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Greece - a combination of natural beauty and fascinating history
May 13, 2017, 4:28 pm
Steeped in history with 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 the Acropolis Hill and Museum and the monasteries of Meteora. But most people come here to catch a ferry to the islands; Santorini, Mykonos, Hydra-Poros-Aegina,  Rhodes, Corfu, and Crete are the most popular.
Athens is the historical capital of Europe, with a long history, dating from the first settlement in the Neolithic age. In the 5th Century BC (the “Golden Age of Pericles”) – the culmination of Athens’ long, fascinating history – the city’s values and civilization acquired a universal significance.  Ancient and modern, with equal measures, bustling Athens will inspire you with  Iconic monuments that mingle with first-rate museums, lively cafes and al fresco dining.
Acropolis: Considered the symbol of Athens and Greece, and indeed of Western civilization, 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 The best known and most distinctive is the Parthenon, originally made up of 58 columns supporting a roof and decorated by ornate pediments and a frieze.  
Acropolis Museum: 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) and the highly controversial Parthenon marbles.
Hydra: The favorite island of the jet set, whose old traditional beautiful stone houses and mansions silently witness to a long and turbulent story.  The small narrow stone paved streets await you to explore them on foot or by the island’s tradi-tional “vehicle” the saddled donkeys… captivating walks along the old seaside promenade crystal clear waters, radiant fine craft shops and the beauty of Hydra will conquer you!

Poros:  Although it is the smallest of the three islands that we visited, its attraction is the narrow strait offering a most enchanting view of the town of Poros.
Aegina:  The largest of the three islands. Apart from its harbor,  the Temple of Afea  (archeological site) or the Church of Saint Nektarios, whose relics are on display.
Nafplio:  Often cited as Greece's most beautiful city, Nafplio is a popular weekend destination for wealthy Athenians. The car-free old town is filled with neo-classical mansions and proud churches, and overlooked by the 18th-century Palamidi Fortress. Nearby attractions include Tiryns, Epidaurus Theater, and Ancient Corinth.
Rhodes Town:  This UNESCO-listed town is one of Greece's top tourist destinations. It is enclosed by an impressive fortification system, including monumental towers and gates built by the Knights of St. John after they took control of the island in the 14th century. The car-free cobbled streets of the old town are a joy to explore on foot. Nearby attractions include the pretty hillside coastal town of Lindos, and Marmaris on the Turkish coast, which can be visited by excursion boat.
Corfu Town:  On the Ionian Sea, off the west coast of mainland Greece, Corfu is one of the country's most-visited island destinations. The capital, Corfu Town, is a UNESCO World Heritage site, thanks to its elegant Italianate architecture. Explore its romantic pedestrian-only streets to discover two 16th-century fortresses, and the arcaded Liston, lined by old-fashioned cafes.
Santorini:  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.
Mykonos: Greece's most glamorous island destination, Mykonos is noted for its chic boutique hotels, classy seafood restaurants, and live music venues. Other attractions include Paraportiani (a whitewashed church in Mykonos Town) and numerous sandy beaches along the island's south coast. The island is particularly popular with international celebrities.


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