Discover the natural beauty, ancient architecture, amazing sights and attractions of the Greek islands.
Corfu Old Town
With its cobbled squares and tiny alleyways that date back to antiquity, Corfu Old Town retains its old-world charm. Palaces, museums, fortresses, gourmet restaurants, traditional taverns, cultural venues and a bustling port combine to give the city its unique character. There are beautiful arcades reminiscent of the finest in Paris, with elegant Venetian mansions lining the city’s main thoroughfare, Rue Kapodistriou. Add to that the Greek, Italian and British influences and you have a frankly eclectic architectural anthology.
The island of Delos, the cradle of civilizations dating back to 2,500 BC. AD, is one of the most important archaeological sites in the world . As the mythological birthplace of Apollo, god of the Sun and his twin, Artemis, goddess of the hunt and the Moon, it was the holiest site of worship in ancient Greece. You can visit the old port with its magnificent sanctuary, an amphitheater and houses.
Phaistos Palace, Crete
It is believed that Phaistos, one of the great cities of ancient Greece, was founded by the mythical King Minos of Crete. Overlooking the Messara plain, this remarkable archaeological site was discovered in the 1880s. Comprising the remains of a palace built in the late Bronze Age, this well-preserved site offers a fascinating insight into Minoan life . Another palace occupied this site before being destroyed in an earthquake and some remains remain.
Rhodes Old Town
This medieval citadel in the heart of Rhodes Town, the capital of the island of Rhodes, is a ‘living museum’ showcasing the old quarter and the medieval quarter of the city. The Knights Hospitaller occupied the city from 1309 and transformed it into a formidable fortress. But in 1522, the knights were defeated by the sultan of the Ottoman Empire, Suleiman the Magnificent. The walled city has remarkable buildings from these two periods, including the Palace of the Grand Master, the Rue des Chevaliers, mosques and hammams.
The Monastery of St. John the Theologian, Patmos
It is on the island of Patmos that Saint John is said to have written, in the year 95, the Book of Revelations or the Apocalypse, the last book of the New Testament. It is said that he lived the life of a hermit in a cave in the ancient city of Hora where he received apocalyptic visions of Jesus Christ that compelled him to write the work. The Cave of the Apocalypse is near the complex of the Monastery of St. John the Theologian, built in his honor in 1088. Hora, the cave and the monastery have been designated UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
Nea Moni Monastery, Chios
Considered one of the finest examples of Macedonian Renaissance architecture , this UNESCO World Heritage Site is famous for its gold mosaics. Located just west of the town of Chios, dating back to the 11th century, the Néa Moni (meaning new monastery) was erected under the orders of Byzantine Emperor Constantine IX the Monomachus and Empress Zoe (R. from 1042 to 1050). According to legend, three monks would have found a miraculous icon of the Virgin Mary on the site of the construction of the monastery. It became an influential and wealthy monastery, but it began to decline when the Ottomans plundered Chios in 1822.
The Pythagoreion and the Heraion, Samos
The Pythagoreion, named after the ancient philosopher Pythagoras and the Sanctuary of Heraion, are two treasures of Samos. Now a bustling holiday destination, the Pythagoreion was an important port in antiquity, its fortifications serving as a stronghold against invasions. You can see the remains of the city’s citadel, the Roman baths, the port and an ingenious aqueduct: the Eupalinos tunnel. Nearby, the Heraion is a sanctuary dedicated to the worship of Hera, the Greek goddess of fertility. Its architecture is one of the finest examples of this period.
Knossos Palace, Crete
Knossos, a desert since Neolithic times, became a powerful commercial and political center when the legendary King Minos built his palace there around 1900 BC. The first palace was destroyed around 1700 BC. but this hub of Minoan life and seat of royalty was quickly rebuilt. Discovered in 1878, the second palace includes a maze of apartments and working rooms, the courtyard and numerous replicas of frescoes (the originals are in the Archaeological Museum of Heracleion) showing life in the Bronze Age. Knossos is the largest Minoan site in the world.