GREECE, NUMBER 1 DESTINATION ACCORDING TO INSIDER
So, with that being said, let’s take a look at our ultimate guide to Greece.
With beautiful weather, Greece has a ton of beaches that vary by preference. Experience a wave pool in a natural hot spot at Seitan Limania in Crete. And because of its rich ancient history, Greece has several sites that are worth paying a visit. The Parthenon on the Acropolis is made of marble and holds the famous statue of Athena, the patron goddess of Athens. Then there’s Delphi, which was a popular pilgrimage spot for those looking to receive guidance from the Oracle at Delphi and pay respect to the Greek god Apollo, known for music, healing, light, and prophecy. You’ll find temples, a stadium, a theater, and ancient ruins. If you prefer mountains over beaches, you can also climb Mount Olympus, a great trip with different levels to start, depending on your ability.
At night, venture into Greek nightlife. The islands are packed with beach bars, drink specials, and nightclubs with DJs. If you’re there during Greek Orthodox Easter, you’ll experience the most important holiday in Greece, when festivities last for a whole week, with candlelit processions, lamb roasts, and fireworks.
Greece has one of the largest coastlines in Europe. It’s only natural that tons of seafood is caught off the coast every day. So, when you visit, try dishes featuring lobster, octopus, fresh mussels, and grilled fish served with oil and lemon. Other must-haves in Greece include olives, which have played an important role in Greek society for thousands of years. They were used in lamp fuel, in medicine, and for rituals. Olives are a large part of the Greek diet, eaten as a snack or as olive oil in many dishes. Gyros are the quintessential Greek street food. Seasoned meat is put in a pita and topped with onions, tomato, lettuce, cucumbers, and a sauce called tzatziki. The dish originates from Anatolia and the Middle East and was introduced to Greece following World War II, when people emigrated from those regions.
The most popular cheese of Greece, feta, was first recorded in Homer’s “Odyssey” when Cyclops Polyphemus was transporting sheep’s milk in bags made of animal stomachs. The milk had curdled and taken the form of feta cheese. It’s been popular ever since, and it’s still made with sheep’s milk, sometimes with goat’s milk added in. Dolmas, or stuffed grape leaves, are filled with meat, rice, herbs, or pine nuts. They’re often served with meals or as an appetizer. There are variations of this dish that are made in surrounding regions, making its origins hard to place. For dessert, make sure to try some baklava, a thin, flaky filo pastry filled with honey and ground nuts. Its exact origins are unclear, with different regions placing claim on the dessert, but it is known that the desert took on different forms during the Ottoman Empire. It’s now a treat that is often found at any celebration.
In the 1930s, it was ordered that all the buildings be plastered with white lime. Lime was thought to have antibacterial properties, was inexpensive, and was good for reflecting sunlight, keeping the buildings cooler during the summer. The blue comes from a cleaning agent called loulaki, which was found in most Greek homes. A few drops were mixed with lime, and the blue roof was born.
With its Mediterranean climate, Greece enjoys mild winters and dry summers. It’s mostly sunny all year long, but in northern parts of Greece, some areas get snow. July and August are packed with tourists, but that also means that there are more transit options to the remote Greek islands. While there’s not really a “bad” time to go, most people recommend visiting between April and October, as it’s warm enough to swim from May to September. But if you’re on a budget, you might find better deals from November to March.