Musement takes a look at 15 of the most spectacular places Greece so that you can admire the best of the Hellenic Republic.
Cities full of history, paradisiacal islands, spectacular landscapes… Greece has it all. From the Acropolis of Athens to the islands of Crete and Rhodes, the cradle of the West is a rich destination that offers something for every type of traveler.
Did you know that thousands of years ago, the ancient Greeks considered Delphi, a sanctuary located at the foot of Mount Parnassus, the center of the Earth? Archaeologically, Delphi is one of Greece’s most interesting places, as this was the home of the famous oracle. In fact, it was the main city in classic Greece and therefore houses the emblematic Temple of Apollo, which along with the other ancient ruins, have been declared World Heritage by UNESCO.
Meteroa, or “monasteries suspended from the sky”, is located in Thessaly in northern Greece. A surprising ensemble of ancient Orthodox Christian monasteries nestled in rock formations nearly 2000 feet above sea level, monks fled to Meteora to seek refuge from the Ottoman Empire. Starting in the 10th century, the monasteries were used as shelters for hermits who wanted to live closer to God. Today, only six monasteries are still inhabited and open to the public.
3. Acropolis of Athens
The Acropolis of Athens symbolizes harmony, power, and beauty. Literally meaning “high city”, the Acropolis stands nearly 200 feet above sea level. With a number of temples dedicated to Greek gods, the Acropolis soon became a place of worship. Today it is one of Greece’s must-see attractions, which despite the passage of centuries, does not cease to enchant its visitors with classic charm.
The island of Rhodes, also known as the “island of knights”, is located in the Dodecanese archipelago in the Aegean Sea. According to Greek mythology, Zeus gifted the island to Helio, the sun god. Here, the famous Colossus of Rhodes once stood, one of the seven wonders of antiquity that served as a landmark for sailors, overlooking for medieval walls and the island’s dreamy beaches.
5. The Ancient Theatre of Epidaurus
The Ancient Theatre of Epidaurus is one of the largest Greek theatres: we guarantee that it will knock your socks off. Built in the fourth century BC, this theatre has been the backdrop for countless Greek tragedies and still hosts art festivals today. If you want to test its perfect acoustics, try the coin drop test: from the last row of the bleachers you can hear a coin falling into the orchestra area.
Mykonos, one of the best known Cycladic islands, is so much more than “the Ibiza of Greece”. Nightlife aside, Mykonos is synonymous with hedonism: magnificent gastronomy, landscapes, and beaches come together quite majestically. In the city of Mykonos, you can stroll through the narrow streets full of craft shops and sit in one of its traditional cafés while you watch life go by. Then go sunbathe on Paraga beach, dine in Little Venice, and party until dawn.
Santorini is undoubtedly the queen of the Cyclades, a title that wasn’t bestowed in vain as her original name was Kallisté, “the most beautiful”. The blue and white island of cylindrical houses, gorgeous bougainvillea, and wine cellars: the essence of the Mediterranean. Perched on impressive cliffs over the Aegean Sea, Santorini offers spectacular scenery. Don’t miss the views from Pyrgos, the highest village, or the magical sunset in Oia.
Zakynthos, located in the Ionian Sea, is a magnificent off-the-beaten-path small Mediterranean paradise. Navagio Bay will leave you speechless: the turquoise water juxtaposed against white of the sand seems otherworldly! Head to Gerakas beach for water sports (although they are limited to protect loggerhead turtles) and enjoy Zante’s excellent cuisine, with top quality ingredients such as locally produced olive oil.
Known for its profound history and cultural heritage, Crete’s strategic location garnered the island a rich legacy. In fact, many myths and legends originated on the largest Greek island. Apart from the Minoan remains, Crete also hides unparalleled natural treasures that provide the opportunity for unforgettable hiking trails or road trips.
Located beside Mykonos, Delos is one of the smallest Cycladic islands, yet with mystical airs that rendered it sacred in classical times. Mythology tells us that Artemis and Apollo were born here after their mother took refuge in this enclave. Today, Delos is one of Greece’s most important sites, an authentic open-air museum with multiple ruins to explore, perfect for a day trip.
With more than 100 miles of coastline, the island of Corfu has a distinct character with white sandy beaches as well as leafy hills and rich mythological history. Its capital, Corfu, is fortified with an ancient acropolis and beautiful examples of Venetian architecture, so it’s worth taking a walk before or after a day at the beach. At the same time, from Corfu, ferries make it easy to access the rest of the nearby Ionian islands.
Just 90 minutes from the port of Piraeus in Athens, the calm and tranquility of Hydra await you. The island’s absence of motorized traffic adds to the ambiance, making the island, a refuge for artists and celebrities. Take the opportunity to explore its 35 miles of coastline and Puerto Hydra, the main city with a network of steep alleys that will transport you to the Greek life of yesteryear.
As an important port in the Argolic Gulf, Nauplia was the first capital of modern Greece until Athens took the tile in 1834. Today, the charming Peloponnese town is a popular weekend destination among Athenians because of its proximity to the Greek capital (two hours by car). Don’t miss the coastal forts, among which stands out the castle of Palamedes.
14. Temple of Poseidon
For a very Greek travel experience, head to Cape Sounion and admire themagnificent Temple of Poseidon and gawk at the sunset. Here, King Aegeus committed suicide when he thought that the Minotaur had killed his son Theseus, jumping into the sea that was subsequently named after him. The temple, built in the 5th century BC, features distinct columns that are nearly 20-feet tall.
Greece is the cradle of many things, among them, the first Olympic Games that, as its name indicates, took place in Olympia (western Peloponnese). Today it is possible to soak up the history of the games by visiting the old stadium, the gymnasium, the temples of Zeus and Hera and, of course, the Archaeological Museum, where objects once used for the event are exhibited.