Greece is known as a gorgeous place that attracts many tourists every year. What makes Greece such a tourism magnet? Greece offers a one of a kind experience for everyone that loves to travel with attractions and cuisines that are unique to Greece.
Some of my favorite things about Greece are:
- The Food
- The Locations
- The History
- The Nightlife
- The Affordability
Everyone has different preferences, especially when it comes to what they like to do on vacation. But I can guarantee that Greece has something that it can offer to everyone.
#1 – The Food
Greek cuisine is so loved that it is popular around the world in the form of Greek restaurants, but there is nothing like sampling Greek food in the place from which it originates.
Popular Greek appetizers include dips, salads, cheeses, and kolokythokeftedes. Some traditional Grecian dips are tzatziki, made of yogurt, cucumber, and garlic; melitzanosalata, made from aubergines; fava, a creamy split pea puree; and taramasalata, which is a fish roe dip.
Famous Greek cheeses and salads go hand in hand, with Grecian salads featuring the best Greek cheeses. Some of the more well-known Greek cheeses and cheese dishes and their descriptions is as follows:
- Feta cheese is probably the most well-known Greek cheese. It is a crumbly and aged cheese that is typically grainy in texture and produced in blocks. Feta is a brined curd white cheese that is made from sheep’s milk or a mixture of sheep’s and goat’s milk.
- Graviera cheese is a sweeter, fruitier cheese that is made from a mixture of cow’s, sheep’s, and goat’s milk and is wheel shaped.
- Tyropita, a traditional Greek cheese pie, is generally made with curd cottage cheese, phyllo dough, feta cheese, parmesan cheese, and more. Herbs and seasonings can change with preferences from pie to pie, and different variations do exist.
Another popular Greek appetizer dish is kolokythokeftedes, also called courgette balls or fritters. These delicious fritters are traditionally made from zucchini and feta. They are made in both fritter and ball form and use famous Greek spices like dill and mint. Courgette balls are commonly served with tzatziki dip.
Greek meats are famously grilled and spit-roasted, and souvlaki is a popular and tasty Greek meat dish made of small pieces of meat grilled on a skewer, sometimes with vegetables. Souvlaki is usually served with pita bread, fried potatoes, lemons, and sauces.
Dolmades is a traditional Greek dish that can be both meaty and vegetarian. Cabbage leaves, grapevine leaves, or hollowed vegetables are stuffed with mixtures of rice and, in the meaty versions, minced beef or lamb. Herbs and seasonings like thyme, dill, fennel, and oregano are used.
A popular Greek baked dish called moussaka is a family favorite that consists of layers of sautéed eggplant and ground lamb that is flavored with onion, garlic, tomatoes, cinnamon and allspice. At the top of the dish is a layer of potato that is coated with a bechamel sauce and cheese.
Greek food is more than just savory cheeses and meats – it is also incredible sweet desserts!
Some standouts among all Greek desserts are the following.
- Baklava is a pastry that is characterized by its uniquely paper-thin layers of filo dough filled with chopped nuts and sweetened by syrup and honey.
- Kataifi is distinguished by its resemblance to angel hair pasta. A nutty center is surrounded by angel hair shaped dough, baked, and then dipped in syrup. Most often, kataifi uses walnuts and almonds.
- Greek custard pie, or galaktoboureko, is made with layers of filo dough and melted butter that are filled with custard and dipped in syrup.
- Bougatsa is a common street snack that is made with butter and folded phyllo and filled with custard then sprinkled with cinnamon and powdered sugar.
#2 – The Places
There is a plethora of breathtaking places to visit in Greece – entire islands, beaches, and landscapes.
The Island of Crete
Crete is known as “the spirit of the Mediterranean” and is considered one of the best Greek islands for beaches, history, and hiking. If you truly want to experience the Greece in all its glory, Crete is definitely a place you should add to your list.
The Balos lagoon in Chania is one of the most featured beaches in travel guides and is located on Crete. Another notable and gorgeous landscape in Crete is the celebrated palm forest in Vai.
There are famous archeological sites like castles and palaces built by the Minoans, the Venetians, and the Byzantines. Monasteries like the Preveli monastery in southern Rethymno can be found throughout the island. Crete also has many museums that showcase the island’s rich history.
I Reviewed Crete more in depth in another blog post – Read it Here!
The Island of Samos
The historian Herodotus considered Samos the first of the ancient cities and named it the center of the Ionian civilization. The island is said to be “ruled by legend and beauty.” It is even considered today to be the “bridge” between two cultures because of its location between Europe and Asia Minor.
In the past, Samos was an extremely important trade center and boasted an amazing naval force and was even the home of the famous philosopher Aesop. There are awe-inspiring landscapes to be seen on Samos with Mt. Kerkis and Mt. Ambelos and incredibly lush and green forests.
Since Samos is the mythical birthplace of the goddess Hera, it houses the largest temple in all of Greece, according to Herodotus. There is also a settlement called Heraion on the side of the sea that is completely dedicated to Hera.
You can read my blog post “Is Samos Safe To Visit? A Review Of Samos And Its Beaches” for an in-depth review of Samos
The Beaches of Greece
Greece is a country full of remarkable beaches. The Sarakiniko Beach in Milos has milky white volcanic rocks sitting next to gorgeous green water that turns bright blue as you move from the shore. Shipwreck Bay Beach in Zakynthos features a shipwreck among white sand with turquoise water.
Super Paradise Beach in Mykonos is the famed best beach in the Aegean Sea, which golden sand and translucent blue water. Porto Katsiki Beach in Lefkas includes a huge white cliff that turns orange with the sunset and has been voted one of the best views in the Mediterranean.
Canal D’Amour Beach in Corfu features sculpted white rocks and grottoes with little scattered beaches and blue green water. It is said that, if you swim through the narrow opening in the rock at this beach, you will find the love of your life on the other side.
#3 – The History
Greece has a long history that began not long after the birth of civilization. Because of this history that spans thousands of years, there are many historical sites that can be seen throughout Greece.
In Athens, you can find historical sites like the Acropolis, the Parthenon, and the Temple of Poseidon. Each of these temples were erected as worship centers for the ancient Greek gods and goddesses. Mt. Kronion is the most sacred spot in Olympia, and it is the basis for Mount Olympus, the home of the Greek deities.
Meteora is the home to gorgeous monasteries that are perched on the top of high cliffs in this city that resembles something from another planet. Rhodes Island is the Grecian island that houses the Colossus of Rhodes, which was considered one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.
In Patmos, Greece you can find the Cave of the Apocalypse where St. John is said to have had the visions that led to the Book of Revelations in the Bible. Along with the many historical sites in Greece, the country is full of museums that show even more of its rich history to all those that are interested.
#4 – The Nightlife
While it is true that Greece is full of sights that are amazing for the entire family, it also has superb nightlife. There are international hangouts in Mykonos and venues that are popular for their partying like Malia on Crete, Lagana on Zante, and Kavos on Corfu, among others.
Athens has a nightlife that boasts bars and open-air clubs with dancing and live Greek music and a backlight of a lit-up Acropolis. Mykonos is a cosmopolitan area full of beachside clubs that let you party all night and start up again early the next morning.
#5 – The Affordability
Most people think that an exotic location is automatically expensive, but that is not always the case. Of course, if you want to live a life of luxury on vacation, Greece can be expensive. However, there are ways to keep your trip affordable.
Different budgets make for different experiences in Greece, but you will still be able to enjoy all the beauty of the country.
On a medium budget, you can enjoy everything that Greece has to offer for only 85 euros a day.
Some tips for helping to making your vacation budget last while in Greece are:
- Choose street snacks for your lunch. Street snacks in Greece are filling and, best of all, cheap!
- Travel in style. You can rent a moped for cheaper than you can rent a car, and it is much more convenient than the bus. Also, mopeds make it easy to tour all the hidden parts that larger transportation do not reach.
- Move away from the tourist traps. Places full of tourists tend to be more expensive, so if you venture to the lesser known destinations, you will not only get to see new and hidden sights, but you will also see prices drop!
- Travel during the off-season. Visiting Greece during the off-season isn’t only easier on your wallet, but it means that you won’t have to fight large crowds.
- Use overnight ferries to save when traveling between the many islands of Greece.
- Book Airbnbs instead of hotels. Because Greece is a common tourist country, there are plenty of places to crash all around it.
- And, if you like to drink wine, buy your wine at the store! It is much cheaper than if you buy your wine by the glass.
From the food and the places to the history and the nightlife to the incredible affordability, Greece is quite the tourist attraction. I personally find the country to be a fully enriching experience.
My advice would be to make sure to visit in spring or autumn and to make sure to pack a backpack to easily and securely keep all your belongings on you. You will need euros for everything, so make sure that you are not counting on your America dollars to get you around.
One warning I would give is to beware of the cigarette smoke. Many Greek people smoke, and it can be irritating for nonsmokers – but those allergic to smoke should take care avoid establishments that still allow smoking. All in all, Greece is an amazing place that everyone should have on their traveling bucket list!