For people in Europe, Greece is only a short plane ride away. This warm, historic country on the Mediterranean is attractive for a number of reasons. It has amazing ancient ruins, stunning beaches, ruggedly scenic highland areas, and plenty of delicious food and colorful culture. As one of Europe’s great destinations, Greece is a wonderful place for a weekend-long vacation. People can come to the islands for some sunshine and relaxation or they can explore the historical and natural sides of Greece.

Here are some ideas for memorable weekend breaks in Greece.

Experience history and shopping in Athens


Photo: bgilliard / Flickr

Athens is a thriving city. It has a long history and was the birthplace of the classical Greek civilization. History is certainly on display in Athens, with a number of museums and ruins offering visitors a glimpse into the past glory days. The famous Acropolis is a highlight for history lovers. Though not quite as ancient, the neighborhood of Plaka, near the Acropolis, is an attractive place to spend a few hours strolling amidst neoclassical buildings. Despite its status as a hub city, Athens does not have many chain stores. This makes it a charming place to shop. After getting their fill of history, people on a weekend break in Greece can head to the city’s family-owned shops and restaurants to buy souvenirs and eat amazingly authentic local food. Athens also has a lively cafe culture, so it is possible to spend a Sunday afternoon sitting and watching the city go by.

Immerse yourself in the history of Rhodes


Photo: francesco sgroi / Flickr

Rhodes is one of the most famous of Greece’s many islands. It has a a sunny, warm climate that draws many beach seekers. Extensive ruins and a largely intact Medieval town make it possible to enjoy both the history and beaches of Greece, two of its most attractive attributes, during the same weekend-long vacation. Rhodes Old Town is still intact and still inhabited. It is a great place to soak in the historic atmosphere. For people who don’t want to sit still during their weekend break in Greece, it is possible to travel around Rhodes to visit it small, charming and historic villages and to seek out uncrowded beaches.

Party on Mykonos


Photo: || UggBoy♥UggGirl || PHOTO || WORLD || TRAVEL || / Flickr

Mykonos is one of Greece’s most popular islands. For people who come to Greece to sit on the beach during the day and party at night, Mykonos is the destination of choice. The beaches are lively during the high season, and many are lined with restaurants and bars, which give Mykonos its good-time vibe. There are also some nightclubs where people party until dawn. Mykonos has an energetic nightlife scene, but it also has some interesting small towns. Since most people are partying until the wee hours, it is possible to rise early one day during your weekend vacation and enjoy the beach when it is uncrowded.

Relax on Santorini


Photo: Wolfgang Staudt / Flickr

Beaches are stunning in Greece, but sometimes you just want the feeling of getting away from it all. This is possible on the charming island of Santorini. Featuring a scenic volcano and several picturesque towns, it is the ideal destination for people who want their weekend to be laid back and filled with great views. Towns, such as Oia and Fira, are perched on the cliff-sides. They offer great views and have unique white-colored buildings that create a very special atmosphere. Santorini also offers treks around its volcanic inland areas and trips to unusual black sand beaches that ring the island.

Explore the pinnacles of Meteora


Photo: Danel Solabarrieta / Flickr

A lot happens near Greece’s seaside, so it is easy to forget that much of the country sits inland. The province of Thessaly, in north central Greece, is an area that is known for its amazing rock formations. Even more amazing: some of the highest pinnacles have monasteries built on top of them. These seemingly unreachable buildings can be visited by walking up steep paths that circle the pinnacles. This is one of the most unique places to visit in all of Greece. People can appreciate the rich history of the monasteries, the views from the summits of the rock formations, and the stunning landscapes. A trip to Meteora is certainly worth a weekend for tourists who are in search of something completely different than they would find on the beach.

Have you taken a weekend break in Greece? Let us know about your experience and recommendations in the comments section below.

Josh Lew
Josh Lew
Josh Lew has traveled widely in Asia and the Americas. He has contributed to popular travel sites like Gadling and Brave New Traveler and currently writes a weekly travel column for MNN. His work has also appeared on the websites of CNN and Forbes Magazine.

If you enjoyed this article, get email updates (it's free).

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>