Discover the lesser-known gems of mainland Greece! With travellers flocking to Greece’s world-famous islands each summer, mainland Greece is a haven of fantastic, under-the-radar travel destinations. This summer, take the alternative route to escape the tourist crowds, and, most importantly, the tourist prices!
Take a look at 6 of the most beautiful places in mainland Greece just waiting to be discovered. From picturesque villages to serene coastal towns, take your pick from our list of beautiful destinations for a truly memorable getaway.
1. Preveza, Epirus: The Abracian’s Gulf Best-Kept Secret
Tucked away in the northern peninsula, at the mouth of the Ambracian Gulf, the charming city of Preveza will delight you with its understated beauty. As it is more low-key than its tourist-favourite neighbour Parga, Preveza retains a delightfully authentic character. Stroll through the city to soak up its vibrant coffee culture and laidback lifestyle. Spend your days there exploring the city’s historic town centre and checking out the one-of-a-kind stores of local traders. You can enjoy delicious seafood by the waterfront, try fresh local pastries at the welcoming local cafés, and indulge in a delicious soft-serve ice cream that’s a favourite among the locals.
The city is also the getaway to some of Greece’s most beautiful destinations. Take your pick from the sparkling island of Lefkada, the impressive Acheron river, or the historic town of Nikopolis. Preveza is an ideal destination for experiencing Greek culture at its most authentic!
2. Mani Peninsula, Peloponnese: The Gateway to Medieval Greece
Also known by the medieval name Maina or Maïna, Mani is located in the south of the Peloponnese. The peninsula is divided into two halves: Outer and Inner Mani. Outer Mani boasts picturesque coastal villages, such as Kardamyli and Stoupa, known for their off-the-beaten-track beaches and beautiful nature paths. Inner Mani is generally quieter and attracts travellers on the lookout for adventure. Fishing villages stuck in time, breathtaking natural caves, a medieval forest… these are just some of the area’s hidden treasures. Overall, Mani is perfect for travellers looking to discover an alternative side of Greece.
3. Zagorohoria, Ioannina: The Fairytale Villages of Epirus
Tucked away behind the mountains of Pindos, Zagorohoria are 46 villages where time has stood still. The unspoilt villages are encompassed by historic stone bridges, tumbling rivers, and luscious forests. The villages themselves are steeped in history, with their cobbled alleyways, preserved monasteries, and family-owned establishments.
Apart from exploring the villages, we also recommend checking out the area’s top natural sites. The Gorge of Vikos, which is the deepest gorge in the world, is well worth a visit, as is the historic Bridge of Klidonia. The villages are also a great base for activities such as hiking, climbing, or canoeing. struggling to choose between an adventure break or a serene getaway? At Zagorohoria, you can have both!
4. Volos, Thessaly: The Mythic Port City
Located between Athens and Thessaloniki, Volos is often overlooked by travellers who flock to Greece’s more mainstream cities. But, trust us when we say that this mythic coastal city is absolutely worth a visit. The city gets its mythic reputation from being the legendary starting point of the expedition of Jason and the Argonauts. Lying at the foot of Mount Pelion, the city boasts both stunning mountain views and mesmerising coastal scenery.
Walk through town to take in its understated elegance. Make sure you venture to the pedestrianised seaside Argonauts Way, where local taverns and “tsipouradika” await, as do captivating views of the open sea. To make the most of your time there, we also recommend going on a hiking excursion to Mount Pelion for unbeatable panoramic views of the surrounding area.
5. Kavala, Thrace: The Captivating Amphiteatre-Shaped City
Tucked away in Northern Greece, the beautiful city of Kavala rises from the sea like an amphitheatre. The city is encompassed by an impressive Byzantine fortress, which looms over the city. The city itself is also steeped in history, as you will discover walking through the historic town centre. Cobblestone streets, colourful mansions, and courtyards full of flowers give the old town a vibrancy that keeps its past alive. At the seafront, you will find both organised and secluded sandy beaches, with crystal clear blue waters. Combine exploration and relaxation, with historic excursions in the morning and refreshing swims in the evening. Kavala gives you the best of both worlds!
6. Mt. Pelion Villages, Tessalia: The Hidden Mountain Gems
In the deep lush forest of Mt. Pelion, lie 21 picturesque villages brimming with character. The villages are the perfect summer destination if you are looking to escape the stifling heat of the city. Explore the village’s traditional houses and unwind at the town square, under the shade and coolness of the forest trees. Or, you can embark on hiking excursions through streaming waterfalls and the forest’s rich flora and fauna. As for the villages, we recommend visiting Portaria, a scenic village just above Volos. The village is known for its cheese and retsina- a traditional Greek wine. Also worth a visit is the beautiful Zagora, Pelion’s largest village, which boasts mesmerising views of the Aegean sea. Surrounded by luscious oak forests, the village is famous for its fruit orchards.
Visiting Mt. Pelion villages is the ultimate way to escape the tourist crowds and discover the lesser-known culture of the Greek villages.