The wonders of Greece have been capturing the imagination of residents and world travelers for centuries. It is a magnificent Mediterranean setting featuring elegant architecture, timeless traditions, and storied culture. These features make Greece just as much of an idea as a location, a place one goes to explore something beyond a destination. Greece, in all its ancient glory and modern appeal, is a place to feel connected and inspired.
While it is difficult to narrow down all there is to enjoy in Greece, here is an expert overview of the most popular and awe-inspiring natural and man-made sites. All are worthy of any traveler’s time and effort but are made even more worthwhile as the setting of thrilling activities and unique cultural amenities found only in Greece.
1. The Parthenon
Located in the city of Athens, the Parthenon is a magnificent site that many recognize but few have seen in person. The Parthenon itself is a particularly well-preserved temple built within a complex of ancient religious structures called the Acropolis. The Parthenon, which took nearly 10 years to build and has stood for thousands, served as a site of worship before becoming a distinguished artifact of the classical era.
While few Mediterranian sites can compete with the Parthenon, many of those that compare are also in Athens, giving any traveler a bevy of sites to behold. Athens’s mixed geography is home to nearly-endless panoramic views that can be seen from a variety of hillside restaurants and hotels.
Resorts in Athens highlight the country’s affordability, with boutique rooms and elevated amenities available for a price well within reach for the average couple or family. Athens is home to beaches, hiking, and heritage sites meaningful to multiple contemporary cultures.
2. Elafonisi Beach
Elafonisi (ela·fon·isi) Island and its namesake beach are located just southwest of Crete. The beach owes its famed beauty, in part, to its pink sand, a hue imparted by thousands of tiny broken seashells and the millions of microorganisms that live among them. This natural feature, along with rocky coves and blue-green waters, makes the beach a popular location to swim, boat, or just soak up the Mediterranean sun.
Due to the beach’s protected status, reaching it requires a short journey from the city of Chania. But for many travelers to this region of Greece, Chania is more than a layover. A vacation destination in its own right, Chania is one of many reasons to visit the island of Crete. If you and your vacation party wish to make it an overnight stay, you can enjoy plenty of hotels and amenities to choose from including spas, fine dining, and idyllic beaches. In addition to Elafonisi Beach, Chania is home to museums, monuments, and architecture of multiple historical eras.
This combination of natural wonder and man-made splendor is among the most compelling in Greece. Unique rock formations that extend like natural floating pillars over 1,000 feet at their highest are home to active monasteries and other religious sites.
This extraordinary and distinctly Greek geographic feature overlooking the Thessalian plain isn’t just admired for its breathtaking splendor. It also serves an important purpose for the religious faithful. After more than a millennium, the monasteries here remain an active center of the Greek Orthodox Church and a pilgrimage for followers.
The physical structures adorning the Meteroa’s rocky crests remain largely the same over the last thousand years as artifacts of Greece’s turbulent but storied past. They once acted as a safe haven for religious leaders escaping persecution and destruction at the hands of multiple foreign invaders.
The Meteora is situated just outside of the small Greek town of Kalabaka, a town of 12,000 and a fascinating historic center in its own right. Kalabaka is accessible by a number of train routes from locations around the EU and hosts thousands of tourists every year. Sightseers can get a closeup of the Meteora and the largely untouched foothills surrounding it in a number of ways including group tours, guided historical tours, and full-day private sightseeing trips.