Greece also known as Hellas, and officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe.
Greece is a country in southeastern Europe with thousands of islands throughout the Aegean and Ionian seas. Influential in ancient times, it's often called the cradle of Western civilization. Athens, its capital, retains landmarks including the 5th-century B.C. Acropolis citadel with the Parthenon temple. Greece is also known for its beaches, from the black sands of Santorini to the party resorts of Mykonos.
1:00am-11:30pm : Fira
10:00am-11:30am : Akrotiri
Set your clock back a few thousand years with a visit to Akrotiri, a Minoan Bronze Age settlement destroyed by a massive volcanic eruption around 1627 BCE. The volcanic ash buried the remains of many everyday objects used by the settlement's inhabitants, preserving for posterity the ancient way of life of a long-lost culture. Some historians suggest this archeological site, once an important port city on the Aegean, served as an inspiration for Plato's story of Atlantis, a supposedly fictional place mentioned in two of the philosopher's major works. To gain a better understanding of the lost community, take a guided tour around the excavation site.
12:00pm-1:30pm : Boutari Winery
2:00pm-4:00pm : Ekklisia Theoskepasti hiking trail
To see the best of what Santorini has to offer relatively quickly, tackle Ekklisia Theoskepasti hiking trail. Hundreds of people hike the 9 km (5.5 mi) long trail every day, stopping along the way to discover the island's picturesque beaches, small villages, and ancient churches. The scenic trail covers a variety of terrains, including some rocky and steep pathways for which you should bring a pair of comfortable hiking shoes. The best time to start the hike is just after sunrise or late in the afternoon, during the coolest parts of the day. Wear a wide-brimmed hat, and bring lots of drinking water and a light snack.
4:00pm-6:00pm : Skaros Rock
Skaros Rock once housed a castle that protected the 200 Catholic settlers who called the town home. The town of Skaros was the capital of the island of Santorini until multiple earthquakes caused families to leave. Today the site offers views from the lookout over the flat-top rock next to the sea. The Chapel of Agios Ioannis Apokefalistheis stands silent over the abandoned town. The white buildings high on the plateau are often pictured in postcards of Greece, and it's not uncommon to see a wedding party on the hills among the cafe terraces.
10:00am-2:00pm : Wine Tours & Tastings
2:30pm-5:30pm : Amoudi Bay
A place of romantic sunsets and traditional taverns, Amoudi Bay sits just below the small port town of Oia. After a swim in the Aegean, scramble up the bay's red cliffs to take in sweeping views of the sea and the coastline, dotted by tiny beaches attracting water lovers from around the world. The bay gets extremely crowded by mid-afternoon, so try to arrive as early in the day as possible. It's best to spend the first part of the afternoon exploring the bay's many seafood restaurants, leaving plenty of time to find a good spot for watching the sunset near the water or up on the cliffs.
10:00am-11:30am : Beautyworld Spa
12:00pm-3:00pm : Little Venice
Watch the sunset from a Mykonos beach, go for a stroll among the shops, restaurants, and bars, and observe the mix of culture and architecture at Little Venice. The name of this attraction comes from the quaint, whitewashed houses that stand just upon the shoreline, resembling Venice itself. Visit the houses, now turned into clubs and bars, restaurants serving Greek cuisine, and stores with a wide range of merchandise. Take a camera with you an capture your own picture of one of the most photographed places in Europe. Wear sturdy walking shoes, as the paths by the sea can get slippery.
3:30pm-4:30pm : The Windmills (Kato Milli)
The Windmills (Kato Milli) are the first thing approaching ships see on arrival to Mykonos. Many of the windmills were constructed by the Venetians in the 16th century. From the time they were built until the mid-20th century, these structures fueled the local economy by grinding wheat. Although the mills' grinding days are over, they remain much loved by the locals. Just below this spot you'll find cafes and restaurants that serve local fare where you can admire a view of the windmills and the sea. Although you cannot enter the windmills, you can approach them for photographs.
5:00pm-5:30pm : Rarity Gallery
Opened in 1995, Rarity Gallery exhibits contemporary works of art by domestic and international artists. A range of media is represented, from sculptures and paintings, to photographs.
10:00am-10:30am: Ancient Agora of Athens
The commercial, political, and religious center of ancient Athens, Ancient Agora of Athens offers you a chance to gain insight into the origins of democracy. Founded in the 6th century BCE, this large open area stood in the middle of the city and served as a meeting place used to enact laws, make decisions about the city's defense, and hold public forums to discuss ostracism, the expulsion of a citizen for a period of ten years. Visit this archeological site to see two of ancient Athens' major landmarks, a temple dedicated to the god Hephaestus and a two-story covered walkway, reconstructed in the 1950s to house a museum of ancient clay, bronze, and glass objects.
11:00am-2:00pm : Acropolis of Athens
A cluster of ancient ruins of great architectural and historical significance, Acropolis of Athens has been the star attraction of Athens for many centuries and is a World Heritage Site. Sitting on a rocky hill just above the city, this age-old citadel contains ruins of temples constructed during the 5th century BCE. The "City on a Hill," as its name roughly translates, contains outstanding examples of Classical architecture that continues to influence the building styles of modern cities around the world. Although pollution and exposure to weather continue to take their toll on the ancient buildings, the historical hill remains an important reminder of the cultural influence and political power ancient Greece once exercised on the rest of the world.
2:00pm-2:30pm : Erechtheion
Across from the Parthenon, Erechtheion has gained acclaim for its south porch, which is supported by female figures in place of traditional columns. These six figures, called caryatids, play the same architectural role as columns and were built from marble. The caryatids are exact replicas of the originals, which are on display in a protected environment in the Acropolis Museum. The temple was built between 420 and 406 BCE, and the complex was designed to protect its several sacred shrines.
3:00pm-5:00pm : Plaka
The oldest residential neighborhood in Athens, Plaka sits in the shadows of the city's ancient ruins, welcoming visitors with a labyrinth of pedestrian-friendly streets and notable examples of Neoclassical architecture. In the 1990s this district transformed itself from a primarily working-class neighborhood to a tourist-driven area rife with trendy shops, upscale restaurants, and sidewalk cafes. Though most visitors come to this area--the heart of the ancient city--to soak up the authentic street atmosphere, you can also visit several historically important sites here, including a 5th century temple and an 11th century church, one of the oldest in the city. The neighborhood also houses a good selection of museums and galleries, displaying ancient artifacts and folk art.
5:30pm-6:00pm : Plateia Syntagmatos
In the center of Athens, Plateia Syntagmatos has been an important site of Greek politics and history. The square's name references a military uprising in 1843, which resulted in Greece's first King, Otto, being forced to sign a constitution. A trip to the capital will inevitably have you passing through the square, but it's worth taking the time to appreciate the history that has unfolded here. See the Greek Parliament, housed in the Old Royal Palace, and catch the changing of the guard ceremony, which takes place just in front of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Stroll the massive National Gardens just behind the Parliament. Grab a bite to eat at one of the cafes lining the square and settle in for some people-watching.
10:00am-1:00pm : National Archaeological Museum
The largest of Athens' many museums, National Archaeological Museum houses a vast collection of ancient artifacts unearthed from a variety of excavation sites around Greece. The museum's world-famous Mycenaean collection includes the 19th century finds by archaeologist Heinrich Schliemann, featuring golden funerary masks, relief stelae, alabaster tools, ivory carvings, and jewelry. The museum also displays a staggering array of ancient figurines, frescoes from the volcanic island of Santorini, and the oldest known mechanical computer, designed to predict astronomical positions and eclipses. There's so much to see here, it may take you several visits to absorb it all. Make your trip through ancient history a bit more comprehensible by arranging for a guided tour of the museum's most representative exhibits.
1:30pm-3:00pm : Mount Lycabettus
Local legend claims wild wolves used to seek refuge on Mount Lycabettus, a tall hill noted for offering unbeatable views of Athens. Tradition has it that Athena, the goddess of wisdom, created this hill when she accidentally dropped a mountain she had intended for the construction of the city's famed citadel. You can access this "hill walked by wolves," as its name roughly translates, by a funicular railway departing from a station in the central part of the city. The hill rises to 277 m (908 ft) above sea level, its peak featuring a 19th century chapel, theater, and restaurant. Pick a sunny day for your visit if possible, and don't forget your camera.
3:30pm-4:30pm : Temple of Olympian Zeus
What remains standing today of Temple of Olympian Zeus serves as a testament to the grandeur of ancient Greek architecture. Built over several years and completed in 456 BCE, the temple was dedicated to Zeus, the king of the Olympian gods. Badly damaged by both fire and earthquakes, much of the temple is in ruins, but some columns still stand. At 10.5 m tall (34.4 ft) and 2.25 m (7.4 ft) in diameter, the columns were built of local limestone and covered in white stucco. Admission is included in the ticket to the nearby Acropolis.
5:00pm-6:00pm : National Garden
Take a break from the heat and the crowds of the city at National Garden. Created by Queen Amalia in 1839, these gardens once belonged to the royal palace. Now, the 15.4 hectare (38 acre) property is open to the public throughout the day. Walk among the multitude of trees, flowers, and other greenery, or sit on one of the many benches to picnic and watch the ducks in the pond. Stop into the on-site mini zoo to view turtles, birds, goats, and some other animals.
10:00am-12:00pm : Benaki Museum
Set in a mansion belonging to the influential Bekanis family, Benaki Museum houses an impressive collection of artifacts reflecting Greek history and culture. Though primarily concerned with Greece, the museum explores and celebrates the many foreign influences that have enriched the country. Admire prehistoric pottery, Byzantine iconography, 17th century embroidery, and heirlooms of influential Greek figures. Make sure to stop by the on-site restaurant. Located on the top floor, it offers superb views of central Athens.
12:30pm-2:30pm : Acropolis Museum
Established to preserve the rich heritage of ancient Greece, Acropolis Museum brings together thousands of artifacts found at the world-famous ancient citadel located on a rocky outcrop above Athens. Opened in 2009 just a short walk from this heritage-listed archaeological site, the museum exhibits nearly 4,000 objects, including items formerly held in storage or displayed by foreign museums. The collection focuses on statues from the 5th century BCE, widely regarded as the finest examples of ancient artistic achievement. The museum building, a major tourist attraction in itself, features exhibit spaces designed to give each artifact a clear historical context. Finish your visit at the second-floor restaurant, which offers panoramic views of the city's historical hills.
3:00pm-4:00pm : Museum of Greek Folk Musical Instruments
Explore the history of music at Museum of Greek Folk Musical Instruments, where you'll find over 1,200 Greek musical instruments on display. The collection spans over 300 years of musical history, and includes lyres, flogheras, defia, gaides, koudouia, laghouta, bouzoukia, souravlie, and many more pieces. Located in an Athenian mansion built in 1842, the museum is laid out over three floors, with instruments grouped into four sections. Explanatory labels in English accompany the displays, and the available earphones let you hear how each instrument sounds.