Independent Schools Cultural Alliance - ISCA – Summer Programs in the UK

Greece

The birthplace of Western civilisation, democracy, Western philosophy, Western literature, political science, major scientific and mathematical principles, Western drama and lots lots more. Everywhere you turn in Greece, you will find ruins that are thousands of years old. 

Some of the best ruins are in the capital, Athens. Explore the ancient citadel, known as the Acropolis, which is located on a rocky outcrop above the city and contains the remains of several ancient buildings of great architectural and historic significance. One of these buildings is the Parthenon. It is a former temple which was completed in 438 BC and is dedicated to the goddess Athena, whom the people of Athens considered their patron.

You can also see the Temple of Olympian Zeus – the largest temple of the ancient ruins in Athens and located in the heart of the city. It dates back to the 6th century BC and took over 700 years to construct!

Next stop is the Panathenaic Stadium. This stadium is the site of the first ever Olympic Games of the modern era, in 1896. The first Ancient Olympic Games was in 776 BC and was originally a festival, or celebration, of the God Zeus. Events such as a footrace, a javelin contest and wrestling matches were later added.

In Athens every summer, you can attend the Hellenic Festival which is one of the country’s top cultural events. It has lots of concerts and performance theatre, including re-enactments of Greek Tragedy.

From the capital, head to Delphi for more ancient ruins. Delphi has always been a place of historic and spiritual significance. This is where the omniscient Oracle would contact Apollo and give advice to those seeking good fortune.

However, the most significant place of worship for the ancient Greeks was Mount Olympus. The mountain of the Ancient Greek Gods, Mount Olympus, was where sacrifices to the Olympian Gods used to take place. You can hike along Mount Olympus and see a number of small, pristine villages snuggled into the hillside.

Not only does Greece have a fascinating ancient history, but it is also a nation made up of an incredible 6,000 islands dotting the Aegean and Ionian Seas. Of these islands, just over 200 are inhabited. There are some islands that are famous for their beaches and natural features, whilst others have strong cultural traditions. The Greek islands offer a fairly laid-back culture and one where the emphasis is to sit back, relax, eat great food and enjoy life.

First stop on our Greek island-hopping adventure is Corfu. Head to the UNESCO Heritage Site of Corfu Town, or Kerkyra, and look out for the Statue of Georgios Theotokis, the Liston, the Old Fortress, Spilias Square and Saint Spyridon Church (the patron saint of the town). Then go to its beautiful coastline and stop off at Cape Drastis and Porto Timoni – a perfect place to go swimming and snorkelling.

Next stop is Santorini. Santorini is one of the most spectacular of the Greek Islands. Once a much bigger island, Santorini suffered a huge volcanic eruption well over 3,000 years ago which caused the middle of the island to disappear into the ocean below. Lots of people think this is where the legend of Atlantis comes from.

Head to the island of Mykonos. Mykonos is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the Greek Islands. It is well-known for its beautiful beaches, fantastic seafood, luxurious resorts, and very relaxed atmosphere.

And finally, Skiathos. If you’ve seen the film Mamma Mia, you will recognise Skiathos straight away. This island is more than just a movie set, it is famous for its beautiful beaches, turquoise waters of Paralia Lalaria and its historic monastery of Panagia Evangelistria. It is the perfect place to end your Greek holiday adventure.