In the country that gave birth to western civilisation, every step you take is a journey through history. Boundless curiosity and a spirit of exploration never fail to take hold as you wander around ancient temples, theatres, stadiums and cities. Around you are buildings and temples constructed at least two-and-a-half thousand years ago: the Acropolis, Delphi, Knossos, Mycenae, Olympia… among the sites that embody the spirit and grandeur of Ancient Greece. So which sites do you have to visit at least once in your lifetime?
In the heart of modern Athens, the iconic rock of the ancient Acropolis rises to greet every new visitor in turn. The cornerstone of European civilisation, it is still a marvel, a reminder of what mankind is capable. You’ll finally see with your own eyes the creations of Athens’ Golden Age: the Parthenon, the Propylaia, the Temple of Athena Nike, the Erechtheum with its famous Caryatids. Τo get a fuller picture of the glory that was Greece, you’ll also want to visit the other important Athenian monuments: the theatres of Dionysos and Herodes Atticus, the Areopagus, the Pnyx, the Kerameikos Ancient Cemetery, the Ancient Agora and the Roman Forum, the columns of the temple of Olympian Zeus and Hadrian’s Gate. Not to forget, of course, the atmospheric old neighbourhoods of Plaka, Philopappos, Monastiraki and Thiseion. The entire history of Ancient Greece lies at your feet.
Temple of Poseidon
At the southernmost peninsula of Attica is Cape Sounion, the site of the astonishing cliff-top temple of Poseidon that was completed in 440 BC.
Sacred to Zeus, the father of gods and man, where the Οlympic Games were born. At the archaeological site of Olympia, in the western Peloponnese, stood one of the wonders of the ancient world, the enormous gold and ivory statue of the god made by master sculptor Phidias.
The most important and wealthiest of the Mycenaen palaces, in the northwestern Peloponnese, with its famed Lion Gate and the Cyclopean walls mentioned by Homer.
The great comedies and tragedies of the ancient world are still are performed in one of the most beautiful ancient theatres in the world, just 45mins away from Mycenae.
The ‘navel of the Earth’, where the most celebrated oracle of ancient times resided. It was here that the revered Pythia uttered her predictions, made more portentous by the spectacular setting in Central Greece. The Temple of Apollo, the god of light, is its most important monument.
Greece’s most beautiful archaeological park, near Katerini in northern Greece, with ancient sanctuaries, theatres, baths, mosaics and villas.
Another gem in northern Greece are the Royal Tombs of Philip II, father of Alexander the Great, and other family members of the great Macedonian dynasty. The underground museum should be among the current wonders of the world, for its exquisite gold finds and rare paintings.
A World Heritage Monument and the holiest island of antiquity, just opposite Mykonos. Dedicated to Apollo, the whole island is an archaeological site.
Knossos & Phaistos
The two most famous Minoan palaces on Crete. The first, just outside Heraklion, contains King Minos’ labyrinth. The second, near the south coast, overlooks the Libyan Sea.
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