Greece is a European country filled with so much history and some of Europe's top landmarks. It has many ancient monuments and famous Greek landmarks that attract thousands of visitors each year.
Greece is the perfect country to learn about ancient history while relaxing at the same time. It is actually a great place to visit for some winter sun in Europe as it has milder temperatures.
There are lots of places to visit when you are in Greece. From enticing old temples and palaces to crumbling ruins and coastal cities, it is a must-visit country in Europe.
The capital of Greece, Athens, has many landmarks dating as far back as the 5th century B.C; for example, The Parthenon Temple. This means that if you plan to visit the capital, you will need at least two days in Athens to make the most of it.
Aside from The Parthenon Temple, some of the top historical landmarks in Greece include the Palace of the Grand Master of the Knights of Rhodes and the Monasteries of Meteora.
If ancient ruins aren't your thing, then Greece has several impressive natural landmarks as well. These include Zakynthos and Corfu, the Ionian Islands.
This guide captures the most famous landmarks in Greece that will make your visit to the country memorable. You can use this list as inspiration or for guidance to plan your Greece vacation!
Using the map of Greece, you can explore all the landmarks.
The Acropolis Museum is undoubtedly one of the most famous landmarks in Athens, Greece. It is an archaeological museum that opened in 2009, and it is located in the centre of the city.
The museum that stands today was built to replace the first museum that was erected in 1874 on the Hill of the Acropolis. The reason being that more artefacts were discovered after more excavations took place at the Acropolis. The old museum could not hold the new-found artefacts for exhibitions, so a new one had to be built.
The museum has many intriguing parts for visitors to explore. One is the Gallery of the Slopes, which is a transparent floor that reveals the results of the excavations below. It also showcases artefacts that were found during the excavations.
Another interesting piece at the museum is the Parthenon Procession (The Frieze). It is on display on the third floor and contains pieces from the Parthenon, which is also located at the Acropolis.
Mount Olympus is quite popular in Greece because it is the highest mountain in the country with 52 peaks and gorges. It is believed that the mountain is the mythological home of the twelve gods of Olympus, and it is one of the most famous natural landmarks in Greece.
If you are interested in hiking while you are in Greece, Mount Olympus is a good option. While trekking up this mountain is not that difficult, an overnight trip might be needed, depending on which hike you choose.
Several trails take you through and around Mount Olympus. One of the easiest is from Prionia to Agios Dionysios Monastery. The trail starts at the Prionia parking lot, which is where you can take the E4 path. The hike is not a circuit though, so you will not be returning along the same route that you started from.
The Prionia trail is quite lovely; you'll pass through canyons and streams and will have panoramic views of the mountain. All around, it is about 6 kilometres of walking and should take you no more than 2.5 hours.
The Temple of Olympian Zeus, commonly known as the Olympieion, was once the largest in the world. It is located in the centre of Athens, built to honour the Greek god Zeus who is seen as the head of the Olympian gods.
Construction of the temple took almost 650 years, beginning from the 6th century BC and completed in the 2nd century AD. The temple is made up of 104 columns of marble standing over 56 feet tall, but today only 15 can be counted.
The reason for this is an earthquake that occurred during the middle ages, which destroyed most parts of the temple. Despite this, the 15 remaining columns are one of the most important remains ancient Greece has to offer.
Visiting the temple shows you how big the temple was in the ancient world and why it is essential to preserve it even today.
The ancient citadel known as The Acropolis is an impressive landmark located in the middle of Athens, Greece. The archaeological site is at the top of a hill and within it contains arguably one of the most famous landmarks in the world and definitely in Greece, the Parthenon.
The Acropolis itself is 7.4 acres, and the earliest reference to it is from the 6th millennium BC. This landmark is massive, and its history is very rich!
The Acropolis has a lot for visitors to explore. There are many ancient buildings housed within it, around 20 different sites.
If you are visiting this landmark, I recommend spending at least half a day exploring the area. After you enter, you'll be able to pick up a guide and start exploring the old relics and buildings that are all over this site.
The Temple of Poseidon is located at the end of the Sounio Peninsula. The entire monument was built using marble in the 5th century BC to honour the Greek god of the sea, Poseidon.
For about three centuries, the monument was used as a sacred place for the Greek people. A grand festival was organized every four years, allowing some official to sail around it in a sacred ship.
If you enjoy relaxing under the sun, the Temple of Poseidon is the best monument to visit when you are in Athens. It is an archaeological site enriched with ancient history situated along a beach; the perfect location to relax and educate yourself at the same time.
The Parthenon is a Greek landmark built and dedicated to Athena, a Greek god and the patron of the city of Acropolis.
This structure is one of the finest landmarks in Greece when considering its conception and execution. The former temple was created between 447 and 438 BC to replace the first Parthenon.
The interior of the temple demonstrates the beauty of combining old and new elements to produce one of the most incredible ancient Greek monuments and buildings in the country.
It is advisable to read about the temple before you visit. This will help you understand why the Greeks cherish the building to the extent at which they do today.
Meteora is a mind-blowing beautiful group of vertical rocks, reaching to about 300 metres high. On these amazing rock formations, you will find the six monasteries of Meteora.
Each monastery appears as though it is hanging in the air. The monasteries were constructed in the 13th century with an initial number of 24 altogether. Today, Meteora has only six monasteries left.
If you want to enjoy the experience of visiting Meteora, the best way to explore it is on foot. Hiking from one monastery to another allows you to take in the scenery all around you.
If you are not up for walking, the monasteries are also reachable by car. However, be warned, they can be quite popular in the warmer months. If you are traveling by car, be sure to go as early as possible to avoid the crowds.
Lots of tourists visit by car and on tour busses. Once the tour busses arrive, it can get quite overwhelming at the monasteries and also on the narrow roads leading up to each monastery.
Take note as well that you will have to cover your shoulders and up to your knees to enter each monastery, and they all have their own different fee at the entrance.
The six monasteries to explore are:
When translated into English, Syntagma Square reads as the Constitution Square. The Square is surrounded by many ancient monuments that describe the history of Greece.
Syntagma Square is the best place to start your walk around Athens. You can also use this opportunity to visit the Parliament House for a tour.
Olympia is a famous ancient Greek site located in western Peloponnese. It was used to host the Olympic games which were founded in the 8th century B.C.
The sites within Olympia include athlete training locations, temples dedicated to the Greek gods Zeus and Hera, and a stadium for sporting activities.
The Archaeological Site of Olympia is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. According to UNESCO, the site is one of the most relevant landmarks in the world as it shows visitors how the Olympic games began and why it is so important in the world of sports today.
Knossos Palace was once used as the political and ceremonial centre during the Minion Civilization in the Bronze Age. Knossos proper is considered one of the oldest cities in Europe, and it used to be a city in ancient Crete.
The Palace was affected by a terrible earthquake, but it was reconstructed shortly after. For unknown reasons, the Palace had to be abandoned around 1380 until 1100 BC.
Some of the locals believe that the Palace of Knossos is the same as the Palace in Greek mythology relating to the Minotaur tale. The Minotaur in Greek mythology was a half man half bull creature who was kept in the Labyrinth, a maze by King Minos, the ruler of Crete.
The Ancient Theatre of Epidaurus is one of the most famous ancient Greek landmarks. It is located in the city of Epidaurus in Greece.
The theatre was built by Polykleitos the Younger in the 4th century, and it is one of the most well-preserved monuments of its kind. One amazing thing is that the theatre is still in operation today, but mostly for the annual Epidaurus Festival.
The original seating capacity of the theatre was 8,000 people, but it was expanded in the 2nd century to hold more. This theatre has a unique design compared to other theatres in Greece. Most of the seating is still visible, so it easy to imagine how the ancient Greeks used it.
Delos is a Greek island and archaeological monument located in the Aegean Sea's Cyclades archipelago. It is the mythological birthplace of Apollo and it was a religious centre during the 1st millennium BC. The Archaeological Museum of Delos exhibits statues and remains excavated from the site.
The island has many monuments you can visit depending on your interests. If you love art, you can explore the Archaeological Museum. You can also see the Terrace of the Lion statues, houses with mosaics, and even the amphitheatre.
All the monuments on this island have a story to share with visitors.
The Cathedral Church of Hagia Sophia of Thessalonica is one of the oldest cathedrals in the city and the world today. Because of its history and significance, it is has been included as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and it is one of the most important landmarks in Greece.
The Cathedral was built in the 8th century A.D., and it was the largest church in the world until the Seville Cathedral in Spain was constructed. The church was dedicated to the second person in the trinity of God, Logos.
The Venetians constructed Bourtzi Castle, located in the Argolic gulf and near Nafplio, in 1471. Bourtzi was originally a defence castle for the city, with thick chains running from the Castle to the mainland to prevent enemy ships from docking onshore.
The Castle became the residence of the executioner between 1865 and 1935 because no one wanted to associate with someone who did that for a living.
Today, the Castle sits empty inviting curious visitors. Small boats carry tourists to the fortress as it is the only way to get close to the Castle, and it takes a lot less time. The view from the Castle is impressive, especially before sunset.
The Ionian Islands are located in the Adriatic Sea on the west coast of mainland Greece. One significant difference between the Ionian Islands and other islands in the region is the lush and green nature it has. The Ionian Islands consists of six major islands, named; Corfu, Zakynthos, Lefkada, Paxos, Kefalonia, and Ithaca.
The Ionian Islands are the ideal location for you and your family during your summer or winter visit to Greece, regardless of season, the weather here is quite pleasant. The islands are protected by the mountains from cold northern winds during the winter and summer. The Ionian Islands are a beautiful location to spend a vacation with your loved ones.
Mykonos is one of the must-see islands when you travel to Greece.
Mykonos attracts herds of visitors from all over the world for many reasons. The popular among them is for relaxation and entertainment in a beautiful environment. Mykonos is well known for being a popular destination for partyers. The island often hosts world-renowned DJs and artists at its world-class clubs and venues.
Besides the nightlife, Mykonos also has some interesting landmarks, one of them being the Mykonos Windmills. In the past, the Mykonos Windmills were used for practical reasons, but today they are not in use. The windmills were constructed in the 16th century and were used to mill wheat grown on the island. Now the windmills are there standing pretty for tourists to take pictures beside them.
The Academy of Athens is another thrilling sight to look out for in the city of Athens. Despite the fact that it was built in a modern form, it still exhibits the achievements of ancient Greece beautifully. It is a national academy and the highest research institution in Greece today.
The Academy was constructed in 1926. Today its activities are supervised by the country's Ministry of Education. One of the major landmarks of Athens is the main building of the Academy; it has an antiquated architectural design with modern execution. Visiting the Academy of Athens is one way of learning the history of ancient Greece in its glory days.
Out of all the famous landmarks and monuments in Athens, the Ancient Agora of Athens is the best place for you to start your visit to Athens, Greece. The historic landmark is located at the northwest side of Acropolis on Market Hill. It was used as a place of gathering especially for political reasons.
Today the landmark serves as a reminder of the Western Civilization of Greece and the people of Athens. It is now serves as a museum to exhibit artefacts from the excavations in the Ancient Agora.
Alexander III of Macedon popularly known as Alexander the Great as the name implies is one of history's greatest leaders. Alexander the Great was born in July 356 BC as the son of King Phillip the 2nd of Macedon and died in June 232. BC He is considered as a leader because, during his time a ruler of Macedon and Persia, he used his power to establish the largest empire in ancient history.
The monument of Alexander the Great was done by the prominent sculptor Yiannis Pappas and is located in Nea Paralia, Thessaloniki just by the sea. It was built to commemorate the achievements of Alexander the Great. Finding the monument is not difficult as it can be found after the White Tower and the Royal Theater, the city's symbol.
The neighbourhood of Plaka is one of the most ancient settlements you can find in Europe. For Greece, it is the most oldest settlement in the country, having more than 3,500 years of history to share with visitors. Plaka is located near the Acropolis and is well known for its colourful flowery streets.
Within Plaka, you can visit the Museum of Greek Folk Musical Instruments which exhibits folk musical instruments. Another impressive landmark in Plaka is The Roman Agora, the first-ever commercial centre of Athens, built to honour Julius Caesar. There are many other landmarks you can see in this neighbourhood, the few mentioned above is just a glimpse of the landmarks available.
The Panathenaic Stadium or short Kallimarmaro is a multi-purpose stadium which was built in the fourth century BC in Athens. It was mainly created for the Panathenaic Games which was held every four years. The entire stadium was made with only marble, and it is the only stadium in the world of its kind. The stadium was easily one of the most famous places in ancient Greece. It was reconstructed in 1896 for the Olympic games.
During its first Olympic appearance, the stadium was used to host the opening and closing ceremony. It also hosted four out of the nine contested sports at that time. You can see that this stadium has played a significant role in the sporting world. If you are a sports person, visiting this stadium will show you how far sports and especially the Olympics have come.
The Palace of the Grand Master of the Knights is located in the medieval city of Rhodes. It has been used as a fortress, a Palace for the Grand Masters, and an administrative centre for the Knight Hospitaller. This same palace served as a holiday residence for the King of Italy in the 20th century. If by any chance you are in Rhodes, and you have the opportunity to visit one historical landmark, the Palace of the Grand Master of the Knights should be your destination.
At the main entrance, you will directly see the two towers that guard the entrance. Once you go through the entrance, you will enter a large courtyard. You will understand the reason why it is referred to as a grand palace from there. You can go ahead and explore the whole palace because it is one of the memorable experiences the city of Rhodes can offer.
As you can see, Greece has many famous Greek landmarks for you to visit. Almost every popular city in the country has a historical or ancient monument for you to explore. You just have to take your time to go through the options.
Athens, as the capital of Greece, has several of the famous monuments in Greece. If you get the opportunity to explore this city, do so, and relax and enjoy all it has to offer.
The list above is just a shortlist of the most famous landmarks in Greece. It is intended to help guide you with your trip planning for Greece. It is not compulsory to visit all of the sights mentioned to have a great time, but seeing them when you get the chance is something you must not overlook.
I hope this Greece travel guide helped you plan your visit to Greece!
This article was edited by Loredana Elena and was first published on Jul 26, 2020 17:28 UTC.
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