Step back in time in the Mediterranean

Follow in the footsteps of ancient rulers on your Greek island escape. We pick out cultural gems across the Aegean.

People have made our lands their home for over 40,000 years. And this impressive history is still very much alive today. Explore Greece and you’ll find ancient temples, mosaic streets and even crumbling homes to transport you back in time.

On a single trip, you won’t have time to visit every cultural gem our country has to offer, but you can certainly explore a handful to get a sense of life thousands of years ago. We are very lucky to have UNESCO world heritage sites across the Aegean, all of which paint a different picture of ancient existence.

So, join us as we step back in time and explore the best UNESCO sites you can experience across the Med.

The Acropolis, Athens - Celestyal Cruises

The Acropolis, Athens

Let’s start with perhaps one of the most famous of them all, the Acropolis. This beautifully preserved monument is best known for the Parthenon, with its towering columns that make you feel small compared to its grandeur. Take your time exploring this landmark. Mark out patterns in the marble and feel the heat that ancient Greeks would have experienced. Also try to spot the Erechtheion with its six female Caryatid sculptures. As you look them in the eye, you’ll be moved by their poise.

Rhodes Historical Town - Celestyal Cruises

Mediaeval City of Rhodes

If your trip encompasses Rhodes, you will have the opportunity to explore multiple eras on just one island, from the Neolithic period to the Ottoman empire. Across the island, thick ancient walls speak of a different time, but the mediaeval upper town is the place to be to experience UNESCO splendour. Huge medieval walls invite you to open your imagination to a time gone by as you enter a world that conjures images of fairy tales and ancient myths. This site will leave a firm imprint on your mind as one of the most beautiful places you ever had the chance to visit.

Thessaloniki - Celestyal Cruises

Paleochristian and Byzantine Monuments, Thessaloniki

Thessaloniki holds a special place in Greek hearts. It is a place where we get to indulge our cosmopolitan spirit, but with stunning ancient monuments in the background and blue coastal scenes for picture-perfect views. It is also one of the first places that Christianity spread and is home to highly decorated churches that have a peaceful feel as soon as you enter them. Here you can also see the eclectic architecture of the Byzantine era.

Patmos, Monastery - Celestyal Cruises

Three UNESCO sites on Pátmos

Patmos is the island where John the Apostle wrote the Book of Revelation, the final book of the New Testament. No wonder this special island is known as the Jerusalem of the Aegean. The old town of Chora holds UNESCO status with its Ottoman Empire trading history and religious buildings dotted about the winding streets. Everywhere you go you’ll have the towering Monastery of Saint-John the Theologian in view, reminding you of the island’s rich past. To feel even closer to the history, head to the Cave of the Apocalypse – the site where St. John the Divine is believed to have dictated the Book of Revelation and his Gospel to his disciple. Weave between modest churches and behind an unassuming door to uncover an abundance of Byzantine relics that will leave you in utter awe.

Sanctuary of Asklepios, Epidaurus - Celestyal Cruises

Sanctuary of Asklepios, Epidaurus

No Greek adventure is complete without stepping on stage at an ancient amphitheatre, and Epidaurus is one place to do exactly that. The Sanctuary of Asklepios invites you to one the best-preserved theatres. Climb to one of the top rows to grasp its sheer size and soak in the views of surrounding lush hills. The site is a shrine to Asklepios, the god of medicine, and it marks the transition from divine healing to the power of scientific medicine. As you wander among the temples and former hospital buildings, you will feel the air of tranquillity the site delivers.