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The Mynicipal Unit of Mystras includes the former communities of Agia Irene, Agios Ioannis, Anavriti, Loggastra, Magoula, Mystras, Paroreio, Soustianoi and Tripi. Nestled in Mount Taygetos and its lowlands, the municipal unit of Mystras offers both relaxation and recreation to visitors all year long. Anavriti also serves as a base for ascents to the summit. Hiking paths and trails include the European E4 trail ascending to the Mountain Refuge, as well as paths to Mystras, Agios Ioannis and Taygeti. From the village of Parori, a 15-minute trek along a path leads to Our Lady Langadiotissa, a marvellous church tucked in a cave, and to the Monastery of Fan¬eromeni. Starting at Mystras, an inviting trail leads to Pikoulianika and Taygeti, as well as Agios loannis of Vouvalon in modern-day Mystras (only 10 minutes from the town square). A visit to the Kaiadas chasm is essential, as is a stroll around the enchanting gardens of the Sainopouleio Amphitheatre, where the construction of a new athletic center is about to break ground. A tour of the springs in Tripi, ie Karvasara, Vasiloneri and the Knakiona springs at the Monastery of Agios Giannakis, is an exceptional experience. The Langada Climbing Park is also worth a visit for the crag climbing adventurer. Other worthwhile sites include the Byzantine bridge of Agios Sostis and the 4 water mills in the village of Agia Irene, the Byzantine churches of the Taxiarches (the Archangels), Our Lady the Virgin and St. Nicholas in Loggastra and finally, in Soustianoi, the Gorge of the Fairy, the Koumoundouros caves and the magnificent church of St. Nicholas.
Archaeological Museum of Sparta
Today, the Archaeological Museum of Sparta hosts thousands of finds from the province of Lacedaemon, but also from areas of the prefecture of Laconia that are not covered by the Archaeological Collections of Gythio and Neapoli Vion. In its rooms are exhibited findings that cover the time period from the Neolithic to the late Roman era. The most important place is occupied by the findings of the great sanctuaries of Sparta. The visitor of the museum has the opportunity to admire findings from the most important prehistoric sites of Laconia, sculpture works from the Archaic years to the Roman, coming from various areas of the prefecture, as well as findings from the rescue excavations among which have a prominent place, the sections of mosaic floors of Roman times from Sparta. Today, in the seven rooms of the museum (about 500 sq.m.) only a small part is exhibited, part of the numerous finds housed in it and which continue to come to light daily from the excavations of the Ephorate of Prehistoric and Classical Antiquities in the area. of Sparta but also in other areas of Laconia. Due to lack of space, only a small part of the findings kept in it, the most interesting for the scientific community or the ordinary visitor, have been included in its report. The Archaeological Museum of Sparta belongs to the 5th Ephorate of Prehistoric and Classical Antiquities.
The Acropolis of Sparta
Findings at this archaeological site were unearthed by the pioneer excavations of the British School of Archaeology starting in 1910. Excavations resumed in the early 1990s, primarily in the areas of the ancient theatre and the merchant stalls. The most significant monuments of this archaeological site include: The Temple of Athena Chalkioikos whose position has been defined by few surviving relics found at the northwest end of the Acropolis. The temple, designed by the architect Vathyklis from Magnesia, had an interior design adorned with copper sheets (dated 6th century BC onwards) to which it owes its name (chalkioikos = copper). From the inscription by Damononos (dated before 430 BC), it seems it was called Temple of Athena Poliouchos (Guardian of the City). Pausanias adds that the temple was left unfinished until Gitiada, a local craftsman, built both the statue of the goddess and completed the temple. The temple also served as a place of refuge for Lycurgus, Pausanias and Agis IV. The ancient theater of Sparta on the south side of the Acropolis is a product of the early Imperial Period. The orchestra, the retaining wall with engraved inscriptions of the rulers of Sparta in Roman times and the concave portion of the large theatre has been preserved. The concave of the theatre was dug into the southwest end of the Acropolis. The retaining wall of the concave is marble and its east side was engraved in the 2nd century AD with various inscriptions. The theatre was used primarily for public gatherings and celebrations. It had no permanent stage. For theatre performances, a wooden, mobile stage equipped with wheels was easily moved into position. Nearly all the findings of the ancient theatre that were discovered by the British School of Archaeology date back to the Roman Era.
Tomb of Leonidas
Excavations carried out during the previous century, north of the modern town of Sparta, brought to light an impressive construction. The edifice that dates back to the 5th century B.C. was made from large limestone. Waldstein, who carried out the excavations in 1892, initially thought it was a small temple. Although its use is not yet verified, it is believed to be the tomb of Leonidas. According to Pausanias, it was here that the remains of the legendary king of Sparta were transferred and buried after the battle in Thermopylae. The tomb of Leonidas is the only preserved monument of the Ancient Agora. The tomb of Leonidas, north to the modern town of Sparta, is an emblem and an important monument, as it is the only monument preserved from the Ancient Agora. Also known and as Leonidaion, excavations of the construction were carried out by Waldstein in 1892. The impressive edifice (12.5 × 8.30 m) has the form of a temple probably dating back to the late 5th century B.C.. It was made of massive limestone and its interior was divided in two connected chambers. The eastern chamber was 3.15 meters long, had the form of a vestibule and was ornate with columns. Until today, it is not known what the edifice was used for. It is believed to be a cenotaph, while many researchers share the opinion that it is the temple of Karneio Apollo. Although there is no indication on the correlation between the temple and the legendary king of Sparta, according to local tradition and the travel writer Pausanias, the remains of Leonidas were transferred and buried there. It is because of this, that the locals believe it to be the tomb of Leonidas. According to Pausanias the tomb was situated to the west of the Agora, opposite to the theater, and hosted games once a year.
Sanctuary of Artemis Orthia
The Sanctuary of Artemis Orthia was built near the banks of the Evrotas River, near the ancient town of Limnon. It was one of the most significant sanctuaries of the Spartan cult and was associated with the education of young Spartans. Early on, the deity worshipped was referred to as Orthias who was considered the goddess of salvation and fertility, as well as the protector of vegetation. Later on, the cult was linked to that of Artemis and the temple became a center of religious education for young people. During the Imperial Period, it served as the site of bloody spectacles performed in accordance to the customs of the time. The temple was excavated by the British Archaeological School of Athens (1906-1910). We can now distinguish three sections: (1) a great Roman structure (during the Imperial Period, the shrine of Orthias had taken the form of a circular amphitheatre where the temple held the position of the stage), (2) the remains of an altar in the center of the site and (3) a section of the temple to the west. The temple was built with rough stones in the 6th century BC. The presence of the impressive amphitheatre indicates that people gathered there to observe rituals performed in honour of Artemis Orthia. From the numerous inscriptions found at the temple, it seems that the goddess was associated with the education of Spartan children under the age of 13. Below this temple, a smaller, older temple has been discovered which probably dates back to the 9th century BC.
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The Archaeological Museum
The Archaeological Museum: its exhibits cover a tremendously long period (Neolithic to late Roman age).
Museum of the Olive and Greek Olive Oil
The Museum of the Olive and Greek Olive Oil in Sparta showcases the culture and technology surrounding the olive and olive oil production, a field which is inextricably linked to Greek, and in general, Mediterranean identity. Unique in Greece, the Museum is located in the heart of Lakonia, one of the leading olive producing regions in our country.
Benakeion Archaeological Museum
Housed in a mid 19th century edifice on the corner of Papazoglou and Benaki streets, the museum features a solid collection of photographs, maps, models and more that help the visitor grasp different aspects of ancient history and culture in the area.
Odeon of Herodes Atticus
One of the legendary sites that sits beneath the slopes of the Acropolis on the southwest side, is the stunning open-air theatre, Odeon of Herodes Atticus. In ancient times, Odeons were built for musical contests and this ancient stone theatre has gone on to host some of the world’s best musical performances during the last 60 years since its modern day re-opening, including Nana Mouskouri, Luciano Pavarotti and Frank Sinatra to name a few. Widely known by locals as simply “Herodeon”, it was built between 160AD – 174AD by the wealthy benefactor of Athens, Herodes Atticus as an ode to his late wife Rigilla. It was the third Odeon to be built in Athens and was distinctively Roman in contrast to the nearby Theatre of Dionysos. With its Roman arches and three story stage building, it was originally partly covered with a wood and tiled roof. The circular orchestra has now become a semi-circle, paved with black and white marble. With 35 rows, the marble auditorium extends slightly beyond a semi-circle with a diameter of 80 metres and today seats 4680 people.
Acropolis Museum
Listed in the world’s top 20, the new Acropolis Museum is home to unique masterpieces, mainly from the Archaic and Classical periods. All exhibits are directly connected to the Acropolis and offer panoramic views of the monument from the museum’s halls.
Sacred Rock of the Acropolis
The Sacred Rock of the Acropolis "the province of the Gods", unoccupied by humans, is a perfect 5th century BC collection of public monuments which stands as a unique Greek testimony.
Plaka neighborhood
The “core” of the historic centre is the Plaka neighborhood (at the eastern side of the Acropolis), which has been inhabited without interruption since antiquity. When you walk through the narrow labyrinthine streets lined with houses and mansions from the time of the Turkish occupation and the Neoclassical period (19th c.), you will have the impression of travelling with a “time machine”
Monastiraki is one of the most renowned neighborhoods in central Athens partly because it belongs to the oldest part of the town and due to its traditional flea market. A vivid neighborhood with the aromas and arts of a bygone era still prominent!
Temple of Olympian Zeus
In the heart of modern Athens, its streets pulsating with traffic, stands an enormous open space bordered by trees and shrubs – the Olympieion – a tranquil archaeological park where earth and sky seem to meet, linked by massive marble columns stretching upward, marking the temple of Olympian Zeus. Once inside the entrance of this age-old sanctuary, visitors are treated to a taste of nature, an extraordinary ancient ruin on a super-human scale and one of the area’s most inspiring views of the temple-topped Acropolis. Like the Acropolis, the temple of Olympian Zeus has been a distinctive Athenian landmark since time immemorial. Begun about 520 BC by the tyrant Peisistratus and his sons, it was left unfinished at the end of their rule until the 2nd century BC, when further construction was briefly undertaken (174 – 164 BC) by one of Athens’ Hellenistic benefactors, the Seleucid king Antiochus IV Epiphanes. Abandoned once again following Antiochus’ death, it was ultimately finished by the Roman emperor Hadrian and dedicated in AD 132. Hadrian, an ardent Hellenophile much respected by the people of the Greek East, gave Athens not only the completed Olympieion, but also other temples in the area; a new public forum on the north side of the Acropolis that contained a library and lecture halls; and an urban water system fed by an aqueduct from Mount Penteli that continued to supply the city until the 1930s.
Zappeion National Garden
National Garden is a marvelous park, open to the public from sunrise to sunset, located in the heart of Athens, just behind the Greek Parliament. What were once, the Old Palace and the Royal Garden, the getaway of Queen Amalia and King Otto, is now a delightful, shady refuge for Athenians and visitors during the hot summer months.
Panathenaic Stadium
Panathenaic Stadium, also known as "The Callimarmaron", a classical Greek monument, a venue designed and used for noble competition and fair play of mind and body, lies between the neighborhoods of Mets and Pangrati. Originally a natural hollow part of the ground between the hills of Agra and Ardettos, over Ilissos River, the place has been turned into a stadium by orator Lykourgos, during the 4th century, for the competitions of the Great Panathinaea festivities, games with nude athletes. The Panathinaea games honored, once more, the protector of the city, goddess Athena.
Syntagma Square
Syntagma Square is the most famous in Athens if not all of Greece. No matter where you have to go in Athens, if you can find Syntagma Square you can find your way there. Syntagma Square is back and better than ever. Well maybe not better than ever. It was probably at it's best in the early 1900's when there were not cars and buses whizzing around it and it was shaded by large trees. But with the re-routing of the traffic, the opening of the new metro and the removal of the wooden billboard covered walls that for at least an entire year, hid the construction site that was once Athens most popular platia, Syntagma looks better than it has in many years. At the top of the square are two stairways and an elevator leading to the Syntagma Metro Station, one of the most beautiful metro stations in the world, with its own museum of artifacts found at the construction site.
National Archaeological Museum
One of the most important archaeological museums in the world, the Archaeological Museum of Athens houses the finest antiquities all over Greece. Well-curated exhibitions guide you through magnificent findings, exceptional sculptures, detailed pottery, Avant-garde jewelry, frescoes and artifacts dating back to antiquity and the classic times.
Lycabettus Hill
Standing 277 meters above sea level, Lycabettus Hill is the highest point of Athens. Although a beautiful walk up via a circular path, it will be a test of endurance and a challenge in summer. A funicular or cliff railway can take you to the top of the hill, which proves to be a novelty for younger kids. The downside is it’s a closed tunnel, so there is no view on the way up or down. The view from Lycabettus Hill is best enjoyed at sunset whilst waiting for the lights of the Acropolis, Temple of Olympian Zeus, Panathenaic Stadium and Ancient Agora to come on. You will also be reminded that Athens is surrounded by sea with spectacular views across the Aegean. At the top of the hill you will find the Greek whitewashed church of Agios Georgios (St. George) and all are welcome to enter. The viewing platform in front of the church provides sprawling views of Athens, stretching out to the city’s coastline. A cafe is open for breakfast and lunch. Dinner reservations can be made at the very upscale Orizontes restaurant, that also has spectacular views across Athens.
The Kovadareios library
The Kovadareios library is not just a collection of dusty pages, it is a compilation of the history, symbols and values of a brand new and simultaneously ancient nation. Among the valuable codices and rare volumes, you’ll see one of the two surviving copies of the ‘Carta’ (Charter) of Rigas Feraios, one of the founding fathers of modern Greece.
Temple of Poseidon
Built in the same time as Parthenon, the Doric Temple of Poseidon is situated on the edge of the magnificent Cape Sounio, 70km south from Athens. 16 remaining slender columns of Doric order reveal that Greeks, indeed, knew where to "place" their temples. On the coast of Attica, Cape Sounio is a jewel overlooking the Aegean Sea. Once upon a time, the Temple of Poseidon used to serve as a sacrifice point, since the sailors tried to appease God of the Sea, Poseidon, before entering the Aegean Sea. The distinctive cape crowned with the imposing Temple of Poseidon offers impressive views of the Saronic Gulf and the Aegean Sea with the Greek islands.
Sailing Athens' coastline
Sailing down the Athens Riviera, swimming in the most beautiful waters, lunching on-board whilst parked in a tranquil bay off the Athenian shoreline and viewing an hour-long spectacular sunset. Two of the greatest pleasures this city has to offer is that it is a coastal town and you can get out onto the water as early as April and anytime through to early October. The ‘Athens Riviera’ is a term recently coined by the Greeks that refers to almost 60 kilometres of coastline that starts about 20 minutes south of the city centre. Leoforos Posidonos Road snakes down through the upmarket suburbs of Glyfada and Vouliagmeni, all the way down to Cape Sounion and the Temple of Poseidon. The benefits of boarding a catamaran is a much more relaxed and smooth ride compared to sailing on a yacht. Don’t leave Athens until you have sailed along her beautiful coastline.
Milos Klima
Klima is one of the striking fishing villages on the Greek island of Milos, with its little white houses built along the water. In the middle of the 19th century, these houses were owned by fishermen who used them as second homes and as boathouses. The fishermen usually lived in Plaka and left their boats here along the water. On the lower floor was storage for the boat, while on the top floor was living space and a place for the fisherman to sleep. During the 20th century, however, the function of the fishermen's cottages changed and became the second homes for the families of the fishermen. Today, these houses are rented to vacationers. Klima is accessible through Plaka and Trypiti. Unfortunately, parking can be difficult to find. You may have to park your car along the road, a hundred meters from the village, and walk by foot to the village. There are no beach bars or taverns. The only public place is the Hotel Panorama, which is slightly higher and a small distance away.
Ancient Theater of Milos
The Theater of Milos is one of the most important archaeological findings of the island of Milos. It is located in the area of Tripiti and its construction dates back to the Hellenistic Age (3rd century BC). As archaeological investigations are completed, its Roman phase apparent phase of the Roman theatre. The excavations have unearthed 7 rows of marble seats as well as the stage. Today it holds around 700 spectators, while in antiquity it is estimated that it was 7.000. It is worth visiting the ancient theatre of Milos or any of the representations or breakfast before your bath.
Firopotamos Beach
Firopotamos Beach Milos: One of the many beaches on the Greek island of Milos is Firopatomos beach. Trees surround this beach. The canteen at this beach is a place where many young people hang out. The water is not polluted is a beautiful blue color that you might see only in postcards. The waters have also been said to look a giant swimming pool. The beach is inside a small bay where many fishermen live and fish. You will not feel any wind when it goes in a southerly direction.
The Catacombs of Milos
The Catacombs of Milos, in Milos Island, dating from the 1st - 5th century, are among the three most important of the 74 discovered worldwide, together with the catacombs of Rome and the Holy Land. It is possible that the Catacombs of Milos are older than the ones of Rome. Perhaps only a small part of a sizable necropolis at the foothills of the village of Trypiti, the Catacombs of Milos were used by the early christians first as a burial site and later also as a place of worship and a refuge after persecution by the Romans became widespread. The Catacombs of Milos are considered to be the most important early Christian monument of worship in all of Greece. Still visible to the visitors of the Catacombs of Milos are inscriptions on the walls including the Monogram of Christ and the ecumenical Christian symbol "ΙΧΘΥΣ", hollows used for lamps and votive gifts to the departed, and a couple of graves of infants.
Milos Mining Museum
The Milos Mining Museum (MMM) is located in Adamas, the island’s main port. The Museum’s aim is to promote the rich geological and mining history of Milos and to pay homage to all those who have worked hard in order to develop the island’s mineral wealth that contributed greatly to its financial and cultural affluence during its long and uninterrupted history. With an aim to inform and to educate the public, the MMM organizes periodic exhibitions, scientific conferences, as well as special guided visits to industrial facilities, mines and areas with geological interest, while it also publishes books on subjects related to mineral resources and mining.
Next to the main road towards Pollonia and just before you get there you will find one of the most important archaeological sites in Greece, the ancient settlement of Phylakopi. This settlement was destroyed and rebuilt at least three times. It flourished thanks to the processing and trade in obsidian, a hard black volcanic rock that manufactured knives, arrows and tools. The excavations yielded traces of inhabitation from around 3.000 BC (early Bronze Age) to 1.250 BC (late Bronze Age). After 1.200 BC things in the Aegean sea were constantly changing; New trade routes opened as the Minoan and Mycenaean civilization slowly begun to decline. Phylakopi was severely affected by this. This is how the decline started and the once commercial centre of Milos was moved to the ancient city of Klima. Visitors have the opportunity to see a great part of the cyclopean wall of the settlement which is preserved, as well as the Temple and the Palace (of Mycenaean style). During your visit to the Archaeological Museum, you can see samples of pottery from the city of Phylakopi such as stone, clay and bronze figurines, a linear A tablet, various useful items as well as the famous "Lady of Phylakopi", a ceramic female figurine.
Old Sulfur Mines (Thiorichia Beach)
The island of Milos often reminds visitors of its mining history. It does so by the sulphur mines located on the east side of the island. It is worth visiting these mines and find yourself travelling back in time. Facing the sulphur mines, where up to 50 years ago sulphur was being mined, it feels like they have never stopped working. The ruins of the facilities along with all sorts of tools and objects, the railroad wagons carrying the sulphur in ships, make it easy on every visitor to imagine how the workers were working in this mines. The sulphur mines operated from 1890 to 1960 with some interruptions. Because of the big production of cheap sulfur, mainly in America, the mines finally stopped operating. Meanwhile, the sea and at this point of Milos is unique; Swim in the crystal clear waters and lie down on the colourful (shades of yellow due to sulfur) pebbles of the coast.
Folklore Museum of Marpissa
The Folklore Museum of Marpissa was founded by the Marpissa Women's Association and takes visitors on journey through time. The Museum is located in a restored stone building in the town center, on Agios Nikolaos square - a faithful representation of a typical Parian house and all its rooms.
The Temple of Panagia Ekatontapiliani
According to legend, Agia Eleni encountered a storm off the coast of Paros on her pilgrimage to the Holy Land to find the Holy Cross. She disembarked on the island at a small church. There, she made a vow to Panagia to build a large church in her name if she remained unharmed though the act of God and found the Holy Cross.
Koukounaries Beach
Koukounaries beach is the most famous beach of Skiathos, therefore the most crowded. It is well-known for its extremely fine white sand and its fragrant pine trees forest from which the region took its name. It is considered as the most unspoiled natural beach of the Mediterranean and is a protected environment. The beautiful crystal-clear deep blue waters are a real pleasure. Since the beach is well-organized, it offers many water sports, chairs, umbrellas, beach bars. The region around the beach is full of restaurants, taverns and hotel units. A local bus links this beach to the capital every 30 minutes. A biotope can be found in the pine forest boarding the beach where different species of plants and birds are protected. This place, as well as the beach, is developed for ecotourism, financed by the Municipality and the European Union.
Panagia Eikonistria
Panagia Eikonistria is the most holy site of the island since the miraculous icon of Virgin Mary (Panagia) was found here around 1650. An important intellectual figure of the island and of the Church, Dionysios the Old, was a monk in this monastery.
Nea Chryssi Akti
Nea Chryssi Akti is a long, sandy, organized and crowded beach, and one of the beaches of Paros preferred by surfers from all over the world. The World Windsurfing Championship was held there in the 90s. Sports enthusiasts will find everything they need at Nea Chryssi Akti to enjoy air and watersports.
Korfos Beach
Korfos Beach is located about 3 km from Mykonos town just before the settlement of Ornos. It is a quiet long beach, with sand and shallow waters. It has a northern orientation and because of its location, when northerly winds blow, big waves are created favoring water sports such as kite surfing, wave riding, wind surfing and more
Windmills of Mykonos
Although the windmills do make for some beautiful photo opportunities, there was a time that they had a practical purpose. The windmills themselves have their origins in the 1500’s, but most of the ones that are still standing today were built much later. They were originally built by the Venetians, who occupied the island in the 16th Century A.D. Right now, there are a total of 16 windmills that are still standing today. Back then, the primary purpose for these windmills was to mill wheat that grew on the island. The wind power turned the mechanism that enabled them to work. Today, the windmills really aren’t in use, but they sure are pretty. While on Mykonos, you won’t want to miss the chance to visit with some of the windmills and to also snap a few memorable photographs of them.
Municipal Library of Mykonos
The Municipal Library of Mykonos is housed in a magnificent old mansion that belonged to the Mavrogenis family. Dated to 1735, this beautiful building has seen its own share of history. Located in Agia Kyriaki Square, it houses nearly 6,000 volumes of literature, history and many more categories, though most of the books are in Greek. You can travel through the library looking at numerous photographs as well as Cycladic coins and old seals. The books were donated by a Mykonian historian, Ioannis Meletopoulos, from his own personal library. Other books were also donated by many more people from their own libraries, while some other donated other things as well, such as black and white sketches of landmarks on the island. As of now, with the advent of modernity, the municipal library is no longer operational. But they continue to be a symbol of Mykonos rich virile past. Being hundreds of years old, most of the municipal library has been thoroughly renovated and some have even been converted into museums, the most famous being the Bonis Windmill. Providing interesting insights into the life of Mykonos, all the works displayed in the library are unique and extremely interesting. A visit to this wonderful library is worth your time and effort.
The consequence of this battle was the collapse of the last Hellenistic kingdom (the Ptolemeans of Egypt) and the beginning of the Roman Age under the monocracy (autocracy) of the victor, Octavian Augustus. In memory of his glorious victory, Octavian founded Nicopolis (the City of Victory) to the southernmost end of Epirus by forcing the inhabitants from around twenty cities of Etolia, Acarnania and Epirus to resettle there, in addition to bringing new settlers from Italy. Endowed with exceptional privileges and tax exemptions, as a "free city", Nicopolis did not take long to develop into a large thriving city. Its harbours (Komaros and Vathy), its excellent geographical position at a junction between Epirus and Acarnania as well as between Greece and Italy, the re-establishment of the Aktia Games as an "equivalent to the Olympic gymnastic games along with musical competitions, horse races that were held every four full years", turned it into a pole of attraction in the wider Mediterranean area. 'Nicopolis is populous, and its numbers are increasing daily', mentions Strabo. Its inhabitance continued on into the Byzantine times as well.