Pretty as a picture, oceans bluer than your paint palette. Waters clearer than crystal, food to die for and memories that will have you wanting more. The land of Mythology, Olympics, parties at Mykonos – Greece, the land of Gods, is one place you must visit. This blue and white paradise looks like heaven for those who want a peaceful getaway but like to have a bit of fun. It’s not your basic sea and sand holiday, it takes your breath away.
Visa and Travel
Since the year 2000, Greece as a member of the European Union also became a member state of the Schengen Area. To enter Greece as a tourist, you need a Schengen Visa which is valid for 90 days allowing you to visit any of the 26 Schengen countries. This is considered a short visa and only used for tourists.
You can download the visa application form from the Greece Visa website. Your passport needs to be valid for 3 months after your Schengen visa expires and have at least two blank sheets. You must have a cover letter stating the purpose of your visit, proof of civil status, and proof of sufficient financial means for the period of stay in Greece. More specific details are provided on the Schengen website.
When is it best to visit:
To visit Greece, it all depends on the kind of person you are. Between the months of June till August are the hottest months. So if you enjoy spending time at the beach, and you love to just laze about in the sand, this would be the best time.
Although it can get pretty humid, so make sure you carry your sunscreen with you. September to November is the more pleasant months but also do happen to have a lot of tourists. By the end of November, it gets pretty chilly so make sure you pack accordingly.
Places to Stay:
If traveling on a budget, you will probably have to have a good lookout for cottages which could come up to €80 per night. This won’t necessarily be situated right in the middle of town, but don’t be disappointed, this won’t change the beauty that the place has to offer.
With its sprawling Mediterranean gardens, you will be able to enjoy the view and take in the not so commercialized part of Greece. You can rent an apartment out for yourself in case you have a bunch of friends and split the cost. You will also have concierge services, which won’t burn a hole in your pocket. But if you want to spend your holiday in a luxurious way, there are amazing hotels which guarantee you the best and most posh experience of Greece.
Transport in Greece is very cheap, however, you’d be exploring the country on foot if you are staying on the smaller islands most of the time. Occasionally, you could use public transport like the ferry, trains, and buses. They are convenient, and the routes are not too difficult to figure out.
Additionally, taxis are available just about anywhere in Greece which makes it a reliable mode of transportation. If you are lucky, you might get a great taxi driver who will give you good advice on how to travel, where to eat and where to shop.
Places to Visit:
1. Peloponnese: It’s shaped like a huge mulberry leaf and is located in the southernmost region of Greece. Peloponnese is the most popular region of the Greek mainland and is a MUST visit.
2. Zagori: Zagori gives you a hint of the old, though it’s dense forests and rugged mountains with rivers running. It’s straight out of a painting with its stone houses which date back to the late eighteenth century.
3. Acropolis, Athens: The so-called Archaeological Promenade is a two-and-a-half-kilometer walkway, which skirts the foot of the Acropolis and connects it to the city’s other main ancient attractions – the Ancient Agora, the Roman Forum, Kerameikos, and the Temple of Olympian Zeus.
4. Santorini: You have probably heard a lot about this place since it’s one of the hottest tourist destinations. Famous for its whitewashed buildings which overlook the aquamarine seas, you’ll surely be left breathless. Santorini is best known for the cliff-top towns of Fira and Oia, which lie on the west coast.
Food to Eat:
1. Moussaka: It’s an iconic Greek Baked dish, filled with cheese, sautéed aubergine, fried minced meat and pureed tomato. It’s one of their most colorful foods as well, definitely making it picture worthy.
2. Fish and Seafood: Straight out of the water, straight into the pan and served on your plate, Greece is home to some of the best seafood dishes. With a wide variety of the freshest fish, there is nothing that you can’t have. Make sure you try their fish platter called “Yperokeanio” in Piraeus with recipes from the island of Kimolos.
3. Greek Salad: The famous Greek salad which almost everyone tries to binge on while following a healthy diet, also known as ”Horiatiki” salad, is the favored staple accompaniment to a majority of the meals in the country. It consists of tomato, cucumber, olive oil, oregano, and salt. According to individual taste, it can be enriched with feta cheese, olives, onions and green pepper.
5. Meat: The Greeks sure love their meat. Masters of cooking with charcoal and grill, you will find the most delicately sliced juicy meats, marinated to perfection. For authentic meat-based Greek delicacies, visit “Ziogas” in Glyfada and order “kontosouvli” – pork, cheese and vegetables grilled on a spit.
Things to Remember While in Greece:
- Be sure to plan ahead and have a checklist of everything you need and everything you would like to do. The place is so beautiful, that it might have you forgetting a couple of things!
- Be vigilant while driving, the Greeks do happen to like to drive pretty fast.
- Handle your liquor- Greeks drink regularly, but you will rarely see them drunk. As such, they expect the same from you.
- Do not flush toilet paper. Why? Simple. Greek sewage pipes are 50 millimeters in diameter and easily get clogged if toilet paper is flushed.
- The authorities in Greece are very helpful, in case you have to report a theft or any other incident. Do NOT treat them as guides and respect their position.
Source: Rishvi Pragasam