The Best Books About Greece to Inspire Your Travels

The Best Books About Greece to Inspire Your Travels

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Be inspired by this engaging collection of books about Greece! Enhance both your trip to Greece and your time at home by extending your discovery and excitement for weeks, months, or years beyond your time in the country! Get started today and dramatically enrich your understanding of Greek history and culture, which will amplify your experience of the country. I have asked seasoned travel writers to share the books they most recommend to other travelers and hope you find a few books on Greece that are perfect for you!

Table of Contents

Books About Greek History

The Hemlock Cup: Socrates, Athens and the Search for the Good Life by Bettany Hughes

The Hemlock Cup transports readers to Socrates’ Athens—the fifth century B.C.E. in the heart of ancient Greece’s Golden Age. The 528-page book is packed with historical information while remaining very entertaining and readable, which makes it one of the best books about Greek history.

Essentially a biography of the philosopher who left no writings yet is credited as the founder of Western philosophy, The Hemlock Cup recreates Athens as Socrates knew it during his 70-year lifetime.

The celebrated British historian and television presenter Bettany Hughes creates a vivid portrait of the ancient city devastated by war yet simultaneously giving birth to democracy.

First-time visitors to Athens will be struck by how many ancient structures still exist among the modern-day buildings. As Hughes muses, “Walking through the bleached bones of ancient sites, it is easy to forget how hectic they once were.”

But in The Hemlock Cup, she’s able to bring these remnants of ancient Greece back to life, enhancing your visit to Athens and encouraging you to seek out the streets that Socrates walked so many centuries ago.

Contributed by Carrie Ann at Should Be Cruising

The Greek Treasure by Irving Stone

The Greek Treasure is a historical novel about the German archaeologist, Heinrich Schliemann and is another of the best books on Greek history. Schliemann is still regarded as one of the most important and controversial archaeologists of all time, despite his lack of formal education in the field. Schliemann excavated the presumed site of Homeric Troy and the Mycenaean sites Mycenae and Tiryns. His profound love for Greek antiquity led him to live the second part of his life in Athens with his Greek wife, Sophia.

The book follows each step of his improbable marriage with a very young Greek girl and their journeys to unearthing ancient treasures. It also tells the story of their life at home in Athens from the 1870s-to 1890. Those pages will take you back in time. You will hear the horseshoes on Athens’ streets, the voice of the yogurt seller in the morning, and you will smell the fresh coffee in the Plaka neighborhood. 

When you look for the non-touristy Athens, you can make your way to their mansion, now a numismatic museum, and learn more about the couple that dedicated a lot of their lives to Athens and Greek treasures. It will also enhance your visits to the archeological sites and to the National Archeological Museum where many think that the famous “Mask of Agamemnon” was altered to look like Heinrich Schliemann himself!

Contributed by Anda Bartos at Travel for a While

Books About Greek Mythology

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Circe by Madeline Miller

Circe is the retelling of the life of the book’s namesake, Circe. Most of us only know her as the witch on the island that Odysseus visited who turned sailors into pigs. But Miller gives her a much larger role in Greek mythology than just that. As the daughter of Helios, the mightiest of the Titans, Circe is destined to live an extraordinary but difficult life. After Zeus banishes her to a remote island, Circe hones her skill in witchcraft and crosses paths with some of the most famous figures in Greek mythology – the Minotaur, Daedalus and his son Icarus, and, of course, Odysseus.

As a lone woman who stands against the wrath of the gods and refuses to conform to their will, Circe constantly finds herself having to make difficult choices to protect what she cares about. Madeline Miller’s story is beautiful, moving, and unlike any other retelling done before.

Circe is an excellent introduction to some of the most famous characters in Greek mythology, which makes it one of the best books to read before a trip to Greece!

Contributed by Maggie at Pink Caddy Travelogue

Mythos: The Greek Myths Retold and Heroes: Mortals and Monsters, Quests and Adventures, Stephen Fry

Mythos and Heroes are modern retellings of classical Greek myths.  Accomplished actor and comedian Stephen Fry has performed extensive research in the field of mythology.  In these two books, he brings these stories to life with a modern, witty, and sometimes irreverent flair.

Mythos focuses on tales of the Greek gods and their ancestors, the Titans.  You’ll find stories ranging from Zeus overthrowing his father to become the king of the Olympians to Prometheus’ creation of mankind.

Heroes spins tales of mythological mortal heroes and their quests.  Some are well known, like Heracles and his labors, or Jason and his quest for the Golden Fleece.  Others may be lesser known, such as the tales of Atalanta or Bellepheron, but are no less entertaining.

Mythos and Heroes will paint vivid pictures in your mind of locations throughout Greece –from Crete, the island of Zeus’ birth, to the Minotaur’s labyrinth in Knossos.

If you’re a fan of audiobooks, these are self-narrated so you can enjoy Fry’s delightful British accent along with the myths!

Contributed by Lisa at Waves and Cobblestones

Mythology by Edith Hamilton

One of the most fascinating books about Greek mythology is this classic by Edith Hamilton. Interwoven into the best Greek vacations is an awareness of Greek mythology and how it permeates both ancient history and modern culture.

Taking a deep dive before your trip will reward you with a much more profound understanding of many Greek destinations ranging from archaeological sites, museums, and live performances to the constellations you’ll admire in the night sky (both in Greece and at home). Your study will enhance your understanding far beyond your Greek trip, giving you a greater appreciation of both historical and modern art, plays, operas, plays, movies and more.

Edith Hamilton’s interpretations of the myths brings them to life and make them memorable. She also includes Roman and Norse myths in this collection. They are all digestible and relatable to the modern reader, which connects us more intimately to the ancient Greeks.

Contributed by Erica at Trip Scholars

Travel Books About Greece

Rick Steves Greece: Athens and the Peloponnese

A good travel guide is an inspiring early choice in planning many trips and Rick Steves Greece: Athens and the Peloponnese is one of the top books on Greece travel. Like all the guidebooks in the extensive series it is overflowing with tips, educational snippets, and helpful suggestions for what to see and how best to plan your trip. Even if you don’t like to have an itinerary, it is useful to know what sites are closed or have reduced rates on particular days and how to save money and time as you explore.

As one of the best Greece books, it provides plenty of ideas to kindle your excitement in the early stages of dreaming up your trip, as well as practical tips as you narrow in on your favorites. Just like most of the RS books, it is meant to be taken apart so you can bring smaller sections with you instead of lugging the whole book on each day’s adventures. The included walking tours are a highlight, although you might prefer his audio guides of the tours, which you can download for free before you leave. The downside to this guide is that the coverage of some of the Greek islands and the northern part of the country isn’t as extensive, and in many cases is lacking altogether. There are some color maps and photos, but most are black and white. If you are a visual learner and looking for eye-catching inspiration, consider watching his episodes on travel to Greece as a supplement.

Contributed by Erica at Trip Scholars


Greek Philosophy Books

The Enchiridion by Epictetus

The Enchiridion by Epictetus is a book for those seeking to turn their chaotic life into a peaceful one. Enchiridion means “handbook” and is a compilation of the master’s teachings. Epictetus, a Greek born into slavery, is one of the most important teachers of Stoic philosophy.

This book is a simple guide for a great life. It is divided into short chapters, sometimes just a few sentences long. Each chapter focuses on a common human problem and provides simple yet effective and timeless advice to each. The first sentence of The Enchiridion encompasses Stoicism beautifully: “There are things which are within our power, and there are things which are beyond our power.” In an oversimplified nutshell, Stoicism seeks to teach us how to distinguish between those two and what to do with that distinction. It is really that simple and yet so difficult for us humans. No wonder this philosophy became a go-to personal operating system to many people during the pandemic.

Greece is where Stoicism began around 300 BC in Athens. To pay tribute to this practical philosophy visit the ruins of the Stoa Poikile in Athens. But if you wish to see where Epictetus himself taught, go to Preveza and look for the ruins of the ancient city of Nicopolis where this Greek thinker founded his school of Stoicism.

Contributed by Bea Cińska from PackYourBags

Novels Set in Greece

Zorba the Greek

The masterpiece, Zorba the Greek is an excellent book about Greece to read before your trip. Nikos Kazantzakisis is thought by many to be the greatest Greek author of the modern age. Although he is most well-known for Zorba, he was a prolific and controversial writer. His book, The Last Temptation of Christ was banned but he was also nominated nine times for a Nobel Prize in literature.

It is one of the best Greece books in large part because of the memorable character Zorba himself. Zorba’s great zest for life and ability to laugh and dance despite, and alongside, his deep suffering is something most of us can reflect on at a very personal level. Zorba is sharply contrasted against the bookish and intellectual narrator. This difference invites exploration of the philosophical dichotomies of God and man, mind and body, and freedom and responsibility.

It is an excellent Greek book to read before a trip because it will provide a window into life in a small village in post WWII Crete (where the author grew up). It will also acquaint you with Kazantzakisis and his impact on Greece’s intellectual and literary history. If you visit Crete, you can stop to pay your respects at his tomb in Heraklion.

Contributed by Erica at Trip Scholars

Read more about the film, Zorba the Greek and the biopic, Kazantzakis in our article Best Movies to Watch in Greece Before Your Trip.

Captain Corelli’s Mandolin by Louis de Bernieres

Kefalonia in Greece became widely known after the moving novel Captain Corelli’s Mandolin. This beautiful Ionian island provides the perfect setting for battle and romance. When WWII struck, Kefalonia was under Italian rule. But when the Italians switched alliances and joined the Allies against the Axis, the Italian troops stationed on the islands refused to obey German orders to leave. As a result, the Germans slaughtered 5,000 Italian soldiers in retribution, an event that inspired this wonderful novel Captain Corelli’s Mandolin by Louis de Bernieres.

While the love story within the book is fiction, the novel itself is based on true events. The peaceful and remote island of Kefalonia, famed for its incredible beauty and light, is shaken to its core when World War II rolls on to its shores.

This book completely brings out the atmosphere of the era, the Greek idiosyncrasies, and will evoke the smells of pine trees and the ease of island life. It is a story about love and survival, an intimate love story set within massive conflict. It captures the soul of Kefalonia and easily transports you to colourful fishing villages on the edge of turquoise waters like Assos Kefalonia. It is definitely a must read before your next Greek holiday.

Contributed by Nicola at All About RosaLilla

The Island, Victoria Hislop

One of the most poignant fiction books about Greece is The Island, based on the history of a leper settlement in eastern Crete. The book follows the lives of several generations of one family – jumping from the present to the past. The story focuses mostly on the village of Plaka and the nearby island of Spinalonga which was home to a community of lepers during the 20th century.

The Island paints a vivid picture of life in the leper colony as well as life on mainland Crete, covering major events over the last hundred years including the Second World War and the development of medicines to treat leprosy.

This is an excellent book for visitors to eastern Crete – the story depicts Cretan village life, the landscapes and seascapes of Greece in beautiful detail. It is possibly to visit the island of Spinalonga today – easily accessible from resort towns such as Agios Nikolaos and Elounda.

Contributed by Annabel Kirk at Smudged Postcard

The King Must Die by Mary Renault

If you’re taking a trip to Greece, you might hear a lot about Theseus on your travels. He was the mystical king and founder of Athens, as well as a hero in Greek mythology. Mary Renault released the historic fiction novel The King Must Die in 1958 and it was hailed as one of the best historical novels of its time by New York Times critic, Orville Prescott.

It tells the story of Theseus and his adventures, but without the mystical elements – no monsters, paranormal creatures or gods. It’s written in a fictional style, which makes it really easy to digest, but she uses real life events to tell her story. As well as learning about Theseus, you’ll take a literary journey through Athens, Crete and Naxos, as well as other Greek Islands. As you learn more about Theseus, you’ll also learn more about Greek culture and traditions from these tales set in Greece. 

If you find historic non-fiction really dry and hard to read, but you want to learn about one of the most important kings in Greek history, you’ll want to give one of the best books about ancient Greece a try.

Contributed by Louisa Smith of Epic Book Society

Nonfiction Books on Greece

My Ikaria by Spiri Tsintiziras

Did you know one of the many reasons to visit Greece is because it’s home to one of only five “Blue Zones” in the world? These zones have the highest concentration of centenarians and supercentenarians globally – people who are live to be over 100 and even 110, respectively. But what is the secret to their long and happy lives?

Melbourne-based Spiri, fed up with her lack of energy and her daily wife-and-mum routine, realised there had to be a solution for her feeling poorly. Intrigued by the people of Ikaria, a small Greek island considered one of the five Blue Zones, she takes it upon herself to start changing small daily habits and live more like the Ikarians.

Eventually, the chance arises for Spiri to actually head to Greece and visit the Ikarians for herself. She experiences first hand how much more connected people are to each other, their local cuisine and nature compared to her fast-paced lifestyle in Australia.

This is one of the best Greek travel books to help readers appreciate a different way of living, and to gain a better understanding of Greek culture and a new perspective on life. It also shares some delicious Yia-Yia (Greek grandmother) approved recipes and alternatives to modern nutrient-poor snacks!

Contributed by Alyse at The Invisible Tourist

Greek to Me by Marry Norris

Part travel memoir and part reference book, Greek To Me  describes Mary Norris’ love affair with Greece.  This book dives into all things Greek, its origins, words, gods, romances and more. It interestingly captures the beauty and complexity of Greece and its language.

Greek To Me is a brilliant book about the growing interest of the author in Ancient Greek, her travels, experiences with the Greek language and her reflections all described with great insight and humor.  The author also spends time discussing the history and mythology of Greece.

You should read this book before going to Greece if you want to learn interesting facts about the Greek language and how much our culture owes to the Ancient Greeks.  The more you known about Greece before you go, the more you’ll understand it when you’re there.

If you’re a fan of travel memoirs or a language geek, you’ll love this book. After reading Greek To Me, you’ll definitely want to book your flight ticket to Greece!

Camille from Everything Yoga Retreat

The Corfu Trilogy by Gerald Durrell

The Corfu Trilogy is a series of popular books set in Greece, the first of which is My Family and Other Animals. It is set in Corfu, one of the most beautiful island destinations in Greece.

Written in a memoir style, the book is a light-hearted account of the author’s childhood years spent on the island. Gerald Durrell, the author, beautifully weaves together the misadventures of his British family and the vivid details of the natural world. All through the humorous narration, you get a glimpse into the lives of the Durrell family and their interesting Greek friends.

The book also takes you through the spellbinding landscape of Corfu – its quaint villages, a scenery of olive trees, busy marketplaces, and dreamy beaches. Some of these you can visit with a private tour. The books were also turned into a tv show, which is quite enjoyable as well.

The story will certainly make you long for the idyllic life of Greek villages and inspire you to meet and learn the ways of the island’s locals.

– Contributed by Vidyut Rautela at triplyzer


Perspective: A Greek American Finding His Way in Greece by Peter Manouselis

This book is about a 31-year-old man named Peter who made good money as an investment banker on Wall Street and then unsuccessfully tried his luck as a screenwriter. He decides to leave America and move to his parents’ homeland, Greece, to live with his father on Crete. There he reconnects with his father and his other relatives.

On Crete he embarks on a personal journey, learning a new language and engaging with the new culture. He helps his father harvest grapes and olives, slaughters goats, and now lives a completely different life. The descriptions of the people, the food, and the stunning landscape of Greece are all really beautiful. His observations are often funny but also often emotional experiences, and there is so much adversity in his search for his identity as a Greek American.

The book reads smoothly and in a wonderful way it will show you to the island of Crete. A recommended read if you are looking to embark on a journey to Greece!

Contributed by Martina at PlacesofJuma

Bucket to Greece by V.D. Bucket

One of the best books about Greece to read before your trip is Bucket to Greece. It’s a fun way to learn more about Greek culture, language, and history through a travelogue that feels more like a comic.

Bucket to Greece is a non-fiction book about a British couple who moved to a small mountain village in Greece. They bought a house from someone who left out a few details about the house and the people around it as he sold it to the couple.

There are currently eleven books in this series. So if you liked the first one, there is plenty more to read. It’s best to read the books in chronological order. Though technically, you would also understand the story if you started with a different book.

Reading the books of Bucket to Greece before your trip will give you some firsthand experience before you’ve even arrived. You will feel like you’ve lived in Greece for months.

Contributed by Lara at The Best Travel Gifts

Greek Cookbooks

My Big Fat Greek Cookbook: Classic Mediterranean Soul Food Recipes, by Christos Sourligas, Evdokia Antginas, Angelo Tsarouchas

My Big Fat Greek Cookbook is a great book to read before setting off to Greece as it will not only whet your appetite for all of the delicious Greek dishes waiting for you when you get there, but also provide some insight into Greek food culture! This cookbook includes a variety of recipes for Greek appetizers, main courses, and plenty of desserts. As a vegetarian, my personal favorite is the walnut cake.

I highly recommend reading My Big Fat Greek Cookbook, or any authentic Greek cookbook, before your first trip to Greece – because it will enhance your appreciation for all of the yummy food you’ll get to enjoy! It will add context to which of your dishes traditional classics – engrained into the culture – and which are modernly influenced. It will also enable you to know ahead of time which meals you would like to seek out when choosing restaurants so that you don’t miss any classics! Kalí óreksi!

Contributed by Jill Mascioli at


I hope you have found a book about Greece you can enjoy today! Even if your trip is months or years away, you can enjoy the wonder of Greece right now. Have you read any of these? What did you think of them? What are your top book recommendations for others who are visiting Greece. Tell me in the comments, I’d love to hear your thoughts!

You've landed in the right place! Tripscholars is here to help you extend the joy and wonder of travel far beyond your days on the road. Find travel education tips and inspiration in our ROADMAPS BLOG. Save yourself time and money by using our TRAVEL RESOURCES LIBRARY where we have already gathered top resources for you to enjoy from home. Tripscholars is where curious travelers come for meaningful travel planning and trip research.

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25 Famous Landmarks of Greece With Tips to Visit and Explore From Home

Greek Landmarks the Acropolis of Athens

25 Famous Landmarks of Greece With Tips to Visit and Explore From Home

 This post may contain affiliate links which means Trip Scholars may make a small commission (at no extra cost to you) if you make a purchase.  As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.  Read more here. Thanks for helping us keep the lights on!

Many of the landmarks in Greece have had a profound impact on human history and are integral to legends, literature, and countless pieces of artwork. You have likely been encountering these landmarks of Greece in your studies and and through popular culture throughout your life. Imagine visiting them in person!

Landmarks in Greece connect us to the country’s rich history, vibrant culture, and stunning natural beauty. They inspire curiosity and spark our travel dreams. Discover the most famous landmarks of Greece and learn more about them.

This collection of landmarks is especially for curious travelers, and we have added ideas about how to travel from home related to each destination. You will find entertaining and educational resources so that you can extend the wonder of your trip to the months and years before and after you visit. 

I’ve asked professional travel writers to share their favorite resources related to Greek landmarks so you can better appreciate and understand these fascinating places.

Famous Landmarks of Greece

Table of Contents

Achilleion Palace in Corfu

Landmark in Greece Achilleion Palace
Achilleion Palace, photo by Corina Preda

One of the most beautiful landmarks in Greece is the Achilleion Palace, also known as the Palace of Princess Elizabeth of Austria. Corfu Island is known for its beautiful beaches, but visitors will also want to visit the palace. 

The Empress of Austria, Elizabeth (Sissi), fell in love with Corfu and Greek culture, so she decided to build a palace here. Depressed after her son’s suicide, she bought the land on which Achilleion Palace was built, in Gastouri, 10 km from Corfu town. The palace was her place of refuge, so she left her mark on its decoration. During the world wars, the palace was a war hospital, after that a kindergarten, and later, a casino. Now the palace has become a museum and can be visited both inside and outside. You can reach the gate by car and, after paying the entrance fee, you will receive an audio guide in various languages.

The palace is impressive! It is decorated with motifs from Greek mythology and is dedicated to the Greek hero Achilles (hence the name). You can walk through its rooms to admire the works of art, the objects of the royal families that lived here and elements of Greek culture. The high position offers visitors beautiful views of the Ionian Sea and the green island. 

On hot summer afternoons,  a visit to Achilleion Palace in Corfu is a perfect choice.

Contributed by Corina Preda at Another Milestone

Travel From Home

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A scene from the James Bond movie, "For Your Eyes Only" (1981) was filmed here. Watch it before you visit the palace. 

Travel in Greece

The Acropolis

Landmark in Greece The Acropolis
The Parthenon on the Acropolis, photo by Trip Scholars

The Acropolis of Athens is arguably the most iconic landmark of Western Civilization. Most of the monuments we can now visit on the Acropolis were built during the height of Classical Greek Civilization around the fifth century BCE. After winning the war against the Persians, the great Athenian statesman Pericles (495-429 BCE) initiated much of the construction of the Acropolis. Democratic institutions, art, and philosophical thought all flourished during the Golden Age of Athens. Exceptional artists and architects helped to transform the rocky outcrop into the UNESCO site we cherish today.

The most important monuments on the Acropolis are the Parthenon, the Propylaea, the Erechtheion, and the Temple of Athena Nike. South of the top platform are the Odeon of Herodes Atticus and the Theater of Dionysus. The term acropolis is generic and comes from the Greek akron (highest point) and polis (city). There were many acropolies throughout the Greek world, but it is the Acropolis of Athens that has become a symbol of classical civilization. The extraordinary architectural and artistic monuments that surpassed those of neighboring cities survived for modern visitors to enjoy today.

To avoid the very long lines, get the Combo Ticket in advance, use the south east side entrance, and arrive before the gates open or late in the afternoon. Wear good walking shoes, you’ll be walking on marble; and bring water and a hat since there are very few trees offering shade.

Erica at Trip Scholars

Travel From Home

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To learn more about the Acropolis from home, watch, "The Great Tours: Greece and Turkey, from Athens to Istanbul." The second episode is all about the history of the Acropolis with tips on how to make the most of your visit. Enjoy the 14 day free trial to the Great Courses/Wondruim.

Travel in Greece

Ancient Agora and Temple of Hephaestus

Landmark in Greece The Agora
The Ancient Agora, House of Simon where Socrates reputedly taught, photo by Trip Scholars

The Ancient Agora lies just beneath the Acropolis and was the center of Athenian life during the Classical Age. The Acropolis was only visited on special occasions, but the Agora was where Athenian citizens (free men only) met daily. It was where commercial, social, cultural, political, administrative, and religious activities took place.  

There are many important sites to see within the ancient city center. The Temple of Hephaestus is recognized as the most well preserved ancient Greek temple in the world. It survived in large part because it was used as a Christian church starting in the 7th century. The Museum of the Agora is within the Stoa Attalos and includes exhibitions about life in Ancient Athens. 

Erica at Trip Scholars

Travel From Home

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For an in-depth exploration of the Ancient Agora from home, check out, "The Athenian Agora, A Short Guide to the Excavations" created by the American School of Classical Studies at Athens. It is authored by John McK Camp, the current director of the excavation of the entire Agora. It offers details about each of the archeological sites you will visit as well as a broader understanding of the successive cultures that influenced the Agora.

Travel in Greece

Ancient Akrotiri

Landmark in Greece Ancient Akrotiri
Ancient Akrotiri, photo by Monique Skidmore

The eruption of the Theran volcano 3,500 years ago brought an end to the Minoan civilization of Greece and blew up the island of Thera into five separate islands. The most well-known of these is beautiful Santorini.

At the southern tip of this small island, adjacent to the little fishing town of Akrotiri, is an ancient Minoan city that was buried in lava. Ancient Akrotiri has been called the ‘Pompeii of Greece’ but not many travelers have discovered it yet.

The site is covered by a tall roof to protect the site and walkways take you through what has been excavated so far of the city. Akrotiri was a wealthy city, and its residents were able to sail away and take all their valuable goods with them before the lava reached them.

The houses and buildings of this wealthy ancient city were three stories high and are being reconstructed. You can walk along some of these ancient streets and peer through windows into the homes that were so hastily abandoned.

Don’t miss this incredible ancient Greek ruin when you visit Santorini. Of all the locations for the mythical Lost City of Atlantis, this is the most credible place for the myth to have begun.

Contributed by Monique at Trip Anthropologist

Travel From Home

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Kids and adults will love the Akrotiri Board Game by Z-Man Games where players are ancient Greek explorers finding and excavating lost Minoan temples on the island of Thera. Just like modern travelers, Akrotiri board game players have to do a lot of Greek island hopping!

Travel in Greece

Ancient Messene

Landmark in Greece Ancient Messene
Ancient Messene, photo by Elena Sergeeva

Ancient Messene is one of the most spectacularly preserved archaeological sites of Greece. This UNESCO monument is located in the Peloponnese, built on the slopes of Mount Ithome. Those planning to spend some days in the area around Kalamata, should definitely add a visit to their itinerary. This archaeological site is not as famous as some other landmarks of Greece, yet those who do decide to visit this lesser-known jewel will be truly amazed. Ancient Messene is an entire city that was built according to the Hippodameian system. With every passing year, modern-day archeologists bring more discoveries to light from the continuous findings of the excavations. 

The site was built in 369 BC and the city was named after the mythical Doric queen, the daughter of king Triopas of Argos. 

The city was first founded in the 4th century B.C. by Epaminondas, a general from Thebes and soon became the capital of the Messenian state. The is plenty to see here from the theater to the Agora, the Vouleuterion, and one of the most impressive and exceptionally preserved ancient stadiums that have been discovered. Be prepared for plenty of walking. 

Contributed by Elena at Travel Greece Travel Europe

Travel From Home

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For those who might enjoy some extra reading, there is a book by Petros Themelis called Ancient Messene which offers a concise presentation of the archaeological site of Messene by its excavator and head of the restoration program. 

Travel in Greece

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A link to the official site with current admission information.

Ancient Theatre and Sanctuary of the Asklepieion at Epidaurus

Landmark in Greece Ancient Theatre and Sanctuary of the Asklepieion at Epidaurus
Ancient Theatre at Epidaurus, photo by Trip Scholars

The Asklepion at Epidaurus was the most important healing center of the Classical world and served patients for over a thousand years from about the 6th century BCE to the 6th century CE.

Epidaurus/Epidavros was thought to be the birthplace of Apollo’s son Asclepius, the healer. Today, the Rod of Asclepius has become the most prominent symbol for healthcare in the world.  Ill people traveled great distances to the sanctuary with the hope of being cured. 

The healing center included surgery rooms, a restaurant, dormitories, healing baths, temples, gardens, a stadium, and a theater. When supplicants arrived, they were brought to the most sacred part of the sanctuary to sleep, and their dreams or visions were interpreted to help plan their therapy. 

Visitors today can explore the archaeological sites and visit the small but fascinating museum with artifacts from the site, including many ancient medical devices. 

The highlight of the sanctuary is the Ancient Theater. Today it is recognized as the most perfect ancient Greek theater because of its remarkable acoustics and outstanding preservation. Visitors can speak softly from the circular slab that was once the altar and be heard by their companions on the top tier of the amphitheater. 

If you are traveling to Greece, consider visiting during the Athens Epidaurus Festival in the summer when live performances, often of ancient Greek plays, are performed. It is living history at its best! Plan to arrive and explore the sanctuary for the afternoon, stay for dinner on site, and then enjoy the performance.

Erica at Trip Scholars

Travel From Home

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To learn more about the scientific sophistication behind the theater’s acoustics, check out this article in, "Nature."

Travel in Greece

Aristotle’s Lyceum

Landmark in Greece Aristotle’s Lyceum
Aristotle’s Lyceum, photo by Konstantinos Livadas

Plato, Socrates, and of course, Aristotle all taught here. The space served many purposes long before it became Aristotle’s school. It was initially a sanctuary and eventually a public meeting place, military training ground, gymnasium, and more. 

After Plato’s death, Aristotle left Athens but he returned in  335 BCE  and began teaching at the Lyceum regularly. This is where he wrote most of his books and also collected books for the first European library. Alexander the Great, his former pupil, sent him books and plant and animal specimens that he used to create a museum/zoo/botanical garden for students and scholars to use in conjunction with the library. His focus on direct observation of nature was pivotal in the history of scientific inquiry. The surviving works from Aristotle’s library provide the foundation for much of our understanding of Classical thought.

Visitors today will find the site inspiring. While it is true that the physical ruins are not nearly as impressive as many of the other landmarks in Greece, the historical significance of the place is overwhelming. It has been enhanced by surrounding the excavations with a verdant peaceful garden and shady benches inviting quiet reflection. Located in the center of the city, it is a wonderful respite from the crowds and heat. It is easy to get to and the admission is included in your combo ticket.

Erica at Trip Scholars

Travel From Home

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Some historical background will greatly enhance your appreciation of the ruins. Reading any of Aristotle’s works beforehand will dramatically improve your visit.

Travel in Greece

Chania Old Town

Landmark in Greece Old Town Chania
Old Town Chania, photo by Exit 45 Travels

You will be captivated from the moment you step foot in the old town of Chania on the island of Crete in Greece. A stroll through the picturesque pedestrian only streets will show the unique blending of historical buildings with traditional and modern architecture.

The town of Chania, first inhabited in the Neolithic period, has had a tormented past with numerous invaders. As a result, the Venetian and Ottoman influence can clearly be seen throughout the town in various buildings and monuments.

The old town of Chania is easy to explore on foot and offers so many things to see, do and experience for travelers visiting Crete. The old Venetian Harbour area is the most popular spot for tourists due to the abundance of history, beauty and amazing cafes, restaurants and Greek tavernas specializing in Cretan food.

A stroll along Kondylaki Street in the Jewish Quarter will showcase the history of Chania. Here you will find Etz Hayyim Synagogue, the only Jewish synagogue left on the island, the Archaeological Museum of Chania, and the famous Leather Street, otherwise known as Stivanadika Street.

Contributed by Peta and Jonas of Exit45 Travels

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If you are looking for Greek travel inspiration, ‘Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations’ has a great series on the Greek Islands. In this episode, he visits Chania town and raves about the flaky rich pastry dish called bougatsa which is an amazing cheese filled filo covered with sugar and cinnamon. To taste this delicious Greek pastry, head to the restaurant 'Bougatsa Chania' which is also a very popular breakfast spot!

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Corinth Canal

Landmark in Greece The Corinth Canal
The Corinth Canal, photo by pavlemarjanovic at Canva

Another important Greek landmark is the Corinth Canal, a man-made canal connecting the Gulf of Corinth with the Saronic Gulf in the Aegean Sea.

The origins of this man-made waterway are old, the first attempts to make the canal through the Corinth Isthmus were attempted in the first century, but they were unsuccessful. The project was considered for centuries but did not actually begin until 1881. It took eleven years to cut through the sheer rock, and the canal was finally completed in 1893.

The canal is 21 meters wide and runs for 6 kilometers. It is important for transporting goods and passenger ships. It shortened the trip around Greece by approximately 350 km.

The canal is used by cargo and cruise vessels, as well as tourist boats. Containers are rarely transported through the canal due to its tight corners.

The Corinth Canal is a place of great significance for the economy as well as for the social life around it because it is an important trade route between the Eastern and Western Mediterranean Sea. In addition, it is a place one admires as industrial heritage and a gift from the past.

There are seven bridges crossing over the canal, from which you can admire the view. The most intriguing bridge is the entry to the canal, which goes down underwater every time ship is crossing the canal.

Contributed by Ania James of The Traveling Twins

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If you want to see how Greece and Corinth Canal looked in 1950, I recommend the YouTube video, "Corinth Canal, 1951."

Travel in Greece


Landmark in Greece Delos
Delos, photo by Zoe Elliot

For a famous UNESCO site in Greece, the island of Delos is not to be missed. Located just a short boat trip away from Mykonos, it’s easily visitable for a day trip from the harbour. This important landmark location is a well-known archaeological site, being the mythological birthplace of Apollo.

Once you arrive on the island, there are multiple walking routes available. Choose yours based on the highlights and the length of the route. Also visit the two museums situated on the island: The Archaeological Museum of Delos and The National Archaeological Museum of Athens. Both are accessible for you to enter as they are included in your ticket to Delos.

Contributed by Zoe at Together in Transit

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Read the book, "Delos-Mykonos: A Guide to the History and Archeology," which is perfect for learning about history of Delos. It's an advantage to understand the past and present of the island.

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Landmark in Greece Delphi
Temple of Apollo, Delphi, photo by Trip Scholars

One of the greatest landmarks in Greece is the UNESCO site, Delphi. It was recognized as the center of the world by early Greeks and some of their Greek influenced neighbors. The stone monument here, known as the omphalos, was thought to be the bellybutton of the world.

The sanctuary grew around a chasm in the rock that was thought of as the womb of the world and was earlier a place of Gaia worship. In one myth, Apollo slew the snake-child of Gaia who guarded the area, and thus replaced the mother goddess with himself. It became a place of pilgrimage and divination. For hundreds of years, major undertakings and decisions were only made after consulting the oracle at Delphi.

Within the Temple of Apollo, the priestess, also known as the Pythia or sybil, sat in a trance atop a stool and channeled divine thought. The priest interpreted her ecstatic speech into allegorical prophecies that he offered to the supplicants asking their questions. It was then up to the inquirer to decipher the riddles of the oracle and decide how to proceed. It is now thought that the Pythia sat over a crack in the ground that emitted vapors altering her consciousness, although some scholars think the priestesses smoked or chewed hallucinogenic plants.

A large complex grew around Delphi. Greek city-states built treasuries to hold their offerings to Apollo: their tithes, or tenths of the spoils from their war victories. It was also one of the four locations of the early Greek games. The complex includes a stadium, hippodrome, gymnasium and numerous monuments.

Visitors today can walk up the Sacred Way and see these important sites. Get the combo ticket and visit the Delphi Archeological Museum, home to fascinating objects found on the site.

Erica at Trip Scholars

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For a much richer understanding of Delphi, invest an hour watching the documentary, “Delphi, Bellybutton of the World.” It is by Michael Scott, a classical scholar and documentarian who is fascinating and entertaining.

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Landmark in Greece, Knossos, photo by Trip Scholars
Knossos, photo by Trip Scholars

Knossos is often recognized as the first European city, and it is a fascinating Greek landmark to visit on the island of Crete. The site was originally a Neolithic settlement with artifacts that have been found dating back to 7000 BCE. Unlike the Neolithic village cultures that predated them throughout Europe, the Minoans had a cities and palaces. Minoan civilization existed from about 3500 BCE to 1100 BCE and reached its peak around 1700 BCE. Knossos was the largest and most influential palace complex of them all.

The complex includes over 1300 rooms, sophisticated plumbing, a theater, and elaborate, unique artwork. The Minoans were literate, traded widely, and brought order to the region.

The civilization was named by the British archaeologist Sir Arthur Evans, who derived it from the legend of King Minos. He identified Knossos with the myth of the labyrinth, Ariadne, and the Minotaur because of the elaborate underground passageways and buildings at Knossos as well as the prevalent depictions of bull worship and bull jumping throughout the complex.

The techniques used by Arthur Evans in the excavation and restoration of the site highlight the history of archeology and are today seen by many as irresponsible and damaging. He restored parts of the palace complex with brightly painted reinforced concrete, an approach that is shunned by modern archaeologists. Still, Evans enthusiastically devoted thirty years of his life to the site, and we owe much of our understanding to him and his team.

Today visitors can tour the palace complex grounds on their own or with a guide. Guides are available for hire outside of the entrance, but the quality varies. You can also reserve a tour in advance using the link below. Be sure to visit the nearby Heraklion Archaeological Museum, which houses extraordinary treasures from the site.

Erica at Trip Scholars

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Before your visit, watch the documentary “The Minoans, Ancient Worlds,” by the historian Bettany Hughes. She is an author, television personality, and has been a popular history professor at Cambridge and Oxford. Her contagious enthusiasm for the Knossos, and indeed all classical history, will inspire you to want to learn more and book your travels today!

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Medieval City of Rhodes

Landmark in Greece Medieval City of Rhodes
Medieval City of Rhodes from the port, photo by Roxanne de Bruyn

A UNESCO World Heritage site, the Medieval City of Rhodes is probably the first place you’ll go when you arrive on the island. The medieval city makes up the majority of the Rhodes Old Town and its huge walls are still standing today.

The Medieval City of Rhodes was first built by the Knights of St John, who occupied Rhodes from 1309 to 1523, fortifying the capital of the island. Rhodes is situated in the Dodecanese Islands of Greece, near the Turkish coastline and the city was finally conquered by Sultan Suleiman of the Ottoman Empire in 1522, after a six-month siege.

There are many medieval monuments in both the upper and lower towns and there are also some impressive Islamic landmarks in the city. One of the most significant is the Great Hospital, built by the knights in the 15th Century.

Contributed by Roxanne at Far Away Worlds

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If you are planning to visit the Medieval City of Rhodes, consider watching the Rhodes episode of Julia Bradbury's, "Greek Islands" to get some more insight into the site. It’s an easy and accessible way to learn more about the history of the city, while showcasing the gorgeous scenery and great food.

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Monasteries of Meteora

Landmark in Greece Meteora
Meteora, photo by Haley Blackall

Perched on the top of 600-metre-tall rocks are the picturesque monasteries of Meteora. Centrally located in mainland Greece, the small town of Kalambaka sits at the base of these mighty outcrops. A hike up to the top of these Greek Orthodox buildings gives spectacular panoramas and also makes for one of the best views in the world. 

Of the many Byzantine-designed monasteries, six are still active today and act as residences to a small number of monks and nuns. Amongst the natural beauty of this area, the monasteries are also home to many beautiful artifacts and wall paintings, that helped Meteora reach UNESCO world heritage status in 1988. 

To best experience the monasteries at Meteora, start at the base of the ascension to the Holy Trinity Monastery of Meteora and climb approximately 45 minutes with stops along the way to admire the view. If you have more time, continue the trail to other famous sites such as the Monastery of Varlaam and The Great Metoran Holy Monastery. 

By Haley of Haley Blackall Travels

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To inspire your trip to Meteora, check out the James Bond movie, "For Your Eyes Only," which first premiered in 1981, where the Meteora monasteries were the focus of the filming and plot. The movie showcases beautiful aerial shots, the dramatic tall rocky outcrops and the history of the monasteries themselves.

Travel in Greece

The Best Movies in Greece to Watch Before Your Trip

We've got classics, comedies, dramas and children's films. We also have Greek Language movies films about Greek history and Greek mythology.


Landmark in Greece Mycenae, photo by Trip Scholars
Mycenae, photo by Trip Scholars

The Greek landmark Mycenae has given its name to the entire Mycenean Age, circa 1600 BCE -1100 BCE. The Myceneans were indigenous Greek people who were heavily influenced by the Minoans and other Mediterranean civilizations. They rose in power as Minoan influence receded. Located on the mainland in the region of Argolis, Mycenae was the central and most powerful town of the age.   

According to Homeric legend, Mycenae was the home to Agamemnon, the great Greek king of the Trojan War. It is from here that he planned his ten-year attack on Troy to reclaim Helen, his brother Menelaus’ wife. After his return, it is in Mycenae that he is killed by his wife, Clytemnestra, and her lover because he had sacrificed their daughter Iphigenia. Again, it is in Mycenae that Clytemnestra is then killed by her children for murdering their father. These stories have been retold in countless books, plays, and artwork—allowing the modern visitor to experience the site with broad and profound reference points.

The actual history of the site is laced with these legends and impacted the archeological discoveries. The archaeologist, Heinrich Schliemann believed the Homeric legends were true. When he discovered a golden mask and other grave riches in a shaft grave, he declared he had found Agamemnon’s mask (now displayed prominently in the National Archeological Museum).

Visitors today can see the imposing Lion Gate entrance; the cistern that allowed the fortification to withstand a siege; Cyclopean Walls; burial tombs; the onsite museum; and rooms of the palace that, may indeed, be where Agamemnon and other legendary figures lived.

Erica of Trip Scholars

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Enjoying any interpretations of Homer’s stories will greatly enhance your time at the site. Start with the originals: The Iliad and The Odyssey as audio books.

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Mykonos Windmills

Landmark in Greece Mykonos Windmills
Mykonos Windmills, photo by Dymphe

One of the most famous landmarks in Greece is the collection of windmills on the island of Mykonos. They are at a higher elevation than much of Mykonos Town, so they are visible from many spots. Also, when you come into the city by boat, these windmills are something you’ll immediately see. You can find this hill next to a beautiful area in Mykonos Town known as Little Venice. 

The history of the windmills goes back to the 16th century, when the Venetians ruled the island of Mykonos. In the past, the people of Mykonos used the windmills to mill wheat, which made them very important to the citizens of the island. Nowadays, they aren’t in use anymore, and the only purpose they serve is as a tourist attraction.

The architecture of the windmills is beautiful! Each windmill is round, white, and has a pointy roof, which is very characteristic of the windmills on all the Cyclades islands. The architecture of the windmills makes the hill where you can see the windmills also one of the most Instagrammable places in Mykonos

Contributed by Dymphe of Dymabroad

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"Mykonos Muse" is a great book that will make you want to visit Mykonos for sure. This book is all about the history and culture of the last 100 years, and it includes the windmills of the island.

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Greece Landmarks Olympia
Olympia, photo by Maggie McKneely

Every four years, the world celebrates one of ancient Greece’s most popular creations – the Olympic Games. At the archaeological site of Olympia, modern-day visitors can walk in the footsteps of those very first Olympic athletes who started it all.

Olympia was once the most important religious and athletic center in all of Greece. The area was first inhabited by a cult of Zeus as early as 1500 BC. The first Olympic games were held in 776 BC. Although very few original structures are still standing and it is mostly a collection of ruins, a visit to Olympia is still an awe-inspiring part of any Greece itinerary.

Today, visitors can wander through the areas where the athletes once trained. They can explore the foundations of the Temple of Zeus, which once housed a 42 foot-tall statue of the King of the Gods, one of the seven Ancient Wonders of the World. There’s also the Temple of Hera, where the Olympic Torch is still lit for every modern games before being taken to that year’s host country. The original stadium track, which once held up to 20,000 spectators, is also visible.

Contributed by Maggie at Pink Caddy Travelogue

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Before visiting Olympia, one of the best books to read is, "A Visitor’s Guide to the Ancient Olympics" by Neil Faulkner. It transports readers back in time to the 338 BC games and is a fascinating look at how things worked in Olympia.

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Panathenaic Stadium

Landmark in Greece Panathanaic Stadium
Panathanaic Stadium, photo by Helen on Her Holidays

The Panathenaic Stadium is a magnificent, horseshoe-shaped stadium in central Athens. The stadium is one of the most important historic attractions in Athens and is the world’s only stadium built entirely of marble. 

A stadium was first built on the site in around 330BC and was rebuilt in the 3rd century AD. 50,000 spectators could be packed into its marble seats to watch pagan celebrations, gladiatorial battles and contests with wild animals. As Christianity took hold and the events held in the Panathenaic Stadium fell out of favour, the stadium was abandoned.

The ruins were rediscovered and excavated in the 19th century, and the stadium saw its first events in centuries at the Zappas Olympics, an early attempt to restart the Olympic Games, before being used as a venue at the first modern Olympics in 1896. The Panathenaic Stadium is still the location where the Olympic flame is handed over to the new host city.

Contributed by Helen on Her Holidays

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To understand the history of the modern Olympics and the role of the Panathenaic Stadium, consider reading, "The Games: A Global History of the Olympics" by David Goldblatt. The book tells the story of the Olympic Games from the 1896 Olympics at the Panathenaic Stadium to the games of modern times, explaining the origin of Olympic traditions like the flame, the torch relay, and winners’ medals.

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Panagia Ekatontapilliani, The Church of 100 Doors

Landmark in Greece Panagia Ekatondapiliani, Church of 100 Doors
Panagia Ekatondapiliani, Church of 100 Doors, photo by Andrey Khrobostov of Canva

The Church Of 100 Doors is also known as Panagia Ekatontapilliani. It is situated in the capital of Paros- Parikia. 

It is an important historic landmark and one of the best-preserved Christian churches in the country. The church was built in 326 CE. According legend, it was founded by Saint Helen, Constantine the Great’s mother after she found refuge on Paros in a storm on her way to the Holy Land.

It is an exceptional combination of different architectural styles. Some of the pillars are repurposed from earlier classical buildings. The church was renovated by Byzantine emperor Justinian, who added the dome. After that, the church went under various renovations by the rulers across the centuries. It is a prime example of a Greek Paleo Christian church with Byzantian and post Byzantian influences.

A common belief about the church is that it has 100 doors. There are not actually 100 doors, windows, gates, or openings of any kind. Legend has it that there are only 99 doors that are visible and the 100th door will open when Hagia Sofia in Constantinople becomes Orthodox again. 

Exploring the Church of 100 Doors is among the top things to do in Paros. 

Contributed by Paulina of Paulina on the Road

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Panagia Ekatontapilliani is one of many important landmarks included in, "Lonely Planet Greek Islands." This book is an essential addition to planning your trip and learning more about the country from home.

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A link to the official site with current entrance information. You may need to use your browser's translate feature.

Santorini Caldera

Landmark in Greece Santorini Caldera
Santorini Caldera, photo by Martha Knight

Santorini, one of the jewels of the Cyclades Islands, is the result of a massive volcanic eruption – and its caldera is one of the most iconic natural landmarks in Greece.

This stunning island in the middle of the Aegean Sea is all that remains from a huge cataclysmic explosion around 1610 BC. This was one of the largest volcanic eruptions in recorded history and it created a vast caldera, which was then flooded by the ocean.  What is left today is a circular ring of islands, in the middle of which has since sprung new, much younger volcanic islands called Nea Kameni and Palea Kameni.

Overlooking the caldera and the new volcanoes are picturesque, white-washed towns, scattered precariously along the edge of the circular islands. It seems impossible that these towns have been built on such steep terrain, but when you get there, you’ll be glad they were. The main towns are Fira and Oia, and they’re delightful in and of themselves – but what most people come for is the breath-taking views of the caldera.

The views are wonderful all day, but they are spectacular when the sun sets. The west-facing towns have many restaurants and bars with terraces that allow you to marvel at the scenery – but be warned, they get booked up in advance, especially in peak season, so plan ahead!

Contributed by Martha from May Cause Wanderlust

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If you want to learn more about the creation of Santorini's caldera, National Geographic made a documentary film called, "Doomsday Volcano." This film explores the geological clues that reveal how that devastating eruption unfolded.

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Syntagma Square

Landmark in Greece Syntagma Square
Syntagma Square, photo by milangonda on Canva

Syntagma means “constitution” in Greek. The square got its name in 1843 when Athenians demanded a constitution from King Otto. It is still the place where Greeks gather to protest social and political issues. 

Around the square are the Greek Parliament building and the National Gardens. Visitors can watch the hourly changing of the Presidential Guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. For book lovers, the Public Bookstore has a rooftop cafe with a great view of the square.

A unique experience in Athens is watching a movie in an open-air theater. One of the oldest theaters is Cine Aegli just steps from the square. It is quite a treat to watch a movie under the stars!

Contributed by Bernadette Young of Book Retreats


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Syntagma Square is the usual starting point for a tour of Athens since it is a central hub for public transportation. A great audio tour to download is Rick Steves' "Athens City Walk". Of course, the tour starts at Syntagma Square and will lead visitors to tourist hotspots like Monastiraki square for bargain shopping, the Temple of Olympian Zeus, Plaka with its narrow cobblestone streets, and the Acropolis.

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Temple of Apollo, Portara in Naxos

Landmark in Greece Temple of Apollo Portara, Naxos
Temple of Apollo, Portara, Naxos photo by BremecR of Canvas

Undoubtedly one of the most iconic landmarks in Greece on the gorgeous island of Naxos is the famous Temple of Apollo. It is also one of the first views as your ferry enters the port of this Greek island in the Cyclades.

This incredible 2500-year-old marble doorway, also known as the Portara in Naxos, is set on the small islet of Palatia at the tip of the Naxos Port and jutting out into the Aegean Sea. It is believed that Lygdamis, the ruler of Naxos around 530 B.C., wanted to construct the largest and most awe-inspiring temple in all of Greece. Sadly, Naxos soon went to war against Samos which resulted in Lygdamis being ousted around 506 B.C. and the work on the temple came to a grinding halt.

The temple ruin is named the Temple of Apollo as many scholars believed it was meant to honor Apollo. This is because it faces towards Delos, which according to legend was Apollo’s birthplace. Others believe it was built to honor the patron god of Naxos, Dionysus.

Today, all that the remains are the three columned marble archway that you can visit free of charge by walking across the walkway that connects the mainland with the small islet. This is also a wonderful spot to enjoy some incredible sunsets from too!

Contributed by Marco from Travel Boo

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If you are interested in learning more about Naxos, as well as nearby Paros, then you may want to consider reading Denis Roubien's "Naxos - Paros - The Marble Greek Islands" that consists of travel stories, interesting imagery, and maps to depict the history of these beautiful islands. Not only will you learn about the Portara, but also a range of other fascinating landmarks and sights located on these beautiful Greek isles.

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Temple of Poseidon

Landmark in Greece Temple of Poseidon
Temple of Poseidon, photo by Bernadette Young

For those that love amazing sunset views, the Temple of Poseidon will not disappoint. The centuries-old temple has guarded the Cape of Sounio since the middle of the 5th century BC.

It is a little over an hour away from Athens and a perfect day trip. The calm blue waters beckon visitors and various tavernas dot the shore. There is a parking lot with a small fee and the site has a cover charge. At the end of the day, the sunset bathes the marble temple in shades of orange and the sky slowly turns purple. It is really relaxing but there can be crowds, depending on the time of year. 

The temple is dedicated to the Greek God Poseidon, the brother of Zeus and God of the Sea. In ancient times, people believed storms were signs that Poseidon was angry, so they lay tributes at the temple to gain favor and to protect their sea journeys. 

The temple is also mentioned in Homer’s Odyssey as the place where King Menelaus buried a helmsman, the person who steered his ship. In Ancient Greek Mythology, the area is believed to be the site where Athenian King Aegeus jumped to his death. The sea was named the Aegean Sea after him. 

Contributed by Bernadette Young of Live a Relaxed Life

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To learn more about Greek mythology read Edith Hamilton's classic, Mythology: Timeless Tales of Gods and Heroes.

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The White Tower of Thessaloniki

Landmark in Greece The White Tower of Thessaloniki
The White Tower of Thessaloniki, photo by Nisha Dalal

The White Tower is Thessaloniki’s most iconic landmark, gracing postcards and magnets throughout the region. The tower was built in 1430 when the Ottoman Empire took control of Thessaloniki.

Like most historic towers, the White Tower served as a watchtower for guarding the city against enemy ships. Despite the beautiful views and perfect location we enjoy today, during the Ottoman Empire it was a prison and site of mass executions. It was even known as the Tower of Blood.

During the First World War, the tower served as a communication center for Allied Forces.

The White Tower also houses a museum depicting Thessaloniki through different periods. There are six floors in the tower and a rooftop that provides lush views of the sea and city.

The entrance ticket to the museum is a bit cheaper in the off-season. You can also buy a combined ticket that includes the Museum of Byzantine Culture, the Archaeological Museum of Thessaloniki, and the monument of Rotunda. This ticket is valid for three days and hence perfect for two days in Thessaloniki.

Contributed by Nisha Dalal of Nerdy Footsteps

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Thessaloniki is a delight for history enthusiasts. To read more about the marvelous architecture during the Byzantine era, check out, "Wandering in Byzantine Thessaloniki." It also includes sections on Roman and Ottoman buildings. Apart from the gorgeous images from monuments, it divides the historical attractions into small walking tours.

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The Trip Scholars website is dedicated to helping curious travelers find the best in trip research. Entertain and educate yourself from home to better appreciate and understand your destinations. If you are interested in Greek Landmarks, you will love our articles How to Create Your Own Archaeological Tour and  Your Guide to Visiting the World’s Most Valuable Places.  If you are traveling with kids or teens, enjoy Travel Education: 11 Inspiring Ways to Plan a Trip With Your Kids.

I hope this collection of landmarks in Greece has sparked your curiosity, both to visit, and to learn more from home! Have you visited any of these landmarks or do you plan to go? What resources do you recommend to other travelers to help them enhance their trips? Have you used any of the resources we’ve shared? Please tell me about it in the comments so we can learn from you!

Plan a Trip to Greece: The Guide for Curious Travelers

This is a supplemental article, discover more you can enjoy before your trip to Greece!
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Hi, I’m Erica and I created Trip Scholars for curious travelers like you! I'm an award winning travel education specialist, best selling author, certified travel coach, and travel advisor dedicated to helping you learn through travel. Through my blog, workshops, and coaching, I help people bring more meaning, connection, and understanding to their journeys-- and their lives.
You've landed in the right place! Tripscholars is here to help you extend the joy and wonder of travel far beyond your days on the road. Find travel education tips and inspiration in our ROADMAPS BLOG. Save yourself time and money by using our TRAVEL RESOURCES LIBRARY where we have already gathered top resources for you to enjoy from home. Tripscholars is where curious travelers come for meaningful travel planning and trip research.

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The 35 Best Movies in Greece to Watch Before Your Trip

Movies in Greece, Beach in Greece

The 35 Best Movies in Greece to Watch Before Your Trip

 This post may contain affiliate links which means Trip Scholars may make a small commission (at no extra cost to you) if you make a purchase.  As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.  Read more here. Thanks for helping us keep the lights on!

We have gathered the best movies in Greece to watch before your trip. I have asked a group of experienced travel writers to share their top recommendations of films in Greece to enhance trip planning and enrich your trip to Greece. 

You can extend the joy of your travels and understand the country much more deeply by spending the months (or years!) preceding your trip by watching and reading about Greece. 

At Trip Scholars, we offer many resources and ideas to help you dive deep into understanding your travel destinations before you arrive. This is a supplemental article to our series of articles about all you can do before your trip to Greece. 

Queue these up and let your Greek adventure begin today!

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The Best Movies in Greece: The Classics

Boy on a Dolphin

Language: English (1957) NR

Boy on a Dolphin was the first major American film shot in Greece and was Sophia Lauren’s breakout role. It set the stage for many films that followed, but is also worth watching because of the scenery, story, music, and history. Most of the scenes were shot on location in Greece in the 1950’s which shows us the country and many of the important landmarks almost sixty years ago. 

The story begins on the island of Hydra with Phaedra (Sophia Lauren) as a strong, stunning, and poor sponge diver. In a beautifully shot underwater scene (that must have amazed viewers in 1957) she discovers an ancient gold and bronze statue of a boy on a dolphin. Working with her lazy boyfriend, Rhif (Jorge Mistral) and the town’s English drunkard doctor, Dr. Hawkins (Laurence Naismith) the three hatch a plan to find a wealthy partner to retrieve the statue.

Phadra travels to Athens and meets both Dr. James Calder (Alan Ladd) and Victor Parmalee (Clifton Webb). Dr. Calder is an American archeologist trying to ensure that archeological treasures are kept in the countries where they are found. Victor, on the other hand, is an unscrupulous wealthy art collector who wants to keep priceless treasures for himself. An engaging story unfolds as the characters struggle between the security of wealth offered by Parmalee and the desire to have it recognized as a treasure of both Hydra and Greece. You’ll see some early inspiration for later Indiana Jones films as the plot unfolds.

As with all classics, this film can be tough to watch through a modern lens. The Greeks are portrayed as uneducated and sharply contrasted against most of the refined British and Americans. The relationships between men and women are jarring to watch for the modern viewer. But, if we can see the film in the historical context it was made within, it provides plenty to think about. Also notable is the lack of Greek actors in the film, which has been a welcome change in more recent cinema.

Boy on a Dolphin is a great film to watch before traveling to Greece. One of the highlights is the authentic traditional Greek music and dancing. There are also many archeological sites featured that will inspire you to add them to your itinerary. It may also spark an interest in watching other American classics shot in Greece.

Zorba the Greek

Language: English (1964) NR

If you haven’t already seen Zorba the Greek, add it to your watch list today! It is based on the best-selling novel by Nikos Kazantzakis, who is arguably the greatest Greek writer of the modern age. Anthony Quinn dazzles us as Zorba, a quintessential Free Man. He vibrantly seizes existence, laughing and dancing in the face of life’s suffering. He expresses freedom (both the best and the worst of it!) more robustly than most characters throughout the history of literature and film. 

Zorba befriends Basil (Alan Bates), a reserved English-Greek writer who is going to Crete to resurrect the family mine. When they arrive, they stay at the hotel of aging Madame Hortense, played by Lila Kedrova, who won an academy award for her role. Most of the villagers serve as a sort of Greek chorus, without much individuation. A stunning exception is the widow, played by Irene Papas, and the mentally disabled character, whose reaction to tragedy in the film sets him far apart from the other main characters.

Although much of it is a comedy, you will also be unsettled and least one disturbing scene will likely stay with you forever. The film depicts life in a small, poor, rural town in Crete around 1930. The women are, for the most part, treated deplorably. Some claim that the film is misogynistic because of this but shining a light on such inequalities instead gives viewers plenty to think and talk about after watching. Kazantzakis frequently brings us to uncomfortable places in his stories, and we are often better because of it.

Zorba the Greek is an excellent movie to watch before visiting Greece. It is set in Crete, one of the most beautiful places in the country. If you are going to Crete on your trip, you will find the scenery especially inspiring. The soundtrack by Mikis Theodorakis is also exceptional, and you will likely want to add it to your music playlist. Perhaps most importantly, it offers a window into Greek culture of almost a hundred years ago– written by the great Cretan writer, Nikos Kazantzakis.

More classic movies in Greece you might like are Never on a Sunday, The Guns of Navarone, and Stella.

The Best Movies About Greece: Comedies

Mama Mia

Language: English (2008) PG-13

Mamma Mia is one the of the best movies in Greece and one of the best musical movies of all time! The movie is a musical that follows the story of a young adult woman (Amanda Seyfried) who is on a mission to find out who her father is before her wedding. She flies from the United States to Greece where her wedding and her mom are located. Problems arise when her mom (Meryl Streep) admits to her that there are three possible men who could be her father. Because of this, Amanda Seyfried secretly invites all three men to her wedding, and her mom is shocked to see her old lovers. 

This movie uses the songs of ABBA and a star-studded cast to showcase the beautiful islands in Greece. Most of the film is filmed on the small island of Skopelos in Greece where you get to see some of the local architecture that is highlighted in the film. Watching this film will get you excited for your trip to Greece as it showcases the beautiful scenery, lovely architecture, and the sailing culture of the country. I highly recommend watching this movie before heading out on your vacation to Greece!

Contributed by Shannon Lee at Adventuring with Shannon

My Big Fat Greek Wedding

Language: English (2002) PG

For someone who plans on visiting Greece, this movie is a great pick. It’s light and funny, and gives a comic, yet accurate, insight of what it’s like to be a part of a big, loud Greek family. The hilarious contrast between traditional Greek upbringing and a quiet, conservative North American family is simple, yet captivating.

The story follows a thirty-year-old Toula Portokalos who works in her family’s restaurant. While her family wants her to find herself a nice Greek boy to settle down with, she believes there is more to life than this. So, she takes computer classes and starts work at her aunt’s travel agency. Eventually she meets Ian Miller who she tries to date secretly until her family finds out. They then must learn to accept the unacceptable – a Greek woman marrying a “foreigner”.

Featuring lots of loveable characters, “My big fat Greek wedding” will have everyone of Greek descent appreciate and relate to its jokes and idiosyncrasies. While not shot in Greece, the movie portrays what the life of many Greek families is, their relationships, values, and traditions. A great way to get to know a country is by getting to know its people. And what better way to start than over popcorn and a romantic comedy?

Contributed by Nora at Go Frame the World

Shirley Valentine

Language: English (1989) R

Shirley Valentine, the 1989 double Oscar-winning film directed by Lewis Gilbert and written by Willy Russell, is the ultimate feel-good romantic comedy movie with lashings of glorious Greek scenery and sunshine to enjoy. 

Shirley (played by Pauline Collins) is a funny, charming, and unpredictable 45-ish housewife from Liverpool, desperate to prove to herself that it’s never too late to try to make your dreams come true. After her friend Jane wins a paid trip to Greece for two, Shirley joins her, only to be dumped at the airport when Jane disappears with a man she has met. Alone in a new country, Shirley meets handsome Costa (Tom Conti), who likes her despite her extra pounds and stretch marks. As she says yes to romance, she begins to like herself too. 

This clever, witty, funny, and thought-provoking movie was filmed in several locations on the beautiful island of Mykonos. Agios Ioannis beach, where Shirley sat at the end of the movie, awaiting the arrival of her husband, has become so popular with fans of the film looking for things to do in Mykonos that it’s become known as Shirley Valentine beach. You can also visit the Sunset Taverna restaurant where Shirley met Costa. In real life, it’s the sophisticated and vibrant Hippie Fish restaurant.

Contributed by Coralie at Grey Globetrotters

Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants

Language: English (2005) PG

The fantastical premise of a pair of jeans that fits perfectly on four teenage girls (with drastically different body types) may lead viewers to think that this movie is all about fluff. But it is the total opposite! Based on a beloved young adult book series, the movie is full of great performances by actors who are still stars today – Blake Lively, American Ferrera, Amber Tamblyn, and Alexis Bledel. 

The group of four childhood friends is spending their first summer apart – Carmen heads to South Carolina to see her father, Tibby stays in town for a summer job, Bridget has a soccer camp in Mexico, and Lena visits Greece to see her grandparents. The magical pair of jeans spends a week with each of the girls and leads them into adventures and plenty of drama. 

Greece is the stunning backdrop for Lena who visits Santorini and its hills covered in whitewashed homes with blue windows, doors, and rooftops. The beautiful southern Aegean Sea provides a scenic backdrop for Lena who spends her time drawing and eventually finds love. It is Greece, so tempers and emotions run high when Lena finds herself in a Romeo and Juliet situation with her boyfriend Kostas. 

The parts of the movie in Greece will make you want to visit and draw whatever you see. Even a fish market is worthy of your time to sit down, take in, and sketch in a journal or drawing book. 

I recently re-watched the film and I still enjoyed it because it is rooted in great storytelling and the struggles and friendships that we experience. 

Contributed by Bernadette Young of BookRetreats 

If you are looking for more movies in Greece that are comedies, you may also like My Life in Ruins. It’s a light romantic comedy where you’ll see many of the main archeological sites in the country. The sites are presented without respect to actual geography and it’s a corny film– but the scenery is excellent!

The Best Movies in Greece: Dramas

Before Midnight

Language: English (2013) R

For a charming romantic drama directed by Richard Linklater and starring Julie Delpy and Ethan Hawke, you must watch “Before Midnight.” The third installment of the Before trilogy (following “Before Sunrise” and “Before Sunset”), “Before Midnight” takes place on the Peloponnese Coast in Southern Greece.

If you’re unfamiliar with the Before trilogy, all films have a minimal plot, and instead follow a couple, Jesse and Céline, as they discuss life, love, and philosophy while wandering around an enchanting European location. While the first two films took place in Vienna and Paris respectively, the third film opted for a location with more stunning landscapes: Southern Greece.

Plot wise, “Before Midnight” follows Jesse and Céline as they take a summer vacation in Greece with family and friends. While the film begins with them cheerfully interacting with each other, their children, and their friends, they then engage in a fierce argument.

Regardless of the conflicts taking place, “Before Midnight” is an amazing film to watch before traveling to Greece, as you get to admire the breathtaking scenery of Southern Greece, with its sparkling blue ocean, delightful architecture, and enchanting small towns. It is impossible not to want to visit the Peloponnese Coast after watching!

Contributed by Mia from Walk a While with Me

The Big Blue/Le Grand Bleu

Language: French, English, Italian (1988) PG

The Big Blue is one of my favourite movies ever. If you are drawn to the deep blue sea and diving, it may become your favourite movie as well. The movie was written and directed by the famous director, Luc Besson. It mostly takes place on Greek islands, where we see two friends Enzo and Jack, growing up together. They both love the Mediterranean Sea and diving.

The story is built around a friendly competition between two freedivers who break deep-diving records without breathing equipment. Enzo (Jean Reno) is confident and surrounded by a wreath of admirers, and Jacques (Jean-Marc Barr) is a secretive loner. It is a strange rivalry. They are both lovable, quirky people who find peace only deep below the surface of the water.  

Their relationship is built primarily on the need for supremacy. Enzo, who subconsciously feels that he may be inferior, is constantly striving to confront himself in order to free himself from unbearable doubts. This complicated feeling is at the same time a source of tragedy and comedy, pushing the men more and more into their embrace and deeper and deeper under the water’s surface. 

The third character of the film is the sea. You cannot watch this movie without wanting to go to Greece to dive in the deep blue water. It will make you want to include plenty of time swimming and diving in the Mediterranean on your trip!

Contributed by Ania James from The Traveling Twins 

Another movie in Greece that is a modern drama to watch is The Two Faces of January.

Greek Language Movies


Language: Greek (2017) NR

If you have been moved by Zorba the Greek, or any of Nikos Kazantzakis’s other works, check out the biopic of his life, Kazantzakis. The film highlights major events of his life and how they inspired or influenced his writing. 

Many will be inspired by the film and the portrayal of the brilliant author’s struggles to understand human existence, his powerful religious journey, his evolving political philosophy, and his pride in his Cretan past. However, biopics are challenging, and this film condenses his rich life into two hours. So, it creates a shallower overview than admirers of Kazantzakis will want.

Travelers to Greece will benefit from watching this film for many reasons. You can admire the beautiful scenery of Crete. If you are traveling to the island, Kazantzakis is buried at the highest point in the walls of Heraklion, and you can visit to pay homage. You may be inspired to read more of Kazantzakis’ works or those of the Greek poet and playwright, Angelos Sikelianos, who is featured prominently in the film. You will also get an overview of Greek history that serves as a backdrop to the author’s life 1883-1957.


Language: Greek (also Albanian and Italian) (2014) NR

Add Xenia to your watchlist if you are looking for a memorable unique film created by a Greek director, writers, and cast. It is a coming-of-age story with unexpected twists, surrealism laced into the story, a fast pace, and an upbeat soundtrack. Teenage brothers Danny and Odysseus go on an odyssey of their own. After their mother dies, they set out across Greece to find their biological father. 

“Xenia” is Greek for, “hospitality,” and is the name of real-life state sponsored hotels that were created to promote tourism in the 1950-1970’s. A run-down and abandoned Xenia hotel is the location of some of the scenes in the film and provides a poignant backdrop as the film grapples with immigration, xenophobia, homophobia, and the economic crisis. Despite these heavy topics, the film is also filled with hope, creativity, and imagination. Plus, there is plenty of singing and dancing!

Xenia was well loved at the Cannes Film Festival in 2014 and won multiple awards at the Hellenic Film Academy Awards. Although it is tagged as an LGBTQ+ film, that isn’t the primary focus of Xenia. The film is somewhat erratic in quality, with certain scenes much stronger than others. This film isn’t for everyone, but I recommend it to anyone looking for something fresh. It is both campy and serious, jumping around quite a bit, and you can expect to be surprised. Give the film a few minutes to warm up, stick with it and you’ll be rewarded with a movie you will long remember. 

 Unlike some other movies about Greece, this is not a romantic view of the stunning beauty of the country. Instead, watching Xenia will give you insight into some of the current challenges in Greece. It will give depth and characters to the articles you read in the news. It also gives a realistic view of Piraeus, Athens, and other locations. There are some scenes that showcase the natural beauty of Greece, but there is plenty of grit too. Finally, if you are learning to speak Greek before your trip, there are scenes with slow enough dialogue that you can follow along.

Other Greek language films you might enjoy are A Touch of Spice, Brides, Little England, and Worlds Apart.

The Best Movies About France to Watch Before Your Trip

Looking for more great films? We've got you covered!

The Best Greek History Movies


Mediterraneo is one of the best Greek history movies and in 1992, it won the Academy Award for best foreign-language film. It is set during WWII on the easternmost Greek island Kastellórizo, one of the Dodecanese islands. It is directed by Gabriele Salvatores, written by Enzo Monteleone, and the main stars are Diego Abatantuono, Claudio Bigagli and Giuseppe Cederna.

In this war comedy/drama Italian soldiers are deployed to Kastellórizo. In the beginning the locals hide from the soldiers. But when the Italian ship is destroyed by allies, the soldiers become stuck on the island. They soon realize that they are abandoned so they start mingling with the local population. Locals see these soldiers are goofy, harmless men trying to survive the war. In the end, even love starts to develop between members of both sides. Adventures ensue and make this an interesting and entertaining movie. There are complexities as well as the director tries to label war as totally unnecessary.

In this film, one can admire the beauty of the Dodecanese islands, coast, and sea. You will also see that hospitality is a thing one should expect from locals in Greece.

Contributed by Džangir at DrJamTravels

Captain Correlli's Mandolin

Language: English (2001) R

Captain Correlli’s Mandolin is a great movie to watch because the setting in the Greek Ionian Isles is purely idyllic. Regardless of whether one enjoys romances or war movies, the cinematography is captivating.

The movie, directed by John Madden, is based on the 1994 novel about Greece during World War II. Captain Correlli (played by Nicholas Cage) is stationed on the island of Cephalonia and teaches his infantrymen to sing while he plays his mandolin. He initially annoys the locals but eventually they warm to his personality. A love triangle with the local doctor (played by Penelope Cruz) ensues when her fiancé (played by Christian Bale) leaves for the mainland to fight in the war. 

Although the movie received mixed reviews from critics for not closely adhering to the book’s plot, it is still worth watching for anyone planning to visit Greece. There are several key scenes in Captain Correlli’s Mandolin that are filmed on various beaches in the Ionian Islands. These scenes will make any watcher understand why Captain Correlli’s Mandolin is one of the best movies in Greece. From the lovely small towns to the unspoiled beaches, Captain Correlli’s Mandolin is sure to make Cephalonia round out any Greek travel itinerary.

Contributed by Brodi Cole at Our Offbeat Life

More movies about Greek history you might like are Alexander, Agora, The Traveling Players, Rembetiko, and El Greco.

Best Greek Mythology Movies

The Trojan Women

Language: English (1971) PG

The Trojan Women is one of the best films you can watch to prepare for a trip to Greece. It rests on the works of history’s greats:  Euripides wrote the play based on Homer’s epics and it was translated by Edith Hamilton. It is directed by Michael Cacoyannis (Zorba the Greek), and stars Irene Papas as Helen, Katherine Hepburn as Hecuba, and Vanessa Redgrave as Andromache. It is timeless and is my favorite movie rendition of a Greek tragedy. Even though it was filmed in Spain, watching it will certainly enhance your trip to Greece.

The story unfolds in decimated Troy right after the war. The noble women are enduring enormous suffering, including the loss of their husbands and children as they prepare to be taken as slaves by the Greeks. The film is based on an ancient Greek play, so viewers can expect  a significant departure from modern movie storytelling. Yet, it is creatively portrayed and captivates the modern viewer. It is a powerful indictment against war regardless of time. Although gods and goddesses aren’t characters in the film, their influence permeates the story since the Trojan War plays such a prominent role in Greek mythology. 

You will want to be familiar with the story of the Trojan War and with the ancient playwrights before you travel to Greece since the stories are infused into so much Greek history. Along with the other major playwrights of ancient Greece, Euripides competed in the annual Athenian dramatic festivals which were held to honor the god Dionysus. When you visit the ancient theaters on your trip, you can imagine this play being performed which will help bring ancient  Greek history to life. 

More Greek mythology movies you might enjoy are Troy, The Trojan Women, Iphigenia, The Odyssey Mini-series, and Jason and the Argonauts.

The Best Greek Movies for Kids


Language: English (1997) G

Hercules is a wonderful children’s movie to help build children’s anticipation about a trip to Greece and familiarize them with the bright colors and some of the most important names of the Greek gods that they will see all over Greece.

Disney’s Hercules is loosely based upon the ancient Greek myth of the 12 Labors of Hercules (very loosely indeed!). It is an animated musical fantasy where Hercules is living on earth and becomes an awkward teenager trying to have a relationship with his dad, Zeus. It’s essentially a coming-of-age movie. Kids will learn about places central to Greek mythology such as the Underworld, Mount Olympus, and Thebes. They meet Hades and many of the Greek mythological creatures through catchy musical numbers and vibrant animated scenes.

The movie is very inaccurate about its Greek mythology and mixes Roman and Greek names for gods. In the 12 Labors of Hercules and its associated myths, the gods are not moral and what they really get up to would not be appropriate to teach children. Disney has taken names and some locations and made a story that is appropriate for children and made an adventure story that keeps alive Greek mythological figures and places.

Children’s imaginations will be fueled by finally seeing the real places they first saw in Hercules. They will have a basic sense of what to expect and excitement at being in a place where so many heroic deeds occurred. Children will also be able to find, in the most incredible ancient Greek ruins, images of the mythical creatures they see in the film, such as Centaurs.

Contributed by Monique at Trip Anthropologist

Traveling to Greece as a Family?

Check out our article, Joyful and Educational Trip Planning for Families to make the very most of it!

Jim Henson's The Storyteller - Greek Myths

Language: English (1990) PG

Jim Henson applies his masterful storytelling to Greek myths in this four-part miniseries. If you are looking for a way to watch Greek myths that will hold the attention of kids, this is a great choice.  A storyteller in a labyrinth (what could be more perfect?)  tells his dog the stories of Perseus and Medusa, Icarus and Daedalus, Theseus and the Minotaur, and Orpheus and Euridyce.

Fans of Henson’s Muppets and his movie Labyrinth will appreciate the fantastical creatures that bring the stories to life on the screen. The series is rated PG since it might be too intense for younger children. If you are traveling to Greece as a family, learning about Greek myths beforehand will deeply enrich your travels. You kids will appreciate and better understand the archeological sites and museum treasures you will see when they know the myths behind them. If you are traveling to Crete, you’ll likely be visiting Knossos, which inspired the labyrinth the story takes place in.

Many of the other movies about Greece in this list are great family films depending on the ages and interests of your kids. Although not set in Greece,  Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief and Percy Jackson Sea of Monsters are Greek mythology movies are sure to be a hit with most kids. They will likely open the door for a deeper dive into Greek mythology.

Enjoy Movies About Greece Before Your Trip

Hopefully you have found some excellent films to add to your watchlist before your trip to Greece!Have you enjoyed any of these films or do you have others you recommend to travelers? Please tell me in the comments so we can learn from you.

This is a supplemental article to our series of articles about all you can do before your trip to Greece.   Let your adventure begin today!

You've landed in the right place! Tripscholars is here to help you extend the joy and wonder of travel far beyond your days on the road. Find travel education tips and inspiration in our ROADMAPS BLOG. Save yourself time and money by using our TRAVEL RESOURCES LIBRARY where we have already gathered top resources for you to enjoy from home. Tripscholars is where curious travelers come for meaningful travel planning and trip research.

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Plan a Trip to Greece: The Guide for Curious Travelers

Plan a Trip to Greece


Plan a Trip to Greece

The Guide for Curious Travelers

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It is always the right time to plan a trip to Greece! As the cradle of Western Civilization, home to some of the world’s greatest archaeological sites, endless dreamy beaches circling over 200 islands and the mainland, and the inviting warm Mediterranean Sea encompassing all of it– Greece has a rightful place near the top of many dream travel lists. In this post we will offer you a step-by-step guide for planning your trip to Greece with lots of helpful tips to save you money and make the most of your time in the country.

This Greece travel planner is a little different, it is especially for curious travelers. At Trip Scholars, we offer many resources and ideas to help you dive deep into understanding before you arrive at your travel destinations. 

In the first part of this post, we offer the best ways to learn about Greece while you are planning your trip. In the second half of this article, you will find lots of useful tips to plan a trip to Greece.

How to Plan a Trip to Greece

      Step 1. Learn about Greece 

      Step 2. Create a Budget

      Step 3. Decide when to travel 

      Step 4. Check your visa/passport

      Step 5. Book transportation to Greece

      Step 6. Plan your itinerary

      Step 7. Book your accommodations

      Step 8. Plan transportation around Greece

      Step 9. Pack for your trip to Greece

      Step 10. Enjoy your trip to Greece!

Learn and be inspired!

What sparks your interest in traveling to Greece? Before you get into the logistics of planning a trip to Greece, enjoy the inspiration and excitement you find as you nourish your dreams of your Greek travel. Invest weeks, months, or years cultivating a deeper knowledge so that when you arrive, you will be an intentional and appreciative traveler. 

Dive into the archeological past, Greek gods and goddesses, Greek literature, movies in Greece, Greek history– both ancient and modern, the Greek language, Greek cuisine– the possibilities are exciting and varied.    

By the end of this post, you will have activities to help you start your trip to Greece– today!

Top Recommendation for Planning a Trip to Greece

If you only have time for one activity, my top recommendation is The Great Tours: Greece and Turkey, from Athens to Istanbul. This is one of the first of the tour series created by Wondrium (formerly the Great Courses). It is presented by Professor Hale, an archaeologist with an absolutely contagious enthusiasm for the region. He entices us with beautiful shots from both countries, mostly focused on archeological and historic sites, but there are plenty of food, drink, and off the beaten path locations added to keep it engaging for everyone. I’ve watched countless Great Courses and Dr. Hale is my favorite lecturer. He highlights myths, geography, and history as an extremely knowledgeable, funny, and personable tour guide.

Fun fact: my desire to share this particular course with other curious travelers was the original impetus for building this website. I tried to share it as a recommendation to others who were planning a trip to Greece on the internet’s most popular crowd sourced travel site. It was not allowed, but I knew it would greatly enhance the travels of others so, I tried to come up with another way to share it. Now, we have Trip Scholars, a whole site dedicated to crowd sourcing and sharing the best travel education resources! I am sincere in this recommendation.

If you sign up for Wondrium, they have many academic courses that will enrich your understanding of Greece’s profound role in history. They all go much deeper into the subject matter than most documentaries can because they are lecture series that are usually at least ten hours long. They are taught by professors who are passionate and very knowledgeable about their subject matter. 

A few of my favorite courses about Greece are Understanding Greek and Roman Technology and The Greek World: A Study of History and Culture. There are also fantastic sections of these courses focused on Greece: The Other Side of History, The World’s Greatest Structures, and Decisive Battles of History. You will likely find something that overlaps your greatest interests with Greece. 

Click below for a free trial of Wondrium

Kalimera! Good morning in Greek

The Greek language is worth your time to study from home before you leave. Greek people are very friendly, and you can connect better if you learn a little in advance. Greek is a fascinating language and very beautiful.  I’ve been studying it for a few years myself and encourage you to jump in. If you have an interest in etymology, every day will bring a new delight. For me it is very challenging so I can almost feel my neurons trying to connect! But eventually, they do, and it is enormously gratifying.  

It is true that most people in major tourist areas speak English, but I promise, learning a little Greek will go a long way. It is always worth it to learn a few phrases before international travel so that you can be a respectful traveler. Even in Athens, locals repeatedly let me know they appreciated my efforts to communicate in Greek. 

If you are going to non-touristy areas, I especially encourage learning more. When we traveled to Crete, we stayed in one of my very favorite homes. It was in a small local town and right on a quiet beach. We were greeted with incredible warmth by the owner’s mom and her friends when we arrived. They had made us this beautiful vegetarian feast, including homemade raki and wine, and filled the refrigerator with homegrown veggies. We were incredibly moved! They spoke Greek, not English and I was so grateful that I had spent the year before traveling studying Greek. I was able to thank them and enjoy a good visit in Greek! It was wonderful!

Top recommendations for learning Greek

Duolingo Greek

Duolingo is a great app to become familiar with Greek letters, sounds, and sentence structure for free. It has improved quite a lot over the last few years and there is more included to help early learners. A good option for more advanced learners is to try talking with others in the online groups that are offered. 

Greek Pod 101

I’ve watched many Greek language learning videos and they often list a lot of words quickly, but don’t go deep enough or encourage enough practice. Greek Pod 101, by contrast, is excellent! They have a comprehensive program for early beginners through to advanced speakers. Join Chrissi in this intro video to see if it is for you. You can sign up for the full program here if you like it. 

Other top Greek language learning videos

Greek tutors online: Preply

Once you have become familiar with the language, you might want to work directly with a language tutor. I found an experienced teacher to work with for a few months before our trip to Greece on the tutoring site, Preply. Because of differences in the cost of living, her rates were very affordable, and I learned more about life in Greece from a Greek citizen. With Preply you can compare experience, rates, availability, and interests to find the best tutor for many subjects, including language learning. Eleni had degrees in history and archeology and had studied English extensively so she was super interesting to learn from! In fact, she and her partner flew to the mainland to join us for the play Agamemnon at Epidaurus when we were there! It was priceless. 

Because language learning before travel is so valuable, our website has a strong collection of resources to choose from. Check out our article about how to learn a language before traveling from a guest author who was a language teacher. We all learn differently, and we benefit from using varied approaches to learning. To find more options, visit our language learning section of our resource library.

Ancient Theater of Epidaurus, Greece
Agamemnon at the Ancinet Theater of Epidavros

Resources on Trip Scholars

This website is dedicated to helping travelers find the best travel education resources to enjoy from home. 

Check out our expansive post on movies to watch before your trip to Greece. We’ve got classics, comedies, dramas and children’s films. We also have Greek Language movies and films about Greek history and Greek mythology.

Additionally, we offer a fantastic collection of Books About Greece to Inspire Your Travels. Find the best in books about Greek history, mythology, philosophy, cooking and travel. Choose from fiction and nonfiction and discover how each of them will improve your trip.

If you are traveling to Greece with kids or teens, check out Joyful and Educational Trip Planning For Families to create an entire year of activities that will enrich your trip. Learners of all ages will also enjoy History Travel: How to Use Timelines to Organize Your Travel Studies to get the most out of any trip to Greece. We also have games related to Greece and Greek history in the article Games for Globetrotters: The 20 Best Games for People Who Love to Travel. A couple of favorites are Assassins Creed, Origins and Seven Wonders. 

We have some excellent guest posts you will enjoy too. How to Create Your Own Archaeological Tour, written by a travel writer with her degree in archeology and Your Guide to Visiting the World’s Most Valuable Places: UNESCO World Heritage Sites, written by a travel writer and videographer visiting all of the UNESCO sites, are both fantastic places to start.

This article is the first in a series for curious travelers to plan their trips to Greece. We have more supplemental articles with resources about Greece that will be published Fall 2021, so sign up for our newsletter to catch them all. 

We will be sharing the best books to read and movies to watch before visiting. We will also be posting a collection of the top historic sites in Greece and how to learn more about them before you arrive.  

We encourage you to utilize all these resources throughout the time you are planning a trip to Greece. You can extend your brief time in the country into many months or years of discovery!

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The Curious Traveler’s 5 Step Guide to More Meaningful Trips

Creating your Greece travel budget

Once you have discovered some of the places you most want to explore, the next step in planning your trip to Greece is to create a realistic travel budget. Travelers with a wide range of travel funds can all enjoy traveling here. It is much less expensive than some of the other top European destinations but there are ample opportunities for extravagance if that is your style. 

If you travel in the off season, stay in hostels, eat street food, avoid much island hopping, and limit your activities, you can enjoy Greece for as little as 50€ /day. If you desire and can afford it, you can spend as much more than that as you want to. 

Money in Greece

Euros are the currency used in Greece. Here is a currency converter so you can see what to expect.  You will want to have cash on you when traveling in Greece. Credit cards can be used extensively throughout most major cities, but in more rural areas, you will want cash. If driving on toll roads, you will also want coins for faster passage.

Before leaving home, check your bank cards to find those that don’t charge fees for international withdrawals or charges. Let your credit card companies know in advance that you will be traveling to avoid any unexpected blocks on any foreign transactions. We try to always leave Europe with plenty of Euros for next time, which allows us to skip withdrawing money at the often-overpriced ATMs in the airports.

Planning a trip to Greece Minoan Ladies In Blue, Knossos Palace, Heraklion Archaeological Museum, Crete, Greece
Heraklion Archaeological Museum, Crete, Greece

When is the best time to visit Greece?

As with most travel destinations, the best times to visit Greece are the shoulder seasons. May – mid-June and mid-September – October are the best times to visit Greece. The weather is nice, and often much better than the oppressive summer heat. Room rates are dramatically reduced from summer prices, especially in the popular destinations. And the crowds have gone down, allowing a much more intimate experience. 

 Most people visit in the summer months. You can expect crowds, higher temperatures, and elevated prices. Don’t let this stop you though, you can have a fantastic time in Greece in the summer too.

Winter travel is the most affordable, but you might not have many warm sunny days. Many places will be closed in more rural areas and on smaller islands.

Average highs, lows, and days of rain in Athens, Greece

January 56° / 44° 5 days

February 57° / 44° 5 days

March 61° / 47° 4 days

April 68° / 53° 3 days

May 76° / 60° 2 days

June 85° / 68° 1 day

July 90° / 73° 0 days

August 90° / 73° 0 days

September 83° / 67° 1 day

October 74° / 60° 3 days

November 65° / 53° 4 days

December 59° / 47° 6 days

Greece tourist visa and Greece passport requirements

Checking your tourist visa and passport requirements is one of the first steps in planning any international travel. If you are a citizen of the US, Canada, Mexico, the U.K., or many other countries, you only need your passport, not a visa to visit Greece. You can check your country here.

Your passport needs to be valid for at least three months after the date you plan to return to your home country. Check your home country’s passport requirements too. If you need to get a new passport or renew yours, get started now.

Plan trip to Greece passport and Greek map

Tips for booking your flight to Greece

The largest expense for most travelers from outside of the region is airfare. We have saved thousands of dollars by carefully using our credit cards to amass as many airline points as possible. The best resource for learning about maximizing the value of your points is The Points Guy. Learning to navigate points can be a part time job, but it is worth it when it lets you travel more. The savings are significant enough to warrant the time investment.

Many of the flights to the islands are on economy airlines with strict baggage allowances. Check out our suggested travel gear for ideas about how to travel light.

Plan transportation around Greece

Top Transportation Tip

One of my top pieces of advice for anyone traveling to a new international destination is to figure out your transportation to your first night’s lodging in advance. Even when I don’t want to follow much of an itinerary on a trip, it is much easier to know what we are doing when we get off the plane, especially when we  speak another language. It can be worth spending more on this leg of your journey if it quickly and safely gets jet-lagged you to your accommodations.

Ferries in Greece

Traveling by ferry in Greece can be an interesting and beautiful way to get around. The best site for getting tickets is Ferry Hopper.  It helps you compare ticket options between the almost 50 different ferry companies that operate in Greece. There is nothing like seeing the country from the water and ferries are an economical way to do it. If you are traveling to smaller islands, confirm that there are ferries available on the days you want to travel BEFORE you book your lodgings.

Driving in Greece

Driving in Greece isn’t for everyone, but if you are comfortable driving a manual transmission and driving in challenging situations, consider renting a car. We drove in both downtown Athens and Heraklion and there were some VERY tight squeezes I’d rather forget! We also drove on the highway in Crete where we had to get used to sharing the middle of the highway with oncoming traffic! 

But learning to drive in another country is always interesting. Having a rental car gives you a lot more autonomy in planning your itinerary and staying at each site as long/or as little as you like. For adventurous groups and families, it is much more affordable than multiple tickets for group tours to your destinations. We also found the road conditions to be much better than our roads back home in Seattle, Washington. In fact, they were in better condition than many roads state-side! You don’t need a car in major cities, in fact it is very challenging to drive in them, so plan to get one for day trips at the beginning or end of your stay in the city.

Guided tours in Greece

For the most relaxing trip to Greece, guided tours can be the best option. It is easy to see all of the major sites without ever renting a car. Here are the best tours that leave from Athens to visit Delphi, Meteora, Mycenae, and Epidaurus. This combination makes a perfect itinerary. 

Plan a Trip to Greece

Plan your Greek itinerary

If you prefer to travel without much of an itinerary, learning about Greece in advance will still enhance your visit, but you can skip this section!

Once you have been able to really dive into understanding Greece and all that it has to offer to the thoughtful traveler, you can begin to craft your dream itinerary.  What are the main sites you want to see and what natural wonders do you most want to visit? Greece is brimming with beautiful islands, which of them will you include? As your itinerary becomes more solidified, you can dive even deeper into the places you add to your itinerary. 

Top tips to help you craft your itinerary

Be sure to confirm the opening hours of sites you want to visit; we’ve missed out on some gems by skipping this step. Also check to see if there are discounted ticket times. 

Group your activities together by area and be sure to add travel times in, they can dramatically affect your plans. Often, deciding on lodging comes down to deciding how much time you’ll want to spend on transportation in relation to how much you can spend on lodging.

If you are going to many of the archeological sites in Athens, get the skip-the-line Combo Ticket. Whenever getting a skip-the-line City pass/combo ticket, I always recommend purchasing it at one of the least busy sites you plan to visit so your time in line is the shortest.

Save yourself even more time purchase your combo ticket now.

Top tips for visiting the Acropolis

  • To skip the line, be sure to get the Combo Ticket in advance  online or at a less busy site. 
  • Arrive 10 minutes before opening or late in the day to try and beat the crowds and the heat.
  • Use the southeast side entrance near the Museum of the Acropolis. You avoid a lot of the crowds, have an easier climb, and you get to see more sites.
  • Plan to see the sights from the SE entrance because they include the Athenian Dionysus Theater (which is a must-see site) and the Odeon of Herodes Atticus.
  • Bring your water bottle and refill it at one of the water stations on the top.
  • Wear good walking shoes– you’ll be walking on uneven, foot-polished marble.

Track your itinerary

As you firm up your plans you will want a place to record your itinerary. I love to plan trips and prefer to have invested my time figuring out logistics at home rather than on the road. I still like spontaneity, so I find it useful to have info on hours and transportation so we can make quick choices on the go. If you are over-the-top like me, you will likely use word documents, spreadsheets, and an app to keep track of everything related to a big trip like Greece.

My very favorite itinerary app (by a longshot!) is TripIt. As you get each ticket and reservation, you email it to yourself at TripIt and the app puts your itinerary and tickets all together for you in one place. The app is free and easy to use.

Here is a sample dream itinerary. It is close to the one we followed, and that trip was AMAZING!

10 Days in Greece Itinerary for Archaeology Lovers

     Day 1: Fly into Crete, get over jet lag on the beach imagining all the people who have been before you in Greece! 

     Day 2: Knossos, Minoan Palace of Phaistos, and/or the Roman city of Gortyn

     Day 3: Heraklion Archeological Museum and the Minoan Palace of Malia

     Day 4: Fly to Athens, Plato’s Academy, National Archeological Museum

     Day 5: Acropolis and Museum of the Acropolis

     Day 6: Aristotle’s Lyceum,  Temple of Olympian Zeus,  Agora, Roman Agora, and Plaka

     Day 7: Delphi

     Day 8: Mycenae and Ancient Corinth 

     Day 9: Epidaurus: snorkel the Sunken City and watch a performance at the Ancient Theatre of Asklepieion 

     Day 10: Olympia and the Archaeological Museum of Olympia

Top Itinerary Tip

A performance at the Ancient Theater of Asklepieion at Epidaurus or the Odeon Herodes in Athens will be a highlight of your trip! These shows are only offered on limited weekend evenings in the summer, so get your tickets early and plan the rest of your Greek itinerary around them.

Plan your trip to Greece

We hope you have found some inspirational and useful resources to use before your trip to Greece to help you understand and appreciate this astounding country. We also hope that you have discovered useful tips for planning your dream trip to Greece. Have you been to Greece, or do you plan to travel there some day? Do you have recommendations for other travelers who want to learn more before their trip? Please tell me in the comments, I’d love to hear from you!

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