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Archaeology Travel Guide Greece

From the Acropolis in Athens to Knossos on the island of Crete. From Augustus’s Nicopolis in the west to the medieval Kastello on the island of Rhodes. Greece has some of the world’s most fascinating archaeological and historical sites. There are as many spectacular historic places to visit on the islands as there are on the mainland. These places have fuelled fertile imaginations for centuries and filled glass cabinets around the world. Not surprisingly then, Greece is a popular tourist destination, with over 700,000 years worth of archaeology and history to explore.

Reasons to Visit Greece

Sunset behind the Temple of Poseidon at Cape Sounion, Greece.
Evocative Ruins,
The Venetian castle in the port of Naoussa on Paros.
Venetian Castles,
The Kucjk Hassan Mosque in Chania at sunset with street light reflections on the sea.
Ottoman Mosques,
Police marshal people streaming off a ferry that has just docked in the new port at Mykonos.
… and Island Hopping.

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Interesting Things to Know About Greece

Discovered in 1959, the Petralona Cave is home to some of the oldest evidence for a hominin presence in what is now Greece. Dated to some point between 350,000 and 200,000 years ago, the Petralona Skull belonged to an individual whose species predated Homo sapiens. Although there is some debate on the subject, many suggest the skull should be considered Homo heidelbergensis.

Perhaps the most iconic archaeological site in Greece is the Parthenon, a temple to the goddess Athena that stands atop the Athenian Acropolis. Built in the 5th century BCE, it would later be used as a church and then a mosque. In the 19th century decorative features were removed from the Parthenon and transported to Britain under highly questionable if not illegal circumstances. Commonly known as the ‘Elgin Marbles’, after the man responsible for their move to London, these remains are on display in the British Museum. There have been various requests and campaigns for their repatriation. Despite there being overwhelming support for the return of these artefacts to Greece, the British Museum has steadfastly refused to do the right thing.
Rome’s conquest of Greece occurred gradually, but was accomplished by the 1st century BC. Greek culture exerted considerable influence on the Romans, being especially admired by emperors like Hadrian. After the collapse of the Western Roman Empire in the 5th century AD, Greece remained part of the Byzantine Empire in the Eastern Mediterranean.
In the 15th century, the Ottoman Empire – an Islamic power based in Turkey – conquered much of the Byzantine Empire, including mainland Greece. Greece would remain Ottoman for around four centuries and the Ottoman influence can be seen at various Greek heritage sites, such as the 15th-century Hamza Bey Mosque in Thessaloniki.
Greece only became a unified political entity in 1822, as Greek revolutionaries overthrew their Ottoman rulers and established an independent state. Since that time, Greece has alternated between periods of monarchical and republican rule, as well as between periods of democracy and dictatorship.

Find Places to Visit in Greece

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With an island of striking contrasts, from rugged mountains and deep ravines to serene beaches and the bluest waters, comes opportunities for everyone. Constant winds at the south eastern tip of the island make Afiartis perfect for kite and wind surfers. Whereas to the north is the designated Protected Area of Saria and Astakidonisia – recognised internationally for its biodiversity and historic landscapes. Over 300 miles of hiking trails enable visitors to combine interests in nature, culture and history.

Five Popular Attractions in Greece

The Acropolis
Delphi Treasury Of The Athenians
Meteora Monastery Greece

Explore Greece more deeply

Where to Go in Greece

Sunset behind the Temple of Poseidon at Cape Sounion, Greece.

Athens & Attica

There is much more to the Attic peninsular than Athens and the Acropolis. Along the Athenian Riviera is the picturesque Temple of Poseidon.
A view down a deep valley with the ancient theatre at Delphi in the foreground.

Central Greece

Greece’s most mountainous region, best known for the dramatically situated site of Delphi and the Oracle of Apollo, who lived at nearby Mount Parnassus.
The high ramparts run down the hill from the Ano Poli to the Lower Town of Thessaloniki, Greece.

Central Macedonia

Mountains to the north and a southern coastline on which the port city of Thessaloniki is located, which was already an important city for the Romans.

The Kucjk Hassan Mosque in Chania at sunset with street light reflections on the sea.


The mythical home of Princess Europa, and some of the finest Minoan archaeological sites in Greece – including the so-called Minoan palace of Knossos.

Beautiful spring seascape on Aegean Sea. Coloful evening panorama of Kavala city, the principal seaport of eastern Macedonia and the capital of Kavala regional unit. Greece, Europe.

East Macedonia & Thrace

Known for its striking, natural beauty, and the mythical home of Orpheus,  the area’s cultural heritage includes ancient Greeks, Byzantine and Ottoman sites.

Konitsa Bridge Epirus


Historic stone bridges traverse idyllic canyons and ravines in a region that was a mythical home of Zeus at the sanctuary of Dodona.

Aerial view from New fortress on the city with Od fortress before sunset, Kerkyra, Corfu island, Greece

Ionian Islands

An area that inspired one of the most well known of all ancient Greek poets. Homer’s Odysseus is thought to have come from Ithaca or Kafalonia.

Agios Isidoros church in northern Chios at sunrise.

North Aegean

It was above the North Aegean Sea that Icarus flew too close to the sun – visit Ikaria. The most famous lyric poet Sappho was born on Lesvos. 

The stone amphiteater in Epidaurus is the fine example of the ancient greek architecture, Epidavros, Greece.


Five UNESCO World Heritage Sites, Greco-Roman sites, Byzantine churches and monasteries, dramatic castles, here ancient myth meets history.

Rhodes St Nicholas Fort

South Aegean

Two island groups make up the South Aegean area, the Cyclades (Delos, Milos, Santorini) and the Dodecanese (Karpathos, Lindos, Rhodes)

Meteora Monastery Greece


Meteora, the most photogenic spiritual site in Greece, one of many Byzantine monasteries. The region is also home to the oldest Neolithic sites in Europe. 

West Pediment Temple Of Zeus Olympia

West Greece

Here visitors can explore one of the world’s most well known archaeological sites, Olympia – home to the ancient Olympic games. 

Saint Achilleios old Byzantine church ruins at lake Prespa in Greece

West Macedonia

Greece’s only landlocked region. A mountainous area with impressive historic stone bridges and the oldest lake pile-supported settlement of Europe.

Historic Towns & Cities in Greece





What to See in Greece

A portrait of Emperor Hadrian in the National Archaeology Museum in Athens.

Roman Greece

Different parts of what is now the nation state of Greece came under Roman rule at different times. The peninsular fell to the Romans during the Battle of Corinth in 146 BC. Whereas Crete was conquered by the Romans later, in 66 BC. The final conquering of the Greek world came following the Battle of Actium in 31 BC, when Augustus defeated Cleopatra VII the Greek Ptolemaic queen of Egypt, Cleopatra VII and Mark Antony, and shortly afterwards captured Alexandria, the last great city of Hellenistic Egypt. Life under the Romans carried on much the same, Roman culture was heavily influenced by the Greeks. 

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