Greece is one of the most visited countries on the European continent. Most of the tourists who visit the beautiful country visit the mainstream destinations like Athens, Santorini and Mykonos. If you are someone who loves to explore the hidden gems on your travels, then this post is for you. Read on to learn about 12 hidden gems in Greece off-the-beaten path as recommended by different travel bloggers.
By Timpani from likethedrum.com
Paros is a small island located in the Cyclades island group and is one of the most beautiful hidden gems in Greece off-the-beaten path. The most popular places to stay on the island are Parikia and Naoussa. Parikia is the capital of Paros, and tends to have more affordable accommodations and is close to public transport like the main port. Naoussa is a 15/20 minute bus or car ride from Parikia, and has more luxurious accommodations and a high-end town center. Also in Naoussa, you’ll find the best gelato you have ever tasted at Nonna Crema.
As for things to do in Paros, take a boat tour with Captain Ben. On the tour, you’ll hop around to a few spots where you can swim in the beautiful turquoise water, lay out on a beach, and slide off the back of the boat.
If you’re planning on doing some Greek island hopping, spend a couple of days in Paros in between Santorini and Mykonos. By Ferry, Paros is a little under 2 hours away from Santorini and 40 minutes to 1.5 hours from Mykonos. Also nearby are the islands Naxos and Antiparos, which both make for good day trips from Paros. Naxos is a 30 minute ferry away while Antiparos is only a 7 minute journey. There’s plenty of tour options to visit these islands, but you can also go it alone.
By Annelies from travelersanddreamers.com
If you are looking for some true hidden gems in Greece off-the-beaten path, to escape all the crowds, then the Pelion peninsula is your best bet. Pelion is located in Magnesia, Thessaly on the mainland of Greece.
The landscape is dominated by Mount Pelion, which was the homeland of Chiron the Centaur according to Greek mythology. The area is known for its rugged beauty with lush greenery, hidden coves, and pebbles beaches. It’s the perfect place if you want to experience authentic Greek culture away from mass tourism. Pelion is a great destination to visit both in summer and in wintertime. Because of the 1651 meters high mountain, you can ski during the winter while the summer is excellent for hiking, snorkeling, beach hopping, kayaking, or doing yoga on one of the fantastic beaches of Pelion.
The peninsula is dotted with some lovely villages and doing a road trip through the peninsula is a great way to soak in the local flair. You must allow yourself at least two weeks to explore the area. Things that should be on your bucket list are visiting the cute seaside settlement of Damouchari, discovering the unspoiled cove beach Fakistra and getting lost in Greek mythology while doing the Centaur walk in Portaria. Aside from that, indulging in local Greek cuisine at one of the local restaurants is a must-do!
By Vidyut from triplyzer.com
Home of the famous sculpture Venus de Milo, Milos is an island destination in Greece not to be missed.
A southern gem of the Cyclades island chain, it is circled by the beautiful Aegean Sea.
The island is a paradise of clear azure waters and white sandy beaches. But the first that catches your eye is its stunning rocky landscape.
Surprisingly, contrary to its small size, the island offers numerous attractions and activities for you to enjoy.
Make visiting the lunar-like landscape of Sarakiniko a priority. The sight of unique rock formations jutting out onto the azure sea is truly an out-of-the-world experience! Note that this is a virgin natural area, devoid of modern amenities, so come prepared as such. Avoid coming here in the afternoon, and carry water, food, and sunscreen as bare necessities.
The island is blessed with innumerable natural beaches, and its Kleftiko Beach takes the prize of being the best.
Walking the narrow streets of its quaint fishing villages with whitewashed houses and pink bougainvillea is a delight. Plaka is the top choice here, with plenty of accommodation options.
Milos has some fantastic archeological sites to explore, such as the Ancient Theater of Tripiti and the Catacombs of Milos, both Roman in their origin. To round off the visit, see the archeological museum in Plaka which displays artifacts from the local digs.
You’ll need a week to fully live the experience of Milos, but if you are in for a shorter visit I’d recommend setting aside at least 2-3 days.
To get here from Athens, the Greek mainland, either take a flight or a ferry from the Piraeus port. Though travelers unusually visit Milos as part of their island hopping in the Aegean Sea.
Vlychada Beach, Santorini
by Mary from brbymary.com
Vlychada beach is a hidden gem in Greece, located on Santorini Island and is definitely a beach you should visit while visiting the most famous Greek Island. You will find Vlychada beach in the south of the island, only 18 minutes from Thira, at the end of a well maintained road.
Vlychada is often overlooked by tourists who prioritise more famous beaches like Red beach. However, it is quite the gem as it has got unique tall white cliffs who are carved like canyons. The cliffs overlook the wide and long beach which is made of a mix of white sand and black sand and pebbles. As the beach is very long, there is plenty of room for everyone. From tanning and exploring the canyons to snorkelling and getting a drink at the beach bar, you can easily spend the day at the beach.
The beach is easily accessible by car but can also be accessed by bus. There is a small parking lot right by the beach where you can park your car or ATV. As the carpark is small, it is recommended to arrive in the morning. However, as it is not the busiest beach in Santorini, you do not need to come super early.
By Sasha | The Alternative Travel Guide
Nea Makri is a little-known and non-touristy place, a small Greek town 32 km from Athens. It is located in Marathon valley, where the famous Battle of Marathon took place in 490 BC during the Greek-Persian wars.
Nearby is the city of Marathon and the port of Rafina, one of the major ports of Attica. The coastline, bathed by the waters of the Euboean gulf, offers stunning views of one of the largest Greek islands – Euboea.
Neo Makri is immersed in greenery, so the air is particularly good here.
Superb sandy beaches and crystal clear water are inseparable attributes of this place. Along the coastline, there are comfortable hotels and an abundance of restaurants, bars, and discos that will not allow you to get bored. There is also a picturesque little port for fishing boats.
The close proximity to Athens will allow you to see the capital’s sights. A great option is to choose Nea Makri as your base and take day trips to Athens.
The large port of Rafina is 5 kilometers from the city, from where you can sail to the islands of Andros, Syros, Tinos, and others. This is very convenient!
The town’s main attraction is the Monastery of the Annunciation and St. Ephraim.
In Nea Makri, there is a developed infrastructure, several supermarkets, many mini markets, various clothing stores to suit all tastes and pockets, and many cafes and restaurants, especially on the coast.
Nea Makri is a great spot for a relaxing beach holiday and should definitely be a stop on your tour of the hidden gems in Greece off-the-beaten path. You can spend either 2 days or 2 weeks here if you like magnificent beaches and less touristy places.
By Abi from I’m Going On An Adventure
Greece, once the most powerful civilisation in the ancient world. It has a rich culture and famous for its history; it’s scattered with ancient ruins and home to some of the most romantic locations on earth! It’s somewhere everyone should visit and if you’re thinking of going then you should most definitely check out Parga, one of the beautiful hidden gems in Greece off-the-beaten path.
This breathtaking picturesque town, which is located in northwestern Greece, is made up of colourful houses built into the slopes and hidden in the mountains. The stunning views encompass the small bay, beach and turquoise waters. There are tons of boutique shops rolling from one beautiful stall to the next selling all sorts of Grecian souvenirs from natural olive products, handmade jewellery, unique accessories, clothing and local art.
The town is made for shopping, relaxing with cocktails, eating authentic Greek food and watching sunsets. There’s a few beaches near by, the closest being Vastos bay, but if you’re up for some excursions then Sivota, Preveza, and Lefkada are a must!
It’s not the easiest to reach as there’s no airport close by, it’s therefore an exciting adventure of flying, ferry and buses, generally from Corfu. But it’s worth it! We were extremely lucky to have sailed from Corfu – which is another great way to reach Parga – have you ever stayed on a sailing boat? We actually lived on one for 6 months!
One thing which can’t be missed is a walk to the top of Parga Town and the ruined walls of it’s Venetian castle, a vestige of the Venetian rule! It’s a gentle walk and the views are stunning, you can see all sides of the bay and into the mountains. You will also notice a small white church on an island just outside the bay, this can be visited by taxi boat, which is a pleasant little walk around to loose a couple of hours.
Old Pyli Castle, Kos
By Lowri Thomas from manyotherroads.co.uk
If you are looking for hidden gems in Greece off-the-beaten path, the incredible Dodecanese group of islands is full of them. And for a gem that is absolutely off the beaten path, stop by Kos Island. The Old Pyli Castle is absolutely worth adding to your list.
There are so many reasons why Old Pyli Castle is such a good location to visit. Old Pyli and its castle is full of wonderful views, Greek history and is a spot not many visitors know about. If you are looking for a Greek hidden gem that is less crowded, Old Pyli Castle will hit the spot everytime.
You can find the Byzantine Castle of Pyli just outside the charming Pyli village. This castle dates back to the 9th-12th century and offers some of the most stunning views over Kos. This spot is covered in the most dramatic ruins that are not only amazing for photos, but offer great shade from the Mediterranean sun.
There are lots of winding paths to explore and admiring the views from Pyli Castle Cliff is a must. It’s recommended to spend at least an hour here so you can fully appreciate the fairytale location of Old Pyli. To make the most of your trip to Old Pyli Castle, visit in the morning or late afternoon when the temperatures are cooler.
This hidden gem is a great spot to visit as it’s free and there are lots of parking options outside. One of the best things to do here is to visit the Oria taverna. This rustic taverna is not only a great location to rest your feet from all the walking, it has the ultimate views over Old Pyli. Make sure you try the traditional homemade lemonade here, it’s the best!
By Chrysoula from Greece Travel Ideas
One of the most beautiful hidden gems in Greece off-the-beaten path is the island of Lemnos. Lemnos is located in the Northern part of the Aegean Sea very close to the borders with Turkey. According to Greek Mythology, the volcanic island of Lemnos was the home of Hephaestus, the god of fire.
Lemnos can be reached by ferry from the cities of Athens, Kavala, and Thessaloniki and by plane from Athens and Thessaloniki. During summer there are charter flights from various European cities landing directly on the island. The island is quite big so in order to see as much as possible, it is recommended to rent a car and stay a minimum of 5 days.
Lemnos is home to sandy beaches with crystal clear waters such as Mikro and Megalo Fanaraki, Nevgatis, Agios Ioannis, and Keros that is very popular for windsurfing and kite surfing. On the island, you will also find some unique volcanic formations in the area of Falakro, and a desert near Gomati. The island has many archaeological sites worth visiting such as the castle in Myrina where you can spot deers, Ancient Poliochni which is thought to be one of the oldest settlements in Europe, Ancient Ifestia, and the Temple of Kavirio. Other activities include hiking at Panagia Kakaviotissa, a Church without a Roof, trying the local wine, and enjoying fresh fish at the seaside villages of Moudros and Kotsinas.
By Erki from Genem Travels
On the western side of Greece lies one of the biggest islands in the country. One of the most beautiful hidden gems in Greece, Lefkada island is part of the Ionian islands, which are known for crystal clear turquoise waters, sandy beaches, and lots of greenery.
Lefkada is one of the few islands in Greece that are directly connected with the mainland by a bridge. On the island, you will find lots of villages and cities with different vibes. The most notable cities are Lefkada Town, Nydri, and Vasiliki. These would be the best places to stay on the island.
Lefkada’s white sandy beaches are one of the main reasons why this island is visited. Agios Nikitas, Kathisma, and iconic Porto Katsiki beaches are just a few scenic places on Lefkada.
When you want to seek more local life and culture, then the Egklouvi village region is the best place on Lefkada island to see that. Also close to that you will find the highest peaks. From Ekklisia Profiti Ilias you can admire the best panoramic views over the Lefkada.
The island is also known for its watersports. Kite- and windsurfing are especially popular among the locals and for other water sports enthusiasts worldwide. Everybody can try this out because there are plenty of companies that offer instructions even for beginners.
Lefkada island can be discovered within a couple of days. If you are more into beaches and traveling slow, then probably more days to a week. Also, I recommend visiting Rachi restaurant as it offers the island’s best sunsets.
By Dean and Laynni at Routinely Nomadic
There are many great beaches in Greece, and on Crete in particular. However, how many can say they have pink sand? Not many, I’d guess. The shocking colour of the sand on beautiful Elafonisi Beach is one of the main reasons people brave the narrow, winding roads of Crete leading down into the remote southwestern corner of the largest island in Greece. This is definitely one of the most beautiful hidden gems in Greece and should not be missed if you are visiting Crete.
Fascinating pink sand aside, though, there is plenty to attract visitors to this surprisingly underrated Greek beach. Featuring a sandy island connected to the mainland by a narrow isthmus that nearly disappears at high tide, your first glimpse of gorgeous Elafonisi Beach as you come down the hill is mesmerizing.
The beach itself is beautiful, of course, with a gentle ocean slope on one side and calm, shallow lagoon on the other, offering both excellent snorkelling (sea turtles are common) and kitesurfing. But Elafonisi Island is also a fascinating place to explore. Full of scenic, protected sand dunes, it is possible to walk all the way to the hill at the end where you’ll find a historic cave, old lighthouse and another fantastic viewpoint looking back toward the beach and mainland.
While far from urban, there are enough facilities at Elafonisi Beach to meet all your needs during a long, leisurely beach day. There are sunbeds and umbrellas for rent, as well as various water sports equipment, and there are showers, toilets and a pair of snack shops. There are even a couple of restaurants up the hill if you need something a little more substantial.
Elafonisi Beach is a scenic 1-hour drive from the city of Kissamos and roughly 1.5 hours from the international airport in Chania.
By Ingrid from Ingrid Zen Moments
Chrissi, also known as the Greek Carribean, is set to the southeast of Crete island and is one of the most untouched hidden gems in Greece off-the-beaten path. So close to Greece’s largest island, yet still, a hidden gem skipped by many visitors that prefer to go to the more popular Balos Lagoon.
The island can be easily reached from Eastern Crete, with daily cruise departures from the small town of Ierapetra. The boat ride takes less than one hour one way, but it is advisable to book your ride in advance. Chrissi is a small island without any inhabitants, mostly known for its beautiful sandy beaches and the turquoise waters surrounding it.
Even though you cannot stay overnight, a day trip will be enough for you to understand why this place is a hidden gem. Come prepared for snorkeling, bring your sunscreen and something to cover your head because you won’t find much shade on this island. In spite of the fact that on the island there are 2 small shops, it is advisable to bring some snacks and water along, especially if you are traveling with kids.
St. Nicholas church and the lighthouse are the main attractions on the island, thus it is easily said this is a natural gem.
Anafonitria Monastery, Zakynthos
By Paulina from UKeveryday
Just 10 minutes drive from one of the most beautiful beaches in the world – Naviago Beach, there is a small village that is still unknown to many tourists. Anafonitria in Zakynthos is a great stop during a road trip on this beautiful Greek Island. It is truly a hidden gem in Greece off-the-beaten path.
It is located only 10 minutes drive from Porto Vromi and 40 minutes from Laganas. If you want to try some delicious traditional dishes, forget about tourist destinations where most of the businesses are not even owned by Greeks. When visiting Anafonitria, you can support local communities and learn a bit about the history.
Anafonitria monastery is a lovely place to visit for a short time or stop for a meal nearby. This outstanding landmark from the 15th century will make you feel like getting back in time. You will not find many hotels or big shops in this area, only local markets where you can buy some handmade products.
One of the best things to buy when visiting Anafonitria is olive oil which is a great idea as a souvenir from Greece. If you don’t want to spend money, you can just walk around the Anafonitria Monastery which is a perfect place for taking incredible pictures which include the historic background of Zakynthos island.
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