Considered the symbol of Athens and Greece, and indeed of Western civilization, the Acropolis is a rocky mound rising in the heart of modern Athens, crowned by three magnificent temples dating from the 5th century BC. The best known and most distinctive is the Parthenon, originally made up of 58 columns supporting a roof and decorated by ornate pediments and a frieze. Skirting the foot of the Acropolis and connecting it to the city's other major ancient attractions — the Ancient Agora , the Roman Forum, Kerameikos, and the Temple of Olympian Zeus — is a 2.5-kilometer walking path known as the Archaeological Promenade.
The Acropolis Museum is one of Athens' most-visited tourist attractions. Designed by Swiss architect Bernard Tschumi, it is an ultra-modern glass and steel structure with light and airy exhibition spaces, built specifically to display ancient finds from the Acropolis. Top things to see here include the 6th-century-BC Moschophoros (statue of a young man carrying a calf on his shoulders), the Caryatids (sculptures of female figures that held up the Erechtheion), and the highly controversial Parthenon marbles. From the museum's cafe-restaurant terrace, you can enjoy amazing views of the Acropolis itself.
Stunning Santorini is the most dramatic of all the Greek isles. It is best known for the west coast cliff-top towns of Fira and Oia, which appear to hang over a deep, blue sea-filled caldera. Made up of typical Cycladic whitewashed cubic buildings, many of which have been converted into boutique hotels with infinity pools, both Fira and Oia are considered romantic destinations, popular for weddings and honeymoons.
Things to do in Santorini include sunbathing and swimming at the black volcanic-sand beaches on the south and east coasts and visiting the archaeological site of Akrotiri, an Ancient Minoan settlement buried below lava following the volcanic eruption that created the caldera, some 3,600 years ago. The island has an airport and is served by ferries and catamarans from Athens' port, Piraeus.
Greece's most glamorous island destination is Mykonos. After-dark activities center on Mykonos Town, noted for its chic boutique hotels, classy seafood restaurants, and live music venues. Other attractions include Paraportiani (a whitewashed church in Mykonos Town) and numerous sandy beaches along the island's south coast (served both by bus and taxi-boat from Mykonos Town). The island is particularly popular with international celebrities. Mykonos has an airport and is connected by ferry and catamaran to Athens' port, Piraeus, and Rafina.
On the Greek mainland, Delphi is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Built on the lower slopes of Mount Parnassus, overlooking a dramatic ravine, the site was sacred to the ancients, who came here on pilgrimages to worship Apollo (god of light, prophecy, music, and healing) and to ask advice from the mythical Oracle. It is made up of the crumbling ruins of numerous temples, a theater, and stadium, dating from between the 8th century BC and the 2nd century AD. Nearby, stands the Delphi Archaeological Museum, displaying an impressive collection of finds from the site. Delphi lies 180 kilometers northwest of Athens.