A Visitor’s Guide To Greece
Located in south west Europe at an interesting crossroads between Europe, Africa and Asia, Greece is often referred to as the cradle of civilization because so many modern ideas, philosophies and cultures originated there. The modern country is also an interesting one to explore, with a developed economy and generally a good standard of living, although it was one of the worst hit countries following the economic crisis in 2008 and is still recovering. Tourism is an important part of the Greek economy, with some spectacular islands and beaches along with a wealth of historic and cultural sights, it is a particularly popular place to visit.
While most people visiting Greece will be able to do so without experiencing any problems, the US State Department does advise visitors that there has been an increase in violence and public protests since the economic crisis. Their concerns include attacks on public transport and political party offices, while visitors are advised to avoid any public demonstrations, as they have been known to turn violent.
Top Attractions To Visit In Greece
The Acropolis – The majority of the building on this hill at the heart of the city was organized by Pericles in the fifth century BC, and today visitors can visit the iconic Parthenon and several other historic buildings on the city including the Theater Of Dionysus and the Odeon of Herodus Atticus.
Olympia – This stunning site was home to the classical Olympic Games which were held every four years in the sporting facilities on the location, and today visitors can still see many of these including the stadium and several temples on the site.
Corfu – This beautiful island is famous for its superb beaches and welcoming climate, while visitors can also explore some of the historic sites such as the Byzantine castle of Angelokastro, and try local specialties such as the popular kumquat liqueurs.
Patmos – The beaches around the coast of this island are attractive while also often being quieter than some of the more established islands in Greece, but it is the historic Cave of the Apocalypse and the Monastery of Saint John the Theologian that is the real gem at the heart of the island.
Panagia Paraportiani – This attractive church can be found on the island of Mykonos, and is completely whitewashed, dating from the fifteenth century when five older churches on the site were incorporated into this new church upon construction
The Palace Of The Grand Master of the Knights of Rhodes – This stunning fortified palace is located on a hill on the island of Rhodes, and was built in the fourteenth century on the site of an earlier fortress, and latterly served as a holiday residence for the King of Italy and Benito Mussolini.
Syntagma Square – Located at the heart of Athens, this open space is surrounded by some of the most important and impressive buildings in the city, and is also home to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, where the changing of the Evzone guards can be seen every hour.
Samaria National Park – Located on the island of Crete, this beautiful gorge with its steep cliff sides has a particularly attractive path that takes hikers down the route of the gorge offering a great perspective on the terrain.
The White Tower Of Thessaloniki – This attractive round tower is an iconic building in the city of Thessaloniki, and was built in the sixteenth century, while today it is a museum tracing the events and history of the city itself.
Delphi – This remarkable archaeological site is one of the most important in Greece, having been the home of the Oracle of Delphi who led the worship of Apollo, while today visitors can see the superb theater and the wonderful stadium in this hill top site.
Where To Stay In Greece
Royal Olympic Hotel – Just a short walk from the Acropolis and many other important sites in Athens, this hotel offers visitors wonderful luxurious rooms along with an attractive outdoor swimming pool and a restaurant with amazing views of the Acropolis.
Ilissos Hotel – This popular hotel offers guests affordable accommodation that is still within easy reach of the sights of the city center, and has attractive rooms with comfortable beds, while many rooms have balconies with attractive views over the city.
VIP Suites Hotel – This remarkable hotel built in a traditional Greek style is perched on the volcanic cliffs of the island offering superb views over the ocean and comfortable and simple rooms that are well priced.
Dream Island Hotel – Offering rooms with attractive views over the ocean and a local church, this hotel is a comfortable place to stay with welcoming stylish rooms accompanied by luxurious large bathrooms and a charming outdoor swimming pool
Electra Palace Hotel – This grand luxury hotel occupies a prominent position at the heart of the city center, and provides guests with luxurious rooms and access to facilities including an indoor and an outdoor swimming pool, a lovely terrace and sumptuously decorated communal areas.
Vergina Hotel – An attractive hotel that has many of the city’s sights within a short walk, guests here can enjoy modern and comfortable rooms that are affordable, with access to a lovely restaurant and pleasant bar area.
Konstantinoupolis Hotel – This traditional Greek hotel is located within walking distance of the town center and offers guests comfortable and spacious rooms with attractive bathrooms and a nice restaurant.
Hotel Corfu Palace – A lovely hotel for a relaxing getaway, guests can enjoy a large outdoor swimming pool, jacuzzi and tennis courts, while the rooms are spacious and welcoming, with a location that offers many rooms with spectacular sea views.
With a pleasant climate and extensive coastline, it is no surprise that Greek cuisine does tend to make good use of the vegetables and fruit that can be grown in the area and the excellent seafood that is caught just off the coast. One of the most common dishes that shows the Arabic influence in the country is Moussaka, which is a layered dish of mincemeat and eggplant which is topped with a savory custard that is browned in the oven. The traditional Greek salad is a dish that is commonly known as a rustic salad in Greece itself, and is a mix of Mediterranean salad vegetables served with olives and feta cheese, and is usually dressed with olive oil
Currency And Visa
The local currency in Greece is the Euro, and those traveling to the country from the United States will be able to exchange their US Dollars at a rate of around 1.37 Dollars per Euro. Greece is a member of the Schengen Agreement, which is an open border agreement among many European countries, meaning that visitors from the United States staying for under three months will not need a visa to visit the country.