No matter what might be happening in the news of today, Greece has been and always will be a country of undeniable beauty from the coasts of the Mediterranean and Aegean Seas and the bottom of the Vikos Gorge to the top of Mount Olympus. It’s a place grand enough for the Gods and quaint and friendly enough for us mere mortals to stroll along the streets and roam through the countryside while taking in the radiance of the sun and undeniable pleasures of the earth. Did you say romance? Greece awaits your arrival with so many ways to get something started, rekindle something that needs recharging or to kick things into high gear! With the epicurean delights created with a passion and commitment that rivals the country’s beauty, accompanied by the nectar that flows from the vineyards that the God’s so rightfully coveted, what and who’s not to love! Now we don’t condone shedding your clothes and donning a toga but we do understand the temptation might just be hard to resist. Perhaps you might enjoy a tour of the ancient ruins instead, or explore some history in one of the many museums filled with antiquities and creations of the masters. Maybe you’ll find your inner philosopher and find yourself pondering the meaning of life and other worthy subjects as Plato, Socrates, and Aristotle once did. This is only the beginning of the endless wonders you’ll find when you first set foot on Greek soil. Opa!
This is the most spectacular destination in the Mediterranean and holds the most prehistoric settlement in the region. The ancient town of Akrotiri was once destroyed and consequently preserved by a volcanic eruption around 1450 B.C. The excavation site of this city is known as the “Minoan Pompeii.” But perhaps the island’s greatest draws are its vineyards, whitewashed chapels, volcanic cliffs, and famous wines of Santorini.
Known as the “whitewashed jewel of the Cyclades islands” or the “Island of the Winds,” it is said that the island was formed from the petrified bodies of giants killed by Hercules. It also gets its name from the grandson of Apollo - “Mykonos.” In the island’s capital town you will find the church, town hall, castle, the Archaeological, Folklore, and Maritime Museums, and a shopper’s paradise – Matoyianni Street.
Athens is the capital city of Greece and the historical capital of Europe. It is home to many celebrated ancient monuments including the imposing Acropolis, the ruins of the Temple of Zeus, the Royal Palace, Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, the Olympic Stadium, and Hadrian’s Gate – the symbolic entrance to the city. It also has the charming Plaka neighborhood which has been without interruption since antiquity.
One of the most well-known tourist destinations in Greece, Olympia is located in the western Peloponnese, known as the “Valley of the Gods.” Surrounded by beautiful scenery from the Arcadian Mountains, it is home of the first Olympic Games that were held in 776 B.C. You can walk through the ruins of the ancient Olympic stadium, witness amazing sculptures at the museum, or even attend one of the many festivals held throughout the year.
Over 600 years ago Byzantine monks chose to build their monastic community atop limestone rock “towers” that extend nearly 900 feet into the air, making them virtually inaccessible. It is one of the greatest monuments in the world, and is the most important monastic center in Greece. You can climb these rocks and travel the paths hidden behind the massive rocks.
Delphi was regarded as the center of the world and had the most famous oracle of ancient Greece. The site includes two sanctuaries dedicated to Apollo and Athena, and other buildings that were mostly intended for sports. The earliest finds in Delphi date back to 4000 B.C. from the Korykeion Andron, a cave where the first rituals took place. The ruins are filled with an enormous amount of history and beauty.
Greek Olive Farm:
There are a multitude of olive farms throughout Greece that house thousands of olive trees. Olives, and olive oil are two basic ingredients of the Mediterranean diet. Both of these come from the picking and gathering of olives from the tree or surrounding area. Most olive farms hold tours, tastings, and cooking classes ¬– an educational yet fun activity to experience in Greece.
Travel back in time with a visit to Athens’s old city – the Plaka. The hilly cobblestone streets are lined with historic buildings housing small shops, sidewalk cafes and family-owned restaurants making this neighborhood Athens’ crowned jewel. The neighborhood comes alive at night. The alleyways fill with music and dancing and locals and visitors alike dine on their favorite traditional dishes.
Getting around is easier than you would expect. Greeks can speak English enough to assist travelers, and street signs are in both Greek and English.
Much of your trip may focus on the ancient past yet I suggest you also take time to explore the vibrant traditions that still live in today’s Greek culture.
Bring your sunglasses. Greece enjoys more than 250 days of sunshine in an average year.