The Very Best Ancient Greek Ruins in Greece

What are the top ancient Greek sites in Greece?

Last updated

There's a host of incredible ancient Greek monuments, landmarks and buildings in Greece to explore and among the very best are the Acropolis, Eleusis, Thebes and Sparta. Other popular sites tend to include Mycenae, Olympia and Kamiros.

We’ve put together an expert guide to Ancient Greek ruins, with our top ten places to visit as well as a full list of ancient Greek sites in Greece, which shouldn’t be ignored if you have the time.

1. The Acropolis

The Acropolis is one of the most recognisable historic sites in the world and remains an inspirational monument to the achievements of Ancient Greek civilisation. Standing tall above the Greek city of Athens, the Acropolis contains a number of buildings and monuments from Greek Antiquity, including the Parthenon, the Erechtheion, the Propylaia and the temple of Athena Nike.

Today, the Acropolis is an extremely popular historic site and caters for a multitude of tourists every year. The recently opened Acropolis Museum, which lies nearby, contains an amazing array of displays and artefacts from the Acropolis itself.

View
Share on:

2. Temple of Poseidon - Sounio

The Temple of Poseidon is a picturesque ruin of a fifth century BC Greek temple dedicated to the deity of the sea. For truly spectacular views this partially-ruined Greek temple is hard to beat. If you can catch it at sunset, then the scene will be complete.

Dramatically perched on a cliff overlooking the ocean, the Temple of Poseidon is now made up of a rectangle of restored large Doric columns. It’s roughly an hour out from Athens and there are several tour operators offering half-day trips.

View
Share on:

3. Delphi

Delphi is an archaeological site in mainland Greece comprised of the well-preserved ruins of one of the most important cities in Ancient Greece. Many of the sites at Delphi date back to the fifth century BC, although many have been reconstructed and some altered by the Romans. 

Among the ruins are the Temple of Apollo and the fifth century Doric building of the Treasury of the Athenians, which is located along The Sacred Way, a central road of the religious area of the city. Yet perhaps Delphi’s most iconic site is the Tholos. Constructed in around 380 BC, this once circular building had six Doric columns, three of which stand today. 

The nearby Delphi Museum explores the history of the archaeological site and houses many finds from its excavation. This famous site also features as one of our Top 10 tourist attractions in Greece.

View
Share on:

4. Mycenae

Mycenae is an important archaeological site in Greece which was once the city at the centre of the Mycenaean civilisation of between 1600BC and 1100BC. The remains of Mycenae contain several well-preserved sites, including the Lion’s Gate and the North Gate, which form parts of its fortified walls and which once stood 18 metres high and 6 to 8 metres thick.

A few other dwellings can also be seen at Mycenae, together with a granary and some guard rooms. Other important structures include Mycenae’s Terraced Palace, the religious structures which comprise several shrines and temples and the grave sites, which date back throughout Mycenae’s history.

Arguably the most remarkable of Mycenae’s sites is the Tomb of Agamemnon. This once elaborate thirteenth century tomb is carved into Mycenae’s hills.

View
Share on:

5. Eleusis

Eleusis contains a range of impressive Greco-Roman ruins, steeped in the richness of Greek mythology. Surrounded on all sides by a thriving modern industrial town, the site of Eleusis is renowned as the home of the Eleusinian Mysteries, a series of annual initiation ceremonies for the cult of Demeter and Persephone which ranked among the most sacred religious rites of ancient Greece.

Today, the Eleusis archaeological site houses a number of important ruins including the Sacred Court, a Roman reproduction of Hadrian’s Arch in Athens and the Kallichoron Well, according to the Homeric Hymn, the resting place of Demeter. There is also a museum located on site which gives more detail on the history of Eleusis and provides further explanation on the myths associated with the site.

View
Share on:

6. Olympia

Olympia was a vibrant Ancient Greek city where, in 776 BC, the first Olympic Games were held. The ruins of this famous city include sites such as the Treasuries, the Temple of Hera and the remains of the ancient stadium.

Olympia reached its peak during the classical period and it was at this time that many of the other sites which can be seen there now were built, most notably the Temple of Zeus. Other impressive sites at Olympia were built later during the Hellenistic Period. These include the remains of the fourth century BC Philippeion memorial to the family of Alexander the Great and the Leonidaion. There are also several other impressive sites, many of them built during the Roman period.

Olympia is well signposted, making it easy to tour the site and understand how it might have looked in its heyday. If you want to know more about Olympia, you can visit the Olympia Archaeological Museum.

View
Share on:

7. Sparta

Sparta was one of the most famous city-states of the ancient world and left not only a mark in our historic records, but its very culture at the heart of modern language – the English word 'Spartan' reflecting their very way of life – simple, basic, severe.

Today, the ruins of ancient Sparta exist on the outskirts of the modern city of Sparti – founded by King Otto of Greece in 1834. A good proportion of the remains you see today are actually from the Roman period and few are well preserved. Unlike Athens, Spartan culture never led to grand building projects and consequently few historic structures remain. Visitors to Sparta can see the remains of the ancient theatre of Sparta, the nearby Roman shops, the partially-preserved sanctuary of Artemis Orthia, and the site that is said to be the tomb of Spartan King Leonidas.

View
Share on:

8. Temple of Hephaestus

The Temple of Hephaestus is an imposing ancient Greek temple in the Athenian Agora and site of worship of the Greek deity of fire, blacksmiths and sculpture.

Built in the fifth century BC, the Temple of Hephaestus was later incorporated into the Church of Agios Georgios, this accounting for its excellent state of preservation.

View
Share on:

9. Ancient Agora of Athens

The Ancient Agora of Athens was a market, a meeting place and the social, political and commercial hub of the ancient city. 

The Agora houses several fascinating sites, including the stunning fifth century BC Temple of Hephaestus. It is also home to the remains of several covered walkways or "stoas" such as the famous Stoa of Zeus where Socrates is said to have debated and met with other philosophers.

A good way to get your bearings within the Ancient Agora of Athens is to start by visiting the Agora Museum, which offers more information on the site.

View
Share on:

10. Delphi Archaeological Museum

Delphi Archaeological Museum is an historical museum dedicated to exploring the history and exhibiting artifacts from the nearby archeological site of ancient Delphi.

Delphi was a major city of Ancient Greece and its sites are themselves popular tourist attractions. Amongst its displays, Delphi Archaeological Museum exhibits statues, sculptures and everyday items excavated from Delphi as well as exploring the site’s history.

View
Share on:

Full list of The Very Best Ancient Greek Ruins in Greece

Beyond the most famous Ancient Greek Sites, there’s many similar places to visit, including Delphi, Epidaurus, Delphi and Epidaurus to name but a few. We’re constantly expanding this list of Greek ruins in Greece and you can view the current selection below.

Acropolis of Rhodes

The Acropolis of Rhodes is the site of the main remains of what was the city of Rhodes in the Hellenistic period.

Read more

Aigai

Aigai in northern Greece, was once capital of the Macedonian kingdom and the site where Alexander the Great was proclaimed king. A number of remains of the ancient town can be seen, including the tomb of Alexander’s father.

Read more

Aptera

Aptera contains an array of interesting Greco-Roman ruins, the highlight of which are probably the well-preserved Roman cisterns.

Read more

Asklepieion

Asklepieion is an archaeological site containing the well-preserved ruins of the birthplace of medicine.

Read more

Athens National Archaeological Museum

Athens National Archaeological Museum is one of the most prominent of its kind in the world and has over 20,000 pieces.

Read more

Bassae

Bassae is an ancient site and home to a famed UNESCO-listed monument to Apollo Epicurius.

Read more

Benaki Museum

The Benaki Museum houses a vast collection of art and artefacts from Greek history, from Hellenic, Roman and Byzantine Greece to the Ottoman age and right up to the present day.

Read more

Corinth

Corinth was a major city to both the Ancient Greeks and the Ancient Romans and its fascinating ruins are a popular tourist destination.

Read more

Delos

Delos is a UNESCO listed ancient Greek site and the island on which Apollo was said to have been born.

Read more

Delos Archaeological Museum

The Delos Archaeological Museum houses finds from the ancient site of Delos.

Read more

Dion

Dion is an ancient city in Greece which became the religious centre of the Macedonian kingdom and now contains a number of Greek and Roman-era ruins.

Read more

Epidaurus

Epidaurus was a city of Ancient Greece located on the Greek mainland. Its incredible ruins are a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Read more

Kamiros

Kamiros was an ancient city on the island of Rhodes, the ruins of which include an acropolis.

Read more

Kerameikos

Kerameikos was the site of an important ancient burial ground.

Read more

Kos Ancient Agora

The Kos Ancient Agora contains a series of ruins dating from the fourth century BC to the sixth century AD.

Read more

Lato

The atmospheric archaeological site of Lato contains the ruins of the ancient city which once dominated this area.

Read more

Olympia Archaeological Museum

Olympia Archaeological Museum is a museum exhibiting artifacts from the ancient city of Olympia.

Read more

Panathenaic Stadium

The site of the first modern Olympic games, the 2,300-year-old Panathenaic Stadium in Athens is one of the most significantly important historical sites in all of Greece.

Read more

Pella

Pella in Greece was the capital of ancient Macedonia and the birthplace of Alexander the Great.

Read more

Pharsalus Battlefield

Pharsalus Battlefield was the setting for the most decisive battle of Caesar’s civil war and saw the final defeat of Pompey the Great.

Read more

Rhodes Archaeological Museum

The Rhodes Archaeological Museum displays mostly Classical and Hellenistic as well as some Archaic artifacts.

Read more

Syntagma Metro Station

Syntagma Metro Station in Athens contains a wonderful display of ancient artefacts which were uncovered during the station’s construction.

Read more

Temple of Aphaea - Aegina

The ancient Temple of Aphaea on the island of Aegina is one of the most important and picturesque temples in Greece.

Read more

Temple of Apollo Epicurius at Bassae

The Temple of Apollo Epicurius at Bassae is often said to be one of the best examples of its kind in the Peloponnese.

Read more

Temple of Olympian Zeus

The Temple of Olympian Zeus is one of the most impressive ancient temples in Greece.

Read more

The Acropolis Museum

The Acropolis Museum is a museum of Ancient Greece and general Athenian history.

Read more

The Agora Museum - Athens

The Agora Museum displays artefacts from the Ancient Agora of Athens and is housed within the reconstructed Stoa of Attalos.

Read more

The Amphiareion at Oropos

The Amphiareion at Oropos was a sanctuary built in the late 5th century BC dedicated to the mythical deified seer Amphiaraos where pilgrims came from far and wide for his oracular medicinal and psychological healing.

Read more

The Choragic Monument of Lysicrates

Lysicrates' monument to commemorate first prize in a dramatic performance that he had sponsored around 335 BCE.

Read more

The Erechtheion

The Erechtheion is a well preserved ancient temple in the Acropolis complex.

Read more

The Parthenon

The Parthenon is probably the most famous surviving site from Ancient Greece and is a monument to Classical Greek civilisation.

Read more

The Propylaia

The Propylaia was the grand entranceway to the Acropolis.

Read more

Theatre of Dionysus

The Theatre of Dionysus was one of the most important theatres in Ancient Greece.

Read more

Thebes

Thebes was an ancient Mycenaean and Greek city eventually destroyed by Alexander the Great.

Read more

Thessaloniki Archaeological Museum

Thessaloniki Archaeological Museum focuses on ancient Macedonia via five comprehensive exhibits.

Read more

Vergina Museum

The Royal Tombs of Vergina Museum is a fascinating underground vault containing the tomb of Philip II of Macedon, father of Alexander the Great.

Read more

Our database of ancient Greek monuments and buildings in Greece is growing all the time, but we may not cover them all. So, if you know of other Ancient Greek Sites, you can always add them to Trip Historic now by contacting us today.