Greece is a mountainous peninsula that sits at the meeting point of Europe, Asia and Africa. Three main geographical areas make up its landmass. Along with over 6,000 isles and islets scattered through the Aegean sea. Topographically, over 80% of the landscape in Greece consists of hills and mountain ranges. With over 16,000km of coastline amongst the islands in the archipelago. It would take a lifetime to fully explore them. Given the beauty of Greece, that would be no punishment.
Food in Greece is heaven on a plate. They take their gastronomy seriously here. Culinary tradition has grown for over 4,000 years bringing influence from the land and the ocean. Wheat, olive oil and wine is a staple of Greek food culture known locally as the 'Mediterranean triad'. As the islands have such direct access to fresh seafood, fish is also a key ingredient in many dishes.
Greek culture actually has a mixture of European and Eastern elements due to its geographical connection to both Europe and Asia. Greeks are intensely passionate about their culture and the country has a fascinating and deep-rooted history. Full of celebrated philosophers, playwrights, architects and mathematicians. They are people who value religion, tradition, and the importance of family. With many festivals and panygiria taking place throughout the year in celebration of the Greek way of life. The Greek language is one of the most important elements of Greek culture, descended from ancient Greece when the first recordings of history were found baked into mud tablets in the Knossos Palace in Crete.
Know Before You Go
There are so many options when travelling to Greece. It ticks every box from luxurious beach getaways to educational city breaks. Experience the best of both worlds by spending a few days on the mainland soaking up history in the capital of Athens. Then hop on a charter flight, or sail the ferry to the emerald watered islands of Crete, Mykonos or Santorini. With over 200 inhabited islands to choose from, there's no shortage of extended culture and cuisine among the seemingly endless coastlines.
Greece it can get a bit tricky when figuring out your island hopping plan. Take a look at the map and see which islands easily connect to one another. Before choosing by attraction and giving yourself a headache trying to connect them together. Mykonos and Santorini, or Naxos and Mykonos can be easily joined into a whirlwind Greek getaway. Santorini is also a popular day trip from Athens or Crete.
Pack light, especially in summer. Wherever you are in Greece, it's best explored on foot. You don't want to be dragging a heavy suitcase across cobbled streets and up abundant staircases when moving place to place. Athens is quite compact and most exploring can be done on foot. If you're heading to the islands, you'll likely be heading out of the capital city on a charter flight or ferry boat. So a backpack or small holdall might be a better travel companion.
Don't put the toilet paper down the loo! The plumbing system in Greece has very narrow drains, and in many places, it can't take the extra pressure. So always remember to bin it, not flush it.
Best Time To Visit
Greece is famously celebrated for its great weather, glorious beaches, and sublime sunsets. The weather varies mildly between the mainland and the islands, but the best time to visit is generally spring to early summer (April to early June), and autumn (September to October). The shoulder seasons also see less of the summer crowds. Though the slow pace of life in Greece can mean some businesses are closed. Beaches along the islands are fantastic either side of summer when there are fewer people, but the azure Mediterranean waters are still pleasant for swimming.
What To Expect
Greece has a lot to offer, here are a few tips to help you get started planning the perfect trip.
Currency - The official currency in Greece is the Euro
Language - The official language is Greek
ATMs - ATM's are widely available in Greece and are recommended, but always choose to use your bank's rate instead of the atm 'guaranteed rate' which is always worse. There is a flat rate of 2.50 euro for withdrawals from foreign cards.
Plugs & Sockets - Greece uses the Europlug, or Type C style plug with 2 round pins. As well as the Type F plug with 2 round pins and a hole 2 earth clips. The standard voltage is 230v and 50Hz frequency.
Safety - Greece is considered very safe with few occurrences of petty theft crime.
Climate - Much of Greece has a typical Mediterranean climate of warm, dry summers and cool winters with frequent rainfall. December is the wettest month.
In Athens, summer temperatures can spike from 35 to 40 degrees celsius. Winters become cold and rainy from December to March.
Santorini has similar weather patterns with more pleasant summer heatwaves as brisk winds pass through the coastal town.
Heraklion, the main city in Crete has the delightful nature of seeing snow on the mountains in the winter. Crete sees less cold weather than some other islands as it is less exposed.