A list of the most beautiful Greek churches and monasteries in Athens, the Greek countryside, and the Greek islands. Ten religious sites and Greek Orthodox shrines you should visit in Greece.
With a history that spans thousands of years, the Hellenic Republic of Greece has countless places of worship from its ancient and medieval past. In a previous video, we saw the most important ancient Greek archaeological places.
Today, we see the most beautiful Christian Orthodox Churches and Monasteries in Greece. Some of them were built during the years of the Byzantine Empire and are of historical, architectural, and religious significance. They are worth a visit, whether you are religious or not. Here is a list of the ten most beautiful Byzantine churches, Greek Orthodox churches, and historic monasteries in Greece.
Top 10 Churches and Monasteries in Greece:
- Athonite Monasteries of Greece’s Hagion Oros (Holy Mountain).
- Monasteries of Meteora in Kalabaka.
- Our Lady of Tinos Church in Tinos Island.
- Church of St. George at the Old Fortress of Corfu.
- Panagia Ekatontapiliani in Paros Island.
- Panagia Kapnikarea in Athens.
- Church of Hagios Ioannis in Skopelos.
- Church of the Holy Apostles in Athens.
- Monastery of Panagia Hozoviotissa in Amorgos.
- Metropolitan Cathedral of Athens.
#10 Metropolitan Cathedral of Athens
In Greek it is called “Καθεδρικός Ναός Ευαγγελισμού της Θεοτόκου”. The Metropolitan Cathedral of the Annunciation of Mary, or simply the “Metropolis” of Athens, is the church of the Archbishopric of all Greece. Designed by three architects and built for over 20 years, the Cathedral opened its doors in 1862 AD. Inside there are the tombs of two Saints killed by the Ottoman Turks (Saint Philothei and Patriarch Gregory V). The Metropolis of Athens is an important Athenian landmark. You can easily visit the impressive domed basilica from Syntagma or Monastiraki squares, since it is located at the heart of Athens.
#9 Panagia Hozoviotissa in Amorgos
There are many serene and beautifully built monasteries across Greece. The Monastery of Hozoviotissa in Amorgos island, however, stands out. The Hozoviotissa Monastery was built in 1017 AD, making it one of the oldest monasteries in Greece. Dedicated to the Grace of Panagia, the Virgin Mary, who is the patron Saint of Amorgos, it houses the icon of Panagia. The latter is carried around the island during the annual religious festivities. The beautiful monastery seems as though it is hanging from a cliff, just 300 meters above the sea.
#8 Church of the Holy Apostles in Athens
Dated around the 10th Century AD and located close to the Acropolis of Athens, the Byzantine Church of the Holy Apostles is an underrated Athenian landmark. The building marks the beginning of the so-called “Athenian Architectural Style” for Christian Orthodox Churches. The Holy Apostles Church is a beautiful and serene site of religious significance at the heart of the Hellenic capital.
#7 Church of Hagios Ioannis in Skopelos
You may be familiar with this church from the movie “Mama Mia”. The tiny, picturesque Hagios Ioannis Church in Skopelos island is located on top of a rocky hill, which, according to speculations, was used as an observatory for potential attacks from pirates. But there is not enough information regarding its construction date. If you are planning on visiting this church, be prepared. There are 110 steps carved into the stone that leads to the Church of Hagios Ioannis.
#6 Panagia Kapnikarea in Athens
If you have ever visited Athens, then you might have passed by the Panagia Kapnikarea Church without even noticing it. That is because the church is located on Ermou Street, the capital’s main shopping street. The Greek Orthodox Church is one of the oldest in Athens. It is estimated that it was built around 1050 AD over an ancient pagan temple. It is speculated that the Church was originally the “katholikon” (main temple) of a monastery.
#5 Panagia Ekatontapiliani in Paros
If you have watched Helinika’s video dedicated to Medieval legends from Greece, then you might remember the Church of Panagia Ekatontapiliani in Paros island. The historic Byzantine church complex dates back to 326 AD. It is said that it was founded by Saint Helen, the mother of the Roman Emperor Constantine the Great. The beautiful religious site is connected with a miraculous phenomenon that takes place every year on the 15th of August. Several tiny, harmless snakes leave the island’s fields and travel to the Church. You can watch Helinika’s dedicated video to learn more about this phenomenon.
#4 Church of St. George at the Old Fortress of Corfu
The Church of St. George at the Old Fortress of the island of Corfu is perhaps the most unique looking Greek Orthodox Church in Greece and in the world. Built in 1840 AD, it used to be an Anglican Church for the British soldiers residing on the island. As you can see, the Christian Church resembles an ancient Greek temple, featuring a set of Doric columns.
#3 Our Lady of Tinos Church in Tinos
The Major Marian Shrine of Greece is Our Lady of Tinos Church in the port town (Chora) of Tinos island. As the name suggests, it is dedicated to the Virgin Mary and Mother of Christ. In Greek, it is known as “Panagia Evangelistria”. The complex was built in 1826 around a miraculous icon which, according to tradition, its location was revealed to a local nun. It is worth mentioning that the island is a major pilgrimage center for Orthodox Christians around the world.
#2 Monasteries of Meteora in Kalabaka
Meteora are some rock formations in Central Greece, close to the town of Kalabaka. The rocks house some of the most beautiful monasteries in Greece; six of them are literally built on the natural pillars of Meteora. The area is included on the UNESCO World Heritage List and it is visited by many travelers every year. The Greek Orthodox Monasteries of Meteora are the second most important after the Monasteries of Mount Athos.
#1 Monasteries of Mount Athos
The Monasteries of Mount Athos, known as “Athonite Monasteries”. The 20 Monasteries and surrounding settlements are built on the Holy Mountain of Greece, Hagion Oros or Mount Athos, in Chalkidiki Peninsula in Northern Greece. To be more precise, the Byzantine Monasteries belong to the religious enclave of the Monastic Republic of Mount Athos. Women are not allowed to enter the enclave. However, if you can visit the Monasteries, it will be a life-changing experience. Dating back to 800 AD, Mount Athos has been listed as a World Heritage Site since 1988.
If you enjoyed the article and the video, feel free to like, share, and comment. On Helinika’s website and YouTube channel, you will find free content related to the Greek language, history, and culture.