Skip to content

Visiting the Ancient Greek Temples in Sicily 

Just outside Agrigento, on the beautiful southern coast of Sicily, you will find a large archaeological area where monumental Greek temples were built in the 4th and 5th centuries BC. They are some of the largest and best-preserved Greek temples outside of Greece.

In 1997, the Valley of the Temples was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage site and this archaeological park is now a national monument of Italy. If you are heading to Sicily (1.5-hour direct flight from Athens), we highly recommend you visit. 

History of Agrigento 

This wonderful ancient city was built by the Greeks who colonized parts of Sicily in the 6th century BC. Although today it is known as Agrigento, this ancient Greek town was originally called Akragas, named after the Akragas River. At one time Agrigento was one of the richest and most important cities of the Greek empire.

Centuries later the Romans took the territory and renamed it “Agrigentum”. The city prospered again right up until the fall of the Roman Empire. While the modern city was severely damaged during WWII, the Valley of the Temples was preserved.

Valley of the Temples 

Today, the Valley of the Temples features the remains of 7 temples. Six of these sit along the hill while one, the Temple of Asclepius, is located next to the Akragas River. 

Along with ancient temples, the park also features ancient houses, tombs, and other historic monuments. Much of the ancient city of Agrigento remains unexcavated but the size and splendour of the temples allow visitors to realise just how majestic Agrigento was in the ancient Mediterranean world. 

Discover the ruins  

Visits to the site begin from the entrance at the eastern end, just down the hill from the centre of town. Walking along, you will come across three main ruins- the Temple of Juno, the Temple of Concordia (reminiscent of the Acropolis in Athens), and the Temple of Hercules (the site’s oldest temple). Roman tombs and Greek walls run along the pathway and as you walk through you will also come across remains of the ancient Agora, which are located near the parking lot.

Insights Greece - Visiting the Ancient Greek Temples in Sicily 

What else you’ll find in the area 

Beyond the ancient ruins, nearby attractions include the Kolymbithra Garden (an ancient olive and citrus garden), and The Regional Archaeological Museum ‘Pietro Griffo’, which is one of the most important and visited archaeological museums in Sicily; the museum displays over 5688 artifacts illustrating the history of the Agrigentan territory from prehistoric times to the end of the Greek-Roman period. Across the street from the museum, you will find remains of the Hellenistic and Roman quarters.  

Tips for visiting 

-If you are visiting during summer, we suggest getting there very early, or late in the afternoon. During the peak of the day is extremely hot and keep in mind there is not a lot of shade. 

-Wear comfortable shoes and if you are here during the warmer months make sure you take a hat and have a bottle of water with you. Although there are a couple of shops on-site, it’s a large area to walk so it’s best you are prepared.

-To explore the site well, you will need around three to four hours. 

-At the entrance of the park you’ll find the ticket office, souvenir stands, a shop, and restrooms.

Location of Agrigento

Agrigento is in southwestern Sicily. It’s just off the main road that runs along Sicily’s south coast; approximately 140km south of Palermo and 200km west of Catania and Syracuse. We stayed in Cefalù, and the drive from there to Agrigento was roughly two hours. 

Getting there 

The archaeological site can be reached by car or bus and it’s 6.5 kilometres from Agrigento. Local buses run regularly from Agrigento, and there are also many organised day tours that run from pretty much anywhere in Sicily. 

All images by IN+SIGHTS GREECE © (Copyright) 

Visiting Knossos, One of Europe’s Largest Archaeological Sites 

Those wanting to discover one of the largest and richest archaeological sites in Europe should add Heraklion- with its ancient treasures, historical riches, and ruins of the grand city of Knossos to their list.

Knossos Palace was once a thriving spot and the capital of Minoan Crete- it is grander and more luxurious than any other palace of its time. 

Insights Greece - Visiting Knossos, One of Europe’s Largest Archaeological Sites 
Minoan Palace

In fact, Knossos Palace is said to be one of the most beautiful ruins in history, making the striking palaces of Knossos and Phaistos Crete’s most famous and visited ancient sites by both local and international visitors who travel here all year round.

Once the imperial seat of the Minoan King, Minos, Knossos is the perfect destination for history buffs who want to discover more about myths like those of the Minotaur; and the artwork and intricate mosaics allow visitors to feel as though they’ve stepped into a magical world. 

History of the Knossos Palace

-The Minoans slowly began settling in the area starting from the Neolithic period, approximately 7000 BC; until the Mycenaean invasion, then the area was used by the Mycenaeans until it was completely abandoned. 

-Human presence on the site is evident for thousands of years, before the construction of the first palace. 

-Knossos is the largest palace in Minoan Crete. It is double the size of Phaistos, Mallia, four times the size of Zakros, and seven times larger than Gournia.

What you will Discover at Knossos 

Insights Greece - Visiting Knossos, One of Europe’s Largest Archaeological Sites 
A room at Knossos

Walking around the historical site, you will discover a massive civilization that was thriving 4,000 years ago. You will come across a drainage system that is so intricate and villas that were luxurious; many houses were five levels. Public and private areas were adorned with ornate frescoes, pottery, and wall paintings; Minoan artwork is so famous that it continues to inspire artists from all over the world.  

As you stroll through, you will also be able to see how the Minoans used three separate water-management systems and you’ll get up close to the Minoan columns- differing from the Doric, Ionic, and Corinthian style Greek columns – these columns are narrower at the bottom and wider towards the top.

Facts about Knossos 

-Knossos Palace is huge and sprawling (43,000 square metres).

-The palace had 1,300 rooms connected with corridors around the main courtyard. 

-The archaeological site of Knossos was discovered in 1878 by Minos Kalokairinos, a Cretan entrepreneur who was fascinated by archaeology.  

-In 1900, English archaeologist Sir Arthur Evans led excavations in Knossos, which lasted around 35 years. Evans found that the Palace of Knossos was destroyed and rebuilt at least two times; with the first palace built around 1900 BC and the second palace built after 1700 BC.


Insights Greece - Visiting Knossos, One of Europe’s Largest Archaeological Sites 
Clay pots at the site of Knossos

-If you’re planning a trip to Knossos, it’s a good idea to stay in Heraklion, the capital of Crete. There are many options for accommodation, eating, and a great base to explore other nearby sites.

-To fully understand the history and culture of Knossos and to explore it in detail, it’s best to join a tour with a licensed guide.  

Getting there

From the centre of Heraklion, Knossos is about 5km away, which makes it very convenient to get to by car. The Line 2 bus will take you directly to Knossos, otherwise, you can take a 5-minute taxi ride to the site. Alternatively, if it’s not a hot day and you enjoy walking, it’s about an hour’s walk from the heart of Heraklion. 

Visiting Athens’ Striking Stoa of Attalos 

The Stoa of Attalos is part of the historical Ancient Agora site in the centre of Athens, built around 150 BC by the king of Pergamon Attalos II, as a gift to the city. 

Stoa of Attalos is an impressively large building that spans over two levels and highlights Hellenistic architecture at its best. The ground level is inspired by the Doric style and the first floor is Ionic. The building features walls made of limestone, the facade was created using marble from Mount Penteli, and the roof is covered with tiles.  

Insights Greece - Visiting Athens’ Striking Stoa of Attalos 
Stoa of Attalos

This glorious building was once a cultural, social, and commercial hub, housing all kinds of shops leased by the State of Athens, and is described as an “ancient shopping centre,” and a busy spot where Athenians gathered socially to catch up with other locals while doing a spot of shopping.

The Stoa of Attalos is said to have been home to 21 shops (on each floor) lining the western wall. Visitors are able to get an idea of life during ancient Athens times through the vast collection of everyday objects which were unearthed during recent excavations. 

Facts About Stoa of Attalos 

-The Stoa’s dimensions are 115 by 20 meters wide (377 by 65 feet wide).

-There were five Stoas connected to the Agora and the Stoa of Attalos was named after King Attalos II of Pergamon who reigned from 159-138 BC. 

-A second Stoa, the Stoa of Eumenes II, was built by the brother of Attalos, on the southern side of the Acropolis. 

-The Stoa was open at either end on the ground floor, with a wall running along the western side on each floor with windows and doors leading to 21 small rooms.

Insights Greece - Visiting Athens’ Striking Stoa of Attalos 
Museum of Ancient Agora

The Museum Gallery 

The exhibition in the Museum gallery is home to archaeological finds from the excavations made by the American School of Classical Studies in the area and dates from the Neolithic to the Post-byzantine and Ottoman periods. The Museum exhibition is organised in chronological and thematic units that reveal aspects of the public and private life in ancient Athens. 

Here you will find an interesting collection of artifacts on display including marble statues, parts of columns, coins, ceramic vases, pottery, items of daily use, and there is an ancient ballot box and a ‘klepsydra’ which was a water clock used for timing public speakers in the courthouses.

Also look out for a giant statue of the god Apollo, a large statue of a female figure (goddess or queen), the tomb of a young girl that dates from the Geometric times, and a bronze Spartan shield that the Athenians took as a war prize in the Battle of Sfaktiria (425 BC).

Insights Greece - Visiting Athens’ Striking Stoa of Attalos 
Ancient Agora

Getting there

The Stoa of Attalos is situated below the Acropolis and within the Ancient Agora in the heart of Athens. The main entrance to the Stoa is Adrianou Street which is about 700 meters from Syntagma Square. There is a smaller entrance from Thisseion Square. The nearest Metro station is Thisseion or Monastiraki. 

A: Adrianou Street, 24, Thissio 

Visiting Athens’ Benaki Museum

The Benaki Museum is the largest and most active museum organisation in Greece, featuring four main museums in Athens– the Museum of Greek Culture, the Pireos Annex, the Museum of Islamic Art, and the Toy Museum. 

The Benaki Museum of Greek Civilization was founded by Anthony Benakis and donated to the Greek state in 1931. Here, one can find permanent exhibitions featuring ancient Greek and Roman art, Byzantine, post-Byzantine and Hellenic art, historic heirlooms, a vast collection of drawings, paintings and prints, Chinese and Korean art, and more. 

At the Pireos 138 Annex, the museum presents modern Greek architecture and photography and temporary events and exhibitions – currently, it is hosting some special event exhibitions honouring “1821,” 200 Years of Greek Independence. 

The Toy Museum presents the lifetime collection of Maria Argyriadi that is among the most important in Europe that includes toys, books, clothing, and other items associated with childhood from Europe, Africa, Asia, and the Americas.

The Museum of Islamic Art houses one of the world’s most important collections of art from India, Persia, Mesopotamia, Asia Minor, the Middle East, Arabia, Egypt, North Africa, Sicily, and Spain. 

Two more museums have also been added to the museum’s impressive portfolio—the Studio of Yannis Pappas and the Nikos Hadjikyriakos-Ghika Gallery. Plus there are five active Archival Departments (Photographic, Architectural, Historical) and a rich library, which come together to establish the Benaki Museum as the most active and dynamic museum organisation in Greece. 

The Benaki Museum is committed to presenting emerging knowledge about its collections through educational activities for children and adults, publications, exhibitions, and events, nationally and internationally.

Opening hours:

Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday: 10 am to  6 pm

Thursday: 10 am – 11:30 pm

Sunday: 10 am – 4 pm 

Address: Koumpari 1, Athens

Top 10 Cultural Spots in Athens

Athens has some of the world’s best museums and cultural centres. And with so many amazing classical and modern ones to choose from, we have rounded up 10 unmissable cultural spots for your next visit to the Greek capital. 

Benaki Museum

The Benaki Museum of Greek Civilization was founded by Anthony Benakis and donated to the Greek state in 1931. Here you will find a wonderful collection of Greek art and material culture in a geographical and evolutionary context, from prehistory to the present. There is a curated selection of ceramics, sculpture, and jewellery in Geometric, Archaic, Classical, Hellenistic, Roman, and Byzantine collections. 

Numismatic Museum

The Numismatic Museum in Athens is one of the most important museums of Greece and houses one of the greatest collections of coins (ancient and modern) in the world. The museum itself is housed in the former mansion of Heinrich Schliemann, the famous archaeologist, formally known as Iliou Melathron.

Museum of Cycladic Art

The Museum of Cycladic Art in Kolonaki was inaugurated in 1986, features a 5,000-year-old artwork collection from the Cyclades Islands. It also displays countless pieces of art from Cyprus and Ancient Greece. Scattered over four floors, the exhibitions contain varied objects, all of which are displayed with information, making the visit even more interesting.  

National Archaeological Museum

The National Archaeological Museum of Athens is the largest archaeological museum in Greece and one of the most important museums in the world; devoted to ancient Greek art. It was founded at the end of the 19th century to house and protect antiquities from all over Greece; displaying their historical, cultural and artistic value.

Museum of Greek Folk Musical Instruments 

Housed in an elegant nineteenth-century mansion erected in 1840, the Museum of Greek Folk Musical Instruments displays nearly 1,200 unusual instruments, dating from the 18th century to the present day; highlighting half-century of research and study by the famous musicologist Fivos Anoyanakis.

Acropolis Museum 

The Acropolis Museum, one of the most important museums in the world, houses the findings of only one archaeological site, the Athenian Acropolis. The museum was built to feature every artifact found on the rock and on the surrounding slopes, from the Greek Bronze Age to Roman and Byzantine Greece.

Byzantine and Christian Museum 

This is one of Greece’s national museums, which houses over 25,000 artifacts that relate to Early Christian, Byzantine, Medieval, post-Byzantine, and later periods. The pieces date from between the 3rd and 20th century AD and their provenance encompasses the entire Greek world, as well as regions in which Hellenism flourished. 

Theocharakis Cultural Foundation

The creation of the B. & M. Theocharakis Foundation for the Fine Arts and Music was an important development in the cultural life of Athens. Founded by Basil and Marina Theocharakis in 2004, it’s located opposite the Parliament, in the heart of the cultural, political, and commercial centre of the Greek capital. A café-restaurant, museum shop, and foyer with exhibition and display facilities are also open to the public.

Onassis Cultural Centre (OCC)

Onassis Cultural Center (Stegi) is a centre of arts in Athens created by the Onassis Foundations. With its productions and exhibitions, the OCC is a place of theatre, performance, dance, music, cinema, design, exhibitions, conferences, and lectures. It also hosts various festivals with local and international artists. The building itself is beautiful and on the roof terrace, you can visit the restaurant that offers a magnificent view of Athens.

Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Centre (SNFCC) 

 The Stavros Niarchos Cultural Centre opened up a few years back and has since become the most popular cultural spot for locals and international guests who come to see this sustainable, world-class cultural, educational, and recreational urban complex that includes a prestigious National Library of Greece and the Greek National Opera, located within the Stavros Niarchos Park; an ideal place to spend the day with the family or friends. 

Honouring the Revolutionary Masterpieces of Theodoros Vryzakis

I felt little interest when at the age of 12, my mother showed me some paintings depicting scenes from the Greek War of Independence made by her great uncle Theodoros Vryzakis.

At that age, I was more interested in Madonna, my dramatic poetry about unrequited love, and whether I’d pass my maths test. Several years later I found myself standing in front of one of my relative’s masterpieces; a giant canvas presenting a complex battle scene. This time I was a little more impressed, and let my eyes dance across the painting to observe the eyes, costumes, and actions of those depicted. But even then, to me, it was just a painting that left me with a delicate twinge of pride that it had been created by someone in my family. It took around 20 years more for me to truly and deeply value the incredible works of Theodoros Vryzakis, whose works are now on show in a permanent exhibition in the New National Gallery, and who through his striking historical depictions have immortalized the valiant and triumphant battle of Greeks against the tyrannical Ottoman Occupation of hundreds of years. 

Insights Greece - Honouring the Revolutionary Masterpieces of Theodoros Vryzakis

Instead of presenting the Greeks as victims, Vryzakis conceived of a heroic alternative, centering on the valour and vision of his people, from leaders such as Karaïskakis and Makriyannis to the common men and women who gave their life for their country. Also noted in his art was the nostalgic realism with which he presented his figures – with no facial contortions or exaggerated movements. Within many of his works, one can note the bond between the ancient Greek heritage of the nation, such as in ‘The Encampment of Karaïskakis’ (1855), in which the heroes of the revolution are looking towards Acropolis. The omnipotent presence of God, protecting, guiding, and waiting to receive the Greeks in their struggle for freedom can also be seen in some of his paintings, such as The Exodus from Missolonghi (1853). 

Insights Greece - Honouring the Revolutionary Masterpieces of Theodoros Vryzakis

Many of Theodoros Vryzakis’ works are rich with detailed side-scenes that offer profound supplementary messages to the viewer. His artworks led him to receive notable awards during his lifetime, like the First Prize at the International Exhibition of Vienna in 1853 for “The Sortie from Missolonghi,” and a Silver Prize at Olympia in 1870 for his lithograph “The Encampment of Karaiskakis.” His painting ‘I Hellas Evgnomonousa’ (1858) has become a symbol of the Greeks’ triumph over their oppressors, depicting a young woman in a white gown, wearing a wreath on her head, having broken the chains of slavery and rising over the fighters who bow at her feet or look adoringly up at her.

In 1861, Theodoros Vryzakis received a commission to paint icons for the Church of the Annunciation in Manchester, the first Greek-Orthodox church in the UK. A few years later he participated in a major exhibition at the Galerie Del Vecchio in Leipzig. In his final years his painting lessened as his eyesight deteriorated, until he passed away in 1878 due to heart disease, on the very same day as he was born, January first. 

Today, as Greece celebrates two hundred years of freedom from an Occupation that began in the mid 15th Century, I can’t feel anything more than pride for my people and for my relative, who immortalized their unity in overcoming terrible oppression. Sometimes it takes maturing a little to be able to see beyond the superficiality of daily life and feel an almost unsettlingly touching understanding of the big picture. 

Theatron of Americas Honors Greece’s 200 Years of Independence

Theatron of the Americas honors Greece’s 200 Years of Independence today at 17:30 Greek time with a special event featuring many distinguished guests such as Deepak Chopra and his co-author for the book ‘You Are The Universe’ Menas Kafatos. The event, titled ‘Theatron of the Americas Honours the Country in Which Theatre Was Born’ will be streamed live on Facebook and Zoom and hosted by the founder of Theatron of the Americas, acclaimed actor and director Socrates Alafouzos. 

Insights Greece - Theatron of Americas Honors Greece's 200 Years of Independence
Founder, Socrates Alafouzos

Alafouzos created the non-profit company two years ago after moving to California from Athens in 2016. It was an initiative inspired by his love of Greek theatre and all it has – and continues to – offer to the world. “I wanted to create a professional theatre company of the highest standards,” he says, to create something like a home away from home for Greek theatre in the US. It had been a great dream of mine for a very long time, and I had full faith in realizing, as, step by step I did. Over the years I’ve developed a profound internal strength by facing and overcoming the hurdles of life and travelling on a long esoteric journey, and through that empowerment, I wanted to bring light to the world through this theatre company. Greek theatre is full of light – the messages and ideas that the playwrights brought to life through their plays are full of wisdom, philosophical thought, truths about life that still stand today,” he says.

“When I arrived in the US in 2016 (he had lived there as a young man too, having received a Fulbright Scholarship for acting, and had vowed to himself to return one day) I had no base. I knew no one and felt very insecure to be so far from home, family, friends, and the familiar. But I had to accept and deal with my insecurities and keep looking forward towards my dreams, the things that were so deeply important to me to express and share. In the same way, the Theatron of the Americas is an initiative that started as a dream and is slowly but surely materializing into a tangible way to respect Greek history as a light-filled source of civilization and have an ongoing presence in the modern world. Change can only occur through taking action and continuing to look ahead.”

Insights Greece - Theatron of Americas Honors Greece's 200 Years of Independence

The event, marking Greece’s Bicentenary since The War of Independence, is just one initiative by the Theatron of the Americas created to remind or educate the world about Greece’s singularly rich theatrical culture. The Theatron describes its mission as such:
The timeless messages presented in the works of Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripides, and Aristophanes are more relevant today than ever. As in the 5th Century BC, we experience fast and great progress in science and human knowledge about life: Greek tragedy deeply explores and uncovers the need and the vanity in people for power, control, and certainty. As in the 5th Century BC, modern society continuous to deal with the pressure between the brutal realities of war and the rhetoric of its politicians: Greek tragedy anatomizes this tension with painful insight. Moreover, Greek tragedy is fixated with conflict between the genders, between public and private duty and between self-control and a sense of helplessness in the face of the world’s violence: All this too finds a powerful echo with modern audiences.

Through theater, the great Athenian poets were giving voice to timeless human experiences, that when viewed by a large audience that had exposure to those experiences, nurtured compassion, understanding and a strongly felt interconnection. Through tragedy, the Greeks faced the darkness of human existence as a community.”

Insights Greece - Theatron of Americas Honors Greece's 200 Years of Independence

Alafouzos’ career as an actor included a wide array of roles in theatre, ancient theatre, television and cinema and who later successfully moved to film directing with the world-acclaimed and multi-awarded short movies ‘Little King’ and ‘Between Black and White’. In talking to IN+SIGHTS GREECE about the Theatron of the Americas he expressed the deeper dream of one day creating a physical theatre structure such as those in Epidaurus or the Odeon of Herod Atticus that will be dedicated entirely to honouring Greek theatre. Only in its second year, however, the Theatron is for now focusing on presenting its first production, the play Antigone by Sophocles, in the autumn of 2021.  Antigone is a timeless play whose themes of power, loyalty, tyranny, justice, and the position of women in society continue to resonate strongly today, as do many ancient dramas and comedies. 

“Especially with the way we are living today, since the Covid outbreak, which has forced us to look more within and question so much about the way we live out life and the way the world has been functioning, ancient theatre resonates with so many powerful questions and ideas that are completely relevant to us,” Alafouzos says. 

Apart from his dedication to the Theatron, Alafouzos has written the screenplay for a feature-length movie. “I wrote it three times,” laughs Alafouzos, “making the best of lockdown! This period gave me the chance to step back and take a good look at my original screenplay, and rework it in different ways, coming up with another two versions.” The film centres on the life of a young opera singer who is a single mother and a huge Maria Callas fan. Growing up listening to Maria Callas, her daughter makes the opera diva her imaginary friend when faced with a difficult experience. The film will have a strong musical element, featuring both classic pieces and modern compositions.   

Watch the livestream on Facebook here 

Celebrating 200 Years of Greece’s Independence

Tomorrow, March 25, 2021, marks an incredibly special day, as Greece celebrates its 200th Anniversary of Independence. 

On March 25 every year in Greece and among the diaspora, Greek Independence Day is commemorated with parades, ceremonies and celebrations- marking the country’s Revolution of 1821, against Ottoman rule. 

Celebrations may be different this year, with many events being cancelled due to restrictions, however, this historic moment is nonetheless just as important for Greece and will be honoured not only here but worldwide, as iconic landmarks across the globe are set to illuminate in blue and white. 

The year 2021 marks the bicentenary since the start of the Greek Struggle for Independence, which is a huge milestone.

Insights Greece - Celebrating 200 Years of Greece’s Independence

Festivities in Greece

March 25 is usually celebrated with rich Greek traditions and culture, including festivals with folk music, dancing and national costumes paraded around the country. From main cities to remote villages, locals celebrate this day with food and wine, with the traditional dish of the day being Bakaliaros Skordalias (fried salty cod with potato and garlic mash), which is made and served at festivals, taverns and family gatherings. 

Due to the country’s current restrictions, usual parades for the general public will not take place, however, a few very special events will mark the bicentenary of the Greek War of Independence, starting from this evening, March 24. This will include a reception at the newly re-opened National Gallery of Greece with special guests given a tour of the gallery. On Thursday, Greek Independence Day, soprano Anastasia Zannis will sing the national anthem as the Greek flag is hoisted at the Acropolis site in the morning. A liturgy will follow at Metropolitan Cathedral of Athens, before a wreath-laying ceremony at the Unknown Soldier Monument at Syntagma Square.

An impressive traditional military parade will then take place in the centre of Athens and will be attended by official guests; including foreign dignitaries and royals from the UK. 

Happy Greek Independence Day, Xronia Polla! 

*Images of Evzones at Syntagma Square by IN+SIGHTS GREECE © (Copyright) 

Celebrating 25th of March With Traditional Bakaliaro Skordalia 

Greeks worldwide celebrate the 25th of March as a double holiday- marking both a historical and religious occasion.

On this day, Greece commemorates the War of Independence against the Ottoman Empire, which led to the country’s liberation; and the Greek Orthodox Church celebrates the Annunciation of Theotokos, where Archangel Gabriel revealed to the Virgin Mary she would become the mother of Jesus Christ.

The country marks this double celebration with a special dish named “Bakaliaros Skordalia” which is codfish and mash potato with a garlic sauce. 

It is a custom across the country on this day is to eat crispy, fried cod, which needs some preparation from the day ahead. 

Happy Greek Independence Day!


Insights Greece - Celebrating 25th of March With Traditional Bakaliaro Skordalia 

For the cod

  • 1/2 kilogram boneless, dry salted cod
  • 1 x cup all-purpose flour
  • pepper to taste 
  • oil for frying
  • lemon and parsley to garnish (optional) 

Method for Bakaliaro 

  • Cut the dry cod into pieces. Soak in cool water, and keep in the refrigerator for 24 hours.  
  • Remove cod from the water and dry on a paper towel.
  • Season the flour with pepper and coat the cod pieces with the flour.
  • Add oil to a frying pan and allow to heat. When the oil is hot place cod and fry over medium heat. Turn cod over a few times to cook evenly and until it’s golden brown.  Roughly 17 minutes. 
  • Remove the cod from the frying pan and let drain on a paper towel-lined plate to soak up some of the excess oil.


For the skordalia

Insights Greece - Celebrating 25th of March With Traditional Bakaliaro Skordalia 

  • 5 x potatoes
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 x garlic cloves
  • 1/3 cup x red wine vinegar
  • 1/3 x cup lemon juice 
  • 1 cup oil

Method for the Skordalia

  • Peel the potatoes and cut them into cubes.
  • Bring a pot of water to a boil, add a tablespoon of salt and when the water has boiled add the potatoes.  
  • Boil until they are soft, approximately 20 minutes. 
  • While the potatoes are boiling, prepare your garlic.  Peel the garlic and grate. 
  • When the potatoes have boiled, drain and keep about a cup of stock. 
  • Allow potatoes to slightly cool.
  • Place potatoes in a large bowl and mash.  
  • Combine the lemon juice, olive oil, vinegar, and grated garlic in a small mixing bowl and whisk until well combined. 
  • Pour the marinade over the mashed potatoes and season with salt and pepper. Mix until smooth. Pour potato stock into the mashed potatoes to thin the dip to your desired consistency. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed.
  • Garnish with lemon wedges and parsley (optional). 

Main image courtesy of Akis Petretzikis 

Stunning Designs Honouring 200 Year Anniversary of 1821 

This year, March 25 marks the 200-year anniversary of the Greek War of Independence. Celebrated as a National holiday, the Greek Revolution is one of the most significant moments in Greece and Europe’s history. 

To commemorate this remarkable day, many designers in Greece and around the globe, have honoured 1821 with Greek War of Independence inspired items; and we have selected our favourite pieces- from Ancient Greek sandals and silk scarves to candles and bookmarks- these are our top picks celebrating an extremely momentous occasion with style, elegance and creativity.

Ancient Greek Sandals

Christina Martini, the co-founder and creative director of Ancient Greek Sandals has teamed up with Marios Schwab, the new design director at Zeus + Dione, to create a stunning nine-piece capsule collection with Greek craftsmanship at its core.

Zeus + Dione

Greece’s leading lifestyle brand has dedicated its new Spring Summer 21 collection as a tribute to the “1821” national anniversary. “As we all know the year 1821 marked a turning point in the story of modern Greece. It is the year when, after centuries of Ottoman rule, a rebellion erupted that subsequently led to the establishment of the country the way we know it. This S/S 2021 collection takes the revolutionary heroes and heroines, that paved the way for independence, as its starting point,” says co-founder Dimitra Kolotoura.


Ergon Mykonos 

Using classic and sustainable materials and manufactured by locals around Greece, this Mykonian based brand has released a stylish collection inspired by the conquering warship that Laskarina Bouboulina used during the Greek revolution. 


Luxury house Hermès has collaborated with Greek artist Elias Kafouros for a limited-edition silk scarf based on the letters of the Greek word for Freedom, “ΕΛΕΥΘΕΡΙΑ”. Available at the Hermès Athens store from 26th March 2021, the fashion house will donate part of the proceeds for each limited-edition scarf sold to ‘Sotiria Thoracic Diseases Hospital of Athens.’

Insights Greece - Stunning Designs Honouring 200 Year Anniversary of 1821 

NH Museum

The National Historical Museum, located in the Old Parliament building in the centre of Athens has released a ‘Freedom Or Death’ Lucky charm for 2021, inspired by symbols of the revolutionary flags.


CHOE Candles 

Luxury candle brand CHOE, based in Corfu, has designed a candle inspired by Dionysios Solomos, whose work had a monumental influence in uniting Greeks and creating a common national identity following the 1821 War of Independence. 


Leading Italian shoemaker Superga has collaborated with Greek artist Konstantin Kakanias for a limited edition canvas trainer, which comprises 200 numbered trainers for men and women. 

Thalassa Collection

Greek design store Thalassa has released a cool collection of men’s ties including a Tsarouchi and Evzones print, inspired by the Greek Revolution of 1821.

Yannis Sergakis 

This talented Athenian jewellery designer has created a porcelain piece inspired by the ‘fustanella’ – the most visible item of the uniform worn by those who fought the Greek War of Independence. 

Benaki Museum

The Benaki Museum has commissioned many local artisans to create a series of objects to commemorate the bicentennial of the Greek War of Independence. From ceramics and pendants to coffee mugs and books, there is so much to choose from.

Grecian Chic 

Designer Elena Zournatzi has created elegant 1821 inspired silk scarfs including the “Fermeli” and “Tsarouhi” based on the waist coast and shoes of the ceremonial uniform of Evzones. All scarfs are printed in limited pieces. 

Museum of Cycladic Art 

This gold plated charm is inspired by the 200 year anniversary of 1821 and the most famous footwear of Greece’s mainland until the 19th- beginning of the 20th century. The Tsarouhi became a historic symbol of the revolution of 1821 as part of the soldier’s attire.

Ancient Kallos 

Greece’s fashion brand Ancient Kallos has dedicated the anniversary collection 1821 to  “Bouboulina” praising the dynamic figure of the Greek heroine Bouboulina- honouring the feminine power and instinct. The inspiration for the designs is mainly the traditional costume of Bouboulina. 

Callista Crafts

This gorgeous handmade leather pochette, created in collaboration with Greek street artist, Cacao Rocks comes in a limited edition of 50 pieces only, each piece contains the edition number internally. 


Cover Collage by IN+SIGHTS GREECE ©

Cruising the Historical Corinth Canal

The Corinth Canal, which separates the Peloponnese from mainland Greece, is one of the oldest and most striking manmade canals in the world; not to mention a very important navigational route that connects the Corinthian Gulf with the Saronic Gulf.  

This narrow canal where the Peloponnese begins was a key strategic and trading point in
ancient times that linked the Ionian and Aegean seas. The canal’s position in fact separates the peninsula of the Peloponnese – converting it into an island – from the Greek mainland. And, while the famous canal is quite narrow, it’s a vital lifeline for ships wanting to enter the Aegean Sea.

History of the Corinth Canal

Insights Greece - Cruising the Historical Corinth Canal

Named after the Greek city of Corinth, the Canal has steep limestone walls that soar about 300 feet from the water level to the top of the Canal but is only 70 feet wide at sea level. Ships must be narrower than 58 feet wide to transit the Canal. This small size was appropriate when the Canal was built in the late 19th century, but it is way too small for today’s cargo and passenger ships.

Facts About the Corinth Canal

Spanning a distance of 6.3 kilometres, the canal helps ships save a journey of 185 nautical miles. Before the construction of the canal, ships passing through this 
area had to endure a circuitous and a roundabout route in order to enter even the Mediterranean and the Black Seas in addition to the Aegean Sea.

Construction of the Corinth Canal

After centuries of attempts to create the canal, the Roman Emperor Nero made the first effort in 67 AD but the canal was actually completed by French engineers in 1893. The first documented ruler to propose a canal was Periander in the 7th century BC. He eventually abandoned the canal plan but built a portage road, named the Diolkos or stone carriageway. This road had ramps on either end and boats were pulled from one side of the isthmus to the other. The remains of the Diolkos can still be seen today next to the Canal.

Insights Greece - Cruising the Historical Corinth Canal

Crossing the Bridge

If you have your own car you can cross the bridge on the way to Corinth from Athens, take the exit with a sign that says “Tourist Exit” and drive over the canal to the other side. Visitors can stop and park next to the Isthmia ‘sinking’ bridge on the old National Highway, which links the Peloponnese with Athens. There are a couple of taverns close by, where you can sit and enjoy a coffee or late lunch. From here you will see the bridge submerging under the water, and then reappearing again once the vessel has sailed by. 

Visiting the Corinth Canal

This dramatic gorge is one of Corinth’s most visited spots and if you’re after an adrenalin rush, you can even bungee jump down it. The canal mostly sees the presence of small vessels, cruise ships, and yachts, as it has become one of the major tourist destinations in the country, enabling visitors to take short trips through the canal. In today’s world of mega-ships, the Corinth Canal is primarily used by small cruise ships and tour boats.

Insights Greece - Cruising the Historical Corinth Canal 

Cruising Through the Corinth Canal 

Visitors have a few options to see the Corinth Canal up close. Cruise lines with small ships transit the canal on eastern Mediterranean itineraries. Otherwise, several private companies depart from Piraeus, the port of Athens, and offer a cruise through the canal. Many cruise ships from Athens also offer a half-day excursion to the Corinth Canal; guests board buses in Piraeus for a 75-minute drive to the Corinth Canal. From there, a local tour boat takes visitors through the canal. These tours offer plenty of chances to see the canal from the top edge to the water level.

Cover image coopersontours

Greece’s 18 UNESCO World Heritage Sites

Greece, with its rich history and culture, boasts a wide variety of monuments and archaeological sites. So it comes as no surprise there are currently 18 Greek monuments and areas given the distinction of being UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

In the list, 16 are cultural sites and two (Meteora and Mount Athos) are mixed, listed for both their natural and cultural significance. Currently, there are also 14 sites on the tentative list, all of which have been nominated and waiting to be added! 

Temple of Apollo Epicurius at Bassae 

The Temple of Apollo Epikourios—a World Heritage Site since 1986—is one of the most important temples of Antiquity and sits in the mountainous region of Andritsaina and Figalia (Bassae). It is one of the best-preserved monuments of classical antiquity and an evocative and poignant testament to classical Greek architecture. The temple was built at the height of the Greek civilization in the second half of the 5th century BC (420-400 BC). 

Archaeological Site of Delphi

In Ancient Greece, Delphi was Greece’s most sacred place and was considered to be the navel of the world. The pan-Hellenic sanctuary of Delphi, where the oracle of Apollo spoke, was the site of the omphalos, the ‘navel of the world’. Blending harmoniously with the superb landscape and charged with sacred meaning, Delphi in the 6th century B.C. was indeed the religious centre and symbol of unity of the ancient Greek world.

Acropolis, Athens 

The Acropolis of Athens and its monuments are universal symbols of the classical spirit and civilization and form the greatest architectural and artistic complex bequeathed by Greek Antiquity to the world.

Mount Athos

This is the spiritual capital of the Orthodox Christian world, consisting of 20 monasteries and approximately 2000 monks. An Orthodox spiritual centre since 1054, Mount Athos has enjoyed an autonomous statute since Byzantine times. The ‘Holy Mountain’, which is forbidden to women and children, is also a recognised artistic site.


A region of almost inaccessible sandstone peaks, monks settled on these ‘columns of the sky’ from the 11th century onwards. Twenty-four of these monasteries were built, despite incredible difficulties, at the time of the great revival of the eremetic ideal in the 15th century. Their 16th-century frescoes mark a key stage in the development of post-Byzantine painting.

Paleochristian and Byzantine Monuments of Thessaloniki

Founded in 315 B.C., the provincial capital and seaport of Thessalonika was one of the first bases for the spread of Christianity. Among its Christian monuments are fine churches. Constructed from the 4th to the 15th century, the mosaics of the rotunda, Saint Demetrius and Saint David are among the great masterpieces of early Christian art.

Sanctuary of Asklepios at Epidaurus

In a small valley in the Peloponnesus, the shrine of Asklepios, the god of medicine, developed out of a much earlier cult of Apollo (Maleatas), during the 6th century BC at the latest, as the official cult of the city-state of Epidaurus. Its principal monuments, particularly the temple of Asklepios, the Tholos, and the Theatre – considered one of the purest masterpieces of Greek architecture – date from the 4th century.

Medieval City of Rhodes

The Order of St John of Jerusalem occupied Rhodes from 1309 to 1523 and came under Turkish and Italian rule. With the Palace of the Grand Masters, the Great Hospital, and the Street of the Knights, the Upper Town is one of the most beautiful urban ensembles of the Gothic period.

Archeological site of Mystras

Mystras, the ‘Wonder of the Morea‘, was built as an amphitheatre around the fortress erected in 1249 by the prince of Achaia, William of Villehardouin. Reconquered by the Byzantines, then occupied by the Turks and the Venetians, the city was abandoned in 1832, leaving only the breathtaking medieval ruins, standing in a beautiful landscape.

Archaeological Site of Olympia

The site of Olympia, in the Peloponnese, has been inhabited since prehistoric times. In the 10th century B.C., Olympia became a centre for the worship of Zeus. The Altis – the sanctuary to the gods – has one of the highest concentrations of masterpieces from the ancient Greek world.


According to Greek mythology, Apollo was born on this tiny island in the Cyclades archipelago. Apollo’s sanctuary attracted pilgrims from all over Greece and Delos was a prosperous trading port. The island bears traces of the succeeding civilizations in the Aegean world, from the 3rd millennium B.C. to the palaeochristian era. The archaeological site is exceptionally extensive and rich and conveys the image of a great cosmopolitan Mediterranean port.

Monasteries of Daphni, Hosios Loukas and New Mini of Chios

Although geographically distant from each other, these three monasteries belong to the same typological series and share the same aesthetic characteristics. The churches are built on a cross-in-square plan with a large dome. In the 11th and 12th centuries they were decorated with superb marble works as well as mosaics on a gold background, all characteristic of the ‘second golden age of Byzantine art’.

Insights Greece - Greece's 18 UNESCO World Heritage Sites

Pythagoreion and Heraion of Samos

Many civilizations have inhabited this small Aegean island, near Asia Minor, since the 3rd millennium B.C. The remains of Pythagoreion, an ancient fortified port with Greek and Roman monuments and a spectacular tunnel-aqueduct, as well as the Heraion, temple of the Samian Hera, can still be seen.

Archaeological Site of Aigai Vergina 

The city of Aigai, the ancient royal capital of Macedon, was discovered in the 19th century. It is located between the modern villages of Palatitsia and Vergina, in Northern Greece (Region of Hemathia). At Aigai was rooted the royal dynasty of the Temenids, the family of Philip II and Alexander the Great.

Archaeological Site of Mycenae and Tiryns

The archaeological sites of Mycenae and Tiryns are the imposing ruins of the two greatest cities of the Mycenaean civilization, which dominated the eastern Mediterranean world from the 15th to the 12th century B.C. and played a vital role in the development of classical Greek culture.

Historic Centre with Monastery of Saint John the Theologian and the Cave of the Apocalypse on Patmos island

The small island of Pátmos is where St John the Theologian wrote both his Gospel and the Apocalypse. A monastery dedicated to the ‘beloved disciple’ was founded there in the late 10th century and it has been a place of pilgrimage and Greek Orthodox learning ever since. The fine monastic complex dominates the island. 

Old Town of Corfu

The three forts of the town on the Ionian island, designed by renowned Venetian engineers, were used for four centuries to defend the maritime trading interests of the Republic of Venice against the Ottoman Empire. The mainly neoclassical housing stock of the Old Town is partly from the Venetian period. As a fortified Mediterranean port, Corfu’s urban and port ensemble is notable for its high level of integrity and authenticity.

Archaeological Site of Phillippi 

The remains of this walled city lie at the foot of an acropolis in north-eastern Greece, on the ancient route linking Europe and Asia, the Via Egnatia. Founded in 356 BC by the Macedonian King Philip II, the city developed as a “small Rome” with the establishment of the Roman Empire in the decades following the Battle of Philippi, in 42 BC. Later the city became a centre of the Christian faith following the visit of the Apostle Paul in 49-50 AD. The remains of its basilicas constitute an exceptional testimony to the early establishment of Christianity.  

Source: whc.unesco

Cover image @Greeka

The Athens Guide

[mepr-membership-registration-form id="36213"]