Much like the mythical Sirens, Greece—often referred to as the Cradle of Civilisation—has been luring travelers to its mesmerizing shores since time immemorial.
Apart from its important contributions to philosophy, mathematics, astrology, literature, and medicine, Greece also boasts immeasurable beauty with its white sand beaches contrasted by the scintillating sapphire waters of the Aegean Sea.
This expansive island archipelago is also surrounded by charming whitewashed villages, rough-hewn mountains, azure harbors, volcanoes, Unesco World Heritage-accredited ancient archeological sites, treasure-filled museums, and overall exquisite scenery.
And if you are an avid fan of Greek mythology, you will be delighted to know that Greece is full of tales relating to places in Greek mythology—from the grand Acropolis to the magnificent Mount Olympus, prepare to delve into the mythical world of the ancients.
So, what are you waiting for? Book a vacation package to Greece and get a first-hand experience of what it is like to relive the tales from Greek mythology.
Athens is the capital city of Greece and among the most ancient cities, as it has been continuously inhabited for more than seven millennia.
Since ancient times, Athens has provided the backdrop for various myths and legends. For instance, Athens derived its name from Athena—the goddess of wisdom—who became the city’s patron goddess after winning a contest with Poseidon.
Legend has it that Athena and Poseidon both offered gifts to the Athenians to compete for who would get the honor of becoming the patron god of the city. Poseidon hit the ground with his mighty trident, which created a well from which spouted an inexhaustible supply of water, but because Poseidon is the God of the Seas, the water he provided was salty and undrinkable, but he promised the Athenians significant naval power.
On the other hand, Athena offered the blooming olive tree, which is a symbol of prosperity and peace. The Athenians, led by King Cecrops I, decided to choose Athena’s gift, thus making her the patron goddess.
When you visit Athens, be sure to get a glimpse of the jewel in the crown—the fifth-century BCE Parthenon, which features important archaic finds, historical sites, monuments, and museums.
Mount Olympus—often referred to as the home of the gods—is the highest mountain in Greece and is easily one of its most picturesque sites. It is located on the border between Thessaly and Macedonia.
It stands at a staggering height of almost 10,000 feet (2,918 m), with its highest peak at Mytikas. This is also where you can find a huge altar dedicated to making divine offerings to the Greek gods.
Mount Olympus boasts plentiful cultural, historical, and geological discoveries. With trails wrought with deep gorges and rocky pinnacles, the climb to Mount Olympus is truly worth your time.
Not only is it deemed to be one of the world’s most desirable peaks, but it also has a diverse range of biology and ecosystems, jaw-dropping trails, and natural beauty, along with its deep-rooted connection with history and Greek mythology.
As the myths would have it, the said mountain was created after the downfall of the Titans after they lost in the epic battle between the young Olympian gods and the Titans. When the Olympian gods won the battle, they created Mount Olympus to be their new majestic home.
Temple of Hephaestus
Deemed the best-preserved temple in Greece, the Temple of Hephaestus stands tall on a hill to the west of the ancient city of Agora. Also known as Thission, this imposing ancient Greek temple is the site of worship of the Greek deity of fire, blacksmiths, and sculpture.
It was built in the fifth century BC, probably between 421 and 415 BC, and made from marble from the quarries of Mount Pendeli. To this day, the Temple of Hephaestus remains to be one of the most important monuments in Athens.
Known as one of the most important archaeological sites in mainland Greece, the city of Delphi is brimming with well-preserved ruins from Ancient Greece, dating as far back as the fifth century BC.
Among the best-preserved sites in Delphi is the fifth-century Doric building of the Treasury of the Athenians located along The Sacred Way, which held the trophies of sporting victories.
Delphi is an interesting place to explore for historians and Greek mythology enthusiasts alike as it is teeming with artifacts that reveal much of its past through incredible ruins, demonstrating a balance between religion, politics, and leisurely activities such as sports.
You can also find the Temple of Apollo here, which is believed to date as far back as the fourth century BC. But take note that Delphi’s most iconic site is the Tholos, which was constructed in 380 BC. This iconic place has a once-circular building with six Doric columns, three of which remain to stand today.
Knossos is considered the Minoan civilization’s grandest palace in Crete. It is famed for its indelible association with the fabled labyrinth created by King Minos, where they imprisoned the mighty Minotaur—a half man, half-bull offspring of the love affair between Pasiphae—King Minos’ wife—and a snow white bull sent to Minos by the God Poseidon.
As a punishment for the Athenians’ doomed war against the Minoans, seven young men and seven maidens were sacrificed and fed to the Minotaur in the maze every nine years. That was until the Athenian hero Theseus took it upon himself to vanquish the feared Minotaur with the help of Ariadne, King Minos’ daughter.
When you tour Knossos, you will see many colorful frescoes and sections of the Knossos Palace, which are reproductions of what it used to be, allowing you to imagine what it is like to live in ancient Crete. Most of the uncovered artifacts from Knossos are held and displayed at the Heraklion Museum, so be sure to visit that as well.
Whether you’re traveling solo or with the love of your life, you will find it charming to explore the romantic island of Santorini.
Its iconic whitewashed, pastel-hued cube-shaped houses perched on top of the steep cliff sides above the cobalt Aegean and the famed Santorini caldera, which was formed by volcanic eruptions over a millennia ago.
Don’t miss the chance to pose and snap the perfect photo with the iconic blue-domed churches as the backdrop.
After the much-anticipated photoshoot, make your way through the narrow alleyways of the postcard-perfect village of Oia and bathe in their famous thermal springs warmed by an active volcano.
You can also play out on black sand beaches and explore the prehistoric settlement of Akrotiri, which is famous for having such an advanced drainage system during its time.
The island of Corfu is the perfect destination for tourists whose idea of a vacation is to sail the seas free-spiritedly. The tranquil, turquoise seas, surrounded by fir-studded hillsides and a regal capital, make Corfu one of the most beautiful destinations in Greece.
Novices who would like to take a sailing course and gain certification are advised to start at the Ionian Isle. Afterward, they can join a flotilla for a leisurely cruise around Corfu. The captain will drop the anchor at various points so that the tourists can explore the magnificent Kalami Bay of The Durrells fame and the lush Paleokastritsa.
After a day of sailing the seas, you can relax in the town proper of Corfu, where you can admire the Venetian fortresses, the French-designed Liston Arcade, and The Palace of St Michael and St George, which were built during the isle’s British administration.
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