From Mount Olympus, the abode of mythical Zeus and his court, to the splendor of the Acropolis, down to the white sand shores of The Aegean, mythology and reality meet to present one of the world’s most renowned Mediterranean destinations. The cradle of European civilization and much of Western thought, Greece has always been gifted with being legendary in its unmatched archaeological sites, rugged landscape and mythical hospitality. The country is a peninsula surrounded by yet more charming islands concealing an unparalleled beauty of placid beaches, delectable cuisine, and relaxation.
The birthplace of democracy and philosophy, Athens is a city that has grown upon not only history, but also the vivacity of modern life. Dominated by the imposing Acropolis, high above, Athens flows in the midst of a frenetic day-time lifestyle and a vibrant night life seldom matched by the most hedonistic metropolises around Europe. After a well-deserved visit to the symbol of Classical Greece—the Parthenon—there’s still much to do in the heart of this exciting city: the National Archaeological Museum offers the best collection of Ancient Greek relics in the world; or Syntagma Square to watch the colorful changing of the Hellenic Guards, perhaps a stroll through Plaka, one of Athens most attractive neighbourhoods. A world city like Athens is never short of bars, cafes and clubs, not to mention the picturesque flea markets like Monastiraki and quintessential Greek tavernas that populate nearly every street. With a great transportation system made up of timely buses and economical taxi rides, getting around Athens is quite easy, but if you have the privilege to do it on foot, even better: you’ll experience the true life and the unique tastes of Hellenism.
- Rhodes and Corfu:
Though small in size, this major island was once home to a mythical giant—the Colossus of Rhodes, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Bathed by crystal clear waters and replete with picturesque towns and relaxing seaside resorts, Rhodes is in itself a colossus of hospitality and fun. The main attractions on the island include the Acropolis of Lindos and the city’s placid beaches, the ancient site of Kameiros, and the incredibly charming town of Archangelos. While on the island, don’t forget to spend an evening at any of its many cafes and tavernas for a friendly exchange with the locals and a taste of their delicious cuisine. Corfu is yet another typical Greek island, quite similar to Rhodes, but perhaps more vibrant, packed with dozens of resorts, cafes, restaurants, museums, verdant squares, and little quaint villages surrounded by olive groves and forests covering rugged, hilly country. If anything, Corfu is a more posh, exciting version of Rhodes. Santorini, on the other hand, is the more posh, eccentric of the islands, offering dramatic landscapes of rugged mountains and high-end resorts where the rich and famous sometimes come to play, far away from the fastidious sumptuousness of Cote d’Azur.
One of the largest islands in the Mediterranean, Crete is home to one of the world’s earliest civilizations—the Minoan. And as the famed home of the Minotaur and Icarus’ doomed flight, Crete is also a magnet for cultured travelers, where they can visit places of much historical importance like Knossos and Pahestos. But not all is mythology in the pages—the many cafes, hotels, squares and promenades have given the island a rather cosmopolitan profile sought by many, especially if you are ready for a very big dose of hospitality from the locals in their extremely picturesque villages that populate the island. The island’s fabulous beaches are also popular with tourists and its landscape is also a quintessential combination of olive groves, pine and cedar forests racing across rugged hills and towering mountains, all too dramatic and unforgivable to anyone forgetting their cameras.