Oh Greece, the place that captured my heart and sparked the travel bug that has led me to follow my dream of traveling the world. Whether it was those bluer than blue seas, white buildings, or archaeological sites, Greece holds a special place in my heart. And if you are into experiencing all types of cultural, Greece should be right at the top of your list.
Greece boasts eighteen UNESCO world heritage sites spread across the entire country.
So if you want to experience the Mediterranean, the mainland, or the northern providence, you can take your pick. They also span different time periods of Greece so you get peak into the varied history of Greece. But here are my top three sites not only because of their historical significance but also their unique stories.
1. Old Town of Corfu
Whatever you could want, you can find it in Corfu. It has the beautiful combination of Greek and Venetian architecture and culture. Corfu sits right off the west coast of Greece in the Ionian Sea and saw its allegiance change hands from Greece to Venice and back to Greece again. These changes can be seen in the architecture in the Old Town and the general feel of the island. It was also one of my absolute favorite places I went while I was in Greece.
The views from the island are amazing!
Go ahead and take a walk around the UNESCO recognized Old Town and you will feel like you are walking in a northern Italian city instead of a Grecian one. You can get lost in the winding and narrow streets but you will never be bored with the various colors of the buildings.
Also check out the Old Fortress of Corfu, which was built during the Venetian allegiance and it will transport you to medieval times. But that’s what makes Corfu so amazing! It’s a beautiful combination of Greece and Venice. Corfu also boasts some amazing views off of its cliffs and beaches.
If you want to see the best view of the island go check out the Achilleion, the summer palace built for the Empress Elizabeth of Austria in 1889.
BOOK A TOUR: Corfu: 5-Hour Private Corfu & Achillion Palace Tour
2. Paleochristian and Byzantine Monuments of Thessalonika
Thessalonika (or Thessaloniki) is the second largest city in Greece and its northern capital. However, while you may be expecting white buildings with blue tops you may be surprised to learn that Thessalonika is a little different than the rest of Greece.
That difference stems from its history of Byzantine occupation. Byzantine occupation began in the second and third centuries and Thessalonica became the eastern capital for the Byzantine Empire and the second largest city behind Constantinople.
One of the most interesting things I found about the city was how you could walk through an ancient Greek monument right into a Byzantine monument or church. Also, if you are looking for a city that is less touristy than Athens, then this is your spot.
Since it is in northern Greece most tourists don’t venture here so you are able to experience the culture of Greece and are dealing with locals almost 100% of the time. There is also an amazing gyro place that if I am ever able to go back I will be hitting up, those gyros were the size of my face!
READ MORE: Byzantine and Post-Byzantine Churches in Thessaloniki
MAP: Thessaloniki UNESCO sites
BOOK A TOUR: Thessaloniki Hop-on Hop-off Sightseeing Bus Tour
3. Acropolis, Athens
The Acropolis is one of the most iconic historical sites in the world. And when I saw it for the fist time, I admittedly almost started crying, seeing this was one of my top three things on my own bucket list and it sure didn’t disappoint.
The Acropolis sits in the middle of Athens and stands out like a banner for the historical significance Greece provided to the world. The better-known buildings of the Acropolis were developed in the fifth century BC by Pericles and took most of that century to build. The Acropolis was developed as a religious center highlighting the gods and goddesses from Greek mythology and their impact on daily Athenian life and each building has its own story.
The main buildings on the Acropolis are the Parthenon, the Erechtheion, the Temple of Nike, and the Propylaia. And considering these are all still standing after over 2,400 years is astounding, especially considering the Parthenon had part of it blown up when soldiers decided to store weapons there. Not good.
Also if you want to see all of Greece just take a short walk to the edge of the Acropolis and you will see an amazing 350 degree view of Greece.
READ MORE: The Acropolis of Athens
BOOK A TOUR: Acropolis Skip-The-Line Walking Tour
Guest Post by…
Chris is a beginning travel blogger who is getting ready to travel full time in October of 2017 and sharing her experiences and lessons she’s learned on her blog, Wandering Feathers. After two years of working in the legal world, she decided a desk job wasn’t for her and is leaving everything behind to travel solo across the world and letting her feet take her wherever she needs to go.