Poseidon Temple at Cape Sounion near Athens, Greece

Sun, sea and culture in Greece

All the pleasures of the beach combined with the chance to visit historic treasures, enhanced by the legendary Greek sunlight
All the pleasures of the beach combined with the chance to visit historic treasures, enhanced by the legendary Greek sunlight
READING TIME
As long as it takes to drink a Greek coffee

You’re lounging on the beach of your dreams. But not just any beach. This one is imbued with thousands of years of Greek history and civilisation. You’re visiting a Greek island and, apart from enjoying the sun, sand and divine water, you’ve got ancient cities and archaeological sites  to discover with the Aegean as a backdrop.

And that’s not all. There are medieval castles, towns and fortified monasteries to marvel at right next to Homer’s wine-dark sea. Not to mention concerts of all kinds and exhibitions of world-class contemporary art, all the more inviting when experienced with a soothing sea breeze.

Some of the highlights

The sea in Greece is inextricably bound to the course of the country’s civilisation. If you’re seeking an era where myth and history were one and the same, you only have to visit the Minoan settlements at Santorini’s Akrotiri, and Knossos and Phaistos on Crete.

Admirers of the Classical spirit will want to go to Delos, the Acropolis of Lindos on Rhodes, the Asclepion on Kos, the Sanctuary of the Great Gods on Samothrace, the various antiquities at Pythagorio on Samos, the Temple of Poseidon at Sounion, as well as the ancient theatre of Epidaurus, Odysseus’ Ithaca, the newly excavated and partially restored ruins of Ancient Messene, and the scores of archaeological museums in every corner of the country.

Acropolis of Lindos. Doric columns of the ancient Temple of Athena Lindia setting sun above the columns T

If you’re fascinated by the Middle Ages and Byzantium, you’ll also find plenty to absorb in the Citadel of the Knights on Rhodes, in the Venetian castles of Corfu, in Frangokastello, with its misty shades on Crete, in the castles of Methoni, Koroni and Pylos, and the fortified states of Monemvasia and Mystra, in the Peloponnese.

Cultural events in Greece

If you’re curious about the real Greece of today, the living customs that mean so much to the country’s citizens, then you should attend the summer festivals – from church fairs with traditional instruments and Greek dancing to concerts of classical and ethnic music by virtuosos and theatre performances by celebrated international and Greek companies.

From spontaneous gatherings in picturesque village squares to the plays of Sophocles, Aeschylus and Euripides re-enacted in Greece’s ancient theatres and modern art exhibitions (like those organised every summer by the famous Goulandris Museum on Andros), you will always be welcomed. Moreover, you’ll be initiated into a Greece that is still connected with its rich past and culture.

Read Also

Here is a selection of stories you may also like
Strolling around the cobblestone alleyways of the main town

12 Unforgettable things to do in Mykonos

Santorini is the embodiment of everything magical about the Greek islands

12 incredible places in Greece you have to see to believe

Easter pot smashing on Corfu

Celebrate Easter in the Ionian

Painted pots – some filled with water for extra acoustics – are thrown with aplomb from balconies

Celebrating Easter in Greece

The Asclepion, Kos’ most famous archaeological site

8 Must do’s to experience Kos at its best

Nature… the true guardian of Mt Olympus

7 magical getaways just 60mins from Thessaloniki

The peak of Mt Olympus

8 mythical experiences on Mt Olympus

View of Santorini island from Thirassia

Meet the Cycladic escapes neighbouring Santorini

The most famous village in Karpathos island, with panoramic views

8 reasons to make you want to explore Karpathos

8 unforgettable highs and hidden depths in Kalymnos

Hora's famous castle, majestic views of the Aegean, windmills and whitewashed homes make up a remarkable traditional settlement

5 reasons why Astypalea will be your favourite summer hangout