvasia

monemvasia water

5-Day Tour of the Mythical Peloponnese

The Ultimate 7-Day Greek Experience

Sparta & Mystras Day Tour

MANI

Mani Peninsula

Where to start?

Areopoli, Limeni, Oitylo and of cource Limeni village because of its unique sunset and amazing views during the day. Great swim in beautiful shades of blue, maybe with the company of the two sea turtles. There is a lot more like Gerolimenas, Vatheia and Cape Tainaron!

You can visit Diros Caves which you explore with a boat and a guide.

Mani

vatheia MANI By Jean Housen – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=79064924tainaro By Ntasos – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=62806934

mani

people mani

Related tours that include or can include this destination:

5-Day Tour of the Mythical Peloponnese

The Ultimate 7-Day Greek Experience

Sparta & Mystras Day Tour

CAVES

Caves in the Peloponnese

All three caves are located in the Peloponnese region and can be included in most tours. The Diros Caves you explore with a boat and a guide while the other two you walk through them with a guide leading the way. All three are very easy and safe to explore and they have amazing formations of stalagmites and stalactites!

[1] Diros Caves (Mani area)

diros cave

By Koppi2 at de.wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=15892818

[2] The Cave of Lakes (Arcadia area)

cave of lakes[3] Kapsia Caves (Arcadia area)

kapsia caves

Related tours that include or can include this destination:

5-Day Tour of the Mythical Peloponnese

The Ultimate 7-Day Greek Experience

Sparta & Mystras Day Tour

Cave of Lakes, Ancient Corinth & Canal, Odontotos Rack Railway Day Tour

KARDAMYLI

Kardamyli Village

Kardamyli

It’s easy to see why Kardamyli was one of the seven cities offered to Achilles by Agamemnon. Amazing beauty all around! This tiny village has one of the prettiest settings in the Peloponnese, located between the amazing blue of the Messinian Gulf and the Taÿgetos Mountain range.

Kardamili

Patrick and Joan Leigh Fermor loved and admired Greece and decided to build their home in Kardamyli where they lived for the rest of their lives. In 1996, they donated their “house” to the Benaki Museum (a must-visit while in Athens) which is now open to the public with scheduled visits and guided tours.

The surrounding mountain villages have wonderful nooks and crannies to explore, with ancient churches and excellent tavernas. Of course, Kardamyli is only the beginning of the Mani peninsula to follow and amaze the visitor!

Kardamyli

Related tours that include or can include this destination:

5-Day Tour of the Mythical Peloponnese

The Ultimate 7-Day Greek Experience

Sparta & Mystras Day Tour

NESTOR’S PALACE

Nestor’s Palace

Pylos (Italian: Navarino), is a large bay and a town on the west coast of the Peloponnese, in the district of Messenia. Occupied as early as the Middle Bronze Age, the site is dominated by a monumental structure, known as Nestor’s palace, which is the best preserved of the existing Mycenean palaces. Built in the Late Bronze Age (1300 B.C.), the palace consists of 105 ground floor apartments. The most important compartments of the palace are the big “throne room”, with its circular heath, a room with a clay bath tube, and stores with numerous storage jars. The walls of the palace were decorated with beautiful frescos.

Pylos

Pylos

5-Day Tour of the Mythical Peloponnese

The Ultimate 7-Day Greek Experience

Sparta & Mystras Day Tour

METHONI

Castle of Methoni

The castle of Methoni lies at the southernmost point of the west coast of the Peloponnese, in a place that had been fortified since the 7th century BC. Until 1204 AD it was used as a fort by the Byzantines, while in 1209 AD the Venetians, according to the treaty of Sapienza, became the rulers of the area. During the first era of Venetian occupation (1209-1500), Methoni was established as a financial center and commercial port and the town reached its peak. It was then that the magnificent castle was erected with its massive fortification walls, one of the most distinctive defensive structures of medieval Venetian architecture.

Methoni

In 1500 the Sultan Bayezid II (1447-1512) seized the castle of Methoni, initiating a period of turbulent history and prolonged decline in the region. By 1685 the Venetian force under Francesco Morosini (1618-1694) reconquered Peloponnese, but the Ottomans came back in 1715; this time their dominance was complete and would remain unchallenged until the early 19th century Greek War of Independence. Methoni became the seat of the Pasha of Western Messenia until 1828 when it was liberated by the Moreas expedition force led by General Nicolas Maison.

Methoni
Today, the castle is in an excellent state of preservation, while considerable remains of the medieval town still survive within its area: the Byzantine church of St. Sofia, the 1833 church of the Transformation, erected by the French liberating force (1828-1833), the Turkish baths, along with ruins of urban buildings.
Between 1500 and 1573, on the rocky islet to the south of the castle, the Ottomans built Bourtzi (meaning tower); this was an octagonal fort aimed to reinforce the defensive system of the area, but it also served as a prison and torture chamber. [Source: Greek Travel Pages]

5-Day Tour of the Mythical Peloponnese

The Ultimate 7-Day Greek Experience

Sparta & Mystras Day Tour

MESSENE

Ancient Messene

This is not to be confused with Ancient Mycenae near Nafplio town! This is Ancient Messene; probably the best and very much unknown site in Greece. It’s the size and the so many still-standing “ruins” that make the Messene so unique. Still not easy to access if you are planning day tours from Athens like a typical tourist! You can easily included in any Peloponnese multi-day tour.

ancient Messene private tour

Not far is another must-visit. The amazing temple of Epikourios Apollo.

epicurius apollo By Carole Raddato from FRANKFURT, Germany – The Temple of Apollo Epikourios at Bassae, Arcadia, Greece, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=37881045epicurius apollo By Edward Dodwell – From Byzantine Museum of Athens, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=68757570

5-Day Tour of the Mythical Peloponnese

The Ultimate 7-Day Greek Experience

Sparta & Mystras Day Tour

ARCADIA

Arcadia Villages

[1] Dimitsana Village

The most popular destination for the Greeks!

dimitsana

[2] Stemnitsa

The jewelress’ village!

stemnitsa

[3] Lousios Gorge

Cliff-hanging Monasteries

monasteries

monastery dimitsana

Laggadia

The stone-builders’ village!

Lagadia

Related tours that include or can include this destination:

Cliff-hanging Monasteries, Mountain Villages of Peloponnese, Lousios Gorge & River: Day Tour

The Ultimate 7-Day Greek Experience

Sparta & Mystras Day Tour

Cave of Lakes, Ancient Corinth & Canal, Odontotos Rack Railway Day Tour

5-Day Tour of the Mythical Peloponnese

[ 2 ] AUTHENTIC UNIQUE & BEAUTIFUL

Central & North Greece

SYRRAKO

Syrrako Village

At an altitude of 1,200 m there is a whole village dressed in grey stone. It seems like the stones give birth to stones! Above the gorge of Kalarritikos River a narrow, winding road will take the visitor to this bucolic village. The village only had one resident of the village, but nowadays quite a few have returned.

sirako

Once you pass the stone gate and go up the paved street that leads into the village, you will forget the difficult trip. The stone-builders of the village made the buildings look like pieces of art. Syrrako was built sometime around the 15th century A.D. and preserves the traditional architecture of the Epirus region. Stone multi-storey houses, slate roofs, stone-paved streets, carved fountains with running water and the absence of motor vehicles, all contribute in maintaining the traditional color in tact. Syrrako has been designated as preserved settlement. Both Syrrako & Kalarrytes (next in the list) villages belong to the Tzoumerka area which is a place unexplored by many. It has treasures that have not yet been discovered and are waiting patiently.

KALARRITES

Kalarrites Village

Stone houses are built according to the traditional Epirotic architecture in a magical location under gorgeous imposing mountains. Kalarrites has been famous from the period of Turkish domination for the incomparable art of its silversmiths.kalarites

The village is entirely built with stone by the local stone-builders. It is very common that you will hear about this village together with its neighbor Syrrako. Nowadays, the visitor should expect no more than 30 residents.
According to archeological findings the area has been inhabited since the Bronze Age! The settlement flourished especially in the 18th century as many of its residents maintained trading houses in major European cities. Impressive mansions of that period, made of stone like the rest of the buildings and paved streets, are still well preserved today. Once there, one can also visit the Silversmithing Museum of the village.
ZAGOROCHORIA

Zagorochoria Villages

The landscapes the visitor encounters in Zagorochoria (villages of Zagori area), the uniqueness of nature, the characteristic local architecture and the local traditional tastes are the experiences that will stay in your memory.

(1) Dikorfo

The beauty of the villages of Zagorochoria lies in their uniformity. Dikorfo is such a village where the local slate prevails in all the constructions, creating this impressive outcome. DIKORFOAn untouched piece of land, with small beautiful guesthouses and tavernas. What else can you ask for?

(2) Dilofo “The Kingdom of Stone”

The well-preserved Dilofo maintains its traditional architecture without any modern interventions and as a result, it has been characterized as a historic region because of its architecture, planning, and folkloric significance. Its atmospheric surroundings consist of well-preserved stone houses and magnificent mansions, narrow cobblestone streets, stone fountains and a fabulous main square.

Dilofo

Dilofo

(3) Tsepelovo

260 residents are more than enough for Tsepelovo to be the largest and livelier village of Zagorochoria. At an altitude of 1,080 meters, Tsepelovo offers us the combination of the stone manors with paved alleys and the evergreen surroundings of mount Tymfi. Most of the residents here are either sheep farmers or loggers something that can be easily seen since the majority of the houses are built with wood in contrast to other villages. You will have the chance to see the beautiful manors, the square, the cultural center of Estia, and the church of Agios Nikolaos that dates back to the 18th century.

(4) Aristi

Aristi is the first village that greets the visitor in western Zagori which is consisted of the villages that are located around the gorge of Vikos, Voidomatis River, and the mountain of Tymfi.

Aristi Zagorochoria[Photo: Ziegler175]

The roads towards Vikos gorge leads initially to the village and a bit further down to the observatory from where you can enjoy the impressive gorge. There are no words to describe this view. Apart from the other sights, you can also see the path that goes down into the gorge. Do not hesitate, go down to the springs of Voidomatis and admire the greatness of nature.

(5) Papigo

Why is Papigo famous? Why lots of people do want to visit this village? The answer is that those that have already visited it describe it as an incredibly beautiful village. Actually, it consists of two villages. The Megalo Papigo is the first you will meet on your way from Ioannina, and the Mikro Papigo is only 3 kilometers away from Megalo.Papigo Zagorochoria[Photo: Ziegler175]

Some say that Megalo Papigo has become touristic and that it has lost its authenticity. However, despite what others say, once you start strolling in the paved alleys you will feel the coziness of a “neat and tidy “ village, your eyes will catch numerous beautiful pictures and your feet will want to walk through all the alleys. The same goes for Mikro Papigo as well, although the view of the natural towers of Astraka is more direct, something that makes it even more unforgettable. Between the two Papigos you will meet an unexpected surprise, Kolibithres or Rogovo Ovires. These beautiful, natural pools are formed when the metallic doors that have been put there, hold the water between the nicely shaped rocks. The view is great as well as the dive. From Mikro Papigo you can take the path that leads to the shelter of Astraka and to the trail up until the Dragonlake. Megalo Papiggo is built on 980 altitudes, 60 km away from Ioannina, the road up to there is generally good but there are 15 consecutive 180 degrees turns that need a bit of caution.

(6) Monodendri

Monodendri is the highest balcony of Vikos. This stone village that dates back to 1360 A.C has developed immensely during the past few years in matters of tourism.
monodendri zagorochoria

[Photo: EntaXoyas]

Who would not want to see the impressive gorge from a higher point? Oxia is the best spot from where you can admire the gorge of Vikos. It is located 9 kilometers away from Monodendri and you can get there either by car or through a hiking trail that lasts about 1 hour and a half.
VOVOUSA

Vovousa Village

Accompanied by the sound of the waters of the Aoos River, Vovousa is a less known but equally impressive village. The stone bridge that connects its two settlements – the river crosses the village and divides it – dates back to 1748.
vovousa
Although Vovousa is built in the depths of Pindos and is the most designated of all Zagorochoria, its residents do not abandon it and keep on taking care of it and especially during the past few years that there are plans to change the flow of Aoos, something that will harm the village and the ecosystem as well.
METSOVO

Metsovo Town

Metsovo is the jewel of the Epirus region.

Yes, it is a long way away from Athens but it is also a dream come true for any Greek if they can visit it! However, for the visitor to Greece, there are stepping stones like Delphi and Meteora.

This beautiful mountain town combines breathtaking views & nature, plus top-class wine tourism. Even though the year’s average temperature does not exceed 10° C (50°F), this great destination remains lively all year round thanks to its local people who have helped maintain the local culture and capitalize on the natural beauty.

Metsovo

The town and surroundings captures the visitor with the spectacular colors and its unique images. It is built in 1,200 m altitude in an impressive green landscape, and you will admire its museums, the mansions made of stone, the monasteries, the cobbled roads, and enjoy your food or coffee in the central square that is surrounded by restaurants and pretty cafes.

Metsovo

Very few remote towns have managed to maintain their liveliness and develop although they are located high in the mountains and away from big cities. However, Metsovo is one of them with a population of 3,200 residents which includes many young people. Metsovo’s  residents work in cheese manufacturing with “Metsovone and Metsovela” being the famous brands. Tourism is also important for the locals and there are some loggers too.
Related tours that include or can include this destination:

2-Day Tour to the Unesco Sites of Delphi & Meteora

DION

Dion Archeological Park

Dion stands in the northern foothills of Mount Olympus, and exercises complete control over the narrow defile leading from Macedonia to Thessaly region.

dion

The three-floor museum is a 10-minute walk west of the archaeological park, and is packed with votive statues from the sanctuaries at Ancient Dion, plus grave monuments and a large collection of coins.

The park has an area of 150 hectares, of which nearly 50 hectares belong to the urban area and 50 hectares to the sanctuaries. In the former urban area residential buildings, a market square, public buildings, churches, bathhouses, shops, workshops and toilets have been found. The sanctuaries, the theaters and the cemetery are located outside the city.

VERGINA

Archeological Site of Vergina

Vergina in the foothills of Mt. Pieria was the first capital of the ancient kingdom of Macedonia, called Aigai. The site of the Royal Tombs under a modern roof hosts the main excavation, as well as an exhibition of the major finds from the burials. It is protected by UNESCO as world cultural heritage and comprises a unique discovery of an enormous universal impact.vergina

Known as the tomb of Philip II of Macedonia, Vergina is one of the most beautiful sites in Greece.

Vergina is composed of three points of interest: the Macedonian tomb located 50 m on the left, after having crossed the modern Vergina village and taken the direction of the palace on the right; the palace and the theatre of Aegean at the end of this junction; and finally, the royal tombs that we will reach on our way back to the village.

OLD PANTELEIMONAS

Palaios (Old) Panteleimonas

The idyllic Greek village of Old Panteleimonas is built on the green slopes of the tallest mountain in Greece, Mount Olympus at an altitude of 700 meters but also combines the magnificent views of the Aegean Sea.

Palaios Panteleimonas Author: Hermann Hammer

Because of its impressive architecture, Old Panteleimonas is a protected Greek monument. The stone houses with wooden beams and small wooden balconies, the narrow cobbled streets, the square with the ancient plane trees and the impressive church, the handwritten signs, the pots with colorful plants, and the beautiful nature of the surrounding Olympus mountains make Old Panteleimonas like a real-life fairy-tale village. Cars are not allowed which makes this small Greek village an oasis of serenity.