Greece has some true hidden gems when it comes to its authentic villages. Tourism has yet to spoil these towns that are steeped in history and are a complete escape from the modern world.
Here are some of our favorite picks for authentic Greek villages for you to explore:
In the Pindus mountains in Epirus, nestled amongst pine forests, are the ancient villages of the Zagori region. Here, forty-six small towns together comprise the ‘Zagorochoria’. All the villages are linked together by a network of roads and stone bridges dating back to the 18th century. The region is surrounded by two national parks filled with unique and endangered species; hiking and canoeing are favorite pastimes for those who visit the region. Here you will find untouched villages such as Vradéto, where a popular activity is climbing the 3,937 feet of stone steps that until 1973 provided the only access to the town. Afterward, be sure to reward yourself with traditional Greek food at one of its family-run taverns.
The beautiful and magical ambience of the town of Monemvasia, as well as the surrounding area of Laconia, must be experienced to be believed. The town and the eponymous island on which it is located are just off the east coast of the Peloponnese. Equally fascinating is the story of how this small island came to be, having been formed as the result of a gigantic earthquake in the year 375 A.D. The majority of the rocky island is made up of a large plateau, soaring some 100 meters above sea level. The charming town of Monemvasia overlooks Palaia Monemvasia bay and has charming narrow, winding streets that can only be traversed by foot or by donkey.
Pelion, Central Greece
Mount Pelion is dotted with authentic villages. One of the best ways to immerse yourself in the culture of this area is to treat yourself to a train ride on the historic Moutzouris, the oldest railway in Greece!
You can take a three-hour stroll through the foothills and stop at untouched villages such as Kala Nera and the traditional village of Milies. One of the best times to visit this area is in winter, where you will see this mountainous district transform into something from a fairy tale. There are many short hikes you can take through olive groves and ravines to travel from one village to another.
Chora, Folegandros Island
Folegandros is a small, quiet Greek island that remains virtually unknown to tourists. Only an hour by high-speed boat form the popular island of Santorini, Folegandros is for those who are looking to experience a more simple and unforgettable Greek experience. Known for its unspoiled landscapes, Folegandros was named after the son of King Minos. There are only three small villages on the island. The main village, Chora, is filled with houses perched high on the cliffs above the blue sea. All the houses are painted in white and have multicolored doors and window frames . There are quaint squares and taverns, so visitors will not run out of things to do when they are not enjoying the beautiful beaches, which are practically empty!
Plantos means “plane tree” in Greek, and this small village is as authentic as it gets. The community of Platanos is subdivided into two villages, Platanos and Kato Platanos. Platanos had a population of only 207 in the 2011 census, while Kato Platanos had 253 residents. The two villages are surrounded by unspoiled wilderness and have charming, quiet town squares.
This village flourished in the Frankish period, and its castle was one of the most important in its time in the Peloponnese region, an attribute that is evident from its architectural style. This is one of the most impressive historical Greek villages in the entire country. Located on top of a hillside with the Alpheus river winding through its foothills, there is much to see in this authentic Greek village hidden in the mountains.
When travelers arrive at Kalarryes, they are immediately struck by the dramatic scenery, with the town’s almost Alpine views. The village is built on the edge of a steep canyon which leads to the Kalarrytikos river. It is some 1,200 meters in elevation. The village has traditional houses, with narrow, winding roads and breathtaking views of the snow-capped mountains in the distance.