The Greeks, as I’m sure you already know, created one of the greats ancient civilizations in history, and along with it came a lot of stunning Greek temples. The Greeks built temples all over the Mediterranean from Turkey to France, Italy, and even in Alexandria.
Visiting them all would be quite a challenge as they are so well spread out across different countries which is why we are going to focus on the best Greek temples in Greece.
Now, you might not be able to visit them all during a trip to Greece but at least you’ll be able to pick and choose from the best Greek temples on offer or ones that are near where you’re staying.
The Temple of Athena Parthenos, famously known as the Parthenon is one of the most iconic Greek temples in Greece and the whole world.
You’ll find the Parthenon in Athens as a part of the Acropolis UNESCO World Heritage Site. It sits on top of a rock hill looking over the city and is probably the most recognized and known image of Ancient Greece, so you have to pay it a visit.
The construction of the Parthenon started way back in 447BC and wasn’t completed until 438BC, and then it took until 432BC to actually finishing all the stunning decorations you’ll find there. It was built as a dedication to the Goddess Athena, who the Athenians recognized as their patroness, and as a celebration of their victory over the Persians.
The amazing sculptures and decorations in and around the Parthenon are some of the best parts of Greek Art you’re likely to find and while walking around the incredibly large and powerful marble structure you can’t help but gaze in awe at them.
You can visit the Parthenon every day but it does get very crowded very quickly, so it’s advised to arrive as early as you can. You should also try a time your visit with sunrise or sunset, as the marble of the Parthenon seems to transform into the colors of the sky.
Be warned, in summer, walking around the Parthenon gets extremely hot during the middle of the day. Also, while you’re there you should visit the rest of the Acropolis to see things like Dionysus’ theater and the Erechtheum.
On the small Greek island of Aigina, south of Athens in the Saronic Gulf is the Temple of Aphaia, a stunning Greek temple you just have to see.
The temple of Aphaia sits on the top of a hill at 160 meters above sea level and gives you some absolutely incredible views, typical to those of the Greek islands. Blue skies, deep blue seas, and rugged island terrain all come together seamlessly. You can even see the Acropolis and Sounion from the hill on a clear day.
The temple of Aphaia was built around 500BC on top of an older temple that was destroyed by a fire. It’s a Doric temple that was formally known as the Temple of Jupiter Panhellenius but was then dedicated to Aphaia, the mother-goddess and she was worshiped exclusively at this temple.
One of the nicest things about visiting the Temple of Aphaia is that there are almost no crowds that allow you to take in the wonderful architecture and peaceful surroundings of the area. It’s highly recommended to be at the temple for sunset as the views of the sun setting into the sea while lighting up the temple in washes of color is something not to be missed.
The Temple of Poseidon sits on the southern tip of mainland Greece at Cape Sounion. It was built as far back as 440BC and is an incredibly important monument to the Golden Age Of Athens.
The Temple of Poseidon is a Doric Temple and it came about after the Xerxes was defeated at the Battle of Salamis after which an entire warship was captured and placed at Sounion as a trophy for Poseidon.
The Temple of Poseidon sits around 60 meters above sea level on a cliff that slowly drops to a beach at the sea. For centuries it has been watched by Greek ships as they leave and return to Athens and most likely provided good spirituous and thus fortune to manage a voyage, instilling confidence that Poseidon was on their side.
Today, the structure of the Temple of Poseidon is very much in ruins but the setting is what it’s all about. You can feel the history, imagine Ancient Greece, watch the sunset, plus enjoy the beach and sea. It does get a little busy during the summer evenings but nothing too bad.
The Temple of Apollo at Bassae sits at the top of the Kotylion mountains on the southwestern tip of mainland Greece in a place called Oichalia. The mountains alone are spectacular and the views seem to stretch on into the sea forever.
The Temple of Apollo at Bassae was built around 450-400BC and is thought to have been designed by the same architect that designed the Parthenon, Iktinos. The temple was built as a dedication to Apollo Epikourios (the helper and was singled out two thousand years ago by Pausanias, an ancient writer, as a temple more beautiful than all others bar the Temple of Athena Alea at Tegea.
Today, it remains one of the best-preserved Greek temples in the world and was the first to become a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Historically, the temple continued to be rediscovered but its discoverers were somehow murdered or lost their evidence of its existence on their way back home. The British then rediscovered it in the early 1800s and removed interior frieze where it was auctioned to the British Museum in 1814, and you can still see it today.
The Temple of Apollo at Bassae really is a must-see. It sits 1,131 meters above sea level, the old columns are incredible and the views spectacular. You’re also likely to have the place to yourself but you’ll need a car to get to it, or you can pay for a taxi up the mountains.
The Temple of Apollo lies in the mountains of Delphi on the southern coast of mainland Greece. Dedicated to Apollo the god of healing, light, harmony, music, and most importantly in this temples’ case, oracles.
The Temple of Apollo at Delphi was built around the 4th century BC and was the third temple to be built in the same location. It was built in its location due to what legend tells as a sacred chasm that sat under the temple releasing vapors which inhaled by the famous oracle Pythia.
It’s thought that Pythia would then be in a delirious state expressing the oracles seen and which were then turned into oracles by priests for all to understand. Thousands of people used to visit the Temple of Apollo at Delphi for answers that the oracle could give them.
The Temple of Apollo at Delphi is one of the most amazing places to visit. The energy of thousands of years of human history combined with the stunning views of the mountains and valleys make it very special. It does get very busy at the Temple of Apollo at Delphi as it is in one of the most-visited parts of Greece but not amount of crowds could ruin the experience.
The Temple of Apollo at Delphi today is all pretty much gone and when visiting you’ll only see the foundations, some columns, and the views of the mountains that go with it, but it’s still one of the best Greek temples in Greece to visit in my eyes.
The Temple of Hephaestus sits on the northwest side of Athens in the Agora of Athens on top of a hill in a park. It’s a lovely place to step out of the crazy busy pace that Athens is known for and as a bonus, you get to see one of the most well preserved Greek temples in Greece and the rest of the world.
The Temple of Hephaestus is a Doric Temple and was constructed in the 5th century BC by Pericles when we decided to transform Athens in order for it to become the capital of Greek Power. Dedicated to Hephaestus who was the Greek god of fire, craftsmanship, and metalworking, the grounds around the temple attracted many metal workers and potters who believed they would benefit from the energy of the temple.
Over time the Temple of Hephaestus was used for a lot of things including being a Greek Orthodox church of Saint George Akamates from the 800s to 1834.
When you visit the Temple of Hephaestus today, you can help but be in awe of the ancient architecture, especially as it is so well preserved. The ceiling is absolutely incredible and it is famous for being a favorite of many artists in the 1800s.
The Temple of Hera is one you have probably seen on TV before, but you might not have known it. It was built as a dedication to the Greek goddess Hera, the queen of the Greek gods, and was the oldest temple in Olympia and one of the most famous in all of Greece.
Originally the temple was built in dedication to both Hera and Zeus and king and queen of the gods, but was then made just for Hera as at temple was built just for Zeus.
The Temple of Hera has an extremely famous alter orientated east to west and is where the Olympic flame was lit and then carried to all parts of the world, and it is still lit in the ruins of the temple today – hence why you have probably seen the Temple of Hera on TV before.
The Temple of Hera was first built back in 590BC or thereabouts but was then destroyed in a huge earthquake in the 4th Century AD.
The Temple Of Hera still stands relatively preserved today. All the columns are still intact and when you first see the temple you can not help but be blown away by its incredible size.
While visiting the Temple of Hera you’ll also be right next to the ancient Olympic stadium where the Ancient Greeks held their games, the History Museum of the Ancient Olympics, and a lot of other ancient Greek buildings that are all worth visiting.
The site can get very busy during the tourist season, mainly in summer, but you can visit the temple all year round. If you want to beat the crowds it’s best to arrive as early as you can.
If you’re heading to Greece for a vacation then Corfu is likely to have been on your list of possible places to stay. This stunning Greek island sits on the western edge of central Greece and if you’re planning on going, then you have to visit the Temple of Artemis.
The Temple of Artemis was built in circa 580BC within Korkyra, an ancient city. The temple was dedicated to Artemis, the goddess of chastity, childbirth, vegetation, wild animals, and the hunt, and is known as the first Doric temple to be built from just stone that also included all the architectural elements of the Doric style.
Today, not much of the Temple of Artemis is left as most of the Greek temples from the Archaic period do not survive and we destroyed. It used to be a huge temple and is often noted as a great achievement in the progress of Ancient Greek architecture.
It’s said the architectural design of the Temple of Artemis could have influenced the building of a sanctuary at Sant’Omobono in Rome that features elements you can recognize from the Temple of Artemis.
While visiting you can walk around the grounds, free from crowds, and look at the old fountains and ruins left over. You’ll also find the Temple of Hera just next to the Temple of Artemis and it’s worth checking both out in one go.
Anna is the co-owner of expert world travel and can't wait to share her travel experience with the world. With over 54 countries under her belt she has a lot to write about! Including those insane encounters with black bears in Canada.