You will find a lot of castles in Greece, worth to visit. Most of these castles in Greece were built in the Medieval or the Byzantine times by the Venetians.
Their architecture is impressive as they were made of large stones and were fortified with lots of canons and weapons. They were usually built for protection from invasions of the enemies or attack from the pirates. That is why castles in Greece are found either on top of a hill, so that the residents could overlook the whole area, or close to the port, to protect the entrance of the town.
Such castles are found in almost every Greek city and every single Greek island. Some of them are well-preserved while others didn't survive time and lie today in ruins. Hereby we present you the most famous and well-preserved Greek castles that should not be missed if you are spending your holidays in the surrounding area.
Famous Castles in Greece
Palamidi Castle in Nafplion: It is an impressive castle on top of a mountain overlooking Nafplion town and was built by the Venetians to protect the city from the enemies. Its construction finished in 1714 but a year later it was occupied by the Turks until the deliberation of Nafplion in 1822. Later on, it was used as a prison for a while. There are 999 stairs that connect Palamidi fortress to the centre of Nafplion.
The Fortress of Saint Mark in Corfu: The fortress of Saint Mark stands close to the old harbor of Corfu island and it took many decades to build it. Its construction started in 1574 and ended in 1645. It was built by the Venetians to protect the town from invasions. A part of the fortress was destroyed as a term of the agreement between of 1864 which united the Ionian islands with the rest of Greece.
The Palace of the Grant Master in Rhodes: The Palace of the Grant Master is an impressive medieval built in the 14th century by the Knights of St John as a residence for the island's governor. When the Turks occupied the island, the palace was used as a fortress. Nowadays it is considered as one of the best preserved castles in Europe. Because of the castle and the medieval vibe it gives to the town, Rhodes is known as the "Island of the Knights".
The Fortezza of Rethymno: The fortezza of Rethymno was built by the Venetians around 1570 on Paleokastro hill to protect the city and the port. Its walls are thick, it has four entrances and many constructions inside the fortress have survived, such as some mosques and churches, barracks, cisterns and storerooms, among others.
Frangokastello in Chania: Frangokastello is a Venetian castle that lies to the south west coast of Crete island, close to Frangokastello village in Sfakia area. It was built in 1371 and this castle is connected to a legend. In 1828, the fighter Michalis Dalianis, along with hundreds of Cretans, closed themselves into the castle and fought the Turkish troops. However, they lost the battle and were slaughtered. Locals say that every year, on the dawning of May 17 th, the date of the fight, they see some shadows that emerge from the sea and come towards Frangokastello. They believe that these shadows are the ghosts of Michalis Dalianis and his fighters, who had died there. They gave these ghosts the name "Drosoulites", which means dew shadows.
Methoni Castle: The Castle of Methoni, Peloponnese, dates from the 13 th century. It was built by the Venetians to protect the city and in 1500 it was occupied by the Ottomans, who used it as base for their invasions in the Peloponnese. It has seven entrances and many constructions are included inside the walls, such as churches, ottoman baths and a ruined mosque.
Acrocorinthos Castle Peloponnese: It was also built by the Venetians in the 13 th century to protect the area of Isthmos. It is built in the site of the ancient acropolis of Korinthos, on a hill overlooking the town. The excavations began in 1929 and today it is one of the most important medieval castles in Greece.
Mystras Castle Peloponnese: This Medieval castle of Mystras was built in 1204 by William de Villeyardouin, a Frankish noble who had occupied the Peloponnese. Soon, the castle was surrendered to the Byzantines and Mystras turned into the second most important city of the Byzantine Empire, after Constantinople. Within the walls of Mystras, you can visit many Byzantine churches with great architectural style and beautiful frescoes. The castle is not inhabited today and has been declared by UNESCO as a Monument of World Heritage.
Ioannina Castle Epirus: This castle was rebuilt by Ali Pasha in 1815, in the site of an almost ruined, old castle. In the main entrance of the castle, we see the blazon of Ali Pasha and some narrow paths lead to the mosque of Aslan Pasha. The castle gives great views to the modern city of Ioannina and the lake. Part of the walls also surround the modern city and reach the waterfront.