35 Best Ruins In Greece That Will Blow Your Mind

General view of Temple of Poseidon, Cape Sounion, Greece.

All Set to Learn about the Best Ruins in Greece?

Greece is home to some of the best ruins in the world. From the Acropolis of Athens, to the Island of Delos in Mykonos, to the Temple of Aphaea on Aegina Island, there is no shortage of ancient sites to explore. As someone who has spent time exploring the best ruins in Greece, you are in the right place to learn about historical places that will blow you away!

The ruins discussed below are located all over Greece – from the Peloponnese in the south, to the many Greek islands in the Aegean Sea and Thessaloniki in northern Greece. Some of these sites are UNESCO World Heritage sites, and all of them are definitely worth a visit.

Wide view of the stunning Theatre of Dionysus at the Acropolis, in Athens, Greece.

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Wherever you are in Greece, you’re guaranteed to stumble across wonderful ancient ruins where you can enjoy learning the fascinating stories behind these archaeological sites.

All ready to discover the 35 best ruins in Greece? Let’s get going so you can make the ideal choice for your trip.

Table of Contents: Best Ruins in Greece

Best Ruins in Greece – Athens

Book this private tour of Athens and visit the Six Caryatids at the Erechtheum Porch in Acropolis at Athens.

Athens is a city steeped in history and is home to some of the most iconic ancient ruins in the world. The city is often referred to as the birthplace of Western civilization and is a must-visit destination for anyone interested in ancient history.

When I first visited Athens, I was overwhelmed by where to go. It seemed like there were historical ruins on every street corner! So for all of you first-timers in Athens, here’s a round-up of top tourist sites in the Greek capital.

1.Acropolis of Athens

The Acropolis of Athens is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the most famous ancient site in Athens and was constructed in the 5th century BCE. One of the reasons the Acropolis was initially built was to honour the goddess Athena, with a statue in the Parthenon Temple and the Temple of Athena Nike dedicated to both Athena and Nike.

You’ll also want to visit the Erechtheum, where you can see the five Caryatids (female statues) supporting Erechtheum’s Porch. These statues are famous throughout the world. The sixth also happens to be in the British Museum in London after being taken by Lord Elgin to decorate his mansion in the 19th century!

Other ruins to visit at the Acropolis include the Propylaea – a large gateway that serves as a partition Herodotus’ Odeum, a stone Roman theatre structure, and the Theatre of Dionysus, a prototype of Greek theatres on the south side of the Acropolis.

The Acropolis Museum houses further archaeological findings from the original site. You can walk around at your leisure and witness the original architecture underneath the glass walkways.

2.Temple of Olympian Zeus

The Temple of Olympian Zeus is one of the largest temples in Greece and is located in the heart of Athens. The temple was built in the 6th century BCE and was dedicated to the god Zeus. The temple was destroyed and rebuilt several times over the centuries and was finally completed in the 2nd century AD by the Roman Emperor Hadrian, who ordered the construction of Hadrian’s Wall across northern Britain in 122 AD.

3.Ancient Agora of Athens

The Ancient Agora of Athens is a large open space located in the heart of Athens and was once the centre of political and social life in the city. The Agora was home to several important buildings, including the Temple of Hephaestus, a Doric temple dedicated to the god of fire, and was the site of many important events in Greek history.

4.Roman Agora of Athens

The Roman Agora of Athens is located to the north of the Acropolis and was built in the 1st century AD. The Roman Agora was a commercial centre and home to several important buildings, including the Tower of the Winds, a clock tower that was used to tell time and predict the weather.

Image of Kerameikos, an ancient cemetery located in northwest Athens and among the best ruins in Greece.
Kerameikos is an ancient cemetery in Athens and is among the best ruins in Greece.


Kerameikos is an ancient cemetery located in the northwest of Athens and is home to several important tombs and graves. The cemetery was in use from the 5th century BCE to the 4th century BCE and is one of the oldest ruins in Athens.

6.Hadrian’s Gate

Hadrian’s Gate is an ancient gate located in the heart of Athens and was built by the Roman Emperor Hadrian in the 2nd century AD. The gate was part of a larger wall that surrounded the city and was used to protect the city from invaders.

View of Parthenon at Acropolis, Athens, Greece with tourists below.

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Best Ruins in Athens – Northern Greece

General view of the Monastery of the Holy Trinity in Meteora, one of the best day tours from Athens.
Book this All-Day Tour of Meteora and visit the monasteries with a guide on hand.

When it comes to ancient sites, northern Greece has plenty to offer. When exploring the region, you may want to book a day tour from Athens or even book a car and discover for yourself! Whatever the case, you’ll definitely have fun roaming the ruins of the north.

Let’s take a look at numbers seven to 15 on this ultimate list of the best ruins in Greece.

7.The Rotunda

The ancient city of Theassaloniki was founded in 315 BCE and has a rich history. Some of the most famous sites include the city walls and the Rotunda, one of the oldest buildings in Thessaloniki, dating back to the 4th century AD. It was originally built as a Roman temple and later converted into a church.

8.Mount Athos

This UNESCO World Heritage Site is home to 20 monasteries and has been a centre of orthodox monasticism for over 1,000 years. Something to remember is that women are not allowed into the monastery because monks banned women in the 11th century. It’s astounding to think that this has stayed the case for a millennium! Note that this decree also extends to female animals. Although, female songbirds and insects are allowed to Mount Athos, so there’s that...


These stunning rock formations are home to several monasteries that date back to the 14th century. They are an incredible sight to behold and considered one of the wonders of the ancient world. The monasteries offer a breathtaking and spiritual experience, showcasing the ingenuity of medieval monks who sought isolation, so definitely a must-see during your visit.


An important ancient city, Philippi boasts well-preserved ruins, including a theatre forum, and the remnants of early Christian basilicas, offering a glimpse into both Roman and early Christian history.

11.Vergina (Agai)

The ancient city of Aigai in Vergina is the burial site of the Macedonian kings, including the tomb of Philip II, father of Alexander the Great, revealing a wealth of artifacts and insights into Macedonian royalty.

12.Ancient Dion

Located at the foot of Mount Olympus, Ancient Dion was a sacred city dedicated to the worship of the Olympian gods, featuring well-preserved theatres, temples, and baths.


Once the capital of the ancient kingdom of Macedonia, Pella boasts impressive archaeological remains, including the grand palace of Alexander the Great and well-preserved mosaics.


Olynthus is an ancient Greek city located on the Chalcidice Peninsula of northwestern Greece. The city reveals the layout of an ancient Greek city with its well-planned grid system, providing insights into urban planning and daily life during the Classical period.


Home to the impressive Lion of Amphipolis and various archaeological remains, Amphipolis has historical significance as a strategic city and showcases a mix of Greek, Roman, and Byzantine influence.

General view of the Monastery of the Holy Trinity in Meteora, one of the best day tours from Athens.

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Best Ruins in Greece – Southern Greece

General view of Temple of Poseidon, Cape Sounion, Greece.
Book this Private Tour of Athens and Cape Sounion and visit the Temple of Poseidon, one of the best ruins of the Peloponnese.

Southern Greece is home to some of the most impressive ancient ruins in the country. From the Peloponnese to Cape Sounion, take your pick! Let’s look at numbers 15 to 26 of the best ruins in Southern Greece to add to your itinerary.

16.Ancient Olympia

This was the site of the original Olympic Games and was home to the Temple of Zeus. The site was built in the 5th century BCE on an ancient religious site at Olympia, the Altis, first formed in the 9th and 10th centuries BCE. The site was identified in the 19th century and partially excavated for the first time, with some of the fragments taken to France. Excavations continue to this day.

17.Temple of Hera

Located near Ancient Olympia, this temple is dedicated to the goddess Hera and is one of the oldest temples in Greece.

18.Cape Sounion

Cape Sounion is one of the highlights of the Peloponnese and host to the Temple of Poseidon a magnificent ruin overlooking the Aegean Sea built in the 5th century BCE. According to legend, Aegeus, King of Athens jumped to his death here after mistakenly believing his son had died.

19.City of Delphi

This ancient city was considered the centre of the world by the ancient Greeks and is home to the famous Oracle of Delphi. In Delphi, you can visit the Temple of Apollo an imposing temple of the Doric order and the Sanctuary of Athena Pronaia temple complex.

If you’re interested in a guided tour of the city, you can book this five-star private day tour of the City of Delphi.

View of Leonidas statue the king of spartans in Thermopylae, Greece.
Book this Book this Thermopylae and Delphi Private Full-Day Tour  and learn about the ancient battles between the Greek city-states and the Persian Empire.


This narrow pass was the site of the famous battle between the Greeks, led by Leonidas I, King of Sparta and the Persians in 480 BC.


This charming seaside town is home to several ancient ruins, including the Palamidi Fortress and the Bourtzi Castle.

Nafplio promenade with palm trees and white boats and Bourtzi fortress on small island in Peloponese, Greece

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22.Epidaurus Theatre

This ancient city is home to the famous Epidaurus Theatre, one of the best-preserved old theatres in Greece.

23.The Sanctuary of Asklepios

The Sanctuary of Asklepios at Epidaurus is a UNESCO World Heritage site. It was founded around 420 BCE and was a site of ceremonial healing practices, with curative associations that were later enriched through the cults of Apollo Maleatas in the 8th century BCE, and then by Asklepios in the 6th century BCE.


Mycenae is an archaeological site that was was once the centre of the Mycenaean civilization, the last phase of the Bronze Age in Ancient Greece and is home to the famous Lion Gate.


This stunning medieval fortress town hosts several ancient ruins, including the Church of Christ in Chains and the Church of Elkomenos Christos.


Messene can be found in southwestern Peloponnese in the regional area of Messenia. It was founded in the 4th century after the defeat of Sparta by Athens.


Mystras is a fortified town that can be found in the Peloponnese region. It was originally built as an amphitheatre around the fortress erected in 1249 by the prince of Achaia, William of Villehardouin. After being reconquered by the Byzantines, Mystras was occupied by the Turks and the Venetians. The city was abandoned in 1832, but tourists can still visit and marvel at the beautiful medieval ruins.

Best Ruins in Greece – Saronic Gulf Islands

General view of Temple of Aphaea at Aegina Island, Saronic Gulf, Greece.
The magnificent Temple of Aphaea on Aegina Island in the Saronic Gulf.

The Saronic Gulf Islands are just over the water from Athens and has some of the best ruins in Greece to visit. Just a ferry ride away, you can access many of these islands in less than three hours.

Let’s have a look at numbers 28 to 30 on the list at some of the top ancient sites you can visit on the Saronic Gulf Islands.

28.Temple of Aphaea

This Doric temple ruin sits on top of a hill covered in pine trees on the island of Aegina. It was built in the 6th century BCE and is one of the most important ancient Greek temples.

29.Aegina Temple of Apollo

Visit Aegina to see the ruins of the Temple of Apollo. Just one column has been preserved!

30.Poros Temple of Poseidon

Among the pine trees in the middle of Poros, you’ll come across the ruins of a Doric temple dedicated to the God of the Sea Poseidon, built in the 6th century BCE out of blue limestone.

Best Ruins in Greece – Rest of Greek Islands

General view of House of Dionysus on Delos Island Greece.
The House of Dionysus on Delos Island, Mykonos.

31.Crete: The Palace of Knossos

The Palace of Knossos is one of the most impressive archaeological sites to visit. Located just outside the island’s capital city, Knossos is the largest Bronze Age archaeological site on Crete and a symbol of the Minoan civilisation that flourished between 2700 BCE and 1400 BCE.

32.Mykonos: Delos

Delos is a small island near Mykonos where you can find some of the most significant archaeological sites in Greece. As a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Delos is a must-visit for anyone interested in ancient history and Greek mythology.

Visitors to Delos can explore the ruins of the ancient city, which was once a thriving commercial and religious centre. Some of the top sights on the island include the Temple of Apollo, the Terrace of the Lions, and the House of Dionysus.

33.Rhodes: The Colossus

Rhodes is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Greece, and for good reason. The island is home to some of the most stunning ruins in the country, including the famous Colossus of Rhodes.

The Colossus of Rhodes was a gigantic 33-metre-high bronze statue of the sun god Helios. It stood by the harbour of the city from around 280 BCE when Rhodes was then one of the most important trading ports in the ancient Mediterranean, and the statue was considered one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.

The statue took 12 years to build and was toppled by an earthquake about 225/226 BCE. Although the statue no longer stands, visitors can still see the ruins of the base on which it once stood.

34.Corfu: The Old Fortress

Corfu’s Old Fortress is a must-see for anyone visiting the island. The fortress was built by the Venetians in the 15th century on a rocky peninsula on the eastern side of the island. It covers the promontory which initially contained the old town of Corfu that had emerged during Byzantine times.

Apart from the historical and cultural interest, what makes the Old Fortress special is without a doubt, the awe-inspiring 360-degree panoramic view it offers of the Ionian Sea and the town of Corfu.

View of the prehistoric town of Akrotiri in the National Museum of Thera, in Fira, on Santorini Island, Greece.
Prehistoric Town of Akrotiri on Santorini Island.

35.Santorini: Akrotiri

Akrotiri is an ancient Minoan city located on the island of Santorini. It was inhabited by the Minoans from Crete around 3,000 BCE and had its heyday in the 2nd millennium BCE, before being completely destroyed by a massive volcanic eruption. The city was buried under volcanic ashes, which preserved it for thousands of years.

The Akrotiri ruins are considered to be one of the best-preserved ancient settlements in the Aegean. The site was first discovered in the late 19th century, but it wasn’t until the 1960s that a full-scale excavation began.

The excavation uncovered a complex of multi-story buildings, complete with wall paintings, furniture, and pottery and you can currently see them in the Archaeological Museum of Thera (in Fira).

Greece Travel Tips

As someone who has travelled to Greece and visited many of its ruins, I have a few tips to share that will make your trip more enjoyable and stress-free. Forgive me if some of these sound obvious, but people have asked me many questions over the years, spanning from complicated to basic!

Clothing and Footwear

When visiting ruins, comfortable footwear is a must. The terrain can be uneven and rocky, so wearing sturdy shoes or sneakers is highly recommended. The weather in Greece can be hot, so wearing lightweight and breathable clothing is essential.


Visiting ruins during peak hours can be overwhelming and crowded. To avoid the crowds, consider visiting early in the morning or later in the afternoon. This will also give you the opportunity to take advantage of the cooler temperatures and avoid the midday heat.

Guided Tours

If you want to learn more about the history and significance of the ruins, consider taking a guided tour. Many tours offer skip-the-line access and provide in-depth information about the ruins and their historical context.

View of the original excavation of the Acropolis at the Acropolis Museum in Athens, Greece.

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Best Time to Visit

Greece can get very hot in summer, so the best time to go is during May to early June and from late September to October. This is when the weather is mild, and the crowds are thinner, making it easier to explore the ruins without being overwhelmed by the number of visitors.

Visiting during the summer months, starting in late June and lasting until the middle or end of September, is the high season in Greece. During this time, the weather is hot, and the crowds are at their peak, making it more challenging to navigate the sites.

Renting a Car

When it comes to exploring the top ruins in Greece, renting a car is one of the best ways to get around. It gives you the freedom and flexibility to explore the ruins your own pace, without having to rely on public transport. Discover Cars has several Athens airport car rental options for you to choose from and is a good, flexible option for tourists.

Age Restrictions

The minimum rental age in Greece is usually between 19 to 21 years, depending on the policies of the rental company. But, if you are under 25 years old, you may be subject to a young driver fee. Some rental companies also apply a maximum rental age of 75 years.

Driver’s License

To rent a car in Greece, you need a standard International Driver’s License. If your license is not in English or Greek, it’s a good idea to bring a translation with you just in case. You also may be asked to present your passport, so make sure to have it on hand.


Most rental companies in Greece offer basic insurance coverage, but it’s important to read the terms and conditions carefully. You may also want to consider purchasing additional insurance for peace of mind, especially if you plan on driving on narrow or winding roads.

Road Conditions

While many of the top ruins in Greece are located in or near major cities, some of the most impressive sites are located in more remote areas. You may encounter narrow or winding roads, steep inclines, and other challenging driving conditions. Make sure to plan your route carefully and take your time on the road

Best Ruins in Greece – Final Thoughts

While it’s difficult to narrow down the best 35 ruins in Greece, there are a few that stand out as must-see destinations.

The Acropolis of Athens, with its majestic Parthenon and other ancient structures, is undoubtedly one of the most famous and impressive sites in Greece. Delphi, with its stunning Temple of Apollo, is another must-see location for history buffs.

View of the original excavation of the Acropolis at the Acropolis Museum in Athens, Greece.

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But beyond these 35 well-known sites, there are many other ruins that are equally fascinating. From the fascinating Island of Delos in Mykonos, to the Temple of Aphaea on Aegina Island, there’s plenty to uncover in Greece.

Whether you’re interested in history, architecture, or simply exploring new places, there is something for everyone among Greece’s many ancient ruins.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Here are some FAQs to guide you on your decision making when deciding on what ruins to explore in Greece!

Which Greek island is home to the most impressive ancient ruins?

Crete is home to some of the most significant archaeological sites in Greece. One of the most famous ruins on Crete is the Palace of Knossos, which was the centre of the Minoan civilization. Other notable ruins on Crete include the ancient city of Gortyna and the Roman city of Aptera.

How were the ancient ruins in Greece constructed?

The ancient ruins in Greece were constructed using a variety of techniques and materials, depending on the time period and location. Many of the most famous ruins, such as the Parthenon and the Temple of Olympian Zeus, were built using marble, which was quarried from nearby mountains.

Other materials used in construction included limestone, sandstone, and clay. Techniques used by ancient Greek builders included the use of cranes and pulleys to lift heavy stones, as well as the use of precise measurements and mathematical calculations to ensure that buildings were symmetrical and balanced. Those ancient Greeks were certainly advanced!

What is the significance of the ruins in Greek mythology?

Many of the ancient ruins in Greece are associated with Greek mythology, which played a significant role in ancient Greek culture. For example, the Temple of Olympian Zeus in Athens was dedicated to the king of the gods, while the Temple of Poseidon at Cape Sounion was dedicated to the god of the sea. The ruins of the city of Mycenae are associated with the legendary hero Agamemnonwho commanded the Greeks during the Trojan War. while the ruins of the city of Delphi were believed to be the centre of the world and the home of the god Apollo.

What is the history behind the ruins in Greece?

The history behind the ruins in Greece is a long and complex one, spanning thousands of years of human civilisation. The ancient Greeks were known for their achievements in art, architecture, philosophy, and science, and many of their ideas and innovations continue to influence modern society.

You’ve heard of Socrates, Plato and Aristotle? They’re Greek philosophers, who laid down the foundation of Western civilisation. The ruins of ancient Greek cities and temples are a testament to the ingenuity and creativity of this ancient culture, and they continue to inspire awe and wonder in visitors from around the world (which is why I love Greece so much!)

Some of the most popular ruins in Greece for tourists include the Acropolis in Athens, which is home to the Parthenon and other famous temples, the Palace of Knossos on the island of Crete; the ancient city of Olympia, which was the site of the first Olympic Games and the ruins of the city of Delphi, which was believed to be the centre of the world in ancient times.

Other popular ruins include the Temple of Poseidon at Cape Sounion, the ancient city of Mycenae, and the ruins of the city of Corinth.

And my favourite? I’ll leave you with this photos so you can guess…

General view of author at Cape Sounion.
Where do you think I am? Enjoy the ruins of Greece!


For over a decade I've been exploring the beauty of Greece and, over time, I've fallen in love with the wonders of this rich, lively culture. And I want to share my discoveries with you! From where you should stay to the best day trips, restaurants and beaches - you're in the right place to experience the best of Greece!

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