Greece: Unlocked

Greece Travel Guide - Travel to Greece Tourism Guide

To get to know Greece a little better, we asked our Greek representative, Ioanna, to give us the inside scoop on her home country. This is Greece: Unlocked!

How to say hello:

Kalimera (literally good morning, but is also used as hello) or Yia sou (which means health to you)

How to say goodbye:

Adio or Ya!

How to say thank you:

Efharisto!

Currency used:

Euro (at least for now…)

 

2309597255_9d4fc294e3_zPhoto by Ester via Flickr CC

Best Greek foods:

  • Fast-food: Souvlaki (meat on a spit, often wrapped up in pita bread) is the best fast food on earth. It’s fast to prepare and cheap to buy while it has a high nutritional value. It includes hydrocarbons (bread), proteins (meat), vegetables (tomato and onion), and dairy (tzatziki dip based on yoghurt).
  • Greek salad: Choriatiki (salad of the village). Note: In the non-summer months, the Greek salad is considered out of season, and Greeks prefer to have other salads such as wild greens.
  • Moussaka: It’s a sophisticated dish made with layers of eggplant, potatoes, minced meat, and topped with cheese and bechamel.
  • Dips: Tzatziki, a dip made of yoghurt, cucumber, and garlic.
  • Soup: Fasolada, a hot bean soup for the winter.
  • My personal favourite: Homemade stuffed tomatoes
  • For more great food suggestions, read the BBC’s top 10 Greek dishes here.
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Greek Souvlaki

Photo by jlaceda  via Flickr CC

Best months to visit:

Summer is naturally the high season. Avoid August if you don’t like crowds. Avoid July if you don’t like hot temperatures. Spring can be very pleasant for hiking and sightseeing because nature is all green.

Best way to get around:

Though there are regional airports in many towns and islands, don’t bother to take a plane. The ferries connecting Athens (the capital) and Piraeus (the main port) to tens of islands are the most local and interesting way for island hopping. They are a necessary part of the experience.

Local customs in Greece:

Greeks eat late. Greeks sleep late. Greeks ARE late. It’s an ancient people after all. They count the time in millenaries.

2249944193_aed8bc58b8_zPhoto by Ester via Flickr CC

A novel to read or a film to watch or a song to listen to learn more about Greece:

Local websites for discounts in restaurants, theatre, cinema, etc.:

Towns or villages which are worth a visit:

  • The Cyclades Islands in the Aegean (go for the less touristy ones such as the Small Cyclades)
  • The Zagoria villages in the Epirus region up north
  • The Meteora monasteries in central Greece
  • The Delphi ancient sanctuary
  • Monemvasia in the Peloponnese (a byzantine citadel on the sea)
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The Delphi ancient sanctuary

Photo by PapaPiper via Flickr CC

The best kept secret about this country:

The mountains. This is supposedly a country to spend the summer by the sea. However, the real soul of Greece lives in the endless mountain ranges that span the country from north to south, like a backbone. Hidden off the beaten track, you’ll find gems like great food culture, arts, architecture, and much more, and it’s all routinely missed by tourists.

The most unique thing about Greece:

The light. It makes everything else irrelevant. It’s not always a good thing. As a Greek artist said, “It makes you forget and forgive everything, even the biggest crime.”

9629822310_1c4bef2241_zPhoto by Dimistris SP via Flickr CC

Common misconceptions about Greece:

The most common stereotypes are about lazy and corrupt Greeks, the Greek bloated public sector, over-indebted Greeks that live above their means, and so on. Most of it, simply put, is false.

Best free activities:

“Steal” fruit from the groves, visit unguarded archaeological sites, visit remote monasteries, and taste the monk’s and nun’s cuisine. Go for a swim along the “lacy” (as we call it in Greece) coastline which is one of the longest coastlines in the world despite the country’s small size. Almost all of it is accessible and free.

Anything else we should know about Greece?

Yes! Browse the Greek listings on HomeExchange.com and team up with a local exchanger to know more!

 

 

Photo Credits: featured image by Mariusz Kluzniak via Flickr CC

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