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Things to Do in Greece - page 5

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Aqualand Corfu Water Park
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Aqualand Corfu Water Park is the island’s biggest and most popular water park and offers themed zones catering for all ages, carefully watched over by qualified lifeguards. Stretching over an area of 130,000 sq ft (12,000 sq m) landscaped with lawns and mature maple trees, it is a family paradise of water rides and slides, lazy rivers and 15 swimming pools for a day of fun in the sun.

Toddlers up to the age of four can enjoy shallow bathing pools with water showers, playing splashy games on Fantasy Island and exploring the Caribbean Pirate Adventure Pool. There’s a dedicated family area (kids must be aged eight and over) with giant slides, Jacuzzis, a lazy river and a wave pool. Adrenaline junkies can get their kicks from six extreme water ride ranging from the spiraling Hydrotube to the hair-raising Free Fall Plus, which plunges vertically for 80 ft (24 m) into deep water.

Facilities include plenty of free sunbeds and parasols for shade and lockers to hire for a small charge of €5; there are changing rooms and showers as well as food outlets scattered throughout the park and stores selling sun lotion, rubber rings and pool toys.

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Spianada (Esplanade)
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Also known as the Esplanade, the Spianada is the largest town square in Greece, located in Corfu Town on the island of Corfu. Located in front of the Old Fortress, its construction dates back to the French occupation during the Napoleonic Wars. It is one of the most popular tourist sites in the city, as well as the liveliest part of Corfu Town, reflecting the history of the island with a mix of Venetian, French, British and Greek buildings. At one end of the Spianada stands the Royal Palace of Corfu (also called the Palace of St. Michael and St. George), which today houses the Museum of Asian Art. In front of the palace stands a bronze statue of Lord Frederick Adam, an English Commissioner who did important technical work for the city.

On the southern tip of the square you can see the Peristyle of Maitland, a circular monument in honor of the first English Commissioner Thomas Maitland in early 1800s. In front of the iron bridge leading to the Old Fortress is a statue of the German Marshall Schulenberg, who defended the city against the Turks in 1716. Notable for its many colonnades, the Venetian citadel known as the Liston runs along the edge of the square facing the old town.

Interestingly, a cricket court also takes up a significant part of the Spianada as cricket was made popular during British rule in the early 19th century.

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Seven Springs (Epta Piges)
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10 Tours and Activities

One of Rhodes’ most tranquil spots, the Seven Springs (Epta Piges) comprises seven natural springs that feed into a small man-made lake, built by the island’s Italian occupants to provide water to the nearby villages. The springs offer a welcome relief from the Mediterranean heat, as well as a habitat for a surprising variety of wildlife.

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Arkadi Monastery (Moni Arkadiou)
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13 Tours and Activities

The fortress-like Arkadi Monastery (Moni Arkadiou) is perched on a hilltop plateau surrounded by vineyards and olive groves, while Crete’s highest peak, Mt. Ida, looms in the distance. Picturesque and architecturally impressive, with fairy-tale turrets and a dramatic bell tower, the monastery is also a symbol of the Cretan struggle for independence.

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Acqua Plus Water Park
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3 Tours and Activities

Just a short drive from the beaches of Heraklion, Acqua Plus Water Park is the largest and most popular water park in Crete. With more than 50 different slides, games, and activities, the park has plenty to do for all ages and preferences, from daring water slides to a scenic lazy-river cruise.

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Archaeological Museum of Chania
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5 Tours and Activities

Tucked behind the façade of the former Venetian church of St Francis, the Archaeological Museum of Chania can be visited as part of an electric Trikke tour of its charming Old Town. Displays cover the periods from Neolithic and Minoan to late Roman times, and exhibit treasures found during excavations around the town and across western Crete.

The collections are elegantly displayed under the soaring vaulted ceiling of the church’s nave and include models of ships, clay seals, battered Classical statuary and a bust of Emperor Hadrian. Highlights are a bird-shaped Minoan drinking vessel dating from 3000-2300 BC; gold discs from a Neolithic burial site, thought to be from the 9th century BC; an almost-complete mosaic of Dionysos and Ariadne, which was uncovered during building work in Chania and dates from the 3rd century AD; and a charming clutch of carved animals. The Mitsotakis Collection, donated to the museum in 2000, is also on display and encompasses Minoan pottery and jewelry.

The Turkish Fountain in the courtyard outside the museum originally stood in Eleftherios Venizelos Square down by Chania’s Venetian harbour.

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Paros
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Long a ferry hub for trips throughout the Greek Islands, Paros has quietly become a second Mykonos without the crowds and the price tag. Away from its sun-kissed beaches—popular for soaking up the Aegean sun—terraced hills climb up to the mountainous interior, where the island’s famous pure-white marble is quarried.

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Psiri
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39 Tours and Activities

Psiri sits underneath the Acropolis and along with its neighbors Plaka and Monastiraki, is one of the buzziest districts in Athens. It’s not so long ago that it was a down-at-heel artisan area best known for its abandoned buildings and leather shops, but Psiri is undergoing a facelift and is currently one of the hottest addresses in the city. Yes, its narrow, meandering streets are still covered with graffiti and there are local grocery shops unchanged for decades but today Psiri is a magnet to locals and – increasingly – visitors alike. For starters, it’s slowly becoming home to small independent boutiques selling organic soaps, unusual handmade jewelry, old posters and glittering icons; and often market stalls selling homemade produce line the streets. And by night Psiri undergoes a radical transformation as cool cafés, bars, restaurants and local ouzeries open on to the alleyways and the laidback crowds come strolling in. Even later still the music clubs open, some playing rembetika, a bluesy urban folk music, others with live bouzouki music roaring out on to the crowded streets.

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Thirasia (Therasia)
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The little island of Thirasia (Therasia) has a population of only 200 or so, making it the perfect spot for a relaxing lunch at a cliff-top taverna, with views over to Santorini. The island used to be part of Santorini’s mainland, until the violent volcanic eruption of 1650 BC set it free.

Sail over from Santorini to escape the crowds on Thirassia’s lovely beaches, and bring a traveler’s dictionary as not many people here speak English. Those tavernas are clustered in the village of Manolas, near the ferry stop, and the tranquil island also has scattered blue-domed churches, ancient monasteries and stone villages

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Perivolos Beach
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Imagine a stretch of slate grey sands fringed by startling turquoise waters and hemmed in by sea cliffs, and you’ll understand why Perivolos is one of Santorini’s most popular beaches.

The island’s longest black sand beach is not only undeniably photogenic, but it’s a great spot for swimming and sunbathing, with cool calm waters, and thatched parasols and sunbeds lining the waterfront. Perivolos Beach is also notable for its lively atmosphere, with beach bars dotted along the seafront, volleyball nets set up along the sand and ample opportunities for water sports, including jet skiing and windsurfing.

Many tours of Santorini Island include a stop at Perivolos beach and visits are often combined with nearby Perissa beach. Active travelers can even hike or cycle the beach road between Perivolos and Perissa, a scenic 5km promenade that affords dazzling views along the coast.

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More Things to Do in Greece

Waterpark Rhodes

Waterpark Rhodes

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Waterpark Rhodes is the largest waterpark in Greece, covering more than 100,000 square meters. It offers a great selection of water slides for all ages, as well as traditional fair attractions, restaurants and snack bars. The park features five extreme slides: the Kamikaze, the Free Fall, the Turbo, the Space Bowl and the Twister. It also has several slides open to all ages, including the Boomerang, Rafting Slide, two Black Hole slides and the Crazy Cone Slide. Beyond the water slides, visitors can relax in the wave pool or enjoy funfair attractions like bumper cars and a giant wheel that stands 35 meters tall.

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Historical Museum of Crete

Historical Museum of Crete

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Founded in 1953, Heraklion’s Historical Museum of Crete highlights events and artifacts from Crete’s varied past. Displaying priceless frescos, traditional Cretan costumes, and a model of Heraklion as it looked in the 17th century, the museum is a must-visit for anyone interested in the history of the island.

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Loggia

Loggia

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Once a clubhouse for Venetian nobility, the 17th-century Palladian-style Loggia is now home to Heraklion Town Hall. Designed by Francesco Morosini, it is one of the best examples of Venetian architecture in the city. Visitors come to roam its covered walkway and courtyard.

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Manto Mavrogenous Square (Plateia Manto Mavrogenous)

Manto Mavrogenous Square (Plateia Manto Mavrogenous)

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Looking out over the Old Port and marking the entrance to historic Mykonos Town is Manto Mavrogenous Square (Plateia Manto Mavrogenous)—the lively epicenter of the quintessential Greek Island destination. A popular starting point for walking tours, the square boasts handicraft shops, restaurants, and cafes along its seafront promenade, while its white-painted, blue-shuttered buildings make for a pretty photo opportunity against the ocean backdrop.

At the heart of the square stands its namesake monument, an unassuming statue of Manto Mavrogenous, the Greek war heroine famous for her role in the Greek War of Independence.

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Street of the Knights (Odos Ippoton)

Street of the Knights (Odos Ippoton)

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Hailed as one of Europe’s best-preserved medieval streets, Street of the Knights (Odos Ippoton) stretches from the Palace of the Grand Master of the Knights of Rhodes to the port. The lane was once home to the Knights of St. John, who lived in streetside inns.

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Frangokastello Beach

Frangokastello Beach

3 Tours and Activities

With its long sandy beaches and shallow waters, Frangokastello beach is among the island’s most popular, and the sleepy seaside resort has retained its tranquil, laid-back vibe despite the influx of tourists. Frangokastello has everything you would expect from a Crete beach resort—swaths of white sand surrounded by towering dunes, rocky coves ideal for snorkeling and fishing, and crashing waves that offer ample opportunities for water sports.

The star attraction of Frangokastello though, is its eponymous fortress, a striking Venetian castle that dates back to 1371 and looks out over the beach from its cliff-top perch. Visitors can walk up to the castle from the beach and explore the ruins, but be warned – legend has it that the castle is haunted by the ghosts of independence fighter Hadzi Michali Daliani and his soldiers, who were killed in the castle in 1828.

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Fira–Oia Hike

Fira–Oia Hike

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Winding through whitewashed villages and rugged Mediterranean landscapes, the clifftop Fira–Oia hike is one of Greece’s most beautiful walks. The trail links Fira (Santorini’s postcard-perfect capital) with Oia (a village known for its sunset views) and takes you along the rim of the sunken crater of the island’s dormant volcano.

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Zante Water Village

Zante Water Village

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One of Greece’s largest water parks, Zante Water Village in Zakynthos promises a fun family outing. The park offers nine main water attractions—some incorporating several slides and adventures—alongside food outlets, shops, and family-friendly land activities such as go-karts.

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Syntagma Station

Syntagma Station

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Syntagma Square (Plateia Syntagmatos) is the heart of civic life in Athens, a popular meting place edged with the imposing Parliament of Greece (Vouli) and studded with fountains and shady trees, as well as the unique sight of kilted soldiers changing the guard outside the Monument to the Unknown Soldier with a flourish of the pompoms on their shoes. It is also a transport hub for trams and buses, and its metro station is one of the busiest in the city, where both Lines 2 and 3 stop.

Athens is built on foundations that go back more than 9,000 years to prehistory and so it was no surprise that when excavation started to build the city’s metro system, the digging produced a perfect chronological timeline of the past. These have been innovatively displayed in situ, creating the only underground metro-station museums in the world. Altogether seven metro stations in Athens have museums, with the most interesting discoveries displayed at Acropolis, Monastiraki, Kerameikos and – most spectacular of all – Syntagma. Thousands of ancient artifacts were discovered there, from Neolithic cemeteries to sections of Greek drainage systems, mosaics, funerary urns and skeletons, many displayed behind glass. In the entrance hall a cross-section of the substrata is uncovered, displaying a prehistoric necropolis, and moving ever upwards through classical Greek, Roman and Byzantine remains, charting the development of the city through the millennia.

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Koules Fortress

Koules Fortress

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Built in the 13th century when Crete was under Venetian rule, Koules Fortress is known by many names. Sometimes called Rocca al Mare, or simply the Venetian Fortress, it was initially designed to protect Heraklion from invasion. Today it houses exhibits on the history of Heraklion.

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Nisyros Volcano (Nisiros)

Nisyros Volcano (Nisiros)

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The volcanic island of Nisyros (Nisiros) lies north of Rhodes, a craggy, mountainous and fertile speck in the Aegean Sea. It forms part of the Dodecanese Islands along with Kos and Tilos, and is an unspoiled treasure that has so far dodged the onslaught of mass tourism.

The volcano that forms the greater part of Nisyros last erupted in 1888 but it is one of the most active in the region. Of the island’s six craters, Polivotis is the biggest, measuring 260 m (853 ft) across and reaching a depth of 30 meters (98.5 feet); it steams gently as gases bubble up from underground. Thanks to all this volcanic activity, thermal springs disgorge their sulfurous waters into the sea at several points around Nisyros; visitors flock to the spa at Loutra on the north coast to take advantage of their healing properties, while other hot springs are found at Thermiani and Avlaki.

Nisyros’s main town of Mandraki is tucked into hills on the northwest tip of the island, a charming waterfront sprawl of squat, white-washed houses and taverna-lined piazzas. Inland Byzantine chapels such as the Church of the Panaghia Faneromeni are scattered across the landscape, accessible by way-marked cycling and hiking trails, but the most startling of the island’s cultural remains is the Paliaokastro, high on a hilltop overlooking Mandraki. Dating from the fourth century BC, this was once a mighty acropolis and fort but now little survives except for fragments of the walls constructed out of volcanic basalt, although two towers have been recently remodeled out of rock surrounding the site.

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Archaeological Museum of Rhodes

Archaeological Museum of Rhodes

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This archaeological museum showcases priceless objects excavated during digs on the island of Rhodes. Housed in an imposing medieval hospital built by the Knights of St. John, the collection encompasses everything from ceramics and marble statues to mosaics and funeral urns.

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Omonoia Square (Plateia Omonoias)

Omonoia Square (Plateia Omonoias)

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Omonoia Square is a big square located north of the central market in Athens, Greece. It's the city's oldest square, and pictures show it was once a lovely square with lots of trees. However, it has been reconstructed several times in order to adjust for the introduction of cars and other vehicles. Six streets intersect at the square, making it a busy traffic hub. Buses, metros, and taxis can all be found here. There are no ancient ruins here like in other parts of the city, but the area surrounding the square is known for its bohemian vibe and cultural mix, and it is popular with students.

You can find affordable hotels, inexpensive restaurants and cafes, and other types of shops here. Nearby are several flea markets as well. The National Archaeological Museum is the most well known attraction located near Omonoia Square. Other important buildings include the Athens Art Gallery and the National Theater.

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Limnoupolis Water Park (Aqua Creta Limnoupolis)

Limnoupolis Water Park (Aqua Creta Limnoupolis)

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Chania’s most popular water park, Limnoupolis Water Park (Aqua Creta Limnoupolis) offers 11 large slides, including steep “free-fall” options, plus a lazy river, a kids’ pool with smaller slides, and a big central pool with a zipline. The park also has sun loungers, a bar, a restaurant, fast-food options, and a minimart.

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