Ah, Greece, the land of one of the greatest and most glorious ancient civilizations of all. With its fascinating history, its scenic coastlines, and its elegant ruins that reminiscent its glorious past, how could anyone not help but be drawn to it like a moth to a mesmerizing dancing flame. There is so much to see within its historical shores but for now, let us look at ten of the most popular. Be sure not to miss these attractions on your next cheap holidays to Greece!
Athenian Acropolis and the Parthenon
On a tall rock in the midst of modern-day Athens stands the Acropolis of Athens, a beautiful citadel that is perhaps the best illustration of the power and sophistication of the ancient Greek civilization. Twenty-one archaeological structures still remain in or at the base of the Acropolis today. At its center is the Parthenon, the intricately designed Doric temple dedicated to the goddess Athena. With its elegant avenues and beautiful sacred structures, the Acropolis is one historical site that should not be missed.
The Temple of Poseidon in Cape Sounion
Cape Sounion, a popular summer haven for the Athenians, is home to the Temple of Poseidon, one of the most powerful Olympians in Greek mythology. The temple stands near a cliff, looking out to the Aegean Sea, and offers a romantic view of the sunset. Only a few columns of the once great temple remain today; still, tourists visit this site where ancient mariners and communities offered prayers and left gifts to the god of the sea to gain his favor.
Near the southeastern tip of Greece is the beautiful volcanic archipelago of Santorini, a tourist destination famous for its different colored beaches and warm waters. Santorini also boasts charming towns, and several wineries. Several of its islands are inhabited by villages and each island offers a different experience for tourists – the island of Oia, for example, has the most beautiful sunsets, the island of Perissa has the best beaches, and Fira, the largest island, has a beautiful Grecian village perched on a cliff.
The Ruins of Delphi
The oracle of Apollo is perhaps the most famous oracle in the world. Naturally, people flock the oracle’s ancient site and home, Delphi. In ancient times, Delphi was very significant to the Greeks because it was the site of the omphalos, a stone that supposedly marked the center of the universe. Today, tourists visit Delphi to see the mysterious Sanctuary of Athena with the Tholos and the remnants of the Sanctuary of Apollo, the most sacred site to the ancient Greeks.
Mykonos is where people go to party. The island is known for its dance clubs, bars, and vibrant nightlife. Mykonos has more to offer visitors, however. Its towns boast museums, little local shops and boutiques, quaint cafes, and restaurants that serve delicious food. On the western side of town sits the Mykonos Windmills and the lovely Byzantine church of Panagia Paraportiani and 30 minutes away from town is the archaeological island of Delos, Artemis and Apollo’s birthplace.
Once the center of the Minoan civilization, Crete today is perhaps the most beautiful place in the Greek islands. With its various landscapes, ancient Minoan and Roman ruins, a sunken city (Olous) where mermaids supposedly live, sandy beaches, ancient Neolithic tombs (Zarkos Gorge), the cave (Ideon Andron) where the infant Zeus was supposedly hidden from his murdering father, and the supposed tree where Zeus and Europa made love for the first time; Crete is truly a romantic and picturesque place to visit.
Mycenae is one of the most famous ancient kingdoms in Greece due in large part to its role in the legendary Trojan War. It was King Agamemnon of Mycenae who led the Greeks to wage war against the city of Troy for the kidnap of Helen, Queen of Sparta. Today, people visit ruins of the once great Mycenaean acropolis, the royal tombs that lay just outside the acropolis, the famous Lion Gate that serves as entrance to the city, and the Treasury of Atreus or the Tomb of Agamemnon.
Knossos, the Minoan Palace
Knossos is the largest archaeological site in the city of Crete and was once the administrative center of the Minoan civilization in Greece. It is said to be the inspiration for the story of the Labyrinth and the Minotaur. Much of Knossos today is a reconstruction of the ancient city that would have been wrecked when the Mycenaeans took over.
Corinth was one of the major and flourishing cities in the ancient Greek civilization. It was where Alexander the Great officially agreed to lead the Greeks into battle with the Persians. Today, tourists visit Corinth to see the ruins of the temples of Apollo, Aphrodite, and Octavia as well as the Acrocorinth, the Pelrene Fountain, and the Asklepielon. Corinth is considered a sacred site in Greece.
This Greek island in the Aegean Sea was historically famous for the 107-foot the statue of Titan Helios, known to the world as the Colossus of Rhodes, that stood at the city’s entrance. The Colossus of Rhodes was one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. The famous statue is long gone, completely destroyed by an earthquake around 224 BC but tourists flock in this historical island for its acropoleis, ancient towns, castles, and monasteries.