ATHENS GREECE
Erechtheion, Acropolis, Athens, Greece

Thirteen Greek regions to explore in summer 2024

Thinking about visiting Greece but don’t know which region to explore? Each one has its own personality, character and identity, so whatever a visitor is looking for, they can find

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Fascinating history, rich culture, world-famous archaeological sites, crystal blue waters, idyllic beaches, sacred mountains, exquisite gastronomy, high level of hospitality​​, vibrant cities, picturesque villages, picture-perfect attractions, festivals, an endless and irresistible number of reasons to visit Greece.

Every corner, every island or town has a beautiful story that is waiting to be told. Discover the different regions of an amazing country and let yourself be surprised by the variety of landscapes Greece has to offer. From the imposing mountains of Parnassos and Olympus on the mainland to the idyllic islands of the Aegean and Ionian Seas, there’s a destination with your name on it. We advocate visiting all 13 regions of Greece throughout your lifetime, if you can, whether with family, friends, or travelling solo.



Attica

Athens, Attica, Greece (Credit: Leonhard Niederwimmer on Pixabay)

A triangular peninsula jutting into the Aegean Sea, Attica is one of the most historically rich and culturally vibrant regions in Greece. It is famous for hosting the capital of Greece, Athens, the city that gave birth to the concept of democracy. Attica is also hosting the ancient port city of Piraeus, a major transportation hub for the Greek islands. Home of Plato, Socrates, and Pericles, Athens is modern, dynamic, lively metropolis with the most prominent archaeological site and symbol of the country, the magnificent Acropolis and its Parthenon, one of the greatest architectural masterpieces of all times. But the city’s magic extends far beyond the centre. Athens Riviera which stretches along the southern coastline of Attica, is filled with beaches, marinas, restaurants, cafés, bars and clubs overlooking the sea. The Temple of Poseidon at Cape Sounion (constructed in 444–440 BC), adds to the beauty of this area. The easily accessible islands of the Argo-Saronic Gulf Aegina, Poros, Hydra, Spetses, Salamis are also worth discovering. The ancient site of Eleusis, famous for its annual festival of the Mysteries in honour of the earth goddess Demeter and her daughter Persephone; the town of Marathon-where the heavily outnumbered Athenian army defeated the Persians in 490 BC-and so many more interesting places in Attica to discover. The historical and cultural wealth of the region is endless as well as its gastronomic treasures. Enjoy a plethora of traditional Greek foods branded by the fertile soil of Attica and the salty breeze of its islands.

Read more about Attica here

Useful info

Region’s capital: Athens Region’s area: 3,808.10 km2 Region’s population (2021): 3,792,469 Region’s tourism website: https://athensattica.com/ Airports: Athens


Central Greece

Delfi, Central Greece (Credit: Pàtrocle R. M. i Santos on Pixabay)

Located in the heart of Greece, this vast region is full of forests, mountains, rivers, lakes, beaches, remarkable archaeological sites, monasteries, traditional villages and cities. Visit Delphi “the center of the world” according to ancient Greeks and the Oracle of Apollo. Head to heroic Thermopylae, where Leonidas and his 300 Spartans fought against the invading Persian army. Don’t miss Mt. Parnassos, the nearby cosmopolitan Arachova and the small seaside town of Galaxidi. Karpenisi will not disappoint adrenaline seekers  offering a huge range of outdoor activities all year round. As for island lovers, here we have Evia connected to the mainland by the bridge of Chalkida and last but not least Skyros, with its secluded beaches, unique Skyrian horses and age-old customs.

Read more about Central Greece here

Useful info

Region’s capital: Lamia Region’s area: 15,549.31 km2 Region’s population (2021): 505,269 Airports: Skyros


Central Macedonia

Thessaloniki, Central Macedonia, Greece (Credit: en:User:Salonica84, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons)

Situated in northern Greece, Central Macedonia  is one of the most diverse and beautiful regions in the country. Home to the legendary Mt Olympus, the breathtaking peninsula of Halkidiki, the splendid metropolis of Thessaloniki, and to the ancient cities of Aigai (Vergina), Pella and Amfipolis, Central Macedonia is well-known for its rich history, incredible sights, stunning natural beauty and mind-blowing culinary experiences. Macedonia was also home to the ancient Greek Kingdom of Macedon and most famous for being the birth place of Alexander the Great. The autonomous monastic state of Mount Athos is also located here.  Don’t miss the unique beauty of the towns of Naousa, Veroia, Edessa, Serres, Katerini. The Olympic riviera, Lake Kerkini, Loutra Pozar Thermal Springs, the Skra Waterfalls in Kilkis, celebrated vineyards and wineries, holy places and natural wonders. All the above make Central Macedonia one of the most interesting travel destinations in Greece. The region’s cuisine is also widely known for its quality and variety.

Read more about Central Macedonia here

Useful info

Region’s capital: Thessaloniki Region’s area: 18,810.52 km2 Region’s population (2021): 1,792,069 Region’s tourism website: https://visit-centralmacedonia.gr/en-us/ Airports: Thessaloniki, Kavala


Crete

The throne of the King of the Minoan Palace of Knossos, Crete (Credit: Annatsach, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons)

The largest island in Greece to the south of the Aegean Sea needs no introduction. Its size ensures it offers so much to visitors — millennia of civilizations, eye-popping history, sugar-white beaches, four mountain ranges, wild gorges, fertile valleys, timeless villages, bustling modern cities, astonishing biodiversity, incredible food and wine, salt-of-the-earth locals with generous spirit. The island of Zeus and Zorba simply has it all. The labyrinthine Bronze Age Minoan Palace of Knossos (the country’s second-most visited archaeological site after the Acropolis in Athens), the heavenly Balos Lagoon, the celebrated palm forest in Vai in Lasithi, the enchanting towns of Chania and nearby Rethymno with their medieval architecture, enchant everyone who visits. Not to mention Heraklion, Agios Nikolaos, Elounda, Ierapetra, Malia, Hersonissos, Sitia, Gavdos completing the picture of a perfect vacation. Whether you are visiting Crete as a family, a couple, a group of friends or solo, you will simply fall in love with it.

Read more about Crete

Useful info

Region’s capital: Heraklion Region’s area: 8,450 km2 Region’s population (2021): 624,408 Region’s tourism website: https://www.incrediblecrete.gr/en/ Airports: Chania, Heraklion, Sitia


Eastern Macedonia & Thrace

Kavala, Eastern Macedonia & Thrace (Credit: Wikimapia)

Occupying the northeast part of Greece, Eastern Macedonia & Thrace is a haven for nature and history lovers. This amazing part of Greece, where East meets West, is blessed with imposing mountains, lovely wetlands, endless beaches, spectacular historic sites, charming towns and cities, instagrammable islands, unique ancient Greek, Byzantine and Oriental heritage. Mountains Paggaio and Falakro, the Rhodope mountain range, the rivers Evros, Nestos and Ardas; Lakes Vistonida and Ismarida; Dadia forest and the Evros River Delta are all paradise for outdoor recreation, adventure and exploration. Drama, Kavala, Xanthi, Komotini and Alexandroupolis are some of the most beautiful and welcoming cities of the region. The islands of Thasos and Samothrace are real gems of the North Aegean Sea. Eat fresh seafood, hike a mountain, relax on a white-sand beach, go birdwatching, chech out the archaeological sites of Philippi (near Kavala) and Abdera -the birthplace of Democritus- savor traditional local cuisine with dishes heavy in flavour and spices.

Read more about Eastern Macedonia & Thrace here

Useful info

Region’s capital: Komotini Region’s area: 14,157.76 km2 Region’s population (2021): 562,069 Region’s touristic website: https://www.emtgreece.com/en Airports: Kavala, Alexandroupolis


Epirus

Dodoni ancient theater, Epirus, Greece (Credit: Onno Zweers, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons)

Located in the north western side of mainland Greece, between the Pindos mountain range and the Ionian Sea, Epirus offers a harmonious blend of natural beauty, cultural treasures, and adventure activities for discerning travellers. Whether you seek peaks, gorges, rivers, lakes, great virgin forests, pristine beaches, tranquil sea resorts, ancient ruins, traditional mountaintop villages, historic stone-built bridges, castles, monasteries or culinary specialities, Epirus has it all. The picturesque Zagorohoria villages located all over the slopes of the mountains, the Vikos-Aoos National Park, the Dragon Lakes, the Tzoumerka mountain range, the vlach town of Metsovo, the atmospheric city of Ioannina, the summer resort of Parga and the archaeological site of Dodoni-home to the ancient Greek oracle Dodona and the largest theater in antiquity- make this region a must-see. Kayak down the Arachtos river, raft the Voidomatis which runs through the impressive gorge of Vikos- the second deepest gorge in the world- hike the Acheron River, the mythical gate to Hades’ empire. Gastro travelers will be impressed by Epirote cheeses: (PDO) feta, hard and salty kefalotyri cheese, PDO Metsovone, galotyri.

Read more about Epirus here

Useful info

Region’s capital: Ioannina Region’s area: 9,203.22 km2 Region’s population: 319,543 Airports: Ioannina and Preveza/Aktion


Ionian Islands

Greek regions summer 2024
Achillion terrace, Corfu, Ionian Islands (Credit: Thomas Schoch, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons)

West of mainland Greece, the Ionian islands (traditionally called the Heptanese) are renowned for their rich multi-cultural heritage, spectacular natural beauty, sapphire waters, music and gastronomic delights. Corfu, Zakynthos, Kefalonia, Lefkada, Ithaca, Paxoi, Antipaxoi, Kythera offer a fairytale-like setting with unique attractions,Venetian castles, imposing buildings, traditional villages, picturesque cliff-backed beaches, transparent seas, abundant olive trees and forested mountains. On Corfu wander the streets of Old Town, go sailing north of Corfu, in the Diapontia islands, on Zakynthos explore the stunning blue caves, enjoy water sports in Lefkada, discover Ithaca, the homeland of Homer’s Odysseus, on Kefalonia, the biggest island in the group and setting for Louis de Bernières’ novel Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, find peace and quiet. Whether you’re cultural aficionados, nature lovers, adrenaline junkies, family travellers, or seafarers you will, without a doubt, fall in love with the Ionian islands.

Read more about the Ionian islands here

Useful info

Region’s capital: Corfu Region’s area: 2,306.94 km2 Region’s population (2021): 207,855 Airports: Corfu, Lefkada (Aktion/Preveza), Kefalonia, Zakynthos, and Kythira.


North Aegean

Greek regions summer 2024
Pithagorion, Samos, North Aegean, Greece (Credit: Αναστασίου Νίκος / Nicosanastassiou at Greek Wikipedia, Attribution, via Wikimedia Commons)

On the edge of the Aegean, the islands of Lesvos, Chios, Samos, Limnos, Ikaria and some smaller ones (Agios Efstratios, Fournoi, Psara and Innouses) provide an understated alternative to some of the more touristed destinations. Uncrowded historic sites, beaches of virgin beauty, natural splendor, quaint villages, scenic towns, brilliant architecture, verdant landscapes, make these islands ideal for travelers longing for the ultimate escape. Due to their location bridging East and West the islands of the North Aegean were vital for shipping and trade as early as 3000 BC and became cultural hothouses. Samos, is the island of philosopher Epicurus, the great mathematician Pythagoras and home to the award-winning dessert wine. Lesvos, the third largest island of the country and birthplace of great artists, with its world-renowned ouzo and extra-virgin PDO olive oils will seduce you. Chios is know for its ‘mastic villages’ and proud sea captains. In Ikaria you”ll discover the secrets for a long, carefree life and will take part in the island’s famous festivities.

Read more about North Aegean here

Useful info

Region’s capital: Mytilene Region’s Area: 3,835.91 km2 Region’s Population (2021): 194,136 Airports: Lesvos, Lemnos, Chios, Samos, Ikaria


Peloponnese

Lion Gate Mycenae Greece
Lion Gate, Mycenae, Peloponnese, Greece (Credit: Joyofmuseums, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons)

Known for its fascinating history, Peloponnese is a peninsula in Southern Greece, connected to the central part of the country by the Isthmus of Corinth. Home of the the most important archaeological sites of Greece, including Epidaurus (ancient religious and healing centre) and Mycenae (fortress-town of the eponymous civilization), the region is surrounded by sea from all sides, providing  turquoise-water beaches and magnificent seascapes. Abundant in medieval castles, dramatic mountains and dynamic cities, Peloponnese showcases the best of mainland Greece. The most famous areas include Corinth and the Acrocorinth, the seaside elegant town of Nafplion (the first capital of Greece), the rock of Monemvasia, Sparta (the unmatched warrior city-state once the kingdom of Menelaus and his queen Helen), Kalamata with its world-famous olives, mountainous Arcadia and Mani with picture-postcard landscapes and rugged coastline.

Read more about Peloponnese here

Useful info

Region’s capital: Tripoli Region’s area: 15,489.96 km2, Region’s population (2021): 538,366  Region’s touristic website: https://topel.gr Airports: Patras, Kalamata


South Aegean

Greek regions summer 2024
Santorini, South Aegean, Greece (Credit: Cindy Atkinson, CC BY-SA 1.0, via Wikimedia Commons)

Europe’s largest island region, consists of the Cyclades and Dodecanese island groups in the central and southeastern Aegean Sea. Each island has its own personality, character and identity. Romantic Santorini with its iconic blue-domed churches, fascinating Mykonos with its wild nightlife, volcanic Milos where the Venus de Milo was discovered, Naxos described by Herodotus as “the happiest of islands,” Syros, the capital of Cyclades, Rhodes with its Crusader castles, Kos with its all-inclusive resorts epitomize most people’s image of Greek holiday perfection: Idyllic beaches, crystal clear blue waters, white- and blue-painted villages, breathtaking views of the Aegean Sea, unique gastronomic traditions. Add to the mix the smiles of the locals and sea or land activities and you’ll find that discovering the Greek islands makes the best holidays of your life. Difficult to select a single destination? Island hopping is the answer.

Read more about South Aegean here.

Useful info

Region’s capital: Ermoupoli (Syros island) Region’s area: 5,286 km2 Region’s population (2021): 324,542 Region’s tourism website: https://www.aegeanislands.gr/ Airports: Mykonos, Syros, Paros, Naxos, Santorini, Milos, Rhodes, Kos, Astypalaia, Kalymnos, Karpathos, Kasos, Leros.


Thessaly

Greek regions summer 2024
Meteora, Thessaly, Greece (Credit: Wikimedia Commons)

Located in the heart of Greece and rich in mythology, heritage, history and natural wonders, Thessaly is a people-pleaser for all ages and seasons. From the photogenic spiritual site of Meteora, to the dreamy Mountain Pelion, the Lake Plastira, the cities of Larissa, Trikala, Karditsa and Volos and on to the Sporades islands (Skiathos, Skopelos, Alonissos), prepare for a transformative journey that unfolds with each step taken. Ancient ruins, traditional settlements, unique cultural wealth, lush landscapes, stunning beaches, mouthwatering food (cheeses, homemade sausages, tsipouro), and locals exuding a welcoming kindness, Thessaly is full of wonders to realize your every wish.

Read more about Thessaly here

Useful info

Region’s capital: Larissa Region’s area: 14,036.64 km2 Population (2021): 687,527 Region’s touristic website: https://mythessaly.ifork.eu/ Airport: Nea Anchialos National Airport (Volos), Skiathos International Airport (Sporades)


Western Greece

Greek regions summer 2024
Olympia, Western Greece

Comprising the western part of continental Greece and the northwestern part of the Peloponnese peninsula, Western Greece is combing mountain and sea, history and modern living. The ancient city of Olympia -the birthplace of the Olympic Games-, the lively port city of Patras,  the iconic Rio-Antirrio Bridge- a marvel of engineering- the welcoming villages of Mountainous Nafpaktia, the coastal town of Nafpaktos and Mesollonghi -the sacred town of the Greek War for Independence- await you. Whether you’re a history buff, a nature enthusiast, an adventure seeker or a foodie, Western Greece has got you covered. Here you’ll taste the famous cheese of Amfilohia, the feta of Kalavryta, the fish roe of Messolonghi, the raisins of Aigialia and Ilia and the wines of Achaia. In Western Greece you can combine beach leisure time and outdoor activities as the region boats a long coastline with thousands of inlets and coves. Lake Trihonida as well as Acheloos, Evinos, Ladonas and Alfios rivers are all ideal for water sports fans.

Read more about Western Greece here

Useful info

Region’s capital: Patras Region’s area: 11,350.18 km2 Region’s population (2021): 643,349 Region’s Airport: Araxos National Airport (Patras)


Western Macedonia

Authenticity, incredible landscapes and low-key vibe

Greek regions summer 2024
Kastoria, Western Macedonia, Greece (Credit:Mageiamaya, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons)

Situated in the northern part of Greece, Western Macedonia is truly unique and inspiring. A region unhurried and unspoiled by mass tourism is one of the most beautiful places where one can easily decompress and unwind. Take pleasure in visiting this corner of Greece that comprises unfathomable mountains, lakes and rivers, Natura areas, lush vineyards, rustic cuisine, exquisite wines, historic towns, handsome villages, ancient cities and Byzantine monasteries. The Prespes National Park in Florina, the mountainous artistocratic village of Nymfaio, the charming lakeside town of Kastoria, the Greek capital of mushrooms Grevena and the famous crocus fields of Kozani are some of the highlights. Western Macedonia also offers a range of outdoor activities, such as trekking, cycling, mountain climbing, horseback riding, birdwatching, boating, kayaking.

Read more about Western Macedonia here.

Useful info

Region’s capital: Kozani Region’s area: 9,451 km2 Region’s population (2021): 255,056 Region’s touristic website: https://www.visitwestmacedonia.gr/en Airports: Kozani state airport “Filippos”, Kastoria airport “Aristotle”