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A beginner's guide: Greek Gods & Goddesses

The heavenly inhabitants of Mount Olympus were an attempt by the ancient Greeks to explain the chaos of the universe and human nature. Always powerful but sometimes cruel, jealous, and even downright insane, the Greek gods were embodiments of our best and worst tendencies. The stories of their ups and downs have influenced the course of Western language and art for millennia. 


Overall, there are hundreds of deities in Greek mythology, covering every aspect of life and the natural world. The exact number is hard to pinpoint because new gods and goddesses were continually added to the pantheon over time, and regional variations existed. However, there are 12 primary gods who resided on Mount Olympus.

Here are some of the bigger names of the Greek pantheon:


God of the Sky, ruled over his unruly family of Olympians while they bickered and fought. Today, we would call Zeus something of a player (if we’re being kind). Let’s just say that monogamy was not his strong suit, a flaw that his wife Hera didn’t always find so endearing. He valued beauty above most things, including his family: Zeus once tossed Hera’s son Hephaestus off the top of Mount Olympus because the baby wasn’t pretty enough.



God of the Sea, Poseidon was a sometime moody guy, creating all the wonders of the ocean but also destroying cities with earthquakes or sinking entire fleets of ships.




Goddess of war, knowledge, and reason, has a very unique origin story. It is told that she emerged, a fully grown adult, from her father Zeus’ forehead. She also plays an important role in the Odyssey – she helped Odysseus and guided Perseus and Heracles through their trials. But watch out, she’s proud and has a temper. Just ask Arachne, who got turned into a spider for daring to compare her knitting skills to Athena’s.




God of archery, music, poetry, prophecy, medicine, and God of the sun. He was among the most important and feared of the gods. Son of Zeus, he often spoke his will through the oracle at Delphi. But Apollo didn’t take criticism well. He once gave King Midas donkey ears for saying someone else’s music was better.


Artemis was the goddess of the hunt and protector of mankind. Meant to be cunning and quick, she’s often represented in art with a deer or a hunting dog. Often appearing as a 12-year-old girl, she walked the forests carrying a mean bow and arrow. Picture a deadly Girls Scout god.




Aphrodite was the goddess of beauty, sex, and romantic love. The most beautiful of all the gods or goddesses, she knew she could turn heads, and wasn’t afraid of using this to her advantage. Her ego got her in trouble more than once; she sometimes went to extreme measures to make sure she was always the fairest of them all (like helping to start the Trojan War!)



Why read about it?
Discover the land of ancient gods for yourself on tour!

Iconic Greece & the Cyclades

With some of Europe’s oldest civilizations developing in this country, impressive monuments still stand as proof of the empires that once called the ancient Panhellenic capital home. While the mainland’s architecture will take you on a trip through time, the Cyclades of Mykonos and Santorini will inspire you to cherish the simpler things in life. Endless blue seas, whitewashed buildings at dramatic angles and pink skies play backdrop to the distinctive cultural heritage and fascinating local traditions of a millennia-old and multifaceted civilization. Local favourites of fresh seafood, strong Ouzo liquor, sun-filled tomatoes, perfectly ripe olives and organic feta cheese will quickly become yours, too.

May, September & October 2024
April, May, September & October 2025

15 days



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