3 of the best Greek islands for a peek into the past

The Greek Islands have something for everyone. It’s hard not to fall in love with the views, the food, the beaches, the quaint fishing villages, the people. For culture vultures though, the islands are also steeped in history. The endless monuments and ruins hold the key to a rich, interesting past and beyond the spectacular coastlines and magical sunsets, there’s more to be discovered if you just dig a little deeper. If you love history, here are 3 of the best Greek Islands to take you back in time into the country’s captivating past.

Paros

It is believed that the island of Paros has been inhabited since 3200BC. And according to mythology, the first king was Cretan Alkaios with later settlements of the Ionians, Arcadians, Romans, and Byzantines. So history truly runs deep and there are still traces of these settlements today. The Mycenaean Acropolis of Paros is located less than 6 miles from Parikia and the site features palace ruins with fortified walls and was once an important hilltop town. Walk to the top for panoramic views.

paros

Further along the coast, you will find the famous Kolymbithres Beach tucked into Naoussa and Hill of Koukounaries. Within the capital of Parikia, you will also come across a number of fascinating historical sites; including Monastery of Panagia Ekatontapiliani, Jesus of the Woods Monastery, Sanctuary of Asklepios, and the 1260 Venetian Frankish Castle.

Naxos

The largest of the Cyclades, Naxos was once the centre of archaic Cycladic culture. A great destination for history buffs but enough beaches to suit every type of sun seeker too (from busy resorts to secluded coastlines). The Temple of Apollo greets most visitors to the island and you’ll find elements of the past as you enter into Naxos Old Town where old churches and castle ruins embellish the skyline.

naxos

Don’t miss the 13th Century residential neighbourhood of Kastro with its narrow alleyways, hidden hilltop streets and Venetian mansions. And if you have time, head to the green valley of Flerio to see the spectacular marble statues dating back to the 6th and 7th centuries.

Kos

The beautiful island of Kos is destination of diverse attractions. From the lively capital and its infamous nightlife to the quaint fishing villages and quieter resort towns, there’s something for everyone. And with archaeological data taking the island all the way back to prehistoric times, you’ll be walking the path of those before such as the Minoans, Achaeans, Persians, Ptolemies, Byzantines, Romans and Venetians. And to namedrop, the Asclepion Sanctuary was built to honour Hippocrates and great kings such as Alexander the Great brought about vast cultural, educational and economical growth.

kos

From the capital you can get to the famous historical castle or the incredible healing temple of Asclepion used by the Greeks and Romans; from the tiny village of Antimachia you’ll have views of an imposing Venetian fortress; and from Kardamaina’s coastal resorts you’ll be at close reach to the Ancient Agora. For a historical village that can take you back in time, go to traditional Pyli or the untouched village of Asomatos.

Christos Hajipapas is Head of Business Development & Strategy at Cyplon Holidays.

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Comments (6)

  1. Linda says:

    This is why I love to travel. You grow richer in knowledge and experience. Just beautiful to see past present and what is to come!

  2. Greece one of the best places to visit not just for travelling and relaxation but also to discover history! I think you could have also added Delos island, which is the birthplace of Apollo and also a World Heritage site graded by UNESCO.

  3. Wow, just wow! You’ve definitely peaked my interest with this article. I know where I’ll be next summer. :)

  4. Nicole says:

    Awesome!Super insightful. Makes me want to travel right now! Greece is on my bucket list. When I finally do make it out there, I will have to visit these places.

  5. Coco Hunter says:

    Great article! Greece offers everything and more, from food to culture to history to nightlife! I’ve visited Kos and Athens. Looking forward to going back and visiting the more’romantic’ island of Mykonos and Santorini.

  6. Jack says:

    Thanks for the great article Christos. Greece I love for the food and scenery. I have never been to Naxos though which I think is a mistake that must be rectified!

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