The word “epic” is overused, especially in travel. Epic adventures, epic views, epic journeys. Come on – when your hotel’s breakfast buffet is epic, is anything? The word more correctly (some might say snootily) refers to those long (some might say interminable) tales of heroic adventure from classical times, particularly classical Greek times.

The first ever Rough Guide was to Greece, back in 1982. It represented a different kind of travel – a departure from the package holiday prescriptions and an off-the-beaten-track mindset. But it certainly wasn’t “epic”, not in the way those classical Greek dudes meant it – this new Rough Guide to Greece, though, is bona fide epic. Very epic indeed.

With its six thousand or so islands, travel in Greece has always been a bit special. Travel in Ancient Greece is something else again. Yes, you’ve got the relentless pounding sun, but you’ve also got the relentless pounding foes. You’ll encounter legends come to life and legends trying to take your life. There will be myths, miracles and magic. But there’ll also be the bread and butter of any fabulous trip: heartbreakingly beautiful light; warm waters lapping at your toes; boat trips; heart-warming interactions with locals; and endless vistas that will remind you once and for all that you’re alive.

Things not to miss

1. Elis

A vision of bona fide classical Greek splendour, with real Olympic Games connotations to boot.

An outdoors landscape with steps up towards a small building and many ornaments, plant pots and classical pillars around it.

Classical Greek ornaments and building, Elis

2. Arkadia 

One look at the bucolic “breadbasket of the Peloponnese” and you’ll be in love.

Natural landscape at sunset with mountain ranges out at sea

Mountainous landscape with the ocean in the distance at sunset

3. Athens

Only the cradle of Western civilization at the peak of its powers – no big deal.

4. Kephallonia 

You might expect the homeland of Odysseus to be a bit, well, fancier – but it is Kephallonia’s rural gorgeousness that’s the real draw.

5. Forest Islands 

Seemingly in a state of perpetual autumn, this magical island group’s big hitter is the legendary island of Lesbos.

6. Melos

Who knew a volcanic island could be so beautiful? We have the smouldering good looks of Melos’ omnipresent obsidian to thank for that.

Close up of a classical pillar underwater

Ancient pillar located on the seabed

7. Thera 

One for the volcano hunters and thrill seekers, Thera will keep you on your toes. 

To discover Assassin's Creed Odyssey in the real world, take a look at Rough Guides Tailor-Made Trips itinerary exploring Athens, Naxos and Mykonos.

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