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The Most Stunning Ancient Villages in Greece

Ancient Villages in Greece Monemvasia
Monemvasia, an ancient village in Greece that is one of the most historic of them all. Credit: Yiannis Chatzitheodorou/CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

The ancient villages of Greece are true hidden gems in a country that has attracted tourists for many decades.

Despite Greece’s status as a prime travel destination, tourism has yet to spoil these towns that are steeped in history and offer a complete escape from the modern world.

Below are some of our favorite picks for authentic Greek villages for you to explore.

The ancient villages of Zagori

Ancient Villages of Zagori in Greece
Zagori. Credit: alskikow/CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

In the Pindus mountains in Epirus nestled amongst pine forests are the ancient villages of the Zagori region.

Here, forty-six small towns comprise the ‘Zagorochoria.’ All the villages are linked together by a network of roads and stone bridges dating back to the eighteenth 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 Vradeto, where a popular activity is climbing the 3,937 feet of stone steps that until 1973 provided the only access to the town.

Afterwards, be sure to reward yourself with traditional Greek food at one of its family-run taverns.

The charming town of Monemvasia, Peloponnese

Monemvasia ancient village greece
Monemvasia. Credit: JustinW, CC0

The beautiful and magical ambience of the town of Monemvasia, as well as the surrounding area of Laconia, must be experienced to be believed.

Monemvasia is one of the most famous ancient villages in Greece. The town, along with 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 one hundred 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.

The authentic villages of Pelion, Central Greece

Pelion Ancient Villages in Greece
Pelion. Credit: Hecuba’s Story/CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

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!

Train Pelion
The Pelion Train. Credit: dadofekl/CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

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, when 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.

The ancient village of Chora on Folegandros Island

Folegandros. Credit: danielduce/CC BY 2.0

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 looking for a simpler and more memorable 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 homes are painted white with various colored 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!

Platanos, Aetolia-Acarnania

Platanos, Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Platanos means “plane tree” in Greek; 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.


Karytaina. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

This village flourished in the Frankish period after the Crusades, and its castle was one of the most important in its time in the Peloponnese region, an attribute evident in 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.

Kalarrytes, Epirus

Kalarrytes. Credit: Ziegler175/CC BY 3.0

When travelers arrive at Kalarrytes, they are immediately struck by the dramatic scenery, with the town’s almost Alpine views.

The village is located on the edge of a steep canyon leading to the Kallarytikos River. It is some 1,200 meters above sea level.

The ancient village is dotted with Greece’s iconic traditional houses with narrow, winding, roads and breathtaking views of the snow-capped mountains in the distance.

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