Exit To Greece - The Complete Travel Guide

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Exit To Greece - The Complete Travel Guide

Greece - say "Hellas" in Greek - is a classic for anyone traveling to Europe and for good reason: heavenly beaches, generous weather all year round, archaeological sites, religious shrines but also for the legacies of Ancient Greece such as democracy, medicine, literature and of course philosophy. All this founded the foundations of European societies and of the European spirit (then exported to the American continent, North and South). From Athens to Crete, via Meteora or the Cyclades, here are the different places that have marked the history of the country or that simply make it beautiful. Kalimera Hellas!

Budget : 70-80 $ / € per day
Currency : € 1 = $ 1
Visa : Shengen space country, 90 days for non-EU passport.
Sleep : 20-80 $ / € bed in dormitory / correct double room
Transport : € 30 for an Athens / Meteora train, € 35 for an Athens / Paros ferry
Food : Gyros, Souvlaki, Moussaka, Greek salad, Baklava,
Weather : Hot from May to September, cold from November to February.
Religion : Orthodox Christianity for the overwhelming majority.
The people : Homogeneous Greek people throughout the country.
Music : Greek Folk, Nisiotika, Cretan Music,
Language : Greek
Lexicon :
Good Morning / Hello
Good afternoon / Night 
How are you ?
Thank you
How much is it?
I Like It
I don't speak greek

Good bye Kaliméra / Yásas
Kalispéra / Kalinirhta
Ti cánis ?
Póso káni ?
Me arési
Den miláo eleniká

** TIPS **
Try to learn the Greek alphabet! In truth, it is not at all complicated to decipher the words once you have remembered the 24 letters and the sound they make. Especially since we've seen pretty much all of them in math / physics class, so it's easy EVEN if we were bad at those subjects!

Athens and surroundings (1 week): Athens - Delphi - Meteora.
So let's start with the capital in which you will already bathed in a warm Mediterranean atmosphere. Athens is an open-air museum with many ruins of the ancient Greek City visible right in the center, in the Plaka district. Do not miss the Acropolis with its Parthenon and the temple of Athena Nike, the Acropolis museum, the ancient Agora, the Panathenaic Stadium, the theater of Herodes, and the sunset at the Agios Georgios chapel on Mount Likavitos. In the evening, try out different atmospheres between Plaka / Monasteri or in Psiri, younger and very festive.

A few hours away is Delphi, home to an important archaeological site consisting of the Temple of Apollo, the Athens Treasury, the Polygonal Wall and many other remains. Day trips are possible from Athens.

You can also do a day or two in Meteora, either with a tour from the capital, or on your own by taking a train from Athens station, which will drop you off in Kalambaka. Meteora are 6 Orthodox monasteries (including 2 of women) perched on huge boulders, the highest of which (Megalo Meteoro) is over 600m high. Plan an outfit that covers the knees to be able to enter them and maybe a night to see the sunset in this incredible setting. A MUST DO.

Kalambaka can also be a stopover to continue to Thessaloniki or towards Corfu.

Mainland Greece: Thesaloniki - Mount Athos - Perama Caves - Vikos Gorges.
From Kalambaka and Meteora you can head north and the port city of Thessaloniki to discover its architectural heritage and its Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman ruins. Lose yourself in height towards Ano Poli with its colorful labyrinthine streets, Byzantine churches and the Rotunda, which served as both a church and a mosque. The city also offers a good number of archaeological, art and cultural museums and a very dynamic city center for partying.

Continue to Mount Athos in the Macedonian region to access some twenty monasteries at an altitude of over 2000m, where more than 2000 monks live. It is a famous place of pilgrimage and requires special permission from the authorities of Mount Athos to enter. Women are however prohibited there but do not see any mysogyny, it simply goes in the direction of the vow of chastity of the monks. Let's respect that !

In the other direction, going towards Igoumenitsa (port town to reach Corfu), stop at Ioannina to reach the immense Perama Caves which descend to the depths of the earth with its 183 steps. Stalactites, stalagmites and other mysterious shapes await you there. At the exit, you will have a great view of the island and Lake Ioannina.

Also organize a tour to the Vikos Gorges, the deepest canyon in the world the U.S with more than 1000m of depth. A 10km hiking trail joins the village of Monodendri in Vikos.

Ionian Islands: Corfu - Kefalonia - Zakynthos
Paradise islands that offer a range of activities and magical places to discover. The architecture of towns and religious monuments bear witness to the conquest of the islands by the Venetians. Green vegetation that mingles with the intense blue of the Ionian Sea, sublime beaches, wild coves, typical villages, monasteries and castles. Everything is there and the interconnection between the islands is so simple that it is easy to reach from one wonder to another. Corfu, Kefalonia or Zakynthos : Do them all or simply choose. Up to you !

Peloponnese: Corynths - Mycenae - The Asclepieion of Epidaurus - Monemvasia - Mystras - Olympia. (10d)
In the Peloponnese region there is a truly fascinating archaeological circuit to do, from a way or the other where there is a plethora of ruins from ancient Greece.

Corynths with the temple of Apollo, the Agora and its museum.

Mycenae which is an ancient vestige of the Mycenaean civilization placed on a hill and surrounded by mountains. In Homer's Odyssey, it is described as a city rich in gold. In the ancient acropolis, discover here the Lion's Gates, tombs with royal dome and finally the remains of the Royal Palace. Big piece.

The Asclepieion of Epidaurus is located in the city of the same name, and was a major center of Greek medicine. During Antiquity, people came from all over the country to be treated by well-known doctors. The Sanctuary of Asclepius also has a huge ancient theater that could accommodate up to 14,000 people.

Monemvasia is a fortified town in the south of the Peloponnese region, built on a rocky islet and connected to the mainland by a dike. Charming town with many cafes and shops, Byzantine churches, and a citadel at the top of the hill. A return to medieval times.

Mystras, located near the city of Sparta, was built in the 13th century and covers many Byzantine buildings. We start the visit with the lower town, passing through its small streets, its churches, the Metropolis of St Dimitri, the monastery of Pantanassa, then the Palace and finally the citadel at the top of the hill to admire the view of Sparta.

Olympia is, as its name suggests, the city where the Olympic Games were created and is located at the foot of Mount Olympus, residence of the Greek gods. It was also a religious mecca and you can discover the temple of Zeus and Hera as well as many sports facilities such as the stadium or the Olympic gymnasium. Take the opportunity to visit the museum and observe all the objects discovered on site.

The Cyclades : Mykonos - Paros - Naxos - Milos - Ios - Santorini - etc… (1 to 3 weeks)
Ok so here you have to choose where to go or you will stay for the whole year! The Cyclades archipelago has more than 200 islands in the middle of the Aegean Sea, 24 of which are inhabited. It is an exceptional place, heavenly, BEAUTIFUL! Towns and villages are made of small houses with white walls, very minimal, with azure blue doors and windows most often and whose streets of the "Chora" (Old Town) are very often in labyrinths with a quantity of small chapels and churches with blue domes as well. Some islands are very festive, others more family-friendly, more or less expensive depending on the time of year, but all have this common charm and crazy beaches. Here is a short list but clearly, you will have to choose 3, 4 or 5 according to your desires.

Syros : Ermoupoli, village of Ano Syros, Azolimnos Beach, Foinikas Beach, Galissas Beach,

Mykonos : Very festive, sumptuous quite varied beaches including Party Beach: Paraga, Paradise and Super Paradise, and other quieter beaches. + departure to the island of Delos.

Paros: Parikia (capital), very beautiful family beaches (Kolimbithres and Agios Anargyri) and festive (Ponda Beach), magnificent village of Naoussa, Lefkes, and the island of Antiparos for its beaches and its impressive cave. Departure by ferry from the city of Pounta

Naxos : The Chora of Naxos (main town), the villages of Halki and Filoti, the Kouros of Apollonas (statue of Apollo) and the beautiful beaches of Agiassos, Pirgaki, Kastraki...

Ios : Rather festive and quite young, magnificent beaches of Mylopotas, Kalamos, Manganari, Place called Homer's tomb, and of course the city center of the Old Town.

Milos : Adamas main port, Plaka for the sunset, Klima (village with colorful fishermen's houses carved into the cliff), and the Roman Theater where we've discovered the Venus de Milo

Santorini : Very expensive. Different colorful natural beaches: Black Beach (Vlychada), Red Beach and White beach. The villages of Fira and Oía are built on “La Caldeira”, at the edge of the cliff, offering superb views of the Aegean Sea and the summit of the volcano facing it. Everyone rushes at sunset to the far end of Oía village, get there early to get a good seat.

In Oía is located one of the most stylish bookstores in the world, the Atlantis Bookshop created by 2 Americans. New, rare and second hands books in different languages. A must for book lovers. See our article on the 10 best bookstores in the world.

** TIPS **
As soon as you can, rent a scooter for 24 hours or more to get around your island more easily. You will see more beaches, you will go further at your own pace. Generally scooters are 25 € for 24 hours but it is always possible to negotiate at 20 €, or even less if you are good!

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The Dodecanese Archipelago: Rhodes - Symi - Patmos - Karpathos - Kos...
The Dodecanese Archipelago is 12 islands that lie off the Turkish coast. Here as well, the beaches are heavenly and the traditional Greek villages remain authentic. Many Byzantine and Ottoman historical sites, chapels and more chapels. Here as well, the hard part is choosing!

Rhodes is the largest of these islands but it is very easy to travel to other islands like Symi, Kos and Karpathos or even Patmos, where the Apocalypse was written. BOOM.

Crete: Heraklion - Rethymno - Chania - Balos Beach - Efalonissi - Knossos - etc… (1 to 2 weeks)
So Crete is yet another frenzy that would deserve a trip on its own. Largest islands in Greece and the southernmost of the country between the Sea of Crete and the Sea of Libya. Its large city, Heraklion, offers a unique museum with its famous piece: the Disc of Phaistos whose researchers are about to discover the meaning of its writings as well as the palace of Knossos, where the mythical Minautore would have lived.

The coastal towns of Rethymno and Chania are worth visiting and tours are offered there to Balos and Efalonissi beaches, the Samaria Gorge, and many other destinations that you can do on your own by renting a car or with the different coaches that travel all over the island. You just need to get closer to cities like Kissamos or Agios Nikolaos for example.

And much more :
Greece may be a small country, but it is full of a thousand treasures from its long and mythical history. There are many other places to visit, just only in the different islands of the Cyclades or the Dedocanese. There are so many that we can't name them all but they can be just as attractive to anyone who wants to escape a little more : Lemnos, Skyros, Mytilene, Andros, Icaria, Iraklia, Samos... You got it, it is interminable! And better !

Outro :
Greece is undoubtedly a slap in the face. It appeases, it cheers, it transports us back in time and takes us out of the way. Is this the weight of history? Is it the multitude of chapels open to all, scattered here and there? Is it for its many stray cats that can be seen on every street corner in the country? Is it the warm temperament of the Greeks or the generous Mediterranean climate? Maybe even a mixture of all of this, thus creating this very special vibe that prompts me to tell you here and now : Go to Greece urgently. As soon as you can. Efrharisto. Yásas!

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