Greece is one of the hottest destinations in Europe this year… both figuratively and literally!
According to a recent report, Greece has seen a record-breaking number of tourist arrivals from January through September of this year, beating the previous highs of 2019.
This puts the Mediterranean country on track to set a new tourism record in 2023.
But it hasn’t been without issues this year.
Record crowds and historic heat waves made this summer a bad time to visit Greece. At one point in July, the famed Acropolis in Athens was even temporarily closed due to extreme heat.
Even despite the heat, crowds, and high prices, tourists continue to flock to Greece in record numbers:
You Can Easily Still Get Off The Beaten Path
A trip to Greece doesn’t have to involve the packed crowds and exorbitant prices of top destinations like Athens or the islands of Mykonos and Santorini.
Even in the midst of the summer high season, it’s possible to find peace and tranquility in Greece.
Although a few islands get all the hype, Greece actually boasts 227 beautiful inhabited islands. Many of these underrated Greek islands are just as beautiful as their better-known neighbors but offer affordable prices and a respite from the crowds.
Northern Greece is another region of the country that is underrated but worth a visit. Getting off the beaten path will ensure you have a relaxing trip and discover your own slice of paradise.
Incredible Ancient Wonders
It should come as no surprise that one of the main reasons travelers love Greece is because of its ancient historical sites.
From temples to palaces, Greece is full of well-preserved historical sites dating back to antiquity.
In Athens, some of the most visited sites include the Acropolis, the Ancient Agora, and the Temple of Olympian Zeus.
Beyond the capital, there are even more incredible ancient ruins to explore, including the archaeological complex of Delphi, the clifftop Temple of Poseidon, and the palace ruins of Mycenae.
Stunning Mediterranean Beaches
As mentioned above, Greece is home to a whopping 227 inhabited islands! You’ll find some of the country’s best beaches on these islands.
The best beaches in Greece range from the islands of Crete to Naxos to Milos and more. Many Greek island beaches have crystal-clear water and sandy shores, perfect for swimming or sunbathing.
If you want to avoid the crowds when visiting beaches in Greece, the best time of year to plan your trip is September. This falls after the busiest part of the summer season, but everything is still open, and the weather is still warm and sunny, so you can enjoy the water.
Greece Is Better In The Off Season
One of the reasons that Greece is on track to break all-time tourism records this year is because more and more travelers are discovering that Greece is better in the off-season.
Rather than just visiting in the peak summer months of June through August, travelers are dispersing their visits throughout the year to take advantage of lower crowds, lower prices, and better weather.
Winter is a great time to visit Athens for mild, pleasant weather and very few crowds. Even in January, the coldest month, average temperatures hover in the high fifties and sunny. Late fall, winter, and early spring are all excellent times to visit Athens for a better experience.
When it comes to visiting the islands, many of them totally shut down during the winter. Even on busier and more popular islands like Mykonos and Santorini, many hotels, restaurants, and shops close for the winter. For this reason, you should avoid visiting the islands from November through March.
September, October, April, and May are good times to visit for fewer crowds and lower prices.
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com