flight greece

1.    The Acropolis is the most important ancient site in the Western world. Crowned by the Parthenon , it stands sentinel over Athens, visible from almost everywhere within the city. Its monuments of Pentelic marble gleam white in the midday sun and gradually take on a honey hue as the sun sinks, while at night they stand brilliantly illuminated above the city. A glimpse of this magnificent sight cannot fail to exalt your spirit.

Meteora Greece

Meteora Greece

2.    The monasteries of Meteora are one of the most extraordinary sights in mainland Greece. Built into and on top of huge pinnacles of smooth rock, the earliest monasteries were reached by climbing articulated removable ladders. Later, windlasses were used so monks could be hauled up in nets, a method used until the 1920s. The monasteries provided monks with peaceful havens from increasing bloodshed as the Byzantine Empire waned at the end of the 14th century.

3.    Santorini may well have conquered a corner of your imagination before you’ve even set eyes on it. With multicoloured cliffs soaring over 300m from a sea-drowned caldera, it rests in the middle of the indigo Aegean, looking like a giant slab of layered cake. The island spoons the vast crater left by one of the biggest volcanic eruptions

4.    Nowhere else in the Dodecanese are so many layers of architectural history piled upon one another as in the fortified Old Town; be it classical, medieval and Byzantine or Ottoman and Italian periods. A volta (stroll) down its hauntingly pretty cobbled streets is evocative, as black-clad octogenarians loom from doorways, the scent of leather shops competing with bougainvillea. Half the fun is letting yourself get lost

5.    Immensely likable Thessaloniki  has never been more fun, cultured or affordable than it is right now. Greece’s second city has excellent restaurants, museums and sights, plus an increasingly hip and inventive nightlife scene fleshed out by many thousands of Greek and foreign university students. Thessaloniki’s a great base, as it provides easy connections by air, land and sea wi

6.    If you’re lucky enough to be able to visit Mt Athos, do it – it’s an experience you won’t forget. For over a millennium, unbroken spiritual activity has survived on this isolated peninsula, in a semi-autonomous monastic republic following the Julian calendar. Athos has 20 working monasteries, and skites (monastic dependencies), plus kelli (ascetic hermitages). The north is thickly forested, the more inaccessible south

7. Ancient Olympia
Held every four years until their abolition by killjoy Emperor Theodosius I in AD 393, the Olympic Games were held here for at least 1000 years. The World Heritage–listed site of Ancient Olympia is still a recognisable complex of temples, priests’ dwellings and public buildings. The site contains excellent explanatory boards, with depictions of what the buildings would have looked like, along with a plan and description in English.
Ancient Olympia is signposted from the modern village. The entrance is beyond the bridge over the Kladeos River. Thanks to Theodosius II and various earthquakes, little remains of the magnificent buildings of Ancient Olympia, but enough exists to sustain an absorbing visit in an idyllic, leafy setting; allow a minimum of half a day. A visit to the archaeological museum beforehand will help with visualising the ancient buildings.

 

tholos

tholos

8.    At the foot of Mount Parnassos, within the angle formed by the twin rocks of the Phaedriades, lies the Pan-Hellenic sanctuary of Delphi, which had the most famous oracle of ancient Greece. Delphi was regarded as the centre of the world. According to mythology, it is here that the two eagles sent out by Zeus from the ends of the universe to find the navel of the world met. The sanctuary of Delphi, set within a most spectacular landscape, was for many centuries the cultural and religious centre and symbol of unity for the Hellenic world.
The archaeological site of Delphi includes two sanctuaries, dedicated to Apollo and Athena, and other buildings, mostly intended for sports. Visitors arriving from Athens first encountered the sanctuary of Athena Pronaia – that is, Athena who is before the temple of Apollo. Outside its walls spread the settlement of Delphi. Within the walls were the famous Tholos, the symbol of Delphi today, and the remains of three temples dedicated to the goddess. The two earlier temples were built of tufa on the same location. These date to the middle of the seventh century and to c. 500 BC. The third temple, made of limestone, was built at the west end of the sanctuary after the earthquake of 373 BC. This sanctuary also includes the altars of Zeus Polieus, Athena Ergane, Athena Zosteria, Eileithyia and Hygeia, the remains of two buildings dedicated to the cult of the local heroes Phylakos and Autonos, who routed the Persians from Delphi, and two treasuries with marble roofs, one Doric and the other Aeolian. The Aeolian Treasury of Massalia preserves a characteristic palm-leaf capital. Finally, the sanctuary included a memorial to the routing of the Persians, a statue of Emperor Hadrian, and a building known as the “house of the priests”.

9.    In 1977, on the southern Macedonia plain, 80 km southeast of Thessaloniki, at the foot of Pierian Mountains, one of the greatest archaeological discoveries of all time was made. The ancient city of Aigai, the first capital of the kingdom of Macedonia was brought to light. The richness of the finds is rare and of incalculable archaeological and historical importance, so much so that the territory of the kings of Macedonia, the land of Philip and Alexander, Eurydice and Olympia, were designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1996.

Achilleion

Achilleion

10.    With the passage of time the island may have changed, but we can still feel the spirit of a distant glorious past . Its rich multi-cultural heritage, its historic monuments, its stunning natural landscape, its crystal clear seas, and its excellent weather all year round explain why Corfu is one of the most cosmopolitan Mediterranean destinations weaving a powerful spell on its visitors.
Corfu (Kérkyra), unlike the rest of Greece, never fell under the Ottoman oppression. Due to the successive dominations of the Venetians, the French and the British over the centuries, the island has primarily become part of the Western rather the Levantine world. Their culture wielded strong influence in the city: it was here that the first Greek University (the Ionian Academy), the first Philharmonic Orchestra and the First School of Fine Arts were founded.
In the beautifully preserved Old Town of Corfu, a UNESCO world heritage site, Renaissance, Baroque and Classical “repertoire” came to be successfully applied to local artistic traditions. Palaces, fortresses, austere public buildings of the Venetian rule uniquely blend with lines of drying washing in tiny alleyways and small secluded squares. Strolling through a complex of narrow cobbled streets with stairways and vaulted passages, the so-called “kantoúnia”, will make you feel as if you’ve travelled to Genoa or Naples.

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