There are few places in the world that are as mystical and rich in history as Greece. While most thoughts of the island country evoke images of idyllic beaches in Paxos and sweeping views of white houses in Santorini, there’s a lot of culture that lays the foundation of this travel hotspot and in some of the most famous Greek landmarks.
Visiting the top Greek landmarks and attractions is a great way to experience this culture first-hand.
If you’re planning a trip to the ancient islands, make sure that you add as many of these famous Greek landmarks to your Greece itinerary as possible.
There’s a beautiful mix of history, the influence of mythology and natural beauty just waiting to be explored.
Famous Greek Landmarks
Table of Contents
- 1 Famous Greek Landmarks
- 2 Explore the Best Greek Landmarks and Attractions
1. Athens Acropolis
At the centre of this history and allure is the vibrant city of Athens. The Acropolis, one of the most famous landmarks in Europe, shines like a beacon atop a rocky outcrop above the city.
The Acropolis Greece was built in the second half of the 5th-century B.C as a home for Athena, the patron goddess of the city. Today, it is a reminder of a rich cultural heritage and is a major attraction.
If you want to avoid the crowds then it’s better to arrive at the Acropolis in Athens early (the site opens to the public at 8 am in both summer and winter).
The Meditteranean sun can also reach uncomfortable temperatures so make sure that you pack water, sunscreen and a hat.
⇒ Book your Acropolis skip-the-line entry ticket and explore the landmark of western civilization.
2. Mount Lycabettus
Mount Lycabettus stands proudly as the tallest of seven hills in Athens. It’s a prominent feature of the Athens skyline and the views from the top include the entire city, the sea and the mountains of the Peloponnese.
Climbing Mount Lycabettus in Greece is a perfect activity for nature-lovers who enjoy breaking a sweat while touring a new country. At the top, you’ll be rewarded with sweeping views and the tiny Agios Georgios (Chapel of St. George).
⇒ I love ticking off seeing a landmark. See how many famous landmarks you’ve seen in my series of posts: 60 Most Famous Landmarks in the World, 27 Top Australian Landmarks, 25 Asia Landmarks, 61 Magnificent Landmarks of the UK, 13 China Landmarks, 35 Japan Famous Landmarks, 60 Most Famous Landmarks in Europe, 25 North America Landmarks, 25 Canada Landmarks and 15 Famous Landmarks in the US.
There are several routes to choose from and the walk along the steep path to Mount Lycabettus can take between 30 to 90 minutes (depending on fitness).
Anyone who visits the Acropolis will also have access to the adjacent Parthenon in Athens with a combination ticket. The archaeological site was originally at the heart of religion while Greece was a powerful empire.
Although the Parthenon is in ruins, it was a large and lavish building that told of Greek wealth.
The temple was built between 447 and 432 B.C when the Greek Empire was at its height of influence. Over the years, the bold structure stood against earthquakes, wars, looting and fire.
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While it no longer stands complete, the Parthenon is a powerful symbol of ancient Greek culture.
⇒ Book your private Athens full-day sightseeing tour.
It’s not only Athens that is home to the most famous landmarks and attractions in Greece. The archaeological site of Mystras is located southeast of the Peloponnese and consists of a town developed down the hillside from an ancient fortress.
While the ancient town is enough to attract and history-enthusiast, the surrounding nature is a wonder in its own right. The wildflowers, cypresses and pine trees frame the ruins and old churches of Mystras Greece.
Mystras used to be a bustling Byzantine town but today is the home to a few nuns in the Monastery of Pantanassa.
⇒ Another fantastic place to visit in Europe is Greece. Read all about Paxos Greece as well as the best Paxos restaurants and Paxos beaches. Or find out how to get from Santorini to Ios, the best things to do in Ios and a complete guide to Mylopotas Beach. And don’t miss my 10 Days in Greece Itinerary.
The Greek islands are known to be endearing seaport communities that are surrounded by beautiful hills and ancient homes. Nafplio was the first capital of Greece and is a small historic town with a beautiful castle, making it a popular attraction to visit.
In the evenings, the castle of Nafplio Greece is lit up to highlight its beauty and watches over the bustling square which comes alive with tavernas and people strolling the cobblestone streets. When a culture is as ancient and intricately detailed as Greece, entire towns become historical attractions.
⇒ Book your walking city tour of Nafplio.
⇒ Lanzarote is in Spain’s Canary Islands. Read about the 14 Things to do on Lanzarote you must not miss and the Best Place to Stay in Lanzarote – and don’t miss my post on 12 Beautiful Spain Famous Landmarks.
6. Monasteries of Meteora
There are six operating monasteries in Meteora, a place where time and culture seem frozen in time. Made up of a striking rock formation, Meteora is located in central Greece and is home to a beautifully located group of monasteries.
The sight of clustered religious homes on top of the steep rocks is spellbinding. Although the Monasteries of Meteora Greece look tricky to get to, it is surprisingly accessible. It requires visitors to drive to a parking lot and then hike the trail to the monastery that they wish to visit.
Take the time to soak up the incredible panoramic views from the top and bask in the ambient energy of the spiritual sites.
To enjoy this Greek tourist attraction at your own pace, try to plan your route in advance to avoid the crowds and reduce the amount of energy you expend.
7. Vikos Gorge
The Vikos Gorge, a nature reserve located in the Pindus Mountains of northern Greece, is a bold and beautiful natural attraction. The area surrounding the gorge is home to the crystal clear waters of the Voidomatis Springs and abundant fauna.
At its deepest point, the depth of the Vikos Gorge in Greece reaches 82% of its width, leading the Guinness Book of Records to list the gorge as the world’s “deepest relative to its width”.
The best entrance to the deep canyon is just north of Ioannina. The Aspergilli Information Centre will provide all the maps and information that you’ll need for the park.
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8. White Tower of Thessaloniki
The White Tower of Thessaloniki has a historical meaning that surpasses your initial judgment. The bold tower was built in the 15th century when the large city fell to the Ottomans and has become the most popular monument in Thessaloniki.
The White Tower of Thessaloniki Greece has an informative museum that adds context to the significance of the structure and all that it has endured over the years.
There are six floors to explore and a balcony that features stunning views of the Aegean Sea and the surrounding city.
⇒ Book a tour of Thessaloniki and the White Tower.
⇒ Explore more of Europe in my posts on 14 Beautiful Cities in Europe 16 European Palaces not to Miss, 17 Beautiful Castles in Europe Not to Miss, 21 Most Beautiful Countries in Europe, 9 Most Beautiful Cities in Germany, 26 Landmarks of Germany, 25 Rome Monuments, 60 Most Famous Landmarks in the World, 12 Beautiful Famous Spain Landmarks, 9 Famous Ireland Landmarks and 16 Famous Landmarks in Europe.
9. Temple of Olympian Zeus
Some people visit Greece for its island paradise attributes. Others visit for the delectable cuisine. And then there are those that visit Greece for its close connection with ancient culture and mythology.
No matter what reason you decided to book your ticket to this fascinating country, a visit to the Temple of Olympian Zeus is a must-do activity. The half-ruined temple is close enough to the Parthenon and Acropolis to view all three in one go and the experience completes the historical perspective.
As you can probably guess, the temple is dedicated to Zeus, the leader of the Olympian gods. The Temple of Olympian Zeus in Greece has endured much damage due to human and natural disasters, with its remains telling the intriguing story of a time gone by.
⇒ Book a guided Athens mythological tour.
Delphi is a legendary religious sanctuary that was developed in dedication to the Greek god Apollo. Main attractions within the sanctuary include the Oracle of Delphi and the priestess Pythia.
These were revered during the ancient world for playing a role in prophesying the future.
For many reasons, Delphi is considered to be the heart of classical Greek civilization and a main attraction to visit. Once arriving, you’ll be able to explore the hilltop museum and ruins, as well as the amphitheatre and the Temple of Apollo.
If you have time, then Delphi Greece is worth the trip. Not only is it rich in historical value, but it also gives a little break from Athens and an opportunity to explore the countryside.
⇒ Book a day trip to Delphi from Athens.
Spinalonga Island is famously known for having been a leper colony after Crete became a part of Greece. Anyone with the disease was sent to Spinalonga where they were isolated yet never received treatment.
Today, the little island is easily accessible with tour boats leaving the towns of Plaka, Elounda and Agios Nikolaos on a regular basis. You can walk around this Greek island attraction and explore the erringly arid and barren island.
The experience of visiting Spinalonga in Greece is quite different from the rest of the idyllic and mythical culture, telling a story of pain and isolation. In the end, it offers a very interesting tale of Greek history.
⇒ Book a day tour of Spinalonga (as well as Agios Nikolaos and Elounda Plaka).
12. Syntagma Square
This square in Athens is perhaps the most famous square in Greece. It is home to a daily changing of the guard which is definitely worth watching.
The runis of Mycenae are located in the North of Greece. The lost Mycenean civilisation ruled Greece in the Bronze Age.
14. Minoan Palace of Knossos
The Minoan Palace of Knossos is one of Crete’s best known tourist attractions. The palace was built during the Neolithic Period by the Minoan people. The palace and city fell into disrepair and were discovered by archeologists early in the 20th century. Today the ruins of the palace and the city can be visited and feature informative signs.
15. Caldera of Santorini
The Volcano at Thira experienced one of the largest eruptions ever experienced which created the islands of Santorini. Today the caldera’s rim is a cliff on the west side of Thira. The Santorini volcano last erupted in 1950.
Explore the Best Greek Landmarks and Attractions
Greece is full of beautiful places and ancient buildings to explore. These 11 spots are just a few of the most prominent and will start you off on the right path. If you find yourself with more time in the stunning country then you can venture off to other spots and uncover more landmarks.
From uncovering the wealth of things to do in Ios to boating between the Aegean islands – just make sure that you have your camera fully charged and a waterproof bag on the ready!
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