It’s no secret that Greece has a plethora of tourist attractions scattered throughout the mainland and islands, but while everyone may have heard of Parthenon and the Acropolis, there are just as many more unique destinations that are less well known.
The history and culture of Greece is abundantly incredible, and combined with the friendliness of locals, offers any traveler an endless supply of mythical and magical places to visit. With more than 6000 islands and islets scattered throughout the Aegean and Ionian Seas, and only 227 actually inhabited, discovering Greece is truly a phenomena.
Whether you’re a thrill seeking traveler, one who wants to delve into ancient Greek history, or simply lie on an isolated beach, there’ll be places that aren’t always covered by every guidebook: from secret beach coves, mountain retreats, hidden harbors or capturing mythical legends, there’s much more to this country than sun-kissed islands. Add mouth-watering cuisine of local delicacies served up either in chic restaurants or traditional tavernas and you’ve got yourself a vacation from heaven.
If you’re planning a trip to Greece and looking for some travel inspiration, make sure you add these hidden gems on your bucket list and discover an alternative Greece which takes you off the beaten track and into another world.
You might be thinking, why bother seeing a lighthouse? But this little gem is a wonderful photogenic opportunity if you want to capture the essence of this picturesque attraction.
Located on the strikingly beautiful Andros Island and rising out of a spindly chunk of sea rock is the magnificent Tourlitis Lighthouse. At first glance it may seem like it’s been photoshopped, such is its precarious positioning. However, this little lighthouse has undergone extensive renovation, the original having been destroyed during World War II, and now stands alone and proud 200 meters just off the harbor at Chora on Andros Island.
First built in 1897 as one of Greece’s most modern lighthouses, it sits on top of a stone column which has been shaped by natural erosion and provides a perfect pedestal for this charming beacon. Having been left to decay for a number of years, it was finally rebuilt in the 1990s, to be transformed into its current day surreal tourist attraction and become the only lighthouse in Greece entirely built by Greek hands. It also happens to be the first automated lighthouse eliminating the need for a lighthouse keeper and can be reached by a winding staircase made from the rocks that lead to the door of the beacon.
When traveling in Thessaly, central Greece, you’ll discover a huge terrain of rock formations which has been wowing visitors to the site for centuries. Also known as the grand canyon of Greece, these stunning tectonic rocks of Meteora are part of the UNESCO World Heritage List and, according to geologists, were established over 30 million years ago when the sea receded to reveal this magical landscape.
This prompted monks at the time to use this breath-taking area as the perfect isolated site to build numerous monasteries and churches which were built on the top of the magnificent boulders. Hence the name, Meteora, whose literal meaning is defined from ‘suspended in the air.’ Although only six of the initial 24 monasteries are open to visitors, you can’t help but be overwhelmed by the sensational setting that inspires both peace and beauty which contributes to the creation of the largest monastic city in the country, after Mount Athos!
If you’re not one of the pilgrimages coming to this holy place, you can participate in one of the many activities which include rock climbing, mountain biking, kayaking and hiking. Beginners to the more experienced climbers can often be seen hanging off the sandstone peaks and crags and the area is increasingly becoming a popular hive for rock climbers looking for a unique thrill – a far cry from monks having to previously pull themselves up by ropes!