Blessed with a rich and long history, Greece boasts a wide variety of monuments and archaeological sites bearing a deep cultural heritage. It is, therefore, not surprising that there are 18 Greek monuments and areas given the distinction of being UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Discover these historic gems below.
Temple of Apollo Epicurius at Bassae (1986)
Isolated on a distant mountainside in the Peloponnese, the Temple of Apollo Epicurius at Bassae is a well-preserved Classical temple. Its uniqueness lies not only in its remote location or its dedication but also in the fact that it combines Doric, Ionic, and Corinthian elements. Built around 450 and 400 BC, it was only discovered in 1765 when French architect Joachim Bocher stumbled upon it by chance.
Destinations Unlocked:Let our travel expert Stefano help you find your perfect Culture trip
Looking for an expert's perspective?Uncover my top 3 recommended places from each continent on the map.
1. GuatemalaAn express adventure for those with limited time off. Prepare yourself incredible experiences. You will hike a volcano, visit mayan temples and witness a ceremony and take in beautiful colonial Antigua.
2. BelizeA quick trip not too far away for those seeking a relaxing mini break. You will have plenty of free time to relax but also some awesome activities to experience the rainforest and the caribbean sea.
3. MexicoAn exciting mini trip exploring the lesser known colonial towns of central Mexico. This is hte perfect trip for someone with limited time off and still wants to turn on explorer mode and do something different.
1. EcuadorA remarkable 8 days adventure through the Andes and the Amazon rainforest. The best choice for adventure seekers wishing to visit the 2 most iconic areas of South America, in only 1 week and no flights.
2. PeruAn alternative itinerary to classic Peru, from Cusco to Arequipa. This itinerary is great combination of highlights Cusco and Machu Picchu with the lesser known Arequipa and Colca Canyon.
1. ItalyThe ultimate Italian experience from the vibrant streets of Naples to the breathtaking sceneries of the Amalfi Coast followed by Matera and down to Puglia with its golden beaches, intense flavours and fascinating destinations.
2. ScotlandEmbark on this great adventure starting from London all the way to Scotland with a true Scottish experience made of breathtaking sceneries, whisky tasting and ..lots of fun! Ideal for train lovers and explorers.
3. PortugalA wonderful train journey around Portugal, from the romantic city of Porto to the Douro Valley, to the beautiful Aveiro all the way to Lisbon and Sintra. The perfect trip to train, culinary and culture lovers.
1. South KoreaDiscover incredible temples, mountains and modern cities on this 10 day adventure. This trip is perfect for those seeking immersion in the cuisine, culture and natural wonders of South Korea.
2. ThailandFrom Bankgok to Angkor Wat to Ho Chi Minh City and everything in between - adventure through the heart of South-East Asia. Taste the delights, see history brought to life and unwind on a Mekong River cruise.
3. Sri LankaA fantastic adventure that showcases Sri Lanka's fantastic landscapes, wildlife and flavours. With 3 epic rail journeys, 3 UNESCO heritage sites and time to relax, this trip has loads to offer at a great price
1. MoroccoAn epic journey across Morocco: from Casablanca to Marrakech, through the blue city of Chefchaouen to the wonders of the desert and deep to the High Atlas Mountains - this trip has it all! Ideal for true explorers!
2. EgyptFrom Cairo to Aswan, this trip brings the land of the pharaohs to life. You'll visit the Pyramids, Valley of the Kings and Luxor Temple and cruise down the Nile in style. This is the perfect way to explore Egypt.
Archaeological Site of Delphi (1987)
The archaeological site of Delphi is probably one of the most important sites in Greece, after the Acropolis of Athens. In Ancient Greece, the majority of political decisions were made after consulting the oracle, and it is said that no colony was founded around the Mediterranean without the consent of the sanctuary at Delphi. Over the centuries, the functions that took place at the Oracle of Delphi grew to include athletic games and cultural events, known as the Delphic festivals. Today, various structures still stand on the slopes of Delphi, including an ancient theater; the temple of Apollo; the sanctuary of Athena Pronaia, which includes the Tholos; the stadium; the Kastalia spring; and numerous decorative artifacts. There is also an on-site archaeological museum that contains countless ancient Greek treasures uncovered from excavations.
Acropolis of Athens (1987)
Any trip to Greece must involve a visit to the Acropolis. This impressive site includes four of the leading masterpieces of classical Greek aesthetics: the Parthenon, Propylaea, Erechtheion, and the temple of Athena Nike. Completed by the 5th century BC, it has exerted a deep influence on architecture across the world.
Medieval City of Rhodes (1988)
The medieval city in the heart of Rhodes has remained unspoiled throughout the centuries. In 1309, the famous Order of the Knights of Saint John of Jerusalem, or the Hospitallers, who were returning from Jerusalem, settled in Rhodes until their departure in 1522, after a six-month siege by the Turkish forces. Their presence left an indelible mark on Rhodes Old Town, an authentic architectural gem with Gothic, Renaissance, and Byzantine elements, along with a touch of Ottoman inspiration. Exploring the medieval city is like stepping back in time – an experience not to be missed.
Paleochristian and Byzantine Monuments of Thessalonika (1988)
Thessaloniki is an open-air museum. Wander around the Lady of The North, founded in 315 BC, and she will let you discover all of her historical charms. As a starting base for the expansion of Christianity in the area, Thessaloniki boasts its fair share of Early Christian churches and other Byzantine and Roman monuments, which is another excellent reason to visit this often-overlooked city.
Sanctuary of Asklepios at Epidaurus (1988)
Nestled in a peaceful valley in the Peloponnese, the sanctuary of the god-physician Asklepios is the most celebrated healing center of the ancient Greek and Roman world. Considered the birthplace of medicine, the sanctuary is a valuable testimony to the practice of medicine in antiquity. The site is home to monumental buildings used for worship (the temple and the altar of Asklepios, the Tholos, the Abaton, etc.), as well as secular buildings such as the theatre, the ceremonial Hestiatoreion, the baths, and the palaestra. The Asklepieion survived until the end of antiquity.
In an isolated region of Thessaly, sandstone peaks rise to the sky. Perched atop are 24 monasteries established by monks who settled there from the 11th century onward. A visit to Meteora conjures a mysterious yet vibrant sense of wonder at the desire of men to reach God and find isolation in worship. Many of the monasteries are adorned with beautiful 16th-century frescoes, which signify a remarkable moment in the evolution of post-Byzantine painting.
Mount Athos (1988)
Mount Athos is a monastic state, and it’s been a major Orthodox spiritual center since 1054, enjoying an autonomous statute since Byzantine times. A place where women and children (and female animals) are not allowed, the Holy Mountain is home to 20 monasteries and 1,400 monks.
Archaeological Site of Mystras (1989)
Mystras is perched on the northern slopes of Mt. Taygetos, near Sparta. Its castle was constructed in 1249 by Frankish leader William II de Villeharduin. After 1262, the city came under Byzantine control, and during the 14th century, it became the seat of the Despotate of Morea. In 1460, the hill fell under the power of the Turks, and in 1464, Mystras was briefly occupied by the Venetians (1687-1715) before it returned to the Turks’ control. It was then liberated in 1821, although the establishment of modern Sparta by King Otto in 1834 sealed the fate of the old town’s life, leading to its decline.
Archaeological Site of Olympia (1989)
Located in Western Peloponnese, the archaeological site of Olympia is one of the most visited destinations in Greece. Dedicated to Zeus, the site, despite its isolation, was a major religious and athletic center in ancient Greece. Indeed, the site was highly frequented and celebrated, especially during the Olympic Games, a national festival organized every four years in honor of the father of all gods, Zeus. The site includes the Temple of Hera, the Prytaneion, the Bouleuterion, the treasuries, and the first stadium built during the Archaic period. During the Hellenistic period, non-religious buildings, such as the gymnasium and palaestra, were built, while during Roman times, the majority of the existing buildings were restored, and a few new ones were constructed, including hot baths, luxurious villas, and an aqueduct.
According to mythology, the sacred island of Delos – known throughout ancient times as one of the main pan-Hellenic sanctuaries – was the birthplace of Apollo and Artemis. And Apollo’s temple was an important attraction which captivated pilgrims from all over the country, turning the island into a flourishing port.
Monasteries of Daphni, Hosios Loukas and Nea Moni of Chios (1990)
Despite its small size, Chios packs a powerful world heritage punch with no less than three monasteries considered extremely important based on their historical value. Although all three are not located in the same area, they share identical aesthetic characteristics. All churches were built on a cross-in-square plan and decorated with stunning marble work around the 11th and 12th centuries. According to historians, they represent the second golden age of Byzantine art.
Pythagoreion and Heraion of Samos (1992)
This tiny Aegean island has seen many invaders during its history, but the remains of the Pythagoreion and the Heraion (an ancient port with stunning Roman and Greek monuments and a temple honoring the Samian Hera) are where you can witness the most visible signs of invasion to date. The Pythagoreion includes a sophisticated tunnel part of an ancient aqueduct and ruins of the ancient harbor.
Archaeological Site of Aigai (modern name Vergina) (1996)
In ancient times, the town of Aigai (today Vergina) was the first capital of the Kingdom of Macedon. In 336 BC, the town’s theater was the site of Philip II’s assassination, and his son Alexander the Great was proclaimed king shortly after. Archaeological discoveries include a grand palace, decorated with mosaics and painted walls, and over 300 tombs, one of which belonged to King Philip II.
The Historic Centre (Chorá) with the Monastery of Saint-John the Theologian and the Cave of the Apocalypse on the Island of Pátmos (1999)
Underrated Greek paradise Patmos is known for being the place where St John the Theologian wrote his Gospel and the Book of Revelation. This Dodecanese gem boasts a monastery – built in the late 10th century – dedicated to the apostle, which is still a place of pilgrimage to this day. The settlement of Chora, for its part, contains many religious and secular buildings worth visiting.
Archaeological Sites of Mycenae and Tiryns (1999)
Two important cities during the Mycenean civilization, Mycenae and Tiryns flourished between the 15th and 12th centuries BC. Artifacts and monuments such as the Lion’s Gate or the Treasury of Atreus at Mycenae have been regarded as ‘outstanding examples of human creative genius.’ It is also the place where Agamemnon’s golden funeral mask was discovered by Heinrich Schliemann in 1876.
Old Town of Corfu (2007)
Beautiful Corfu is home to one of the many wonders of the world. The Old Town of Corfu is strategically located at the entrance of the Adriatic Sea and has been around since the 8th century BC. Equipped with three forts, created by Venetian engineers, the town always managed to defend itself against the Ottoman Empire, and though the forts were rebuilt and renovated often, the Old Town is one of the few historical landmarks that has managed to preserve its authenticity and integrity.
Archaeological Site of Philippi (2016)
Lying in the present-day region of Eastern Macedonia and Thrace, Philippi (now called Kavala) was conveniently located on the road linking the East with the West. Founded in 356 BC by King Philip II, the city grew to become a ‘small Rome,’ not knowing that the Roman Empire would establish itself there in the decades following the Battle of Philippi in 42 BC. The site includes a Hellenistic theater and a funerary temple, as well as a forum, added after the Roman Empire ascent. The city was also a center of Christian faith following Apostle Paul’s visit in 49-50 CE. The ruins of its basilica are a beautiful reminder of the arrival of Christianity in the area.
Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip
meet our Local Insider
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN A GUIDE?
WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT YOUR JOB?
It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.
WHAT DESTINATION IS ON YOUR TRAVEL BUCKET-LIST?
I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!
Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.
KEEN TO EXPLORE THE WORLD?
Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world
Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.