When you think Greece, it’s a safe bet that whitewashed buildings and emerald coves spring to mind. And true, it has all that. But that’s far from the whole picture. Greece is a land of diversity where luscious olive groves, ancient ruins, mountain ranges, and wine regions await the savvy visitor.
And fortunately, Greece’s coastline stretches infinitely further than its national budget, with around 8’500 miles worth to boast of. The archipelago alone has over 3000 islands, with only 170 of them inhabited.
Needless to say, there’s plenty to explore. And there are many ways to go about it too, but naturally boat and foot are the most rewarding. Jump aboard a caique, a bona fide Greek sailing boat, and head to the island of Evia, for example. Here you can shake off those sea legs with treks along the theatrical coastline. Bring the swimsuit though – there will be plenty of opportunity to plunge yourself into azure waters.
In fact, Greece has plenty to keep the active on their toes. Santorini, which owes its existence to a volcanic caldera, is an explorer’s ecstasy – rugged cliffs and brilliant white villages are the island’s trademark.
Then there’s Crete, with its mesmerising mix of canyons and isolated bays. Trek through Europe’s longest gorge, Samaria, for example. And speaking of gorge, there will be plenty of opportunity to tuck into some proper Greek cuisine in an old taverna. Shall we say, some real un-feta’d fun!
Greece is also a country where nature and history rub shoulders. Ancient Byzantine paths meander through olive groves and sedate coastal villages, where you might stumble upon an acropolis with views of energising emerald seas.
There will be a few hills too – did you know around 80% of Greece is mountainous - perfect for walking holidays? So explore the mythical dragon house as you climb Mount Ohi – Greece’s most ancient historic temple on Evia. Or take up the challenge of Mount Zeus, the highest peak in the Cyclades.
If you’re more inclined to take it easy, however, it would be a shame not to indulge in the 250 plus days of sunshine that Greece boasts each year. Take time to dip your toes into the Aegean, and your mind into an ancient Greek tragedy perhaps.
And don’t miss the old quarter of one of Europe’s oldest cities – Athens - or the cobbled streets of Syros, not to mention the shimmering harbour towns of the Cyclades islands. Be sure to do some old fashioned ‘hanging out’ though - Greeks are known for their hospitality and their laid-back way of life.
So, there’s a reason Greece has more international airports than any other country. And aside from literature, these days the only tragedy you’d face is to ignore this classic, yet diverse destination.
By Keith John Lewis
If you are feeling suitably enlightened, take a look at our range of tours to Greece.