The Greek islands are renowned for their white sand beaches, dramatic scenery and unforgettable sunsets – it’s why so many people have them as one of their bucket list holiday destinations.
It is a part of the world that is also rich in history. No matter where you turn in the Greek islands you’ll find a monument, archaeological site or landmark which provides a nod to the country’s fascinating past. This is why it’s quite surprising that a recent study found that just 63% of holidaymakers heading to Greece have visit a cultural site as part of their trip.
This is a major difference compared to when visiting other mainland European countries, where it is closer to 100%. So, with that in mind, here is a selection of cultural landmarks and occasions you need to experience in Greek islands.
Among the many historical sites across Rhodes, the most impressive is the Lindos Acroplis. Towering over the cliff face, the expertly preserved Acropolis dates back to the 6th century BC when the Knights of St John built the formidable structure to protect the island.
In this beautiful archaeological site, you will find an ancient theatre which is sometimes used for special concerts. Lindos is a hugely important of Greek history and provides a sense of what life was like in the bygone era.
Samos Young Artists Festival
Photo credit: Samos Young Artists Festival
Celebrating its 10th anniversary this year, the Samos Young Artists Festival brings the very best artists from across Europe and beyond for seven open-air concerts in the dramatic setting of Ancient Theatre of Pythagorian.
Held every August, the festival – funded by the Schwarz Foundation – takes its audience on a journey with a series of spellbinding performances. From Baroque masterpieces to Latin-inspired tangos, it’s not-to-be-missed experience under the dramatic Greek sunset.
Syros International Film Festival
For the movie buffs among you, the Syros International Film Festival is a must. Launched in 2013, it brings Greek and international cinema to traditional and converted spaces across the Greek island. Each year takes on a different theme and held over seven days.
One of the most fascinating editions was 2018’s ‘Is It Real?’ concept which posed the question of whether cinema provided a true reflection of reality. The films, performances and workshops aim to challenge the perception of cinema and open people’s minds to different interpretation – an absolutely absorbing experience.
Photo credit: Oia Vineyart
If there are two things that Greece does well is wine and sunsets and nowhere more so than Santorini. While holidaymakers flock to this picturesque island for the scenery, Oia Vineyart aims to provide a much different Santorini cultural experience for those that visit.
The cooperative combines the wine and art of the island through recitals from local musicians, film screenings, yoga exercises and theatrical works. The group insists that through these displays people can see the “wealth of Santorini”.
Kivo Art Gallery
Photo credit: Kivo Hotel
Among the luxury hotels in the holiday destination of Skiathos, you’ll find the quirky Kivo Art Gallery. Set in a glamorous complex, it is a haven for local and international artists to have their work showcased.
The gallery is committed to providing a platform for aspiring, young artists and was at the forefront of the first ‘Contemporary Art Festival in Skiathos island’. The gallery host numerous exhibitions throughout the year so they’ll be something different each time you visit.
The birthplace of Zeus
There are many figures within Greek mythology but none are more important than or as recognisable as Zeus. The king of the gods is believed to have been born from Rhea in the Dikteon Cave on the island of Crete.
This tiny hideaway is said to be where a young Zeus was nurtured to become to the almighty ruler. It is today one of the most famous place in Crete and consist of five chambers, punctuated by stalagmites and stalactites. You can explore it by hopping on a boat and floating into the tranquil lake.
Project Slaughterhouse Hydra
Photo credit: Project Slaughterhouse
One of the most daring art exhibitions in the Greek islands is Project Slaughterhouse. The island of Hydra is home to an old slaughterhouse which, in 2008, was granted to the DESTE Foundation for Contemporary Art by the local authorities.
It has been used as an art space ever since and every year is the showcase for a single artist or team to create a unique exhibition. This saw Kiki Smith bring her ‘Memory’ concept to Hydra while previous years have included work such as David Shrigley’s ‘Laughterhouse’ documentary of goats that sounds like humans.
Take yourself on a cultural tour of the Greek islands with a package holiday from Sunmaster. We have a huge range of breaks available from All Inclusive to 5-star with deposits starting from just £49pp. Find out more at www.sunmaster.co.uk.