Greece is full of remarkable sights – pristine beaches, panoramic views of the sea, UNESCO Heritage Sites, impressive monasteries, and quaint fishing villages. When we see pictures of these classically “Greek” sites on Instagram, it’s often easy to say “this location is in Greece.” Something about the color of the water, the view from Santorini’s caldera, the white and blue houses, or the old fishing boats in the port, signal to us that “yes, we are in Greece.”
Apart from the classic Greek scenes we are used to on Instagram, not all of Greece looks like this. In fact, some of Greece’s most incredible sights will leave you wondering “wait, this place is in Greece?” We list just a few must-visit sites in this article that most visitors to Greece (and even some native Greeks) don’t know about.
The name translates roughly to “red clay” because it refers to a group of hills with red soil. The unique landscape is north of Preveza and it is surrounded by a dense forest. Each hill is about 100 meters high. After research into the area, scientists think that the reason for the red earth is the iron oxide and clay in the ground.
Best Time to Visit Kokkinopilos
The best time to visit Kokkinopilos is during the spring or the summer, early in the morning. The colors are the best when the sun is not high in the sky. The best way to reach the hills is by car on the National Road Ioannina – Preveza. This area also has archaeological remains, like a stone axe which was found here from over 250,000 years ago.
Palm Forest Crete
Travel to Crete’s Eastern tip and you will find yourself at Vai’s palm forest. Vai has a colony of 5000 trees of the Phoenix Theophrastus variety that are located very close to the water’s edge. A few smaller clusters of this tree are found in other areas of Crete in Preveli and the Canary Islands, but the Vai palm forest is the most impressive collection of these palm trees in Europe.
The “Caribbean” of Crete
Vai palm forest is unique in Crete because it is a jungle right next to the beach, making you feel like you are in an exotic location in the Caribbean or in the tropics. The Vai palm forest, most easily accessible from the towns of Palekastro and Sitia, became famous in the 1970s because of a British TV advertisement. It featured a coconut dessert covered in chocolate and claimed that Vai palm forest was a place where you could find “the taste of paradise.” The second palm tree forest in Crete is in Preveli.
Sarakiniko Beach, Milos
Sarakiniko Beach is an ideal spot for relaxation, but not with the same scenery as other beaches in Greece. It looks like something on another planet, like the surface of the moon. Visitors come from all over the island, which is found in the Cyclades and is a less-touristy sister island to Santorini. The beach is reached from the town of Adamas and is 5 kilometers from the island capital, Plaka. During high season, you can either go by bus, car, or ATV.
Sarakiniko Beach Facilities
The beach is not organized and doesn’t have facilities. You will be alone with nature, so you should take a water bottle and food with you. Be careful of the sea urchins, which you don’t want to step on when getting in or out of the water.
Xigia Beach of Zakynthos
Xigia Beach is in the northeast of Zakynthos. You can get there only by car, and the beach is mostly made of pebbles. The unique part of Xigia Beach is that the water here has a lot of sulfur. When you swim, you can even see it in the water. Most people associate sulphur with the smell, but it is great for the skin and leaves you feeling smooth and clean. The water is pleasant and is a little bit cooler than other parts of the island, because of the cliffs. It’s like a natural sulfur bath, so you should definitely add it to your list of beaches to visit on Zakynthos.
Blue Caves of Kastelorizo
The Blue Caves of Kastelorizo are arguably the most impressive caves to visit in Greece. The sun reflects off the water and paints the cave an unbelievable shade of blue – one that you need to see to believe. You can swim and dive in the cave, or just take a ride in on a boat.
The island of Kastelorizo is unique as a sight in its own right because it is so far from any other island in Greece. It is a small speck in the Mediterranean just 800 meters from the coast of Turkey. The port towns of this small island are full of impressive mansions that are often 2 stories and colored with a variety of colorful paints.
Corfu Town, Corfu
Walking through Corfu Town, you would think you are in Italy. Since the 13th century, the Ionian Islands slowly became a part of the “Serenissima” Republic, and followed Western European developments in every sphere – politics, economics, social life, and their culture. In combining Byzantine traditions with Italian Renaissance spirit, they crafted a unique Ionian/Heptanesian culture that was unique for the Greek world at the time. However, at the same time they kept the Greek national spirit and Orthodox tradition alive.
Corfu Town Architecture
When you visit Corfu town, among many interesting buildings, it’s worth seeing the Ionian Parliament, where the vote was made to unify the Ionian islands with the rest of Greece. The building is built in the Neoclassical style and is close to the Town Hall of Corfu town and Spianada Square.