Unknown Greece – Mainland Destinations
Have you heard about the co-capital of Greece?
This harbour city located on the Thermaic Gulf is one of the most important cultural and historical centres of Greece. With more than fifteen UNESCO World Heritage Sites, like the Rotunda and the Church of Agios Dimitrios, three dozen museums and a vibrant coffee scene, Thessaloniki is the perfect spot for travellers that would like to delve deep into the layers of Greek history.
Don’t think it’s all about the museums and ancient sites though.
Thessaloniki knowns how to put on a party and you will be spoilt for choice whether you are looking for a bar by the waterfront or a traditional taverna where you can practice your Greek dancing.
Meteora is a complex of monasteries in northern mainland Greece, that seem to have mushroomed on the most rugged parts of massive rock formations. Impressive be it summer or winter, this a sight that will stay with you for a while.
To visit Meteora allow a few days to stay around the area and visit at least one of the six monasteries. Some of the most impressive are the Grand Meteoron, Varlaam and Rousanou.
A tour guide is indispensable and will offer essential insight into the historical, cultural and religious importance of the area both now and in previous years.
Meteora is also one of the eighteen UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Greece. Why not get started with this one?
You know what else is very close to Thessaloniki? The three-legged peninsula of Halkidiki. History enthusiasts may remember that this is the birthplace of ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle but most locals will tell you that Halkidiki is the ultimate summer vacation spot.
From five-star resorts right on the beach to small bed and breakfast options in traditional villages like Afitos, Halkidiki will charm visitors with its magnificent beaches and array of options.
This cosmopolitan spot is known for its golden sand beaches and beautiful nature. Say hi to all the locals when you get there!
Vergina may not be the main destination of your holiday. But it sure can be combined with any other spot in northern mainland Greece.
Vergina was once the heart of the Ancient Macedonian Kingdom. While you are probably more familiar with Alexander the Great, it is his father who is still buried here
Are you after a completely overlooked region of Greece that combines mountains, lakes, small seaside resorts and some of the most stunning landscapes in Greece? Then the Epirus region in northern Greece is a destination that will be ideal for you in 2021.
Epirus is also home to Vikos gorge, the deepest in the world. I am guessing you didn’t expect to be telling that to your friends when you return from holiday?
Don’t miss exploring the villages of Zagori, or Zagorohoria, and pop by the rockpools in Papingo, that were formed by nature and have freezing waters that are best suited to warm summer days.
This rugged peninsula in the southern part of the Peloponnese is commonly divided into the Outer and Deep Mani.
The culture and spirit of Mani are often compared to that of another proud and untamed region of Greece, Crete. Deep sorrows and joyful occasions are equally celebrated in Mani. One of the most common characterizations you will hear about its people, is tough.
You won’t have to look very far to discover the source of this toughness of spirit. The geographical location of Mani, especially Deep Mani, is all rock and water.
So, that is what visitors find in Mani. Rock, water, castles and great people.
The south eastern coast of the Peloponnese is home to the little island of Monemvasia, separated from the mainland centuries ago due to an earthquake and reconnected recently by a narrow bridge.
The town of Monemvasia is equal amounts magical and isolated, making it an ideal destination for romantic getaways. But it is not only couples that will be enchanted by the charming atmosphere of Monemvasia. Literature enthusiasts can explore the city that inspired the poetry of Giannis Ritsos and get lost in cobblestone streets where cars are not welcome or able to fit for that matter. Well preserved and still inhabited, the castle town of Monemvasia offers a glimpse into an era long gone but with all the amenities of the modern era.
Aimlesss wondering is the best way to explore the secrets of Monemvasia, so pack your walking shoes and your camera because you will need them both.
Τhis charming town in the northern part of mainland Greece is one of the most scenic spots in the country and a perfect all year destination. The lake front is the perfect spot for evening walks in the spring, summer and autumn but come winter the scenery transforms itself with a blanket of ice and snow that offers visitors another side of Greece that few get to explore.
The name of the city comes from its one thriving beaver population, which unfortunately went extinct in the 19th century, probably due to the internationally well-known fur industry. Kastoria is still the main hub for fur and mink garments.
Kastoria is also an important cultural and religious center and its Byzantine heritage can be compared to that of another important treasury of Byzantine history, Thessaloniki. You are guaranteed to come across at least some of the more than 70 churches in the area, so don’t miss visiting a few.
Another castle city of Greece with a rich history and a beautifully preserved historical center that is perfect for walking and explorations is Nafplion.
This is a city that was always meant for greatness. Its strategic location made it a desirable and advantageous space for conquerors to occupy, and there were many. Its importance was recognized in many ways, it was protected from pirate raids with high castle walls and safeguarded as a valuable trade route. Nafplio also served as the first capital of the newly established Greek state, between 1823 and 1834.
The city is named after Nafplios, the son of Poseidon in mythology and supposedly also the original founder. Translating to “seafarer” or “navigator”, it is a name that leaves no doubt as to the connection of the people to the sea and marine occupation.
Prepare to be enchanted by its picturesque cafes and shops, the friendly and relaxing atmosphere and historical richness that doesn’t require you to search very far to witness.
A local favourite, Arahova is where any self-respecting Greek will find themselves in the winter.
Only a few hours from the capital, Arahova offers the perfect weekend escape for skiers and snowboarders or relaxing family holidays by the mountains.
On the slopes of Mount Parnassus, Arahova offers tradition and glamour at the same time. The quirky shops, Greek tavernas, and traditional stone and wood guesthouses will enchant winter visitors the way few other places can.
The panoramic view will let your eyes rest on the sprawling olive groves, the imposing mountain peaks or the slice of blue in the distance that is the Gulf of Corinth. With countless day trip options in the area, like Delphi, Itea, or Galaxidi, a weekend or week away in Arahova is the perfect choice.
Looking for another excellent destination for Greece 2021 that expertly combines mountain and sea? You have just found it. The village of Old Panteleimon is one of my favourite spots for dining and unwinding.
Located in Central Macedonia in the northern part of mainland Greece, this tiny village retains the charm and authenticity of previous times, with stone-built, and cobblestone streets everywhere you turn. The fact that no cars are no allowed, or can fit, through the narrow streets definitely helps. With the mythical Mount Olympus on one side and the crystal clear sandy stretches of coast on the other, you don’t have to pick one over the other.
Get lost in the village streets and make sure to pop into as many shops as you can. You will find locals that are passionate about their village, its history, and the preservation of its character. In recent years, many young people have returned to this small countryside village to establish beautiful eateries and hotels and even a quick walk will confirm the attention to detail when it comes to the streets and decorations.
Don’t leave without tasting some of the local produce like the spoon sweets, liqueurs and mountain honey.
By now you can’t be surprised when I say, that every single city in Greece has a rich historical past that seeps through its streets and neighborhoods and demands to be seen. Galaxidi may not appear so different from other port cities at first glance but you would be wrong to think so.
Recognized as a traditional settlement, Galaxidi was once a leading maritime power. In the 19th century, the expert craftsmanship of the Galaxidians produced the sturdiest ships in all the Mediterranean and fairly earned them the reputation of masters of the seas. Their naval forces eagerly joined the fight in 1821 when the Greek War of Independence broke out against the Ottomans that had seized Greece for over 400 years.
Unfortunately, Galaxidi suffered tremendous losses, its naval force was destroyed and it was twice burned to the ground before being semi-abandoned. The following years brought major changes in the world of shipping with steam engines replacing the sail. In addition, Galaxidi remained practically cut off from the rest of the country from the land until the national road opened in 1963.
This has in many ways created a time capsule of Greek history, architecture and tradition that demands to be seen and makes for an excellent alternative Greek destination for your 2021 plans.
Hope you enjoyed learning more about the unknown destinations in Greece. If you need more help with planning and picking the perfect destinations for Greece in 2021 or beyond, we can help you.