A complete photographer’s guide of Greece, from the team at Greeklist.
1. Capturing the beauty of Greece in photos
Awash in sunlight and steeped in myth, Greece presents a captivating tapestry of landscapes and history. From the ancient ruins of Olympia to the sun-drenched shores of Amorgos, each location begs to be explored and preserved through the photographer’s lens.
This curated selection of 20 diverse sites, encompassing ancient ruins, charming villages, and breathtaking natural wonders, invites you to embark on a photographic journey of discovery. Whether you’re a seasoned professional or an enthusiastic amateur, prepare to be inspired by the unique beauty and timeless allure of Greece.
2. The top-20 places to photograph in Greece
Greece, a land steeped in history, mythology, and natural beauty, is a photographer’s paradise. From the iconic whitewashed houses of Santorini to the dramatic cliffs of Meteora, here are 20 stunning locations to capture unforgettable images:
Oia Village in Santorini Island: A picturesque village perched on a cliff overlooking the Aegean Sea, known for its whitewashed houses, stunning sunsets, and romantic atmosphere. Capture the intricate details of traditional Cycladic architecture with colourful doors and bougainvillaea flowers.
Acropolis of Athens: The famous ancient citadel crowned by iconic temples like the Parthenon, dedicated to Athena. It stands as a symbol of Greece’s golden age and offers breathtaking city views. Photograph the panoramic view of Athens sprawling beneath the Acropolis, highlighting historical landmarks.
Hydra Island: A car-free haven offering historical charm, vibrant art scene, and relaxed atmosphere, ideal for discerning travellers and remote work retreats. Capture the narrow cobblestone streets adorned with bougainvillaea flowers and local shops.
Delphi Archaeological Site: Once the “navel of the world,” this UNESCO-listed sanctuary boasts ancient temples, theatres, and the legendary Oracle of Apollo, offering a glimpse into Greece’s glorious past. Capture the Temple of Apollo in its grandeur, emphasising its architectural details and historical significance.
Meteora Monasteries: Awe-inspiring Eastern Orthodox monasteries perched atop towering sandstone pillars, offering breathtaking panoramas and a glimpse into monastic life. They date back to the 14th century and were built for solitude and spiritual reflection. Capture the monasteries perched atop the sandstone pillars from different angles, emphasising their scale and unique setting.
Amorgos Island: A Cycladic island with Sun-drenched charm and off-the-beaten-path allure including pristine beaches, whitewashed villages, and ancient treasures. Photograph the traditional whitewashed houses and windmills scattered across the island.
Nafplio: The old capital of Greece from 1827 to 1834. Full of winding streets, fortress-crowned hills, vibrant squares and Venetian style mansions. Photograph the imposing stone walls of Palamidi Fortress bathed in golden hues, with views of the harbour awakening below
Metsovo: A Picturesque mountain village nestled in the Pindus Mountains, renowned for its traditional stone architecture, rich cultural heritage, and delicious smoked meats. Capture the timeless charm amidst stone houses, mountain vistas, and the rich heritage of the Vlachs.
Town of Chora in Folégandros Island: Chora, the main town of Folégandros, is a labyrinth of whitewashed houses, flower-filled balconies, and narrow alleyways. Photograph the panoramic views of the Aegean Sea from the various viewpoints within the town.
Orestiada Lake: Nestled in northern Greece, charms with its serene beauty and ecological significance, offering a picturesque haven for diverse bird species and captivating landscapes Capture the essence of dawn’s soft embrace over Orestiada Lake, as the morning mist dances on the tranquil waters.
The Castle of Monemvasia: A fortified town built on a rock off the coast of the Peloponnese, where time whispers through Byzantine churches and cobbled lanes bathed in Aegean light. Capture the imposing castles perched on a rock off the coast, creating a dramatic silhouette against the sea.
Orlias Waterfalls in Mt Olympus: Nestled within Mt. Olympus’ majestic flanks, pristine waters tumble through verdant gorges, creating a tableau of captivating natural beauty. Capture the grandeur of the gorge, towering rock formations, and lush greenery framing the waterfalls. Include the surrounding mountains for a sense of scale.
The windmills of Mykonos Island: These windmills are iconic landmarks on the island, offering stunning views and a glimpse into the island’s history. Capture the windmills standing proudly against the Aegean Sea, with whitewashed houses cascading down the hillside and vibrant blue skies
Temple of Poseidon in Cape Sounion: Located on the southern tip of Attica, the Temple of Poseidon offers stunning views of the Aegean Sea, especially at sunset. Capture the dramatic setting of this ancient temple perched on a cliff.
Zagorochoria: A region in Epirus known for its traditional stone villages, Vikos Gorge, and the Voidomatis River. Capture the traditional stone villages nestled amidst the mountains, showcasing their unique architecture and charm.
Corfu Town in Corfu Island: The capital of Corfu island with Venetian influence, full of pastel-coloured buildings, charming squares, and imposing fortresses. Photograph the colourful houses lining the narrow streets, showcasing the town’s unique charm.
Nestos River: A majestic waterway in Greece, boasting both natural beauty and historical significance, known for its stunning gorges, waterfalls, and diverse wildlife. Capture the dramatic landscapes, crystal-clear waters, and the tranquillity of nature.
Ancient Olympia: Cradle of the original Olympic Games and birthplace of mythical Zeus, Ancient Olympia echoes with athletic triumphs and divine myths, offering a glimpse into Greece’s glorious past. Capture the archaeological site with the Temple of Zeus, the stadium, and the palestra, where athletes once trained.
Milos Island: Known for its colourful volcanic rock formations, hidden coves, and unique beaches like Sarakiniko, Milos is a photographer’s paradise. Capture the otherworldly beauty of this lunar-like landscape with its white volcanic rocks sculpted by wind and waves
Samaria Gorge in Crete: Europe’s longest gorge thrills with dramatic cliffs, lush greenery, and a refreshing finish at the Libyan Sea. Photograph the dramatic rock formations, the clear waters of the stream, and the diverse plant life along the trail.
3. Special themed photography in Greece
Greece, beyond its stunning islands and historical treasures, offers a wealth of unique perspectives to capture through your lens. Unleash your creativity with themed shoots capture the Greek night sky, dive underwater, or document rural festivals in vibrant detail.
Here are some suggestions:
Underwater photography: Explore the crystal-clear waters and diverse marine life in the Aegean Sea or Ionian Sea.
Street photography: Capture the vibrant energy and everyday life in Athens, Thessaloniki, or other Greek cities.
Stargazing photography: Escape light pollution and capture the Milky Way Galaxy above remote islands or mountaintops.
Black and white photography: Emphasise the textures and timeless beauty of ancient ruins, churches or traditional villages.
Wildflower blooms in spring: Capture vibrant carpets of wildflowers painting the Greek countryside and islands in vibrant colours.
Traditional festivals: Immerse yourself in the cultural celebrations and capture the colourful costumes, music, and dancing.
Snow-capped mountains in winter: Capture the dramatic landscapes of Mount Olympus or other mountain ranges dusted with snow.
4. Photography Tips for Capturing Greece’s Magic
As you venture through the sun-drenched landscapes and history-rich tapestry of Greece, don’t simply collect memories. Capture them in stunning photographs that transcend mere souvenirs. These curated professional tips will empower you to harness the essence of each location, transforming your journey into a portfolio of captivating visuals.
Here are some useful tips:
a) Light & Timing
– Golden hour magic: Aim for the golden hour (sunrise or sunset) for warm tones and dramatic shadows.
– Hazy days: Embrace the diffused light for dreamy landscapes and portraits.
– Night photography: Experiment with long exposures to capture the star-studded sky
– Chase the Play of Light: Observe how light interacts with your subject. Look for interesting patterns created by sunlight filtering through trees, or reflections bouncing off water.
b) Composition & Storytelling
– Lead the eye: Use leading lines like paths or walls to draw viewers into the frame.
– Rule of thirds: Place key elements at the intersections of imaginary lines for balanced compositions.
– Layer your elements: Foreground, midground, and background elements create depth and interest.
– Capture the locals: Include people in traditional dress or interacting with their environment for cultural context.
c) Technical Tips
– Use a tripod: Especially for long exposures, night photography, and astrophotography.
– Polarising filters: Reduce glare and enhance colours, especially for landscapes and seascapes.
– ND filters: Create smooth water effects and long exposure effects.
– Experiment with HDR: Merge multiple exposures for high-contrast scenes.
– Learn basic editing: Enhance colours, adjust exposure, and crop for impactful images.
d) Beyond the Shot:
– Respect local customs: Dress modestly in religious sites and ask permission before photographing people.
– Protect the environment: Minimise your impact and avoid disturbing wildlife or historical sites.
– Embrace the unexpected: Be open to spontaneous moments and hidden gems off the beaten path.
– Share your story: Use captions and social media to tell the stories behind your photos.
Bonus Tip: Learn some basic Greek phrases to connect with locals and enhance your experience!
By incorporating these tips, you’ll be well-equipped to capture stunning and meaningful photos that truly capture the essence of Greece. Remember, the most important ingredient is your passion for photography and the beauty that surrounds you!
5. Photography restrictions in Greece
Snap happy in Greece, but know the limits! Photography in most public spaces is okay, but museums, religious sites, and digs often have restrictions. Check signage and ask permission when unsure. Enjoy capturing those memories responsibly!
a) Generally Allowed:
– Outdoor non-restricted areas: You can freely take photos in public spaces like streets, parks, and beaches, as long as you’re respectful of others and not obstructing pedestrian or vehicle traffic.
b) Requires Permission:
– Private property: It’s illegal to photograph private property or interiors without the owner’s consent. This includes private homes, gardens, and businesses.
– Sensitive areas: Photography is restricted in certain sensitive areas like military installations, airports, border areas, harbors, and government buildings. You’ll need special permission to photograph in these areas.
– Religious sites: While photography is often allowed in churches and monasteries, it’s essential to be respectful and dress modestly. Some religious sites may have specific restrictions, so it’s best to ask permission before photographing.
– Archaeological sites and museums: Photography is usually allowed in archaeological sites and museums with a handheld camera without flash for non-commercial purposes.
c) Additional Tips:
– Be mindful of privacy, especially when photographing people. It’s best to ask permission before taking someone’s photo, especially if it’s a close-up or they’re easily identifiable.
– Be aware of signs and posted notices that may indicate photography restrictions in specific areas.
– Use common sense and be respectful of local customs and traditions.
Check here for more information.
6. The Greek origins of the word “photography”
The word “photography” itself is not a single, ancient Greek word. However, it is derived from two ancient Greek words:
– φώς (phōs), meaning “light”
– γραφή (graphé), meaning “drawing” or “writing”
Combining these two roots, with some minor grammatical adjustments, leads to the creation of φωτογραφία (phōtographía), which literally translates to “drawing with light”. This aptly describes the essence of photography, making the origin quite fitting.
While not a single, ancient word, “photography” draws its meaning and construction directly from Greek, giving it a strong connection to the language.
7. Where to print your photos in London
If you want to print your photos or create stunning albums, you can visit London Based Photographer Chris Altakis. His studio, among various photography services, provides photo printing services in various materials such as canvas, photo posters, hexxas, acrylic, aluminium, wood, foam board, multi-panel, and over 15 different sizes.
Address: Wood Green, London, Greater London
This list merely scratches the surface of the photographic adventures that await you in Greece. Whether you seek sun-drenched beaches, historical grandeur, or charming village life, your lens will find endless inspiration. So, pack your camera, embrace the spirit of discovery, and embark on your own photographic odyssey through this captivating land.
Remember, the magic of Greece lies not just in the iconic landmarks, but also in the hidden corners, the vibrant culture, and the warm smiles of its people!