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. 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.

But that’s not all. There are mediaeval 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.

Holidays and culture in Greece: Popular destinations

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 have only 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 Asklepion 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, 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

But if you’re fascinated by the Middle Ages and Byzantium, you’ll also find plenty to absorb you 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.

What to do: 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 have only to 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.

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