The Best of Classical Greece
Collected by Candice Walsh, AFAR Local Expert
Luckily for the history buffs, the best of classical Greece is still beautifully preserved. Watch a sunset through the ancient portal of Apollo's temple, be wowed by the sheer size of the theater at Epidaurus, and soak up the spiritual vibe permeating the air at Delphi. Everywhere you go, the history of classical Greece is immortal.
Kalabaka 422 00, Greece
Meteora means "suspended in air" in Greek. The town of Meteora, about a 5-hour drive north of Athens in Thessaly, Greece, is home to a UNESCO World Heritage site: six Greek Orthodox monasteries built on enormous rock pinnacles that rise up to...
Kastro, Mykonos, Mikonos 846 00, Greece
The entire (tiny) island of Delos is basically one big archaeological site, and a UNESCO World Heritage site. Being the birthplace of Apollo and Artemis, the island is littered with archaeological monuments. Check out the Terrace of the Lions, the...
Portara, Naxos 843 00, Greece
Guidebooks often lack the practical pieces of advice that could save travelers some rather unpleasant moments, in the Greek Islands one such nugget of wisdom I missed in my reading was that after a late night fueled by Ouzo it is not ideal to ride...
Άκρα Ακρωτήρι, Σαντορίνη 847 00, Greece
In the 20th century, an archaeologist by the name of Spyridon Marinatos wanted to prove “the biggest volcanic eruption in recorded world history” was the reason for the Minoan collapse. It didn't take long for him to find Akrotiri. Akrotiri is...
Dedalou, Iraklio 714 09, Greece
The remarkably mazelike passages of the palace of Knossos were excavated in the early 20th century. Until then the myth of King Minos who kept the bull-headed Minotaur in a secret labyrinth was regarded as, well, a myth. Archaeologists now agree...
Cape Sounio, Sounio 195 00, Greece
The Temple of Poseidon, perched on the edge of Cape Sounion, has long been a welcoming sign of "home" for sailors returning to Athens. The 5th-century BC structure is dedicated to the god of the sea, and it's just a quick drive from downtown...
Delphi 330 54, Greece
The belly button of the world lies eighty miles northwest of Athens, where the southern slope of Mount Parnassus, cut deeply by cascades feeding the River Pleistos, drops precipitously into the Gulf of Corinth. High above the ravine in a cleft...
Olympia 270 65, Greece
Located in the western Peloponnese, Olympia is home to the most important athletic event of our time, the Olympic Games. Come see the Stadium, where the first Olympic Games were held. It's often considered the most important ancient site in Greece...
Polignotou 3, Athina 105 55, Greece
Slave-traders and shoe-menders, jewelers and moneylenders haggled and gossiped at this ancient marketplace the history of which spans five millennia. The Agora was also the stomping ground of rival philosophers Plato and Socrates—the latter...
Akropolis, Athina 105 58, Greece
See our full list of Where to Go in 2015. According to legend, the ancient gods battled it out to become Athens' patron deity. The showdown came after the Phoenicians founded a city at a giant rock near the Aegean some two and a half million years...
Egnatia 144, Thessaloniki 546 22, Greece
This arch was actually part of a larger, long structure that lead to an ancient church known as the Rotunda of Galerius. A small park leads you to what's left of the Rotunda, but much of the structure of the arch was removed over time, with what...
Paleokastro 831 00, Greece
Also known as Old Navarino Castle, Paleokastro—built by the Frankish ruler Nicholas II de St. Omer around 1278—is located above Voidokila Beach in Messinia's Mediterranean area. Make sure to bring your camera, as a trek to the castle awards...
Dio-Olympos 270 65, Greece
Even the most experienced visitor of ancient ruins has to think Olympia is pretty cool. To walk beneath the arched entrance to the original Olympic stadium? How can you not take your place at the ancient starting line as if you're about to sprint...
Mystras 231 00, Greece
In a country full of beautiful historic sites, this may have been my favorite to explore. It has so much: a beautiful hilltop setting that offers views for miles; ruins that you can clamber over; restored Byzantine churches with incredible fresco...
Acropolis, Athens 116 36, Greece
The Acropolis is, for most people, the "can't miss" site. Because of its popularity it can be very busy, and the hours seem to change constantly. There's also the possibility that the workers might go on strike, which can mess with your plans as...