Land of Hercules and Apollo, Greece is as good in reality as it is in myth. It’s got sun, sea and sand by the bucket load, combined with an ancient culture, sublime landscapes and fabulous cuisine. From the dramatic mountains of the north to the tiny islands that scatter the Aegean like pearls, it’s a truly mesmerising place. Little wonder it’s cast its spell over artists, writers and philosophers for the past two thousand years.
So, what to do in this country that’s like no other? How to choose what to see, eat and do when the whole of Greece is spread out at your feet? Take a look at this fabulous infographic from Brownell Travel to find out.
1. Acropolis at Athens
One of the most iconic structures in the world, the Parthenon crowns the Acropolis in regal splendour, looking just as magisterial as the goddess Athena, to whom it’s dedicated. The rest of the Acropolis is worth a look, too. Winding up its ancient stairways, you encounter spellbound Caryatids, stunning views over Athens, and a theatre that still rings with the words of the great tragedians: Aeschylus, Sophocles and Euripides.
2. The Minotaur’s Lair
No less captivating (and even more ancient), the palace at Knossos on the island of Crete is the ancient stronghold of the Minoan civilisation. Lost in the mists of the time, the Minoans were a pre-Hellenic people who crafted exquisite pottery and wall paintings, and whose language, Linear A, has yet to be deciphered. It’s their king, Minos, who fathered the half-man half-bull behemoth, the Minotaur.
3. Greek Gastronomy
Greece’s cuisine gets overlooked sometimes in favour of Italian, but it’s unambiguously delicious. To start with dessert (as all good meals should…), you can try sticky, syrupy treats like baklava or loukoumades, the Grecian take on doughnuts. As side dishes, do not fail to try dolmadakia (stuffed vine leaves) and saganaki, fried cheese served with the perfect tang of pepper and lemon juice.
For main course, you can feast on skewers of pork cooked over charcoal, known as souvlaki, or on seafood fished straight from the waters of the Mediterranean. And then, when you’re full, well-fed and happy, you can finish off the meal with a shot of Greek coffee. With its heady balance of sweet and bitter, a tiny cupful of this is far superior to an Italian espresso (in my opinion at least!).
I could wax lyrical about the glory that is Greece for hours on end – without doubt, it’s my personal holiday destination of choice and I would recommend a trip to Greece time and time again. Why not see for yourself? Just remember that Greece gets extremely hot and busy during peak summer months, so it’s advisable to go in spring or early summer, or else at the end of the season.