Without a doubt, Greece is the country of sunshine and amazing beaches, but on cloudy days you can also be sure you will find amazing culture activities to fill your time. No visit to the country is complete without checking out the variety of historical sites that run throughout the cities and islands. While the hill of the Acropolis is home to many of these, there are also many hidden gems you don’t want to miss, as Greece is one of the world’s largest open-air museums.
Tour the Acropolis
Starting with the most obvious, dominating the skyline of the capital city of Greece, Athens, is the Acropolis. If you are in Greece then this is probably the number one attraction not to miss. The complex, made from marble, used to be the site of the famous statue of Athena who was also the goddess of Athens. Anyone remotely interested in ancient architecture can marvel at the Doric columns, the spectacular temples and the Acropolis pathways that let you walk around at your leisure and enjoy the highlight of this monument which is the stunning Parthenon. And in case you still want that view after your tour, you can always go to cafes or restaurants nearby such as Grande Bretagne Rooftop Bar or 360 cocktailbar.
Visit the Delphi
Delphi has the claim to fame of being a UNESCO World Heritage Site as well as one of the top attractions in Greece. It sits on the sides of Mount Parnassus and was a popular pilgrimage spot in the old days for those who would come here to pay homage to Apollo, the ancient Greek god of healing, music, light, and prophecy.
Followers would come here to seek guidance from the Oracle at Delphi and nowadays you will find temples, an impressive stadium, a theater, and delightful ancient ruins. Delphi is located around 180 kilometers away from the capital city of Athens, so this makes a good place to come if you want to get out of the city and explore a different area of Greece. You can go there on a one day tour from Athens with Key Tours.
Marvel at the Epidaurus Theater
In the region of Argolis is the Epidaurus Theater, a ceremonial space that is dedicated to the famous god of medicine, Asclepius. The Sanctuary of Asclepius is located next to the theater, and you can visit both at the same time. The theater dates from the 4th century and you can sit in the stone tiers and imagine watching a performance here in the years of old.
Visit the monasteries of Meteora
“Suspended in the air”, that’s what Meteora means in greek, a really suitable name for this incredible rock formation that houses 24 monasteries in total, with 6 still active. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Meteora attracts thousands of tourists to the region of Thessaly, Greece every year. The monks that live in the area are Eastern Orthodox and fled to Meteora as a result of the invasion of the Turkish army.
With its ancient boulders and monolithic pillars, the rock formations at Meteora offer one of the most haunting and beautiful landscapes in all of Europe. Meteora Thrones organizes really cool day trips from Athens which can be a really good option if you’re in the capital.
Admire Hephaestus Temple
Located in the charming Thissio neighborhood of Athens is the Hephaestus Temple. As with all temples in Greece, this one is dedicated to the gods, in this case, Hephaestus who was the god of fire and Athena, the goddess of pottery and ancient crafts.
The temple dates from 450 BC and sits atop Agoreao Koronos Hill. Designed by the same architect who worked on the Pantheon, Hephaestus Temple is known for its pretty columns and its Pentelic and Parian marble decorations.
Get to the top of Mount Athos
Sitting on the Chalcidice Peninsula is Mount Athos which has long been considered a place of great importance in Greek history. The mount is the home of 20 monasteries that dot its scenic slopes and this is a central point of worship in Eastern Christian Orthodox faith.
The most amazing thing about the monasteries here is that they are still in full working order and this makes them the oldest monastic community in the world today. However, due to ancient laws that govern the area, only male visitors can enter the monastery areas.
Enjoy Ancient Corinth
Ancient Corinth is even more impressive as it sits in a village that highlights the difference between modern day surroundings and these ancient ruins which are a mix of Roman and Greek relics.
If you like your history then this used to be the home of Jason of the Argonauts (who stole the Golden Fleece). Some of the highlights here are the Temple of Apollo as well as the Peribolos of Apollo and an ancient theater. Much of the complex is Roman but one Greek addition is the Doric Temple of Apollo that dates from the 5th century. So if you are thinking about traveling to Athens, maybe an afternoon in Ancient Corinth maybe be the perfect addition to your travel plans. You can visit the Hellenic Private Tours for more info on this.
Visit the ancient site of Phaestos
Phaestos sits around 60 kilometers from Iraklio and offers you stunning vistas over the Messara Plain and Mount Psiloritis. The big draw here is the fact that the city is still in a mostly ruined state which adds an other-worldly charm to it and you will also find some pretty frescoes here.
The whole site is one big history lesson and you can explore areas such as the theater, the main palace buildings, the storerooms, and even the crypt.
Visit the minotaur labyrinth in Crete
The ancient historical site of the Palace of Knossos is definitely one of the most attractive visiting places in Crete. A disused stone quarry on the Greek island of Crete which is riddled with an elaborate network of underground tunnels could be the original site of the ancient Labyrinth, the mythical maze that housed the half-bull, half-man Minotaur of Greek legend.
The 600,000 people a year who visit the ruins at Knossos are told the site was almost certainly the home of the legendary King Minos, who was supposed to have constructed the Labyrinth to house the Minotaur, a fearsome creature born out of a union between the king’s wife and a bull.
This All-Marble Stadium Hosted the First Modern Olympics competitions as early as 566/565 BC. Located behind the National Gardens, the stadium was first used for ancient Greeks to compete in the Panathenaia festival and importantly hosted the first revival of the Olympic Games in the 1870s. In 2004, it also hosted various events, providing the ultimate homecoming for Greek athletes. The stadium is hard to miss and open to visitors throughout the year. A good option to visit the stadium is to join the free walking tour of Athens and as a bonus even learn more about the history of this amazing place.
Invite a friend to join GoGoPlaces and they will get €25 off on their first booking. Once they complete a trip, you will get a €25 credit for your next adventure!
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