Greece is a beautiful country with many incredible places to visit. I wrote about the best places to visit in the country before, but I’d like to focus on less popular destinations. Just because everyone goes to Athens, doesn’t mean you have to as well, even though it is a gorgeous city! If you want to get away from the crowds, here are some locations in Greece that you definitely need to check out.

Thessaloniki

Thessaloniki is the second-largest city in Greece, following Athens, but it doesn’t receive nearly the same amount of attention. Every year, it hosts a huge film festival and has other events throughout the entire year. There are plenty of incredible Roman ruins and museums in this city you can spend hours exploring.

Messene

If you love olives, this town is the place to visit. It’s home to the Kalamata and you’ll find yourself eating more than you ever thought possible. There are beautiful ruins, but the real attractions are the large, relatively empty coastal beaches.

Meteora

While this is a destination and not a city, there are a few small towns nearby you can stay at in order to visit Meteora or you can drive there from Thessaloniki. It’s considered a UNESCO World Heritage site and is one of the most unique places you’ll ever visit. There are tall peaks that were created from erosion and they’re slightly difficult to reach. However, back in the 9th century, monks built huge monasteries in these peaks, often at the top of them. You’ll be treated to incredible views and architectural wonders.

Skyros

This quaint little city lacks the resorts that are prominent in many other Greek cities and islands. The small island has a single town and plenty of trails for hiking. You can visit a Byzantine monastery or participate in carnival if you visit during February or March.

Nafplio

During the history of modern Greece, Nafplio was the capital before it was moved back to Athens. Because of this decision, Nafplio has slipped under the radar as a beautiful Greek city to visit. Most of the architecture is of a beautiful Venetian style or remnants from the Ottoman Empire. If you stay here, it’s a short drive to several UNESCO World Heritage sites and you can also visit the castle that’s located in the city’s bay.

Folegandros

Located a short ferry ride from Santorini, this town has all the same beauty, but lacks the crowds (and prices). You can stay in a room on a cliff’s edge or travel to one of the stunning crystal coves. You can also hike to the Panagia church, located on the hilltop, for a great view of the Aegean Sea.

Iraklion

Lots of people often stop in this city, but simply to head to shore and check out the ruins of Knossos. While those ruins are worth seeing, it’s the town itself that’s truly spectacular. Iraklion is also the administrative capital of Crete, so there are plenty of impressive buildings to see. The seaside port, Koules, is beautiful and if you visit the Archaeological Museum, you’ll be treated to an abundant amount of Minoan art.