A land of myths, legends, beautiful coasts, and ancient remnants of its golden age and earlier civilizations, Greece is far more than holiday islands, ouzo, and sculptures. As one of the world’s top 20 travel destinations, its mainland and islands shimmer in the summer sun and echo to the sound of traditional Greek music. Crammed with attractions and things to do, Greece still sees 90 percent of its high season visitors from Europe, but is fast becoming a major destination for travel aficionados across the world.
Its premier attractions are world famous for their association with the Minoan, Mycenaean, and Ancient Greek periods, immortalized in the works of great poets, playwrights, and philosophers almost 2,000 years ago. Exploring Knossos on Crete, Mycenae in the Peloponnese, and the treasures of Athens are all-time favorites with visitors. The country’s not all ancient ruins, however, and modern draws such as great beaches, fun water sports, adventure and outdoor activities, and waterside tavernas all have their place in the perfect Greek getaway.
The Greek people are among the worlds most welcoming, friendly and helpful, dispensing their renowned hospitality to all with open arms and hearts. Whether you’re staying in a five-star resort or a locally-owned beachside b & b with a few rooms to rent, you’ll be immersed in the community in no time. Eating out and accommodation are both a good value for the money.
There’s a huge choice of destinations spread across the mainland and the Greek islands, catering for every style of vacation, from beach-hopping to history buffs. Travel between the islands is easy by ferry boat from the mainland ports, and most historic sites are centered in the immediate area of a prominent center of town.
The 3,000-year old Mycenae and Tiryns are set within an easy drive of Epidaurus’s magnificent theater and the Sanctuary of Asclepios, and Delphi and Olympia are within a day trip from Athens. Ancient Mount Athos and its crow’s-nest monasteries, perched on soaring cliff-tops, lie in the north of the country on the Chalkidiki peninsula.
Touring the many attractions Greece has to offer is best done by road or ferry, as rail services are sparse. Renting a car gives visitors the freedom to drive to remote sites since the local bus only stops at the nearest village, a long, hot walk from the landmarks. Aside from the twisting mountain roads, driving doesn’t present many problems, although in rural areas, domestic animals such as donkeys and goats may consider the roads their exclusive property! Bus travel is relatively inexpensive and, except in remote rural areas, is comfortable and air-conditioned. Ferries connect all the main islands with Piraeus, making for easy, scenic trips.
- The iconic 5th century BC Parthenon in Athens
- Knossos archeological site on Crete
- Delphi, home of the famous Oracle and Sanctuary of Apollo
- Volcanic Santorini Island and its whitewashed villages
- Mykonos for its vibrant nightlife and idyllic beaches
- Mount Olympus, home of the Gods
- The Byzantine ruins at Mystras