7 Alternative travel destinations in Greece

The iconic Greek islands such as Mykonos, Santorini and Ios have a reputation for being expensive and crowded holiday destinations, but there’s more to Greece than the big names.

You can have a cheap holiday in Greece, and still enjoy the crystal clear waters, lively waterfront towns, ancient monasteries and beautiful beaches that you’ve been dreaming about. See another side of Greece, with some of these beautiful alternatives to the most popular hot spots.

Halkidiki

“Halki-huh?”

This is your first clue that the sprawling white-sand beaches and traditional Greek towns of this region in Northern Greece has kept it’s natural beauty quiet for the most part – a breath of fresh air after battling crowds in Athens and Mykonos.

Halkidiki

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The region is formed on three peninsulas. Kassandra plays a part in Ancient Greek mythology as the site of the Battle of Giants, but today is popular in the summer with visitors seeking sun, seafood & sand at the lively town of Nea Potidea. Sithonia is covered in lush green forest and Mt Athos, the world’s only monastic state, is home to twenty historic monasteries situated around the cliffs, and ancient libraries with original religious scripts.

Dodecanese Islands 

Twelve large islands and countless smaller ones in the south-eastern Aegean make up the Dodecanese Islands, the sunniest corner of Greece.

Kos

Grand Roman, Hellenistic and Byzantine ruins clash happily with laidback modern life in Kos, one of the largest Dodecanese Islands. The Castle of Knights stands proudly near the centre of the harbour, adding medieval charm to a stroll along the lively waterfront.

Rhodes

Greeks, Ottomans and Italians have all left their mark on ancient Rhodes, and today you can still see the evidence of the island’s multicultural upbringing, with Byzantine, Roman and Hellenistic architecture concentrated unlike anywhere else in Greece.

Escape the touristr traps in the New Town area, and hit the back streets for tavernas and bars filled with locals.

Rhodes

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Crete

They say that visiting Crete is like leaving Greece and enter another country, so independent and proud are the inhabitants of this enormous island. Crete is the birthplace of the mighty Minoan civilisation and home to the legendary Palace of Knossos. Cretans uphold traditional customs, traditions and their world-renowned healthy cuisine with gusto, making Crete an ideal destination for immersing yourself in a foreign way of life.

Argosaronic Islands 

This group of small islands are scattered in the sea near Athens, making an easy side trip from the nation’s busy capital.

Hydra

With winding stone-cobbled streets, an island-wide car ban and traditonal stone mansions, visiting Hydra is like stepping back in time. Check out the island’s many beaches, churches, museums and monasteries and spend the evening eating fresh seafood along the waterfront.

Hydra

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Agkistri

With only 1000 inhabitants, it’s the towering pine forests, sparkling blue water and white sandy beaches that steal the show on Agkistri. There are a couple of historical sights on the island, but most travellers are drawn in for the great outdoors.

Aegina

Only 16.5 nautical miles from Athens, Aegina is an easy daytrip from the capital, although you’ll want to stay the night.

A former temporary capital of Greece, Aegina is full of beautifully-preserved Ancient Greek temples and monasteries, such as the historically important Temple of Aphea Athena, which forms the “holy triangle” of antiquity, as it’s site forms an equilateral triangle with the Parthenon and the Temple of Poseidon at Sounion.

What is your favourite destination in Greece?

  • My second favorite Greek destination now is Parga, of course Santorini is the first. :-p

  • Bec

    Great post! Greece tops it on my list of favourite countries I have visited! The town of Oia in Santorini was definitely my favourite! I love how you have written about alternatives to the normal touristy Greek Islands! After visiting some of the major islands like Mykonos and Santorini (would definitely go again), I am looking into some other islands that are just as beautiful! I would love to go to the small island of Kasos one day, it is located between Crete and Karpathos and my family comes from there so would love to make a visit! My parents have been to Greece twice and highly recommend Rhodes and Hydra 🙂

    • Awesome! It’s amazing how many beautiful Greek islands there are, it makes for a never ending bucket list doesn’t it! Really cool that you can visit an island your family came from. I loved Oia too, would also love to go back, but explore some quieter places too!

  • Last summer I spent few days with my friends in Halkidiki on Kassandra peninsula. I found the place much more affordable that the islands in the south of Greece. There are many families with young children and the beaches are gorgeous, especially the Glarokavos. You can see more about here http://wp.me/p3QljT-B1

    • Cool, thanks Geri! Glad you enjoyed it 🙂

  • I loved Rhodes and Crete! Great pictures by the way!

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