In a realm where Romans, Arabs, Albanians, Turks and Latin crusaders have all left their mark, it’s not so easy understand such a complex culture. But for those who have experienced the beauty of Greece first-hand, will find the country’s flowing narrative to be somewhat distinctive. Because the history, culture and landmarks of Greece all tell a vivid and ancient story, one which is utterly fascinating to say the least.
Whilst the country’s economic status is discoloured with turmoil, the beautiful islands and World Heritage sites remain untarnished by the economical strain. As beautiful as ever, Greece is a world class holiday destination and we’ve created a detailed guide to help you plan your trip.
Read on for our ultimate guide to the must see sights in beautiful Greece.
For anyone with a cultural bone in their body, the must see historical wonders of Greece will never fail to inspire. From the slowly tumbling Temple of Zeus to the majestic Olympia ruins under a Grecian sunset, this country is suffused in history and ancient fables.
Here are some must visit historical sites, arranged by city/region.
Athens is one of the world’s oldest cities. Its recorded history spans almost 4,000 years, and once a hugely powerful city, it’s often marked as the birthplace of Western civilisation and the ovule to world democracy.
Retrace the steps of Plato, Socrates and Aristotle or roam the grounds where Hippocrates and Galen once wandered.
Quite easily the most famous landmark in Athens, the Acropolis epitomises a holiday to Greece. It’s a landmark which is recognised all around the world and is host to some of the most well-known remains, including The Parthenon.
Mounted right at the top of the Athenian Acropolis, this phenomenal structure stands tall as one of the most famed surviving ancient sites in Greece. Built to celebrate and worship the goddess Athena, the Parthenon dates back to around 438 BC.
This is one of the lesser known Athenian historical sites but packs just as much punch when it comes to historical significance. An eerie and mystical burial ground set within the ruins of the ancient city walls, this site is sure to move you.
The Peloponnese is a supreme location for travellers who simply want to have it all. When it comes to rich history, beautiful nature and excellent beaches, The Peloponnese boasts the best of everything. If your special interest is history, here are some of the best historical sites of Peloponnese.
A true mark of our history and cradle to modern sporting events across the world; this is where the Olympics began. According to Greek legends, the first Olympic Games were held in honour of the "father of gods and men" known as Zeus, and every four years thereafter throughout the Classical Antiquity. Visit the grand Olympia ruins and go back to where our global sporting tradition first began.
Agamemnon’s Palace (Mycenae)
Mycenae is an archaeological site in The Peloponnese, which is home to the palace of Greek mythology’s Agamemnon. When Helen of Troy, wife to Menelaus (Agamemnon’s brother), was abducted, it was King Agamemnon who launched the Trojan War against Troy.
Theatre of Epidaurus
The ancient theatre of Epidaurus is the most well-preserved of all Greek theatres and still in use today. It’s truly remarkable to see just how well the infrastructure has stood the test of time. With amazing acoustics, story has it that if you drop a pin in the centre of the orchestra, you can hear it anywhere in theatre.
The fifth largest island in the Med, Crete is a colourful destination surrounded by vibrant blue hues of the sea, a plush blanket of green across the island landscape and beautiful beaches with golden sands. Also home to some of Greece’s most amazing historical sites, there will be plenty to explore.
Venetian Fortress of Heraklion
The construction of this striking fortress was to protect against the multiple pirate raids which threatened the people of the island. But despite the grand efforts, the fortress was unable to successfully safeguard when the Turks invaded back in 1646.
Iraklio Archaeological Museum
History buffs should not miss this incredible museum, featuring Neolithic, Roman and Minoan artefacts dating as far back as 5,500 years. It’s truly one of the most significant history museums in the country.
Palace of Knossos
For an insight into the emerging Bronze Age, visit Palace of Knossos where the archaeological site discovered by Minos Kalokairinos in 1878, stands as the largest Bronze Age site on the island. Considered to be Europe’s oldest city, the Palace of Knossos needs to be on every historian’s bucket list.
Not only is Greece a complex, mythological kingdom of fantastical history and ancient tales, but this Mediterranean country is also home to some of the most beautiful natural wonders. If you’re looking for the must see natural sights of Greece, read on to discover some of our top locations.
A popular tourist destination in Northern Greece, with incredible views, an old world feel, and a backwards existence where only men are allowed to enter into the monastic community of Mount Athos. Here are some beautiful natural sights to check out during your stay in Halkidiki.
There’s nothing more beautiful than the sight overlooking the sea from the heights of Mount Athos. Lit up elegantly at night, you can capture amazing photo opportunities in the oldest surviving monastic community in the world.
Cave of Petralona
Second only to China, Greece has one of the largest number of caves on our planet, and the Petralona caves are a must-visit for any tourist. Steeped in captivating history, the Petralona caves are some the most significant natural sights, not to be missed.
Zakynthos, or better known as Zante, is a mesmerizingly beautiful island in the Ionian Sea. In this cinematic Eden, foodies and wine connoisseurs can also revel in the islands never-ending vineyards and olive groves.
The simplicity of Shipwreck Bay is merely breathtaking. A view like this makes you question what more life needs than crystal blue water, soft golden sands, and the bright white of the exposed Smuggler’s Cove.
Capital of the Dodecanese islands, Rhodes is a popular destination for both relaxation and action-packed holidays. It’s also a picturesque paradise with plenty of must see natural hotspots.
Valley of Butterflies
South East of the village, you will stumble upon the magical Petaloudes Park, otherwise known as the Valley of Butterflies. Perfect for nature lovers, the Valley of Butterflies makes a scenic stroll with the delightful addition of thousands and thousands of butterflies during the month of August.
Get closer to nature at the Seven Springs, a storybook oasis abounding in plush greenery and the comforting aroma of pine. Spend an entire day wandering the footpath labyrinths to find the source of each of the springs, whilst taking in the spectacular view.
Beyond the oldest history and beyond the great food and wine, one of Greece’s main attractions has to be its beaches. The country wouldn’t be quite complete without its dazzling shoreline. Here are some of the best beaches, listed by island or region.
Crete island has hundreds of miles of stunning coastline and offers a beach to suit every traveller. From the powdery beaches of bliss to the concealed, untouched beaches on the island, Crete offers a great choice for holiday makers from every walk of life.
With very little else nearby, this beach has a remote feel to it and it hasn’t been heavily coveted by sun-worshipping tourists just yet. Get a little piece of coastal utopia at Elafonisi.
Arguably the best on the South West coast, Paleóhora is a long sandy stretch of paradise, perfect for windsurfing or coastal hiking. The nearby town offers a great place to grab a bite to eat after your day out at the beach, with many restaurants serving delicious and authentic Greek dishes.
Santorini offers a great choice of organised beaches, ensuring that everyone will be able to find a bathing spot to suit their preferences.
Santorini’s most impressive beach offering has to be the Red Beach. With the contrasting red of the rocks to the blue-green hues of the sea, this beach is a pleasant assault on the senses. Due to the popularity of this beach, it does tend to be busy all year round and is the preferred seaside location for young and vibrant crowds.
For the perfect family vacation, organised beaches don’t come better prepared than Monolithos. With shallow waters, it’s safe for families travelling with young children and even offers a fun play area to keep little ones entertained whilst you soak up the Grecian rays.
Breathe in the beauty of the white volcanic landscape whilst you kick back on this tranquil beach. Without the hustle and bustle of Red Beach or the family environment of Monolithos, this is the perfect little retreat to read a book and sip a cocktail. The nearby beach bar plays relaxing music during the day to complete your dreamy beach experience.
From interesting history to a lively nightlife, great food and wine to outstanding areas of natural beauty, Zakynthos is thriving holiday hotspot for just about everything you could want. And it’s no different when it comes to picturesque beaches.
Nestled into the pretty cove of Shipwreck Bay, this little beach is simply stunning. Words can barely encapsulate the dramatic painting of such a landscape, and close to Anafotiria village, you’re never far from a warm plate of Calamari or a glass of white Santorini.
Whether you have your heart set on a sweeping sandy bays or a quiet setting tucked away in a rocky cove somewhere, Corfu is a fantastic island for every type of beach.
One of the more well-known beaches in Corfu, Paleokastritsa is a lively place for people of all ages. With a huge choice of bars and cafes overlooking the pebbly and sandy beach areas, the energy here is seriously energetic. And for the more active, this beach is a fantastic place for watersports.
This idyllic beach is worlds away from the hustle and bustle of Corfu town. The rocks of the cove shield the beach from the wind, making it a safe area for families.
Sidari Canal d'Amour
Named the “Channel of Love” the Sidari beach of Canal d’Amour is a romantic beach with a lush landscape of gorgeous green forest and dramatic rock formations. With a series of charming coves, this beach makes for the perfect couple’s hideaway. Complete with crystalline waters, there really is nowhere else in Greece quite as romantic. And legend has it that any couples swimming through these waters will soon be wed.
Famed for its infinite number of stunning beaches, Naxos is an island not to be overlooked. Whether you are travelling as a family, with friends, or on a romantic break with your partner, Naxos has a lot to offer every kind of holiday maker. You will find both bustling organised beaches as well as secluded private locations.
There are also various beaches which are perfect for windsurfing and other watersports, making Naxos a thrilling holiday location for thrill-seekers.
Known as the longest beach on Naxos, this wonderful stretch of beach is calm and sandy. Dotted with sunbeds and parasols and some dramatic sand dunes, it’s a serene place to rest your head, read a book or just take five as the Greek sun shines down on the island. Quiet enough to give you some holiday peace but still close enough to a few well run cafes and restaurants, so you won’t go hungry.
Mikri Vigla Beaches
Consisting of two lovely sandy beaches, Mikri Vigla is blessed with bright turquoise waters and a warm, friendly energy. Whilst the Northern beach has great winds for kitesurfing or windsurfing activities, the Southern beach is protected from the winds making it perfect for families. Get the best of both worlds at the two beautiful beaches and then head to the fantastic restaurants nearby to refuel.
If you want something a little more secluded, head to Orkos Beach; don’t expect shops or sun-loungers here though. There’s nothing here but a serene stretch of land with golden sands and the deep red of the hills.
For a family friendly beach Maragas Beach is your best bet in Naxos. It doesn’t have the beautiful sand dunes of Plaka but the sands are just as soft and powdery. With a campsite nearby, the beach boasts a lively atmosphere but can become crowded in the peak seasons.
Good luck in choosing your perfect Greek holiday. We hope this list of must see sights in Greece has been helpful, but this is by no means an extensive list of Greek holiday destinations available from Cyplon Holidays. Find out more about our destinations in Greece.