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37 Monumental Greek Landmarks You Must Visit

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.

White Tower of Thessaloniki Greece one of the famous greek landmarks
White Tower of Thessaloniki Greece

37 Monumental Greek Landmarks

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 Athens Greece
The Acropolis

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.

The Acropolis Athens Greece
The Acropolis

⇒ 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.

mount lycabettus greece
Mount Lycabettus

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).

mount lycabettus greece
Mount Lycabettus

⇒ 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).

3.   Parthenon

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.

The Parthenon Greece
The Parthenon

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.

The Parthenon Greece
The Parthenon

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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.

4.   Mystras

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.

mystras ruins Greece
Mystras Ruins

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.

mystras monastery greece
Mystras Monastery

⇒ 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.

5.   Nafplio

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.

Palimidi Fortress in Nafplio Greece
Palimidi Fortress in Nafplio

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.

Nafplio view from the castle
Nafplio view from the castle

⇒ 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.

meteora monastery greece
Meteora Monastery

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.

meteora valley greece
Meteora Valley

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.

⇒ Book a tour of the ancient Meteora Holy Monasteries.

⇒ Planning a trip to Turkey? Read my Istanbul 3 Day Itinerary, Gallipoli tours from Istanbul, 7 Day Turkey Itinerary and 3 Day Cappadocia Itinerary.

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.

Vikos Gorge Greece
Vikos Gorge

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.

⇒ Book a guided Vikos Gorge and Voidomatis Springs hike.

Vikos Gorge Greece
Vikos Gorge

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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.

White Tower of Thessaloniki Greece
White Tower of 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.

White Tower of Thessaloniki Greece
White Tower of Thessaloniki Greece

⇒ 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.

Temple of Olympian Zeus Greece
Temple of Olympian Zeus

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.

Construction of this temple took almost 650 years between the beginning of the 6th century BC and the 2nd century AD. The temple was made up of 104 columns of marble which stand over 56 feet but today there are only 15 left. it is believed that many of the columns were destroyed in an earthquake in the middle ages.

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.

Temple of Olympian Zeus Greece
Temple of Olympian Zeus

10. Delphi

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.

Delphi Greece
Delphi

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.

Delphi Greece
Delphi

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.

11. Spinalonga

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.

spinalonga greece
spinalonga

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).

Spinalonga Greece
Spinalonga

⇒ Planning a trip to Gran Canaria? Read my posts on the Best Things to do in Maspalomas and the Gran Canaria Markets and Gran Canaria Excursions Not to Miss.

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. This takes place at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. The changing of the guard is hourly from October to the end of March and every 30 minutes from April to the end of September.

Syntagma Square
Syntagma Square

13. Mycenae

The ruins of Mycenae are located in the North of Greece. The lost Mycenean civilisation ruled Greece in the Bronze Age. The town was built in this location to take advantage of the fantastic views across the nearby countryside.

Mycenae
Mycenae

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.

Minoan Palace of Knossos
Minoan Palace of Knossos

15. Caldera of Santorini

The Volcano at Thira experienced one of the largest eruptions ever experienced which created the islands of Santorini. A caldera is a big depression that is created after a volcano erupts and then collapses. Today the caldera’s rim is a cliff on the west side of Thira in the town of Firastefani. The Santorini volcano last erupted in 1950.

Caldera of Santorini
Caldera of Santorini

16. Mount Olympus

In Greek mythology, Mount Olympus was the site of Zeus’ throne and known as the home of all 12 Greek gods. It is also the highest mountain in Greece and has a mix of 52 peaks and gorges. There are several different options when it comes to hiking trails. One of the easiest is the route from Prionia to Agios Dionysios Monastery. The Prionia trail is also very nice and its 6 kilometres takes a couple of hours to walk.

Mount Olympus
Mount Olympus

17. Blue Caves of Zakynthos

These amazing limestone caves were discovered in 1897. They have been shaped by the tides over the centuries and today have white arches and a blue tinge from the reflection of the water. A truly beautiful place to visit.

Blue Caves of Zakynthos
Blue Caves of Zakynthos

18. The Terrace of the Lions

The Terrace of the Lions is located on the Greek island of Delos near Mykonos. This island is home to some of the most important archaeological sites in Greece. The most popular of the island’s historic sites is the Terrace of Lions. The people of Naxos dedicated the lions to Apollo around 600 BC. There were originally nine lines but only seven remain.

The Terrace of the Lions
The Terrace of the Lions

19. Samaria Gorge

This national park in Crete was opened in 1962. The hike along the gorge is just under 10 miles and is one of the most popular hiking trails in Greece. The trail ends at the small village of Aghia Roumeli.

samaria gorge
Samaria Gorge

20. M Panagiotis Shipwreck

Navagio beach in the northern of Zakynthos can only be reached by sea. This beach is called Shipwreck beach as the M Panagiotis shipwreck still sits in its white sands. It takes 20 minutes to reach the beach from Volimes or Port Vromi.

21. Mykonos Windmills

Windmills and Mykonos are synonymous. There are seven windmills on this greek island that are painted white. The windmills were built between the 16th and 20th centuries and most face north.

Mykonos Windmills
Mykonos Windmills

Windmills are not used for their original purpose on Mykonos today. However, some are now home to museums, hotels and restaurants. The most famous windmills are the Kato Myloi windmills which sit on a hill overlooking the old town of Mykonos and the bay.

22. Melissani Cave

This cave in Kefalonia is one of the most popular landmarks in Greece. The cave is shaped like a capital B and has two chambers with an island in its middle. The roof of one of the caves collapsed centuries ago and now lets in light. The best time to visit Melissani Cave is at midday. When the sun is directly overhead it hits the turquoise waters and bathe the entire cave in light.

Melissani Cave
Melissani Cave

23. Leonidas

This bronze statue at Thermopylae commemorates Leonidas, the King of Sparta until he died in 480 BC. He is famous for having been the leader of 300 Spartans and he died in battle during the Second Persian War. The phrase he used in battle is under the statue “Come and take them”.

Leonidas
Leonidas

24. Corinth Canal

This canal connects the Saronic Gulf in the Aegean Sea with the Gulf of Corinth in the Ionian Sea. The Corinth Canal was constructed in 1881 and cuts through the Ishtmus of Corinth and separates the Greek mainland from the Peloponnese.

Corinth Canal
Corinth Canal

The distance between the walls of the canal is only 25 metres and the walls are 76 metres high. This limits the types of ships that can move through the canal. Finally, seven different bridges cross the Corinth Canal.

25. Royal Tombs at Vergina

About an hour southwest of Thessaloniki is the Museum of the Royal Tombs in Vergina. Vergina was the capital of prehistoric Macedonia. As recently as 1977, the burial sites of several Macedonian Kings including Philip II were found and several had not been disturbed. The artifacts that have been discovered at the site can be seen in the Archaeological Museum of Vergina.

Vergina greece
Vergina greece

26. Academy of Athens

This beautiful building is in the middle of Athens and is actually quite new. The building has been styled in the classic Greek manner but was only opened in 1926. It is one of the top research centres in Greece.

Academy of Athens
Academy of Athens

27. Elafonissi Beach

It takes something pretty impressive to stand out as a beach in Greece – and to make it onto a Greek landmarks list. This beach on Crete is known for its pink sands. The pink colour was created by coral. The combination of the pink sand and blue sea make this one of the most picturesque locations in Greece.

Elafonissi Beach
Elafonissi Beach

28. Harbour of Chania

Chania is on the west side of Crete and was taken by the Venetians in the 14th century. The Venetians built what it is best known for today – a beautiful harbour. Today the harbour consists of a lighthouse, colourful houses and an old wall and is very photogenic. It is the second-largest city in Crete and also home to some fantastic seafood restaurants.

Harbour of Chania
Harbour of Chania

29. Epidaurus Theatre

This ancient theatre was built from limestone around the 4th century BC by Polykleitos the Younger. Today this well-preserved theatre can seat 14,000 people and the acoustics mean that no matter where you sit you will be able to hear the actors clearly. Every year it is used in the annual Epidaurus Festival.

Epidaurus Theatre
Epidaurus Theatre

30. Mount Athos Monasteries

Chalkidiki is located a couple of hours southeast of Thessaloniki and is home to 40 monasteries in its rugged terrain. There are 20 Orthodox monasteries, 17 Greek monasteries and then one each for Russia, Serbia and Bulgaria. The area of Athos is an autonomous region and have one very famous rule – no women are allowed to visit. Even if you meet the visitor criteria you will need to request permission six months before your trip.

Mount Athos Monasteries
Mount Athos Monasteries

31. Medieval Town of Rhodes

Rhodes is filled with cobblestone streets and castles and visiting this UNESCO World Heritage Site is like going back in times. Rhodes is filled with historical wonders including the Palace of the Grand Master of the Knights, the Great Hospital, the Street of the Knights and some amazing Ottoman style public baths and mosques.

Medieval Town of Rhodes
Medieval Town of Rhodes

32. Temple of Poseidon

This greek landmark has a stunning location on Cape Sounion which is around 70 kilometres from Athens. The Temple of Poseidon was built between 444 and 460 BC using marble to honour the Greek god of the sea. For three centuries the temple was considered to be a sacred place. Its majestic location makes it well worth a visit.

Temple of Poseidon
Temple of Poseidon

33. Panathenaic Stadium

This Athens stadium was built in 4 BC for the Panathenaic Games which were held every four years. The stadium was made entirely with marble and it was reconstructed in 1896 for the Olympic Games.

Panathenaic Stadium
Panathenaic Stadium

34. Sarakiniko Beach

Located on the tiny Greek island of Milos, Sarakiniko is a series of coves, rocks and beach made out of lava. The sun has bleached the lava somewhat over the years and the water has softened its curves. Sarakiniko is a popular spot for cliff jumping and general admiration as the contrast of the blue water against the lava is stunning.

Sarakiniko Beach
Sarakiniko Beach

35. Temple of Apollo

This 4th century BC Temple is located in the excavated city of Ancient Corinth. It is possible to wander the streets of what was the largest and wealthiest of the ancient Greek city-states, Corinth. The site also has an archaeological museum and other ancient landmarks such as Agora and the Fountain of Peirene.

Temple of Apollo
Temple of Apollo

36. Hagia Sophia of Thessalonica Church

This is one of the oldest cathedrals in the world and it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Cathedral Church of Hagia Sophia of Thessalonica was built in the 8th century AD and it was the largest church in the world until it was knocked off the position by Spain‘s Seville Cathedral.

Cathedral Church of Hagia Sophia
Cathedral Church of Hagia Sophia

37. Archeological Site of Philippi

A UNESCO World Heritage monument, the Archeological site of Philippi dates back to the early christian era. The city of Philippi was founded in 360 BC. The location was located near gold mines and had military advantages. The site is easy to visit from Thessaloniki and only 11km away from the major Greek seaport of Kavala Town.

Archeological Site of Philippi
Archeological Site of Philippi

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!

Monasteries-of-Meteora greece
Monasteries of Meteora

This Famous Greek Landmarks post includes affiliate links. That means if you click through and end up making a purchase I will receive a small commission. I wanted to make sure you were aware of this.

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