A lot of sun, warm sea water, gourmet cuisine and ancient culture meet anyone who decides to spend his summer vacation in Greece.
The country is renowned as one of the most attractive tourist destinations in the world and is a favorite resting place of millions of Europeans.
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Although Greece is a masterpiece under the open sky, there are still places that are extremely beautiful and popular and stand out above everything else.
1. The Acropolis
For the Acropolis is said to be a symbol of Europe’s cultural wealth.
It is assumed that it dates from the second millennium BC, but was destroyed during the Greek – Persian Wars.
It was restored again in the fifth century BC.
Its recovery took place during the reign of Pericles.
What people know best from the Acropolis in Athens is the Parthenon.
That is the majestic marble building that rises on a rocky hill in the middle of the beautiful Greek capital.
In those times every buildings and sculptures of the Acropolis were colored, but the colors gradually faded and today marble is in its natural nuances.
From the 1987 the Acropolis is under the auspices of UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.
2. The Valley of the Butterflies
With its unique flora and fauna The Valley of the Butterflies is one of the most exciting and beautiful places in Greece.
This unique habitat is located in the heart of one of the most popular Greek islands – Rhodes.
Valley itself is a protected forest area that is home to a huge variety of these wonderful motley-winged creatures.
Among the lush vegetation of the Pelekanos reserve you can find some rivers and waterfalls.
In reality the huge number of butterflies that live here creates the feeling like you are into a fairy tale forest, and fresh streams and small waterfalls that descend rapidly through the dense shade of the trees are a great way to get rid of the summer heat.
3. Elafonisi beach
With its fine white – pink sand Elafonisi beach is one of the most magical places along the Mediterranean coast.
Who could resist the temptation to dive into the crystal waters of this charming lagoon located in the southwestern part of the most famous of all Greek islands – Crete?
Almost unreal, the beauty of this place will make you feel like you’ve got somewhere in the middle of the tropics.
This idyllic spot attracts lovers of exotic and those tourists who wish to escape from the crowded beaches on the northern coast of the island.
Geographical isolation of Elafonisi from the other places on the island saves this place from the huge crowds even at the height of summer.
Steep and inaccessible cliffs rise of approximately 400 meters above sea level amidst Thessaly plane, but on their tops were built majestic monasteries.
Washed by the strong Mediterranean sun, local landscape makes the place even more inaccessible.
Ottomans had the ambition to destroy these oases of Christianity.
They managed to get to some of the monasteries and burned them, but others remained protected because they were too high above the local area.
Some of the most difficult of access monasteries would otherwise be reached by steps carved into the rocks or with a rope.
Oldest monasteries in the area are dating from the 14th century.
Meteora area became part of the list of World Heritage by UNESCO in 1988.
5. The White Tower
The majestic stone tower was built in the 30 years of the 16th century by the Ottoman Sultan Suleiman the Great.
It is assumed that on the same place there was another tower like this, but it was destroyed during the invasion of the Normans in the 12th century.
Today that stone structure, which rises to a height of almost 40 meters is a symbol of tourism, and embody the European spirit of Thessaloniki, although once the tower was used as a place of torture and executions.
The name comes from the whitewashed stone facade of the structure during the late 19th century.
However, today you can’t find any traces remained of the former whiteness the White Tower, although it is still well known by its old name.
Today it is one of the biggest attractions in Greece and is considered to be a symbol of the democracy’s capital – Thessaloniki.
6. Skorpios Island
Situated just off the coast of Lefkada, the small Skorpios Island is one of the most important tourist attractions in Greece.
It is covered with dense Mediterranean vegetation and has some lovely beaches.
Skorpios, however, is known for something else – this is the island, which in 1963 became property of the Greek billionaire and one of the richest people in the world history – Aristotle Onassis.
Today visiting Skorpios you will have the opportunity to see personal one of the most expensive private islands in the world.
From Lefkada often are organized regular boat trips.
Visitors are even allowed to go a shore from the boat in some places, as some of the beaches of this private paradise are public.
7. Navagio Beach
Located in a small cove among the steep white limestone rocks on the island of Zakynthos, the Navagio beach is among the most attractive places in Greece and one of the most beautiful beaches in Europe.
Here you will find probably the bluest sea, one could imagine.
The view from the high cliffs is just breathtaking, but even this can not compare the feeling to step on snow white sands and dive into the sky blue waters of the Ionian Sea.
The unique location of this paradise beach makes it accessible only by water.
Therefore, if you get there by your own boat or yacht outside the hours of active visits you can enjoy a real solitude.
8. Rion-Antirion Bridge
Peninsula in the past, today Peloponnese is surrounded by water and does not have a natural connection with the rest of the Balkan Peninsula.
In modern times the construction of a bridge that to link the mainland of Europe with densely populated Greek capital Athens and other cities of the Peloponnese was needed.
Most appropriate for constructing the bridge was the place between the towns of Rion (north of Patras) and Antirion.
This impressive facility was completed in 2004.
With its length of 2880 meters today it is among the largest suspension bridges in the world and is one of the wonders of modern architecture.
This makes it one of the most impressive works of human genius on the planet and an important tourist attraction not to be missed.
9. The Samariá Gorge
One of the biggest tourist attractions of Greece is The Samariá Gorge.
It is situated amongst wild mountain scenery in the eastern parts of Crete.
It is an excellent place for lovers of mountains and long walks.
Tourists flock here in the period from early May to late October.
The gorge with a length of 18 km becomes impassable for several months in winter, when as a result of heavy rains and snows in the higher parts of the island here are pouring large amounts of water.
This water nourishes the otherwise insignificant stream and turns it into a lush river. Going through the Samaria Gorge is an exciting experience.
Imagine that in some places the gorge is so narrow that if you open your arms you could touch the rocks on both sides.
However, these same rocks rise to almost half a kilometer high. In some places overgrown vegetation on the rocks almost completely close the sky and it is only visible in the form of blue and white gleams.
10. Balos beach
Balos beach is one of the most beautiful places on the European continent.
It combines the Caribbean exotic with semi-arid landscape.
The sand is pink-white and marine waters are emerald, so that no one could resist them.
Beige and heated by the strong Greek sun mountains rise in the vicinity above the impressive crystal clear lagoon.
Small colourful fishes have turned this paradise in their home.
Tourists usually burn with impatience to keep cool in the summer heat.
You will find this great location in the north-eastern corner of this southern and sunny island Crete.
Outside the moments when tourists arrive here in tourist boats, this place remains far away from the crowds of visitors.
Here you will find solitude and silence, and the only sounds are those issued by the Mediterranean.
Located near the famous Corinth isthmus, Delphi is a city where you can find remains of a unique ancient Greek sanctuary.
The place is allegedly founded by the ancient Greek god Zeus.
One of the most important architectural remains of Delphi is the temple of Apollo.
The location is one of the most important archaeological sites in Europe and since 1987 is under the aegis of UNESCO.
Being here you will get in touch with one of the most developed civilizations of the ancient world.
This place is famous also with the Delphic oracle that is believed to have infallible predictions about the future and has never wrong.
Greek ruins of Delphi are situated among an impressive mountain scenery, which gives them even more greatness.
12. Santorin Island
The Island of Santorin is not something that you can see every day.
Located amidst the dark blue waters of the Aegean Sea, the island boasts an amazing architecture.
Among red – brown volcanic rocks are built white houses in traditional Greek style.
Over the limed walls of the traditional buildings rise the bright blue church domes of the local temples.
Red beaches of Santorin are something to see.
They give a unique and very dark colour of seawater.
Bay of Santorin brings a sign of colossal volcanic eruption in the past.
Today Santorin present in many advertising video clips of Greece promoting the country as a tourist destination.
It has become the personification of the Greek image around the world.
13. The Colossus of Rhodes
Completed in the 3rd century BC, The Colossus of Rhodes represented a 30 meter high bronze statue of the god Helios that stood proudly at the port of Rhodes Town.
Shortly after it was finished, the statue fell after a devastating earthquake and it has never been restored again.
An interesting fact is that even today after thousands of years in which this statue no longer exists, it is still one of the biggest attractions in Greece.
If the Colossus was restored, today it would be one of the most impressive statues of our planet.
Just imagine how impressive was the statue in ancient times!
The Colossus is one of the seven wonders of antiquity.
14. Mount Athos (The Holy Mountain)
Athos or The Holy Mountain is the easternmost of the three peninsulas that make up together the pearl of the Mediterranean – Khalkidhiki.
The place is unique and is of great importance for Orthodox Christianity.
On the territory of Athos Peninsula you will find 20 amazing monasteries.
Each of them has its own story.
Feeling to stand on Mount Athos is incredible.
The peninsula has scenic mountains, dense forests and calm sea waters, but the most special is invisible to the eye.
To visit this place is a unique spiritual experience even for people who have no faith and do not profess any religion.
All lies probably in the indescribable feeling of peace, tranquillity and security which everybody feels.
From 1988, the Athos Peninsula is under the auspices of UNESCO.
Thus, this unique site will be preserved for the next generation.More from Greece: