Top Greek Islands Attractions
The first time you visit Greek Islands, or any new destination,
the question asked isn’t usually what attractions should be
scene but what attraction to see first, what to expect, how to get
there, and how much time is needed. We’ve provided tips, advice,
and other information about the top tourist attractions in Greek Islands
to help with your itinerary planning.
The island of Mykonos has a tireless number of attractions. Residents
of Mykonos claim that 365 churches exist on the small island, one
for every day of the year. The most famous is the Church of Paraportiani.
Built over a long period of time from 1475 to the 17th century,
the church is a whitewashed structure built on low Kastro hill,
and consists of five smaller churches built into one.
Another symbol of Mykonos is Petros the Pelican. Petros landed
on the island during a bad storm in the 1950’s, and decided
he loved Mykonos enough to never leave. The original Petros died
in the 1980’s, and was replaced by a new, and equally content,
pelican. Locals know him well and allow him to wander around the
island, while tourists often pet him and take pictures as he passes.
The windmills stand tall as a symbolic part of the Mykonos landscape.
They were once used to crush the grain bought by stopping ships.
They represent a part of the island’s history that stands
for economic and commercial strength. Now, the few windmills that
remain are used as museums, shops, and homes.
Church of Paraportiani
located on low Kastro hill, free admission daily
June to September, 4 to 6pm, free admission
the first settlers arrived in 3000 BC, Santorini has developed from
a major commercial port to what is now a popular vacation spot and
historical treasure. When you visit the island, allow several days
to take in all of the attractions. If you go exploring, be sure
to visit some of the numerous museums, archaeological sites, or
one of the 250 churches. The Historical and Cultural Museum of Santorini
in Fira, the island’s capital, is home to ancient vases, frescoes,
If the museum catches your interest, you will also enjoy the excavations
of Akrotiri and ancient Thira. The settlement of Akrotiri dates
to 4th millennia BC and the settlement of Thira dates to 9th century
BC. Excavations from both of the sites suggest that highly effective
and organized civilizations existed on the island so many years
The black sand beaches and scenic “red beach” give
you tireless options for a day of sun bathing, water sports, and
rest. If you want an umbrella and chair, most beaches will charge
around five euros. Extracurricular activities such as scuba diving
and parasailing can cost anywhere from 15 euros to 50 euros. You
can complete a day the beach by taking a short taxi or bus ride
back to your hotel, and going to any of the posh or cozy restaurants
and bars for dinner and drinks.
Historical and Cultural Museum in Fira
Tuesday to Sunday, 8:30 to 3pm, approx. 3 euros, telephone: 22860-222-17
Akrotiri – Tuesday to Sunday, 8:30 to 3pm, approx. 5 euros,
Site of ancient Thira
Tuesday to Sunday, 8:30 to 3pm, approx. 5 euro, telephone: 22860-31-366
When the sun god Helios transformed his love, the nymph Rhodes,
into an island, he created a place of everlasting sunlight. Today,
Rhodes has been declared one of the sunniest places in Europe. One
of the most historically significant moments in Rhodes’s past
was during the rule of the Knights of Saint John. The Palace of
the Grand Master can be seen from quite a distance. The mark of
the medieval era can be seen in the architecture of the Old Town
and specifically down the Street of the Knights, which, in turn,
leads you to the Palace.
Despite many earthquakes, the history of Rhodes has been well preserved
both architecturally and through the efforts of organizations such
as the Archaeological museum. A part of the island’s history
that did not survive the earthquakes is the Colossus, one of the
seven wonders of the ancient world. Although the Colossus collapsed
and disappeared in 226 BC, after a major earthquake, the island
is still strongly connected to its memory. Before it fell, the bronze
male figure stood over 100 feet tall on the harbor of Rhodes, and
symbolically reached its arm to the gods on Olympus. The sheer greatness
and gigantic height of the statue made it a true accomplishment
for the time in which it was built. Although paintings and drawings
attempt to recreate the Colossus based on literary accounts, we
will never really know exactly what it looked like or where it stood
on the island.
Palace of the Grand Master
located in the Old Town, (May to October) Tuesday to Sunday 8am
to 7pm / Monday 12 to 7pm, (November to April) Tuesday to Sunday
8:30 to 2:30, approx. 3 to 4 euro, telephone: 22410-23-359
When you visit Crete, the largest of the islands, make the ruins
of Knossos your first stop. The foundation of the great Palace of
King Minos has been excavated and partially rebuilt for research
purposes. When Arthur Evans began excavations in 1900, he unearthed
one of the greatest finds in Greek history. Not only did he discover
a massive foundation of architecture from the Minoan civilization,
he also found well-preserved frescoes and artifacts. The most significant
object is the throne of King Minos, which has benches on each side.
Today, it is on display in the same location where it sat for thousands
of years. Evans was able to piece together dolphin frescoes that
spanned four walls of what was thought to have been the Queen’s
room. King Minos is well known for his role in Greek mythology as
the son of Zeus and keeper of the Minotaur and the Labyrinth. Part
of the excavated foundation shows complex winding passageways that
add fuel to the Labyrinth myth.
If you want to learn more about the ruins of Knossos, the Archeological
Museum of Heraklion holds many different artifacts from the Minoan
civilization. Golden statues, vases, and jewelry are among the rarities
located in Heraklion, (April to October) 8am to 8pm, (October to
March) Monday to Friday 8am to 5pm Saturday and Sunday 8:30am to
3pm, approx. 4 to 6 euro, telephone: 2810-23-194.
Archaeological Museum of Heraklion
(April to October) Tuesday to Sunday 8am to 7pm (October to March)
8am to 5pm, approx. 6 to 10 euro, telephone: 2810-226-092
For spiritual inspiration and knowledge of the divine, you should
visit the island of Patmos. In 95 AD, St John the Apostle lived
in a cave in exile on the island. During this time, he had a divine
revelation when Jesus spoke to him, prompting him to write the Book
of Revelation, the last book in the Bible. Today, you can see the
three lines embedded on the ceiling of the cave, where many believe
the voice of Jesus came from during the revelation. The three lines
are said to represent to the Holy Trinity. In the cave you will
also see a niche in the wall, where St John would place his hand
to help himself up.
The Monastery of St John the Theologian is the grandest site on
the island and sits on top of a hill of white washed square homes.
Built by Father Christodoulos in 1088, as a dedication to the Saint,
the Monastery looks more like a medieval castle. Father Christodoulos
purposely designed the monastery by surrounding it with tall brick
walls to keep the holy place safe from intruders. The Monastery
houses five chapels, the only museum on the island, the legendary
library where priceless texts have occupied the shelves for thousands
of years, and a collection of frescoes.
Cave of the Apocalypse
hours vary, but generally Sunday to Wednesday 8am to 1pm and 2pm
to 6pm, Thurs to Saturday 8am to 1:30pm, free admission
Monastery of St John
every day 8:30am to 12pm and 4pm to 6pm, admission free except museum
approx. 4 euro, telephone: 0241-21-954
Greek Islands Travel Guides
Frommer's Greek Islands
Lonely Planet Greek Islands
Let's Go Greek Islands
Fodors Greek Islands