6 Hidden Gem Destinations in Greece You Should Explore

6 Hidden Gem Destinations in Greece You Should Explore

Hidden Gems 2024-02-18 ParkingNearAirports.io

Greece is a remarkable place to visit, providing not just stunning islands and ancient ruins, but also lesser-known treasures that are less crowded yet equally astonishing. Although famous tourist attractions like the Acropolis of Athens and Santorini are frequently visited, there are less popular destinations that are just as worthy of exploration. If you think you've experienced all that Greece has to offer, think again. These hidden gems will amaze you with their captivating past and stunning scenery. Let's discover them together!

Which hidden treasures of Greece should you give special consideration to next time?

1. Delos

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In Greek mythology, Delos, a small island, is known as the birthplace of Apollo, the deity associated with music, poetry, and art. This picturesque paradise appears to be plucked straight out of a painting, which is fitting given its mythological significance. Located in the Aegean Sea within the Cyclades archipelago, Delos has a rich history dating back to the 3rd millennium BCE, leaving behind numerous archaeological relics. Despite its remote location, the island continues to attract visitors due to its inaccessibility.

Designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Delos can be reached by various regional ferries. Once you arrive, the entire island becomes an open-air museum with countless points of interest. The area, spanning a modest 1.3 square miles, includes several notable structures, such as the remains of nine historic marble lions and fragments of a massive statue dedicated to Apollo himself. To delve further into Delos' history, the island's small archaeological museum provides insights through artifacts, including vivid mosaics from the House of Dionysus. Other noteworthy locations include the well-preserved Temple of Isis from the 2nd century BCE and the Ancient Theater of Delos from the 3rd century BCE, which once accommodated up to 5,000 spectators.

2. Temple of Poseidon

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The Temple of Poseidon, built between 444 and 440 BCE, is situated in Sounion, a sacred location 40 miles away from Athens. This magnificent temple, dedicated to the Greek god of the sea, offers a breathtaking view of the sparkling Aegean waters from its perch on a cliffside. The construction of the temple was overseen by Pericles, the renowned ancient Greek statesman who was also responsible for the Parthenon. However, despite this connection, the Temple of Poseidon is not as frequented by tourists compared to other attractions.

During its heyday, the Temple of Poseidon boasted 34 Doric columns made from locally-sourced marble. Today, only 15 of these columns remain standing. The temple underwent thorough excavation in the 20th century, with bus and car transportation available, making the 90-minute journey from Athens city center worthwhile.

3. Kythira

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Located south of the Peloponnese peninsula lies the small and tranquil retreat called Kythira. Due to its lack of natural harbors, the island held little significance in ancient political times, although it has been inhabited since the Minoan Period (3000 to 1200 BCE). Kythira is believed to be the legendary birthplace of Aphrodite, the goddess of beauty, and was once home to an ancient cult devoted to this mighty deity. Throughout history, Kythira served as a Spartan outpost and endured various invasions, but it has now transformed into an unspoiled island paradise.

The inhabitants of Kythira reside in charming white houses that climb up the rugged terrain, culminating in the Castle of Chora located at the highest point of the island. This fortress, dating back to the 13th century, offered a strategic vantage point for spotting ships approaching from the Ionian, Aegean, and Cretan seas. There are several museums on the island that showcase its archaeological and Byzantine history, as Kythira was once part of the Byzantine Empire during the 7th century. After delving into the island's rich past, it's worth exploring Kythira's natural wonders, including caves, grottos, and sandy beaches where one can spend countless hours basking in the warm Mediterranean sun.

4. Theatre of Dionysus

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If you're going to visit the nearby Acropolis, it's highly recommended to also take a short trip to the Theatre of Dionysus. Situated in the heart of Athens, this venue was the original theater of its kind and could accommodate up to 17,000 spectators at its peak. Renowned ancient Greek playwrights, such as Aeschylus and Sophocles, brought their plays to be performed on this very stage, making it known as the birthplace of Greek drama.

During ancient times, the theater was dedicated to Dionysus, the god associated with ecstasy and wine. Festivals held in his honor brought numerous performances to this location. Unfortunately, the theater fell into disrepair during the Byzantine era, but it was rediscovered in 1765 and eventually restored over the course of the 19th century. Today, visitors can soak in the historic ambiance and imagine what it was like to experience the dramatic works that once graced this impressive site.

5. Samaria Gorge

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As the biggest and most populous Greek island, Crete may not be a hidden gem in its entirety. However, nestled within its borders lies the Samaria Gorge – a World Biosphere Reserve that truly offers an "off the beaten path" experience. Boasting remarkable geological features and unmatched biodiversity, the Samaria Gorge is a must-visit for nature enthusiasts, animal lovers, and avid hikers. The ruggedness and difficulty of accessing the gorge have helped keep its natural terrain mostly untouched.

One of the notable highlights of the Samaria Gorge is a hiking trail that starts at an elevation of 4,035 feet and descends all the way to sea level. The trail presents some challenging sections, particularly "the Gates" – a narrow stretch measuring only 13 feet wide, flanked by towering cliffs that reach hundreds of feet in height. For wildlife enthusiasts, the trail is home to unique species, such as the cliff-climbing Creten Agrimi goat, rare bearded vultures, and horseshoe bats. Upon reaching the end of the trail, visitors are rewarded with a breathtaking view of the waters, with the island of Gavdos in the distance, marking the southernmost point in all of Europe.

6. Tower of the Winds

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Athens' Tower of the Winds is an intriguing archaeological artifact, as it's recognized as the world's earliest recorded meteorological station. Constructed by astronomer Andronicus of Cyrrhus between 100 and 50 BCE, the tower initially served as a timekeeping device. It even evolved to become a bell tower for a church over time.

The tower itself boasts a distinctive design, standing at 42 feet tall with eight sides, symbolizing the cardinal directions. In addition, its stone roof holds great archaeological significance, as it's one of the few ancient building roofs that have survived intact. The tower also contains various relics from different historical periods, including ancient frescoes and Arabic calligraphy from the late Ottoman era, reflecting the diverse cultures that inhabited the site. In 2015, the Tower of the Winds underwent restoration and now welcomes visitors who are interested in exploring the history of Greece and meteorology.

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In addition to our ultimate travel guide, we would also like to provide you with some more useful information on traveling, which will be handy for those who prefer doing this by air.

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Thirdly, it's much more convenient. People are always stressed before the trip, as there are many things you should keep in mind. Not to be late when taking off, fighting traffic, finding a parking place, wondering how long the shuttle service will take, and more can leave you annoyed before you step foot inside the airport. If you choose off-site parking, you are using the assistance of a private company that caters to travelers' needs. Such services can make your trip much more comfortable when you arrive at the airport and return home.

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Let's look at an example. Imagine that you live in Buffalo, New York, USA. If you're planning a trip to Greece, you can choose cheap parking near Buffalo Airport. If you're coming from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the situation is the same – you can use affordable PHL off-site parking. So it depends just on where you are flying from.

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