Blue skies, sun-soaked beaches and affordable living – sounds too good to be true right? Wrong. Greece offers all of the above in abundance. The southeastern European gem of a destination is alive with fantastic cuisine, adrenaline-inducing outdoor activities and incredible wildlife. Find out more in our guide to Greece, so you can make the most of your visit, once you’ve renewed your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC).
Visiting Greece is a feast for your senses, specifically for your taste buds. With a number of diverse and delicious dishes all at affordable prices, the cuisine is to die for.
To start your gastronomic journey we suggest you begin with a traditional Greek salad, made with pieces of tomatoes, cucumbers, onion, feta cheese and olives it serves as the perfect palette cleanser before your main course or a light snack after a busy day of exploring.
Then we suggest a Gyro, a succulent Greek dish consisting of pork that has been cooked on a vertical rotisserie (spit roast) and then served in flatbread accompanied by tomato, onion, tzatziki sauce and freshly cooked fries.
As for dessert, we’ll leave that to you, with sweet bougasta, diples (a fried turnover) and Melomakarona cookies are just some of the plentiful options you’ll have to choose from.
Greek wine has come to prominence in recent years, and for good reason, a vineyard in Greece offers as much variety if not more than any of its European contemporaries.
Ranging from sun-dried sweet wines such as the famous Visanto which is made by grapes and have aged for a minimum of three years before any consumption, to the Ksinomavro, the finest red wine from the entire Northern region of Greece.
The wines found in Greece are as disparate as the landscapes that surround them.
The Erechtheion Temple
We have a lot to thank the Ancient Greeks for, if not just for the concept of civilization, but also the tremendous architecture they left behind.
Most notable of which is the ancient Greek temple of Erechtheion which can be found in the Greek capital’s Acropolis of Athens.
An ancient Greek Temple dedicated to the Athena and Poseidon, it is believed the structure was first opened in 406 B.C.
Ever wanted to know the secret behind living longer? Well, visit the island of Ikaria, one of the world’s five blue zones – a name given to a region where its inhabitants have a higher life expectancy than the rest of the world.
Ikarians have an average life expectancy of well over 90, a phenomenon that has scientists and health professionals puzzled as to what causes the locals to live for so long. One of the many potential causes is the thought to be their consumption of local Greek coffee and tea, which provide key antioxidants for the body.
According to Santorini Dave, hotel and travel expert, ‘Greece has the best beaches in Europe’ and when you look at Plaka Beach in Naxos it’s hard to argue.
Approximately 4 kilometres long, you can find umbrellas and sun beds the width and breadth of the thick grained beach. During peak season the beach is bustling with activity, but parking on the road nearby is available so you’re sure to find an appropriate spot to begin enjoying your day.
Mykonos is a Greek island that is part of Cyclades group of in the Aegean Sea and lies between Tinos, Syros, Paros and Naxos. It is famous for being Greece’s most cosmopolitan island.
The island oozes luxury, with the finest accommodation, most delicious cuisine and a number of picturesque photo opportunities, the whitewashed city is a must visit if you’re looking to up your ‘insta’ game. What’s more, the island also plays host to endless markets, cave-like boutiques and numerous fashion designers for you to peruse, ensuring that you bring home more than enough souvenirs for yourself and your loved ones.
The Adrenaline-Inducing Activities
Thanks to its diverse terrain, Greece can host a wide variety of outdoor activities for adventurers to enjoy. If you enjoy rock climbing, you’ll be able to reach the summit of the unique Meteora rock formation, complete with huge pinnacles.
Base jumping more your thing? Don’t worry it about it, the Zakynthos Island overlooks a bay at 656 ft, perfect for catapulting yourself off of and enjoying the views on the way down to the calm waters. If you would prefer more calming pursuits like scuba diving, the array of coves and caves scattered around the Greek coastline should more than suffice.
Greece is surprisingly home to a number of fascinating creatures, making it one of the best places in Europe to see wildlife. From dolphins to bears and everything in between, Greece’s national parks offer incredible wildlife encounters all year round.
So, whether you want to see water buffalo and flamingos in their native habitat of the wetlands around Lake Kerkini or want to go loggerhead sea turtle spotting in Zakynthos, Greece is the place for you.
The Patras Carnival
The Patras Carnival or, as it’s known by locals, the Patrino Karnavli is the largest festival of its kind in Greece and has been running for more than 180 years. Not just a single event, the carnival includes balls, parades, hidden treasure hunts and entirely separate celebrations for children to enjoy.
Proceedings climax on the final day of the celebrations, when a series of extravagant floats parade through the centre of St. Nikolaos Street until they arrive at the harbour of Patras, where the ritual burning of the carnival king float occurs. The grand parade takes place in February every year.
Terrace Of The Lions
In Naxos, near the now dry lake where Greek legend states the ancient sun god of Apollo was born, you’ll find four lion stone guards. The remnants of as many as 16 original lions, it is believed that the original sculptures were built in 600BCE by the people of Naxos in honour of Apollo. A must visit destination for any ancient history buff, the quartet of lions are one of the most popular archaeological excavations in Greece.
Things to consider:
Reliable sources of affordable transport can be found across Greece with Taxi, Metro and bus services commonly found across the country.
What’s more in the majority of the towns and smaller islands you can get around on foot, so you won’t even need to rely on transport services to arrive at your desired destination.
There are around 9000 places of accommodation for you to stay at in Greece, not least due to more than 12 million tourists visiting annually. Types of accommodation include rented properties, hotels, rented rooms, tourist resorts, villas, campsites and hostels. With the affordable living costs, many of the accommodation choices in Greece are affordable too, ensuring you can enjoy your break without concern for cost.