Having exported chaos, drama, tragedy and democracy before most nations were staying up late enough to want souvlaki, Greece boasts an unrivalled legacy. But don't expect a holiday villa or vacation rental there to be a sober study of the ancient world - the Greek propensity for partying dates back to Dionysos.
From sometimes smoggy Athens, home to some great holiday villas
to blindingly bright Greek islands, where you can find beautiful short term rental apartments
, ancient fragments abound - the navel of the cosmos at Delphi, fallen columns galore on the sacred island of Delos, frescoed Minoan palaces on Crete and even - as some might believe - the remnants of Atlantis at Santorini.
Athens is the wellspring of Western civilization, with such ancient glories as the Parthenon and the Theater of Dionysus, where works of Euripides were first performed. The ancient Odeon of Herod Atticus is the showplace each summer of the Athens Festival. The center of modern Athens is Syntagma (Constitution) Square. Piraeus, the port of Athens, is the embarkation point for the Greek islands and other Mediterranean destinations.
Olympia, on the Peloponnesian peninsula, is the origin of the Olympic Games, first held there in 776 B.C. In 2004, the Games return, this time to Athens. The ruins of Mycenae, 600 years old when the Parthenon was built, reveal the Atreus Treasury, defense walls and monumental Lion Gate from the palace of Agamemnon, Troy's epic foe. Sparta once was the mightiest of the city-states. In Corinth, the ruins of the Agora and the Temple of Apollo are still visible.
Thessaloniki, the second-largest city, has the White Tower, the green-domed Aghia Sophia church (8th century) and an exceptional new Byzantine museum. The Archaeological Museum displays riches of Macedonian kings drawn from excavations at nearby Pella, Vergina and the sacred city of Dion. Check out the holiday or vacation rentals here.
Crete was home to Europe's 3000 B.C. Minoan civilization, whose traces are displayed at the Palace of Knossos.
Rhodes, largest of the Dodecanese isles, resounds with Crusader derring-do. The Knights of St. John (1309) built the impressive castle here. Nearby is Lindos, graced by an 11th-century B.C. Dorian citadel on a magnificent acropolis. Rhodes is famous for fine sand beaches, excellent hotels and night life. A private villa in Crete
and holiday homes in Rhodes
are both ideal destinations all year round for holiday villa or vacation rentals.
Santorini is a dramatic experience with volcanic-ash beaches and a star-shaped crater. At Akrotiri, archaeologists in 1967 dug up the remains of a Bronze Age city, astonishingly intact despite the devastating volcanic explosion that took place around 1500 B.C.
There are so many reasons for making a holiday villa or vacation rental in Greece right now.