Greece is one of those rare places where ancient history is still very much a part of modern life. Visitors are as much drawn to the country’s epic intellectual history as its beauty and charm. Make time for the iconic features of the Acropolis of Athens, which include the Parthenon, the Erechtheion, and the Temple of Athena Nike. Mythology buffs will appreciate Crete, Olympia, Samos, and Naxos for their mythological significance. For a peaceful beach vacation, the island of Santorini is perfect.
Culture & History
Greek culture in the present day is a glorious mix of great classical and maritime heritage, music and dance, myth and legend, and a lifestyle that has developed over centuries. Even the ultra-modern, urbanite Athenians are still Greek to the core, and in rural districts and less-touristy islands, the local lifestyle is as laid back as they were at the beginning of the century. Although Greece has been heavily influenced by other cultures, it should be noted that Western cultures were equally influenced by the Classical Greek period, especially in the fields of literature, art, and architecture.
The roots of Western culture are in Greece. Step into the ring where Olympians first competed. Climb steps were hewn out of stone to Meteora’s monasteries, perched atop towering rocks. Contemplate the oracle’s insights from the grandeur of Delphi, take in a starlit drama at an ancient outdoor theatre, and be stunned by massive marble sculptures dredged up from the Aegean. But then you’ll encounter bold modern art, the melancholic throb of rembetika (blues songs), and artisans creating new work from traditional techniques. Greece has endless cultural pursuits and a calendar bursting with festivals, holidays, and exhibits.
Nowadays, Greece is at a crossroads between East and West, with its contemporary culture taking the best from its old traditions, religion, cuisine, language, and music, and blending it with selected influences from the 21st century.
Greek cooking offers an incredibly rich and diverse array of foods and beverages that are the culmination of literally thousands of years of living, cooking, and eating. While each Greek meal is fresh and inviting, it is also a trip back through Greece's history.
The core ingredients of Greek cooking are often found in the chef's garden. Feta and olive oil are universal across the country, but unique regional produce and cooking styles make traveling here a culinary adventure. Taste herbs and mountain greens you've never heard of, mussels steamed in ouzo, bread baked with olives, and fish straight from the sea. Taste-test crumbling feta, honeyed soft cheeses, and sharp, hard rounds. Find Italian influences in risottos and pasta and Turkish spices woven into delicate sweets. A traditional-cooking renaissance has chefs lifting time-honored recipes to new gourmet heights.
Socializing is a way of life in Greece. Cafes overflow with youngsters gossiping or older locals in a heated debate. Restaurants are filled with long tables for big gatherings and friends amble arm in arm down the street. Squares are the focal point, where life unfolds collectively. Immerse yourself, whether it's a coffee, a shot of ouzo, a chorus on the bouzouki, or a local celebration. Greeks are passionate and live life to the fullest, even at the most difficult times. The result is a country seemingly riddled with challenges, yet full of people loving life.
Whether you have already visited the historical center in the broad daylight or not, we highly suggest you take a night stroll around Athens as well. Without the heat of the sun, but with the beautifully illuminated paved pedestrian street, that almost seems to sparkle instead, it is such picturesque scenery, that it looks like it has been taken straight out of a fairy tale.
If you are in the mood for a cocktail after a long day of wandering, there are various rooftop bars to choose from, which will allow you to sip your drink while enjoying a breathtaking, panoramic view of Athens, including the historical center and, of course, the Acropolis.
Outdoors & Adventure
Whether you're a serious adrenaline junkie or dedicated beach bum, Greece delivers. Wander along cobbled Byzantine footpaths, hike up volcanoes, watch for dolphins and sea turtles, and cycle through lush forests. Meander through olive groves, idyllic villages, and petrified forests. Thrill-seekers will discover world-class kitesurfing, wreck diving, and rock-climbing locations with dizzying views. Or simply hop on a boat and set sail into the glittering blue beyond.
Feel the exhilaration of diving deep to underwater caves, ghostly shipwrecks, and colorful reefs, from Skiathos to Lefkas, Zakynthos, Santorini, and Corfu. Or go windsurfing and kite-surfing on Crete, Rhodes, Karpathos, Kos, Limnos, Samos, and Lesvos. Water skiing and wakeboarding are excellent along the Athenian Riviera as well as on Paros, Mykonos, Rhodes, Lefkas, Santorini, Halkida, and Crete.
Mountain sports will bring you to another side of Greece’s natural beauty, to lofty peaks, vertical cliffs, white-water gorges, rivers, lakes, forests, and trails running through it all. Also, your trekking options are endless; from the mountain of the gods, Olympus, to the pillars of Meteora; from the Greek part of the European trail network crossing the country from end to end, to the ancient Roman roads of Epirus; and from the paths through the forests of Pelion to the donkey trails of the islands, each will etch itself onto your memory. If mountain biking is your thing you’ll find excellent routes near big cities.
Take a look at all the amazing destinations we have selected for you and your group, read our experiences and advice in our blog, and check what’s people saying about us too!