Athenian RivieraThis sheltered coastline, which stretches for 43 miles along the Saronic Gulf, is where Athenians flee in summer to escape the city heat. Pretty whitewashed towns bordered by pine trees offer plenty to the sophisticated traveler.
Cycle along seafront promenades and wander up to modernist Greek Orthodox churches where intricate frescoes of heralding angels adorn the interiors. Walk past crumbling Greek ruins and down steep banks to sheltered pebble beaches, with waves quietly lapping the shore.
Soak in thermal springs with a backdrop of chiseled cliff-faces, sip cocktails in a private beachside cabana, and while away an evening in one of many restaurants, serving freshly caught charred octopus and crispy calamari.
AthensAt Greece’s pulsating heart is Athens, a city of bustling alleyways, authentic eateries serving tasty local fare, and urban laneways beckoning with vibrant energy. History doesn’t impose at every turn, but rather weaves its way into the core of daily happenings. Wander the labyrinth-like alleys of the old Plaka neighborhood where neo-classical architecture lines the quaint, cobblestone streets. Modern and ancient meld poetically here. In the shadow of the Acropolis, sidewalk cafes stocked with freshly baked goods mingle alongside tiny clothing boutiques, jewelry shops, and bustling local tavernas.
EpidaurusThis unique archaeological site that is a live, ancient theater that holds up to 14,000 spectators. The theatre hosted music, singing and dramatic games that were included in the worship of Asclepius. It was also said to heal as there was a belief that the observation of dramatic shows had positive effects on mental and physical health.
Ionian IslandsEnamored with architecture? Don’t miss the Ionian islands. The colorful towns of Corfu debunk the whitewashed walls and blue roofs of neighboring clusters, and instead take influence from the Venetians, French and British who all dipped a toe in their development. Here, warm palettes of straw yellow, pastel pink and orange coat the buildings and the vibe is as cheery as the paint selection.
Seeking a single stop for complete travel immersion, savvy travelers will appreciate Kefalonia. The hills make for perfect hiking, pebble beaches are scattered around the island, and for Instagram-worthy snaps, towns like Assos deliver fairy-tale settings in droves. Clifftops descend to adorable beach towns and the color of the water surrounding the island alone makes it worth a visit; the electric neon blue sea results from falling limestone that chemically reacts with seawater. Surely this is what was meant by ‘blue heaven’.
MonemvasiaMonemvasia is fondly known as the ‘Gibraltar of the East’. Linked to the mainland by a small causeway, this medieval city hosts a fortress and offers dramatic views of the tall cliffs backing it. Stroll the tiny, narrow lanes and find ruined houses and Byzantine churches dating back to the 13th century. Climb to the upper town for an up-close look at the castle. Wander the lower town lined with Venetian mansions, many of which have been lovingly restored. Coastal views peek through the pathways that wind between terra-cotta-colored homes.
NafplionThis sprawling, first capital of modern Greece creeps its way up the cliffside to the imposing Palamidi fortress, overlooking the sea, and the fortified Bourtzi islet. The main square is a well-preserved sight from the 19th century and is paved in marble. Surrounding the ‘Platia’ are historical buildings, a mosque, several cafes, the archaeological museum, and an Art-Deco-styled bank. Stroll along the harbor and drink in the history and beauty of this Grecian wonder where Athenians flock in droves.
PeloponneseThis giant, claw-shaped body of land juts southward into the Mediterranean Sea. The peninsula is joined to the rest of mainland Greece by the Isthmus of Corinth, and lures Athenians and curious travelers alike. Rugged mountains are fringed by dense forests and olive trees, and a network of walking trails crisscross the terrain, often taking the keen hiker past concealed churches or ancient ruins. Medieval towns with crumbling castles dot the landscape, while idyllic—or even shipwreck—beaches, captivating caves, and centuries-old monasteries all beckon to be explored.
Saronic IslandsWith the closest proximity to Athens, the remarkably scenic Saronic Islands offer a relaxing atmosphere, crystal clear water, cobbled alleyways, and offers immersive travel experiences for families and couples alike. Between them, you can enjoy easy sailing adventures, authentic architecture blended with elegant mansions, and casual strolls to local ancient ruins.