Photos of Greece's turquoise coastline, and the beautiful islands dotted off it, will hook you in, but it's the grace of the ruins, elegantly dilapidating under clear, sunny skies and the wonderful way history seems so vibrantly alive in the Greek culture which will have you coming back again and again.

Food, art and hospitality are extremely important in Greek culture, and or Guru's recommendations for the best places to stay in Greece reflect this.

See our Guru's list of the best places to stay in Greece

If you visited Athens before they hosted the Olympics in 2004, then you'll find it a very different city now. The historic centre, with cars banished, is more stunning than ever, and the regeneration going on in the lead up to the games hasn't stopped. So it's Europe's oldest city, but with so much gentrification, it's also one of Europe's freshest. Central areas like Gazi and Psyrri, which were clogged with cars previously, are now packed with cafes, restaurants and bars. Which suits the Athens lifestyle - one of making time to stop for coffee in outdoor cafes, and of evening strolls and eating out late.

Greece isn't just about uncovering ancient treasures, and while the Greek Islands do have plenty to boast about when it comes to beautiful ruins and fascinating histories, they're also an extremely beautiful backdrop against which to relax.

Crete is the largest of the Greek islands and really has it all. Archaeology and mythology go up against inviting seas and sandy beaches, and the rugged, traditional interior contradicts the bright nightlife of the capital, Heraklion. Many visitors come just to see the Minoan palace at Knossos - home of the minotaur and his labyrinth. But that's only the start of Crete's list of ancient treasures.

The Cyclades, sprinkled around the turquoise Aegean, include famous Santorini, with its white and blue buildings hugging the dramatic crescent of the dark, volcanic rock; big, green Naxos famed in myth and legends; Mykonos, which glitters by night and by day; and smooth, sandy Amorgos.

The Peloponnese islands are the backdrop for many of the highlight scenes in Greek mythology. And the beauty of this island group hasn't been sullied by the years. For many visitors the ruined Mycenaean palaces, Roman theatres, Venetian fortresses and Byzantine churches make this the perfect island break. For others it's the perfect sandy coves and rugged, cypress covered coastlines.

The diverse Dodecanese islands include famed, and eternally appealing, Rhodes; Kos, with her strong Greek heritage and 100kms of gorgeous coastline; and spiritual, peaceful Patmos.

The Ionian Islands are the other main group, including long-time beach-break favourite, Corfu; Captain Corelli's Kefalonia; Lefkada, which is actually connected to the mainland - just; and overlooked, yet most romantic and beautiful, Kythira.

The Best Places to Stay in Greece

If you know which part of Greece you'll be exploring skip through to our Greek Destination Guides:

The Best Places to Stay in Greece for a Historic City Break

  • The King George Palace has stunning views of the Parthenon, especially from the restaurant and the roof terrace. Opulent and romantic, this grand dame deserves her five stars, but she does have her own quirky style about her.
  • O&B Athens Boutique Hotel also has views of the Parthenon and if you book carefully you can also get your own exclusive view from your private balcony. The decor is black, white and neutrals, and it feels sophisticated.
  • St. George Lycabettus has views of the Acropolis, and the rest of Athens, from its south facing rooms, and its rooftop terrace. Because it's in an upmarket residential area this is also one of the best places to stay in Athens with a family.

The Best Places to Stay in Greece for a Greek Island Escape

  • Cut into the cliff edge, Grace Santorini is a haven of wonderful luxury, designed to perfectly compliment the spectacular surroundings. Grace keeps the decor simple to make the best of the view, and has the largest infinity pool on Santorini, an excellent restaurant with sea views, and a chic but simple spa.
  • The cavernous rooms and suites of Santorini's Kapari Natural Resort are cut from a similar cloth, but also have a great wine bar and some suites with hot tubs on private terraces. They're also one of the few luxury hotels in Santorini to welcome children,
  • The Notos Therme Resort and Spa on Santorini captures the real romance of the place. It's on one of the last relatively undeveloped bits of coast: around Vilhada, a tiny fishing village, but it still has luxurious facilities and an excellent spa.
  • Hotel Kavos on Naxos is just above one of the best beaches on Naxos: 1.5kms of soft sand and clear waters. A village complex in typically Cycladic fashion, with different types of accommodation and lush, green grounds.
  • The Kivotos Club Hotel on Mykonos is where you'll find money's-no-object luxury, in a 'Sex in the City'-goes-Greek setting. They don't just have a pool bar, they send a limo to collect you. And their services include 'private yacht rental'. As well as a cigar and caviar bar.
  • Mykonos Blu also offers serious luxury. Stay in a private villa with your own private pool, and mini-garden; and cap off your evenings in their 'long hours' cocktail bar open pretty much all the time.
  • Lindos Blu sits pretty on the cliffs above Lindos, Rhodes, with spectacular views of the turquoise bay and sugar cube village just a short stroll away. The spa is top of the range and the rooms and suites offer every modern luxury and in some cases your own private pool.
  • The Corfu Palace is just a 10 minute stroll from the centre of Corfu Town, yet it still has wonderful ocean views - right across to the mainland. The Corfu Palace was also one of the first hotels built on Corfu, so it's got something of the grand old dame about it with its private balconies and terraces.

The Best Places to Stay in Greece for a Once in a Lifetime Holiday

  • Chromata, on Santorini, is the perfect place for romance and relaxation. Built above traditional style 'cave houses' carved into the rocky cliff and decked out in beautiful, simple luxury, there's plenty of privacy and an infinity pool which looks across the caldera.
  • Amanzo'e in the Peloponnese, is modern luxury at its intimate best. There's a private beach club, private villas with private pools, four restaurants, a fleet of boats and yachts, and a top of the range spa.
  • The unusually named Fashion Hotel Nikos Takis offers harem style high-camp glamour hidden away in one of Rhodes' Old Town's historic townhouses. There are just eight rooms, so this is an intimate and very memorable spot with plenty of added extras like jacuzzis and the complimentary use of guitars and accordions with which to serenade your partner.

The Best Places to Stay in Greece for a Historic Odyssey

  • Zannos Melathron is a wonderful juxtaposition of an 18th Century mansion and the traditional homes cut from caves most common on Santorini. The decor is in places elegant, and in places charmingly rustic, but it really works. Each room has its own private balcony, there's a lovely pool and a fantastic Greek restaurant.
  • The Malvasia, on Monemvasia in the Peloponnese, has been converted from a collection of ancient Venetian buildings into a historic and romantic 21 room hotel. This was the first hotel built in the historic, walled town of Monemvasia - right between the castle and spectacular views of the sea.
  • Pirgos Mavromichali is a traditional Peloponnese tower building in a lovely village above a fishing cove. The views out to sea will bring you peaces and you're in the historic harbour of Limeni, which has plenty of fascinating history about it.
  • The Marco Polo Mansion has the ambience of Rhodes' Old Town just right. A lovingly restored Ottoman townhouse with just seven rooms, a stay here is like staying in another time. The walled garden is peaceful and beautiful, the restaurant is good and it's all very romantic.
  • The Hotel Andreas has been converted from a charming house in the Old Town of Rhodes. It's got beautiful views over the rooftops and out to sea, a gorgeous leafy terrace and simple, but chic, whitewashed rooms. Very traditional, but very Rhodes.
  • More remote options, like serene little resort, 9 Muses Exclusive Apartments are some of the best places to stay on Patmos for people who want a Greek Island experience from bygone days. 9 Muses has wonderful views of the Aegean, flagstone floors and the opportunity to dine under clear skies.
  • Casa Delfino, a 17th Century mansion in the old quarter of Chania, Crete, is classy but not snooty. And gives you access to all the local treasures.

The Best Places to Stay in Greece for Winter Sunshine

  • The Semeli Hotel is one of the best places to stay in Mykonos to feel the island's real pulse. This traditional mansion, and surrounding village of villas, stands stylishly aloof, but is close enough to enjoy local tavernas and explore the old town.
  • Santorini's Homeric Poems is perfect if you want to fly and flop by an unbeatable view. Built right on the cliff you don't even have to turn your head to get a wonderful eyeful - it's spectacular in every direction. There's a great pool, cool, comfortable rooms and it's all unfussy and luxurious.
  • The Zacosta Villa Hotel is a slightly old fashioned, but very charming, three room hotel in central Rhodes. You're close to the museums and the Knight's castle, and though there's not restaurant, you're surrounded by them, and the breakfasts here are excellent.
  • Rodos Palladium, Rhodes, is a modern five star hotel right on the beach. This hotel is for you if you're looking for a resort style beach break, but beside a fascinating town. There's a tropical lagoon style pool and gardens, a choice of restaurants and private, ocean-facing balconies.
  • Want car-free peace in idyllic surroundings? Then Hotel Porto Loutro on Crete is perfect. It opens right onto a blue bay shared by a tiny village. It's simple but comfortable, good for families of 'exploring age'.

The Best Places to Stay in Greece to Relax

  • Santorini's Astarte Suites is a nine from hotel with spectacular sea views. Especially relaxing when experienced from your private hot tub.
  • Lakki Village is in a wonderful spot, just outside a charming village and above a long sandy, shallow-water beach. Its collection of bungalows and apartments have plenty of charm as well - Cycladic cottages with blue woodwork and whitewashed walls, a lovely pool and flower-filed garden. Perfect for families.
  • The Kinsterna Hotel & Spa on Monemvasia in the Peloponnese, is a working wine and olive oil estate, with a collection of 13th Century villas incorporating 27 rooms. Romantic terraces abound and there's a gourmet Mediterranean restaurant.
  • Hidden away in the countryside, the Villa de Loulia is one of the best places to stay on Corfu if you want to experience some of the island's lesser known pleasures. Only 400metres from the nearest beach, you're also quite close to the mountains of Perithia and several interesting abandoned villages. This is also a great place for foodies - the gourmet restaurant serves local specialities.
  • For the ultimate in Cretan tranquility you'll want to stay at Aspros Potamos. A collection of traditional stone cottages house ten basic rooms where mod. cons. are limited, but beachside beauty is abundant.

The Best Places to Stay in Greece for a Weekend Break

  • The reasonably priced Art Hotel Athens is a trendy, boutique bolthole close to all the major sights. Built in the Neo-Classical style of the 1930s, this hotel has been nicely renovated inside to favour pale colours and original art.
  • The New Hotel, Athens, is a cutting edge option full of natural light and all the mod. cons. but only 200metres from Constitution Square. It also has a fabulous restaurant, a spa and hammam.
  • The Hotel Periscope is an easy choice: small, boutique, well located for the major sights, and there's a Michelin starred chef into the bargain.

Still not sure which is the best place to stay in Greece for you? Browse though our list of all the best places to stay in Greece, or contact one of our friendly Gurus for advice.

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The best hotels in Greece

See all » 52 hotels in Crete

  • Yiannis Retreat

    Sitia, Crete

    A charming self-catered retreat set in cascading tropical gardens. Charming stone villas with private kitchenettes and outdoor dining are dotted around the grounds. Guests are provided with a selection of home made jams and spices. A short walk from the beach, this is a perfect holiday hide out.

    5 rooms from $45
    Families  -  Self-catering, with plenty of great restaurants nearby takes the fuss out of meal time. And plenty of activities!
    Local markets  -  Visit shops and markets in Sitia
    Sights nearby  -  Toplou Monastery
    Full of character
  • Aspros Potamos

    Lasithi, Crete

    A home-away-from-home deep in rural tranquility with beaches, bars and tavernas a walk away. Small collection of traditional stone cottages make perfect base for families. Self-catering and BBQ available for all. Return to simpler times at this beautiful hideaway on Crete.

    10 rooms from $45
    Eco break  -  They have restored the huts in a purely traditional fashion, using all natural materials and only renewable energy sources.
    Back to Nature  -  This stunning area of natural beauty combines beaches and mountains covered by lush greenery, pine, olive and citrus trees.
    Great walks  -  Explore the ancient settlement of Aspros Potamos on foot, terrain is ideal for hikers and mountaineers
    Local markets  -  The local village with restaurants, bars and a market is only 1km away.

See all » 25 hotels in Cyclades

  • Voreades


    Charming whitewashed rooms with balconies off a series of appealing courtyards in this charming seaside hotel. This home-hotel offers great views and reasonably priced self-catering options. Close to the port and local Taverns. The perfect stay for families and groups.

    Families  -  An ideal spot for your family holiday, self catering, pet friendly plus books, DVDs and games to keep the kids happy.
    Full of character
    Views  -  Great views from hotel
    Romantic  -  Good for couples.
  • Paradise Lifestyle Andros


    A peaceful mansion retreat. Elegant rooms feature high ceilings, four poster beds, crisp white linen and private balconies. A lovely pool has stunning views over the island. Beaches within walking distance. A wonderful tranquil spot and very reasonably priced.

    41 rooms from $33
    Beach Life  -  Walking distance from two beaches with soft sand and crystal clear Aegean water, plus a range of beachside activities.
    Value chic  -  Lovely tranquil spot to unwind in style- chic suites with private balconies and poolside bar with spectacular views.
    Birdwatching  -  Bring your binoculars, partridges, hawks, eagles, wild pigeons and martins can all be spotted on the island.
    Great walks  -  Lovely countryside to explore with olive groves, lemon trees, springs, rivers and seaviews.

See all » 24 hotels in Dodecanese

  • Domus Rodos

    Rhodes Town

    A quaint pension in the centre of the Old Town, close to all the action. Simple and comfortable white washed rooms. Restaurants and bars within easy walking distance. An inexpensive base to explore the city from.

    19 rooms from $37
    Value chic  -  A well priced property in the heart of the old town and just a three minute walk from the beach.
    Sights nearby  -  In the heart of Rhodes Old Town the oldest inhabited medieval town in Europe.
    Great walks  -  Walk along the city walls for excellent views of this ancient city.
  • Apollo Guest House

    Rhodes Town

    Lovely traditional guesthouse located in the heat of the medieval town. Charming rooms, some with great views of the old town or prettily draped four poster beds. Good value and a quiet alternative to the boutiques.

    6 rooms from $56
    Value chic  -  A lovely traditional property with quirky features and charming courtyard breakfasts all for a very reasonable rate.
    Sights nearby  -  Having admired them from a distance at the property visit the Citadel and the Palace of the Grand Master up close.
    Great walks  -  Just above the airport is the 'Valley of Butterflies' which makes for stunning walks.
    Views  -  Great views from hotel
    Recommended by  -  Frommers

See all » 22 hotels in Santorini

  • Rena's Suites


    Chic B&B in central Fira. Fantastic value, pretty all white rooms and suites, large swimming pool, and easy access to restaurant, sights and activities around. A great choice for a couple or family on a budget.

    17 rooms from $62
    Views  -  Great views from hotel
    Value chic
    Romantic Break
    Sights nearby  -  Located in the centre of Fira
    Recommended by  -  I Escape
  • Notos Therme and Spa

    Vlihada, Santorini

    Beach hotel landscaped into volcanic cliffs next to an unspoilt fishing village, with stepped terraces and fabulous views. White on white interiors with pop coloured bed throws. A tranquil hideaway with great spa and range of natural treatments. Excellent Mediterranean cuisine. Wonderfully romantic.

    29 rooms from $110
    Honeymoons  -  A wildy romantic setting with secluded rooms, private terraces overlooking the Aegean Sea and poolside cocktail bar.
    Spa breaks  -  Indulge yourself with the wide range of therapeutic treatments based on the volcanically enriched springs.
    Sailing  -  Located next to the only marina of Santorini island making it ideal for those travelling with their own yachts or boats.
    Romantic  -  Good for couples.
    Recommended by  -  Small Luxury Hotels

See all » 18 hotels in Chania

  • Porto Antico

    Chania (Crete)

    Built in 1659 Porto Antico is a stay amidst history. Location, service and price are this waterfront hotel's big selling points. For those looking for a short break in the heart of Chania, or a base for exploring, it offers an excellent compromise between style and affordability.

    11 rooms from $75
    Families  -  Family suites and even the dog is allowed - plus you're walking distance from the beach
    Value chic  -  Excellent value for such facilities - a no brainer
    Local markets  -  The Old Town's bustling market are a must
    Great walks  -  Under a kilometre from Golden Beach
  • Bozzali Hotel

    Chania (Crete)

    Cloistered hideaway on a narrow, bougainvillea-lined lane in one of Chania's quietest enclaves. Ideal for anyone looking for a calm retreat within easy walking distance of its shopping streets and sights. Acclaimed restaurant is a bonus for foodies. What it lacks in mod-cons it makes up in charm.

    10 rooms from $78
    Local exploring  -  Chania Town is on your doorstep and the beach is but a ten minute walk
    Value chic  -  A quaint little property in the heart of town at an inviting price
    Foodies  -  Bozzali restaurant is a favourite with tourists and locals
    Great walks  -  The old Venetian Harbour is within walking distance

See all » 16 hotels in Corfu

  • Bella Vista

    Avramis, Corfu

    A gorgeous family-run Greek house facing the beach. Rustic rooms and apartments in creams with private balconies, fabulous roof top restaurant and cocktail bar, and close to the main attractions. A family friendly choice slightly off the beaten track.

    23 rooms from $47
    Beach Life
    Views  -  Great views from hotel
    Sights nearby  -  The Achilleion, Bay and monastery of Paleokastritsa, Bay and monastery of Paleokastritsa.
  • Levant Hotel

    Pelekas, Corfu

    Lovely neo-classical hotel in the hills above the Ionian sea. Attractive traditional building, charming rooms with sea facing balconies, lovely terrace and cafe, and swimming pool. A great value choice within striking distance of beaches, golf and Corfu Town. Suited to couples, families and groups.

    25 rooms from $75
    Groups  -  The hotel welcomes groups of artists, musicians and yoga enthusiasts.
    Views  -  Breathtaking views of the Ionian Sea.
    Swimming Pool  -  Indoor/outdoor
    House party feel  -  Be prepared to meet people.
    Recommended by  -  Fodors

See all » 15 hotels in Athens

  • Avra Hotel


    A convenient and affordable stay, outside the bustle of the city centre. A great stopover hotel with comfortable rooms, off street parking, proximity to the airport and the ferry terminal. The sea views and beach action are a real plus!

    29 rooms from $45
    Value chic  -  Close to the beach, offering comfortable rooms, extensive breakfast buffet and very reasonable prices!
    Great walks  -  Wander along Perea Seafront and take in the sights and sounds.
    Seaside  -  Ideal for a seaside holiday.
    Views  -  Great views from hotel
  • Art Hotel Athens


    This 4* trendy and elegant boutique is in a great location and even better value. The building is a 1930s build, but rooms possess 21st Century elegance and mod-cons. Enjoy breakfast in your room before stepping out into Athens and exploring the ancient city.

    30 rooms from $56
    Local exploring  -  Within walking distance of Athens main sights and attractions, head out an explore this ancient city.
    Great walks  -  Wander the Plaka district, this old historical neighbourhood is bursting with lively cafes, tourist shops and sights.
    Sights nearby  -  Athens most famed sight, the Acropolis is within a few minutes walking distance.
    Views  -  Great views from hotel
    Recommended by  -  Frommers
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