Greece has long been hailed as one of the most beautiful countries in the world and Santorini, one of its most popular beachside escapes. While the shores of these crystalline waters and pure, white-sand coastlines draw thousands of tourists each year, to forget that other parts of Greece exist would be hubris. Exploring the lesser-known parts of a country such as this can often give way to hidden gems without the crowds, which is, in itself, a worthy experience.
It also doesn't hurt to get a local feel for a place and that means going away from the path less traveled. In a world where travelers value adventure and new experiences, seeking out these underrated (yet equally as beautiful) destinations in Greece is exactly what every vacation needs. Travelers might even find that they could fall in love with a location that was never on their itinerary, to start with... and we consider that to be a win-win situation.
Tinos is a more rustic destination, where a small village meets gorgeous seaside vistas. Not many people choose to travel here with so many other well-known Greek islands, making this isle incredibly underrated and also not nearly as crowded as the others. Rather than have sandy beaches, visitors will have a fairly rocky shoreline with calm and crystal-clear waters for avid swimmers.
Vineyards are also an alluring aspect of Tinos, as the wine is produced locally and on a smaller scale than many others, making a tasting a rare and unique experience. The beaches will likely never be crowded and this small town is perfect for spending lazy days just walking around and getting to know the locals, which will be easy with the homey and welcome small-town accommodations available. To get to know Greece on a local and personal level, Tinos is the place to be.
This location might actually be familiar to some who are fans of the movie Mama Mia!. That's because it was actually filmed there and although it had a different name in the movie (the island of Kalokairi never actually existed), the same towering streets, classic white, Greek architecture, and seaside cliffs are undoubtedly recognizable.
Despite its fame in the movie series, it still remains an underrated travel destination in Greece. While the west coast of this island might see a few more travelers than the rest of the island, the pebbly slopes that dip down into sparkling blue water remained uncrowded and beckon to visitors to explore its seaside vista. Those who are fans of hiking and scenic views will also be happy to know there are plenty of trails to walk on this island, each one leading to an overlook or point of reference to see the entire town.
Kythnos is far more traditional and it's not likely that visitors will ever run into tourist crowds on this island. The south side of this island is home to the sandy beaches that everyone loves about Greece and all without the increased capacity, which is why this lesser-known island is one of the best for those seeking a quiet and calm Greece vacation.
Exploring the town is like stepping back into time and visitors will get a real feel for what life is like on this island, at a slower pace and with not nearly as many people to navigate around. The island's tavernas are home to traditional and authentic Greek food, as well as some local company. In the center of town, visitors will find thermal springs that are said to have healing powers, making Kythnos the perfect place for rest, relaxation, and serene surroundings.
Ioannina is a bit different than the rest of Greece and while it's still surrounded by beautiful waters and mountainscapes, it's also home to rolling green hills and a town whose history dates back further than anywhere else in the country.
Ioannina is the oldest-standing Byzantine fortress, built in 528 BC, and it sits further inland than many other popular destinations. However, that doesn't make this lakeside escape any less magical - its history alone is enough to enchant any potential traveler. Beautiful vistas, local art and wares, and a stroll through one of the most historic parts of this country are all part of a trip to Ioannina.
In the Cyclades, Folegandros is one of the furthest southern towns and has long been hailed for its deep roots in traditional Greek culture and customs. Not too far from Santorini, Folegandros offers plenty to sway a traveler's mind, from expansive beachside accommodations to rocky, cliffside sunsets with views that are arguably some of the best in the country.
Exploring the island's sea caves is only one thing travelers can do here, along with exploring the main village in all of its traditional beauty. Taking a stroll along the beach is enough to make a person never want to leave, making this underrated island a true Greek treasure.