There are plenty of hidden gems to discover in Greece. We have previously seen Greek destinations that foreign visitors might ignore, but locals visit frequently. These include Halkidiki and Mount Pelion. But there are some incredible places in the country that even Greeks often snub, unless they live in close proximity to them.
Some of these places are the birthplaces of important Modern Greek figures. They have landscapes and architectural styles that you may not associate with Greece. Let’s explore together some of the most underrated Greek destinations.
Seven Underrated Greek Destinations
- Syros Island
- Salamis Island
- Arcadia Region
- Kithira & Antikithira
Xanthi | Unique Places in Greece
Xanthi is a unique city in the region of Thrace in northeastern Greece. Since it is not located right by the sea and due to it’s a bit colder climate, many Greeks and foreign visitors rarely travel to Xanthi. The exception is, of course, the well-known annual carnival festival.
But Xanthi, especially its old town, has a very unique and beautiful architecture that it is hard to find in Greece. Its local bazaar attracts many visitors every Saturday. And let’s not forget that the city was the birthplace of one of the greatest Greek and European composers: Manos Hatzidakis. His beautiful home is now a Museum that everyone should visit when in Xanthi.
Kavala | Underrated Destinations in Greece
Kavala is another city in northern Greece. This time, situated by the sea in eastern Macedonia. Due to the fact that it is located far from Athens, it is not such a popular destination as other places in Greece.
But the city is not only beautiful, but it also has many monuments that showcase Greece’s long history. It was founded in the 7th century BC and it was an important fort city of the Byzantine Empire. As a result, it has countless monuments that are worth a visit. Not only that but Xanthi is also connected to the Roman Via Egnatia hiking trail.
Kithira and Antikithira | Lessen-Known Greek Destinations
Another beautiful Greek location that is not easy to reach from Greece’s big cities, is Kithira (or Kythera). Kithira is an island located in the south-eastern tip of the Peloponnese peninsula. It is associated with another, much smaller island named Antikithira (or Antikythera).
The islands have a long history, beautiful landscapes and beaches, and a unique architecture with a Venetian influence. When it comes to Antikithira, you may have heard of the famous Antikythera Mechanism; the oldest example of an analogue computer that was used to predict astronomical positions, among other things. The mechanism was discovered at a shipwreck off the coast of the remote island of Antikithira.
Arcadia Region | Underrated Places in Greece
Arcadia is a region in the Peloponnese. The region has a long history and it has been featured in many mythological stories – including the story of Arcas and the god Pan. Since it is not connected to the sea, it is not a popular destination for people who visit Greece.
But Arcadia is an area you should definitely visit once in your life. To begin with, the area has been traditionally inhabited by one of the oldest Greek tribes: the Arcadians. The Mountains of Arcadia are full of picturesque, authentic villages. Tripoli, the city of Arcadia, is known for its brave people. They played a crucial role in the Greek War of Independence.
Salamis Island | Unique Greek Destinations
You may know the island of Salamis thanks to the naval battle of Salamis against the Persian Empire in 480 BC. It is in close proximity to Athens and it belongs to the administrative region of Attica. Although many Athenians visit Salamis for a short visit, it is rarely the first choice for their summer vacation.
But the island has a long history and it is featured in countless mythological stories. Not only that, but it was the birthplace of the ancient tragedian Euripides. The island has beautiful monasteries – including the historic monastery of Faneromeni-, various beaches, and forests.
Syros Island | Underrated Greek Destinations
Syros is a Cycladic island, just like Santorini and Paros. But fewer people know about it and even Greeks rarely consider it for their summer vacations. Perhaps that is because it was an important industrialized port island with an atmosphere that distinguishes it from the laid-back neighboring islands.
Syros is an impressive island with numerous neo-classical mansions – especially in its main town, Ermoupolis. The mayor’s house of Syros is one of the most impressive municipal buildings in the entire country. Ano Syros, a second town, was built by the Venetians. It still maintains a medieval atmosphere.
The island is the birthplace of many important Greek figures from antiquity till modern times, including the illustrious writer Emmanuel Rhoides and the legendary musician Markos Vamvakaris. If you love history and architecture, Syros island is an island you should add to your list.
Missolonghi | Unique Destinations in Greece
The most underrated place to visit in Greece might be Missolonghi – which today is mostly known for its salt. It is rarely on the list of Greeks and foreign visitors, unless they have any ties to it. Missolonghi did not only play a crucial role in the Greek War of Independence, inspiring the philhellene Lord Byron to participate in the revolution, but it is also one of the most unique Greek destinations.
The town, situated in Aetolia-Acarnania in West Greece, has a picturesque architecture but also a functional and modern urban planning that is hard to find in most Greek cities and towns. Moreover, it is one of the few places in Greece where you can safely ride your bike. It has many landmarks (including the Garden of Heroes), museums, and cultural centers. The first prime minister of Greece, Spyridon Trikoupis, was born in Missolonghi. The same applies to countless other important Greek figures.
A picturesque place that you should visit is Tourlida, an island in Missolonghi Lagoon, known for its picturesque fisherman houses on piles. Tourlida is connected to the shore by road and you could easily cycle there from the town of Missolonghi!
All of the above places are also known for their delicious local cuisine. The makaronopita (pasta pie) of Missolonghi, the loukoumi and frisoura of Syros, the chylopites of Arcadia, the anthogalera of Kithira…
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