Why go? With all the historic sites, delicious food, beautiful beaches, and dramatic seascapes, Greece truly has something for everyone, making it an ideal honeymoon hotspot.
Best Ideas: Cruise the Greek Islands, visit mountaintop villages, and catch a romantic sunset you’ll never forget at a restaurant by the water.
Good to Know: The Greeks are Europe’s biggest smokers (though the younger generation is kicking the habit), so while puffing indoors isn’t allowed, anticipate plumes of cigarette smoke to engulf most al fresco restaurants and bars. They also like to eat dinner late — we’re talking after 10:00 p.m. Other than stocking up on antacids, you’ll rediscover life’s simplest pleasures while in Greece, as long as you remember to savor every bit.
What do you think you know about Greece? A bit of the alphabet, perhaps, which you learned from your college’s fraternities (though you’re totally mispronouncing those letters). Or the basic concept of democracy, the form of government invented by the ancient Greeks, which we totally improved upon… or maybe not at all. You’re also very familiar with Greece’s most iconic street food, the gyro, which you can now find at Arby’s drive-thrus across the country.
The Cradle of Western Civilization — replete with scenic pockets fit for cradling your new spouse — includes Europe’s best beaches, world-famous archeological sites, and luxurious hotels fit for any budget. An easygoing attitude is always a sexy trait, which Greece exemplifies at its core, alongside rich cultural treasures enshrined in great food, influential architecture, and generous hospitality. Though America’s adapted some pretty significant Greek inventions, you’ll have to go there for the real deal. The country is a honeymoon heavyweight in the destination department, for its passionate people, the crystal seas of the Mediterranean, and sunshine that just won’t quit. Here’s how to make it happen.
In This Article
Traveling & Getting Around Greece
There’s never really a bad time to go to Greece. You can go skiing in the winter, hiking in the spring and fall, and to the beach all summer long. But the sweet spots really are during the shoulder seasons, May through June or September through October. It’s the best timeframe for ample sunshine without the oppressive heat. You’ll also skip the tourist crowds and peak pricing. The sea is at its warmest in the early fall, though most islands become dead zones past mid-October.
The Euro is Greece’s official currency. Credit cards are widely accepted, though keeping cash on hand is a smart idea. Tipping is always optional, but it’s customary to leave a few Euro coins or up to 10% of the bill if it’s a pricier meal. There’s no need to tip at bars.
Several airlines have direct flights to Athens from the East Coast, including Delta, United, American, and Emirates. Once in Athens, the rest of Greece is pretty easy to reach with flights to the major islands on national carriers (namely Aegean and Olympic) and an extensive network of ferries departing from the main port of Piraeus. Inter-island transit can be tricky unless you’re in the same “family.” In other words, you can get from Santorini to Mykonos with a quick boat ride, but you’ll have to stop in Athens if Corfu is on your itinerary. Driving around Greece is also super easy, with (mostly) omnipresent bilingual highway signs, though driving in aggressive Athenian traffic can be a dizzying experience.
Honeymooning in Greece: Pros & Cons
- Favorable weather nearly all year round.
- Food will rarely disappoint, and can be affordable compared to other European destinations (though not always… see below).
- Limited inter-island transport except within island “families.”
- The most popular islands can be outrageously pricey (we’re talking $30 margaritas on some Mykonos beaches).
- Rampant bureaucracy and inefficiency can lead to transport strikes and shoddy customer service.
Although Greece’s morale-shattering economic crisis still lingers and unemployment is still strikingly high, the buzzing capital is experiencing a creative renaissance of sorts. The arts and design scene is flourishing with galleries and culture hubs, like the Renzo Piano-designed Stavros Niarchos Foundation. Innovative chefs are looking inward with a renewed appreciation for Greece’s own culinary traditions rather than emulating foreign trends. Formerly grungy neighborhoods are being revitalized with independent boutiques and cafes. (Photo by nikos_karmis_photography)
Despite being Greece’s second largest city, being home to several national universities brings a youthful ambiance to Thessaloniki’s social scene, with killer nightlife and restaurants. It often plays second fiddle to Athens in the antiquities department, but is listed by UNESCO as an “open museum” of early Christian and Byzantine art with over a dozen sites preserved from the Ancient Roman times to last century’s Ottoman rule. (Photo by Thessaloniki Travel)
PeloponnesePeloponnese 220 16, Greece
When the Corinth Canal was carved to make boat travel more efficient from one side of Greece to the other, one-third of the country’s land mass technically became an island. The lesser-visited Peloponnese region is still considered the mainland, however, and is a paradise for honeymooners who like to road trip. With historic towns like Nafplio, Monemvasia, and the dramatic coastlines of Porto Heli and Costa Navarino, building a driving itinerary around the peninsula is a great way to go. (Photo by Peloponnese_Gr)
CreteCrete Region, Greece
Greeks often say that Crete is its own country, not just because it’s the largest island within Greece’s borders, but because it’s always more or less had an independent Cretan culture. From the age of the ancient Minoans to the occupying Venetians and Brits, Crete is an intriguing blend of old and new. Relative to the rest of Greece, luxury resorts are probably going to be affordable here. (Photo by Crete Island)
The Greek IslandsThera 847 00, Greece
Greece has over six thousand islands peppered across the Aegean and Ionian Seas, and most of them are uninhabited. Excluding Crete, the isles are categorized into six groups based on geography: Cyclades, Ionian, Sporades, Northern Aegean, Dodecanese, and Saronic. Like any family, the groups have unique characteristics that encompass their natural environment, architectural traditions, and cultural uniqueness. (Photo of Oia in Santorini by Federico)
Best Attractions & Activities in Greece
The AcropolisAcropolis, Athens 116 36, Greece
First-timers to Greece: A visit to the Acropolis is non-negotiable, no matter how many tourists ambush the site on a daily basis. Mornings are guaranteed to be mobbed, so visit in the late afternoon when families and tour groups head back to their hotels for a siesta. Start at the Acropolis Museum for educational context before climbing up the steps up to the historic citadel and emblematic Parthenon temple. After hitting up the touristy districts of Plaka and Monastiraki, spend time in emerging neighborhoods like Kypseli and Koukaki, where hipsters mingle over afternoon frappes (addictive frothy iced coffee) for hours — literally. (Photo by This Is Athens)
Check Out the Athenian RivieraApollonos 40, Vouliagmeni 166 71, Greece
We often hear folks jumping to conclude that the Greek capital is gritty and smothered in graffiti. Certain parts are for sure, but to experience a ritzier, polished side of this great city, grab a taxi or take the shore-hugging tram eastward along the Athenian Riviera. Seek out the beach clubs (Astir Beach is the most exclusive), seafront cafes (Balux is the trendiest), and high end boutiques of Metaxa Avenue in the towns of Glyfada, Voula, and Vouliagmeni. Cape Sounio — the grand Temple of Poseidon — marks the end of the Riviera. (Photo by Astir Beach)
Explore NafplioNafplion, Greece
Few enclaves rival the laid back charms of the Greek islands, but Nafplio is the closest you can get without leaving the mainland. Plus, unlike the islands, it’s a year-round destination, all just two-hour drive from the capital. Rent a car from Athens and make pit stops at the impressive Corinth Canal and Nemea vineyards. A stroll through the cobblestone streets of the historic center will reveal why Greek honeymooners have flocked here for decades. (Photo by Nafplio Greece)
Visit the Medieval Village of MonemvasiaMonemvasia, Greece
It’s a shock that Game of Thrones never filmed in Monemvasia, a medieval village carved into the side of a giant rocky promontory off the eastern Pelopponese. But it’s a blessing after all — a vaccination preventing the Gibraltar of Greece from going viral. Prepare to be enchanted by Byzantine chapels, Venetian-style manors, and the famous Monemvasia castle, the only one in Europe that’s never not been inhabited. (Photo by Monemvasia Society)
Discover Scenic Mani PeninsulaMani Peninsula, Greece
Don’t miss the ruggedly picturesque Mani peninsula, the middle finger of the Pelopponese hand. (Just look at satellite imagery to see what we’re talking about.) At one point in time, the end of the peninsula was the farthest point of the known world for Ancient Greeks. The nearby Cape Matapan caves were also thought of as an entrance to Hades in the underworld, while the whole area is dubbed the Sanctuary of the Dead. It’s a vastly underrated part of country for lovebirds seeking seclusion in the Hellenic countryside. Drive through coastal hamlets (Limeni is a stunner), abandoned ghost towns (especially the stone 18th-century tower houses of Vatheia), and lovely pebble beaches. (Photo of Cape Matapan by Peloponnese_Gr)
Visit UNESCO World Heritage WondersKorai 3, Athina 105 64, Greece
Sign up for a two-day limo tour with Prestige Greece of Delphi and Meteora, to see a pair of UNESCO-designated wonders in the country’s interior. On day one, your professional chauffeur will pass through the ski town of Arachova before dropping you off at the awesome Delphi archeological site, where oracles hallucinated with prophetic grumblings at the foot of Mount Parnassus. Day two brings you to the floating Meteora monasteries, which seamlessly cap off sky-high sandstone pillars that jut out from the Thessaly plains. Your thoughts will evolve from “Wow, this is incredible” to “How the hell did they build this?” to “Get me down from here.” (Photo by Prestige Greece)
Best Hotels, Resorts & Airbnbs in Greece
A Charming Airbnb Near Lycabettus NillAthens 114 71, Greece
Airbnbs in Athens are plenty and an affordable choice. Entire apartments run under $100 per night. Snag one that has views of the Acropolis, like this one near Lycabettus Hill with a roof deck and jacuzzi. (Photo courtesy of Airbnb)
Hotel Grand Bretagne1 Vasileos Georgiou A, Syntagma Square Str, Athina 105 64, Greece
You could certainly splurge on hotels, like the stately Hotel Grande Bretagne, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Athens. Rates start at $303, which is worth it for the rooftop pool. (Photo courtesy of Hotel Grande Bretagne, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Athens)
Perianth Hotel2, Limpona Street, Athina 105 60, Greece
Choose a more modest option like the modernist Perianth Hotel, where rates start at $118 a night for a double room. (Photo courtesy of Perianth Hotel)
Coco-Mat Hotel AthensPatriarchou Ioakim 36, Athina 106 75, Greece
Eco-friendly Coco-Mat is also a gem, with prices starting at $116 a night. (Photo courtesy of Coco-Mat Hotel Athens)
Four Seasons Astir Palace Hotel AthensApollonos 40, Vouliagmeni 166 71, Greece
For resort-style luxury just outside the city, migrate to the sparkling Athenian Riviera. The posh Four Seasons Hotel Astir Palace Athens is tough to beat for honeymoon glamor — and you’ll pay for it, with rates starting at about $500 per night for a standard sea view suite. (Photo courtesy of Four Seasons Hotel Astir Palace Athens)
The MargiLitous 11, Vouliagmeni 166 71, Greece
Also in the tony district is The Margi, an attractive boutique hotel that’s become a hotspot in the “Hamptons of Greece.” (Photo courtesy of The Margi)
Kyrimai HotelΓερολιμένας Ν. Λακωνίας, Gerolimenas 230 71, Greece
In Gerolimenas, at the tip of the Mani Peninsula, is the uber-romantic waterfront Kyrimai Hotel. Rooms in this restored early 19th-century abode start at $128 per night, and include access to a dreamy pool and onsite restaurant. (Photo courtesy of Kyrimai Hotel)
Kinsterna HotelAg. Stefanos 230 70, Greece
In Monemvasia, post up at Kinsterna Hotel, a historic Byzantine-era estate, where double rooms start at $151 a night. (Photo by Kinsterna Hotel)
If you’re headed to the islands, Airbnbs may not be the best options as they are better suited for larger groups. Hotels offer a far more romantic experience, many of them packaging up tempting honeymoon deals, and they’re often located in more scenic areas like the beach or away from the village noise.
Cavo TagooMikonos 846 00, Greece
The Cyclades boast some of Greece’s most stylish hotels, fusing traditional whitewashed architecture with modern conveniences. The best of the bunch are on Mykonos. Cavo Tagoo (rates starting at $536) is among the most coveted stays on the island thanks to a now-legendary pool scene ripe with celebrity spotting opps. (Photo by Cavo Tagoo)
The Hermes Mykonos HotelMykonos Town [Chora], Mikonos 846 00, Greece
The Hermes Mykonos Hotel, located a short walk from the maze of Mykonos Town, will be gentler on your wallet, starting at $126 per night. (Photo by Hermes Mykonos Hotel)
Senia Hotel ParosNaoussa Paros, Paros 844 01, Greece
Another romantic hotel in the Cyclades is Senia Hotel Paros, with rooms from $160 per night. (Photo courtesy of Senia Hotel Paros)
Villa Marandi Luxury SuitesStelida Area, Naxos 843 00, Greece
Villa Marandi Luxury Suites in Naxos offers affordable luxury with rooms from $220 per night. (Photo courtesy of Villa Marandi Luxury Suites)
Skinopi Lodgeskinopi 848 00, Greece
Prices at the rustic-chic Skinopi Lodge in Milos start at $300 a night. (Photo courtesy of Skinopi Lodge)
Diles & RiniesLia Cyclades, Tinos 842 00, Greece
Diles & Rinies’ villas is located on the holy isle of Tinos. Prepare for rates, which usually start at $300 a night, to double from low to high season. (Photo courtesy of Diles & Rinies)
Domes MiramareMiramare Beach, Μοραϊτικα 490 84, Greece
While the white-and-blue palette of the Cyclades is the most common vision of Greece, the Ionian islands on Greece’s west side present something completely different with dense pine forests and Venetian architecture. Stay at Domes Miramare (rates from $230) for the most luxurious stay on the island of Corfu, maybe the entire Ionians, starting at $216 per night. (Photo courtesy of Domes Miramare)
Casa Cook RhodesEuropean Union St, Kolympia 851 02, Greece
Adults-only Casa Cook is located in the eastern isle of Rhodes and offers low-season rates from $135 a night. (Photo courtesy of Casa Cook)
Domes of EloundaElounda 720 53, Greece
Domes of Elounda in Crete is another standout honeymoon-worthy hotel, with rates from $220 a night. (Photo courtesy of Domes of Elounda)
It’s also worth perusing The Thinking Traveler’s portfolio of villas throughout Greece, especially on the lush island retreats of Lefkada, Meganissi, or the lesser-known Sporades group (where Mamma Mia was filmed).
Honeymoon Packages & Cruises in Greece
Windstar CruisesPireas 185 38, Greece
A slew of honeymoon packages can make Greece an even more appealing destination, magnifying the romance with every perk. Departing from Athens, Windstar’s Treasures of the Greek Isles itinerary — one of its flagship honeymoon cruises — docks at Mykonos, Santorini, and Patmos (favored by the fashion crowd), as well as Monemvasia and Nafplio during a week-long cruise. Prices start at about $12,000 per couple. (Photo courtesy of Windstar Cruises)
Regent Seven SeasPireas 185 38, Greece
Regent Seven Seas outlines an even more extensive tour with its Grecian Wonders itinerary from Athens to Istanbul. The route’s cheek-to-cheek approach hits up the Ionian Islands in the west, Crete to the south, and the Cyclades and the Dodecanese to the east. This package earns extra points for offering free business-class airfare and a 2-for-1 savings of $2,000 to make the $11,000 price tag a bit easier to swallow. (Photo courtesy of Regent Seven Seas)
Grecotel Corfu Imperial ResortTzavros - Kommeno, Kerkira 490 83, Greece
Grecotel Corfu Imperial resort has four carefully curated honeymoon packages, two of which are complementary to add on if you show a wedding certificate from the past twelve months. Look forward to bottles of bubbly wine, traditional wedding sweets like honey-soaked melokarido cookies, and a candlelit dinner at one of 15 (!) seafront restaurants. (Photo courtesy of Grecotel Corfu Imperial)
Best Restaurants & Bars in Greece
Point ARovertou Galli 4a, Athina 117 42, Greece
Point A ($$$) is a stunning food destination up on the roof garden of the Herodion Hotel in Athens. The restaurant-gallery hybrid features a rotating curation of Greek paintings and sculptures from local exhibitions. It’ll be a tug of war of the senses between savoring your succulent lamb dish and taking in breathtaking vistas of the Acropolis. (Photo courtesy of Point A)
VeganakiAthanasiou Diakou 38, Athina 117 43, Greece
Vegetarian crusaders passing through Athens will find their holy grail at Veganaki ($). Refuel from your antiquities circuit with crispy nuggets of falafel, fresh salads, and gluten-free versions of traditional Greek pies. Coffee is free trade, too. (Photo courtesy of Veganaki)
IthakiApollonos, Αθήνας 28, Vouliagmeni 166 71, Greece
Even if you’re not overnighting on the Athenian Coast, plan a sunset dinner at Ithaki ($$$$) in the affluent suburb of Vouliagmeni. Perched on a sea-facing hill, this upmarket restaurant is a stomping ground for Athens’ glitterati obsessed with the seafood specialities caught from the Med earlier that day. (Photo courtesy of Ithaki)
The Many Restaurants of MykonosBelvedere Hotel, Mikonos 846 00, Greece
Mykonos has a smattering of global names in glamorous dining, including Buddha Bar at the exclusive Santa Marina Resort, Ling Ling from the Hakkasan team, Nobu’s Matsuhisa at the Belvedere, and even Nusr-Et ($$$$) of “salt bae” fame. Food-wise they’re all fairly decent, but will set you back a pretty Euro penny. And hold the salt. (Photo courtesy of Matsuhisa Mykonos)
Matoula RestaurantMonemvasia 230 70, Greece
Throughout the Pelopponese, you can rely on finding delightfully authentic, family-run tavernas. That’s not to say they’re any less romantic than a fancy Myconian price-gouger. There’s 60-year-old Matoula Restaurant ($$), tucked in the gardens of the Monemvasia Castle with a vine-covered terrace overlooking the ocean. (Photo courtesy of Matoula Restaurant)
Taverna ByzantioVasileos Alexandrou 15, Nafplio 211 00, Greece
TelonioLimeni 230 62, Greece
Dreamy Telonio ($$$) is a great little waterfront seafood restaurant in the quaint village of Limeni in Mani. (Photo courtesy of Telonio)
Politics and romance should never be used in the same sentence, but the Birthplace of Democracy is one honeymoon destination we’ll always vote for. Put that in your pita and eat it.