Greece has fascinated the western world over the last millennia. Its temples, its sanctuaries, its mythology, its literature and its philosophy have attracted innumerable men and women throughout history. Already the Romans, who knew a Hellenistic world in full political decline and absolute cultural boom, were fascinated by the power of attraction of Greek culture. As Horacio said, conquered Greece conquered its fierce conqueror. Here are few amazing places you cannot miss when planning a round trip to Greece.
The capital of Greece, the crucible where the essence of Western culture was forged, would justify an exclusive trip by itself. Do not fall into the error that Athens is only the place where your plane arrives: enjoy this unique city in the world. Strolling through Athens is a magical experience for lovers of Classical Culture, since the city, despite how much it has changed since the time of Pericles, continues to have the same unique essence.
One of the most important sanctuaries of Antiquity and cradle of the most famous Games in history. Olimpia is today a great archaeological site capable of impressing the most well versed. Excavations and partial reconstructions have created in Olympia a unique environment in which you can relive the spirit of the ancient Olympic Games, an event that took place every four years and that had both religious and sports.
The sanctuary of Delphi is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful places in the world. The ruins of its buildings combine with the Mediterranean nature to create a wonderful space that constitutes a delight for the eyes. What once was the sanctuary of Apollo and the most famous pilgrimage center of Antiquity is today a magnificent archaeological site that all lovers of Classical Culture should visit once in a lifetime. In Delphi, the remains of the old buildings are arranged along the side of a mountain and reach the valley.
Epidaurus was in ancient times a great sanctuary consecrated to the god Asclepios, divinity related to Apollo and consecrated to medicine and healing. Although Epidaurus is an archeological site with many interesting monuments, it is undoubtedly its huge theater, one of the best preserved in the entire Mediterranean, which takes all the attention of visitors. This theater keeps its stands almost intact and allows us to relive the experience of one of the most fascinating spectacles of Ancient Greece.
The history of the discovery of Mycenae is almost as fascinating as the myth that comes true in this city. It was the obcecation of Schliemann, a German millionaire obsessed with Homer’s work, which allowed this ancient Bronze Age citadel to come to light. It is impossible to visit Mycenae without Homer’s verses echoing in our heads. This city was the homeland of the mythical Agamemnon, the king of kings who commanded the Achaeans in their expedition against Troy.
Although it was one of the most important cities of Ancient Greece, Corinth is today a destination rarely visited by tourists who plan a family trip to Greece. Some organized trips make a stop in the famous isthmus to contemplate the spectacular works of the channel that crosses it, but few stop to contemplate the archaeological ruins of this city.
Considered a sun and beach destination, lovers of Classical Culture can not miss the treasures hidden by the island of Santorini, known in ancient times as Thera. The site of Acrotiri is a sample of the splendor that this island lived during the Bronze Age, at the time when the Minoan civilization flourished. Its spectacularly preserved frescoes are proof of the high level of refinement that this civilization reached, which had an abrupt end due to the explosion of a volcano in the heart of this island. As not only art and archeology lives a lover of Classical culture, Santorini offers the possibility of enjoying a few days of pleasure in its wonderful beaches.
The great rival of Athens for the hegemony of Greece, the powerful Sparta, homeland of heroes like Leonidas and its three hundred hoplites, has left few material remains that can be contemplated today. As the Spartans themselves took pride in proclaiming, the power of Sparta lay in their men, not in their walls. What was a pride for the Spartans, is a disgrace to archaeologists, who have barely found remains to bring to light.
A destination very little known for mass tourism but that will excite any lover of Classical Culture. The sanctuary of Nemea was the seat of some very famous athletic games in Antiquity that have left some interesting remains worth visiting. Archaeologists have revealed part of a huge stadium and a arena in which part of the athletic competitions that took place every four years were held. The pieces that archaeologists have found throughout decades of excavations have been exhibited in an Archaeological Museum of great interest.
An advantage of visiting the sanctuary of Nemea is that you will not find the large agglomerations of visitors that you will have to suffer in other better known enclaves.
Although the island of Crete deserves, for size and interest, an exclusive trip, we could not fail to include this destination in our list of must-see tours on a trip to Greece. To highlight only one of the interesting aspects of Crete, this island was the seat of the Minoan civilization, which developed in the Bronze Age and left lavish palaces that are at the base of myths such as the labyrinth and the Minotaur. The Palace of Knossos is a huge structure that was discovered, and controversially restored, by Arthur Evans and today attracts thousands of visitors.