Travel·Posted on Aug 28, 201916 Stunning Places In Greece That Prove The Mainland Is Better Than The IslandsSkip the ferry and explore these underrated gems.by Jemima SkelleyBuzzFeed ContributorFacebookPinterestTwitterMailLink Hannah Wong / BuzzFeed / @jemimaskelley / instagram.com / @hnissin / instagram.com / @elenamalaya13 / instagram.com 1. Kavala View this photo on Instagram instagram.com Set on a hill, the city of Kavala looks imposing from the sea, with houses rising up to a huge fortress overlooking everything. It's a busy port town, so if you get bored after one day on a quiet beach, don't fret. There's plenty to do, but the beaches themselves are pretty spectacular, with crystal clear water and clean sand. 2. Meteora View this photo on Instagram instagram.com Meteora is one of the most breathtaking places in the world, let alone Greece. Hundreds of years ago, small monasteries were built upon tall rock formations, and they're still perched there today. You can visit them all, and watch the sun set up on the rocks. The surrounding terrain is also perfect for hiking if you're into it! 3. Parga View this photo on Instagram instagram.com A resort town on the Ionian coastline, Parga is a slice of Santorini without having to leave the mainland. The town is surrounded by thick forest, with houses clustered up the hill overlooking the harbour, and a couple of gorgeous beaches to choose from. It comes alive at night with restaurants and bars galore. 4. Athens View this photo on Instagram instagram.com Sure, it's not a hidden gem, but you can't skip the capital on a trip to Greece. Obviously it's packed with history, and you could spend all your time visiting incredible ruins and museums. But leave yourself time to explore the city and its neighborhoods. You'll find picturesque side streets, and cute local cafés that are prime spots for people watching. Also get ready to eat some of the best Greek food of your life. 5. Thessaloniki View this photo on Instagram instagram.com If you love spending time in cities but find that Athens can be a bit much, then Thessaloniki is the place for you. A port city in the north-east of Greece, its young and vibrant residents give it a super cool vibe. The nightlife here is excellent, as are the restaurants and cafés. Watching a sunset down on the waterfront is a must-do, plus there are tons of ruins and museums for history buffs. 6. Halkidiki View this photo on Instagram Instagram: @undefined Halkidiki is a three-pronged peninsula just south of Thessaloniki. The area has some of Greece's best beaches, surrounded by forestland and pure nature. The left-most prong, Kassandra, is the place to go when you want to party. It's got great beach clubs that rival those in Mykonos. Sithonia, the middle prong, is more laidback and a great place to soak up the natural beauty while camping. It's got great coves and bays to explore, and way fewer people. The last prong, Athos, is home to a monastic community and can only be visited with preapproval. 7. Neda Waterfalls View this photo on Instagram Instagram: @undefined When you think water in Greece, your mind automatically goes to the coast, right? But the country actually has some pretty epic waterfalls in canyons that are well worth a visit. Neda is perhaps the most spectacular, at the end of a hike along the river. Bring your swimsuit but be warned — it's freezing cold! 8. Drakolimni View this photo on Instagram Instagram: @undefined If you're somehow sick of beaches and the coast, maybe a trip to an alpine lake is on the cards. Drakolimni is two lakes nestled in the mountains in the north of Greece, and can be reached by a four-hour hike. The hills are stunning year-round, but are especially awesome in the colder months when there's some snow on the ground. 9. Pelion View this photo on Instagram instagram.com This peninsula, on the east coast of the country, is a real lesser-known gem. Think deserted beaches, small welcoming villages, and rolling mountains. It's an ideal spot for a road trip, where you can hop along the coast to get some amazing views. 10. Ioannina View this photo on Instagram instagram.com Popular with travelers who use the town as a stopover before heading to Corfu or up north, Ioannina is a quaint lakeside city that's a great place to chill for a bit. Catch a boat out to the island in the middle of the lake to explore its monasteries, or stay in town and spend your days sipping coffee or swimming. 11. Syvota View this photo on Instagram Instagram: @undefined Sometimes called the “Caribbean of Greece”, Syvota is an absolute oasis with lush green trees, small islands just off the coast, and incredible blue-green water that belongs on a postcard. One of the best beaches, Bella Vraka, is on a small islet that can be reached on foot via a sandbank. It's the kind of place that's perfect for Instagram. 12. Delphi View this photo on Instagram instagram.com Most tourists visit Delphi as a day trip from Athens, but it definitely deserves more of your time than that. It's well known for its UNESCO-listed ancient site, with arguably the most impressive ruins in the whole of Greece. Located right at the base of Mount Parnassus, there's plenty of hiking, biking, and adventure sports on offer once you're done soaking up the history. Also there's some great wine produced in the area, so it'd be rude not to do a tasting or two! 13. Mount Olympus View this photo on Instagram instagram.com It's not an easy climb, but the tallest peak in Greece is one of those bucket-list things for people who love hiking. You can power through it all in one day, or spend the night atop the mountain in the surprisingly comfortable refuge near the peak. The town of Litochoro at the base of Olympus makes a good starting point and is near the beach if you need to relax afterwards. 14. Nafplio View this photo on Instagram instagram.com An absolutely stunning seaside town in the eastern Peloponnese, Nafplio is romantic as hell with its terracotta roofs, charming old streets, and sparkling blue water. But it's not just a relaxing swim stop — hike up to the castle overlooking the town for amazing views, then check out the small island fortress in the harbour. 15. Vikos Gorge View this photo on Instagram instagram.com This absolutely gorgeous spot in the mountains of northern Greece should be a must-see for every visitor. Hiking is obviously a main drawcard, but it's also a hotspot for canyoneering and rafting. Even just sitting around and soaking up the incredible views is a great way to spend the day. 16. Lake Kerkini View this photo on Instagram Instagram: @undefined It might just look like any old lake, but Kerkini is an amazing place to spot wildlife. Water buffalo and flamingos hang out by the banks, and keep your eyes on the skies to see some rare birds. Rent canoes and spend your days on the lake, or stay on land and explore the towns around the shore.