Greece vs. Italy | Where to Visit in 2024

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Discover the differences and similarities between Greece vs. Italy to see which is the best choice for your holiday!

I have visited both Italy and Greece over 10 times each. They are two of my favorite countries in the WORLD and places I go back to over and over again.

I have a ton of experience with different regions/islands/towns in both countries and can confidently say which is better for different reasons.

Keep reading for a complete guide to Greece vs. Italy!

(Disclaimer: Some links in this post may be affiliate links, meaning if you click on the link and make a purchase, I receive a small commission. This is at no extra cost to you and you may even receive a small discount. See disclosure for more information.)

Greece vs. Italy: Which is better?

Greece and Italy and two very similar but also very different countries. There is no clear “better” or “worse” option but depending on your preference one will be better for YOU.

Similarities Between Greece and Italy

Greece and Italy, two Mediterranean countries steeped in rich history and culture, share several similarities.

Rich Historical Sites
In Greece, ancient landmarks like the Acropolis in Athens and Delphi offer a glimpse into ancient Greek civilization. Italy has equally impressive historical sites, such as the Colosseum in Rome and the ruins of Pompeii, showcasing its rich Roman heritage.

➡️ CLICK HERE for the top-rated historical tour in Greece
➡️ CLICK HERE for the top-rated historical tour in Italy

➡️ Read More: Is Rome Worth Visiting?

Stunning Landscapes
Both Greece and Italy offer diverse and stunning landscapes. From the islands and beaches of Greece to Italy’s picturesque countryside, rolling hills in Tuscany, and dramatic coastal cliffs, the natural beauty of these countries is a major attraction for travelers.

Both Greece and Italy boast some of the world’s most beautiful beaches. Greece is famous for its picturesque islands like Santorini and Mykonos, with crystal-clear waters and stunning coastlines. Similarly, Italy offers renowned beach destinations like the Amalfi Coast and Sardinia.

Greece and Italy both boast numerous UNESCO World Heritage Sites, reflecting their rich histories, from ancient Greek ruins and historic city centers to Roman monuments and Renaissance masterpieces.

Read More: Best Places to Visit in Europe in November

Differences Between Greece and Italy

While Greece and Italy share a variety of similarities, they are still very different cultures. Some key differences:

Traveling in Greece revolves around its numerous islands and coastlines, each offering a unique blend of beaches, ancient ruins, and distinct local cultures. Italy, on the other hand, presents a more varied geographical landscape including mountains like the Alps and Apennines, rolling vineyards in Tuscany, and iconic urban settings in cities like Rome and Milan.

Culture and History
Greece’s travel experiences are deeply rooted in ancient Greek history and mythology, with sites like the Acropolis and Delphi taking center stage. Italy’s culture includes a broader historical canvas, spanning from Roman history to Renaissance art.

Greek cuisine is more centered around olives, feta, and seafood. Italian cuisine varies significantly from region to region, offering a wide range of flavors from the rich pasta of the north to the seafood and pizza of the south.

➡️ CLICK HERE for the top-rated food tour in Greece
➡️ CLICK HERE for the top-rated food tour in Italy

You should visit Greece if …

You should visit Greece if you’re interested in ancient mythology and history, seek idyllic island-hopping experiences, love Mediterranean cuisine, and seek a blend of beautiful beaches and historic sites.

I love visiting Greece for island hopping, jaw-dropping beaches, and lively nightlife.

You should visit Italy if …

You should visit Italy if you’re a fan of diverse historical eras, enjoy cuisine ranging from pasta to gelato, appreciate varied landscapes from the Alps to Tuscany’s vineyards, and are interested in experiencing rich cultural traditions and world-famous cities.

I love visiting Italy for its diverse regions, delicious food, coastal gems, and rich history.

Greece vs. Italy: Beaches

Italy and Greece are both known for having some of the most beautiful beaches in the WORLD. I love the beaches in both countries – even though they are very different.

Greece Beaches

Greece is known for its stunningly clear, blue waters and diverse range of beaches.

The Greek islands, particularly in the Aegean Sea, offer everything from secluded coves to lively party beaches. The unique landscapes, such as the volcanic beaches of Santorini or the shipwreck beach of Zakynthos, add to the allure.

Greek beaches are often praised for their natural beauty and pristine conditions.

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Italy Beaches

Italy offers a different beach experience. Its beaches are known for their picturesque settings, especially along the Amalfi Coast and in regions like Sardinia, Puglia and – Sicily.

➡️ Read More: Best Places to Visit in Puglia

Italian beaches often combine natural beauty with rich cultural and culinary experiences. The beaches vary from sandy to pebbly and are usually close to historic towns, offering a chance to enjoy both beach relaxation and cultural exploration.

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Which has better beaches?

➡️ Greece: Crystal-clear waters, diverse islands, natural beauty, and ancient ruins nearby.
➡️ Italy: Picturesque, cultural richness, varied landscapes, historical towns adjacent.

Greece vs. Italy: Nightlife

The nightlife in Greece vs. Italy is quite different.

Greece Nightlife

Greece offers a vibrant nightlife, particularly famous in destinations like Mykonos and Athens.

Mykonos, known as the party island, has a plethora of beach clubs and nightclubs that attract world-renowned DJs, offering an electrifying atmosphere. Athens, with its rooftop bars and bustling tavernas in areas like Plaka and Monastiraki, blends traditional Greek music with modern beats.

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The Greek nightlife is diverse, ranging from laid-back seaside bars in the islands to high-energy clubs in urban centers.

➡️ CLICK HERE for the top-rated nightlife tour in Athens!

Italy Nightlife

Italy’s nightlife is characterized by its stylish bars, historic cafes, and lively clubs, especially in cities like Rome, Milan, and Florence.

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Rome offers a mix of trendy rooftop bars and intimate jazz clubs, while Milan is famous for its sophisticated fashion scene and trendy nightspots. Italian nightlife often starts with aperitivo in the early evening, followed by late dinners and a night out in bustling piazzas or chic clubs.

The experience is a blend of traditional Italian culture and modern entertainment.

➡️ CLICK HERE for the top-rated nightlife tour in Rome!

Which has better Nightlife?

➡️ Greece: Vibrant, diverse, island beach parties and lively urban scenes, especially in Athens and Mykonos.
➡️ Italy: Sophisticated, stylish, with a mix of trendy bars, historic cafes, and vibrant clubs.

Greece vs. Italy: History

Greek History

Greece is the birthplace of democracy, philosophy, and the Olympic Games. Its history is marked by the remarkable achievements of ancient city-states like Athens and Sparta.

Greek mythology and historical sites such as the Acropolis, Delphi, and the remnants of the Minoan and Mycenaean civilizations reflect a deep and influential heritage.

Greece also played a pivotal role in the development of early Christianity and experienced various historical phases, including Byzantine and Ottoman influences.

➡️ CLICK HERE for the top-rated historic tour to Meteora!
➡️ CLICK HERE for the top-rated historic tour to Rhodes!
➡️ CLICK HERE for the top-rated Greek Mythological tour in Athens!

Italian History

Italy’s history is equally rich and influential, most notably as the heartland of the Roman Empire, which left an indelible mark on Western culture and governance.

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The fall of Rome led to a fragmented series of city-states and maritime republics, which became centers of trade, wealth, and artistic achievement during the Renaissance. Italy is home to an extraordinary wealth of art and architecture, with cities like Rome, Florence, and Venice showcasing works by masters like Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci.

Italy’s history also encompasses significant periods like the Risorgimento, leading to its unification in the 19th century.

➡️ CLICK HERE for the top-rated historic tour of Matera, Italy!
➡️ CLICK HERE for the top-rated historic tour to Pompeii!
➡️ CLICK HERE for the top-rated historic tour of Ancient Rome!

Which has better History?

➡️ Greece: Cradle of Western civilization; birthplace of democracy, philosophy, and ancient Olympic Games.
➡️ Italy: Rich Roman Empire heritage; epicenter of Renaissance; diverse historical periods and artifacts.

Greece vs. Italy: Food

Greek Food

Greek cuisine is celebrated for its healthy, flavorful, and simplistic approach, focusing on fresh ingredients like olive oil, herbs, vegetables, grains, fish, and meat.

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Traditional dishes include moussaka (layered eggplant and meat bake), souvlaki (grilled meat skewers), and spanakopita (spinach pie). Greek salads, with feta cheese, olives, and tomatoes, are staple accompaniments. Greece is also known for its use of yogurt and honey, particularly in desserts like baklava and Greek yogurt with honey.

The cuisine reflects a balance between the Mediterranean diet’s health aspects and the social element of sharing meals.

➡️ CLICK HERE for the top-rated food tour in Santorini
➡️ CLICK HERE for the top-rated food tour in Athens
➡️ CLICK HERE for the top-rated food tour in Thessaloniki

Italian Food

Italian cuisine varies greatly by region but is united by its emphasis on quality ingredients and simplicity.

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Northern Italy is known for polenta and risotto, while Southern Italy, especially Naples, is famous for pizza and pasta dishes like spaghetti with tomato sauce. Regions like Tuscany and Umbria offer hearty stews and truffle-infused dishes.

Italian cuisine is also renowned for its cheeses (Parmesan, mozzarella) and wines. Italian meals are typically structured in several courses, celebrating both the cuisine and the art of dining.

➡️ CLICK HERE for the top-rated food tour in Puglia
➡️ CLICK HERE for the top-rated food tour in Venice
➡️ CLICK HERE for the top-rated food tour in Tuscany

Which has better Food?

➡️ Greece: Fresh, wholesome Mediterranean cuisine with iconic dishes like moussaka, souvlaki, and Greek salad.
➡️ Italy: World-renowned for diverse, regional flavors, famous for pasta, pizza, and exquisite wines.

Greece vs. Italy: For a Honeymoon

Greece for a Honeymoon

Greece is an idyllic honeymoon destination, known for its romantic sunsets, stunning islands, and rich history.

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Couples can explore the charming, whitewashed buildings of Santorini, enjoy the vibrant nightlife of Mykonos, or discover the tranquil, less-traveled islands like Naxos or Paros. Honeymooners can indulge in private beach experiences, and luxurious resorts, and enjoy Greek cuisine with a backdrop of the Aegean Sea.

The blend of historical sites, like the Acropolis in Athens, with the natural beauty of the islands, makes Greece a unique and memorable honeymoon choice.

Italy for a Honeymoon

Italy offers a diverse and romantic honeymoon experience, combining historic cities, breathtaking landscapes, and exquisite cuisine.

Couples can wander through the art-filled streets of Florence, experience the grandeur of Rome, or relax in the romantic canals of Venice. The Amalfi Coast and Tuscany provide stunning scenery and luxurious accommodations. Italian cuisine and world-class wines add to the allure, making dinners an event in themselves.

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Italy’s rich cultural heritage, combined with its diverse landscapes from coastal areas to rolling hills, creates a perfect setting for a romantic and indulgent honeymoon.

Which is better for a honeymoon?

➡️ Greece: Romantic islands, stunning sunsets, ancient ruins, luxurious resorts, and intimate, picturesque settings.
➡️ Italy: Diverse landscapes, historic cities, romantic canals, exquisite cuisine, and charming countryside vineyards.

Greece vs. Italy: Budget

Greece on a Budget

Traveling to Greece can be relatively budget-friendly, especially when avoiding peak tourist seasons.

Accommodations range from affordable guesthouses to budget hotels, particularly on less touristy islands or in rural areas. Dining in local tavernas or street food options like gyros can be quite economical. Public transportation, including ferries between islands, is reasonably priced, although booking in advance can save money.

Visiting ancient sites and museums can be affordable, with many offering combined tickets or discounted entry on certain days.

Italy on a Budget

Italy can also be explored on a budget, though some planning is required. Staying in budget accommodations like B&Bs, especially in smaller towns or off the beaten path, can reduce costs.

Enjoying authentic Italian cuisine in local trattorias or opting for street foods like pizza slices can be cost-effective. Train travel in Italy is relatively affordable and efficient, particularly with advance bookings. Many of Italy’s iconic sights, like walking through historic city centers or visiting churches, are free or low-cost.

Avoiding peak tourist seasons and major tourist hubs can also help in keeping expenses down.

Which is better on a Budget?

➡️ Greece: Affordable, with budget-friendly islands, inexpensive eateries, and low-cost historical site visits.
➡️ Italy: Cost-effective options in rural areas, budget accommodations, and delicious yet affordable cuisine.

Best Places to Visit in Greece

A list of the best places to visit in Greece is ENDLESS. With so many different islands, towns, beaches, landmarks – there are so many stunning places to discover. I could go on forever but have put together a list of must-visit places, each with its own magic:

  • Athens: The heart of ancient Greece, home to the Acropolis, Parthenon, and a vibrant blend of history and modernity.
  • Santorini: Famous for its dramatic views, stunning sunsets, and white-washed houses overlooking the deep blue Aegean Sea.
  • Mykonos: A cosmopolitan island known for its lively nightlife, beautiful beaches, and iconic windmills.
  • Crete: Greece’s largest island, offering a mix of ancient ruins, beautiful beaches, and rugged mountain landscapes.
  • Rhodes: Rich in history, known for its well-preserved medieval city, ancient ruins, and beautiful beaches.
  • Corfu: A blend of cultural influences, a picturesque old town, lush landscapes, and pristine beaches.
  • Meteora: Known for its breathtaking monasteries perched atop towering rock formations, offering spectacular views.
  • Delphi: An ancient site famous for its oracle, set against a backdrop of stunning mountains and valleys.
  • Naxos: The largest of the Cyclades, offering ancient ruins, charming villages, and long sandy beaches.
  • Zakynthos: Home to the famous Navagio beach, known for its shipwreck and crystal-clear turquoise waters.

My personal favorite places to visit on this list are: Milos, Santorini, Chania, Corfu, Crete.

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Best Places to Visit in Italy

Italy is a treasure trove of stunning places to visit. The country’s diverse landscape ranges from bustling cities filled with ancient ruins and Renaissance art to tranquil countryside and picturesque coastlines. Here’s a guide to some of the best places to visit, each offering its own unique Italian experience:

  • Rome: The eternal city, rich in history, home to the Colosseum, Roman Forum, and Vatican City.
  • Venice: A romantic city of canals, famous for St. Mark’s Square, gondola rides, and unique architectural beauty.
  • Dolomites: Majestic mountain range in Northern Italy, offering stunning alpine scenery, excellent hiking, skiing, and UNESCO World Heritage status.
  • Florence: The cradle of the Renaissance, filled with art and architecture, home to the Uffizi Gallery and the Duomo.
  • Matera: Known for its ancient cave dwellings, Sassi di Matera, a unique landscape steeped in history and cultural richness.
  • Puglia: A stunning region in Italy with iconic cities like Polignano a Mare, Monopoli, and Alberobello.
  • Amalfi Coast: A stunning coastline with picturesque towns, dramatic cliffs, and clear blue waters.
  • Cinque Terre: Five colorful villages nestled on rugged cliffs, offering hiking trails and beautiful sea views.
  • Tuscany: Known for its rolling hills, vineyards, historic cities like Siena, and the iconic Leaning Tower of Pisa.
  • Sicily: Rich in history and culture, offering ancient Greek ruins, Mount Etna, and beautiful beaches.
  • Lake Como: A luxurious retreat with beautiful villas, alpine views, and a serene lake setting.
  • Naples: The birthplace of pizza, offering vibrant street life, historic sites, and proximity to Pompeii and Vesuvius.

My personal favorite places on this list are: Matera, Puglia, Amalfi Coast, and Tuscany.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Is it better to go to Italy or Greece?

Picking between Italy and Greece is completely up to your preferneces.

Italy might be for you:
➡️ You’re interested in a wide range of historical periods, from ancient Roman ruins to Renaissance art.
➡️ You enjoy diverse regional cuisines and world-famous dishes like pasta, pizza, and gelato.
➡️ You’re looking for a mix of urban exploration in historic cities like Rome, Florence, and Venice, as well as picturesque countryside in regions like Tuscany and the Amalfi Coast.
➡️ You appreciate a rich cultural experience, including fashion, architecture, and music.

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Greece might be for you:
➡️ You’re fascinated by ancient Greek history and mythology, with sites like the Acropolis and Delphi.
➡️ You prefer a vacation with a focus on natural beauty, especially pristine beaches and island hopping in the Cyclades or Ionian Islands.
➡️ You enjoy Mediterranean cuisine with an emphasis on seafood, olive oil, and fresh produce.
➡️ You’re seeking a mix of relaxation on beautiful beaches and exploration of historical sites.

Both destinations offer unique experiences, so your choice should align with your interests, the type of activities you enjoy, and the cultural experiences you’re seeking.

Are Greece and Italy close?

Yes, Greece and Italy are relatively close to each other, geographically speaking. They are both located in Southern Europe and share a border in the Ionian Sea, part of the Mediterranean Sea. The distance between the two countries varies depending on the specific locations you’re considering. For instance:

  • The distance between Athens, Greece, and Rome, Italy, is approximately 1,050 kilometers (about 650 miles) as the crow flies.
  • Ferry routes commonly connect Greek ports like Patras and Igoumenitsa to Italian ports such as Bari, Ancona, and Brindisi, facilitating travel between the two countries.

This proximity makes it feasible for travelers to visit both countries in a single trip, especially with the frequent flights and ferry services connecting various destinations in both Greece and Italy.

Travel Insurance

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Greece vs. Italy
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