"The cradle of western civilization, it combines an incredible history, with a host of magical destinations, to create unforgettable holiday experiences, that all visitors are bound to enjoy."
Greece is a modern country, flowered in ancient history, with exquisite food, majestic beaches, a warm sunny climate, rich cultural heritage and a whole host of other things. This makes it, one of, if not the finest holiday destination in the entire world. On the mainland you will find Athens, the cradle of western civilization, birthplace of philosophy, theatre and democracy. The Peloponnese and Thessaloniki, are beautiful historic regions in their own right, home to ancient Sparta and Macedon, the kingdom of Alexander the Great, while in the islands that surround it, visitors will be greeted by yet more stunning history, gorgeous beaches, azure waters, unique flora and fauna and dramatic rock formations. From party capitals like Mykonos and Corfu, to romantic havens like Santorini and wildlife centres like Zakynthos, Greece is a sensational holiday destination to cater to each and every taste.
Greece Travel Guide
At A Glance:
Greece is a country located in the south east of Europe, consisting of thousands of islands dotted throughout the Aegean and Ionian seas. Its capital, Athens, is located on the mainland and is famous for its grand Acropolis, overlooking the city. The country has a population of 10.75 million and uses the euro as its currency. Other notable places include the Peloponnesian region, which used to host ancient Sparta, large islands like Crete and Mykonos, along with popular tourist destinations like Santorini and Paros.
Mainland Greece and the islands have a typical Mediterranean climate with long hot summers and mild winters. The best time to visit is between April and September, when the temperature is almost always above 20 degrees and rain is a rarity. It should be noted that the weather is very different in the mountainous areas than in the coastal areas and the south is generally hotter than the north.
History & Culture
Blessed with one of the richest and most interesting histories that can be found anywhere, it will captivate the minds of all its travelers. It is the birthplace of western literature, with the Homeric epics, the Iliad and Odyssey based there; along with a rich tradition of ancient mythology that includes the classical Olympian gods like Zeus, Poseidon and Hades. The country itself was originally colonised by Dorian invaders from Asia, who set up a unique set of city states that each had a unique political system. Greece has given the world some of the greatest thinkers to have ever lived, including Herodotus (inventor of history), Hippocrates (inventor of medicine), Socrates, Plato, Aristotle and Pythagoras. The two most famous of these were Athens and Sparta, who united to defeat the Persian empire, before fighting the Peloponnesian War against one another. Athens, was originally a dictatorship, before a 5th century revolution brought about the world’s first democracy. Sparta, was created 100 years earlier by Lycurgus, who developed a unique warrior culture, where all boys were taken from their parents at the age of 8, to train as hoplites. The two Greek states came to the attention of Darius the Great, after Athens sent a fleet to help an Ionian island rebel against the Persians. This led to the first Persian invasion, when the Athenians defeated Darius’ army at the Battle of Marathon. Twelve years later, Greece was invaded again, with Athens leading the defence by sea and Sparta leading on land, the most famous conflicts being, Thermopylae, Salamis and Platea. Following this Athens and Sparta entered into the lengthy Peloponnesian war, which Sparta eventually won, ending Athens’ brief democratic experiment. After that triumph the power of the Greek city states began to wane, with Philip and then Alexander of Macedon (Alexander the Great), gradually forcing them to become part of their empire, which eventually expanded all the way to the Indian border. This marked the highpoint of Hellenic power and the Macedonian Empire was eventually taken over by the Romans, passing to the Byzantines and then the Ottomans, before Greece eventually rebelled and became its own state in 1821.
Its rich food culture is undoubtedly one of the best in the entire world. Some of the most famous dishes, include mezes, which are usually accompanied by either ouzo or tsipouro, and are commonly described as the Greek equivalent of tapas, such as tzatziki, a garlic infused yoghurt with cucumber, ‘Spanakopitakia’, which are small spinach pies with crushed feta cheese and ‘Dolmadakia’, a blanket of vine leaves filled with rice, onions or minced beef. Feta is the most famous Greek cheese, which is usually crumbled over tomatoes, olives and cucumber to make Greek salad. Famous main dishes include, moussaka, which is made with aubergine, potatoes, mincemeat and a cheese sauce; gyros a kebab like dish served in pita and a variety of delicious fish dishes. Greece is also famous for the large number of delicious local wines available, along with the spirits called raki, ouzo and tsipouro.
An ideal place for family holidays, it offers a vast array of fun activities that the entire family can enjoy. Foremost of these are the many golden beaches that populate both the islands and the mainland, ideal for relaxing and a large selection of watersports for those who want an active holiday. The hotels in the country are also incredibly family friendly for the most part, featuring children’s clubs and children’s facilities. Greece is also ideal for anyone interested in history and culture, with trips to the Acropolis or ancient Sparta, among a plethora of other places. This makes Greece the kind of place where you will have a family holiday to remember.
Tours & Attractions
Complete with a huge range of incredible attractions, it will surely excite and delight visitors in equal measure. On the mainland, there are places rich with history, like Athens, the Peloponnese and Thessaloniki, with treasures like Ancient Sparta, the Acropolis and the Parthenon. While the islands are equally blessed with amazing things like the untouched beach of Navagio in Zakynthos, the Medieval town of Rhodes, the windmills of Mykonos and the hiking trail between Oia and Fira on Santorini.
Both the Greek mainland and the islands are famous for their incredible nightlife, which plays a vital part in local culture. Traditionally one would begin by eating at a taverna, before moving on to a more exciting bar and club. Athens and the islands like Mykonos, Paros, Crete, Rhodes, Kos are all renowned for their vibrant evening settings. While, places like Santorini and Zakynthos are more famous for their romantic spots, which are ideal for couples on romantic holiday.
Greece offers the complete shopping experience from the fashion boutiques in Athens and Mykonos, to the more traditional shops dotted around the quaint villages. Some of the most famous products available in Greece are authentic handmade local goods, including leather, ceramics, pottery, jewellery and clothes. Greece is also ideal for people who love incredible local produce, with delicious wine, honey, and golden olive oil all abundant on the island.
Why not live out a life-long dream and “hop” around the enchanted Greek islands and experience them in all their glory. Enjoy the blazing orange sunsets of Santorini, the ultra chic nightlife of Mykonos, the Medieval and Venetian history and architecture of Rhodes, the white sandy beaches of Crete, the peace and tranquility of Naxos or simply relive the movie Mamma Mia! on the island of Skopelos. Why pick one when you can have them all? Here at Cyplon Holidays, we can expertly arrange your island hopping experience, helping you to experience your dream island hopping, whether you are looking for pure romance, adventure, escapism or a mixture of everything, we are here to help!
Being able to grow some of the world’s best grapes allows Greece to produce some exceptional wines and they have been doing so for thousands of years, although the rest of the world has not quite yet discovered the quality of Greek wines. Other traditional alcoholic beverages native to Greece are ‘Ouzo’, an aniseed flavour aperitif that is often added to water, ‘Retsina’, a white wine with a truly distinct taste and ‘Tsipouro’, a spirit made from grape skins that is not for the faint hearted.
Another great way to see as much of Greece and her islands as possible is to do a Greek island cruise. Cyplon Holidays can offer you some fantastic 3, 4 and 7 day cruises allowing you to have a taste of it all. For those looking for something a little bit more special, why not try a small ship cruise, where there won’t be more than 50 passengers on board and you will feel like you are on your own private luxury yacht.