While the Greek mainland is not as developed in tourism as the Greek islands are, it is a fantastic place to go. Because of the lack of tourism development, it does give you an amazing opportunity to travel off the beaten track and enjoy plenty of privacy while traveling. You can go interrailing in mainland Greece, and these are some of the best places you can do and things you should do.
The capital city of Greece and the birthplace of the Olympic Games, no trip to mainland Greece wouldn’t be complete without a visit to Athens. The main site you’ll want to see here is the Acropolis. It’s worth making the climb up the steps of the Acropolis for the stunning views you get from the top across the city. The Acropolis is just a 30-minute walk both the Laríssis train station or the Peloponnese station, which are next to each other.
Larissa is a fun university town off the tourist trail that you can get to with your interrail pass, but it’s not just a place full of fun and students; it is rich in history too. Hippocrates, who is known as the father of medicine, spent the last decade of his life in ancient Larissa. You’ll find a small monument dedicated to him where his tomb was rediscovered in the 19th century. You can also check out the Diachronic Museum, where you’ll see thousands of objects which unearthed at Larissa’s ancient sites. There’s also a great city center where you’ll find a covered marketplace, a Byzantine basilica, and a Hellenistic theatre from the 3rd century B.C. in almost perfect condition.
You can also get to Greece’s third-largest city with your interrail pass, Patras. The city is named after King Patreas, who ruled Achaïa around 1100 BC. The city now boasts attractive squares and lively pedestrian streets, and a great bar and bustling restaurant scene. People come here to visit Patras’s wonderful castle and archaeological museum. There are also about 20,000 university students in Patras who make the city pretty fun to be in.
A seaside town at the northeast of Peloponnese, Kiato is a popular destination that is known for its beautiful beach, wetted by the Corinthian Gulf. Kiato is also near the known ancient city Sikiona, which, according to Greek mythology, was the place where the gods and the humans gathered after the Titanomachy in order to divide the property of the world. Today, Kiato is the capital of the Municipality Sikionon and consists of the main city and the surrounding settlements Neapoli, Tragana, and Agios Ioannis. It is a beautiful place surrounded by vines, orange trees, apricot trees, and lemon trees.
Katakolo is a scenic port near to the city of Pyrgos and another place to go interrailing in mainland Greece. Katakolo itself offers a number of lovely restaurants, coffee shops, and shops. There is also a castle which was erected in the Byzantine period, and according to the Morea Chronicle, the castle was the stage of the important marriage of Godfried II of Villehardouin, the heir to the Kingdom of Achaia and Agne Kourtenai, daughter of Petros Kourtenai, the Latin emperor in Constantinople.
While in Katakolo, you should also visit the Museum of Ancient Greek Technology and the traditional lighthouse, which was built in 1865. There are also loads of beaches to visit which have plenty of cafeterias and taverns too.
Olympia is where the very first Olympic Games was held in 776 B.C. in honor of Zeus. It is still a top tourist attraction, which can get very busy, so if you want to be able to see everything comfortably, then arrive early. At Olympia, you’ll see some interesting temple remains including the Temple of Zeus and while you’re here you could also go and explore Delphi, which the Greeks once believed to be the centre of the world and where you’ll find the Temple of Apollo.
Thessaloníki has a buzzing night scene, particularly around the warehouse area of Ladhádhika which is near the port. Go and find a cool little hangout called Arthouse, which throws out a mix of everything from deep techno to cheery reggae and is just a 20-minute walk from Thessaloníki’s main train station.
Mainland Greece is a varied place and you’ll never get bored. From food, drink, history, culture and stunning views there is something for everyone and best of all it’s easy to travel around with interrail. So, where are you going to go interrailing in mainland Greece?