Greece has always done epic. Adventures, ideas, myths, discoveries… and the country’s landmark destinations have been at the heart of all of them, to the point where just their names are enough to conjure a desire to experience a rite of passage.
The Acropolis, Delphi, Knossos, Ancient Messene – all beacons of the ancient world that represented new heights in human achievement and ambition and helped shape world history.
Or Ancient Olympia, where the original Olympics were held every four years for over a staggering 1,000 years and where the torch that represents the enduring spirit of friendship, solidarity and fair play is still lit before each of today’s Games.
Sometimes, destinations embody epic feats of history – such as Vergina and Pella, seats of the ancient Macedonian dynasty and the birthplace of Alexander the Great. And sometimes they are the ultimate combination of myth and grand-scale nature, such as Mt Olympus, home of the ancient gods and Greece’s highest peak.
Nature has, it seems, always been an inspiration for Greeks. The extraordinary Meteora rock formations in Thessaly (so tall and thin they would challenge even the most well-equipped rock climber today) became the site for monks to build monasteries some 15 centuries ago. As did Greece’s furthest-most peninsula, Mt Athos, in Halkidiki. Both are UNESCO World Heritage Sites – as are another 16 locations around the country.
And there are modern wonders, too – shaped by nature and history, yes, but also by today’s locals… Places that require only their names to get you packing: Santorini, Mykonos… Enough said.