By Yanna Darilis
While living in Greece I had the great fortune of filming 70 travel segments for my show Hellenic Weekly. This was a truly unforgettable experience for me, and how I truly discovered the magic of Greece. This summer I suggest spending your vacation in Greece.
Greece offers a full vacation type destination whether a cultural traveller, beach lover, mountain climber, religious experience traveller, gourmet and wine seeker, relaxation destinations, or party animal! Greece is your pick.
Greece's history, people, culture, mythology and breathtaking landscape have attracted visitors throughout the ages. Sought after for its strategic position between the east and west, with its natural ports, and revitalizing energy, Greece has always been a special place in the world.
During your travels I hope you will learn about our history, visit our museums, archeological sites and byzantine churches, swim in our blue seas, climb our mountains, drink and eat our natural Mediterranean cuisine and dance under the stars until sunrise. I hope you too can live the magic of Greece....
Traveling to Greece is literally an amazing, enlightening experience; after your arrival to Athens and spending a few days to site see, I suggest grouping islands together and island hopping. Also suggested are the beautiful mountainous areas of Greece as a destination for a different experience. Greece has so much to offer that one trip is not enough. Once visiting Greece I guarantee you will be back for more! Besides the gorgeous beaches, breathtaking sunsets, great sunny, dry weather, lots of entertainment, etc., etc., Greece does something to you, a sort of awakening, we all find something familiar in Greece. I believe this is why so many foreigners keep coming back, want to live in Greece and end up living in Greece!
DESTINATIONS TO CONSIDER:
MAINLAND/ARGOSONIC ISLANDS: ATHENS, SOUNIO, PARNASSOS, , BUTTERFLY ISLANDS, HYDRA, SPETSES
PELOPONESE: MANI, SPARTA, MONEMVASIA, TRIPOLI, OLYMPIA, PYRGOS, NAFPLIO, ARGOS
CYCLADES ISLANDS: MYKONOS, TINOS, ANDROS, SIFNOS, DELOS, PAROS, NAXOS, ANTIPAROS, AMORGOS, SYROS, SERIFOS, MILOS
CRETE: HERAKLEION, CHANIA, RETHYMNOS, AGIOS NICHOLAOS
EPTANISA ISLANDS: CORFU/KERKYRA, ZAKINTHOS, KEFALONIA, ITHAKI, LEFKADA
EPIRUS: IOANNENA, METSOVO
MACEDONIA: THESSALONIKI, VERIA, VERGINA, KASTORIA
DODECANESE ISLAND: RHODES, KOS, KALYMNOS, NISSIROS, PATMOS, LEROS
Working with a travel agency is strongly suggested to get the best out of your trip. You can also consider renting a yacht and crew for a real Greek experience! Be sure to eat at traditional taverns to get a taste of authentic Greek cuisine. As for souvenirs, suggested must haves are: replicas of antiquity, Greek organic products, gold jewelry, Christian icons, paintings, rugs, Greek leather goods such as bags and sandals.
I also want to share some information with you about Greece below that will help you understand our culture better before travelling.
History of Greece
The history of Greece dates back to over 5000 years. Its early history includes fascinating achievements by the Minoans and Myceneans. The first Greek speaking tribes came down from north, known as the Dorians. The Greek tribes that lived on the coasts of Asia Minor were Ionian. To be considered a true Hellene you must by born of Hellenic parents, speak the language, have the same religion, work and pay taxes to the Greek city-state you lived in, and abide by that state's common law.
The first Greek philosophers (pre-Socratic era) came from Miletus, Asia Minor and paved the way for latter renown thinkers such as Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle. Their philosophies and theories have been proven to be ahead of their time, and are highly respected and studied by scholars globally.
The People of Greece
The people of Greece have survived over 3,000 years of foreign occupation, beginning back to the invasion of the Roman Empire, through to the invasion of the Ottoman Turks and the fall of Constantinople in1453, which resulted in over four hundred years of Ottoman occupation in Greece and other Balkan regions. The movement for independence started in 1821, and victory was marked with the creation of the Modern Greek state in 1829. Greece underwent further struggles with the Greco-Turkish War, and the World Wars, bearing witness to the Nazi invasion and occupation during World War II.
Despite the invasions and occupations, Greece and its people managed to stay together, continue their culture, religion, language and celebrate old traditions until today. Strong family values, deep religious beliefs and loyalty to the motherland and culture have kept Hellenism alive. Greeks are also famous for their hospitality.
The Greek Lifestyle
The Greeks have always lived for "today". They are famous for their philosophy and very laid-back attitudes. They live for the pursuit of happiness, as the famous philosopher Aristotle believed, "is the purpose of life". They always seemed to have managed throughout the country's distressed periods of time, because of their instilled beliefs in their culture, deep rooted nationalism and strong passion. Greece's power lies within the people, their philosophy, resourcefulness, creativity and protective nature over their families and property. After visiting Greece all foreigners leave with a new outlook: Life is short. Live, love, laugh, drink ouzo, and dance through your emotions.
The Greeks do not usually eat breakfast. They will sip on a cup of coffee for hours, maybe accompanied with something light. Lunch is a big part of the day and is usually followed by an afternoon nap, however, times have changed and less Greeks sleep in the afternoon these days. Awakening from their nap, they sip on another cup of coffee. Dinner is usually lighter than lunch.
A night out on the town with friends is always in fashion. From cool hip bars to big live Greek entertainment establishments called "Bouzoukia", the Greeks are social by nature and enjoy music and dancing. In short, they live life to the fullest and usually do so until sunrise!
Experience the magic of Greece this year!
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