There is nowhere else in the world where you can stand on the shores of the Aegean and Ionian Seas and feel centuries of culture and civilization spring to life before you. Greece has the tenth longest coastline in the world, and is covered with beautiful mountains and hills. In Greece there are a great number of lakes and wetlands and many sights to behold. One can travel back to ancient times in any number of ancient remains. This beautiful country of Greece holds more culture and historic value than anywhere else in the world. One can also encounter thought-provoking modern art and a robust and contemporary music scene, stumbling across galleries, live music and impressively modern museums in the most unexpected places. Greece balances its past, present and future in a way managed by few other countries. The result is a country with endless cultural pursuits.
Capital : Athens
Total Area : Approx 131,957 sq kilometers (50,949 sq miles)
Time Zone : East European Time (GMT + 2.00); (GMT + 3.00) in summers.
ISD Code : +30
Official Language : Greek
Currency : Euro (EUR)
Religion : Orthodox Christianity.
Climate : Greece climate is dominated by sun, as for over two thirds of the year the country basks under clear, sunny skies. Temperatures do vary, however. Winters are mild and rainy, with temperatures sometimes dropping to freezing point, especially in the north. Summers are long and dry, with extremes of 37 degrees making the yearly mean temperature about 17 degrees. For those not overly fond of the heat, the mountainous areas offer some respite as they receive more rain in summer, and even snow in winter.
Best Time to Travel : Greece can be traveled to and enjoyed in April to May and August to October.
Greece has many festivals (Panagiri) throughout the year and most of the Greek Festivals have a religious basis. The Festivals are usually celebrated in accordance with the Greek Orthodox calendar which is similar to the Catholic calendar, with the exception of Easter. There are also many cultural festivals with theatrical and musical celebrations during the summer as well as National Festivals celebrating Greek victories.
Tourism is one of the most important businesses of the country and there are number of tourists who drop in at the country. Your trip will not be complete, without shopping in Greece. Greece is a shopper’s paradise as tourists can drop in at various markets, departmental stores, shopping malls, etc in order to buy goods of your choice. Given below are few such items which you can buy while shopping in Greece are: Jewelry, Leather Items, Rugs and Textiles, Designer Goods, Perfumes, Handicraft Items and Traditional Artifacts.
If you are in lookout of some cheap items and rare artifacts, then you can drop in at the antique market and the flea markets while shopping in Greece. You can buy stuffs at cheap and you wish you can also bargain the prices. On the other hand if you are in look out of some fresh food products and want to taste various types of local delicacies then you can drop in at the local market, which sell various types of raw and fresh vegetables. Some of the other places where you can drop in for shopping in Greece are mentioned as: Mykonos, Crete, Rhodes, Kos, Plaka, Thessaloniki, and Kolonaki
Greece cuisines have been categorized under Mediterranean cuisines as there are influences of the countries that are in the Mediterranean belt. The influence of other cuisines in Greek cuisine is common as Mediterranean cuisines are influenced by one another. In Greek dishes there are similarities of Italian, French cooking. Greece cuisine is very healthy and there are many restaurants across the world that serves authentic Greece cuisines. The Greeks use fresh vegetables and herbs in their cooking that leaves a very distinct taste in the mouth. The flavors that come out of the ingredients are very clearly understood and therefore loved by food lovers. Being healthy option of eating, Greek cuisine is adopted by many. Some of the most common ingredients in Greek cuisines are vegetables like potato, tomato, eggplant, onions, green pepper, beans and okra. Honey too is used abundantly for Greece cuisines. Other citrus fruits too are used by Greek cuisines. Olives of various types, cheese and other meat products are common in Greek cuisines.
Herbs and spices that are found in Greek cuisines are oregano, mint, bay leaves, mint, rigani, basil, dill, garlic, dhiosmo, fennel, thyme, cloves and cinnamon. The sweet dishes in Greece are made of honey, nuts, sugar and syrups. The meat products used in Greek food are pork, lamb, mutton and beef is rarely used in Greek cuisines. Fish too is an important part of Greek food. The varieties of cheese available in Greece add to the flavor and taste of the dishes. Wine is accompanied by most of the dishes during meals in Greece. The salads made in the Greek style are very healthy. Many people opt for salads at the restaurants where Greek cuisine is served. The The common meal is Meze where there are many dishes in small quantities with liquor either homemade or from other sources. The most common appetizers in Greece cuisine are boureki, fava, horta and deep fried vegetables.
Athens – Athens is the capital city of Greece with a metropolitan population of 3.7 million inhabitants. It is in many ways the birthplace of Classical Greece, and therefore of Western civilization too. The sprawling city is bounded on three sides by Mt Ymettos, Mt Parnitha and Mt Pendeli; whilst inside Athens are twelve hills. Athens also has a significant historic importance and a famous thinker and philosophy teacher named Aesop belonged to Athens. Besides, Athens has always been extending support to the Olympic Games and has till now held 3 Olympic seasons.
Chania – Chania is a beautiful port town on the North West coast of Crete, with an atmosphere reflecting its Venetian and Turkish past. It is a highly livable spot. Chania and the long row of beach resorts stretching 20 km west along the beaches of the Chania bay is a well visited destination for Scandinavian charter trips. Chania, being the nearest city, is an attractive destination for sightseeing and shopping for many tourists.
Patras – Patras is the third largest urban conglomeration of Greece, (after Athens/Piraeus and Thessaloniki). It is the capital of the Prefecture of Achaia on the Peloponnese and the western gateway into the country, thanks to numerous ferry connections with Italy.
Heraklion – Heraklion is the major city and capital of the largest Greek island of Crete. Its Archaeological Museum holds the remains of the 3000 year old Minoan civilization, which grew around the nearby legendary palace of Knossos (of Minotaur fame), as well as Byzantine churches and a well-preserved Venetian wall and fortress from the 15th century. Heraklion has a Mediterranean climate. Summers are hot and dry with clear skies. Dry hot days are often relieved by a system of seasonal breezes. Winters are mild with relatively little rain and rare frosts.
Rhodes – Rhodes is the largest settlement and capital city of the island of the Rhodes Island. It is famous as the former site of the Colossus, one of the seven wonders of the ancient world and the oldest inhabited medieval town in Europe. Rhodes Old Town itself is surely the main attraction here. A UNESCO World Heritage Site it is one of the best preserved and most extensive medieval towns in Europe.
Larissa – Larissa is the 4th biggest city in Greece, situated in Thessaly, between Athens and Thessaloniki. A lively agricultural and university town, it is visited by very few tourists. Larissa is one of the oldest settlements in Greece with artifacts uncovered dating at least the Neolithic period (6000 BC). The name means “stronghold” in ancient Greek. It was also the head of the Thessalian League during the Hellenistic and Roman era. Today, it’s a modern city and is Thessaly’s capital.
Thessaloniki – It is the second-largest city in Greece and the capital of the region of Central Macedonia. At about a million inhabitants, it is considered Greece’s cultural capital, renowned for its festivals, events and vibrant cultural life in general. More importantly, it is also a city with a continuous 3,000 year old history; preserving relics of its Roman, Byzantine, Ottoman past and of its formerly dominant Jewish population. Many of its Byzantine churches and a whole district of the city in particular, are included in UNESCO’s World Heritage list.
Corfu – The city of Corfu also known also as Kerkyra, is the northernmost of the Ionian Islands in Greece. Located off of the far northwest coast of the country, Corfu lies in the Adriatic Sea, east of Italy and southwest of Albania. Historically Corfu has been controlled by many foreign powers, notably the Venetians, and British.
Santorini – Santorini is a volcanic island in the Cyclades group of the Greek islands. It is located between Ios and Anafi islands. It is famous for dramatic views, stunning sunsets from Oia town, the strange white aubergine (eggplant), the town of Thira and naturally its very own active volcano. There are naturally formed fantastic beaches such as the beach of Perissa, maybe the best beach in Santorini, the black pebble beach of Kamari, white beach and red beach.