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REASONS TO VISIT GREECE AND WHAT TO EXPECT
There are so many reasons to visit Greece but we’ve put gathered our top twelve to give you a taster of what to expect from this ancient land.
A myriad of experiences awaits you if you are visiting Greece.
… And it didn’t take long before Greece gave us its own unique set of ‘feels’.
You know, those feelings, emotions and visuals that evoke a sense of the country or an area that you find yourself in. Where an image or a faint scent can, for a brief moment, transport you to another time and place.
Greece is full of moments to make that kind of memory.
13 Top Reasons to Visit Greece: Quick Overview
- Greece Weather
- Greece’s Islands
- Ancient Temples and Ruins
- Cat’s Galore – a cat lover’s dream
- Blue and White Everywhere
- Extraordinary Tiny Churches and Clifftop monasteries
- Greek Food
- Dogs with responsibilities
- The Greek Alphabet
- Affordable Travel in Greece
- Hiking in Greece
- Greek Beaches
- Philoxenia – Greek Hospitality
13 REASONS TO VISIT GREECE
1. GREECE’S WEATHER
With Mediterranean climes, Greece is particularly enticing with its lure of almost guaranteed hot summers and mild winters.
The coastal areas provide the perfect escape if you are looking for either of these things.
The mountainous areas, however, can offer a cool summer retreat and in winter there is definitely a brisk nip in the air. The higher mountain peaks even attract snow.
Due to the diverse landscape in Greece, the weather is variable. Even so, it has limited rainfall in comparison to many European countries. Thus making Greece a popular destination in summer and winter.
In fact, we travelled through Greece at the end of autumn into winter and would say that was the ideal time to travel if you would like to avoid the hordes of tourists that descend in summer — particularly to the many islands that Greece is so well known for.
2. THE GREEK ISLANDS
You are definitely spoilt for choice when it comes to deciding what to visit in Greece.
Not only do you have the Greece mainland to explore, but Greece also offers more islands than you could visit — more than 6000. 123 of which are inhabited.
Choosing which island to visit is like being in a sweet shop …
Do you go for the most popular?
A known favourite?
Or do you try something you’ve not tried before?
Of the many reasons to visit Greece, having such a diverse choice means there is likely to be something for everyone.
Will you travel to one of the most famed of the Greek islands or find one of the more remote islands with fewer visitors?
Renting a sailboat in Greece will allow you to see as many as possible. And, as an added bonus, the majority of Greek marinas don’t charge for mooring, which means that you can save a great deal of money.
🏝 Click here to find out the costs for renting a yacht from Boataround (4.8/5 star rating on Trustpilot) – you can also hire a skipper if you need one.
Santorini in winter is a fantastic choice, enabling you to enjoy its beauty without the crowds. Or perhaps Mykonos, Corfu or Rhodes?
Over tourism of some of its islands has led the Greece tourism industry to attract tourists to its other islands that fall under the radar. So spread the love and perhaps visit Tinos, one of the 33 Cyclades islands in Greece.
Tinos is more secluded but still has sandy beaches and white-washed buildings. Those in the know say it has a foodie reputation and it is on Tinos that you could sample local, Angela Rouggeri’s malathouni cheese.
If you are a fan of the film, Mamma Mia, you may want to explore the island where much of the film was made, the island of Skopelos — you can even take a bus tour of all the Mamma Mia filming locations.
Here’s the Dancing Queen clip from the movie to get you in the mood and to give you some stunning glimpses of this Greek island.
3. GREEK ANCIENT ARTIFACTS
Greece is home to so many amazing ancient Greek monuments and artifacts – the Greek Gods favoured this part of the world it seems.
You can certainly get your fill of ancient Greek architecture, culture and mythology in this mythical land and if you have an interest in this type of history, then that is reason enough to visit Greece.
During our Greece trip, we visited the most famous of these ancient areas including Olympus, Delphi, Sparta and the Acropolis in Athens – but also found so many ruins off the beaten path.
Greece has no less than 18 UNESCO Heritage Listed sites and hundreds of archeological sites and museums. With a history rich in ancient culture, art and architecture Greece is a destination of choice for discoveries for lovers of history and Greek mythology.
Towards the end of our Greece campervan trip, I have to admit that we did succumb to ‘ancient ruin fatigue’ – crumbling columns that once held up the homes of the ancient Greeks and their Gods and Goddesses no longer held their initial appeal. We had become desensitized to their allure.
But luckily there are so many other reasons to visit Greece that our developed lacklustre attitude towards the hundreds of Greek ruins had little impact on our continued enjoyment of the country.
4. GREEK CATS
Greece is full of cats and kittens.
Even amongst the ancient ruins, you are likely to stumble upon either a brazen Tom demanding your attention or a tiny whiskered face, peeping out from behind giant ancient columns.
The Greeks don’t seem to see the cats as a nuisance. Indeed, many locals we talked to said they were useful for keeping the vermin down and the villagers took on a communal responsibility for looking after the strays.
5. MASSES OF BLUE AND WHITE
Many of you will already associate the blue framed windows and whitewashed walls with Greece. Social media is awash with images from the popular Greek island of Santorini — instantly recognisable with its blue and white-domed churches overlooking the turquoise ocean.
Not only will you find this countrywide decorative taste in Greece’s buildings and homes but its blue and white flag will fly patriotically almost everywhere you go.
6. TINY GREEK CHURCHES
Europe is full of churches, and huge decorative buildings dominating many of the city and town squares.
But Greece, Greece surpasses these with its extraordinary monasteries built into the sides of mountains and balanced precariously atop pinnacles, such as those found in Meteora and Lousios Gorge.
Its plethora of tiny churches are found in the unlikeliest of places, hidden high on mountain tops, built into rock crevices and on remote coastlines, miles from anywhere.
7. GREEK FOOD
The reasons to visit Greece don’t just pertain to the sights you’ll see, but your other senses are also catered for.
The most famous of all the Greek foods has to be their olive oil, which also happens to be an ingredient in most Greek dishes.
One Greek family of four told us that they use about 3kg of olive oil per fortnight. So it is hardly surprising to learn that Greece is also one of the top three olive oil-producing countries in the world.
Greece’s lush pastures and its free-roaming sheep and goats (that you’ll most likely encounter meandering on the roads at some point during your trip) mean that Greek feta is also a favourite.
Local olives and feta are a great accompaniment to Greek country bread (Horiatiko Psomi).
Don’t miss out on some of the top foods to try while in Greece, such as taramasalata, dolmades, moussaka, souvlaki, gyros … and of course baklava for dessert.
8. DOGS WITH JOBS
Stray dogs aren’t exclusive to Greece, in fact, they are common sights in Eastern Europe particularly, but along with their feline counterparts they are to be frequently spotted wandering along the streets.
However, you are also likely to come across dogs gainfully employed shepherding sheep or cattle. On many occasions, we came across a herd being nudged along the road by a few dogs, avidly keeping their flock on track and protected.
The tradition of using livestock guardian dogs has been around for about 2000 years. But those of us from places like the UK, USA or Australia are more used to seeing dogs herding the sheep with farmers, rather than protecting and moving them along streets, without the owner, to find different pastures.
The Greek dogs that guard the livestock are ‘imprinted’ with the herd from a young age and will mingle and protect the herd.
Therefore, it’s advisable not to get too close as they could see you as a threat to the herd.
While we were travelling, I got too close to look at a cute calf and didn’t see the dog sitting in the grass.
The dog sure saw me though and let me know in no uncertain terms with a deep growl that I needed to back away real quick.
9. “IT’S ALL GREEK TO ME”
Many of the signs are written in Greek – a little tricky for those among us who aren’t used to interpreting the Greek alphabet. But this is another ancient facet we should admire in Greece.
The Greek alphabet is the ancestor of all modern European alphabets.
We may have heard of the Alpha and Omega but not necessarily recognise them in print.
You also quickly realise where the idiom, it’s all Greek to me, may have come from when you are trying to decipher the road sign ahead.
If you are driving in Greece, it helps to keep a sense of humour.
We use a good tension breaker when things are getting a bit heated on the navigation front and change into our driving personas of Lady Penelope and Parker, which gives us a laugh and reminds us to take things less seriously.
10. AFFORDABLE TRAVEL
Another great reason to visit Greece is that it is easier to travel on a budget here relative to many of its European counterparts. Greece uses the Euro currency.
Popular tourist destinations in Greece can be expensive in summer, but if you travel out of season, such as when we flew from Athens to Santorini in December, we were able to get up to 60% off the summer rate in a boutique hotel.
The cost of food is cheaper and it won’t break the bank to eat out. We travel on a budget and normally cook our own food rather than dining out, but these chicken pitas and chips only set us back 2 euros each in Sparti.
11. GREECE HIKING
Greece has plenty of hills, mountains and gorges just perfect for exploring and hiking.
The Meteora area and Vikos Gorge in northern Greece are both popular hiking areas. You can read more about the two hikes we did in these areas in our Greece road trip post here.
In the Peloponnese in the south, another popular hike is in Lousios Gorge. This hike takes you past more ancient Greek ruins, an ancient tiny chapel and magnificent old monasteries built into the gorge mountainsides, Prodromou Monastery and the old and new Philophosou Monastery.
>>> READ MORE: Lousios Gorge Hike, Greece
12. GREECE BEACHES
Pebbled, black volcanic sands, white sands, shallow bays, long strands, remote or full of water sports – the variety goes on and on.
For us, being able to park the campervan on so many beautiful beaches and watch the day fade while listening to the gently lapping waves was bliss. That was in winter – the beaches in summer are alive with activity.
When I was younger I had a windsurfing holiday on the Greek island of Lefkada, in Vassiliki and before that, I went scuba diving in Corfu.
Whether you are looking for quiet relaxation or an active beach holiday – the beaches of Greece and its coastline are another reason to visit Greece, in summer or winter.
13. PHILOXENIA – GREEK HOSPITALITY
And the last, but certainly not least, reason to visit Greece? Philoxenia of course.
Translated literally, it means love of strangers, and once you visit Greece you’ll know all about this welcoming hospitality extended to you.
This ancient virtue of generosity toward strangers, originates in Greek mythology but has survived the centuries and lives on in the Greek culture of today.
We experienced this time and again while we travelled through Greece and lost count of how many shots of homemade ouzo we were encouraged to try.
One gentleman gave us a half-hour recount of the importance of Greek mythology in his area and all while he dug a trench to clear weeds from a local stream … to help the community.
THINGS TO DO IN GREECE
With so many reasons to visit Greece, you are spoilt for choice on experiences to choose.
Dive in here and get lost in all the amazing tours and experiences on offer in Greece.
REASONS TO VISIT GREECE … That’s a Wrap
With a rich Greek culture, numerous archaeological sites (many of which are heritage sites), warm people, delicious food, old towns and fabulous scenery, Greece is a fabulous option to satisfy your wanderlust.
And with so many islands and Greek destinations to choose from, there is bound to be something that will tickle your fancy.
These are just a few of the reasons to visit Greece — and you’ll discover plenty more on your own visit to Greece.
Have you been to Greece? What was your favourite destination?
We love to hear about your travels too. Drop us a line here.
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