A Local’s Guide: 12 Top Tips for an Authentic Experience When Visiting Greece

The mention of Greece probably sends your mind to those world-famous sunsets in Santorini, right? But trust me, there’s so much more to this sun-kissed land than the postcard views we’ve all double-tapped on Instagram. Here are 12 things you can explore for an authentic visit to Greece, according to online users who stay there or visit.

1. Discover the Authentic Naxos

Naxos island, Greece
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Naxos, renowned for its extraordinary hospitality, offers more than just beautiful beaches. Venture into the island’s smaller villages to experience genuine Greek culture, enjoy the remarkable architecture, and perhaps catch a traditional religious parade. Unlike the often-crowded spots like Santorini, this less-touristy destination allows for peaceful exploration.

2. Experience the Best of Santorini and Mykonos

Santorini, Greece
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While Santorini and Mykonos are known for being tourist magnets, they hold an undeniable charm. Stay off the beaten path and explore these islands as they are meant to be seen. Don’t miss the stunning hike between Fira and Oía on Santorini during sunset, offering an almost private, breathtaking experience.

3. Explore Greece Beyond Summer

Athens, Greece Monastiraki square
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Santorini’s beauty endures beyond the peak tourist season. Visiting during the off-season reveals a different, more intimate side of famous spots, uncrowded and equally enchanting. Pair this with a trip to Athens and the majestic Meteora for a diverse experience encompassing history, seaside views, and stunning mountainscapes.

4. Savor the Unexpected Greek Delicacies

Woman eating greek salad
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Push beyond the typical tourist fare and try authentic Greek cuisine. Instead of just spanakopita, delve into treats like tyropita, a delicious cheese pastry. Enjoying the local gastronomy will connect you to Greek culture on a deeper, more flavorful level. Many love digging into Greek cuisine, known for using fresh, natural ingredients that haven’t been frozen or processed. It’s all about genuine flavors and wholesome goodness on a plate!

5. Embrace the Freedom of Greece’s Open Beaches

Paleokastritsa, Corfu island, Greece
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One of Greece’s gifts is its open, public beaches. Take an impromptu detour during your travels to swim at any inviting beach. This spirit of freedom and spontaneity enhances the joy of exploring Greece’s natural beauty. With over 8,000 miles of coastline skirting the Aegean and Ionian seas, Greece boasts an extensive array of seaside landscapes. Much of this expansive coastline remains untamed and wild, offering visitors a unique blend of natural beauty and tranquil spaces away from the bustling tourist hotspots.

6. Immerse Yourself in Greece’s Café Culture

Woman drinking coffee in cafe
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In Greece, coffee isn’t just a beverage; it’s a vital part of daily life, deeply ingrained in both public and private spheres for centuries. To truly understand Greece, you must slow down and soak in its leisurely pace. Spend time in a streetside café, sipping local beverages and watching daily life unfold. This simple pleasure is a quintessential part of the Greek experience.

7. Witness Breathtaking Sunsets in the Cyclades

Milos Island Greece
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While Santorini is famous for its sunsets, other islands in the Cyclades offer equally stunning views. Seek out the beauty of places like Milos and Naxos, or explore the marbled paths of Tinos and the scenic trails of Andros. These islands promise serene experiences and postcard-perfect scenes. Perched on Santorini’s volcanic cliffs, this picturesque town boasts stunning Aegean Sea views from its walkways, rooftop terraces, and elegant mansions.

8. Dive Into the Vibrant Culture of Thessaloniki

Aristotelous square, the heart of Thessaloniki city, Greece
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Greece’s laid-back seafront city, Thessaloniki, brims with youthful energy, artistic expression, and exciting nightlife. Its rich cultural heritage vibrantly thrives through melodies, exhibitions, galleries, and lively debates among intellectuals and philosophers. The city’s rich Byzantine history complements its modern vibrancy, creating a unique cultural tapestry that invites exploration and enjoyment.

9. Enjoy the Serenity of Car-Free Hydra

Donkeys at the Hydra island in a summer day in Greece
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Hydra offers a unique escape with its absence of cars. Its tranquil environment is perfect for leisurely strolls through quaint streets, challenging hikes on rugged trails, and refreshing swims in the clear sea. It’s an ideal spot for a relaxed, slower-paced holiday. As an utterly car-free haven, the unique charm of this Greek Island is preserved by navigating on foot, by mule, sea taxi, or beach boat. This approach to transportation enhances the visitor experience, making every journey part of the adventure and immersing travelers in the island’s rich, unhurried atmosphere.

10. Unravel the Secrets of Ancient Knossos

Minoan Palace of Knossos on Crete, Greece
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Though a civilization shrouded in mystery, the Minoans left behind the intriguing Palace of Knossos. Delve into this ancient world by touring the site and complementing your visit with the artifacts housed in the Heraklion Archaeological Museum, bridging the gap between the past and present. Its sprawling palaces, bright frescoes, and detailed artifacts glimpse an advanced ancient society. The site, considered King Minos’s mythical labyrinth, immerses visitors in its rich, awe-inspiring history.

11. Unwind on the Idyllic Beaches of Crete

Crete, Greece
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Crete boasts diverse landscapes and cultures, but its beaches are the real jewels. Whether it’s the exotic beauty of Elafonisi or the serene shores of Falasarna, Crete’s beaches promise a heavenly escape for every traveler, underscored by the island’s rich culinary heritage. You should consider visiting Crete, the biggest and most populous of the Greek islands. Not only is it the fifth largest island in the Mediterranean Sea, trailing only Sicily, Sardinia, Cyprus, and Corsica, but it also ranks as the 88th largest island globally. Its significant size offers a diverse range of attractions and activities for visitors.

12. Explore the Enchanting Zagorohoria Villages

Zagorochoria, Epirus, Western Greece
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The fairy-tale-like charm of Zagorohoria is a must-see in Greece. Nestled in the mountains, these stone villages offer incredible hiking opportunities through pristine nature. Visiting during different seasons presents a dynamically changing scenery, each equally captivating and worth experiencing. Zagori dazzles with its stunning natural landscapes, ideal for outdoor adventures, and distinctive architecture characterized by stone, wood, and slate. The majestic stone mansions against the lush, rolling forests make it an unmissable travel destination.

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Who doesn’t like going on a relaxing (or strenuous, depending on your preference) hike that isn’t far from the middle of a bustling city? Millions of Americans hike at least once yearly, and most live close to bigger towns offering nearby trails just out of city limits. Recently, experienced hikers met in an online discussion to reveal the best U.S. cities that provide the quickest access to excellent hikes.

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12 Famous American Small Towns That You Can Visit Today

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10 Expert Travel Hacks for Solo Female Tourists

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Traveling solo is challenging, especially for females. While the thrill of exploring a new place is exhilarating, there are plenty of tips and tricks savvy travelers swear by. Recently, solo female travelers met in an online discussion, put their heads together, and came up with a list of the essential travel hacks for any woman embarking on a solo adventure of a lifetime.

11 Tips for Staying Calm and Collected While Flying

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For millions of travelers worldwide, flying is the opposite of a calm and peaceful experience. Flight anxiety is real, and sometimes it can be crippling, especially during turbulence. However, hope is not lost! Recently, frequent fliers met in an online discussion to reveal the best tips and strategies for staying calm during your next flight.



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