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Things To Do In Greece
Greece is a myriad of legends and a myriad of colours, with a culture and history so old that it may well rival time. This land, the eastern-most corner of Europe, has been the cradle of western civilisation and home to some of the most ardent thinkers and philosophers that the world has seen. Today, even after the bankruptcy that the country went through, Greece is still a symbol of hope and beauty, a way of life that goes on in the wake of crumbling economy. The tourism here is still unrivalled, and just as stunning, from beaches and islands, white-washed homes to cobbled streets. You will find yourself spoilt for choice in Greece; as many things to do here as perhaps the stars in its sky.
Lose yourself in Historical Sites
Greece is home to so many historical sites, each dating farther back in time than the other. With such an ancient land, one of the oldest civilisations and history that goes way back in B.C., this comes as no surprise. Some of the best historic sites to visit in Greece include the Acropolis and the Parthenon in Athens, the Panathenaic Stadium that hosted the first Olympic games back in 6th B.C., the Temple of Zeus and the Erechtheum Temple of Athena and Poseidon that goes back to 410 B.C. A stroll down the old neighbourhood of Plaka in Athens also makes for a rather historic walk, given its title as the God’s neighbourhood, with cobbled alleys and labyrinth-like streets and stone steps; each flanked by cafes.
Admire the White and Blue Santorini
The Santorini Island, a celebrated tourist attraction of Greece is a must-visit while you tour the country. Why? Haven’t you seen any of those movies where all houses are white and domes and roofs cobalt blue? Where the sky is crystal clear and water of the sea laps upon cobbled terra-cotta lined streets? Haven't you read any of those romance novels where pink bougainvillea shower petals when the girl and the boy kiss? That is what Santorini is, the Island of Thira, the honeymoon hotspot and picture-perfect postcard for your holiday. You can visit the many traditional Greek chapels, churches that have deep cobalt blue domes atop pristine white walls as well as Cycladic houses.
The adventures of a Greek island-hopper can be the first book you write after you are done with this tour. There are a crazy number of islands in Greece, from the Cyclades to the Dodecanese, Naxos and Syros as well as Mykonos, Tinos, Rhodes, Santorini and Anafi. You can start in the capital Athens, then head to the village of Oia in Santorini, check out the party-island Crete, then dip your toes in the sea-water of Mykonos (Greek Venice) and finally finish with the golden beaches and sharp cliffs of Corfu. Don’t forget that though each island is Greek in its larger way of life, there are traditional customs and local cuisines and cultures that are unique to each. You can avail one of the cruises here to do island hopping, or choose to go on your own.
Discover the Greek Gods
The Greek Gods are a part of the world's mainstream literature today, but once upon a time, they were as real as the seas and the mountains here. Still are. These legends of men and women who were either gods or sons of gods have passed on with reference to specific places in the Greek geographic landscape. Mt. Olympia is at the epicentre of this legend and makes for an amazing day trip to discover more. The mountain also happens to be the birth place of Olympic Games and has a couple of great sites associated with the stories of Greek Gods, from Zeus to Diana, Hera to Poseidon. A Percy Jackson Tour is regularly undertaken to ‘Ancient Olympia,’ if you are a fan of the books and want to see everything from that lens. It is a day trip from Nafplion.
Enjoy Nightlife and Fests
If you thought Greece is only for the kids and the old and the odd historian then you were mistaken. It is as much a nerd’s paradise as it is a hipster’s dream. With some of the most thumping nightlife in Athens as well as the whole island of Crete alive with pubs and night bars, there is too much here for party-mongers. Some of the nightclubs here are alive with Bouzoukia or live Greek music, while others serve the best ouzo, wines and cocktails. Greece is also renowned for its Eater festivities and the carnival season of Apokreas. Some major festivals here are River Party in Nestorio, the Rockwave Festival near Athens and Navy Week in Crete.
Chill in Crete
The Island of Crete is called the night crawl of Greece, as easily as it is called one of the best beach destinations of the country. It has wild wild coasts, glorious cliffs, resorts that pamper you silly and food that makes you cry out in foodgasm. If there is one all-round place you should not miss in Greece then it is Crete. Eastern Crete is known for its scenery and strolls, while Amári shows you chapels with stunning frescoes that can be walked into at any time (Panagía, Metamórfosi and Theológos). For some memorable nightlife, crawl the pubs and clubs of Crete in the town of Rethymno. You can drink, dance and get bamboozled here even after dawn breaks!
Enjoy Greek Food
Greeks love their foods fresh and hearty, crisp with extra virgin olive oils and flavourful with the least dash of spices. Surprisingly, even when you stuff yourself with Greek food you still feel light and airy, ready to run a marathon just after. Try their mezzes or dips, gemista (roasted stuffed tomatoes and peppers), mushroom pies, trigona panoramatos desert items, fresh simple salads of cucumbers, tomatoes and olives with dressing of olive oil, and the perfect but fresh greek yogurt with a drizzle of honey. In Athens, you must breakfast and sup at Plaka district cafes for the best culinary experience.
Pick up Souvenirs like the Plague
Shopping in this country is exceptionally good, cheap and full of haggling experiences. From the usual fridge magnets, postcards and show-pieces to unique handmade leather sandals, natural sea sponges, blue pottery products depicting Greek god stories and hand-made jewellery; there is so much to buy. Other delightful gifts include jars of organic Greek honey, beauty products, bottles of virgin olive oil, wines and the famous blue evil eye bracelets, earrings and other jewellery to repel bad omens. The best shopping in Athens happens in Plaka and Monastiraki areas.