Visiting Greece is on many peoples lists for their summer holidays, the problem here is to find enough time to visit the country and everything it has to offer. Affected by Roman, Byzantine, Ottoman and not the mention Greek empires the history of Greece is one of conquest, innovation and development. Viewed by many as the cradle of democracy and civilisation in the western world in general Greece has everything you need for a holiday. Why not rent a greek villa and go on an incredible holiday.
Besides the above-mentioned history, there is also the incredible geography of the country with almost 60% of the mainland being mountainous resulting in dramatic landscapes and national parks to wander around. Then at its base and in the three seas which border its coast are almost 2000 islands in which over 150 are inhabited. These islands provide an incredible nightlife, even more history and the Mediterranean holiday experience that many people come to enjoy during their summer holidays.
With all of these distractions you may forget to immerse yourself fully in the culture of this amazing country, so here we have put together some information about Greece and Greek life that you may have overlooked, this will hopefully give you a better insight into the country you are going to visit.
Food in Greece is almost as important as religion and politics. With wine, cheese and olive oil be staple parts of the diet expect a lot of the same when ordering at a restaurant. In general, eating is a communal affair in Greece with foods laid out in a way that everyone can have a piece. In more touristy areas though expect normal service, but for a traditional time go where the locals go and eat how they eat you will not be disappointed.
Where ever you are in the country as for the local wine as a lot of wines are made locally and have their own regional taste. On the island of Crete ensure you try the olive oil, which will be hard to avoid in general. Some other traditional dishes include Tzatziki a Greek yoghurt with finely chopped cucumber, garlic and olive oil. Ideal to eat with fresh Greek bread, fried potatoes or fried meatballs and Saganaki is a fried cheese.
Products of Greece:
As already mentioned, Greece is famed for its food, especially Olive oil and cheese and of course these make up some of the exports of the country. When you are on holidays in the country you will find a lot of local markets in which you can find local products which would make great gifts back home and add to the flavours in your kitchen.
One leftover from the Ottoman empire is a selection of sweets which have now gotten there own Greek twist. These sweet are very sugary so be prepared for a stomach ache if you happen to eat too much.
Another uniquely Greek product is the locally brewed Ouzo. It is the most famous Greek alcohol. It is quite strong, and you can find it served throughout the country, you can ask for water if it happens to be a little too strong and doesn’t be embarrassed the locals do it all the time.
Over 98% of people in Greece identify themselves as Orthodox Christians, this helps shows how and why the church is so important in the state. Outside of Russian, only Greece has a population with such a high number of Orthodox Christians.
From the Byzantine period the orthodox church grew and become separate from the roman catholic church. The church helped maintain Greek culture throughout a number of successive invasions and conquests and is thus held in high esteem within the country.
Although the church and state are said to be separate it still has a huge influence on day to day life and politics in general.
Greece has the longest coastline in Europe stretching over 13,000 kilometres, it also has the largest number of islands with over 2000 in the three seas which run along its coast. This coastline and the islands ensure that Greece will remain a sun lovers paradise. There are also countless sports and outdoor activities to get up to throughout the islands and the coastline.
The highest peak in Greece is Mount Olympus standing at just under 3000 meters. As mentioned already the country is over 60% providing even more activities, these include, trekking and mountain climbing and everything in between. While in the country check out the host of unique flora and fauna that is native to the country.
Crete is the largest of the Greek islands and is great as a base to explore the other islands in the region. Some notable islands with a host of experiences to offer include, Ios, Zakynthos and Rhodes island. Here there you can find a stunning nightlife, private beaches, water sports excursions and even more mountainous peaks. A lot of these locations are easily accessible from Athens either by plane or ferry, be sure, if you have time to combine the historic city with these incredible islands.
This is just a small example of the things on offer in Greece. Your time should be spent combing number of these aspects to get a decent understanding of the country. You will surely return as many people do when they discover all that is on offer in the country and its huge diversity throughout the regions.