Greece Athens Attractions
Greece is known for its natural beauty and fascinating history. Ancient archaeological sites, countless islands, sandy beaches, and a balmy Mediterranean climate make Greece one of Europe's prime tourist destinations. Besides the capital, Athens, top things to see on the mainland include Ancient Delphi and the monasteries of Meteora. But most people come here to catch a ferry to the islands; Santorini, Mykonos, Rhodes, Corfu, and Crete are the most popular.
1 Acropolis, Athens
Considered the symbol of Athens and Greece, and indeed of Western civilisation, the Acropolis is a rocky mound rising in the heart of modern Athens and crowned by three magnificent temples dating from the 5th century BC. The best known and most distinctive is the Parthenon, originally made up of 58 columns supporting a roof and decorated by ornate pediments and a frieze. The so-called Archaeological Promenade is a two-and-a-half-kilometer walkway, which skirts the foot of the Acropolis and connects it to the city's other main ancient attractions - the Ancient Agora, the Roman Forum, Kerameikos, and the Temple of Olympian Zeus.
2 Acropolis Museum, Athens
Opened in 2009, the Acropolis Museum is now one of Athens' most-visited tourist attractions. Designed by Swiss architect Bernard Tschumi, it is an ultra-modern glass and steel structure with light and airy exhibition spaces, built specifically to display ancient finds from the Acropolis. Top things to see here include the 6th-century-BC Moschophoros (statue of a young man carrying a calf on his shoulders), the Caryatids (sculptures of female figures that held up the Erechtheion) and the highly controversial Parthenon marbles. From the museum's cafe-restaurant terrace, you can enjoy amazing views of the Acropolis itself.
The most dramatic of all the Greek islands, Santorini is best known for the cliff-top towns of Fira and Oia, which lie on the west coast, overlooking the deep, blue sea-filled caldera. Made up of typical Cycladic whitewashed cubic buildings, many of which have been converted into boutique hotels with infinity pools, both Fira and Oia are considered romantic destinations, popular for weddings and honeymoons. Things to do include sunbathing and swimming at the black volcanic sand beaches on the south and east coasts and visiting the archaeological site of Akrotiri, an Ancient Minoan settlement buried below lava following the volcanic eruption that created the caldera, some 3, 600 years ago. The island has an airport and is served by ferries and catamarans from Athens' port, Piraeus.
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