Greece is beyond question one of the most interesting European countries. Its culture, history, tradition and geography attract visitors from all over the world. It is here that ancient European culture emerged, leaving many remains that still can be seen nowadays. Sunny beaches, picturesque olive groves and extremely scenic coastlines, with numerous fabulous islands and beautiful mountains are other reasons why tourists flock here every season.
The territory of Greece is surrounded by the Mediterranean, Aegean and Ionian Seas. The sun shines for over two-thirds of the year, so summers are long and warm with extremes of 37° C. Consequently, Greece also offers great holidays for those who prefer sunbathing at the picturesque seaside, swimming in balmy seas, talking and drinking under the stars. Greece is truly a land for adaptable sybarites who would appreciate a stay in Faliraki, Kardamena, Laganas, Malia, Paleokastritsa and Sidari, or other great resorts in Crete, Santorini, Rhodes or Mykonos Island. Another pearl of the Greek coastline is Corfu Island, with its crystal beaches, good food and interesting architectural heritage. Take a look at Greek Island Postcards for detailed travel guides to many popular Greek islands.
Apart from the summer beach resorts, Greece offers picturesque mountains, a great destination for hikers and lovers of nature. The breathtaking Meteora, Orthodox monasteries located at the peaks of steep mountains, are an incomparable attraction which has already gained deserved popularity. Erected in the late Middle Ages, the Great Meteoron, Varlaam Meteoron, Monasteries of Rousanou, St Nicholas Anapausas, St Stephen and Holy Trinity are a UNESCO World Heritage Site. If you want to explore the Greek mountains, don't forget about Vikos-Aoos Gorge and Mount Olympus, which was considered to be the gods’ abode.
The real highlights of Greece are the traces of ancient culture which can be seen all over the country. Most tourists visit Athens with its famous Acropolis, Ancient Agora and the Temple of Olympian Zeus, or Delphi where the Oracle resided, an archaeological site on the UNESCO World Heritage List. The Temple of Apollo Epikourios in Vassae is worth exploration, as well.
A number of interesting museums will give you deeper insight into the fascinating Greek ancestry. And if you have enough time, you should also visit some of the summer festivals located in the castle courtyards, ancient theatres and island resorts. There are so many interesting places in Greece that it’s hardly possible to visit them all. One should at least go to Athens, Thessaloniki (a Macedonian town with Byzantine architecture), Heraklion with its Venetian buildings, and the fascinating towns of Larissa and Kavala.
In the history of this exceptional country, we can easily observe a number of influences from various cultures and nations, such as the Romans, Arabs, Latin Crusaders, Venetians, Slavs, Albanians, Turks and Italians, not to mention the Byzantine Empire. In the Peloponnesus, there are great impregnable fortifications made by the Venetians; and all over the country you can spot numerous Byzantine monasteries and churches. The heritage of four centuries of Ottoman Turkish rule is enormous, as it contributed to the Greek language, cuisine, music and way of life. Also, such minorities as Muslims, Jews, Vlachs, Catholics and Gypsies who still live in Greece are responsible for the modern image of the country.
Lying at the crossroads of Europe, Asia, and Northern Africa, Greece is a place of unusual cultural heritage and eventful history. In ancient times the cradle of European philosophy, literature and art, nowadays Greece is a lively country where you can expect hospitality and kindness towards visitors, along with a high level of respect for tradition and family. The abundance of historical sights and attractions, combined with the unique beauty of the Greek countryside and well-equipped beach resorts makes it a perfect tourist destination where anyone can spend an unforgettable holiday. Recall ‘Zorba the Greek’ and his relaxed attitude to anything he experienced in life, and enjoy every minute of your Greek holiday.