Greece is one of the top destinations in the world for tourists with an interest in mythology. Throughout the country, there are many curated museums that explore the rich mythological heritage of the country. While people can learn a lot from these museums, the most exciting aspect of a trip to Greece is visiting historical sites and learning from firsthand exploration. Today, you can visit a number of sites that are important in Greek mythology. Following are a handful of the most exciting destinations for tourists:
1. The Labyrinth of the Minotaur
The myth of Theseus and the Minotaur has become one of the most popular tales from Ancient Greece. Minos, the king of Crete and the son of Zeus, raised a son with the head of a bull and the body of a human. In order to house the minotaur, Minos built a labyrinth and sealed it inside. Today, tourists can explore two labyrinths that may have inspired this myth. The first is in Kommos, which was the home of Minos. This town has some great ruins and wonderful views of the ocean. Another contender for the inspiration behind the myth is the nearby city of Gortyn. People may want to visit both and decide which of them they think better fits the context of the myth.
In Ancient Greece, Thebes emerged as one of the most powerful city-states and served as the location for a number of different myths. Perhaps the most famous tale is that of Oedipus, the mythical king of Thebes, who became a tragic hero in Greek mythology. Thebes also serves as the birthplace of both Hercules and Dionysus, the god of wine. Mythology also tells the story of how Thebes was founded. Cadmus, a Phoenician, came to Greece to search for Europa, his sister. When he consulted an oracle, he was told to create the city of Thebes and forget about his sister. Thebes still exists today in the Boeotia region, although it now goes by the name Thiva.
3. Mount Ida and the Cave of Zeus
In the mountains of Crete stands Mount Ida, which is the place where baby Zeus was hidden from his father Cronos. Zeus’ mother, Rhea, hid her child in Ideon Cave below the mountain to protect him. According to mythology, the cave is where Zeus grew up, which made it a popular pilgrimage site. Visitors can still explore the beautiful cave, which consists of a network of various caverns and underground pools. In addition, tourists can hike along the mountain for some great views of the island.
4. Acheron River
Throughout Greek mythology, many people must venture to the Underworld, a place overseen by Hades, the god of death. Perhaps the most popular story involves that of Orpheus, who searched for his beloved, Eurydice. However, Odysseus also makes a treacherous trip to the Underworld, as does Hercules, who captures Cerberus, the dog with three heads who guards the gate. According to Greek mythology, five rivers flow into the Underworld. Four of these rivers are underground and are only accessible in stories. However, one of these rivers does still flow in the modern world, the Acheron River. This river is located in the northern part of Greece and can be accessed by a day trip from Corfu. The Acheron River flows from the heart of Greece’s mainland into the Ionian Sea. Visitors can see the source of the river near the city of Zotiko and take in the beautiful landscape of the area while pondering what it would mean for ancient heroes to take the journey to the world of Hades.
5. Mount Olympus
One of the most important places in Greek mythology, Mount Olympus was considered the home of the gods. The mountain, located in the middle of the Greek mainland, is a breathtaking sight and the highest peak in the country. Mount Olympus has bare, rocky peaks around it that visitors can explore on hikes. At the top of the mountain, visitors will find some of the most incredible views in the entirety of Greece. In addition, they can explore the area around the peak, which has been a protected national park for about a century. While tourists may not come across any deities or the palaces that were supposedly built in the gorges of the mountain, they will undoubtedly see some exciting flora and fauna along the way. Visitors can access the mountain from Halkidiki, the northern peninsula in the area.