Opa! Visiting Greece is on many travelers’ bucket lists, but for a variety of reasons. History abounds in Athens, both actual and mythological. Culinary adventures of food, wine, and coffee are extremely popular, along with the Greek islands and their magnificent beaches. And while the glamour of Athens and the splendor of the islands and beaches are worthy, Greece’s charm is found in its small villages. All across Greece, including the islands, the Greek villages are filled with their own history, their own local cuisines, and are emblematic of different architectural styles and traditions. Here a few to include on your bucket list.
1. Ano Syros
In the Aegean Sea, Ano Syros is nestled above the town of Ermoúpolis on the Cyclades Islands and is known as the Catholic Quarter. Charming cobbled streets, coupled with steep steps, wind between small squares surrounded by shops, boutiques, and cafes. The town is known for what it isn’t, a white-sand mecca such as Mykonos and Santorini.
2. Apollonia, Sifnos
Three hours by train from Athens, the island of Sifnos is made up of many villages, with its capital being Apollonia. Known as a quiet, pedestrian town, the main street area features a plethora of bars, cafes, boutiques, and restaurants, with no vehicles minus the occasional moped. The central location of Apollonia makes it ideal for visiting the other villages and nearby beaches via local bus service.
3. Fiscardo Village
This picture-postcard village is located on the island of Kefalonia in the Ionian Sea, west of the Greek mainland. One of the more popular destinations for tourists, Fiscardo maintains its charm and beauty with a palette of brightly painted Venitian style houses and buildings, which have plenty of shops, old-style Greek taverns, modern bars, and waterfront activities.
4. Klima, Milos
Like a living landscape work of art, Klima, located on the island of Milos in the Aegean Sea, is an old fishing village that also features a real-life canvas of colorful architecture that lines the small waterfront. While the fishing has moved on, Klima is now a photographer’s paradise, offering both the waterfront colors, as well as stunning sunsets from the beach.
5. Oia Village
Located on the Aegean island of Santorini, Oia is the coastal village you probably have seen on travel posters for decades. Internationally known for its stunning beauty, it sits high atop a cliff, offering unforgettable sunset views from some of Greece's most luxurious hotels. The 2003 film Lara Croft Tomb Raider: Cradle of Life, starring Angelina Jolie, was filmed on location in Oia.
6. Chora Of Mykonos
Chora is the capital of the ultra-popular Island of Mykonos, which is a part of the Cyclades island group in the Aegean Sea. The town is a literal walking maze of narrow streets winding and connecting visitors as they walk amongst some of the best examples of the whitewashed homes, colorfully painted doors, windows, and roofs that define Cycladic architecture. The town swells with tourists in the late afternoon as people arrive to see the sunset views.
7. Monemvasia Castle
Arguably one of the most beautiful castles on earth, the fortress of Monemvasia is located on the southeastern coast of the Peloponnese Peninsula in southern Greece. The medieval town is known primarily for its architecture and its sense of romance. In fact, more than 90 percent of visitors to Monemvasia are couples, and ancient tradition holds that weddings that take place in the castle result in solid marriages.