10 Best Greek Islands

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10 Best Greek Islands

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Category : Europe , Greece

The beautiful and exotic Greek islands lure droves of tourists every year, making them one of the world’s top travel destinations. However, with hundreds of islands to choose from, planning a trip can be a bit of a dilemma. To help you maximize the best of your travel experience, check out the following list of the best Greek islands.

10. Kos

Kos

 

Characterized by long strips of clean, white beaches and rolling farmland rich in grapes, figs, olives, corn and wheat, the island of Kos offers beautiful landscapes, historic sites and great beaches all in a relaxed atmosphere. You can explore attractions like the ruins of an ancient marketplace and the 14th century fortress built by The Knights of Saint John of Rhodes. In the charming city center of whitewashed buildings in Kos Town, you will find an abundant selection of hotels, restaurants, bars and nightclubs.

9. Paros 

Paros

 

Paros is one of the most picturesque of the Greek isles with its charming old towns of cobblestone streets, whitewashed buildings and vibrant vines of bougainvilleas. Because of its many convenient ferry connections, Paros makes a great base if you want to visit other islands in the Cyclades. If you are looking for an attractive nightlife scene, you will be spoiled for choice on this Greek island as it offers many towns that feature a wide range of restaurants, bars and nightclubs. The beaches on Paros are plentiful as well, ranging from the quiet and remote to the more crowded where windsurfing competitions are frequently hosted.

8. Samos 

Samos

 

Considered one of the sunniest destinations in all of Europe, Samos is where you will discover stunning pebble beaches and crystal clear waters, which are ideal for scuba diving and snorkeling. Never tried these fun water activities? Don’t worry, the island of Samos offers you plenty of classes and instructors to provide you with a wonderful experience. Significant sites to see on Samos include the ruins of the Temple of Hera as well as the Eupalinian aqueduct, which is regarded as an ancient engineering marvel.

7. Chios 

Chios

 

Separated from Turkey by a narrow strait and part of the Northeastern Aegean Islands, Chios is an ideal place for sightseeing. Situated in the center of the island is its most notable historic site, Nea Moni, an 11th century monastery. In the southern region of the island, visitors can explore several medieval villages with their ancient walls and towers. You will likely see a variety of colorful tulips growing in this area as well. If your visit is during the Easter holiday, you might find it interesting to watch a unique tradition in the town of Vrontados where locals practice a friendly church war during Easter services.

6. Corfu

Corfu

 

Of all the best islands in Greece, Corfu probably offers the most variety of everything from its blend of ethnic cultures to its contrasting landscapes and array of attractions. An island steeped in Byzantine history and Greek mythology, Corfu features charming old towns laced with the varying architectural styles of its Greek, Italian, French and British past. Outside the towns, tourists will discover some of Greece’ most beautiful beaches, some still unspoiled. No matter what your interests are, this Ionian island offers many interesting attractions from historic sites to modern museums and a vibrant nightlife.

Read More: Top Tourist Attractions in Corfu

5. Skiathos 
Skiathos

 

Nature lovers will not want to miss a visit to the island of Skiathos in the Sporades. One of the most northern of the Greek Islands, Skiathos features vast hills of lush pines and sandy beaches while offering plenty of wildlife viewing and a nature conservatory. Other interesting attractions on the island include ancient monasteries, medieval castles, Byzantine churches and fascinating museums.

4. Rhodes

Rhodes

 

If you love history, you don’t want to miss out on a visit to Rhodes. Located near the coast of Turkey in the Dodecanese, this beautiful island packs many historic treasures such as its medieval Old Town, the Temple of Apollo, the Acropolis of Lindos, the Governor’s Palace, Rhodes Footbridge and more. This island of exotic, Turkish influences also features popular beach resorts and charming villages with friendly locals.

Read More: Top Tourist Attractions in Rhodes

3. Crete 

Crete

 

As the largest of the Greek islands, Crete is also the most populated. Crete is where you will find the most variety in hotel accommodation, restaurants, shops and nightclubs. Because this island features beautiful beaches, scenic mountains and gorges, you can enjoy a wide range of outdoor activities here like hiking, mountain climbing, horse riding, gorge trekking, swimming and more. History lovers will want to explore the many historic and archaeological sites that dot the island such as Knossos Palace, which dates back to the Minoan civilization.

Read More: Top Tourist Attractions in Crete

2. Mykonos 

Mykonos

 

Mykonos is famed as a cosmopolitan destination amongst the Greek islands. Mykonos Town (also known as Chora) is a stunningly picturesque Greek town with a maze of tiny streets and whitewashed steps lanes. Although the streets are lined with small shops, boutiques, art galleries, cafes, bars and restaurants, Mykonos Town has not completely lost its identity. Thanks to Mykonos’s strict building regulations its traditional Cycladic architectural style and character has remained firmly intact.

Read More: Top Attractions in Mykonos

1. Santorini

#1 of Best Greek Islands

 

Part of the Cyclades group of the Greek islands, Santorini is famous for its dramatic views, stunning sunsets, the white-washed houses, and its very own active volcano. Fira, the capital of Santorini, is a marriage of Venetian and Cycladic architecture, whose white cobblestone streets bustle with shops, tavernas, hotels and cafes, while clinging on the edge of a high cliff. If you arrive by sea you can take a cable car up from the port or alternatively take a trip on a mule up the 588 zigzagging steps.

Read More: Top Things to Do in Santorini


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10 Top Tourist Attractions in Rhodes

With its famous archeological ruins and pretty beaches, Rhodes is one of the top tourist destinations in Europe. This is perhaps as it should be as it’s the largest of Greece’s Dodecanese Islands. The island is probably most famous for the Colossus of Rhodes, a statue of the Greek sun god Helios that was destroyed by an earthquake in 226 BC. Rhodes gives travelers a unique opportunity to explore ancient temple ruins and then chill out on a beautiful sandy beach while contemplating the marvels of an earlier world. An overview of the top attractions in Rhodes:

10. Mandraki Harbor

Mandraki Harbor

 

Mandraki Harbor is one of three harbors on Rhodes and the only yacht harbor. It is thought one of the Seven Wonders of the World, the statue Colossus of Rhodes once stood in this harbor. Travelers today will find deer sculptures, medieval windmills and the St. Nicholas fortress at the entrance. The windmills were once used to grind grain brought to the harbor by ancient cargo ships; most have disintegrated, but three have been renovated. Mandraki Harbor was once the military port for Rhodes and could be closed by chains. Now yachts, cruise ships and fishing boats share the harbor.

9. Ancient Kamiros

Ancient Kamiros

 

Kamiros is an ancient city on the northwest coast of Rhodes. Kamiros is one of three Doric cities that combined with two others to form the city-state of Rhodes. Its residents, however, gradually abandoned Kamiros to move to the city of Rhodes. Mentioned by Homer in his writings, forests covered the city until ancient graves were discovered in 1929 and an excavation of Kamiros began. Archaeologists believe a temple to Athena topped the Acropolis, but it was destroyed in a 226 BC earthquake. The city was built on three levels: the Acropolis on top, residents in the middle, and water reservoirs on the bottom.

8. Anthony Quinn Bay

Anthony Quinn Bay

 

Anthony Quinn may have been from Mexico, but he filmed several movies in Greece, including Zorba the Greek and Guns of the Navarone, which was filmed at Faliraki. While there, the actor bought the bay part of the island. Because of this, the bay was renamed from Vagies Bay to Anthony Quinn Bay, which is just over a mile from Faliraki. Because of its rock surroundings and crystal clear emerald water, it’s considered one of the most beautiful beaches on Rhodes. The bay is a popular mooring spot for sail boats and small watercraft.

7. Tsambika Monastery

Tsambika Monastery

 

Travelers looking for tremendous scenic views in a religious setting may enjoy a visit to Tsambika Monastery that is situated on a hill. The hill, about 25 km (15 miles) from Rhodes city, is topped by a small Byzantine church dedicated to Our Lady. A local legend says if an infertile woman climbs the hill she will be blessed with a child, which must be named after the monastery. The legend must be true since many island residents answer to this name. Origins of the first monastery are unclear, but a working monastery was constructed in 1770.

6. Faliraki Beach

Faliraki Beach

 

Travelers who are party animals are likely to gravitate to Faliraki beach, the most popular seaside resort on Rhodes. By day, visitors laze under colorful striped umbrellas on the beach; by night, they find entertainment under brightly colored neon lights. From shopping to bungee-jumping, Faliraki beach has it all. Faliraki also is home to the largest water park in Europe where visitors can do down a variety of slides; the park has a special section for children. Visitors can enjoy themselves under safe conditions, since Faliraki beach has 12 Blue Flags from the Foundation for Environmental Education with its strict safely standards.

5. Lindos Beach

Lindos Beach

 

Located 50 km (31 miles) south of Rhodes city, Lindos is a popular tourist destination because of its ancient ruins and great beaches. With a history that dates back to the 10th century BC, Lindos was once a meeting place for the Greeks and Phoenicians, and later became a major trading center. It once had a large temple complex that fell into disuse during the early medieval period; it is an important archaeological site today. The beach itself is a busy place, with many British residents spending entire summers here. The deep blue bay waters make Lindos Beach an especially pretty tourist attraction in Rhodes.

4. Monolithos Castle

Monolithos Castle

 

At one time, Monolithos Castle was considered one of the most powerful fortresses on Rhodes. Built in 1470, not much of the castle remains today save the external walls. One thing that does remain, however, is the stupendous view at the top of the hill that overlooks the sea. In order to enjoy the view, hardy visitors will have to climb up via small steep stone steps; the climb is strenuous, so past visitors recommend frequent breaks to rest. Inside the castle that was built on a former castle, travelers will find two 15th century chapels.

3. Tsambika Beach

Tsambika Beach

 

Tsambika Beach is considered one of the most beautiful beaches on Rhodes. It’s hard to dispute that: Turquoise blue waters lap on the half-mile of pure golden sand beach. Owned by the Orthodox church, Tsambika Beach is overlooked by a peak where stands the Tsambika Monastery. Because the water is shallow and sandy, the beach is considered a good place for families to have fun in the sun, either lying under an umbrella or participating in water sports. A section of the beach is set aside for visitors who prefer to go au naturel.

2. Acropolis of Lindos

Acropolis of Lindos

 

Since it was occupied by so many forces, from the Greeks to the Ottomans, the Acropolis of Lindos is an interesting site archaeologically. It’s also a scenic site since it sits on a 115-meter (380-foot) high rock overlooking the sea. Access is by a steep hike up a footpath, but worth the trip. Once at the top, visitors will find a well preserved Acropolis enclosed by battlements, 20 white Hellenistic columns and remains of the temple to Athena Lindia. There’s no shade at the top, so visitors may want to wear hats and take along water to drink.

1. Medieval Town of Rhodes

#1 of Tourist Attractions In Rhodes

 

Occupiers over the centuries have left their stamp on the Medieval Town of Rhodes, which dates back hundreds of years before the birth of Christ. The conquerors that had the most influence over this ancient city were the Order of the Knights of Saint Jon or Jerusalem that occupied Rhodes from 1308 to 1523. The Palace of the Grand Masters which functioned as their headquarters is one of the greatest monuments erected in the Middle Ages. The Upper Town, with its Street of the Knights and 4 km (2.5 mile) long wall, is considered a very beautiful example of Gothic architecture The Lower Town features embellishments such as mosques and public baths that were added by the Ottomans. By foot is the best way to explore this gems.


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10 Top Tourist Attractions in Crete

Category : Crete , Europe , Greece

Stunning Crete is the largest of the Greek Islands, and also the fifth largest in the Mediterranean. It boasts gorgeous beaches and mountains and is dotted with quaint villages. During the Bronze Age, this beautiful island was the home to the Minoan civilization, which is considered to be the first advanced European civilization, so there are also many historical attractions in Crete. Besides Minoan ruins, visitors can also still see the remains of Ancient Greece, the Venetian era, and the Ottoman period scattered around this island today.

10. Arkadi Monastery

Arkadi Monastery

 

The Arkadi Monastery was the site of one of the most tragic incidents in Crete’s history. In 1866, the Cretan residents, who were then under Turkish rule, decided to revolt. At one point during the rebellion, more than 940 Greeks, mostly women and children, took sanctuary in the monastery. The Turks lay siege to the monastery for three days and were finally able to break into its gates. At that point, the refugees decided to end their lives rather than be taken prisoner, and blew up barrels of gunpowder, which ended up killing hundreds of Turks and Cretans. The incident sparked sympathy and worldwide attention for the plight of the people of Crete. The monastery, which has been around since about the 12th century, was restored in 1870.

9. Rethymnon Old Town

Rethymnon Old Town

 

The old town of Rethymnon (or Rethimno) is located in the midst of the modern city and features a rather unique blend of Venetian and Crete architecture. Rethymnon was established in 1204, after the Venetians had conquered Crete, so most of the remaining buildings in the old town area are of Venetian creation. The Old Town’s narrow streets and its small Venetian harbor are wonderful for walking, shopping, enjoying dinner at a small tavern and taking in Rethymnon’s remarkable architecture. Travelers will want to check out the nearby Fortezza Castle, which was built in 1590, and sits on a low hill in the middle of Rethymnon.

8. Agios Nikolaos 

Agios Nikolaos

 

Situated on lovely Mirabello Bay in eastern Crete, Agios Nikolaos offers visitors a mix of the modern and the traditional. It is a medium-size port town that is extremely picturesque and has some style and charm, which it exploits to the full. The town’s Lake Voulismeni, which is lined with charming small cafes and boutiques, has been the subject of a number of legends. One myth is that the goddess Athena used to bathe in this almost perfectly circular body of water. Another legend claims that this beautiful lake is bottomless. Agios Nikolaos is one of Crete’s most popular tourist destinations.

7. Elafonisi Beach

Elafonisi Beach

 

While all of Crete’s beaches are beautiful, there is something very special about the beaches that can be found on the island of Elafonisi. Located in South-west Crete, Elafonisi is separated from Crete’s shores by a very shallow lagoon. In fact, it is so shallow that visitors can easily walk the 200 meters (650 feet) to the island. The waters around this island are crystal clear, and its sand ranges from sparkling white to a soft pink hue. This island’s beaches are very popular with locals and visitors, so it can be a bit crowded in some areas. Travelers who want to avoid the crowds can just walk a little farther in, where they’ll find plenty of nice, quiet spots.

6. Spinalonga

Spinalonga

 

Spinalonga is an island fortress on the southwestern entrance to the Gulf of Elounda. It used to be part of the nearby Peninsula Spinalonga, however in 1526, the Venetians cut a canal through it to separate the two. The island was also fortified and, for many years, was the first line of defense for Elounda. From 1903 to 1957, Spinalonga, was used as a leper colony for people from all over Greece who were suffering from the disease. Today, Spinalonga is just a short boat ride away from both Elounda and Agios Nikolaos and is popular with tourists, who come to the island to see the remnants of the abandoned leper colony, the fortress and numerous old structures. However, visits to this island are limited to a few hours, as there are no accommodations on Spinalonga.

5. Heraklion Archaeological Museum

Heraklion Archaeological Museum

 

The Heraklion Archaeological Museum enjoys the reputation of being one of the most important museums in Greece, especially when it comes to its collection of Minoan artifacts and artwork. Visitors to this museum can enjoy seeing fragments of the original frescoes from the Minoan Palace of Knossos. The Heraklion Archaeological Museum also has exhibits dedicated to all of the periods of Crete prehistory and history, up until the late Roman periods. Highlights include statues of the Snake Goddess, the famous Bull-Leaping Fresco and the enigmatic Phaistos Disk. In addition, the artifacts found in this museum were all discovered in Crete.

4. Balos Lagoon

Balos Lagoon

 

One of Crete’s most beautiful beaches, Balos Lagoon is located near the town of Kissamos. Sandwiched between the small island of Imeri Gramvousa and Crete itself, the beach is accessible by boat or car. Visitors are greeted with a stunning vista created by an outcropping of rock that is surrounded by pink sand and blue and turquoise water. This is arguably the most photographed natural attraction in Crete, which causes tourists to visit in massive numbers. The months of July and August are the busiest.

3. Chania Old Venetian Harbor

Chania Old Venetian Harbor

 

This harbor was built between the years 1320 and 1356 by the Venetians and was an important trade center until the early 20th century. The harbor could not accommodate larger ships, so the port was eventually abandoned by big vessels in favor of Souda’s harbor. Today, though, Chania’s old harbor is still used by smaller boats and yachts. The harbor’s crowning jewel is its lighthouse, which was built by the Venetians around 1595 to 1601, and is one of the oldest in the world. Most people come here to enjoy a stroll through the harbor, sip their coffee or have breakfast with a view of the lighthouse or enjoy a meal in one of the many restaurants and ouzo shops.

2. Samaria Gorge

Samaria Gorge

 

Some sites require more effort to enjoy than others, and Samaria Gorge is one of those. Located in the National Park of Samarai in the White Mountains, this stunning gorge is a ten-mile downhill hike that ends at a black-sand beach in Agia Roumelli on the Libyan sea. It passes through forests of ancient cypresses and pines, then cuts between vertical cliffs through the mountains. Depending on a person’s speed and fitness level, this hike can take between four to seven hours. At the end of the trek, most hikers hire a boat to take them to Chora Sfakion.

1. Palace of Knossos

#1 of Tourist Attractions In Crete

 

Located some 5 km (3 miles) south of Heraklion, the Palace of Knossos is the most important and best known Minoan site in Crete. Knossos is also often associated with the legend of the Athenian hero Theseus killing the Minotaur. The great palace was built gradually between 1700 and 1400 BC, with periodic rebuildings after destruction until it was devastated once and for all by fire. Knossos incorporated numerous rooms such as the Throne Room, named for a large chair that is built into the wall, facing several benches. The main function of the palace is still under debate. It could have been used primarily as an administrative or a religious center.


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Top Tourist Attractions in Amsterdam

One of the most popular travel destinations in Europe, Amsterdam is a compact, charming and cosmopolitan city that invites exploration. Known as the “Venice of the North” for its more than 100 canals, the capital of the Netherlands offers easy sightseeing adventures by foot, bike and boat. Amsterdam’s well-preserved and appealing 17th-century architecture provides a quaint if incongruous backdrop for a city famous for its modern, progressive attitudes. From the city’s fine art museums to its colorful flower markets, from cannabis-selling “coffeeshops” to the red light district, there’s something exciting and unique to discover in Amsterdam at every turn.

10. Koninklijk Paleis Amsterdam

Koninklijk Paleis Amsterdam

 

One of three royal palaces in the Netherlands, the Koninklijk Paleis in Amsterdam is located on the western side of Dam Square in the center of the city. The 17th structure began life as the city’s town hall, but was converted into a palace during the Napoleonic Wars when Napoleon’s brother Louis was crowned King Louis I of Holland. Although the exterior was constructed by Jacob van Campen with sandstone to mimic the public buildings of Rome, the interior is a premier example of the elaborate Empire style of the early 1800s. The palace is still used by the Dutch Royal House for Royal events but is open to the public for most of the year.

9. De Wallen

De Wallen

 

De Wallen is Amsterdam’s infamous red-light district, the city’s designated area for legalized prostitution. The neighborhood covers several canals and side streets to the south of Central Station. More than one hundred one-room apartments are rented by sex workers who entice onlookers from behind windows illuminated with red lights. A strong police presence keeps the neighborhood safe. Although taking pictures is not allowed, visitors are welcome. As the oldest section in Amsterdam, the district is also home to several historic buildings, including the city’s oldest church, the Gothic-style Oude Kerk.

8. Scheepvaartmuseum

Scheepvaartmuseum

 

Artifacts from Amsterdam’s rich nautical history are housed within the Scheepvaartmuseum, or National Maritime Museum. Formerly a naval storehouse constructed in 1656, the museum features 18 rooms of exhibits and artifacts. Sea trade made Amsterdam the world’s wealthiest city during the 1600s, and this multi-story museum demonstrates how the Dutch dominated the seas with exhibits that range from depictions of historical sea battles to artfully drawn maps and 17th-century weapons. The museum’s collection of carvings also gives visitors an up-close look at how sailors passed their time while at sea. Moored outside the museum is a replica of the Amsterdam, an 18th-century ship which sailed between the Netherlands and the East Indies.

7. Vondelpark

Vondelpark

 

Named Nieuwe Park when it opened in 1865, Vondelpark is located in the Oud-Zuid, or Old South district of Amsterdam to the west of the city’s Museum Square. The park earned its current name after a statue of the Joost van den Vondel was placed in the park in 1867. Designed and crafted by sculptor Louis Royer, the statue of the famous 17th-century Dutch poet and playwright became such a familiar landmark that people began to call the park Vondelpark. The park serves as a popular gathering spot for locals and tourists. It’s a place where people can relax, play sports on the grass, bike along pathways and enjoy a herring sandwich or Dutch beer at one of the park’s horeca facilities.

6. Bloemenmarkt

Bloemenmarkt

 

Located between Muntplein and Koningsplein on the south bank of the Singel canal, the Bloemenmarkt is the world’s only floating flower market. Seven days a weeks, flower sellers load stands and floating barges with all of the flowers and bulbs for which the Netherlands is famous. Founded in 1862, the Bloemenmarkt includes more than a dozen different florists and garden shops as well as souvenir stalls. Although locals shop here too, the market is primarily designed to cater to tourists. The bulbs offered for sale have been designated as ready for export, so visitors can purchase tulip, daffodil, narcissus and other bulbs as a lasting memento of their trip to Amsterdam.

5. Anne Frank House

Anne Frank House
Amsterdam’s most visited attraction, the Anne Frank Huis is situated along the Prinsengracht canal. The structure that once hid Anne Frank, her family and four other Jewish people from the Nazi authorities during World War II has been viewed as a memorial to the Holocaust since 1947, when Anne’s father published the diary that Anne wrote while they lived hidden within the building. A plan to preserve the building was hatched in 1955 when developers were planning to demolish the structure. The building opened as a museum in 1960. Visitors can view the rooms where Anne lived as well as exhibits that chronicle her all-too-short life.

4. Begijnhof

Begijnhof

 

The district of Begijnhof, or Beguines Courtyard, occupies the center circle of land in Amsterdam’s circular canal system. In the 14th century, the area was an enclosed courtyard that served as a residence for the sisterhood of Catholic Beguines. The Begijnhof wasn’t a convent in the traditional sense because the women were free to leave the order if they chose to marry. When the sisterhood’s chapel was confiscated during the Reformation, they began to worship secretly at the Begijnhof Kapel, a charming structure fitted with marble columns and stained-glass windows. Begijnhof is also home to the English Reformed Church, built around 1392. The city’s oldest preserved wooden house, which dates from around 1465, is located within the Begijnhof as well.

3. Van Gogh Museum

Van Gogh Museum

 

Located on the northwestern side of the Museum Square, or Museumplein, the Van Gogh Museum is home to the world’s largest collection of the artist’s paintings and letters. Housed in a four-story building designed by Gerrit Rietveld in the 1970s, the museum is one of the most visited tourist attractions in Amsterdam. Two hundred paintings from the Dutch Post-Impressionist occupy the second story of the museum. Displayed chronologically, the artwork offers viewers an intimate look at Van Gogh’s evolving style. The third story contains information about the artist’s troubled life and about the efforts taken to restore his paintings. Works by Van Gogh’s contemporaries, including artists like Millet, Gaugin and Daubigny are exhibited on the top floor.

2. Rijksmuseum

Rijksmuseum

 

Occupying the northeastern section of the Museum Square, the Rijksmuseum is arguably the most important of the nation’s arts and history museums. The total collection numbers more than one million artifacts dating from the 13th century onward. For decades, the collection was housed in buildings all over the country until 1876, when the architect Pierre Cuypers won a design contest and the construction of the Rijksmuseum began. Opened in 1885, the museum currently has around 8,000 objects on display, the most famous of which are paintings by Rembrandt, Frans Hals and Johannes Vemeer. Rembrandt’s masterpiece Night Watch is worth the price of admission alone.


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10 Most Popular Attractions in Corfu

Category : Corfu , Europe , Greece

In the heart of the Adriatic Sea is Corfu, one of the Ionian Islands. The Greek island of Corfu, also known as Kerkyra, has been under the control of many different cultures and nations, giving it a cultured and fascinating history. Corfu Town is the biggest town on the island, but there are many more historic landmarks, fishing villages, religious structures and beaches that attract visitors. Take a closer look at the top attractions in Corfu in order to understand all that this Greek island has in store.

10. Saint Spyridon Church

Saint Spyridon Church

 

Arguably the most beautiful of the churches on the island of Corfu is the Saint Spyridon Church, which was constructed in the 1580s. It boasts the highest bell tower in the Ionian Islands, and it is located in the heart of Old Town Corfu. The church houses a collection of relics from St. Spyridon, which belonged to the Voulgaris family until the 16th century. The church’s crypt also houses the remains of the saint himself in a double sarcophagus. Venetian silver and stunning paintings decorate the church, making it a truly breathtaking interior that even those without religious affiliation will appreciate.

9. Mount Pantokrator

Mount Pantokrator

 

The highest peak in all of Corfu is Mount Pantokrator, making the mountain an easily identifiable landmark for residents and visitors alike. From the summit of the peak, it is possible to see all of Corfu in one panoramic view, and even Albania can be spotted off in the distance. Hiking to the summit of Mount Pantokrator takes an average of two hours for a reasonably fit adult, but it is also possible to drive to the top. A 17th century church stands near the summit, reminding visitors about the strong connection between mountains and gods in Greek culture.

8. Old Perithia

Old Perithia

 

For anyone interested in history, or anyone simply fascinated by the traditional culture of the island, one of the top attractions in Corfu is Old Perithia. This village is the oldest that remains in Corfu, though it is almost completely abandoned. Located at the base of Mount Pantokrator, the town was founded as a secure location that offers vantage points to the sea but can’t be seen from the coast. Old Perithia still boasts eight churches and more than 100 traditional Corfiot homes. Travelers can walk through Old Perithia and see some of the few locals that still call the village home, dine at the few tavernas in the village and watch the sheep roam among fig and cherry trees.

7. Old Fortress, Corfu Town

Old Fortress, Corfu Town

 

On the easternmost point of the peninsula where Corfu Town is located stands the Old Fortress of Corfu. Known to Greeks as the Paleo Frourio, this incredible medieval structure was built in 1546 when the Venetians ruled over the island. The history of the site goes back even further, however, as a Byzantine castle one stood where the fortress is currently located. Separated from the town by a moat, the Old Fortress boasts two small peaks, or korypha, that are responsible for the island’s name of Corfu. Inside the fortress, visitors will find several British structures, such as the Church of St. George, which were installed in the place of the original Venetian buildings.

6. Kassiopi

Kassiopi

 

The northeast section of Corfu is home to Kassiopi, a scenic coastal resort that is popular with travelers from around the world. Brits, in particular, gravitate to the resort’s large beaches, fantastic eateries and relaxed atmosphere. Kassiopi is said to have been founded in the third century BC, and a Byzantine fortress still stands on a hill overlooking the town and its beaches. On the pebble beach, all kinds of recreational activities are available, letting visitors enjoy parasailing, horseback riding, scuba diving and swimming.

5. Canal D’Amour, Sidari

Canal D'Amour, Sidari

 

On the western side of the island are several popular resort areas, most of which are busy year-round thanks to international tourism. One, called Sidari, is especially popular thanks to its proximity to a natural landmark known as the Canal de l’Amour. Accessible on foot right at one end of the beach, the Canal de l’Amour is a series of narrow inlets created by sandstone cliffs. Each of the inlets offers something unique, ranging from a pristine strip of white sand to paths that lead to gorgeous stone archways or hidden caverns. Thanks to the cliffs, the inlets are protected by the winds, making them a great place to soak up the sun on cooler days.

4. Vlacherna Monastery

Vlacherna Monastery

 

One of the most iconic landmarks, and one closely associated with the Corfu’s history, is the Vlacherna Monastery. The woman’s monastery is located on a tiny island off the coast. In order to access the island, which is almost entirely covered by the monastery itself, visitors have to walk along the narrow wharf that leads from the coast to Vlacherna. The bright white architecture of the Vlacherna Monastery, built at the end of the 17th century, stands out against the background of the blue waters surrounding it, creating an iconic image that is even more beautiful in person than in photographs.

3. Achilleion Palace

Achilleion Palace

 

One of the most beautiful landmarks in Corfu is the Achilleion Palace. As the name suggests, the palace was built with the theme of Achilles himself, so there is an emphasis throughout the structure on beauty, symmetry and sculpture. The opulent palace was built in 1890 by Empress of Austria Elisabeth of Bavaria (also known as Sisi), a woman known to be obsessed with physical beauty. After the death of her son in 1889, she threw herself into the creation of Achilleion Palace, which served as a summer palace for decades. Visiting the palace today offers the chance to see inside the refurbished rooms as well as the sculpture garden, including the noteworthy sculpture of Achilles dying.

2. Paleokastritsa Beach

Paleokastritsa Beach

 

Paleokastritsa, which translates to the place of the old castle, is a small village in the northwest of Corfu Island. Although there are several monasteries and churches of historic significance located there, the biggest attraction is the main beach. A paved promenade hugs the coast, offering the chance to walk alongside the sand and enjoy views of the water. The beach is a fantastic spot for swimming or sailing, and several restaurants are just steps from the water, serving up coffee, drinks or Corfu’s many culinary specialtie

1. Corfu Old Town

#1 of Attractions In Corfu

 

Arguably the most popular sight in all of Corfu is the Old Town, which is definitely the hub of the island and the spot where visitors will find the greatest concentration of noteworthy historic attractions. Of particular significance is the Palace of St. Michael and St. George, or Palaia Anaktora, which was built in the 19th century and now houses the extensive collections in the Museum of Modern Art. Also in Corfu Old Town is the Esplanade, a promenade and park built by the French when Napoleon was in power. Truly reminiscent of France, the Esplanade is a popular spot in which to stroll and take in the beauty of the Old Town.


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Knossos Palace, Crete

Unravel the Secrets of Knossos Palace in Crete

Knossos, the largest Bronze Age archaeological site found on the island of Crete, was the political and ceremonial center of the Minoan culture and civilization. It consisted of an ancient Palace as well as the city that surrounded it. The area is located south of the modern-day city of Iraklion, which is on the north coast of Crete.

Knossos palace at Crete

Archaeologists believe that Knossos was first inhabited during Neolithic times, starting around 6,000 B.C. However, the First Palace on the site was not built until around 1,900 B.C. on top of the ruins of the previous settlements. Around 1,700 B.C., an earthquake or foreign invaders destroyed this Palace, along with other palaces on Crete. Almost immediately, the Palace was rebuilt on a grander but less massive scale.

Archaeological Site of Knossos Palace on the Crete Island, Greece

In 1894, Sir Arthur Evans discovered the Palace of Knossos. However, it was not until 1900 that he and his team were able to start the excavation of the site. His restoration work has been the source of frantic controversy among archeologists ever since, though it does provide the visitor a sense of what the palace might have looked like.

Aged fresco of three women profiles in Knossos

One of the most interesting discoveries in the Palace of Knossos was the large number of murals that decorated the walls. These paintings portrayed a non-militaristic society, one whose activities included fishing, athletic competitions and rituals such as acrobatics on the back of a charging bull.

Procession Fresco

When walking through the Palace, a visitor has the chance to witness some of the amazing frescoes that adorn the walls in several sections. Most of these frescoes are reconstructions by Piet de Jong, and were often recreated from only a few bits of painted plaster. Many original and reconstructed frescoes are housed in the Heraklion Archaeological Museum, with replicas of them adorning the Palace. Many contain paints that are still vivid after 4,000 years. For instance, upon entering the Palace, one can view the stunning Fresco of the Procession. Other frescoes, entitled the Parisianne, Cup Barer and Tripartite Shrine, adorn an area of the Palace called the Piano Nobile, which is a large courtyard.

Dolphins

One of the most popular frescoes, found in the Queen’s Apartments, is the Dolphin Fresco. A replica of this work is found over a doorway in the apartment, while the original is displayed in the Heraklion Archaeological Museum. This fresco, with its bright colors, is considered one of the most striking works of Minoan art within the Palace of Knossos.

Throne room

The Palace incorporated numerous rooms. One of the most dramatic was the Throne Room. It consisted of a large chair, built into the wall, facing several benches. In addition, this room included a tank, which archaeologists believe was an aquarium. On the south wall is a fresco depicting mythical beasts called griffins, with a lion’s body and an eagle’s head.

Tourists

 

One of the most interesting aspects of the Palace of Knossos is its place in Greek mythology. Many myths seem to be based on various aspects of the Palace. These include Daedalus building a Palace with no exit, Icarus traveling to the sun with his wax wings and the Theseus fighting and killing the Minotaur in the Labyrinth.

Jars

 

A walk through the Palace of Knossos allows the visitor to view all the unique aspects of this ancient building as it was in the past. In addition, doing so allows them to take a step into Greek mythology, something that they may only have experienced through a book.


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10 Top Tourist Attractions in Greece

Tags :

Category : Europe , Greece

Greece is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world. With over sixty inhabited islands, historic sites that span four millennia, idyllic beaches and towering mountain ranges there is a wide variety of tourist attractions in Greece to explore. And despite the debt crisis with credit downgrades and protest by day, Greece as a travel destination is as popular as it has ever been.

10. Mount Athos

Mount Athos

 

Mount Athos is a mountain and a peninsula in northern Greece. The peninsula, the easternmost “leg” of the larger Halkidiki peninsula houses some 1,400 monks in 20 Eastern Orthodox monasteries. An autonomous state under Greek sovereignty, entry into Mount Athos is strictly controlled and only males are allowed entrance.

9. Mystras

Mystras

 

Situated near ancient Sparta, Mystras served as the capital of the Peloponnesus in the 14th and 15th centuries, ruled by relatives of the Byzantine emperor. The site remained inhabited throughout the Ottoman period but was abandoned in 1832, leaving only the breathtaking medieval ruins, standing in a beautiful landscape.

8. Lindos

Lindos

 

Lindos is a medieval village on the island of Rhodes that is made up of a network of cobbled streets amid whitewashed houses. Above the town rises the acropolis of Lindos, offering spectacular views of the surrounding harbors and coastline. Lindos beach and Saint Pauls beach are only a short distance from the town center.

7. Samaria Gorge

Samaria Gorge

 

The Samariá Gorge is a 16 km (10 miles) long canyon in southwest Crete. Walking the Samariá Gorge is extremely popular and more than a quarter million tourists do so each year. The walk takes 4 to 7 hours and passes through forests of ancient cypresses and pines, then cuts between vertical cliffs through the mountains to emerge at Agia Roumeli on the Libyan sea.

6. Myrtos Beach

Myrtos Beach

 

Located in the north-west of Kefalonia, Myrtos Beach is world-famous for the magical colors of the water. The blue and turquoise colors of the sea contrast sharply with the bright white of the smooth marble pebbles of the beach. The steep mountains and tall cliffs behind Myrtos beach only add to its beauty. For all these reasons Myrtos has previously been voted 12 times as the best beach in Greece.

5. Delphi Theatre

Delphi Theatre

 

In ancient times Delphi was the most important site in ancient Greek religion, home to the sanctuary and oracle of Apollo. The ancient theatre of Delphi was built on a hill giving spectators a view of the entire sanctuary and the spectacular landscape below. It was originally built in the 4th and could seat 5,000 spectators. Today it is one of the top tourist attractions in Greece.

4. Meteora

Meteora

 

Metéora (“suspended in the air”) in central Greece is a collection of six monasteries spectacular situated on top of several rock pillars. The first monastery in Metéora was founded in the 14th century. Access to the monasteries was deliberately difficult, requiring either long ladders or large nets used to haul up both goods and people. This required quite a leap of faith – the ropes were replaced only “when the Lord let them break”.

 

3. Mykonos

Mykonos

 

Mykonos is famed as a cosmopolitan destination amongst the Greek islands and widely recognized as one of the best tourist attractions in Greece. Mykonos Town (Chora) is a stunningly picturesque Cycladic town with a maze of tiny streets and whitewashed steps lanes. It is also known for its sandy beaches and diverse and intense nightlife as evidenced by a vast number of bars and nightclubs.

 

2. Parthenon, Acropolis 

Parthenon, Acropolis

 

The Parthenon on top of the Acropolis is one of the most famous Greece tourist attractions and a visit to Athens is not complete without visiting this temple. The construction of the Parthenon started in 447 BC, replacing and older temple that was destroyed by the Persians, and completed in 432 BC. During its long life the Parthenon has served as a temple, fortress, a church, a mosque and even as a powder magazine.

1. Santorini

#1 of Tourist Attractions In Greece

Santorini is a volcanic island in the Cyclades group of the Greek islands. It is famous for its dramatic views, stunning sunsets, the white-washed houses, and its very own active volcano. Fira, the capital of Santorini, is a marriage of Venetian and Cycladic architecture, whose white cobblestone streets bustle with shops, tavernas, hotels and cafes, while clinging on the edge of the 400 meter (1,300 ft) high cliffs.

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Dnepropetrovsk

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Zaporozhye

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Ankara

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Prague

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Sochi

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10 Top Things to Do in Santorini

Category : Greece , Santorini

Breathtaking views from soaring cliffs, whitewashed churches topped with bright blue domes and archeological treasures from a lost civilization are just some of the reasons that the island of Santorini is routinely included in the lists of the best places to visit in the world. Officially named Thira, sunny Santorini is the largest and arguably the loveliest of the Cyclades group of islands located to the southeast of Greece’s mainland in the blue Aegean Sea.

Santorini marks the spot of one of the largest volcanic eruptions in written history. The explosion created an archipelago out a single island and left behind the geological feature that attracts visitors to Santorini today: a giant sea-filled caldera. In addition to enjoying awe-inspiring views of the half-submerged volcanic crater, other things to do in Santorini include exploring Minoan artifacts and ruins buried by the ancient eruption. Famous for its dry white wines, picturesque beaches and vibrant nightlife, Santorini is a popular destination for visitors who just want to relax and unwind too.

10. Ancient Thera

Ancient Thera

 

Situated on high cliffs jutting out into the sea between the beaches of Kamari and Perissa, Ancient Thera features ruins that were excavated in the early 1900s. The ancient tombs, monuments and remnants of homes, churches and fortifications represent a broad range of post-Minoan periods. Standout features include Roman baths, 4th-century Hellenistic structures and a shrine to Apollo marked with 8th-century graffiti. Visitors can climb to the site from the beaches below or can reach the ruins by tour bus, taxi or private car.

9. Therasia (Thirassia)

Therasia

 

The island of Therasia makes an ideal destination for visitors who want to enjoy the sunny ambiance of Santorini, minus the crowds. The largest of the five small villages, also called Therasia, has only around 150 inhabitants. It’s reachable on the caldera side by a long flight of steps up the cliff. The smaller isle boasts the same picturesque architecture as Santorini, and the population shares the same traditions and customs. Whether enjoyed as a day trip or a weekend getaway, Therasia offers visitors an authentic Greek island experience.

8. Pyrgos

Pyrgos

 

Once the capital of Santorini, the inland city of Pyrgos sits atop a hill that offers stunning views of the island from every direction. The remains of a Venetian castle perches on the hill’s summit. Within the castle walls is a church believed to have been constructed in the 10th century. Relatively unspoiled by tourism, Pyrgos features some of the finest examples of medieval architecture on the island. The village is surrounded by wineries, many of which offer tours and tastings. The dessert wine known as vinsanto produced here is considered one of Greece’s best.

7. Museum of Prehistoric Thera

Museum of Prehistoric Thera

 

Located in the capital city of Fira, the Museum of Prehistoric Thera is one of Santorini’s most important cultural attractions. Opened in 2000, the museum features treasures unearthed at the Akrotiri dig, including an extensive collection of colorful frescoes. A depiction of women gathering saffron from crocus flowers offers insight into the daily lives of the island’s early inhabitants. While frescoes of swallows are easy to understand, as swallows still roost on the cliffs of the caldera, a depiction of blue monkeys has scholars baffled. Historians have found no evidence that monkeys ever lived on Santorini.

6. Kamari Beach

Kamari Beach

 

The largest beach on Santorini and the most popular, Kamari is located along the seashore of the village of the same name. The town and beach get their name from the small arch or “kamara” wedged into the cliffs at the southern end of the beach, the remains of a shrine dedicated to Poseidon. Notable for its black sand and pebbled shoreline, Kamari is the most developed beach on the island, and the beach is lined with hotels, bars and nightclubs. Next to sunbathing and people watching, snorkeling and scuba diving are popular activities.

5. Akrotiri Excavations

Akrotiri Excavations

 

Known as the “Minoan Pompeii”, the flourishing town of Akrotiri was at once destroyed and preserved around 1500 BC by a volcanic eruption. The town wasn’t discovered until the 1860s when workers collecting dirt for the construction of the Suez Canal stumbled upon the site. An outpost of Crete, Akrotiri was settled by Minoans as early as 3000 BC and reached its peak after 2000 BC, when it developed trade and agriculture and settled the present town. Some of the structures are three stories high with stone staircases and stores of large ceramic jars and pottery. Recently reopened to the public, Akrotiri offers visitors a unique glimpse of what life in Santorini was like during the Bronze Age.

4. Perissa Beach

Perissa Beach

 

Perissa Beach is almost a mirror image of Kamari Beach, which is located on the northern side of the rocky headland separating the two stretches of black sand. With fewer restaurants, bars and clubs, Perissa is slightly less developed than Kamari and a bit less crowded. The sand is of a finer grain too, which makes it preferable for long strolls on the beach. Water taxis are available that make it easy for travelers to visit both beaches. A dive center located in Perissa village offers snorkeling and scuba diving trips.

3. Nea Kameni

Nea Kameni

 

The Santorini volcano’s grand eruption occurred nearly 3,700 years ago, blowing the top off the original island. Sea water rushed into the caldera, forming a massive lagoon that’s so deep that all but the largest cruise ships can anchor in the harbor. There are two small volcanic islands at the center of the caldera, Nea Kameni and Palea Kameni (New & Old Kameni). Nea Kameni is a barren island, visited daily by dozens of tourist boats throughout the summer. Visitors climb a gravel path to reach the top of the 130-meter (430-foot) high volcanic crater, where it is possible to complete a full circuit of the rim.

2. Fira

Fira

 

The capital of Santorini, Fira boasts one of the most spectacular locations of all the island’s towns and villages. Perched along the edge of the sky-high caldera, the city’s white sugar-cube-shaped buildings offer incredible views of the shoreline and the Aegean Sea, especially at sunset when the entire town is bathed in golden light. The central streets of Fira are filled with all kind of shops, jewelries, restaurants, cafes, bars and nightclubs and get very crowded in the high season. Visitors who arrive by sea can reach Fira by climbing the zigzagging staircase up the face of cliff. Less adventurous travelers can whiz to the top in a cable car.

1. Oia

#1 of Things To Do In Santorini

 

Famed for its stunning sunsets, Oia is a little bit less hectic than Fira and a top tourist attraction in Santorini. The village is also situated on top of an impressive cliff and features charming houses in narrow streets, blue domed churches, and sun-bathed verandas. One of the most beautiful villages on the island, Oia was once home to a prosperous merchant fleet that traded with countries on Mediterranean Sea during the 1800s and early 1900s. Although part of the city was destroyed by earthquake in 1956, remnants of its seafaring past endure. Elegant sea captain’s houses occupy the best part of town and offer the most impressive views of the caldera.

Cheap Flights to Santorini

Origin Departure date Return date Find Ticket

Athens

04.12.2018

05.12.2018

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Heraklion

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10.07.2019

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09.12.2018

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Moscow

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Larnaca

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Amsterdam

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Bristol

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Dusseldorf

31.10.2018

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Saint Petersburg

05.08.2019

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Gdansk

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Luqa

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Luxembourg

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Malaga

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Vilnius

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Edinburgh

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Samara

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Minsk

02.08.2019

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Novosibirsk

16.11.2018

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Ufa

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Rostov

03.11.2018

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Dammam

11.01.2019

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Saarbruecken

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Riyadh

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New York

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Amman

28.10.2018

04.11.2018

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Ekaterinburg

01.06.2019

15.06.2019

Tickets from 569

Casablanca

21.04.2019

28.04.2019

Tickets from 662

Kaliningrad

15.04.2019

21.04.2019

Tickets from 666

Bangkok

20.09.2019

24.09.2019

Tickets from 692

Toronto

20.08.2019

28.08.2019

Tickets from 824

Vancouver

01.05.2019

15.05.2019

Tickets from 826

Miami

10.02.2019

05.03.2019

Tickets from 856

Johannesburg

17.12.2018

24.12.2018

Tickets from 865

Perth

21.10.2018

22.10.2018

Tickets from 959

Fort Lauderdale

18.06.2019

22.06.2019

Tickets from 964

Brisbane

21.10.2018

28.10.2018

Tickets from 1 290

Manchester

31.08.2019

07.09.2019

Tickets from 1 327

Chicago

08.08.2019

10.08.2019

Tickets from 1 416

Orlando

04.04.2019

11.04.2019

Tickets from 1 459

Wichita

02.04.2019

11.04.2019

Tickets from 1 488

Melbourne

01.01.2019

07.01.2019

Tickets from 1 508

Philadelphia

26.10.2018

27.10.2018

Tickets from 1 917

Kharkiv

09.04.2019

14.04.2019

Tickets from 1 939

Nottingham

14.12.2018

18.12.2018

Tickets from 1 960

Denver

25.10.2018

26.10.2018

Tickets from 2 327

Seattle

23.10.2018

24.10.2018

Tickets from 2 796

Kutaisi

26.03.2019

03.04.2019

Tickets from 2 951

San Jose

22.10.2018

23.10.2018

Tickets from 2 990

Las Vegas

24.10.2018

25.10.2018

Tickets from 3 243

San Juan

10.04.2019

12.04.2019

Tickets from 3 731

Vladivostok

02.11.2018

11.11.2018

Tickets from 5 925

Hotels in Santorini Island: 5 stars

Hotel Stars Discount Price per night, from Choose dates

Santorini Princess SPA Hotel

★★★★★

-31%

271188

View Hotel

Andronis Luxury Suites

★★★★★

-6%

856805

View Hotel

Andronis Boutique Hotel

★★★★★

-32%

788534

View Hotel

Avaton Resort And Spa

★★★★★

-42%

334194

View Hotel

Alta Mare by Andronis

★★★★★

-28%

493354

View Hotel

Andronis Concept Wellness Resort

★★★★★

-11%

751665

View Hotel

La Perla Villas - Adults Only

★★★★★

-34%

299197

View Hotel

Katikies Hotel - The Leading Hotels of the World

★★★★★

-14%

766656

View Hotel

Canaves Oia Suites & Spa

★★★★★

-43%

817462

View Hotel

Lilium Santorini Villa

★★★★★

-9%

304277

View Hotel

Kapari Natural Resort

★★★★★

-11%

285255

View Hotel

Santorini Kastelli Resort

★★★★★

-29%

14098

View Hotel

Oia Santo Maris Luxury Suites and Spa

★★★★★

-20%

522417

View Hotel

Kirini Santorini, The Leading Hotels of the World

★★★★★

-18%

676557

View Hotel

Day Dream Luxury Suites

★★★★★

-11%

261233

View Hotel

Tamarix Del Mar Suites

★★★★★

-26%

169125

View Hotel

Acroterra Rosa

★★★★★

-24%

174133

View Hotel

Pegasus Suites & Spa

★★★★★

-21%

501396

View Hotel

Vedema, a Luxury Collection Resort, Santorini

★★★★★

-23%

415318

View Hotel

Astarte Suites

★★★★★

-21%

278218

View Hotel


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Finest Greek Islands To Visit This Summer

Category : Greece , Visit Europe

Your Complete Guide To The Finest Greek Islands To Visit This Summer

It is no secret that WE LOVE Greece! The climate, the food, the people, the culture and of-course, the natural beauty. Greece is a diverse country thats main landmass is part of the European continent… but… and its a whole ‘lotta but’, there are hundreds of little islands that surround the Ionian, Aegean and Mediterranean Seas that are just calling to visit. 

Take a look at our complete list of Greek Islands that are our travel lust for the summer, some are more readily know, but hopefully we have found quite a few that you have never thought of visiting…

1. Santorini

A beautiful volcanic Island situated in the heart of the Aegan Sea.

A Complete List Of Greek Islands To Visit This Summer (30)

2. Skiathos

A relatively small island that hugs the east coast of the mainland. Beautifully small with the most delicious olives you have ever tasted! YUM!

A Complete List Of Greek Islands To Visit This Summer (10)

3. Corfu

Situated off the west coast of the mainland, Corfu is a perfect place for beautifully blue seas and dramatic landscapes.

A Complete List Of Greek Islands To Visit This Summer

4. Serifos

A mountainous island that has very little development. Steeped in history… and lots of steps!

A Complete List Of Greek Islands To Visit This Summer (28)

5. Ios

Sunsets don’t get any better than Ios… easily on-par with Santorini for the best sunset!

A Complete List Of Greek Islands To Visit This Summer (24)

6. Zakynthos

A Picture perfect island that will being out all the travel lust in you! Just look at that beach! I’m in love!

A Complete List Of Greek Islands To Visit This Summer (31)

7. Poros

A small island that is actually two… confused? Well, Poros consists of Sphairia and  Kalaureia – both of which make this wonderfully unique landscape!

A Complete List Of Greek Islands To Visit This Summer (22)

8. Skyros

A hikers dream… this island is not only picturesque, the mountains will work your calfs harder than any rowing machine at the gym!

A Complete List Of Greek Islands To Visit This Summer (17)

9. Mykonos

An Island that is truly unique in its architecture and a perfect place to devour some local sea-food.

A Complete List Of Greek Islands To Visit This Summer (36)

10. Folegandros

Dramatic rock formations really bring this island alive in a rich diversity of mountains and flat plains

A Complete List Of Greek Islands To Visit This Summer (20)

11. Kasterollizo

Experience traditional Greek life, it’s not heavily discovered by mass tourism, so it’s a great place to experience a true, very Greek way of life.

A Complete List Of Greek Islands To Visit This Summer (35)

12. Spetses

A sailors paradise!

A Complete List Of Greek Islands To Visit This Summer (9)

13. Symi

Colourful towns mark the waterfront, which sparkle like jewels in the warm haze of sunset!

A Complete List Of Greek Islands To Visit This Summer (1)

14. Kythira

Cave exploring at its best!

A Complete List Of Greek Islands To Visit This Summer (26)

15. Kefalonia

Another Sea kayaking paradise! Beautiful

A Complete List Of Greek Islands To Visit This Summer (8)

16. Anafi

Idyllic, unspoilt wilderness awaits you at Anafi

A Complete List Of Greek Islands To Visit This Summer (3)

17. Samos

Only a few miles off the coast of Turkey, I felt as though I could swim across a continent! A beautiful island with great food!

A Complete List Of Greek Islands To Visit This Summer (13)

18. Ithica

A small Greek island that lends itself to a quieter way of life. Perfect to relax!

A Complete List Of Greek Islands To Visit This Summer (21)


  • -

Exploring Greece: on the trail of Alexander the Great

Category : Greece , Visit Europe

Stretching from Greece through the Middle East to India and along to Egypt and northeast Africa, Alexander III of Macedon (also known as Alexander the Great) created one of the largest empires ever to exist. Succeeding his father, Philip II, to rule Greece and Macedonia (today northern Greece), Alexander conquered numerous empires and many powerful kingdoms. Many important Alexander the Great sites, cities and ancient battlefields from his formative years are located in modern-day Greece. As a former archaeologist who has long been fascinated by Alexander III and the impact he and his father made on history, no trip to Greece was complete without a road trip along the trail of Alexander the Great.

Bust of Alexander the Great in his classic head tilt pose from The British Museum.
Bust of Alexander the Great in his classic head tilt pose from The British Museum.

Ancient Thebes: Alexander’s history-making moments

Loading up our rental car with everything we would need — plenty of hiking gear, good road maps (pre-smartphone era), a giant stack of Alexander the Great tomes, and a bottle or two of ouzo (the local Greek liquor) — my travel partner and I headed out of Athens in search of Alexander and what defined him as “The Great.”

From Athens, we headed north to the ancient city of Thebes. In 335 BC a fierce battle between Alexander’s forces and the Thebans was fought in and around the city. In the end, the Macedonian forces were victorious and razed ancient Thebes to the ground. This was the fall of the last powerful Greek city state and was a key victory for Alexander in controlling the Greek mainland. All that is left today of ancient Thebes is a handful of broken stones scattered on the once mighty acropolis.

The tides turned at Chaeronea

From the modern-day city that has grown up around ancient Thebes, we wound our way through the rugged, olive tree-lined hills of central Greece on a hunt for the famous ancient battle site of Chaeronea. The vast, arid land is a reminder of how hard it was to move an army quickly and efficiently through central Greece. After a few wrong turns and plenty of “Do you think this is the field where the battle took place?” we found what we were looking for — the colossal stone lion marking the burial of the Sacred Theban Band. The solitary stone sentry stood guard over the tombs of famous warriors and is the site where one of the most important ancient battles occurred.

The colossal stone lion marking the burial of the Sacred Theban Band, and the site of the battle of Chaeronea.
The colossal stone lion marking the burial of the Sacred Theban Band, and the site of the battle of Chaeronea.

In 338 BC, on a warm August morning, the combined forces of Thebes and Athens met the Macedonian army led by Alexander III and his father, King Philip II. Alexander and Philip’s forces won a sound victory. The Battle of Chaeronea marked the end of the powerful Greek city states and the beginning of rule over Greece by Philip II, and later, his son, Alexander. The Sacred Theban band was considered the premier fighting force, and to honour their prowess in battle (even for the losing side), Alexander buried the soldiers under the giant stone lion, which still stands to this day. Less than three years later, Thebes would fall for good to Alexander the Great.

View over the plains where the ancient battle of Chaeronea took place.
View over the plains where the ancient battle of Chaeronea took place.

Our journey on the path of Alexander continued through the mountainous region of central Greece to Mount Parnassus and the ancient ruins of the sacred site of Delphi, where the famous oracle proclaimed that Alexander was invincible. This prediction proved nearly true; Alexander survived many near mortal wounds, until his death (possibly from poison) in 323 BC.

The Temple of Delphi under the shadow of Mount Parnassus.
The Temple of Delphi under the shadow of Mount Parnassus.

Up close and personal with Philip II

From Delphi, we continued north into the ancient Macedonian region of Greece, driving past the legendary mountain of Mount Olympus, home of the Greek gods, and continuing to the original Macedonian capital of Aigai (known today as Vergina). Here, there is a large burial mound containing four tombs, including the sealed burial mounds of Philip II and Alexander the Great’s son, Alexander IV. Ancient Aigai was the original Macedonian capital before it was moved to Pella, and it’s also the burial place for the Argead dynasty. Archaeologists preserved the tombs inside the burial mound with a state-of-the-art subterranean museum. Wandering amongst the treasures Philip II intended to take to the afterlife, the opulent gifts Alexander III buried with his son, and the gigantic interior of the tombs, left us with a feeling of awe and wonder. Located at the heart of this massive mound burial site is a gold cask containing Philip II’s ashes. Aigai’s history does not stop there; with wide, sweeping stone boulevards and mosaic floors still intact, it is the location of both Philip’s assassination and Alexander’s coronation as king.

Subterranean entrance to Philip II’s tomb at Vergina.
Subterranean entrance to Philip II’s tomb at Vergina.

Where It All Began: Pella

From the site of Philip II’s death and Alexander’s kingship, we headed to where it all began — ancient Pella, the birth city of Alexander the Great. Pella was the capital city of Philip II and Alexander III’s Macedonian kingdom. Walking amongst the columned, stone boulevards of the ancient agora where merchants sold their goods, taking in the well-preserved palace walls and studying the beautiful mosaics that remain, I could imagine what life would have been like for the young prince, and future ruler of empires, as he grew up and learned the art of strategy, governance and philosophy — as well as the ambitions of a conqueror.

Walking in the footsteps of Alexander the Great’s youth on the boulevards, palace steps and ancient agora at Pella.
Walking in the footsteps of Alexander the Great’s youth on the boulevards, palace steps and ancient agora at Pella.


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