Top 5 Places to Go in Greece
Greece is a country where we know so much and, yet, we know so little. We know of Zeus. We’ve seen Disney’s Hercules. I have had Greek yogurt and eaten a Gyros. Heck, I have even seen every episode of Full House staring the Greek-American TV Star, John Stamos. But when it comes to actually going to Greece, I don’t even know where to begin… so best shot is the capital!
Athens is the largest city in Greece as well as the Capital. Athens is also arguably the most storied ancient city in all of Europe. Athens is the birthplace of democracy and Western Thought. The United States, let’s be honest, would be nothing without Athens.
Similar to the Roman Forum, the Agora was the meeting place in the center of each town and Athens was one of the largest and most prominent of them all. You can easily imagine Aristotle, Plato, and Sophocles sitting around shaping our own political thought thousands of years later.
Situated just above the Agora is the Acropolis. There are many Acropolises in the ancient world, but the one in Athens is the most famous. Acropolis literally means high city and it is easy to see where it gets its name. The Acropolis sits on a tall flat-topped rock, towering over the city of Athens below.
Some of the sites in the Acropolis include the Parthenon, the temple of Athena, and the sanctuary of Zeus.
The island of Crete is one of Greece’s most popular tourist locations because of their beautiful beaches and welcoming people. Over 2 million tourists visit Crete annually. One of the popular ancient sites in Crete is the city of Lissos. There are many ruins and remains from the ancient city and, according to mythology, Lissos is the location of healing springs. Besides beaches and ruins, Crete also has fantastic hiking and cave exploring in such locations as the White Mountains.
Olympia is arguably the birthplace of sports and sporting events/competitions. Thanks Greece! This is where the first ever Olympic Games were held, right at the base of Mount Kronos. Several businesses offer full tours of Olympia, and this would ensure that nothing is missed. One site you would want to make sure isn’t missed is the Temple for Zeus. The games were held in Zeus’ honor, so his temple would have been a centerpiece of the ancient city. This is the Temple featured in Disney’s Hercules, when Hercules seeks to talk to the stone Zeus.
In order to understand all of the history of the sites, I would recommend taking time to see the Archeological Museum of Olympia.
On that note, since there is literally thousands and thousands of years of history so well preserved, why not take at least a day to explore the National Archaeological Museum in Athens. Some consider it the greatest history museum in the world and it contains the most extensive collection of ancient Greek relics of anywhere in the world.
Delphi is infamous for the Delphic Oracle, a seer found throughout Greek Mythology (seen in the writings of Plutarch and Herodotus). The ruins at Delphi include many theatres and entertainment centers for ancient Greeks. Delphi was also the site of the Pythian Games, which was a sporting event that ranked second only to those in Olympia (above). The modern city also has an archaeological museum, however, if you are “museum-ed out” at this point, a hike on Mt. Parnassus might be a nice change of pace. Delphi has many nice restaurants that attract many tourists, and they have the usual nightlife of any modern city.
What do you think? Does Greece sound like a good place to travel or what? Let me know by commenting below.
Image from sxc.hu