Must-visit historical sites in Greece


Bit of a history buff? Uncover tales of the past as you visit these iconic historical sites in Greece. Pack your camera and comfy shoes, we’ve got lots of exploring to do!

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Travel back in time when you visit Greece, whether that be the mainland or one of the magical islands which all have their own unique history and story to tell. Trembling remains of Ancient Greek and Roman times, Byzantine relics and Venetian influences, they’re all on show here.

Not sure what to add to your sightseeing to-see list first? Join us on a journey across Greece to discover its must-visit historical sites…

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Ancient Akrotiri, Santorini

Until 1967, the ancient Minoan city of Akrotiri was completely hidden from the world. Following a volcanic eruption back in 1613 BC, this Bronze Age settlement was blanketed by a 200-foot layer of volcanic ash and debris. It’s like Greece’s very own version of Pompeii! You’ll find it on the south coast of Santorini, around a 20-minute drive from Fira, the island’s capital.

Since excavations began, around 40 different buildings have been found. But it’s said that only around a third of the city has been uncovered so far and new discoveries are being made regularly. Entrance to the archaeological centre costs €12 per person and you can wander at your own leisure or join a guided tour with an expert. On the way around, you’ll get to see all sorts of original artefacts from the site including terracotta pots, a Minoan toilet, bathtub and hand-painted frescoes. It’s a fascinating day out for all!


Palace of Knossos, Crete

Hop from the mainland down to the largest Greek island, Crete, for another showstopping sight. The Minoan Palace of Knossos is close to Heraklion on the island’s north coast. Stroll around this huge complex and walk in the footsteps of the royal Minoans who once called this place home. Admire the beautifully restored pillars and columns alongside colourful frescoes and navigate your way through the four wings. You’ll get to view what was once the royal quarters, the throne room, banquet halls and shrines.

Dating all the way back to 7000 BC, these magnificent buildings survived various earthquakes and invasions over the years. Although today, most of it’s in ruin, it’s an absolute must-visit on the island of Crete. Tickets are €15 and the site is open daily.

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The Acropolis of Lindos, Rhodes

Over on the island of Rhodes, in the charming village of Lindos, you’ll find this crowning Acropolis which overlooks the clusters of sugar cube houses below. The Temple of Athena Lindia is the main attraction here with its grand walkway and 20 towering columns. It was founded in the 10th century BC but slowly went into decline once the city of Rhodes was established. And excavations of the site only began in the 20th century.

There are no roads up to the Acropolis so cars can only drive so far. Your two modes of transport to reach the top are on foot or by donkey ride. Once there, you can drink in the mesmerising views across the Mediterranean from this 116m-high position. If you’re visiting during the summer months, be sure to pack a hat and plenty of water as there’s no shade up here and as you can imagine, it gets very warm!

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Ancient Olympia, the Peloponnese

Bit of a sports fan as well as history? You’ll not want to miss out on a trip to Ancient Olympia, the birthplace of the Olympic Games. You can tour around the stadium where the first games were held in the 8th century BC and stand on the track to give it your best Usain Bolt impression.

The extensive complex features a giant stadium with seating for thousands of spectators, athletic training areas, impressive temples dedicated to the gods of Zeus and Hera, and an intricate marble carving of the god Hermes. Excavations still continue to this day to uncover more of what life was like for an Olympic athlete here thousands of years ago!

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Mystras, the Peloponnese

This UNESCO World Heritage site clings to the hillside on mainland Greece’s sun-soaked south coast. The ancient city of Mystras was first built back in the 13th century but it’s so well preserved that you’ll feel like you’ve stepped straight back in time as you wander its magical streets. It’s the birthplace of the last Byzantine emperor and it’s famed for its many churches that were built in this unique style. Think stone walls, terracotta-tiled rooves and high, arched windows. Its privileged hilltop position means the views from the top are nothing short of outstanding.

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Vergina, Halkidiki

Vergina is known as one of the most important historical sites in mainland Greece and was once the capital city of Ancient Macedonia. It was only in 1977 that this site was uncovered by Greek archaeologist Manolis Andronikos when he led excavations here. After much careful digging, four burial sites were uncovered which are said to include the burial sites of Philip II (the father of Alexander the Great), and the son of Alexander the Great – Alexander IV of Macedon.

Today, the site features a museum that houses many of the artefacts that were uncovered here. It costs €8 per person to enter and you can explore both indoors and outdoors at your leisure.

Posted: 1st Nov 2021. Updated: 19th Apr 2023.

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