She has a lot to offer to anyone who knows how to think outside the box. In other words, it would be a pity to limit oneself to a circuit that could not be more classical, that of archaeological sites, without raising curiosity a little further. Crossroads are made to be borrowed.
The change of scenery is actually where, a priori, there is nothing to see
This small country is actually huge: on the continent, the territories are divided by the mountains and the islands are as many miniature countries, with their own identity, that you are encouraged to discover (this guide to continental Greece in details about ten who are close to the continent).
Of course, Greece does not end suffering an economic crisis – and moral … But do not stop at all that the print media or television could say about. Show yourself curious too, in the other sense of the word, to go beyond the clichés and discover a population that has the vocation of hospitality and wish to exchange with you on many topics … Despite all the difficulties, if the Judging by the tourist frequentation of recent years, the country keeps intact its power of attraction, and that’s good!
Athens, of course, is extraordinary monuments, museums with exceptional collections, fruits of a history that skips the millennia.
It is also a bubbling, popular atmosphere, both Mediterranean and European, as singular as it is typical of today’s capitals.
Athens is a city with multiple identities, to which each district brings its tone. From the picturesque alleys of Plaka rolled up at the foot of the Acropolis to the profusion of halls, the winding streets of Psiri full of neobistrots variegated with those of Exarchia Libertarian or Gazi the trendy, the Greek capital refuses to be slaughtered under the blows of a crisis that never stops getting worse.
So yes, many shops in Athens have pulled the curtain, everywhere dilapidated buildings threaten to collapse. But when the streets are too gray, the Athenians cover them with graffiti, rage or dreamers. And always, at the corner of a street, emerges the silhouette of the Parthenon. What, despite the overwhelming heat summer, deserves more than a stop between two boats.
Corfu is the northernmost island of the Ionian Sea. With 592 km² and almost 220 km of coastline, it is one of the largest Greek islands. A true paradise: at once mountainous and wooded and which, in some places, has kept a lot of charm despite an important tourist activity.
Both Greek and Italian, Corfu inspired writers and artists, such as Goethe, Alfred Sisley or Lawrence Durrell. As for Empress Sissi, she has built a palace!
Strategically placed between Italy and Albania, Kerkyra (its Greek name) has continued to excite the greed of sailors and traders, so much so that each occupier has left its mark.
Today has a true cultural melting pot, Corfu boasts Venetian (in architecture), French (in the kitchen) and British influences, with a certain British lifestyle (Corfu has several cricket teams). ..
Cradle of the first university of the country, the island has provided modern Greece with many men of letters and policies of the first order.
In short, an island of wild beauty, crossed by currents of ideas mixing politics with the arts, without forgetting pretty little beaches to display its napkin, if we know how to get away from the factories to tan.
On the borders of Europe and the East, facing Africa, Crete is mythical in more ways than one. In Greek mythology, Minos was born there, the fruit of the loves of Zeus and the beautiful Europe who had a good idea to doze off, at the time of the siesta, under a plane tree in Gortyne …
This wild and mountainous island offers sometimes austere landscapes, bristling with rocky peaks heated by the sun and swept by the hot winds of Africa. Is the south coast of Crete not bathed by the Libyan Sea? This very oriental aridity is mitigated by the immense opaque green mantle of olive trees.
In valleys or perched hills, Orthodox monasteries and all-white chapels cross the ages, in intact sites. There, beaches are revealed in their loneliness of pebbles and sand. Not to mention the steep gorges among the most beautiful in Europe and the cairns of caves (nearly 3,000!).
It is enough to leave the tourist centers of Crete and to “carve” a little the road to quickly find the small forgotten valleys and traditional mountain villages, with their kafenia frequented by old wise mustaches. Well cared for by the famous “Cretan diet”, the elders quietly drink the raki, giving us back the taste of time passing slowly …
So go to the Cretan time, and discover the island that was one of the cradles of the western world.
Greek Islands Travel
The Greek islands are a flagship tourist destination. The image that most people make of the typical Greek island is that of a Cycladic island: mountainous, surmounted by a village with bright white houses, except the blue shutters, with small coves embellished with other cubic houses, just as white.
The Ionian Islands offer beautiful mountain scenery and stunning coastline. From Corfu to Zante, we recognize the same chalky cliffs at the origin of so many beautiful white coves with turquoise waters. They benefit from varied and luxuriant vegetation.
The Sporades, literally “the scattered” are a group of three inhabited islands: Skiathos, Skopelos, and Alonissos. They each have their temperament but they all have a family atmosphere: many beaches, beautiful pine forests.
The Saronic Islands are the closest to Athens. They have no units, each island being very different (for example, Hydra is very dry while Spetses is wooded).
With their sun-drenched white houses, monasteries, windmills and beaches, the Cyclades are among the star destinations of the Mediterranean summers. Each of them has a particular character and charm.
The islands of the Dodecanese, which mostly stretches along the Turkish coast to the brink, certainly do not have the same unity as that which binds the Cyclades. Not much in common, between Rhodes, its 115,000 inhabitants and its tourism industry, and Kastelorizo, its 490 inhabitants on 9 km². These islands are rich in history.
Mykonos may have been the most typical of the Greek islands, with its windmills sparkling with whiteness; it has certainly become today, with Santorini, the most commercial island.
Of course a lot of homos, for whom Mykonos is a trendy summer date. But the hipness of the island attracts all audiences. All this is paid for, and Mykonos has become infrequent for the broke, in summer at least.
We go to Mykonos to see or be seen, or the 2, but certainly not to find tranquility … Step not really essential if we cling to an idea of Greece of yore.
On the other hand, the island is worth the detour if one looks above all for beautiful beaches (it is one of the strong points of Mykonos) and that one likes to have fun all the night. It is also one of the most popular jet-set venues (gay, but not only), where All-Athens rushes.
We will not be able to remove all the charm of Mykonos. We will always be lost as well in the wonderful lanes lined with small houses with limed walls and faded blue shutters and containing as many churches … as there are bistros in France.
The ideal way to visit the city of Mykonos is to enjoy the early morning, when the revelers are sleeping, or the middle of the afternoon, while many prefer to grill on the beaches.
From 22h, the streets turn into a kind of open-air nightclub.
You may be surprised by the number of chapels on the island: once, the inhabitants of Mykonos were engaged in piracy and, in case of glitch at sea, vowed to build a chapel if they came out.
Rhodes, the largest island of the Dodecanese, with its 1,408 km²), is one of the most visited in the archipelago (many low-cost flights provide a strong tourist presence throughout the season). The island has water resources. In the center of Rhodes, the mountains are covered with forests, and on their western slopes, vineyards and crops.
John, is surrounded by high walls. It is beautiful and very well preserved while being fully delivered to the tourism industry. The summer period quickly transforms the old town into an oven, its ramparts delivering little access to the sea, and we can not advise too much his visit out of season!
To appreciate the island, one must move away from the seaside resorts built at the gates of Rhodes. The contrast is striking, between a hyper-built northern tip and the southern part of the island, wild, much less exploited, where the villages are still typical.
Rhodes is an island under the wind: the east coast is very hot. In contrast, the west coast is more windy, more temperate and therefore less crowded. Beautiful colors from late March to May, when poppies, campanulas, and daisies cover the island.
The beaches, if not all beautiful, are numerous.
Santorini offers one of the most striking natural spectacles in the Mediterranean.
Its geology bears witness to one of the most violent eruptions of the last 10,000 years, many of which believe that it is at the origin of the myth of Atlantis. When calm returned, Santorini, previously almost round, was now a crescent moon, enclosing an 83 km² flooded caldera, one of the largest in the world.
The arrival in Santorini by boat is unforgettable. Opposite the bow of the ferry stands a cliff at a peak high 200 to 300 m, a real geological section where layers of slag and ash are superimposed. Sentiments, steps, narrow little roads, a cable car climb up boldly. On the opposite side, the island slopes gently towards the sea, to beaches of gray or black sand, sown with pumice stone or pebbles. It emerges from this gigantic geological curiosity an atmosphere at once attractive and menacing.
And today, the last geological stratum takes the appearance of a layer of concrete, consisting of a string of shops and hotels … The overcrowding threatens in Santorini, the water is lacking and, in the season (and here, it lasts longer than elsewhere …), the prices of rooms and restaurants exceed any measure.
Remains, however, the inalienable spectacle of the island volatilized, the brute strength of the volcano still palpable. One of the great sites to have seen once in his life.