Things to see and do in Greece
Attractions in Greece
The birthplace of democracy, Athens remains an important cultural hub. Crowned with four ancient Greek temples, the Acropolis is arguably the most important attraction. After that, stroll down to the Ancient Agora, once Athens' civic, political and commercial centre. The city also has a plethora of world-class museums, including the National Archaeological Museum which is packed with ancient marble statues, jewellery and ceramics. Check out the Athens travel guide for more information.
Believed by the ancients to be the centre of the world, Delphi was home to Apollo and Pythia (high priestess of the Temple of Apollo), Classical Greece's most notable oracle. The religious complex, set on a stunning hillside site, comprises classical temples, a theatre and a stadium. Delphi also hosted the Pythian Games, started in 582BC and said to be precursors of the Olympic Games.
Straddles between the Pindos mountain range and the Ionian Sea, the region of Epirus attracts visitors who desire a mix of adventure and natural scenery. Sustainable tourism and agritourism, offered by farmhouses in traditional villages, also provide wonderful fleece-to-garment and farm-to-table experiences. Check out this article on Epirus.
On the edge of a flat plain in Thessaly, Central Greece lies the Meteora, a group of monasteries built atop sandstone pinnacles designed to keep the monks and nuns safe. UNESCO-listed, only six of the original 24 monasteries survive and they are open to the public.
Known as 'Holy Mountain', Mount Athos covers a 335 sq km (130 sq mile) peninsula. An Orthodox spiritual centre since 1054, Mount Athos consists of 20 Orthodox monasteries, 1,400 monks, and an invaluable collection of frescoes and religious art. Although part of Greece, Mount Athos has a special self-administered system under Hellenic Constitutional Law. Women and children are banned. Only 100 Orthodox and 100 non-Orthodox male pilgrims are admitted to the site each day. Applications must be approved by the Mount Athos Pilgrim's Bureau.
Olympia is the birthplace of the Olympic Games, which were first held here in 776 BC. Situated on the Peloponnese peninsula, the site boasts many ancient ruins including the Hippodrome where ancient horse races were held. The Museum of the Olympic Games is well worth a visit. Olympia was also an important worship site of Zeus – today, visitors also come to see the ruins of the Temple of Zeus and the Temple of Hera.
The Cyclades Islands and Santorini
Consisting of 56 islands scattered across the Aegean Sea, the Cyclades includes Santorini, one of the most Instagrammable places in the world. Other islands with classic whitewashed villages and turquoise waters are Mykonos, Milos, Folegandros and Serifos. The uninhabited Delos is said to be the birthplace of Apollo.
The Dodecanese Islands and Rhodes
Situated in south-eastern Aegean Sea, The Dodecanese Islands are closer to Turkey than mainland Greece. Rhodes is the largest island and its UNESCO-listed Medieval Old Town consists of immaculately preserved buildings where the knights of St John once lived.
The Ionian Islands and Corfu
Off the western coast of Greece, many of the Ionian Islands have sheer cliffs, olive groves and sandy beaches. Packed with 19th-century neo-classical mansions, Corfu (Kerkyra) is a popular holiday destination. Less touristy islands include Paxos, Antipaxos, Lefkada and Ithaka.
The second largest city in Greece has a rich Byzantine and Ottoman past. The White Tower, on the seaside promenade, was once an Ottoman prison where public executions were held. But today it represents freedom and is the symbol of the city. Other must-see sights include the Roman Agora (Forum), Arch of Galerius and Archaeological Museum of Thessaloniki.
Greek National Tourism Organisation (GNTO) in the UKAddress: 5th Floor East, 4 Great Portland Street, London , W1W 8QJ
Greek National Tourism Organisation (GNTO) in the USAAddress: 23rd Floor, 800 3rd Avenue, New York, 10022
Telephone: +1 212 421 5777