Ancient treasures and endless coastline
What doesn’t deserve a toast in a country where fragrant herbs grow wild and the sun shines 300 days a year? Start with an order of flaming feta alongside a heaping plate of baba ganoush and loaded souvlaki skewers. Then explore the ancient treasures of western civilization—the Parthenon, Acropolis, and the original Olympic stadium are all must-sees. But don’t get too lost in history: The here and now of Athens’ street art and Thessaloniki’s up-and-coming mixology scene deserve your attention as well. Did we mention Greece is Europe’s longest coastline? So raise a shot of ouzo and cheers with us.
Greece is synonymous with its idyllic islands. There are thousands of them dotting the Ionian, Medetteranian, and Aegean Seas, each with its own unique character. Mykonos will bring out your inner party animal with waterfront DJs, while Naxos is fun for the whole family with ruins to explore and plenty of water sports—banana boat anyone? If it’s a luxury getaway you’re after, a villa in Santorini with a cliffside terrace won’t disappoint. Wherever your island hopping takes you, it’s hard to go wrong when sun and sea are always on the menu.
In Athens, you can measure your days in delicious eats. Grab a Filo pastry and Cafe Freddo will hold you over while you visit the Acropolis and Pantheon. Grab a Gyro lunch on the go as you explore the street art of the Psirri neighborhood. Dinner is a late affair; so grab a waterfront cocktail before settling in a cozy taverna—expect to eat family style.
Despite having just over one million residents, Thessaloniki is one of those rare cities that feel like a small town. Perhaps, it’s the vibrant student population - you’ll notice the village atmosphere right away—and nowhere more so than the revamped waterfront. Here, you can enjoy artisan cocktails and casual tavernas: walk until you find one with live music and a view of the city’s emblem, the 15th century White Tower.
Peloponnese was once the heartland of a mighty empire. The ancient people who made their homes in Greece’s southern peninsula left behind striking ruins for you to explore today. Mycenaean domes, Golden Age temples, and Ottoman mosques dot the mountainous region between the Ionian and Aegean Seas. Two things you must do while here: tour the original Olympic stadium, and sample the local olives—the world has Peloponnese to thank for Kalamata olives.
Santorini might be the platonic ideal of a Greek Island: turquoise waters, whitewashed houses clinging to the cliffside, and views... so many views. Ironically, the best way to see it all is to get off the island. Hop on a day cruise around the black sand beaches to see the volcanic caldera in all its glory. Back on shore, you have to sample the local wine—the assyrtiko grape is known for crisp whites. Time your dinner to coincide with the sunset: seafood tastes better with the last rays of daylight.
“Eat, drink, and never sleep” is the motto of this party island, and you’ll be hard-pressed to resist the alluring beats of the waterfront bars. Though Mykonos is the smallest Cycladic island, its wealth of accessible beaches makes it the most popular. Head north for rugged seclusion or south for sandy luxury. Impress the locals by ordering the islander-favorite: Kremidopota onion pie. And don’t forget to treat yourself at one of the artisan boutiques in Mykonos Town.
Greece has a typical Mediterranean climate with hot dry summers and cold wet winters. Summer, from late-June through August, is the busiest season for travelers. This period is primetime for nightlife, and you can expect temperatures in the low-80s almost every day. But if it’s nature and calm you’re after, the shoulder seasons, Spring and Autumn, can provide quieter alternatives. Spring, from April through early-June, is when the wildflowers bloom and temperatures hover in the mid-70s. Autumn, from September through October, brings beautiful fruit from the harvest and a range of temperatures from low 80s in September to low 70s in October. Note, some locations are only open for high summer.
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