Most Beautiful Cities In Greece You Won’t Want To Miss
Known for endless seaside resorts and unique, charming islands, Greece’s best-known destinations are often not its cities. That’s because many of the most important cities in the country are huge concrete jungles with relatively anonymous facades that grew between the end of the 1800s and the beginning of WWI.
Many cities also underwent severe aerial attacks in WWII and were reconstructed with a practical approach, and some lack of imagination. This is the case with Athens and Thessaloniki, the most important and crowded cities in the country with some very picturesque neighborhoods. They are not exactly known for being pretty.
We are not saying that if a city is not on this list, it equals being less beautiful. Athens is a must-see destination for its unique historical background, stunning museums, and one-of-a-kind archaeological sites. There are also a few attractive neighborhoods, such as Plaka or Anafiotika, that are pretty enchanting. Still, generally speaking, there are too many tall buildings and apartment complexes that would not really qualify as beautiful.
As far as Thessaloniki is concerned, the situation is not much different from Athens’ panorama. The northern city boasts beautiful areas, like the Laladika quarter or the seaside promenade, but it is also overcrowded and full of modern soul-less buildings.
Therefore, although you should visit both of them, we will not include them in this list of the most beautiful cities in Greece.
Oia (Santorini) –
One of the most famous cities in Greece also happens to be what many say is the most beautiful city in Greece – the town of Oia, on Santorini. Located on the island’s northern tip, this fantastic settlement facing the sea and the volcano’s caldera is nothing but an enchanting mix of whitewashed and colorful houses perched on top of the cliff and facing one of the most stunning sunset spots in the Aegean.
Oia features small charming cobblestone alleys with plenty of colorful bougainvilleas and a unique architecture typical of the island. The landscape is made of small blue-domed churches and dozens of old caves on the side of the rock, transformed into fantastic little houses and exclusive cave hotels. Such a pretty settlement could not be in any other position than first on this list.
Best Cities In Greece – Accommodation Option For Oia:
Marenostrum Santo is an affordable place to stay in the expensive Oia. The hotel with garden views has a restaurant, a seasonal outdoor pool and children’s playground, a patio, a well-fitted kitchen, and every comfort you need for a relaxing family vacation. Guests can take advantage of the paid airport shuttle offered by the property.
There are not many cities on the biggest Greek island, but several could easily make it to this list. Chania is undoubtedly one of them. Defined by many locals and visitors as the most beautiful city in the Mediterranean, the second city in Crete is certainly a close tie with Oia.
Invaded by the Venetians, the Ottomans, and the Egyptians — only to name a few of its conquerors— during the centuries, the city artfully blends Italian elegance and exotic middle eastern traits, not only in its stunningly gorgeous Venetian Harbor but also in the backstreets of the old town against the backdrop of the White Mountains.
Best Accommodation Option For Chania:
Boutique Hotel Del Doge is set in a 15th-century, Venetian-style home, only meters from the old Venetian port of Chania. Guest rooms feature traditional wrought iron or dark wood furnishings. All rooms are equipped with kitchenettes, fridges, and coffee-making facilities. Breakfast is served in the guest rooms or the hotel’s café with views of the scenic old town.
Just like Crete, the Peloponnese region is populated with gorgeous tiny seaside settlements, making it an undiscussed place to visit if you want to explore more than one of the most beautiful cities in Greece. The elegant city of Napflio is one of them.
Although not as popular as our two previous entries, the city is adored by the Greeks who try to visit whenever they can, since it’s not so far from Athens. Not everyone knows that Napflio was the country’s original capital before that honor was bestowed upon Athens.
Napflio is a proud historic settlement that played a decisive role in Greece’s history. It boasts incredible Neoclassical buildings, a picturesque harbor, and a well-preserved Venetian fortress with smashing views of the Saronic Gulf and the nearby islands of Hydra and Spetses.
Best Accommodation Option For Napflio:
Castellano Hotels and Suites is a beautiful place to stay in Nafplio, only minutes from the glorious Karathona Beach as well as a short distance from attractions such as the Akronafplia Castle, Napflio War Museum, and the National Gallery Nafplio. The accommodation offers a tasteful American breakfast every morning to its guests.
Rhodes Old Town (Rhodes)
Back to the islands, this time, we need to travel to the Dodecanese to find some imposing settlements; the old town is one of them. If you are up to medieval landscapes and legendary stories, then you should not skip Rhodes.
The magnificent Palace of the Grand Masters and the Street of the Knights are two of the most iconic areas of its well-preserved medieval quarter. As in any other important Greece town, it will also be possible to discover impressive churches and mosques, fortified defensive towers and fortresses, romantic windmills, and a picturesque harbor where humble fishing boats mingle with sophisticated yachts and tourist cruise ships.
Best Accommodation Option For Rhodes Old Town:
Spirit Of The Knights Boutique Hotel is an accommodation architecturally influenced by the Crusaders and the Ottomans. This eco-friendly boutique hotel is in the heart of the old town. It features uniquely designed and luxurious accommodations decorated with natural materials and furnishings from many parts of the world.
Located in Epirus, in the country’s western area, Parga is a charming little town amphitheatrically built on the slopes of a hill facing the sea. Although Parga is not on an island, you can quickly feel like you’re on one when walking along its waterfront promenade and the alleys of the settlement.
Old traditional houses with colorful walls, stone alleys, and plenty of trees and flowers compose one of Greece’s most amazing postcard-like pictures. To make it even more dramatic, the ruins of an ancient Venetian fortress dominate the landscape from the top of the hill.
Best Accommodation Option For Parga:
My Suite is in the Anthousa district and offers romantic self-catering suites with a balcony overlooking Parga, the beach, and the Castle of Ali Pasha. Guests can take advantage of the delicious morning breakfast made with local, fresh products.
Hydra Town (Hydra)
The island is so tiny that we can hardly call its main town a city, but it is one of the most beautiful settlements that you can visit in Greece. Hydra’s landscape is made of lavish Neoclassical buildings arranged in a semicircle over the bay and port.
Even more picturesque due to the absence of cars, the small town is one of Greece’s most exclusive and elegant destinations. Despite its premier status, this quaint seaside town has a laid-back and magnetic atmosphere, making it a perfect romantic destination, less than an hour away from Athens.
Best Accommodation Option For Hydra:
Keresbino Hydra is set in a traditional Hydra building; it is a self-catering property, also good for families, featuring a beautiful patio as well as all the comforts of a home. It is located close to the most important landmarks in the center of Hydra.
Another jewel on this list of the prettiest Grecian cities is Monemvasia, located in Laconia, on a tiny island off the East coast of the Peloponnese but connected to the mainland using a manufactured causeway.
Monemvasia’s main attraction is the once-mighty medieval fortress and the several ruins and remains from medieval times. It is possible to admire unique Byzantine churches and some very ancient homes and buildings in this ancient settlement.
Best Accommodation Option For Monemvasia:
Gregory’s House is a gorgeous property only meters from Ampelakia Beach in Monemvasia, only 6 kilometers from the imposing Monemvasia Castle. Although it is a self-catering accommodation, guests can arrange to have breakfast served at the property, always prepared with local products.
Located on the Cycladic Island of Paros, Naoussa is the second most important city on the island and among the most photographed cities in Greece. Home to a quaint old harbor with traditional restaurants and tavernas, Naoussa is among the most beautiful towns in all of Greece.
The city is home to several picturesque churches in perfect Cycladic style, dozens of whitewashed cubic houses, and quaint stone-paved roads covered with arches and passages in the oldest area of town.
Best Accommodation Option For Naoussa:
Zoumis Studios is a self-catering accommodation just a few meters from the beach in the town of Naoussa. It has a pool, a large stone-paved sun terrace, and a poolside bar. Some studios offer comfy balconies with views of the pool or the Aegean Sea, as well as a kitchenette with hobs and a small dining area.
Corfu Old Town (Corfu)
Moving further along the islands, on the Ionian coast, the old town of Corfu is another fantastic Greek city that you should visit at least once in your life. The old town of Corfu, which made it to the UNESCO World Heritage list, proudly displays the architectural results of years of different colonizations.
Once targeted to French, Russian, and British, but also Venetian and Ottoman occupations, today, the city is pervaded by an eclectic atmosphere made of so many different styles. Narrow streets with Italian buildings, cute small balconies, and two impressive fortresses with views over the sea share the landscape with ancient churches and grandiose sea views, all of which give life to Corfu’s attractive panorama.
Best Accommodation Option For Corfu Old Town:
Locandiera is a beautiful accommodation for those visiting Corfu. It is located in the Corfu Old Town district, only steps from the famous Liston of Corfu Town. Rooms are equipped with a well-equipped kitchen making it perfect for a family stay or a budget holiday if you want to save on restaurants.
Another majestic Neoclassical town in Greece is located on one of the most important islands of the Cycladic cluster. Ermoupolis, the capital of Syros as well as the administrative capital of the Cyclades, is home to an impressive heritage of elegant mansions and squares, with picturesque neighborhoods and unique seaside views.
The town, which was once home to wealthy families, the seat of rich tradespeople and important shipbuilders in Greece, displays all its majestic charm and style and surprises, first-time visitors, with its beautiful Venetian old town and some pristine solitary beaches near the capital.
Best Accommodation Option For Ermoupolis:
Hotel Hermes is centrally located in town and offers elegant accommodation, rooms with comfortable beds, and panoramic balconies facing the Aegean Sea. The suites have marble or wooden floors and a very convenient seating area.
A wonderful town in remote and solitary central Greece, Karpenisi might not be one of the famous Greece cities you see on the big lists, is still undoubtedly a popular destination, especially for those who are into winter sports and nature exploration. For these reasons, Karpenisi is a perfect winter destination in Greece, one of the many in the country.
Karpenisi is located in an area often described as Greece’s little Switzerland, which clearly defines its enchanting alpine panorama, surrounded by pine forests, frozen rivers, imposing mountains, and unique traditional lodgings where you cannot but picture yourself enjoying a cup of hot cocoa sitting by the cozy fireplace while snow falls on the mountains.
Best Accommodation Option For Karpenisi:
Hotel Elvetia is right in the heart of the beautiful and historical Karpenisi, only 13 km from the Velouchi ski center, making it a perfect place to stay for a winter holiday in Greece. The hotel boasts lovely views and common areas with cozy stone fireplaces for guests to unwind after a day on the slopes.
Surrounded by the imposing Pindos mountain range and at about 1200 meters over sea level, Metsovo is not only a beautiful greek city but one of the most popular winter destinations in the country. Popular for its gorgeous buildings made of stone, including mansions, monasteries, bridges, cobbled streets, and squares.
Although heavily visited by tourists, especially in the winter, the town has managed to preserve its traditional character untouched, remaining home to old traditions. The city offers a plethora of cultural events and sports opportunities, making it a coveted destination also in warmer months.
Best Accommodation Option For Metsovo:
Arka Metsovo is centrally located near the main square of Metsovo, set in a traditionally built complex with imposing views of the nearby mountains and not far from several local attractions, restaurants, tavernas, and convenience stores. The complex is only minutes away from the Karakoli ski center.
Another stunning city in Crete, this time closer to the capital, Heraklion, is the old Venetian town of Rethymnon. Although many consider this seaside town as a scaled-down replica of Chania, the truth is that Rethymnon offers much more variety when it comes to traditional architecture. Although its Venetian harbor and lighthouse are smaller and less impressive than the ones you could find in Chania, the backstreet alleys have managed to maintain a more authentic character.
Since the modern town of Rethymnon is home to one of Greece’s most important universities, it never feels like the city closes for winter, while Chania does. Rethymnon is home to endless bars, pubs, and restaurants, most of them open all year long, making it the second-best winter destination on the island, right after Crete’s capital.
Best Accommodation Option For Rethymnon:
Palazzino di Corina is set in a historical building in a quiet street in the heart of Rethymno’s Old Town. The artfully appointed guest rooms feature restored antique furniture and relaxing spa baths for the guests to enjoy after a day of long walks and city sightseeing.
Usually described as a city with a thousand colors, Xanthi is another amazing Greek city entirely off the beaten track. Xanthi is in the region of Thrace, on the commercial crossroad between Europe and Asia; it has always been a place of cultural exchange where different civilizations have left an ever-lasting imprint and an original multicultural vibe that is even more visible during the famous carnival that Xanthi hosts year after year.
The old town of Xanthi is rich in art and architectural landmarks, a sort of museum in the open full of cultural diversity. Churches, mosques, synagogues, open markets, museums, squares, everything blends and reflects a city’s exciting past with an intriguingly cosmopolitan atmosphere.
Best Accommodation Option For Xanthi:
Landscaped gardens surround Le Chalet, and the hotel offers comfortable suites and guest rooms equipped with modern amenities. There is a fantastic outdoor pool with a section specially devoted to children, while some suites have a sitting area with a cozy fireplace to enjoy in wintertime.
Kastoria (West Macedonia)
Another Greek winter gem, Kastoria, is a crucial mountain settlement close to the Albanian border in West Macedonia. Perched on Lake Orestiada, Kastoria boasts a unique historical collection of ancient Byzantine and Ottoman mansions and buildings with characteristic wooden balconies and over fifty awe-inspiring ancient Byzantine churches, everything surrounded by the impressive mountainous landscapes of the Macedonia region.
Kastoria is also known for the old stone bridges characteristic of the local architecture; the best known of them is the arched Bridge of Zouzouli, dating back to 1880. The bridge is about 7 meters high and was built over the waters of a stream carrying the same name.
Best Accommodation Option For Kastoria:
Esperos Palace Luxury & Spa Hotel is a stylish hotel with affordable fees about 5 minutes from the center of town, in the quarter of Fountoukli. Marble and oak wood elegantly combine to give life to lavish interior spaces. The Esperos Spa is a fully-equipped wellness center perfect for relaxing and enjoying. There is also an indoor heated swimming pool, two saunas, and a steam bath.