Greece Tourist Information
Here gods still stride the heights of Olympus and Parnassus, and Homer's heroes still sail wine-dark seas to island adventures. In Athens, preparations are under way for the return of the Olympics in 2004.
Heraklion, Palace of Knossos
Athens is the wellspring of Western civilization, with such ancient glories as the Parthenon and the Theater of Dionysus, where works of Euripides were first performed. The ancient Odeon of Herod Atticus is the showplace each summer of the Athens Festival. The center of modern Athens is Syntagma (Constitution) Square. Piraeus, the port of Athens, is the embarkation point for the Greek islands and other Mediterranean destinations.
Olympia, on the Peloponnesian peninsula, is the origin of the Olympic Games, first held there in 776 B.C. In 2004, the Games return, this time to Athens. The ruins of Mycenae, 600 years old when the Parthenon was built, reveal the Atreus Treasury, defense walls and monumental Lion Gate from the palace of Agamemnon, Troy's epic foe. Sparta once was the mightiest of the city-states. In Corinth, the ruins of the Agora and the Temple of Apollo are still visible.
Thessaloniki, the second-largest city, has the White Tower, the green-domed Aghia Sophia church (8th century) and an exceptional new Byzantine museum. The Archaeological Museum displays riches of Macedonian kings drawn from excavations at nearby Pella, Vergina and the sacred city of Dion.
Crete was home to Europe's 3000 B.C. Minoan civilization, whose
traces are displayed at the Palace of Knossos. Rhodes, largest of
the Dodecanese isles, resounds with Crusader derring-do. The Knights
of St. John (1309) built the
impressive castle here. Nearby is Lindos, graced by an 11th-century B.C. Dorian citadel on a magnificent acropolis. Rhodes is famous for fine sand beaches, excellent hotels and night life. Crete and Rhodes both are ideal year-round.
Santorini is a dramatic experience with volcanic-ash beaches and a star-shaped crater. At Akrotiri, archaeologists in 1967 dug up the remains of a Bronze Age city, astonishingly intact despite the devastating volcanic explosion that took place around 1500 B.C.
What's New in Europe!Events & Festivals
London events highlights: Japanese crafts, ‘Pop Art’ and gardening all feature in London’s cultural events calendar this summer and beyond.
Royal wedding dress at Buckingham Palace: A special exhibition at Buckingham Palace this summer will recreate the day in 1947 when Princess Elizabeth - now Queen Elizabeth II - married the Duke of Edinburgh in a glittering ceremony at London’s Westminster Abbey.Attractions
Shrewsbury recreates its summer season: Performances by Jools Holland, George Melly and Beverly Knight are among the 370 cultural and artistic events over 100 days at the 'Shrewsbury Summer Season' this year (May 19-Sept. 9).
Scotland’s oldest house marks 900 years: The longest continually inhabited house in Scotland is 900 years old. Once a hunting lodge for the kings and queens of Scotland (it hosted 27 monarchs over the years), the Stuarts of Traquair House supported Mary, Queen of Scots and the doomed Jacobite cause.News
Ceramics Festival in The Potteries: Designers, studio potters, experts and collectors will be making their way to The Potteries this autumn for the Stoke-on-Trent Ceramics Festival 2007 (Oct.5-7).
Macdonald Hotels transforms Cheshire golf venue: Three championship golf courses and the largest indoor golf academy in Europe at The Portal Golf Club venue are to be part of the new four star Macdonald Portal Hotel, Golf and Spa in Cheshire when it opens in July.
Greece FactsArea: 50,961 square miles (smaller than Alabama).
Population: 10,583,000 (Athens, 3,093,000; Thessaloniki, 706,000).