Greece! Land of ancient ruins and the birthplace of civilisations. Soak up her gorgeous coastlines and stunning islands, blue Mediterranean sky and turquoise Aegean Sea. Be prepared to be enchanted by the laidback charm and wonderfully friendly people of this mythical land of the gods.
In Athens, climb up the monumental Acropolis with its iconic Parthenon, and visit the Acropolis Museum and the National Archaeological Museum. Catch a performance at the Odeon of Herodes Atticus Amphitheatre, explore the old Turkish quarter, and enjoy the Gazi nightlife. The magical Peloponnese offers ancient Olympia and the beautiful harbour towns of Hydra and Nafplio. Watch a play in the ruins of Epidavros, explore the concealed town of Monemvasia, and hike the wild Mani peninsula.
Wander the precarious monasteries of Meteora, the atmospheric ruins of Delphi upon Mt Parnassos, and the marble streets of Corfu Town. Escape to tranquil Paxi, the sleepy villages of the Pelion Peninsula, and the mountains and coastlines of Kefallonia. Enjoy the bakeries and beaches of Thessaloniki, and country retreats in Zagorohoria. Visit Vikos Gorge, the world's deepest gorge, and Mt Olympus, Greece's highest peak.
Explore the magical Greek islands: the stunning white houses and sunsets of Santorini, the glamourous nightlife of Mykonos, fresh produce at beautiful Naxos, archaeological sites in sacred Delos, and fantastic diving in the emerald waters of Skiathos.
In Crete, see the reconstructed Minoan Palace of Knossos, the winding streets of Rethymno, and the pretty waterfront of Hania. Taste the wines around Peza, hike through gorgeous Samaria Gorge, and relax among the palm trees of Preveli Beach and the sheltered coves of Elafonisi. Explore the perfectly preserved medieval town of Rhodes, the cafes of Kos Town, and the sandy beaches of Kefalos Bay. Go hiking in volcanic Nisyros, and linger at the monasteries of peaceful Patmos.
The most common way of getting around is by bus, as they are inexpensive, modern, and the network reaches even the smallest villages. Trains are a good alternative, but are somewhat limited in their coverage. In recent years, there have also been an increased number of flights connecting Athens to some of the more popular destinations.
Car rental is a possibility, as roads have improved dramatically in both coverage and condition. However, Greece has the highest road fatality rate in Europe, so be very careful, especially of overtakers.
Every inhabited island is linked by ferry, with frequent services during the peak tourist season of May to October.
Greece has a rich culinary tradition of fresh produce and simple flavours. While the national dish is probably moussaka (a baked concoction of potatoes, meat, eggplants, cheese), other favourites include baklava, Greek yoghurt, grilled octopus and horiatiki salata (Greek salad). In a taverna, sample the best with a mezedhes (appetiser) platter.
For a thousand years, Olympia was the site of the ancient Olympic Games. The most famous athletic contest in history, it was held every four years to honour Zeus, the king of the gods. Today, you can wander around the ruins of the original Olympic stadium to get a glimpse of the glorious past.
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