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Greece: Places to See

On a Greek tour, travelers can explore centuries of history dating back to ancient civilizations. Stories of gods and goddesses, rulers and warriors, philosophers and poets are told against a backdrop of archaic temples, whitewashed homes and the sparkling Aegean Sea.

Many itineraries start in Athens, where sightseeing tours take in the Parthenon, constructed in the fifth century B.C. atop the massive rock known as the Acropolis. Other sites in the Greek capital include the Temple of Zeus, Hadrian’s Arch and the stadium built for the first modern Olympics in 1896. You also might catch the changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, or stroll the Plaka -- the city’s oldest neighborhood.

Northwest of Athens lies Delphi, home to the famed oracle of Greek lore. Another attraction on mainland Greece is Meteora, site of monasteries that are suspended in the air. These structures were built high above the ground atop towering sandstone pillars to protect monks from invaders.

Your Greece itinerary may cross the Corinth Canal to the Peloponnese Peninsula, where attractions include the age-old fortress at Mycenae; once ruled by King Agamemnon, this locale figures prominently in Greek mythology. At Olympia, where the first Olympic Games were held in 776 B.C., guests can stroll around the original stadium.

Many Greek tours have a cruise component. You might take an inter-island ferry between hotel stays, or you could spend a few nights on a ship cruising from one sun-kissed isle to the next. Mykonos offers a jumble of shimmering white buildings, windmills and inviting alleyways. Santorini, the largest island of a circular archipelago formed by a volcanic caldera, is favored for its splendid sunsets and beaches of red, black and white sand. On Crete, visitors can tour the archaeological remains of an ancient Minoan civilization, as well as a Venetian castle.