In mythology, Greece was a land of heroes, sea monsters and the gods involved. Although the myths could never have been realized, many of them are based on real locations that you can still visit today. Read on to find out which mythological destinations you should find in your list of Greek buckets.
Mount Ida: The cave where Zeus lived his childhood
If you are a lover of history or a lover of ancient Greek culture, then Crete is one of the best islands to visit. Apart from a host of other important sites, Crete also hosts Mount Ida and the cave where Zeus is said to have passed his childhood.
Legend has it that Titan Cronos ate his children to prevent them from overthrowing him. When Rea gave birth to Zeus, he hid him in a cave in the Idea Cave on the island of Crete so that Saturn would not find him. Some versions of the myth show that Zeus had just spent his childhood in the cave, while others claim he was born there.
Either way, the site was a place of pilgrimage for the ancient Greeks. You can still visit the Idea Cave today, though many people cross Mount Ida just to enjoy the trek.
RELATED: 10 Great Things to Do in Greece
Delos: The Birthplace of the Twin Gods, Artemis and Apollo
The island of Delos is another island that all fans of Greek mythology must visit. Apart from the existence of large coastal areas such as Kapari beach, the island is also believed by the ancient Greeks to be the birthplace of the twin gods Artemis and Apollo, hunting and the sun, respectively.
The gods were born by the lover of Zeus Leto, who fled to Delos to escape the wrath of his wife Zeus Time. He then gave birth to the twin gods there. As a result, temples and monuments were erected to the gods of the island. Those who wanted to worship them came to the island to visit the temples.
Delos includes a famous archaeological site as well as an archaeological museum. Other ruins facing the island include markets, an amphitheater, statues and mosaic houses.
RELATED: 10 most romantic places to visit in Greece
Temple of Poseidon: Where the God of the Sea was worshiped
Athens is a prime destination for any traveler interested in ancient Greek mythology. Except for the Parthenon, which was once dedicated to the goddess Athena, the remains of the temple of Poseidon should be on the list of Athenian buckets.
The temple is located south of the city on the rocks of Cape Sounion and overlooks the sea. According to mythology, it was the god of the Poseidon Sea who made Odysseus’ journey back to Ithaca so difficult. A brother to both Jupiter and Hades also had a leading role in many other Greek myths.
Apart from being a god of the sea, Neptune was also the god of earthquakes and so many temples and monuments for him were built inland rather than overlooking the ocean. The temple on Cape Sounion was built between 444 and 440 BC.
RELATED: Top 10 Delicity To Sample In Greece
Olympus: The House of the Gods
Undoubtedly the most important of all parts of Greek mythology is Olympus, home to the 12 gods and gods. The ancient Greeks believed that Zeus, Hera, and the other 10 great deities lived on the top of this mountain. It is said that the gods used this prime position to watch people and devise ways to get on with their lives.
Today, travelers climb to the top to enjoy the stunning views of the surrounding city (though there have been no sightseeing to date!). Olympus is also the highest mountain in the country, located on the borders of Thessaly and Macedonia. The first record of people reaching the top of the mountain dates back to 1913.
Archaeological finds found near the mountain indicate that Alexander the Great and his army came to Olympus to pay tribute to the gods before turning to battle.
Ithaca: The home of Odysseus of Homer
Anyone who knows the Odyssey will be familiar with the island of Ithaca. In Homer’s epic story, this is the house where the hero Odysseus fled to fight with Agamemnon’s forces in the Trojan war. After the war, which lasted 10 years, Odysseus left for his home, but was thrown out and took another 10 years to reach his island. When he arrived there, he found several sailors trying to capture Penelope’s wife.
Located to the west of mainland Greece, Ithaca has many places of interest. The Cave of the Nymphs is a popular attraction, as Odysseus is supposed to have hidden the gifts given to him by the Phoenicians. The island also houses an ancient acropolis, a medieval settlement and an archaeological museum containing exhibits and artifacts that can be traced back to Homer’s era
NEXT: Athens, Greece: Main Weekend Route
One Beach in Mexico puts all other beaches to shame
About the Author
Vanessa is a 25-year-old freelance writer based in Adelaide, Australia. He loves Johnny Cash and thinks ‘realistic’ is a bad word.
More on Vanessa Elle