While many travelers understandably plan trips to Greece that center around the islands, beaches, and nature, there are incredible ancient sites all throughout the country that offer unforgettable trips to the past. Whether you want to wander the streets where the philosopher, Socrates, walked or enter a Temple of Apollo where a high priestess once spoke prophecies heard throughout the land, these experiences will help you better understand the cradle of Western civilization.

Getting Oriented

Perhaps the only thing as famous as Greece's beaches is its history and mythology. The ancient Greeks believed that the gods roamed the earth, descending from their home on Mount Olympus to interfere with the affairs of mere mortals. Greece is also known as the cradle of Western civilization, and you can explore many of the remnants of its storied history and mythology. Discover the Parthenon on the Acropolis looking over Athens or the Cretan Palace of Knossos just outside Heraklion.

There are many archaeological sites to explore in Greece, particularly on the mainland and Peloponnese, some of which can be reached as day trips from Athens or other locations. Whether you're an ancient history buff or perhaps just always loved the stories of the Greek gods and heroes, consider some of these activities for your trip to Greece.

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Things To Do

Tour the Acropolis and Ancient Sites in Athens

The Temple of Erechtheion on the Acropolis

Athens was the heart of Ancient Greek civilization, so this tour will bring Greek gods and history to life as you begin in the Temple of Olympian Zeus, the most powerful of the gods. Feel the energy of Athena, goddess of wisdom and protector of Athens, at the Acropolis and marvel at the Parthenon, whose curved columns give the optical illusion of perfectly straight lines. Imagine being part of a lively ancient audience as you visit the Theater of Dionysus, the god of theater and wine, and walk through the Ancient Agora, the birthplace of democracy, where philosophers like Socrates once spoke. Whether you’re a history and mythology enthusiast or not, you’ll be amazed by these awe-inspiring sites and the stories behind them. Read More

Visit the Archaeological Ruins of Delphi

Delphi and the mountains of Parnassus

Explore one of the most important sites in ancient Greece with this tour of Delphi, home to the mythical oracle of Apollo, the god of sun and music. According to mythology, Zeus launched two eagles from opposite ends of the earth, and they met over Delphi, marking it as the center or omphalos (navel) of the world. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is set against a stunning mountain landscape, where you can explore the Temple of Apollo, the Theater, and the Stadium with an expert guide. Learn about the pythia or Oracle of Delphi, a priestess whose prophecies marked the mythological and historical worlds alike, and discover more about Delphi's role in Ancient Greece with a visit to the Delphi Museum. Read More

Experience the First Olympic Games in Ancient Olympia

The Ruins of Ancient Olympia

Travel back in time to the first Olympic games in 776 BCE with this tour of the archaeological ruins of Ancient Olympia. Led by an expert guide, you will see the original stadium and athletic training facilities for the best athletes of Ancient Greece. Continue to the Temple of Zeus and the Temple of Hera, queen of the gods and Zeus’ wife, and learn more about Greek history at the Archaeological Museum of Olympia. After spending the day with ancient athletes and gods, you can visit the Museum of Ancient Greek Technology, home of the first analog computer in human history, or take a hike around the area. Read More

Wander the Labyrinth at the Palace of Knossos in Crete

The Palace of Knossos

Experience Minoan history and mythology firsthand with a visit to the 3,500-year-old Palace of Knossos, known as Europe’s oldest city. The palace is also home to the mythical King Minos’ labyrinth, which according to legend, held the Minotaur in its center. Your guide will share the remarkable history of the Minoans and how Theseus defeated the Minotaur with the help of the clever Ariadne. After touring the grounds, head to Heraklion’s Archaeological Museum, where you will have the opportunity to view some of the world's most important Minoan artifacts and learn more about Minoan civilization. Read More

Visit the Ruins of Mycenae and Epidaurus

The Unique Theater of Epidaurus

Step back in time with a tour of two of the most important archaeological sites on the Greek Peloponnese: Mycenae and Epidaurus. This day trip from Nafplio will begin with a visit to Mycenae, home of King Agamemnon's amazing Lion Gate and tomb. It's also home to the famed hero of Homer’s Iliad, who led the Greek army to Troy to bring his brother’s wife, Helen, back to Greece. Continue to the Sanctuary of Asklepios at Epidaurus, a significant site of healing and medicine in the ancient world. Test out the perfect acoustics in the Amphitheater of Epidaurus, where you can speak normally and be heard all the way in the back row. Throughout, your guide will share their expert insights to help you better understand Mycenean and Ancient Greek history and culture. Read More

Discover the Heart of the Cycladic Islands with a Trip to Delos

The Lion's Terrace at Delos

The Lion's Terrace of Delos

If you’re on Mykonos or Tinos, don't miss a day cruise to the sacred island of Delos, one of the most important historical, mythological, and archaeological sites in Greece. This uninhabited island in the Cyclades was, according to legend, the birthplace of the twin gods Apollo and Artemis and became a major religious and economic center of Ancient Greece. In fact, the Cyclades are so named because they form a circle around Delos, and islands like Mykonos, Naxos, and Tinos all have a direct connection to this special place. Read More

Travel through Santorini's Ancient Past 

The City of Akrotiri, preserved in ash

Discover one of the Aegean’s most significant prehistoric settlements with a tour of Akrotiri and the Museums of Thera. The ash of Santorini’s once-looming volcano preserved the ancient city of Akrotiri, which played an essential economic role on the island in Minoan times. After wandering through this amazing archaeological site, continue to the Prehistoric Thera Museum and Archaeological Museum of Thera in Santorini’s capital, where you’ll learn more about the history of the island. Read More

Get to Know the History of Alexander the Great

An engraving of Alexander the Great

Take a day trip from Thessaloniki to visit the archaeological sites of Pella and Vergina, where you will learn about the history of Macedonia’s ancient kingdom. Vergina, the first capital of ancient Macedonia, boasts an underground complex of tombs and treasures of Alexander the Great's father, Philip II. Continue to Pella, the birthplace of Alexander the Great, where you can see artifacts and ruins dating back as far as the 4th century BCE. Read More

How do These Activities Fit into a Greece Itinerary?

You can find ancient sites all over Athens and Greece

A wonderful facet of Greece is that many of its ancient sites are at close hand in cities and on popular islands or can be done as a day trip. If you'd like to focus on history and mythology during your trip check out these popular Ancient Greece-themed itineraries that other Kimkim travelers have enjoyed: