One of my favorite things I did while studying abroad in Greece was visiting the archaeological site of Mycenae. I went to Mycenae in 2009, but I’m missing travel terribly right now so I’m busying myself writing about some of my favorite places I went before I started The Rose Table. So here we go, part two of my Throwback Travel Series!
The archaeological site of Mycenae is located on the Peloponnese about an hour and a half from Athens and just twenty minutes from my favorite seaside town, Nafplio. (Read about Nafplio here.) You can make Nafplio your home base and head to Mycenae for a day trip. Mycenae, for which the the Mycenaean period is named, is famously mentioned in Homer’s epic poem The Odyssey. Mycenae was believed to be a fictional town made up by Homer until the late 1800s, when an archaeologist discovered the ruins of Mycenae. Being a lifelong fan of Greek myth and Homer, I could hardly contain my excitement walking up to The Lion Gate. It’s the most iconic spot in ancient Mycenae!
To walk the site of Mycenae is truly incredible. In fact, it’s one of the most impressive historical sites you can visit in all of Greece. The Mycenaean civilization dates roughly from 1,600 BC to 1,100 BC. That’s just a *tad* older than anything you find in my home state of Texas. As you can see, the site itself is in a very pretty location!
Mycenae was the home of the legendary King Agamemnon, who played a big part in The Trojan War. Today the site has remains of houses, cisterns, buildings, tombs, Agamemnon’s palace, and more. If you aren’t familiar with the history of Mycenae, I recommend heading into the museum first to read up on its history before walking its ancient grounds.
Highlights of visiting Mycenae are:
- Cyclopean architecture (the stones surrounding Mycenae are so huge that they’re said to have been moved by a Cyclops rather than man)
- Tomb of Clyemnestra (King Agamemnon’s wife)
- The Lion Gate
- Museum of Mycenae (full of great info, Agamemnon’s Mask, ancient swords, and more)
- Treasury of Atreus
- Gorgeous views!
If you adore ancient history like me, Mycenae should absolutely be on your bucket list. It’s one of the highlights of my time in Greece and probably one of the coolest places I’ve ever been. I love that you can walk around and explore, really taking your time to appreciate the history.
It isn’t expensive to visit Mycenae. Tickets range from about $10-$15 for entry, though you can also spring for guided tours and even packages for tours of Mycenae and nearby Epidaurus, which we will cover in another Throwback Travel article. When visiting any ancient site in Greece, you definitely want comfortable shoes. Be sure to take a hat, water, and sunscreen when you visit! Learn more about visiting Mycenae on the official website here.
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