One of the largest and most important complex of Greek Orthodox monasteries in the country, second in importance after Mount Athos, the Meteora complex – Meteora means ‘in the heavens above’ – stands out with its serene beauty.
The six monasteries of the complex are built on natural sandstone rock pillars right next to the town of Kalambaka, a unique region included on the UNESCO World Heritage List and one to attract a lot of tourists and pilgrims every year. Each of the monasteries have less than 10 inhabitants, four of them with men and only two for women. Vestiges of the Middle Ages, the high placed settlements offer a breathtaking view of the surrounding area, while at the same time having the power to bring new insights into the monastic life.
The history of Meteora goes a lot further back in time, with traces of habitation since 50,000 years ago found in the caves around the complex. In one such cavern, the Theopetra Cave, there is a structure built 23,000 years ago.
I’m a dual American and Greek citizen that’s made 8 trips to Greece as an adult. Visiting family has always been a great reason to return and experience more of a fascinating country. How to spend the perfect week in Greece is obviously subjective. If you want to lie on the beach by day and party at night, head to Ios or Myknonos in summer. But this article assumes you want a mix of everything that makes Greece such a popular destination: world-class history & architecture, delicious food, great beaches and vibrant hospitality. You can stay on the mainland and have an amazing time that ticks all these boxes. But most travelers visit Greece for the islands, particularly the mystical Cyclades. If this itinerary seems too fast-paced, just omit something. You’re going to have to make some tough choices because there’s far too much to experience in Greece in just one week.
2 Days in Athens
Athens is the oldest capital in Europe and has a wealth to offer visitors.
The ancient site of Mycenae, the kingdom of mythical Agamemnon, first sung by Homer in his epics, has been captured in all its glory in a drone video.
Mycenae, located about 90 kilometres (56 miles) southwest of Athens, in the north-eastern Peloponnese, is regarded as the most important and richest palatial centre of the Late Bronze Age in Greece.
The UNESCO World Heritage Site is renowned for its technical and artistic achievements but also its spiritual wealth, which spread around the Mediterranean world between 1600 and 1100 BC and played a vital role in the development of classical Greek culture.
The palatial administrative system, the monumental architecture, the impressive artefacts and the first testimonies of Greek language, preserved on Linear B tablets, are unique elements of the Mycenaean culture; a culture that inspired the great poet Homer to compose his famous epics.
At its peak in 1350 BC, the citadel and lower town had a population of 30,000 and an area of 32 hectares.
An important cultural center of the ancient world, the historic city of Palmyra dates back to 1st century A.D. Known as the ‘Venice of the Sands,’ it is situated between Damascus, the capital of Syria, and the city of Deir al-Zour.
THE RIDEAU CANAL, CANADA
Over 200 kilometres in length, this waterway joins the Canadian cities of Ottawa, on the Ottawa River, and Kingston, on Lake Ontario. Operated by Parks Canada, the canal encompasses sections of the rivers, Rideau and Cataraqui, along with a few lakes. Originally built with military purposes in mind, today it is mainly used for boating and was designated as a World Heritage Site in 2007.
MOSI-OA-TUNYA / VICTORIA FALLS, ZAMBIA AND ZIMBABWE
Located on the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe, the Mosi-oa-Tunya are regarded among the most spectacular waterfalls in the world. Part of Zambezi River, the 108m high falls produce the largest curtain of falling water anywhere on the planet and were declared a World Heritage Site in 1989.
Apart from the fact of having the best weather and climate conditions, wonderful beaches and rich culture, Greece is a country of great architectural significance. So, let’s start a unique journey identifying some of the most important monuments of architecture in the country, in order to explore this aspect of Greece. See the 5 most popular ones below:
1) The villages on the Aegean Islands:
The villages (Chores) on the Aegean Islands is the perfect example of “less is more”. The whitewashed villages and alleys are the main feature of the simplistic Cycladic architecture, which is well-known worldwide for its plasticity. Some excellent examples can be seen on Santorini, Syros, Naxos, Serifos, Amorgos, in Little Venice on Mykonos, in Molyvos on Lesvos and in Gialos on Symi.
2) The Medieval Town of Rhodes:
It is considered to be one of the most well-preserved castles in the world, which travels visitors back in time, in the Knights’ Era. It has been included in the UNESCO World Heritage List since 1988.
With more than 100,000 bookable experiences, TripAdvisor® offers attractions from skip-the-line tickets to the world’s top destinations all the way to private yacht tours, and everything in between. Inspired by the luxury travel world, TripAdvisor has rounded up the 10 most expensive experiences around the globe travellers have booked on its site. From a yacht cruise of Sydney Harbour to a five-night polar bear adventure in Winnipeg, here are the world’s most over-the-top experiences that travellers are booking on TripAdvisor:
1. Private Group Sydney Tour in One Day Including Luxury Super Yacht Cruise in Sydney Harbour – $7,755 per group
Enjoy the VIP treatment while in Sydney with a full-day tour by land and sea. Spend the morning sightseeing in a luxury SUV and hop out to explore The Rocks, watch the surfers at Bondi Beach and marvel over the views from The Gap. Then, hop aboard a glamorous yacht and glide past the Sydney Harbour Bridge and Sydney Opera House, while enjoying a delicious lunch prepared by a personal chef.
BUILT INTO CLIFFSIDES AND ATOP MOUNTAINS, THESE GRAVITY-DEFYING MARVELS ARE TRUE WONDERS OF THE ANCIENT WORLD.
Of all the wonders of the ancient world, faith-related architecture is perhaps the most formidable. Irrespective of religion, ancient places of worship were such remarkable feats of ingenuity that one questions if there was some sort of competition to see who could build the most awe-inspiring complex.
If that were the case, the architects of temples and monasteries surely would have won. Some of these were built in the most hostile, inaccessible places: into mountainsides above the clouds, on the peaks of rock monuments, and on the edges of sheer cliffs. The purpose was twofold: to isolate the faithful from the world of sin and temptation, and to elevate them to a higher place — both physically and spiritually. Not to mention such locales would separate the wheat from the chaff: only the most devout would invest the time and effort to get there.
These wonders of the ancient world exist to this day, and many are accessible to visitors, albeit with some effort.
Footage of the ancient Greek site of Delphi taken by a drone has captivated the country over the last few days.
The video uploaded to YouTube by Greek drone enthusiasts Up Drone, captures the pan-Hellenic sanctuary of Delphi, where the oracle of Apollo spoke, in all its glory.
Blending harmoniously with the superb landscape and charged with sacred meaning, Delphi in the 6th century B.C. was a religious centre and symbol of unity in the ancient Greek world.
A place with a rich intangible heritage, Delphi was the centre of the world (omphalos) in the eyes of the ancient Greeks: according to myth, it was the meeting point of two eagles released by Zeus, one to the East and one in the West.
This UNESCO World Heritage site has not been altered for centuries. Any restoration projects which were undertaken were of limited scale and were carried out in accordance with the Charter of Venice provides international guidelines of preserving ancient sites.
Within the property, only an archaeological museum has been built, which is indispensable for the protection of the findings and for the adequate understanding of the sanctuary and its offerings.
From man-made marvels such as Taj Mahal and the Parthenon to natural wonders like the Grand Canyon and Iguazu Falls, these stunning sites should be at the top of your travel bucket list.
The Taj Mahal is universally recognized as the greatest masterpiece in Indo-Islamic architecture. The white marble mausoleum was commissioned in 1632 by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan to house the tomb of his favorite wife, Mumtaz Mahal.
Spatial grandeur, arches, domes, relief work, and precious stone inlay are among its defining characteristics. Bonus: You don’t have to blow your budget to witness the majesty of the Taj Mahal. India is one of the top spots to travel cheap while living luxe.
Exploring the mysteries Angkor Wat in Siem Reap, Cambodia tops our list of unforgettable trips that won’t break the bank. Part of one of the most significant archaeological sites in Southeast Asia (the ancient capital of the Khmer Empire, from the 9th to the 14th century).
Most travelers don’t know that there are lots and lots day trips from Athens. For many who come from abroad Athens is a 2 to 3 day destination for them. However there are tons of things to do in Athens.
Check at least 40 top things to do in Athens. Don’t forget to read why Greece is a really affordable country. Even for students! It is one of the cheapest (but with high quality) destinations in Europe.
So, before hoping on the next ferry to the amazing Greek islands, give more time to explore Athens and whitewashed beaches of Mainland Greece. Yes, you read it right!
Athens is a great base to experience vacations all over Attica region.
This includes great beaches, mountains, ancient monuments, museums, hundreds of outdoor activities, bars, great restaurants and top street food.
So, there are things to inside Athens but there are much more close to Athens.
How to receive the best from your Day Trips from Athens