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Greece is a magnificent country, home to pristine beaches and unique landscapes that will stick to your memory forever, making your holiday in Greece an unforgettable moment in your life. One thing that makes the country truly unique is the fantastic variety of Archaeological sites you can visit in every corner of the country.
No matter where you are in Greece, there will always be a piece of history waiting for you to discover and explore.
In this article, we have included the best archaeological sites you can visit in the country. You can either visit them on your own or book a guided tour for better insight and more information. You can also get yourself a guide to each site in order to explore better.
Let’s see where the most spectacular archaeological sites you can visit in Greece are.
The Acropolis In Athens
The most famous and most visited archaeological site in Greece is the Acropolis of Athens. Usually crowded all year long, it’s a must-visit site in Greece and cannot miss from your itinerary of you’s headed to the island’s capital.
Also known as the Sacred Rock, the archeological site overlooks the whole site of Athens as it is the highest point in the capital. The Acropolis is the most remarkable heritage of the Classical period and one of the most prominent ancient monuments in Europe.
The buildings in the site date back to the 5th century BC and are the most imposing living memory of Ancient Athens’ former splendor. The main building is its Parthenon temple, an architectural marvel of all times. Other buildings to check in the site include the Temple of Athena Nike and the Erechtheion.
Tips for visiting: The site is usually extremely crowded, but this should not stop you from visiting. Book your tickets in advance, pay a bit more for a skip the line option, or visit every early in the morning or right before sunset for a less overcrowded experience.
Remember that the marbles you’ll be walking on are ancient; they’ve been worn by the elements, so they are terribly slippery. Wear the right shoes and carry a refillable bottle of water if you visit during the hottest hours of the day.
If you’re visiting Athens and plan to discover the wonders of the Acropolis, choose a hotel in the area. Great options are the Herodion Hotel and AthensWas.
Knossos Palace On Crete
Knossos is the second most visited archaeological site in Greece and one of the main reasons to visit the city of Heraklion on the island of Crete. It’s the best-preserved palace of the Minoan Civilization and home to the legend of King Minos, the Labyrinth, and the Minotaur, as well as the story of Daedalus and Icarus.
But the Minoans were more than just a collection of myths. They were a highly developed society, with advanced commercial routes in the Aegean and even established colonies. In the palace, you will be amazed at the urban planning skills of this civilization.
Choose to visit early in the day or late in the afternoon to enjoy the place with fewer crowds and more pleasant temperatures since the island is sweltering from April until October.
When visiting Heraklion, you can stay in a city center hotel like Galaxy Iraklio Hotel.
Island of Delos – Near Mykonos
The sacred island of Delos is one of the most fascinating archaeological sites you can choose to visit in Greece, and a visit to the site can make an excellent day trip if you’re spending your holidays on the island of Mykonos.
Delos is a small islet a few miles from Mykonos and a UNESCO World Heritage Monument. According to Greek mythology, the island was where the god of light, Apollo, and his twin sister Artemis were born.
A sacred place in ancient times, the most remarkable places to discover include the Agora, the Temple of Apollo, and the famous avenue of the lions. There’s also a small museum on the island with objects found in the place during the excavations.
Acrogiali Hotel, in the area of Platys Gialos and right on the beach, is a magnificent place to stay in Mykonos if you’re traveling with all the family.
The Sanctuary Of Delphi
Another superb archaeological site to visit in Greece is the magnificent site of Delphi, among the most important and most visited sites in Greece. Delphi was ancient Greece’s most important oracle dating back to the 8th century BC.
In the past, people from the rest of the Mediterranean basin would come to the oracle of Delphi seeking advice from the priestesses.
In the archaeological site, check out the Temple of Apollo, the Treasury of the Athenians, the Theater, the Stadium, and the Gymnasium. Do not forget to check the museum right next to the sanctuary.
Although a visit to Delphi can be a great day trip from Athens, many travelers prefer to take it easy and spend some time in the area of Delphi. Nidimos Hotel is located less than a kilometer from the archeological site and has unpaired vistas from the surrounding landscape.
Ancient Olympia Peloponnese
One of the most important sanctuaries in ancient times, devoted to the worship of the most important of all Greek gods, Zeus, Olympia, is located in the heart of the Peloponnese.
Also, the Olympic Games would take place in Ancient Olympia. The games were first held during the 7th century BC, and they were organized to honor the great Greek God. Known to have been the most remarkable sports competition, even wars and battles would come to a stop for the Olympic Games to take place.
When you visit, do not miss the temples of Zeus and Hera, the workshop of sculptor Phidias, and the area where the sports and games took place. The museum of Olympia is another fantastic visit to add to your itinerary.
Right in the heart of Ancient Olympia, ideal for families with kids, Hotel Hercules combines a friendly atmosphere and great-value accommodation. If you prefer to rent a villa and also explore the Peloponnese, check out the fantastic facilities of Bacchus, a traditional stone mansion with wonderful views of the surrounding area, just 3 kilometers away from Ancient Olympia.
According to the myth, Epidaurus was where the god of healing, Asclepius, was born. Therefore, the area became an important healing center of antiquity. Also, in the area of Peloponnese, this religious center, particularly important for the sanctuary of Asclepius, is an important archaeological site in Greece you can visit.
In order to honor the god, there were important festivals and festivities held on the site, especially in the Ancient Theater of Epidaurus, dating back to the 4th century BC. The construction is made of marble and stone and has stunning acoustics. Not far from Ancient Olympia, it’s a good idea to include both visits in your Peloponnese trip.
Check out Amalia Olympia Hotel, with a great location to visit both Ancient Olympia and Epidaurus. Kids will love their fantastic swimming pool!
Akrotiri ExcavationsOn Santorini
If you’re visiting Santorini this summer, do not miss a trip to any of the island’s archeological sites.
South of Santorini, you can discover the excavations of Akrotiri, one of the most important Aegean settlements that date back to the early Bronze Age. Kids are fascinated when visiting a site destroyed by the eruption of the Santorini volcano, which, however, helped preserve the ancient town of Akrotiri as the ashes of the eruption wrapped and preserved the sited which was discovered many years later.
Inside the site, it is possible to observe the multi-storeyed houses with frescoes, the unique sewer system, stone streets (like the ones in the different settlements of modern Santorini), and endless storage vases and furniture.
On the island, it’s also possible to check Ancient Thera, a Dorian settlement located on top of the Mesa Vouno Mountain, in the central portion of the island. This ancient town is developed on a terraced territory and features antique buildings such as the Sanctuary of Artemis and the impressive Agora.
Staying in the area of Akrotiri, instead of choosing the overcrowded and more expensive Oia, is a great idea to explore the lesser-known areas of Santorini, including Akrotiri. One of the best places to stay in the area is Kokkinos Villas, with direct views of the famous Santorini caldera and the volcano.
To visit Ancient Thera, the location of Kamari is a great place to book accommodation. Check The Eco-friendly Boathouse Hotel is located right on the beach of Kamari and boasts an outdoor pool that kids really love!
Medieval Town Of Rhodes
A great place to explore, which kids genuinely enjoy, is the fantastic medieval city in Rhodes. Here, the Order of the Knights of Saint John of Jerusalem left their traces on every corner of the island.
The old Medieval town of the Knights of Rhodes was declared a World Heritage site by UNESCO.
Kids enjoy the vistas of the most spectacular European castle, the cobbled streets, and the unique Gothic towers that populate the area.
Camelot Traditional and Classic Hotel is the perfect place to stay to surround yourself with the Medieval atmosphere of Rhodes. Located in the medieval town of Rhodes, the stone-built venue has a unique mosaic-tiled courtyard that the whole family can enjoy.
Basics For Any Visit To These Ancient Sites In Greece
- Carry a small backpack containing water, sunscreen, a hat, and your camera. These four elements should always be with you whenever visiting archaeological sites in Greece as they are generally in the open air, and there’s no way to be protected from the sun. Your skin will be thankful.
- Double on sun protection if you visit with kids.
- Choose comfy travel clothes, such as shorts and t-shirts (add a cover-up for your shoulders if you’re visiting a religious monument or a monastery). Choose light material, breathable, and that allows freedom of movement.
- Remember to add a light sweater if you also visit museums. Some of them have rooms that have their temperature adjusted to preserve better the pieces showcased, and in some cases, temperatures can vary a lot from one room to the other within the same museum.
So, there you have it, a complete guide to Greece’s most stunning archaeological sites; which one are you visiting this summer?