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Destination Info

GREECE AT A GLANCE

Greece is, and has been for many years, the “bridge” between Eastern and Western civilizations. Regarded as the cradle of western civilization and being the birthplace of democracy, Western philosophy, the Olympic Games, western literature, political science, major scientific principles and drama (both tragedy and comedy), Greece has a particularly long history and a cultural heritage which has been considerably influential in Europe, Northern Africa and the Middle East. Once you have visited Greece, one thing is for sure, you will always want to come back! It is too hard not to fall in love with this country.

GREEK LIFESTYLE

Traditional Cuisine: Greek cuisine has four secrets - fresh ingredients of good quality, proper use of herbs and spices, the famous Greek olive oil and its basic simplicity. The seafood from the Mediterranean is far tastier than that of other areas due to the high potency in salt. In the Aegean and the Ionian Sea, the waters are crystal clear and abound with fish, don't miss the chance to try it as well as the Greek cheeses and particularly manouri & feta. For Greeks sharing a meal with friends, either at home or a taverna is a deeply rooted social affair, connected with the ancient Greek word 'symposium', literally translated as 'drinking with company'. Try having a glass of ouzo or wine to understand the Greek way of socializing.

Shopping: You will be surprised at the bargains you will find in many cities. Golden and silver jewellery are popular, given the international renown of Greek designers. In many islands one can find a wide selection of reproduction of ancient Greek jewels and traditional and modern designs. You may also find souvenirs, hand made goods and bronze vases.

Entertainment: Throughout the year, especially during summer, hundreds of cultural events are being held throughout Greece. Big and small festivals, involving all forms of art, with major Greek and foreign artists taking part in these events, presenting works that cover a wide range of art productions from classical to modern.

THESSALONIKI

Well, it’s our home city. We may seem partially biased; we can’t help it. Thessaloniki is a city to fall in love with – it has beauty, history, culture, a lovely sea front facade, a remarkable cuisine and a breathtaking sunset. Thessaloniki is considered Greece’s second largest city, with a population of almost one million inhabitants. It is located in the northern part of Greece, in the region of Macedonia. The city’s relatively small surface enables its citizens to live a more easygoing life, where one can walk around the city center, or take a few-minutes’ drive by car to reach one’s home. This relaxed life style offers the citizens more time to have a coffee with friends, enjoy the local restaurants and “ouzeries” and experience local seafood specialties and traditional cooked Greek meals. They used to take a siesta a couple of decades ago, but now they follow a more European work time schedule… So, expect to find all stores open from 10am to 9pm. Restaurants stay open until after midnight, Bars and Clubs stay open until much later…

Thessaloniki is a city of “youth”. There are many public and private Universities that attract young people from other Greek cities and the Balkans. They enjoy spending their evenings by the sea, near the statue of Alexander the Great or the “Umbrellas”, or on the port deck, enjoying the sunset…

Thessaloniki is considered the second major economic, industrial, commercial and political center of Greece. Its airport “Macedonia” is a major transportation hub of southeastern Europe.

Thessaloniki hosts a number of festivals and events, including the Thessaloniki International Trade Fair, the Thessaloniki International Film Festival, the “Demetria” festival focusing on events of music, theater, dance and art exhibitions. The “International Festival of Photography” takes place every year and exhibitions for the event are sited at various places such as museums, heritage landmarks and galleries.

Moreover, the city is an Ancient, Byzantine and Roman collection of sites that portraits its grand history of more than 2.300 years. Several museums, historical ruins, Ottoman gems, the tomb of King Phillip, father of Alexander the Great, in a nearby distance from Thessaloniki, attract thousands of visitors every year. The city has 15 UNESCO declared monuments of World Cultural Heritage. Among others, the City Walls, Monasteries, a Byzantine bath, churches from the Old Christian Era and Byzantine art monuments…

Nearby, only one-hour drive, the turquoise waters of Chalkidiki welcome visitors and citizens from Thessaloniki every summer. Hundreds of sandy beaches are so close to Thessaloniki that it’s inevitable for you not to visit at least one. It would be so hard to make a choice. So, let your Splendid travel consultants guide you through your many options.

CHALKIDIKI

As all Thessaloniki citizens say “There in nothing like Chalkidiki”. What do they all mean? First of all, unlike the Greek Islands, the turquoise water of Chalkidiki sea is warm. The sea and the beach are very friendly for kids and families. There is a great nature, trees and bushes are so near to the beach. There are many types of hotels that can accommodate many different target groups. From 5* hotels to simple rooms-to-let. Chalkidiki has three peninsulas, one can visit the two of them Kassandra and Sithonia, while the third one is the world famous “Holy Mountain”, a sacred place of Monasteries, visited by special permission only by male visitors. However, there is a daily cruise around the “Holy Mountain” peninsula, where everyone can join and see from the sea these amazing Orthodox Monasteries, famous around the world. Splendid Travel can offer you a unique traveling solution on planning your Chalkidiki tour, or your vacation…

ATHENS

Athens is the capital of Greece, the birthplace of democracy, arts, science and philosophy, home of Socrates, Plato, Pericles, Euripides, Sophocles. Athens is one of the world’s oldest cities, with its history spreading through the last 3.400 years. Today, Parthenon stands in the middle of the modern city of Athens. New Acropolis Museum is offering a generous glimpse of the antiquity.

Athens enjoys a beautiful Mediterranean climate, full of sun light and it offers its visitors a unique combination of ancient history with modern, urban innovation. This harmonic coexistence of great culture with astonishing natural beauty, high standard hotel accommodation and modern means of transportation with a wide choice of opportunities for shopping, dining and night life, make Athens an ideal city break for every visitor.

MAINLAND

What’s not to love about Greece’s mainland? Although not that famous as the Greek Islands, there are several major points of attraction for group of visitors or individuals.

Meteora is one of the most impressive sites, located centrally in Greece, in Thessaly. Meteora actually means ‘hanging in space’. They are very tall, vertical rocks, sculpted by prehistoric rivers, where Monasteries balance on top. It seems unbelievable the way these Monasteries were built. At present, from the 20 Monasteries and Convents on Meteora, only six of them can welcome visitors to their lofty realms. These are Agios Nikolaos Anapafsa, Metamorphosis tou Sotiros or Megalo Meteoro, Varlaam, Roussanos, Agia Triada and Agios Stephanos. UNESCO has declared METEORA a World Heritage Site. Absolutely worth visiting.

Delphi: Near Athens (about two-hour drive) you can find Delphi, a famous place seen as a spiritual focal point for all ancient Greeks. The Oracle, where Pythia, the high priestess, gave the advice from God Apollo to mortals who travelled from across the world for a prophecy… The Delphi town is a beautiful village, lying at the foot of Parnassos Mountain. When in Athens, you can make a daily visit to Delphi to enjoy the nature and the unique spiritual vibration of the place.

Mountains and Lakes. The natural environment offers a grand variety for the visitors. Mountains, lakes and rivers are major autumn and winter attractions. You can visit Villages of Zagori, Ioannina and Kastoria, beautiful cities by the lake. Mount Olympus, at Litochoro village is a unique experience. Lake Kerkini and Delta Evros is ideal for bird watchers.

Villages. There are some traditional and very beautiful villages in Greece. Makrinitsa village on Pelion Mountain, Aristi village, Monodendri, on Zagori Mountains, Metsovo village etc.

Peloponnese. A great place to visit. Monemvasia, Areopoli, Nafplion, Kalamata, Olympia, Pylos, Ancient Messene, Sparta, the list is endless… so many places. Peloponnese is where the Olympic Games where born. The south mainland of Greece that originally was an island but intense geological upheavals in the region twice united and separated it from the mainland. Later, a drop in sea level formed the Isthmus of Corinth which is the land bridge since 19th century. This is the place where all myths revive, where it’s believed by some that retsina wine is the teardrop of a certain nymph. Whilst visiting any part of the Peloponnese you can enjoy the beauty of some of the well-known historical monuments, such as ancient palaces, temples of the Gods of ancient Greek history and sanctuaries.

GREEK ISLANDS

It is true that the highlight of Greece is the Greek Islands. It’s the main characteristic of Greece’s morphology and an integral part of the country’s culture across the centuries. The country includes thousands of islands scattered in the Greek Seas, of which only 227 islands are inhabited. There is a great variety and diversity in island landscape. One can find long sandy beaches or small bays and coves, pebble beaches (white, colorful or black), etc. The Greek Islands are grouped into the Northern Aegean Islands, Cyclades Islands, Dodecanese islands, Ionian Islands, Sporades Islands. The beautiful Greek islands are here for you to explore. Don’t waste any minute.

MYKONOS - SANTORINI

The islands that have won a place in visitors’ heart and are very famous throughout the world are for sure Mykonos and Santorini. These white little spots in the mid of Mediterranean and Aegean Sea offer the most VIP traveling experience one can find in Greece. Exclusive luxurious hotels and villas, world famous restaurants and night Clubs, exquisite beach bars, private tours, boat tours, jet flights etc. Mykonos is the gem of the Cyclades, world renowned for its striking white homes, windmills and churches, distinctive for its smooth sandy beaches and azure waters. Santorini, the Volcanic island, offers one of the most unforgettable and breath-taking views in the world. You can climb the slopes of the active volcano and swim in the hot springs, or visit the beautiful village of Oia. Spend some time to enjoy the variety of beaches you can choose from, that vary in colour due to the volcanic activities.

CRETE - RHODES

The beautiful and traditional island of Crete is the biggest island in Greece. With its unique hospitality, ancient palace of Knossos as a highlight, picturesque villages, sandy beached, gorges, lakes and mountain and a large variety of hotels, villas and traditional houses, Crete is a very promising island for your ideal vacation! Rhodes, in the Dodecanese Islands Complexion, is a cosmopolitan island, with its medieval Castle surrounding the Old Town, its glorious and luminous beaches with turquoise water, its luxurious hotels, its local markets, with the beautiful village of Lindos and its famous Acropolis, is surely a great summer destination.

CORFU AND THE IONIAN SEA ISLANDS

A glimpse of Italy one can take is on the Corfu Island. The pastel colors of the Old town, the spacious cricket field as a memory of the past, the amazing food, the laughter and the singing of its people, the vivid colors of the sea, the green nature of the island, the Palace of Princess Sissy, the stories and the legends, the Greek mythology… Endless elements of a splendid spot for unforgettable vacations. Ionian Sea reminds us of the legend of Odysseus and his return trip to Ithaki, its home island. Paxoi, Ithaki, Kefalonia, Zakynthos, Lefkada are all Ionian Islands, under the glorious sun light. Pick one out of your head and you won’t regret it!