The ruins of Greece are some of the country’s most appealing attractions. The heritage of Ancient Greece inspires and fascinates travellers and history-lovers around the world. If you travel to Greece you should take the time to explore some of its spectacular ruins. Visiting the ancient ruins of Greece is the best way to understand the amazing history of Greece. After all, the Ancient Greeks introduced democracy and philosophy and the Olympic Games were born from this civilisation. Here’s our pick of the best ruins in Greece and the most unmissable historic sites.
Acropolis of Athens
Perched on a hilly outcrop above modern Athens is the Acropolis. Undoubtedly, the Acropolis is one of the most famous ruins in Greece. This UNESCO World Heritage Site was once at the centre of the Greek world. Pericles, the father of western democracy, transformed the Acropolis into a sacred sanctuary of temples at the heart of his beloved Athens after its destruction by the Persians. The highlight of the Acropolis is the Parthenon, the ancient temple that has grown to represent Ancient Greece. This huge temple was constructed to hold a 40-foot statue of the goddess Athena, decorated with gold and ivory. Indeed, the Acropolis is home to the most captivating ruins in Athens.
Considered the centre of the Ancient Greek world, Delphi holds a special place in the imagination of anyone with an interest in the culture and beliefs of ancient Greece. Perched on the slopes of Mount Parnassus, the Sanctuary of Delphi was rediscovered in 1880. Over the years this vast complex of temples, treasuries, altars and amphitheatres has been uncovered to reveal one of the most enchanting ancient Greek archaeological sites. Today, the Sanctuary of Delphi is considered the second most important ruin in Greece after the Acropolis. Furthermore, visiting Delphi is a popular day trip from Athens.
Located on the western side of Peloponnese, in mainland Greece, Olympia was an ancient Greek sanctuary dedicated to the Greek god Zeus. The Pan-Hellenic Olympic Games were held in Olympia every four years. If you visit Olympia today you can see the remains of the ancient stadium, the Temple of Zeus and the workshop of Phidias, among other sights. Furthermore, the events held here in ancient times directly inspired the modern Olympic Games, which began again in the late 19th-century.
Knossos Palace is located on Crete, the largest Greek island. The red ruins of Knossos Palace are amongst the oldest ruins in Greece. Amazingly, this archaeological site dates back 4000 years to the Minoan civilisation. Pre-dating the ancient Greeks, the Minoans were a sophisticated society, with their capital situated on the island of Crete. Knossos Palace was the Minoans finest palace and you can still admire the decorative wall art in this grand palace today. Furthermore, legend has it that Knossos was home to the mythical Minotaur labyrinth. Undoubtedly, one of the most spectacular ruins in Greece.
Corinth was once a city-state, roughly halfway between Sparta and Athens. It was one of the largest and most important cities in Ancient Greece. Due to its connections with the ancient Greek goddess Aphrodite, Corinth was known as the ‘city of love’. If you visit the ruins of Ancient Corinth, there are two separate archaeological sites to explore. One is the ancient city, home to the amazing Temple of Apollo and the huge Odeon. Secondly, Acrocorinth, located on a hill above the ancient city is home to the ruins of the Temple of Aphrodite and fortified city walls. Famously, Corinth is the locations of the Corinth Canal, a construction originally proposed in the 1st century AD!
Lindos is a village on the island of Rhodes. Overlooking the village is Lindos Acropolis, the most impressive archaeological site on Rhodes. Perched atop a rocky outcrop are a variety of ruined structures dating as far back as the 4th-century BC. Here you can admire the Sanctuary of Athena Lindia, the Hellenistic stoa and the incredible relief of a Rhodian trireme. Climb the monumental staircase to admire the collonaded walkway and take in the spectacular sea views from the top. Undoubtedly, one of the most picturesque ruins in Greece!
So, now you know the best ruins in Greece. What will you see on a tour of Greece? Explore our latest trips to find out more.