Take a trip back in time to the dawn of Western civilisation with a visit to Greece, one of the most popular holiday destinations in Europe. Sublime weather, beautiful views, pristine beaches and ancient treasures are all part of the allure that draws people from all over the world to the major cities and small islands of Greece.
In the Greek capital, Athens ancient history is tangible and ever present, with the massive columns of the Parthenon towering over the city from its vantage point on the plateau of the Acropolis. This elevated site has supported life for over 6,000 years and its structures are some of the oldest in the western world, making it an ideal starting point for a tour of Athens. After taking in the major Athens attractions such as Hadrian’s Arch and the Olympic Stadium, consider some local shopping or an authentic Greek meal in the winding streets of the Plaka district, one of the oldest and most charming areas of the city.
Another important historical attraction worth visiting on a Greek vacation is Delphi, on the slopes of Mount Parnassus. This was the site of the most famous oracle in the classical world and a sacred sanctuary for the worship of gods and goddesses such as Apollo and Athena, whose temples can still be seen today on a Delphi visit. Other fine examples of ancient Greek attractions can be found in Corinth and Mycenae, both of which provide fascinating insights into the beliefs of ancient times.
Be sure to stop off in the charming town of Nafplion as you travel Greece’s mainland to soak up the atmosphere of what was briefly the country’s capital during the Greek Revolution in 1821, before moving on to the birthplace of the Olympic Games, Olympia. You’ll be blown away by the scale and beauty of classical architecture as you tour Olympia’s ancient temples and sporting venues, constructed as long ago as 600 BC.
Once you have explored the mainland, why not set out on a Greek Islands cruise to take in some of the most popular tourist destinations in Greece. Crete is the largest of the Greek Islands and its capital, Heraklion was the centre of the Minoan civilisation in the second and third millennia BC. It is now a bustling modern city with a dynamic nightlife and a great place to sample traditional local products such as the famous Cretan olive oil.
On the island of Rhodes you can stroll the streets of the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Old Town while on Santorini you can enjoy picture postcard views of whitewashed houses and blue-domes churches clinging to dramatic cliffs. Santorini and the island of Mykonos are renowned for their stunning beaches so don’t forget to take some time out from your Greek sightseeing to soak up the abundant sunshine.
No Greek holiday would be complete without indulging in some traditional Greek cuisine, and with a huge variety of dishes incorporating the freshest meat, cheese, seafood and vegetables, there is sure to be something to delight everyone’s taste buds. Greece also produces a great variety of wine and there is nothing better than watching the sunset over the Aegean Sea with a drink in hand while grazing on a plate of delicious appetisers called meze.
Discover all the must-see sights and more on one of Trafalgar’s fantastic guided Greek vacations.