Greece has long been known as the crossroads of Europe as it sits in a geographically advantageous position. Most of its landmass sits in the Mediterranean Sea and is bordered by Aegean and Ionian Seas. The birth of western civilization is said to have occurred here around 3200BC. Centuries of conflict, invading peoples, and exploration created a melting pot of people and culture. The Greek Empire began its descent in 323 BC and soon became a part of the Roman Empire and later the Ottoman Empire. It was not independent again until 1830.
3 things you probably didn’t know about Greece
Greece is part of the European Union and uses the Euro. However unlike other places in Europe cash is king here. ATM’s are available and most transactions happen using cash.
Meal times are much different in Greece. Lunch is typically taken around 3pm and dinner at 9pm or later.
Greece has 3000 islands, 170 of which are inhabited!
What are some must-visit sites?
Everywhere you turn in Greece you will likely encounter something of historical significance. Unlike some countries, the Greeks truly value their history and preserve it. In Athens don’t miss the major tourist sites like the Acropolis, Olympic Stadium, the Tower of the Winds (the Roman commercial center), Agora (the Greek commercial center), and the National Archeological Museum are all important historical sites. A trip to at least one of the Greek Islands will give you a taste of the marine culture of the country. The cities of Delphi, Corinth, and Thessaloniki are also worth visiting. You could spend months in Greece and never see everything!
Where can you see some hidden highlights of this country?
The Islands – maybe not so hidden but avoid some of the bigger tourist heavy stops like Crete, Santorini, and Mykanos and opt for smaller islands like Patmos and Naxos. There is a great ferry system that operates throughout the islands and there are also options to fly to some islands. These are a national treasure and highlight the diversity and beauty of Greek culture.
Northern Greece – Most visitors stick to Athens, southern Greece and the islands but a visit to northern Greece provides a completely different experience. Much of the land in northern Greece changed hands throughout turbulent times and is considered “new” in comparison to southern Greece. Along with Aegean coastline there are lots of lakes, rivers, forests and of course Mt. Olympus the fabled home to the Greek gods.
Why this country should be on YOUR bucket list
Greece has an amazing history and is a mix of old and new. The country is facing serious economic issues and tourists can find very good deals for a fraction of what they would have cost a few years ago. The country is very safe to visit and a good family friendly destination. Whether you want to take a romantic getaway or an action packed tour there is something in Greece to appeal to your needs.
Have you ever dreamed of visiting Greece? Is Greece on your travel bucket list?