Greece is home to some of the world's most significant historical sites as well as over 6,000 islands. Known for its natural beauty, ancient archaeological sites, a charming culture with crystal clear blue waters and beaches. An idyllic Greek island holiday is a must, however there are so many islands to choose from we will only mention a few.
Magnificent, Athens dates back more than 3,000 years and is the birthplace of Socrates, Pericles and Sophocles. This bustling capital is home to some of the country's most important attractions including one of the world’s most breathtaking ancient ruins, The Acropolis. Considered the symbol of Athens and Greece, the Acropolis is a rocky mound rising in the heart of the city, crowned by three magnificent Temples that date back to the 5th Century B.C. The most distinctive is the Parthenon, originally made up of 58 columns supporting a roof and decorated by ornate pediments and a frieze. Bordering the foot of the Acropolis and connecting it to the city's other major ancient attractions are the Ancient Agora, the Roman Forum, Kerameikos and the Temple of Olympian Zeus. A visit to the Acropolis Museum is a must on any trip to the city. The Plaka district is also on the to do list with its narrow pedestrian streets, lined with quaint bougainvillea draped houses and inviting restaurant terraces.
Delphi is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, built on the lower slopes of Mount Parnassus, overlooking a dramatic ravine, the site was sacred to the ancients, who came here on pilgrimages to worship Apollo (God of Light, Prophecy, Music and Healing) and to ask advice from the mythical Oracle. Today, it comprises of crumbling ruins of numerous Temples, a Theatre and Stadium that date between the 8th Century B.C. and the 2nd Century A.D. The Delphi Archaeological Museum displays an impressive collection of finds from the site.
The Metéora Monasteries are another on the UNESCO World Heritage List. This Thessaly Plain, where bizarre rocky outcrops are capped by the centuries Old Monasteries of Metéora. You need to climb up several flights of stone steps carved into the rocks to reach each of the six monasteries open to the public. Inside you will find flickering candles, religious icons, Byzantine frescoes and burning incense. The nearest town is Kalambaka a relaxed place to visit with family run restaurants all serving traditional fare.
Nafplio is often named as Greece's most beautiful city. Built on a small peninsular on the east coast of the Peloponnese, it became modern Greece’s first Capital in 1828 before Athens took over in 1834. Stroll through the Old Town filled with Neoclassical mansions and Churches overlooked by the 18th Century Palamidi Fortress. Close by attractions include Tiryns, Epidaurus Theatre and Ancient Corinth.
Founded in 316 B.C. Thessaloniki is the 2nd largest city after Athens. A city of various cultures and religions it is located overlooking the Aegean Sea in northern Greece. The main attractions include the UNESCO Listed Byzantine Churches as well as several Roman Monuments including the Triumphal Arch of Galerius, the 4th Century Rotunda, the 15th Century White Tower along the seafront and the Byzantine Museum.
Corfu is located in the Ionian Sea off the west coast of the mainland. The capital, Corfu Town, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site due to its elegant Italianate architecture. Along the romantic pedestrian only streets you will discover two 16th Century Fortresses and the arcaded Liston, lined by old fashioned cafés. The island has some of the most stunning scenery including rugged limestone rocks tumbling into the sea and velvety green hills. The most popular beach area is Palaiokastritsa with bays and beach’s extending into the clear blue sea.
Santorini is a place of stunning beauty. Best known for the clifftop towns of Fira and Oia, which appear to hang over a deep, blue sea filled Caldera. Santorini is filled with typical Cycladic whitewashed cubic buildings, many of which have been converted into boutique hotels with infinity pools and are extremely popular for weddings and honeymoons due to their romantic atmosphere. Sunbathing on the black volcanic sand beaches or visiting the Archaeological site of Akrotiri, an Ancient Minoan settlement buried below lava following the volcanic eruption that created the Caldera, some 3,600 years ago are just a couple of things to enjoy while on the island.
Mykonos is considered one of Greece's most glamorous islands with its famous windmills. However, in the evening Mykonos Town comes alive with its classy restaurants and live music. Other attractions include the Paraportiani, a whitewashed Church in Mykonos Town and numerous sandy beaches along the island's southern coast. The island is especially popular with international celebrities who come to party.
Naxos is the largest and the greenest island in the Cyclades. With high mountains, fertile valleys, lush green gorges, stunning seascapes and traditional villages perched high on mountain tops, where the locals still wear their traditional dress. Naxos is also home to beautiful Old Churches, Monasteries and Venetian Castles. Upon arriving into Chora Port, you will come across the islet of Palatia with its impressive marble gate, the 6th Century Temple of Apollo, ‘Portara’.
Paros with its crystal clear waters, unrivalled natural beauty and Byzantine footpaths connects traditional villages with breathtaking landscapes. Parikia, the capital is a beautiful Cycladic village with whitewashed cubic houses and impressive Neoclassical mansions. The well preserved 13th Century Venetian Castle stands on a hill at the centre of the village offering amazing views over Parikia.
Crete is one of the most popular holiday destinations due to it having some of the best beaches with endless views across the sea and restaurants that line the promenades. Crete also has some incredible archaeological sites including the impressive Palace of Knossos, located near the city of Heraklion. The historical city of Chania and the laid back town of Agios Nikolaos have wonderful old waterfronts with café terraces. The Samaria Gorge is an attraction for lovers of the great outdoors with hiking trails. Depending on your fitness level, it will take between five to seven hours to walk. The gorge lies within the Samaria National Park and is on the UNESCO Tentative List.
Lying on the Aegean Sea, close to Turkey, Rhodes is the largest of the Dodecanese Islands. Rhodes Town, the capital, is UNESCO Listed and a favourite tourist destination. The cobbled streets of the Old Town are best explored on foot and close by the beautiful hillside coastal town of Lindos and Marmaris on the Turkish Coast can both be visited by boat.
Kos has a never ending coast of turquoise waters, rich water springs, ancient and medieval monuments as well as impressive Italian buildings. Kos is the third largest island of Dodecanese and is located close to the Turkish Coast, it is also the birthplace of Hippocrates, the father of medicine, 460-377 B.C.
Samos is an island led by beauty and legend, it is the mythical birthplace of Hera and the land that hosted Herodotus and Aesop. Samos is home to the largest Temple in Greece (according to Herodotus) at the seaside settlement of Heraion, dedicated exclusively to the Goddess of Marriage and Women. Of its 155 gigantic columns, only one still stands and is indicative of the scale of this place of religious worship that includes the ruins of at least three earlier Temples. The island was also home to the father of mathematics, Pythagoras, the astronomer Aristarchus and the philosopher Epicurus.