Greece is so varied, it’s said to offer something for every interest—and that is particularly true for those looking for a romantic getaway. The country’s topography is one of the most diverse and naturally beautiful in Europe, ranging from vast mountain ranges in the north to volcanic islands kissed by the azure Mediterranean.
Greece is dotted with amazing places to visit: tiny villages, traditional towns and bustling cities, each with its own unique style thanks to various periods of Roman, Venetian, Ottoman, French and British rule.
Let’s not forget millennia of history, romantic myth and legend, and an exciting food scene. It all makes for a place that’s ideal for couples; little wonder the Greeks have eight words for love.
Here are some of the most romantic getaways in Greece.
The National Garden, Athens
Set between Syntagma (Constitution Square), busy Vasilissis Sofias Avenue and the ancient 6th century BC Temple of Olympian Zeus, Athens’ sprawling, shaded National Garden offers pleasant respite from the hustle and bustle of the city center and the summer heat.
Originally conceived and designed for Queen Amalia between 1838 and 1840, it contains hundreds of different plants from around the world and was opened to the public in 1920 whence it lost its old “Royal Garden” name.
Today, the garden is the perfect place for a romantic stroll and picnic thanks to covered walkways, grassed areas, and a central lake with ducks and swans.
Dotted around the park are various Roman-era ruins, as well as the busts of renowned figures, including Dionysios Solomos, who penned the Greek national anthem, and 19th-century romantic poet Lord Byron.
Elafonisi Beach, Crete
A paradise of pink, powdery sand, Elafonisi is a 90-minute drive from the port town of Chania and is widely regarded as one of Greece’s best beaches.
Elafonisi is technically a sandbank that leads to a small island. Wading across the shallows takes you away from the more organized mainland side with its cafés, loungers and umbrellas and onto a more remote islet where more secluded spots can be found by those looking for a little privacy.
Read: Best Beaches in Crete
Many places in Greece claim to be the setting of the country’s best sunset, and the pretty Cycladic village of Oia in dramatic Santorini is certainly up there at the very top of most people’s lists. Without doubt. Oia is one of the most romantic places in Greece.
Santorini sits on an active, sunken volcanic caldera and Oia, on the island’s northwest tip, overlooks two smoldering lava islands in the central bay and Santorini’s sister island, remote Thirasia.
From the village’s high vantage point, there is nothing to obscure the views as the fiery sun dips into the inky Aegean streaking the sky with myriad colors—an incredible natural show of beauty.
Even if you’re not there for the sunset, Oia’s setting is exquisite, looking back towards Thira, the island’s capital, spilling like sugar cubes over the sheer, black and red cliffs.
The Waterfront, Thessaloniki
The evening volta or stroll is a Greek institution. Couples don their finest clothes for a walk before sitting down in a café or bar to sip on coffee and watch others doing the same.
One of the most romantic places to do this is on the vast waterfront promenade that runs parallel with Nikis Avenue in Thessaloniki.
The best place to start is at The Umbrellas by Zongolopoulos, a huge modern art piece, heading northwest past iconic sites such as the Alexander the Great statue, the Royal Theater and the White Tower before settling in Aristotelous Square with its mansions and cozy coffee shops.
Mount Lycabettus, Athens
Also known as Lykavittos, pine-covered Mount Lycabettus is the highest point in central Athens, standing some 900 feet above the teeming streets below.
Starting from the high-end Kolonaki district, there’s a pleasant and secluded walk through the pines to the top that avoids the switchback road.
Those wishing to save their legs can take a funicular cable car to the summit where there are two churches, and a romantic café with incredible city views, especially in the evening as Athens lights up below.
Canal d’Amour, Corfu
Corfu is one of the best Greek islands for beaches, and the beautiful Canal d’Amour, outside the village of Sidari, is right up there with the best.
Set in a small cove between a series of craggy cliffs, it takes its name from the romantic legend that any single man who swims in the bay here will fall in love with the first woman they see on the beach.
The setting is as beautiful as the legend behind it: an almost perfect arc of white sand lapped by the bluest of Ionian seas and a great spot for a daytime date.
On Rhodes’ east coast, tiny Lindos is the archetypical island village and is ideal for walking arm in arm and exploring.
The whitewashed buildings climb away up a hill from the town beach, to form a series of cobbled streets and alleys lined with gift shops, snack bars and restaurants.
As the buildings thin out toward the top of the hill, the ancient Acropolis of Lindos comes into view. This citadel, dotted with Greek ruins dating to the fourth century BC, offers vistas across the Aegean to Turkey and is an ideal photo spot for photographs.
Ano Poli, Thessaloniki
Much of Thessaloniki was ravaged by a 1917 fire that led to a total rebuilding of the city, mainly in the neoclassical style. The only area that escaped is Ano Poli (upper town), which sits on a hill behind the old city walls.
Dotted around its winding streets are traditional homes and historic sites such as the Eptapyrgio Byzantine/Ottoman fortress and the Ataturk Museum which celebrates the birthplace of the founder of modern Turkey.
In a city packed with incredible places to eat, the restaurants here are the most romantic in town, with eateries to note including Toixo Toixo, Igglis and Nea Folia.
Big, brash Athens provides a stark contrast with the laid-back islands of the Aegean and Ionian seas—unless you head to Anafiotika.
This small Athens neighborhood in the foothills of the Acropolis was settled by migrant workers in the 18th century who built their homes in the style of their home island of Anafi, in the Cyclades.
Today, its winding streets, whitewashed cubic homes and scarlet bougainvillea seem like a million miles from the energetic city below, especially when sitting in a low-lit rooftop bar with a glass of iced ouzo and a plate of seafood meze.
Blue Caves, Zakynthos
Outside the village of Volimes, the Blue Caves of Zakynthos are a true natural wonder. Best visited on a private tour and with a knowledgeable guide who knows the best solitary spots, the caves take their name from the way the light reflects off the limestone walls to produce almost perfect cyan waters, ideal for a secluded dip.
Book a trip from Volimes to reach the popular Greek landmark and swim right off the boat in the shimmering water.
Little Venice, Mykonos
Mykonos is the Aegean’s high-end party isle, loved by Athenians, the LBGTQ community, and international celebrities who descend on the island every summer.
Visit Little Venice, a tiny community just outside the town’s port that acts as a perfect respite from all the fashionable fun going on elsewhere.
Named after the Venetian-era homes that jut out over the water here, there are galleries to explore, as well as bars and restaurants from which to enjoy the island’s most romantic spot.
Sip a cocktail right by the water and watch out for the tame pelican that does the rounds of the fish tavernas here, waddling right into the kitchens for snacks.
Wine Region, Katakolon
Katakolon is the tiny fishing village and port that offers access to Olympia, home of the original Olympic Games in 776 BC.
The surrounding region also provides some of Greece’s best wineries, such as Domaine Mercouri, a family-run business that’s been producing some of the country’s finest vintages for more than 150 years.
Set on a verdant farm by a beach with views over the Ionian to Zakynthos, this is an ideal location for a romantic afternoon of tasting the produce and wandering through the surrounding pine forests.
Outdoor Movie Theaters, Athens
Athens offers a number of outdoor cinemas in summer, which is not a uniquely Greek phenomenon, but is certainly one the locals have made their own.
Every neighborhood has its own open-air option, but those set in downtown are often in historic locations and offer a real retro feel.
Aigli, on the edge of the National Garden, offers table service so couples can dine during the show and is probably the most popular of all.
Other options include Cine Thiseion, open since 1935 and with great views of the Acropolis, and Dexameni on the site of an aqueduct built during the reign of the Roman Emperor Hadrian. All these movie theaters show English-language films, usually with Greek subtitles.
Hammam Experiences, Thessaloniki
Thessaloniki’s importance during the 400 years of Ottoman rule means that Turkish influences remain strong, including the chance to try a hammam.
These combinations of steam rooms and public baths were once a common gathering place but now operate more like high-end spas with a wide range of traditional and modern treatments including the chance to hire a private room and indulge in a soothing couples’ massage.
Thira, the capital of volcanic Santorini, is a whitewashed town that seems to cling to the edge of a cliff. Its bars and restaurants offer dazzling views of the caldera, while the narrow backstreets are perfect for exploring before settling down to an evening meal or drink.
Thira’s small, winding alleyways are also known for their fabulous goldsmiths, making this a great place to pick up Greek souvenirs or a special gift for a loved one.
Old Town, Rhodes
Entering through the gates of Rhodes’ Old Town is a little like stepping back in time. Europe’s oldest inhabited medieval town is a delightful melting pot of winding streets, gothic and Byzantine churches, Crusader-era castles, Ottoman mosques, and elegant mansions.
A visit to Rhodes’ Old Town should start with a visit to the main thoroughfare, Street of the Knights, and take in the Palace of the Grand Master of the Knights, the old Clock Tower, and Ippokratous (Hippocrates) Square; the latter being a lovely location for a romantic aperitif as the light begins to fade.
The island of Hydra is so dreamy it could well be a film set and as one of the most romantic places in Greece has indeed featured in various movies.
An almost perfect arc of a port sees neoclassical buildings, once the mansions of the rich sea captains who made the island their home, climb away from the waterfront up the surrounding hills.
There are no cars in Hydra and donkey-and-trap are the preferred forms of transport, but going on a horseback ride is a far more elegant way of exploring beyond the port, into the island’s mountainous interior.
Otherwise, simply wander through the whitewashed streets and enjoy the sensation of being lost; you can find your way back to the port simply by heading downhill.
Mount Olympus, Litochoro
A 90-minute drive south of Thessaloniki stands the highest of all the mountains in Greece. Towering over the surrounding countryside at 10,000 feet, mighty Mount Olympus was said to be the home of the Greek Gods of ancient myth. Just standing in its gaze invokes an almost religious feel.
The vast national park in the mountain’s foothills offers great hiking, and romantic spots include deep ravines, shaded trails, gushing springs, and impressive waterfalls.
The Venetian Port, Chania, Crete
Take Mykonos’s Little Venice and Hydra’s perfect arc of a port and meld them together and you get Chania’s Old Venetian-era harbor, possibly one of the prettiest places on the Greek islands.
The port of Chania itself and the maze of narrow alleyways that spin off it like a spider’s web are dominated with the pastel colors of its 14th-century buildings. Take a late afternoon stroll as the light begins to glow gold and stop for drinks at one of the many waterfront restaurants.
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