advertisement
  • National and Zappeion Gardens (Athens): It's all too easy to overlook this oasis of calm and cool in the heart of Athens. You'll discover shady benches, a small cafe, the excellent Aegli/Cibus cafe and restaurant in the adjacent Zappeion Gardens, and lots of opportunities to enjoy watching Greek families out for a stroll. Keep an eye out for the balloon sellers on weekends.
  • Mount Likavitos, aka Mount Lycabettus (Athens): Walk up Likavitos at dawn and enjoy the sunrise over the hills that surround Athens. Come back for a spectacular sunset, with the city laid under your feet like a sparkling map, the sounds of its ferocious traffic pleasantly distant.
  • Folegandros (Cyclades): Most visitors to Greece once sailed past the formidable Folegandros cliffs en route from the mainland to Santorini and other islands; they'd catch a glimpse of the whitewashed kastro walls perched 300m (984 ft.) above the sea. The beauty of Hora, the fine beaches, and the great walking trails are no longer secrets, but if you arrive during the off season, Folegandros still offers a restful retreat. Largely free of the commercialism that has engulfed so many Aegean isles, Folegandros is now appearing on insider lists as the new place to visit.
  • Milia (Crete): Here is a true retreat from not only the hustle and bustle of mass tourism but of most modern distractions: a once-abandoned village off in the mountains of western Crete where you live in a renovated stone house and spend your days hiking, enjoying the wildlife, eating simple meals, and just plain relaxing.
  • Zagori & Vikos Gorge (Western Greece): If the 40-some tiny villages linked by roads lined with spectacular terrain are not enough, you can venture into at least a section of one of the most spectacular gorges in Europe. Greeks and some Europeans have long appreciated this undeveloped corner of northwestern Greece known as the Zagoria.
  • The Road Not Taken (Greece): Don't fret if you take a wrong turn in Greece. Go with it! This may be the highlight of your trip -- the Athenian shop-owner who shows you pictures of his aunt's family in Chicago when you stop to ask for directions; the yiayia (granny) next to you on that boat that you caught after the boat you wanted to catch had left; the schoolchild who quizzes you about why you came to Greece when you bump into him at an ancient site; the little village you chance upon because you stumbled onto the road you did not mean to take.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.