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Greece Tourism And Travel Guide
12° C / 53.5° F
April to September
7 to 10 Days
Eleftherios Venizelos International Airport (Athens)
Greece is a country on the eastern edge of Europe, a land that marks the end of the western world and beginning of the eastern. The country is one of the oldest civilisations of the world and has seen many a bloody wars between Ottomans and Christians, Turks and Greeks, crusaders of religion and intolerance. Greece has also been a beautiful tourism spot for the longest time, marking some of the oldest historical sites, amazing beaches, seas that are aqua blue and ancient cobbled streets that wind like a maze. If you are feeling the blues this summer, plan a trip to this beautiful country floating in the Mediterranean and Aegean seas. Here’s a travel guide to get you safely and happily through Greece.
How to Reach
Greece is well connected to the rest of the world by not only air and road but also waterways. Some of the best Mediterranean cruises in fact, either stop at Greece or end there.
You can fly from India’s major cities like Mumbai and New Delhi to Greece’s Elefthérios Venizélos International Airport (Athens). There are direct flights from these cities and stopover flights from Bangalore. The visa procedure must be initiated at least a month in advance of your date of travel because the embassy takes around 15-20 days to give you the visa.
Trains from all over Europe travel to Greece. You have Eurail from countries like Italy, Bulgaria, Croatia and Turkey coming to Greece. These are pretty scenic rides and must be undertaken for their sheer beauty of experience. Special discounts are always available for students of any country.
India to Greece is not a road trip we recommend, even though it is possible. The road is long, dusty and full of hassles through countries like Pakistan, Iran, Turkey etc. While in Greece, you can undertake road travel between towns and cities as the roads are very good.
Greek Cruises are the best ways to undertake Island-Hopping in this country. Special tours are arranged for islands in the Mediterranean and the Aegean Sea. Some of the best ones include Adriatic Odyssey, the Voyage to Antiquity and the Jewels of the Cyclades Cruise. You can also undertake a cruise from India to Greece that stops at Turkey too.
Weather and Best Time to Visit
Greece is a destination that is great to explore almost all year round, however, specific seasons deem it more suitable than the others. For example the summer and spring seasons.
Spring (April to June):
With a mild temperature range of 11-15°C, Spring sees some day highs of 19°C as well by the end of May. There are flowers and trees and shrubs in full blossom and the sun is warmer on the skin as months progress towards summer. This is a busy shoulder season here but you can still get some solitude from too much tourist crowd.
Summer (June to August):
Summer is the busiest time in Greece with the best weather ever. Scarce rains, mild heatwaves and a temperature range of 21-25°C make beaches and sea water worth long explorations as well as leave the historic sights and mountain treks open for tours. The rates of almost all touristy things are high in these months, from accommodation to transport and even souvenir shopping.
Autumn (September to October):
The sun turns away and chilly winds begin to set in again, with average temperature of 19-24°C. Autumn marks the drying of air, falling of leaves and a strong welcome to winters. This is still a good time to explore Greece and the Grecian beaches before they go cold. Discounts are highly given and this is a great time for budget travellers.
Winter (November to March):
Winters in Greece are wet and very cold. Snowfall is also seen in some places, with January and February as the coldest months. Winter is not the most ideal holiday time here unless you want to experience the Christmas week here and the traditional orthodox Greek rituals. Even though it is not freezing cold always, the water temperature is quite low to swim or do anything else. If you are still looking at visiting, then Rhodes and Crete Islands are warmer, even in winter.
Things to Do
Sightseeing Historical Places:
Go on a historic sightseeing spree when in Greece, from the famed Parthenon to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Acropolis in Athens. You must also see the Panathenaic Stadium where the first ever Olympic games were held in 6th Century B.C. There is also the Temple of Zeus and Erechtheum Temple of Athena and Poseidon (Built- 410 B.C.) to check out, as well as the old neighbourhood of Plaka in Athens (also known as God’s neighbourhood).
Fall in Love with Santorini:
An island of white washed houses with blue domes, cobalt sky and aqua waters, Santorini is the land of Mills and Boons Novels. Oia is a stunning simple village in Santorini and a must-visit with its small windmills, churches, cobbled streets and stone steps along with pink bougainvilleas over white houses. The cafes serve fresh Greek dishes and wines, while you enjoy views that make postcards look fake.
Go Island-hopping :
Island hopping in Greece is a pretty coveted activity, and also a family holiday cruise maker. You can plan to board a local 5-7 day cruise through the Mediterranean or Aegean Sea or go on your own. Cover islands like Mykonos, Dodecanese, Syros, Syros, Santorini, Crete and Corfu with 1-2 nights stay at each. If you go by yourself then you have the liberty to stay back at an island you liked it or move away earlier than planned if you didn't.
Discover the Greek Gods:
The adventures and legends of Greek Gods have taken the world by storm, literally. Especially after Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson Series. A special Percy Jackson tour in Greece takes you through Mount Olympia and all the sacred as well as legendary places of Gods. You must also explore the Olympic Games track in the mountains and challenge your companions to a race.
Nightlife in Crete:
Crete is called the nightlife capital of Greece, and why not? With its collection of bars, pubs, nightclubs and cafes that all thump to music and bathe in wine even after daybreak. For the best nightlife scene, head to Rethymno town and dance until dawn breaks, with live music wafting through Greek nightclubs. Drink lots of Raki and Ouzo. Come day and you can explore the Eastern side of Crete that is renowned for beaches and chapels and frescoed churches.
Greeks delights include fresh breads, mezzes drilled with olive oil, salads of various fresh veggies like cucumber, red onions, tomatoes, olives and watermelons and various cheeses to go with it. Then there are keftedes or koftes, meat platters, gemistas (stuffed vegetables with rice and spices), mushroom pie, split-pea and bean soups along with yogurt-honey breakfast/deserts. The best places to eat tradition Greek food is in the Plaka district in Athens. There are also local tavernas downtown like Avli, To Steki tou Ilia and Diporto that are hidden haunts but tingle your taste buds like no other.
Do not leave Greece without the exceptional souvenirs like blue ceramic pottery items, handmade leather sandals, jars of sweet honey, olive oil bottles and beauty products with essential oils and Greek herbs. The evil eye pendents and bracelets are also quite common take-aways. The best places to shop in Greece are in the capital Athens - Monastiraki and Plaka.