Welcome to the enchanting world of Greece! Tens of millions of people embark upon Greece travel plans every year, making it one of Europe’s top vacation ideas. From the iconic white-washed buildings of Santorini to the fascinating historical sites of Athens, Greece offers a countless wonders to explore. Immerse yourself in the rich history and culture as you explore the Acropolis, wander through the charming streets of Mykonos, or take a dip in the crystal-clear waters of the Aegean Sea, surrounded by the stunning Greek islands.
Whether you’re a history enthusiast, a beach lover, or a food connoisseur, visiting Greece is a top-notch experience for everyone. Indulge in mouthwatering Greek cuisine, hike through breathtaking landscapes, or simply unwind on pristine beaches. With its warm hospitality and breathtaking beauty, Greece has long been a favorite destination for travelers worldwide.
So pack your bags and get ready to experience a journey like no other. Let us be your guide as we take you on an unforgettable travel Greece adventure. Are you ready to create memories that will last a lifetime? Let’s run down all the reasons why going to Greece should be on your agenda!
Greece is a treasure trove of ancient history. The Greek civilization dates back to the Bronze Age, around 3000 BCE, with the Minoan and Mycenaean cultures. The period known as ‘Ancient Greece’ generally refers to the time between the Archaic period (8th century BCE) and the Hellenistic period (4th century BCE). During this time, the city-states of Athens, Sparta, and others flourished, making significant contributions to art, literature, philosophy, and politics.
The Greeks established the concept of democracy, laying the foundation for modern governance systems. Their philosophers, including Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle, shaped Western thought and laid the groundwork for scientific inquiry. Greek mythology and epic poems like the Iliad and the Odyssey continue to captivate audiences worldwide.
The city-states of Athens and Sparta were prominent powers during this era, engaging in fierce rivalries and wars. The ancient Greek civilization left an indelible mark on human history. It influenced subsequent cultures and left a rich legacy that continues to thrive today.
Traveling through Greece, you’ll have ample opportunities to dive deep into the country’s rich and influential history. The country is littered with prominent historical and archaeological sites waiting to be explored.
Traveling through Greece offers ample opportunities to immerse yourself in the country’s rich and influential history. During my travels to Greece, I couldn’t wait to dive into its ancient past. Here are a few archaeological sites I personally recommend!
Acropolis of Athens: Dominating the Athens city skyline, the Acropolis is home to iconic structures like the Parthenon, the Erechtheion, and the Temple of Athena Nike.
Delphi: Considered the center of the world in ancient times, Delphi was a sanctuary for Apollo and renowned for its Oracle. The ruins include the Temple of Apollo, the Theater, and the Stadium.
Ancient Olympia: The birthplace of the Olympic Games, Ancient Olympia houses the remains of the original stadium, temples, and the Philippeion.
Knossos: Located on the island of Crete, Knossos is Europe’s oldest city and the center of the Minoan civilization. The Palace of Knossos was a significant center of the Minoan civilization during the Bronze Age. It dates back to 1900 BC!
Mycenae: Known for its impressive Cyclopean Walls and Lion Gate, Mycenae was a powerful city during the Late Bronze Age. Most notably, it was home to the legendary King Agamemnon.
Epidaurus: Epidaurus is a UNESCO World Heritage site and one of the best-preserved theaters from ancient Greece.
Delos: A sacred island in the Cyclades, Delos was the birthplace of Apollo and Artemis. Among the Greek islands, its ruins, which include temples, houses, and an amphitheater, are a testament to its ancient glory.
Meteora: While not strictly ancient, the monasteries of Meteora are a unique attraction. Perched atop towering rock formations, these monasteries offer stunning views and insights into Greek Orthodox history.
One of the most delightful aspects of traveling in Greece is the warm hospitality and friendliness of the locals. The Greek people are well-known for their genuine warmth and welcoming nature, making visitors feel right at home.
Whether you’re enjoying a meal at a local taverna or seeking directions, you’ll be greeted with a smile. Related to that, the friendliness of the people also provides a good answer to the question, “is Greece safe for travelers?”
Greek cuisine is one of my favorites in the world. Greek food is a celebration of bold flavors and traditional recipes passed down through generations. It focuses on fresh, simple ingredients and mouthwatering Mediterranean flavors, epitomizing the essence of Greek cuisine.
Embracing the use of olive oil, herbs, fresh vegetables, and spices, Greek cuisine results in vibrant and flavorful dishes. These are some of my favorite Greek dishes. Each offers a tantalizing taste of the rich culinary traditions of Greece. I recommend them to anyone visiting Greece for the first time.
Moussaka: A classic dish of Greek cuisine, Moussaka contains layers of eggplant, ground meat (usually beef or lamb), and a creamy béchamel sauce, all baked to perfection.
Souvlaki: Souvlaki, a staple of Greek cuisine, consists of grilled skewers of marinated meat (often pork or chicken). It comes served with pita bread, tzatziki sauce, and a side of Greek salad.
Spanakopita: Spanakopita is a savory pastry that’s extremely popular in Greek cuisine. It contains spinach, feta cheese, onions, and herbs, all wrapped in flaky filo dough and baked until golden and crispy.
Dolmades: Dolmades are grape leaves stuffed with a flavorful mixture of rice, herbs, and sometimes minced meat. They’re a traditional appetizer in Greek cuisine, often served as part of a meze platter.
Tzatziki: Tzatziki, a refreshing and creamy dip quintessential to Greek cuisine, contains strained yogurt, cucumber, garlic, and herbs. Sometimes referred to as “Greek ketchup,” It’s commonly served with grilled meats or as a dip for pita bread.
Greek Salad: A simple yet delicious representation of Greek cuisine, this salad contains fresh tomatoes, cucumbers, red onions, olives, feta cheese, and a drizzle of olive oil and lemon juice.
Gyro: A staple of Greek cuisine, the gyro is a beloved street food. It features thinly sliced meat, typically pork or chicken, masterfully cooked on a vertical rotisserie. It comes wrapped in pita bread with tzatziki sauce and garnished with fresh tomatoes and onions.
Pastitsio: Pastitsio, similar to moussaka and a classic in Greek cuisine, is a baked pasta dish. It contains savory ground meat, macaroni, and a creamy béchamel sauce. And yes, it’s even better than it sounds!
Baklava: This sweet pasty consists of layers of crisp filo dough filled with chopped walnuts or pistachios. It comes drenched in a sweet syrup flavored with honey and cinnamon.
Loukoumades: Loukoumades, a gem of Greek cuisine, are small, fluffy deep-fried dough balls. Similar to doughnuts, they come topped with honey syrup and cinnamon. If you like sweets, they’re pretty irresistible!
Traveling to Greece from the USA is pretty straightforward. The country is easily accessible by air, with major international airports located in Athens, Thessaloniki, Santorini, Mykonos, and Heraklion. Many international airlines offer direct flights, facilitating convenient travel to Greece from USA. Alternatively, you can also reach Greece by ferry from nearby countries, including Italy.
Once you’ve arrived, the best way to see Greece is through its various transportation options. Domestic flights connect different regions, while ferries offer the best way to visit Greece’s islands in a scenic and leisurely way. Buses and trains are reliable for mainland travel, and taxis and rental cars offer local exploration flexibility.
To ensure a smooth and enjoyable experience, consider these essential travel preparation tips when planning a trip to Greece.
· Valid Travel Documents: Having up-to-date travel documents is essential for traveling to Greece. Check that your passport is valid for at least six months beyond your intended departure date. Non-EU citizens may require a visa, so make sure to check the visa requirements for your country of residence.
· Health and Safety: It’s always a good idea to check the latest travel advisories before traveling. Also, ensure you have appropriate travel insurance. Familiarize yourself with any vaccination requirements and pack a basic first aid kit.
· Currency and Payments: The currency in Greece is the Euro (EUR). Credit cards are widely accepted, but it’s a good idea to carry some cash for smaller establishments and markets.
· Local Customs: Familiarize yourself with Greek customs and etiquette. Greeks are generally friendly and hospitable, but it’s polite to greet people with a “kalimera” (good morning) or “kalispera” (good evening) and to avoid discussing sensitive topics such as politics or religion.
Greece is a vast country with numerous destinations worth exploring, especially for those going to Greece for the first time. Honestly, the entire country is a treasure trove, with too many captivating places to list.
No Athens travel adventure is complete without exploring its vibrant capital city. Known as the cradle of Western civilization, Athens is a treasure trove of ancient history intertwined with modern culture. Discover the iconic Acropolis and its ancient ruins, wander through the charming streets of Plaka, and indulge in delicious Greek cuisine at local tavernas. A visit to the Acropolis Museum is essential to understand Greece’s ancient civilization better.
Many people associate traveling to Greece with the allure of Santorini, easily one of the country’s most popular islands. The volcanic island’s iconic whitewashed buildings, perched on dramatic cliffs overlooking the deep blue sea, are an unforgettable sight for many travelers. In the charming villages of Oia and Fira, visitors can explore narrow streets, discover local boutiques, and savor delicious Greek cuisine in cozy tavernas. The island also offers adventures such as hiking along scenic trails and sailing around the caldera.
Mykonos is synonymous with vibrant nightlife, glamorous beach clubs, and a cosmopolitan atmosphere. Dance the night away at the island’s renowned beach clubs, wander through the charming streets of Mykonos Town, and unwind on the island’s picturesque beaches. Mykonos Greece is also famous for its luxury accommodations and high-end shopping, solidifying its reputation as a playground for the rich and famous.
Crete, the largest Greek island, offers a diverse range of experiences for nature lovers. Traverse the rugged Samaria Gorge, visit the ancient Palace of Knossos, and unwind on the stunning beaches of Elafonisi. Crete is also famous for its rich culinary traditions, so be sure to sample the local delicacies, such as dakos and kalitsounia.
Rhodes, an enchanting island, seamlessly combines ancient history with natural beauty. Explore the medieval Old Town of Rhodes, a UNESCO World Heritage site, and marvel at the impressive Palace of the Grand Master. Enjoy the island’s beautiful beaches, visit the ancient city of Kamiros, and immerse yourself in Rhodes’ vibrant culture.
Summer is Greece’s peak tourist season for travel, with warm temperatures and long sunny days. This is the perfect time for beach lovers and water sports enthusiasts to bask in the sun and enjoy the crystal-clear waters. Popular islands like Mykonos and Santorini come alive with vibrant nightlife and bustling crowds during this time.
Spring (April to June) and autumn (September to October) are ideal seasons for travelling in Greece without the intense heat and large crowds of summer. The weather is mild and pleasant, perfect for sightseeing, hiking, and exploring historical sites. This is also a great time to visit the Greek islands if you’re seeking a more relaxed and peaceful atmosphere.
Winter in Greece offers a unique and enchanting experience, even with the current Greece travel restrictions. While the weather may be cooler, this is the perfect time to explore Athens and other cities. You can immerse yourself in the vibrant Christmas and New Year celebrations, indulge in traditional Greek cuisine, and enjoy the festive atmosphere.
Greece is a destination that offers a perfect blend of history, natural beauty, and warm hospitality. Whether you’re exploring the ancient ruins of Athens, relaxing on the stunning beaches of Mykonos, or visiting the monasteries of Meteora, Greece travel promises an unforgettable adventure.
So pack your bags, embark on a journey to Greece, and create memories that will last a lifetime. Get ready to fall in love with the wonders of this Mediterranean gem. Where will you go when you travel to Greece?