Blue and white: these are the colors of the clean sea and the waves, of small houses perched on a hill that descends towards the beach and not surprisingly also those of a flag, that of Greece, one of the destinations always at the top of the list of the most popular vacation destinations for European tourists.
For many it is a true paradise, the dream that gives the charge to endure a year of fatigue and stress, taken from a thousand daily commitments. Then finally the vacations arrive, and you can dive into an incredibly blue sea, admire breathtaking sunsets, enjoy delicious dinners in a traditional tavern and stay up late chatting with the friendly and joyful locals… or for those who have more energy dancing until morning in a beach club.
A vacation in Greece is always a journey of epic scope, even when all the days are a lazy ritual of naps in the sun and swimming: whether you’re in the capital, on an island or in a little-known town in the hinterland, the myth is on your doorstep in the form of a perfectly preserved thousand-year-old temple, the impressive ruins of an ancient city, a prestigious museum that preserves the first great artistic masterpieces of mankind.
There’s another reason why Greece enchants everyone – couples on a romantic getaway, young people looking for unbridled fun, lovers of art and ancient history, people eager for rest and relaxation, families who want a stress-free vacation in a magnificent place – and it’s simple: Greeks love to live, and their joviality makes you appreciate the many attractions of this wonderful country even more.
Organizing a trip to Greece is easy because tourism is now developed in all areas of the country, with few exceptions; there are hotels and apartments for all needs, many flights and ferries to reach your favorite places. Don’t put it off, you deserve a great vacation!
If you exclude some mountain areas in the hinterland of the country, Greece (mainland and islands) enjoys the typical Mediterranean climate characterized by mild winters and hot summers; in the sea areas the high summer temperatures are mitigated by the wind.
The best period to go to Greece is certainly the summer, but if you have the possibility avoid July and August, the busiest and most expensive months, and travel in June or September. In some cases it is possible to bathe even in October, but in this period seasonal flights are no longer in service.
Most foreign travelers choose Greece for its sea or for its rich historical and artistic heritage. But is it better to go to the islands or to stop on the mainland? And if you choose the islands, is it better to go to a big and well known one or a small and little visited one?
With its scenic and cultural wonders, Greece is able to please everyone. Here are the places not to be missed in Greece.
The Acropolis with the Parthenon would be enough to make Athens a destination to visit at least once in a lifetime: it is a magnificent sight unique in the world. But Athens is not only the perfection and harmony of classical art: it is also the ferment and dynamism of street art, rock festivals, trendy clubs.
Athens is a multi-faceted metropolis that will fascinate you with its unmissable museums and archaeological sites, noisy taverns, romantic sunsets from the hills, modern neighborhoods and – why not? – fabulous day trips.
The Cyclades Islands are the Greece of postcards, or Greece as we imagine it: a land kissed by a generous sun and a sea with beautiful shades of blue and blue, white houses with blue balconies and a lonely church on top of a hill.
In fact, however, each island is a world unto itself: Santorini is the glamorous destination par excellence, Mykonos the most transgressive, Milos the most loved by those who want to avoid the most touristy islands, Ios a mix of tradition and nightlife, and then Paros, Naxos, Anafi, Amorgos and others yet to be discovered!
The Ionian Islands are Greece on your doorstep, easily reached by ferry from Italy. A geographical proximity but also cultural: the Ionian Islands are in fact the Greek islands where Venetian domination has left its most obvious traces.
Corfu is the largest and most famous, and the one with the largest number of accommodations; also beautiful are Zakynthos, the island of the poet and the iconic beach of the wreck, Ithaca, the mythical island of Ulysses, the exclusive Paxos and the lesser known Kefalonia, Lefkada and Kythira.
Crete is a record-breaking island: the largest Greek island, the southernmost and for many the most beautiful. Its size and the variety of its attractions make it an ideal destination for vacations that combine sea, nature and culture. The top attractions of Crete are its enchanting beaches and the Palace of Knossos (the mythical palace of the Minotaur), but the list of things to see is very long and includes archaeological museums, lagoons, palm groves and mountain trails.
Not to be missed are some splendid islands of the Dodecanese – the archipelago farthest from continental Europe – such as the splendid Rhodes, Kos and Karpathos; Skiathos and Skopelos in the Sporades, and Samos in the Northern Aegean.
Mainland Greece is a valid alternative to the islands, equally fascinating but less visited and much cheaper. The sea is the same, blue and clean; wonderful beaches are found both in the east, particularly in the Chalkidiki Peninsula, and in the west.
Archaeological sites abound a bit ‘throughout Greece, but if you only have time for one or two bet on Delphi and Olympia. A singular attraction, however, is the Meteora complex, six ancient monasteries perched atop imposing sandstone towers.
The easiest way to reach Greece is by plane: there are numerous low cost flights to Athens and the main islands. Mykonos, Santorini, Rhodes and Corfu are the Greek islands served by most flights.
To reach the other islands you will have to take into account at least one change: for many destinations the easiest solution is to fly to Athens and take a ferry from the port of Piraeus (or a domestic flight, but it usually costs more). Another important port of Greece from which ferries leave for all or almost all the islands is Igoumenitsa.
Greece is a very hospitable land, and by that we mean both their welcoming and jovial people and the wide range of accommodations for all budgets. Hotels and apartments in Greece really do cater to everyone’s needs, with facilities ranging from the tightest budget to the most unbridled luxury.
Depending on your budget and the type of vacation you want to have, you can choose to sleep in large resorts with swimming pools, private beach, garden and many other amenities and services or in studios and simple guesthouses. Studios are typical of the islands, especially the Cyclades, and are the best compromise between price, comfort and charm.
Greece is located in southeastern Europe. Mainland Greece is bordered to the north and northeast by four European states (Albania, North Macedonia, Bulgaria, Turkey), while to the south, east and west it has no land borders. The seas that bathe it are three: Aegean Sea, Ionian Sea and the Sea of Crete.
Greece follows the GMT+2 time zone, which is two hours longer than the zero meridian of Greenwich.
The flag of Greece is blue and white striped with a white Greek cross on a blue square in the upper left corner.
The stripes are nine, perhaps in homage to the nine syllables of the phrase “Freedom or Death” (in Greek) or to the nine muses. Even for the colors there are different interpretations: for some were used the colors of the royal house of Bavarian origin that reigned in Greece until 1862, for others are a tribute to the sky and the sea or the purity of the Greek soul. The current flag has been in effect since 1978.
Greece is part of the European Union and the Eurozone, therefore the official currency is the euro.