When you think of Greece, you undoubtedly think about the Greek isles… that’s because there are 6,000 of them (227 inhabited) scattered around the coastline from west to east and far south, almost touching Turkey. Each island offers its own distinct characteristics, to the point of its own climate, food, and architecture. From Mykonos, to Paros to Corfu, there’s an island for every taste and budget.
When you think of Greece you think of sun-drenched beaches, azure waters, whitewashed bell towers and old but chic villages, past civilizations and ancient history sitting side by side with trendy boutiques and sophisticated beach clubs.
All this is true, plus there is a large, beautiful mainland to be discovered too!
Greece is a country in south-eastern Europe with thousands of islands throughout the Aegean and Ionian seas
Greek mainland and islands offer a typical Mediterranean climate with mild, rainy winters and hot, sunny summers. Depending on which island group you visit at any time of the year you’ll want to check on wind patterns as the winds vary greatly from one island chain to another.
CULTURE AND SIGHTSEEING
With its ancient origins out in the open and plainly visible in the 21st century, Greece has been called the cradle of Western civilization. You do not need to visit the capital city of Athens to experience awe inspiring historical landmarks dating back to 500BC, you’ll equally fall in love with the simplest orthodox church or rickety windmill hidden off the beaten track on one of the bucolic islands.
Do not fear, it looks very scary, and the alphabet is almost indecipherable but if you travel to the islands and tourist spots the locals all have a good smattering of English and other European languages. However, the Greeks are a very friendly and social people, so adding a few local phrases to your vernacular will make you an instant hit when you trade a bit of banter with them. Learn a few basics before you go, and you’ll be sure to earn some smiles, and who knows, maybe a few new local friends
With 6,000 islands it stands to reason there are a whole lot of beaches and due to the geographical location of each island the beaches range in colour from white to black, in size from big enough to throw a picnic blanket to lagoon like luxury and in amenities from absolutely nobody around, marooned- on- a -dessert- island- idyllic to wild party places complete with DJ’s and champagne spraying.
FOOD AND DRINK
With plenty of walking, sightseeing, swimming, and dancing the night away there is no reason to diet down before you go, however the lure of lingering lunches on the shady patio of your gorgeous villa is a great way to overindulge in the healthiest of Greek menus.
Hippocrates once said: “Let food be thy medicine, and let medicine be thy food”, and he’s not wrong. With a heavy emphasis on vegetables, yoghurt, olive oil and fresh fish there doesn’t seem to be any reason to hold back….
Mealtimes are a reason to stop, relax, enjoy and appreciate and with a typical picturesque Tavernas serving up Mediterranean specialties like Dolmades (stuffed vine leaves) and the freshest of feta cheese, it’s not difficult
When it comes to Greek beverages, no mealtime is complete without an ouzo. Call it digestif or call it an excuse to start a party but it comes in a skinny glass and can be drunken whenever the mood takes you. It has an anise flavour and is usually diluted to taste with ice cold water.
As with any European country dress can be as individual as you are, but the Greeks have a tendency to respect formality and err on the side of conventional and believe in showing respect based on the people and places you are visiting, It is always a good idea to cover up your shoulders when entering a church. Smart casual is the safest way to go, ladies should avoid wearing cobble-killing heels and the fellas should leave the trainers alone at night.
Finding souvenirs to take home or specialty pieces to wear and enjoy whilst on holiday is not difficult. Shops are open from about 9am onwards and tourists are encouraged to indulge in everything from locally made produce like honey and ouzo to stunning designer jewellery with natural stones or nationally produced linen and cotton designer clothing.