Greece is one of the most picturesque destinations in the world. When imagining Greece, visions of exotic islands, endless sandy beaches, breathtaking sunsets and even the ancient Acropolis may come to mind. Or, you may be daydreaming of that typical whitewashed Greek village juxtaposed against the glittering blue ocean.
Although there are some truly stunning whitewashed Greek villages set upon cliffs, the country also has some other unique small towns, ones that sit among mountains, near medieval and ancient ruins, ones filled with colourful art and architecture and of course, sleepy little fishing villages set along the sea. Explore them all via this list. Here are some of the best villages in Greece.
1. Assos, Kefalonia
The village of Assos is sleepy and small, located on a tiny horseshoe strip of land on the island of Kefalonia. Admire the colourful buildings lining the sea or enjoy a relaxing afternoon on the town’s scenic beach. Visits to the Assos Castle, a Venetian fortification set on a nearby hill, are best done before the heavy heat of the day sets in.
2. Oia, Santorini
We couldn’t leave one of Greece’s most famous villages off the list. This is the quintessential Greek island clifftop village, with whitewashed buildings with blue accents overlooking the sea below. Oia is famous for being one of the best spots in Santorini to admire the sunset. It’s also apt for dining, drinking or strolling the winding, hilly streets with someone you love.
3. Fidakia, Central Greece
The Greek islands aren’t the only destinations in the country with memorable tiny towns. The serene mountaintop village of Fidakia in central Greece is surrounded by verdant pine forests with rolling hills and peaks in the distance. Nearby, pay a visit to Greece’s largest artificial lake, Kremasta.
4. Apiranthos, Naxos
Set upon Mount Fanari on the island of Naxos, Apiranthos, visitors can admire the stone streets and buildings in this tiny mountain village. Here, cultural enthusiasts can explore any or all of the five different museums the town features, such as the Natural History Museum or ancient artefacts in the Archaeological Museum.
5. Makrinitsa, Eastern Greece
Located in eastern Greece, Makrinitsa is also known as the “Balcony of Pelion” as it overlooks the famed Mt. Pelion. The whitewashed village is home to many beautiful hiking spots as well as close to 60 traditional Greek fountains. Get ready for a climb if you want to see them all!
6. Olympos, Karpathos
Olympos is known as the most beautiful village on the island of Karpathos (part of the Dodecanese island group). Also known as a “living folklore,” the village dates back to 7 A.D. and currently has a population of around 400. Besides wandering the hilly streets, visitors can check out the main Byzantine-style church, Assumption of the Virgin.
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7. Lindos, Rhodes
Whitewashed buildings sit below the village of Lindos’ famed mountaintop acropolis, featuring the Temple of Athena Lindia, which dates back to B.C. times, as well as the Castle of the Knights of St. John, which dates back to the 14 century. The mix of old and ancient makes this village a special place to explore.
8. Karytaina, Peloponnese
The small, red-roofed village is near the Alfeios River in southern Greece. For gorgeous views of the village, river and surrounding mountain terrain, head up to visit the roofless ruins of the Karytaina Castle. Karytaina also has several historical churches to visit.
9. Molyvos, Lesvos
The village of Molyvos towers over its scenic harbour and the glistening Aegean Sea. Make sure to visit the hilltop castle, as well as the Ottoman Baths of Mithymna, formerly a Greek Hamman that’s now a museum. There’s also a small, rocky strip of beach for those wanting to soak up the rays.
10. Nafplion, Peloponnese
Located in coastal Peloponnese, Nafplion (Nafplio) is a maze-like village perched overlooking the Argolic Gulf. Frequently referred to as one of the most romantic destinations in Greece, wander the streets with your honey hand-in-land, visit a secluded beach cove or explore the hilltop Palamidi castle.
11. Kastraki, Central Greece
Kastraki sits in the shadow of giant stone rocks called Meteora near the Pineios River in central Greece. The small town, which dates back to the 16th century, also features the Holy Monastery of Saint Nicholas Anapafsas at Meteora, delicately perched on one of the many sandstone cliffs.
12. PyRGi, Chios
Known as Greece’s painted village, Pyrgi is the most striking village on the island of Chios by far. An architectural gem made for wandering, Pyrgi’s buildings are decked out in geometric patterns and bright motifs thanks to a special art technique called xysta, which uses lime, volcanic sand and cement as a base.
13. Plaka, Milos
This car-free, hilltop, whitewashed village is similar to Santorini’s Oia, but sees way less action. In fact, Milos, located on the southwesternmost island of the Cyclades is quiet and understated, so if you want a truly magical and serene place to see the sunset, Plaka is your spot. For even better views, hike to the Plaka castle, which overlooks the village and beyond.
If you’re looking for a special getaway, Greece is the place to go. Whether you head to the islands or the mainland, the seaside or the mountains, there’s a beautiful village (or several) just waiting to be explored.
For more idyllic European village inspiration, check out these articles:
- 15 of the most beautiful villages in Europe
- 13 of the most beautiful villages in Portugal
- 15 of the most beautiful villages in Spain
- 19 of the most beautiful villages in Italy
- 19 of the most beautiful villages in France
Feature image of Nafplion courtesy of Kisa_Markiza/Getty
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