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Greece is home to more than a few towns with postcard-perfect good looks. From alpine mountain villages to charming coastal towns, whether you’re looking to explore rich Greek history, sample tasty Mediterranean cuisine, take part in outdoor adventures or perhaps a bit of all of the above, you’ll have multiple opportunities here. This small towns in particular, are sure to make you want to book a trip ASAP.
Santorini is a bucket list destination with many travelers, often ranked as one of the most beautiful islands in the world. The village of Oia, with its streets carved into a high cliff overlooking the site of an ancient volcanic eruption that occurred in 1650 BC, is the prime spot for sunset-watching over the caldera, and the destination you’ve probably seen splashed across Greek Island postcards. Famous for its whitewashed houses and brilliant blue domes, you’ll never forget strolling the maze of enticing narrow streets, popping into the occasional shop or art gallery, and sitting down to sip a drink at one of the many tavernas.
Kalambaka was built at the foot of the magnificent Meteora pinnacles, a complex of rock formations that host one of the nation’s largest and most important group of monasteries. Dating all the way back to the 14th century, monks constructed them in order to seek spiritual isolation and freedom from religious persecution, and today, six of them still remain and are open to the public. In the town of Kalambaka itself, you’ll discover a rich history while walking the cobbled streets that are lined with picturesque Orthodox churches and chapels.
Naxos is the largest island in the Cyclades, and perhaps one of the best kept secrets in the Greek Islands. It’s home to many beautiful traditional villages, including its capital, Naxos town, which boasts stunning Venetian architecture with elegant towers and narrow paved streets that make it look like a fantasy come to life. It’s filled with boutiques, cafes and eateries that are hidden among alluring nooks and crannies, sometimes boasting surprises like rooftop patios that suddenly bring the turquoise sea into view.
Parikia, also known as Paros Town, is the capital of Paros Island and its main port. Situated on the west coast along the waterfront, it’s framed by high hills, with its “heart,” the old quarter and Market Street lying just steps from the port behind the main square. It hosts many interesting sites, including a 13th-century Venetian castle, built from the vestiges of assorted ancient sanctuaries that were scattered in and around the island. Along with the temple ruins, you’ll find remnants of ancient residences as well.
Fiskardo, also spelled Fiscardo, is a fishing village on the Ionian island of Kefalonia that managed to escape being ravaged by the 1953 earthquake that destroyed many of the island’s other villages. Once ruled by Venetians, you’ll see the architectural style throughout, while the port is filled with fish taverns and bars that make it especially popular after dark. Protected by Greek law as an area of outstanding natural beauty, it’s surrounded by rolling hills that are dotted with olive and cypress trees as well as unique rock formations. Several walks are available, including treks to a Venetian lighthouse and basilica. Nearby you’ll find some lovely pebble beaches and coves for swimming, snorkeling or diving.
Medieval Rhodes Town is among the best preserved Venetian towns in all of Europe. Situated on the northern side of Rhodes, its Old Town is especially atmospheric, with a maze of cobblestone streets that will bring you back to the days of the Byzantine Empire. Gaze up at the soaring Venetian buildings, the Palace of Grand Master, and the historic churches. There are some 200 streets that have no name whatsoever, and getting lost among them is an opportunity to discover many hidden treasures. The Street of the Knights is one of the best preserved and most delightful medieval relics on the planet, built over an ancient pathway that led in a straight line from the Acropolis of Rhodes to the port.
The Isle of Corfu is the northernmost of the Ionian Islands and it offers lots when it comes to sun, sea and souvlaki, though it goes well beyond that. Compared to most other Greek island “capitals,” Corfu Town is a thriving metropolis, and its Old Town is filled with fascinating historic sights. Influenced by the Venetians Sicilians, French and British, the Old Town is sure to transport you back in time with its impressive old fortifications, the Old Citadel and the New Fort. You’ll find many fantastic eateries and boutiques, with sun-drenched houses tucked in between.
The cosmopolitan island of Mykonos is renowned for its nightlife and its stylish boutique hotels, considered some of the best in all of in Greece. Mykonos Town, or Chora, is the capital and the hub of activity on the island, with its winding streets lined with interesting shops, art galleries and authentic eateries. Spend your days strolling past some of the finest traditional Greek architectural gems and soaking up the sun and sand on extraordinary beaches like Psarrou, Paradise and Super Paradise Beaches. Just before dusk, enjoy sipping seaside drinks while watching a spectacular sunset before hitting the bars that stay open all night long.
Located on the northern side of Karpathos, Olympos is an exceptionally unique village and a true living folklore museum. Surrounded by soaring rugged mountains, it feels as if it’s lost within the clouds. It was built in the 7th century in order to offer protection from frequent pirate attacks, and for centuries it was very isolated, with cars only being able to access it in recent years. Locals have maintained longstanding traditions, with the women still wearing classic attire today and every house hosting its own outdoor wooden oven and a small chapel in the yard.