Greece is a wonderful world filled with mystic, myth and endless relics from the mountainous regions to the pristine groups of islands spread over the Mediterranean.
Greece has a Mediterranean climate which offers discerning travelers mild winters, warm springs and bright sunny hot summers. The mountainous regions in the north of the country are known for their spectacular landscapes that are lined by ski resorts.
Greece has a rich archeological history and is home to one of the oldest monasteries in the world. You will not miss ancient weathered ruins as you transverse the country. This insider guide will help you uncover all the mystical destinations and breathtaking scenery that Greece has to offer.
When to Visit
A Mediterranean climate prevails in Greece with mild springs, hot summers and wet winters. The hottest month in the summer is August and the coldest is between late December and January where temperatures drop to 44 degrees Fahrenheit.
The best time to visit is actually during spring and early summer (Mid April to first few weeks of June.) Most tourists flock after summer sets in, and hotel prices skyrocket as demand goes through the roof. The temperature can get up to 100 degrees Fahrenheit in hottest months of the summer in August.
Some amazing facts about Greece
Here are some insider facts about Greece that will come in handy during your stay in Greece.
- The population of Greece as at 2018 is slightly above 11.5 million who live within an area of 51,000 square miles (132,000 kilometers).
- The number of visitors each year stands at almost triples the population with 30 million in 2017 and the figure for 2018 is approximated to hit 33 million. Tourist accounts for almost 20% of the GDP of Greece.
- Greece has 18 UNESCO world heritage sites with strong roots to ancient times. There are over 100 archeological museums with specific themes like science, art and technology. Athens is one of the world’s oldest cities founded in the early 11th
- 80% of Greece’s landscape is mountainous. Famous mountains like Olympus, Athos and the Pindus mountain ranges.
- Greece has 13,676 km of coastline and is bordered by the the Ionian Sea to the west, Aegean Sea to the east, and the Mediterranean and Cretan seas to the south. There are more than 200 islands habitable that you can visit. Ready to head to Greece Islands? Book your Island hopping pass and get the most out of what Greek Islands have to offer.
- Greek is the official language in Greece. English is taught as a second language in most schools so language barrier should be a big problem.
- Greece is the third largest producer of olives in the world with olive trees all over the country. Greeks started planting olives since the 13th century and have continued since. According to Greek mythology an olive tree was Athena’s gift to Greece.
Places to Visit
Athens is the capital of Greece and one of the most beautiful cities in the world. It is also one of the oldest with a rich history as the venue for the first Olympic Games and is recognized as the birthplace of democracy.
Athens has a rich blend of ancient and modern attractions that attracts over 17 million visitors. Top on the list is the famous Acropolis which is a UNESCO site and historical landmark.
Sited on top of the hill is the Parthenon, an ancient temple built in honor of the Greek goddess Athena Parthenos. The temple’s construction started in 447 BC, and was built after the Persians destroyed the older temple.
Major temples in Athens include: Temple of Olympian Zeus, Temple of Athena Nike and The Erechtheus or Erechtheion. There are more theatres per capita in Athens than anywhere else in the world
Other great places to visit include Acropolis Museum, Odeon of Herodes Atticus, Byzantine and Christian Museum, Museum of Cycladic Art and the National Archaeological Museum.
Rhodes is the capital of the island of Rhodes, one of the largest islands in the Dodecanese archipelago. Rhodes’ Old Town is the home of the Colossus of Rhodes which is one of the Seven Wonders of the World. The Colossus is a huge statue that stands at 303 meters as a dedication to the God. The English word colossal was borrowed from the iconic statue. The medieval city of Rhodes is also UNESCO heritage site. Rhodes has other charming old towns like Lindos, with charming houses and narrow streets. Rhodes has some great swimming spots along the beaches which are lined by luxurious hotels.
Santorini is part of the Cyclades group of the Greek islands and one of the most majestic islands in all of Greece. Santorini has stunning beaches, white washed houses, classy restaurants and the turquoise waters. Venetian architecture is evident all through the towns with cobblestone pathways and meandering streets. The scenery consists of volcanic beaches along the cliff-top towns of Fira and Oia which are popular wedding and romantic destinations.
Crete is the largest of all the Greek islands and is popular with visitors who love sandy beaches, archeological sites and modern cruises. Samaria Gorge is great for hiking and a top attraction for keeping fit while enjoying the 18 kilometer Gorge. The Gorge and National park are listed as UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
The Samaria Gorge is open to visitors from May to October. Crete is also home to the. Heraklion Archeological Museum located in the capital Heraklion. On display are old archeological collections dating back to the Venetian era. For lovers of the outdoors Crete is home to the Palm Beach of Vai which is the largest palm forest in all of Europe.
Thessaly is on the Northern side of Greece and is popular with religious tourism. Located in Thessaly, Meteora is home to one of the ancient monasteries in the world. The orthodox monasteries were built centuries ago on top of cliffs with the largest MegalonMeteoron.. Meteora is a UNESCO world heritage site which is frequented by pilgrims during religious holidays throughout the year
Mount Olympus is also found in Thessaly. It is the highest mountain in the country with a height of 9,573 feet. Mount Olympus is considered as the mythic home of important Greek gods.
Crete is the largest of all the Greek islands and is divided into four perfect prefectures. Crete is incredibly stunning and not so crowded, mainly because of the geographical area it covers.
Visitors mostly stream in the peak season of July to have a taste if the rich cultural and historical sites Crete has to offer. Crete has some of the deepest gorges in all of Europe.
Once ruled by the venetians, Corfu is an island located in the Ionian Sea, on the west coast of the country. The capital Corfu town is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site, thanks to its elegant Italianate architecture. Although the town is popular is visitors, it is has a very expansive coastline as well as mountainous countryside where you can some alone time away from crowds.