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Greece

Sunshine, blue seas, and mythology
Welcome to the land where gods once roamed, where democracy was forged, and the sunsets are the most beautiful in the world. 

Greece is the grandeur of the Acropolis, and the drama of myth. It is the charm of unspoilt Greek islands in the glittering Aegean sea. It is the delight of fresh fish, warm Koulouri, ripe olives, and soft, crumbling feta cheese. It is the hedonistic warmth of wine, and ouzo, and hours of dancing. 
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Welcome to the land where gods once roamed, where democracy was forged, and the sunsets are the most beautiful in the world. 

Greece is the grandeur of the Acropolis, and the drama of myth. It is the charm of unspoilt Greek islands in the glittering Aegean sea. It is the delight of fresh fish, warm Koulouri, ripe olives, and soft, crumbling feta cheese. It is the hedonistic warmth of wine, and ouzo, and hours of dancing. 

Location

Located in south-eastern Europe, Greece is bordered by Albania, Bulgaria, the Republic of Macedonia and Turkey. Its location makes it a popular destination, with flights from countries in Europe taking five hours or less, and trips to Greece from India, taking only seven hours or so. It’s no surprise that Greece attracts travellers from around the world all throughout the year. 

When to go

The best time to visit Greece however is during spring (from mid-April to mid-June), and autumn (September to October). The weather, warm and sunny, makes it ideal conditions for island-hopping, swimming, sailing, and other outdoor activities. In summer (July and August), higher temperatures make it a boom for Greece’s tourism. This period attracts crowds, and prices for travel packages, especially group travel, will be at their peak. During winter, when Greece’s weather is cold, accompanied by rain, hotels and restaurants on many islands will be closed.

Where to go

Thanks to the country’s unparalleled history, heritage and modern culture, discerning travellers are spoilt for choice when it comes to choosing from the many places to visit in Greece.  There are 18 UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Greece, including the Acropolis of Athens, the sanctuary of Delphi, and Olympia, the location of the ancient Olympic Games. And there are countless more iconic ancient Grecian temples, churches, palaces and monasteries to explore, interwoven with threads of myth, and history.

Greece’s cities boast a blend of classical antiquity and a modern vibrancy. Contemporary art museums, avant-garde galleries, designer shops,  outdoor cinemas offer endless entertainment. At night, tavernas and bars come to life, transforming cities into an upbeat, lively hubs, keeping locals and visitors abuzz throughout the night.

No trip to Greece could be complete without a tour of Greece's famed islands, of which there are hundreds. The most distinctive of these are Crete, Mykonos, and Santorini, but each island is distinctive in its own way, and all are equally captivating. Days can be spent hiking up volcanoes, swimming with turtles, sailing on the blue sea, or blissfully enjoying the warm sunshine with a chilled drink in hand.
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At a glance

Language

Greek
The official language of Greece is Greek. Many people also understand and speak English, and other common foreign languages learned are German, French and Italian.

Currency

Euro
The currency in Greece is the Euro. At the moment of posting, the Greece currency to INR conversion is 1 Euro = 78.14 INR.

Weather

Greece enjoys a typical Mediterranean climate pattern. There are two seasons: summer with warm temperatures between April and September, which is the best time to visit Greece; and winter is colder and wet from October to March.

There are varying weather patterns and temperatures across the country based on region. For instance, while in Athens, the weather might be hot, it could be relatively colder in Santorini. Additionally, the weather on the islands often change drastically within short periods of time.

Expert travel advice

Travel tips and insider advice that have made the most difference to us, sourced from our
community of like-minded travellers and global experts.

Take a road trip around Meteora   

Recommended by Road Affair

“It’s these upright pillars of rock that give the area its name; Meteora roughly translates to “suspended in the air”. This landscape alone would be enough of a draw for tourists, but what makes Meteora special is that on the cliffs of many of these rocks are Greek Orthodox monasteries which were built in the Middle Ages. Built in such a remote place to avoid the invading Turks, the monasteries themselves seem “suspended in the air.”

This popular travel blog by thrill-seeking couple Jazzy and Ben offers readers tips and tricks on how to travel the world on a budget.

Cruise around Corfu   

Recommended by Suitcase Magazine

“On Corfu, you don’t need a sailing license for a boat of up to 50 horsepower, so anchor away if you’re keen to get on your sea legs. This is potentially the best way to take in the scenes of the southeast coast and with a seafood taverna handily positioned at the end of every jetty, you can make a very good attempt at a calamari-crawl of the south.”

A multimedia travel magazine that help keep trips as unique, interesting and cost-effective as the readers are.

Go to a name day party!   

Recommended by Culture Trip

“For many Greeks, the name day celebration is actually more important than a birthday, especially for adults, and it is customary to call and congratulate someone on their name day. The person celebrating often treats his/her guests to either an open house or for a drink at a taverna.”

This whip-smart hybrid of a magazine and travel site is one of the world’s most popular resources for planning trips.

Spend a wild weekend in Mykonos   

Recommended by Culture Trip

“Without a doubt, if you are a party animal, the best island for you is Mykonos. A favourite among socialites and jetsetters, the island that never sleeps boasts wild (and we do mean wild) all-day beach parties, a wealth of nightclubs and bars plus a vibrant LGBTQ scene. Spend the day relaxing on the beach, cocktail in hand, and the night dancing to the best DJ sets until sunrise.”

This whip-smart hybrid of a magazine and travel site is one of the world’s most popular resources for planning trips.

Incredible places to visit in Greece

Mykonos

This island is Greece's party capital and a popular hangout among A-list celebrities. So don't be surprised if you bump into your favourite star at one of Mykonos’s famous beach clubs! During the day, there’s plenty to see and do, from visiting the island’s famous windmills to shopping at the many boutique stores on the island, or even visiting one of Mykonos’s mascot pelicans!

Delos

Delos island is just a short boat ride away from Mykonos. It was the birthplace of the sun god Apollo and the moon goddess Artemis, and is today a UNESCO World Heritage area. The entire island is like an open-air museum tour - there are many beautiful temples dedicated to the gods on the island, an impressive collection of statues, and seven famous marble lions that are the guardians of the sanctuary

Paradise Beach

As one of Mykonos’s most famous party beaches, Paradise Beach is always a buzz of activity, attracting crowds who lounge on its golden sands, cool off in blue waters, and spend the nights drinking and dancing till morning. If you’re looking for the ultimate party experience in Mykonos, this is where to go.

The Church of Panagia Paraportiani

The chapel of Panagia (Virgin Mary) Paraportiani is located in the town of Chora, at the entrance of Kastro neighborhood, next to the sea. It is one of the most famous churches in Mykonos, as well as the most photographed because of its architectural quirkiness: the Paraportiani church actually consists of five small separate churches that were built one on top or next to the other.

Athens

Greece’s capital, Athens is the perfect introduction to the rest of the country. With rich culture and a history spanning 3400 years, Athens promises a lively urban ambience and at the same time, will make you think about ancient philosophers, kings, heroes and Gods.

Acropolis & the Parthenon

The Acropolis of Athens, crowned by the pillared Parthenon, is the icon of Greece and is one of the world’s most famous monuments, visited by everyone from Jacqueline Kennedy to Jennifer Lopez. It is here that the concept of democracy first developed, as were the foundations of politics, philosophy and free speech. Walking amongst the temple’s gleaming white marble pillars with this in mind is a heady historical experience indeed.

Acropolis Museum

Located by the southeastern slope of the Acropolis hill, the Acropolis Museum whisks visitors away on a time-travelling expedition. It houses a large collection of marble sculptures and other ancient treasures that offer a glimpse into the lives of ancient Greeks. Noteworthy among the exhibits is the showcase of the Parthenon Marbles, a group of sculptures, and architectural elements, taken from the Parthenon itself, ‘which can be seen through the museum’s glass walls.’

Athens Central Market

The Dimotiki Agora, aka the modern-day Athens Central Market, is a sensory overload of colourful fruit, vegetables, seafood, spices and herbs, cuts of meat, and a cacophony of tens of thousands of locals who noisily haggle with store vendors over their weekly groceries. It’s a foodie or photography enthusiasts dream, with an intriguing sight in every direction. The food market is found halfway between the Monastiraki Square and the Omania Square.

Cape Sounion

It takes an hour and a half to drive from Athens to the Temple of Poseidon at Cape Sounion, but this landmark is definitely worth the journey. The temple is a majestic and striking sight, with its aged marble columns standing tall against the deep blue Aegean sea. And it’s layered with stories of mythology and history. Do choose a tour package that includes time to watch the sunset. As the sun dips below the horizon, the sky is flushed with a riot of colour.

Delphi

Perched high on the slopes of Mt. Parnassus, surrounded by wildflowers, olive groves and pine woods and an amphitheatre of mountain massifs, Delphi is probably the most beautiful ancient site in Greece. Dedicated to the god Apollo, it was here that the most trusted oracle of the ancient world was situated, channeling prophecies from Apollo, on everything from domestic quarrels to wars. Whichever way you turn, towards the temple or the mountains, the impact is captivating.

Delphi Archaeological Museum

The Museum of Delphi exhibits artefacts found at the archaeological site, including offerings by pilgrims, sculptures and marble friezes. Noteworthy among the collection is a room dedicated to The Charioteer, a striking life-size bronze statue of a chariot driver found in 1896,  as well as a colossal statue of the mythical Sphinx, who according to myth, would stand on the crossroads at Delphi, challenging travellers with her famous riddles. 

Delphi Theatre

The theatre at Delphi is set further up the hill from the Temple of Apollo. It is one of the best preserved in Greece.  Musical competitions and events were conducted here as part of the Pythian Games, which were held in honour of Apollo every four years.

The Sanctuary of Athena Pronaia

The lovely, little Sanctuary of Athena Pronaia, is down the hill from the Temple of Apollo. It includes the remains of three temples dedicated to the goddess. Of these, Tholus is the most famous. Three of its columns still stand on a round podium - it may be the ruins of a temple, but it is a very photogenic one. Group tours sometimes exclude the Sanctuary from the itinerary, so make sure you insist on visiting it!

Temple of Apollo

The ruins of the Temple of Apollo at Delphi is built onto the hillside; the elegance of the Doric column and weathered stone undimmed by the age of centuries. To reach it requires a walk up hill (so wear sneakers, bring a water bottle, and wear a sunhat). From the temple, a grandiose view of the valley unfurls, filled with millions of olive trees as far as the eye can see. The story of ancient priestesses  making offerings to a slumbering god comes to life before your eyes

Santorini

Legend has it that the island of Santorini is actually the lost city of Atlantis. Whether that is true or not, with clusters of whitewashed houses trimmed in blue and more glorious sunsets than any island has a right to, Santorini sure feels like its real-world equivalent.

The two main villages in Santorini are Fira and Oia, but there are plenty of small wineries, villages, a red beach, a black beach and viewpoints to watch the sunset scattered around the island. And did you know there’s a volcano here?

Prophet Elias Monastery

The monastery of Prophet Elias is built on the highest peak of Santorini, near the village of Pyrgos. From this vantage point, one has a panoramic view of the entire island. According to locals, it is even possible to glimpse Crete on a very clear day. A small chapel houses rare ecclesiastical icons that date back to the 17th century.and works of art; and the monks also have a small gift shop where the sell wine, and olive oil.

Oia

Oia is one of the most photographed places in not just Santorini, but all of Greece - and for good reason. Small blue-domed chapels, pretty hotels and whitewashed houses overhung with pink, white and orange bougainvillea line the village; it’s every bit as charming as Instagram promises. The showstopper at Oia, however, is the sunset. Every evening, as the sun slips below the horizon, it flushes the sky with a riot of yellows, golds and reds, sparking impromptu applause from appreciative spectators.

Akrotiri

The archaeological site of Akrotiri is one of the best preserved in the Aegean. The city was destroyed by a volcanic eruption in the 16th century BC and completely covered in ash. Excavations have uncovered multi-storey buildings, decorated with wall paintings and containing furniture, including a Minoan toilet and a stone bathtub! It’s so sophisticated that legend has it Akrotiri is actually the legendary Atlantis - in some ways, that makes it even more fascinating.

Fira

Fira, the capital of Santorini, is located on the coastline opposite the volcano, and as such, offers a spectacular view of the cliff-ringed caldera and sparkling sea. The village boasts a variety of boutique shops, hotels, restaurants and tavernas, pubs and bars, and has a buzzing nightlife. Fira has its own port where cruise ships dock, from where the town can be reached via a cable car or a donkey ride.

Nea Kameni

Trekking to the top of Santorini’s still-active volcanic island Nea Kameni is quite a thrilling experience (don’t worry - it has been dormant since 1950, and is regularly monitored). Jet-black rocks, short, stubby grass and yellow flowers create a wild landscape around the crater. And from here, there’s an incredible view of the caldera. Group tours usually combine a trek to the top of Nea Kameni with a visit to the nearby sulphuric hot springs.

Crete

The island of Crete is where myth meets reality. Against the coastal waters as blue as the summer sky and dramatic tide-smoothed stretches of coast, the outlandish red of fields of poppies and aged candle-lit towns, the stories of the Iliad come alive, and the shape of mythical heroes and beasts flicker with the changing of the wind.

Elafonisi Beach

Elafonisi is a lovely little beach with white and pink sand and turquoise water. It’s the perfect spot to spend a quiet afternoon, lazing on the beach and taking in the pretty view, wading into the waves, which are shallow and warm, or pretend you’re in a movie scene by looking wistfully at the horizon, thinking of a lost love (real or imagined). You can reach the beach by boat or by taking a bus from Chania.

Knossos Palace

Anyone familiar with the myth of the Minotaur will want to visit the ancient Knossos Palace, located south of Heraklion near the north coast of Crete. Legend has it that this is where King Minos built a labyrinth for the famous mythological creature with the head of a bull and the body of a man. The palace was excavated and restored in the early 20th century. 
It’s beautifully decorated; throne room with its gypsum throne, the central courtyard, the theatre, an elegant dolphin wall fresco of a bull all speak of the grandeur and prosperity of the Minoans. The palace is made up of 1300 interconnected rooms, from throne rooms to crafting areas – a labyrinth, so to speak.

Heraklion

Heraklion is the capital and the largest city on the island of Crete. Although there’s plenty to see, don’t miss the Heraklion Archaeological Museum which contains more than10, 000 artefacts such as pottery, miniature sculptures, elegant gold jewellery, and frescoes, from a period of 5,000 years. Group tour packages will usually combine a visit of the Knossos Palace with the Heraklion Archaeological Museum.

Chania

Once the capital of Greece, Chania today is one of the prettiest towns you’ll visit. Hotels, elegant mansions, and waterfront tavernas ring the  Venetian port, filled with small boats and yachts. And in the White Mountains that frame the town, valleys full of orange trees and hills dotted by shepherd’s cottage make you feel gorgeously lost.

Samaria Gorge

The gorge in Samaria National Park, one of the largest in Europe, is best appreciated on a 6-hour hike - an arranged group tour means that you won’t have to worry about logistics and can just enjoy the scenery. The walk downhill zigzags through cypress forests, past white, pink and plum-purple wildflowers and small, open chapels built into the gorge side, and crisscrosses a small river. Hikers can enjoy a drink of orange juice or some ice cream at a cafe located at the end of the trail.

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