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Greece has always been one of those destinations I’ve been itching to travel to. As a child when I began learning about mythology I slowly became obsessed with the Greek Dieties, myths and legends. In college I choose Ancient History as one of my topics to study and learning of the battles and philosophers to come from Greece just kept inspiring me. As an adult I find myself gravitating to stories and retellings based on these myths. I am eager to travel there and visit these places that still have structures and buildings of ancient times. To walk on the ground where these myths are said to have taken place would be extraordinary. I did have the opportunity to visit a few years ago and stay on the island of Zakynthos with my family but shortly after booking found out I was pregnant and I would be too far in my pregnancy to travel.
Where to go in Greece
For me, the obvious choice is, and has always been the island of Crete. It’s been somewhere I have wanted to visit for years. The weather in Crete is supposed to be quite pleasent in the summer months making it an ideal choice for a sunny family holiday. For me, I just think seeing these old ancient structures and feeling like part of the land and walking through history would be a little nicer to do in the summer half of the year rather than the cooler, wintery time, although I wouldn’t rule out travelling to Crete in October. I feel like it’s a great place to start when searching for the myths and legends of ancient Greece as Crete was where King Minos had his Labyrinth where Theseus used his golden thread to find the centre, fight the mintoar, and escape. The Minoan Palace or Palace of Knossos can be find on Crete and to walk among these ruins would just be amazing. Another location drenched in mythology on the island of Crete is Mount Ida. Here it is said that Rhea hid Zeus in a cave away from the titan Chronos (because he kept eating his kids!) to grow up unscathed and unharmed, eventually to overthrow his titan parents and form the pantheon of Gods we know today. How amazing to step into a place where the king of the Gods was thought to grow up.
Delos was a sacred island to the Gods and would be an ideal place for those wanting to travel to these fantastical locations. Delos is said to be the twin deities Artemis and Apollo’s birthplace. There are old ancient temple ruins around the island where the people of Greece used to visit to worship the pantheon. Another place that would be amazing to visit is the Archeron RIver which just looks abasolutely stunning. It is located within Epirus and is said to be the river that borders the underworld. The Archeron river itself, one of five rivers within Hades’ realm, also thought to be the River of Woe to lead spirits into the underworld. There was apparently an ancient temple dedicated to the worship of Hades and Persephone, known as a Nekromanteion, along the border of the river and said to be the entrance into the underworld itself.
For fans of the legend of Achilles Aegina is an interesting destination. Achilles had a fearsome group of soldiers known as the Myrmidons are said to orginate from this island. They were incredibly strong and loyal to their leader and Achilles’ links to the island, and it’s people, comes from his father Peleus who was banished from the island of Aegina. Some of these soldiers followed him and stayed with him, and then his son for the Trojan war. You can also visit the supposed home of the Gods in Greece, Mount Olympus. It’s the highest peak in the country and offers ideal locations for hiking and glorious scenic views. The ancient city-state of Thebes is another location that exists today, although now known as Thiva, it is said to be the birth place of Herakles and the party all night form a cult kinda God Dionysus.
Two other islands within Greece are ideal destinations for sunny holiday lovers and myth hunters alike. These are Papthos, on Cyprus, which legend claims is where Aphrodite first walked when she rose from the sea in a scallop shell. I only ever see that famous painting when I think of Aprhodite, the Goddess of all things Love and Beauty. It’s absolutely a place I would love to visit and spend a few glorious, sunny weeks swimming and travelling around. I’d love to visit the remains of her ancient temple on the island of Paphos. The other island I’d love to visit with links to Mythology is Corfu which was named after another Nymph, Korkya. There are just so many beautiful places around Greece with these wonderful ruins that I think I would find interesting and inspiring on my hunt for mythological sites.