Greece is a magnificent destination bursting with beauty, culture and history. Surrounded by three seas, and the birthplace of what we now know as modern democracy, it is easy to see the appeal of a place like Greece. The nation is also home to some incredibly famous landmarks like the Acropolis in Athens and Shipwreck Beach in Navagio. Try to visit as many of these landmarks in Greece as possible the next time you’re in this Mediterranean country.
Santorini is one of the South Aegean Islands, and it is widely regarded as one of the most scenic places in Greece. Within Santorini, one of the more spectacular destinations in Oia. The town of Oia, also called Ia, is located on a cliff that overlooks the sea. It is perhaps the best place in Greece to watch a sunset. The town’s architecture is primarily traditional white buildings, which gives the whole area an unusual and picturesque appearance. Santorini is known for its local wines, so enjoy an evening in Oia at a restaurant where you can sip the local vintage as you admire the sunset.
2. Palace of the Grand Master of Rhodes
Rhodes is another of the most visited Greek Islands. In the island’s capital by the same name, Rhodes City, you’ll find the incredible Palace of the Grand Master of Rhodes. Known to locals as the Kastello, the palace was constructed way back in the seventh century as a Byzantine citadel. It changed into a castle by the Knights of St. John. The castle has undergone many changes, the biggest of which was a complete overhaul in the 1930s, when it was turned into a holiday manor for Benito Mussolini. Visiting today means getting to see the medieval exterior wall, the inner courtyard and a staggering collection of artifacts from Ancient Rhodes.
3. Cape Sounion
An hour’s drive south of Athens brings you to the tip of the Attica Peninsula, the waters of the Aegean Sea and Cape Sounion. This destination is a stunning place to visit because it offers spectacular, panoramic views over the sea. This particular spot is rooted in Greek legend, and it is even referenced in Homer’s Odyssey. The Temple of Poseidon stands on Cape Sounion, where it has been more than 2,400 years. If you visit, you can admire the Doric columns, getting up close and personal with a crucial part of Greek history and culture.
4. Knossos Palace
To get to know the ancient Minoan civilization, there is no better destination than Knossos Palace. Located outside of Heraklion on the island of Crete, Knossos Palace is one of the country’s most important landmarks. The destination’s earliest settlements are more than 9,000 years old, and for centuries the castle was the heart of power, trade and politics on Crete. Much of the ancient castle has been restored, but the archeological site is enormous. That’s why so many visitors opt for a guided tour. This lets you learn as much as possible about the palace’s shrines, the Throne Room, the murals and the legend of underground labyrinth.
One of the most significant and popular archeological landmarks in Greece is Epidaurus. The settlement was once known as a spot for healing, but in the fourth century BC it became better known for its spectacular theater. The ancient theater of Epidaurus is impressive because of its age, size and symmetry. The acoustics are perfection, making it possible for all 14,000 spectators to hear what’s going on, even well before modern audio technology existed. The seats are limestone, which helps to filter out the crowd sounds and hone in on what’s going on on the stage. Along with the theater, visitors can explore the beaches and the village of Epidaurus.
6. Navagio Beach
On the Ionian Island of Zakynthos, there are plenty of fantastic beaches. But none is as famous and beautiful as Navagio Beach. It is also widely known as Shipwreck Beach, for reasons that will become obvious. There is a small bay with white sand and blue waters tucked into a small cove, which means it is protected from the elements and quite private. This is now called Smugglers Cove, because the freight-liner MV Panagiotis ran aground there in 1980. Rumor has it that the ship was smuggling contraband at the time, and the ship is still there, run aground on the shore.
Arguably the most famous landmark in the country is the Acropolis. Located in Athens, the Acropolis is the ancient high city that houses several historic structures. The Acropolis overlooks the modern city, but visiting is about far more than just the views. The largest temple there is the Parthenon, built in the fifth century BC from marble to honor the goddess Athena. You can also see the Temple of Athena Nike, the ancient Theatre of Dionysus and the Propylaea, or the entrance to the Acropolis. At the base of the Acropolis, swing by the New Acropolis Museum to learn more about the ancient city and explore some fascinating artifacts from centuries past.
In the region of Thessaly, near the town of Kalampaka, you’ll find a collection of rocky pinnacles. Together, these are known as Meteora, which means suspended in the air. From a distance, these outcroppings are stunning, creating a visual delight. Ancient religious groups thought the same thing, and believed that the location would bring them closer to heaven. As a result, Meteora is where you’ll find several ancient Eastern Orthodox monasteries. While there were once 24, there are just a half-dozen that remain today. The Great Meteoron Monastery is the largest of them all, and it dates back to the 14th century. Visiting the sky-high monasteries on foot is a unique experience you’ll never forget.