Published by @Ariff
(Featured image-Image credit: Wikipedia. The town of Fira in Santorini)
The gorgeous country of Greece is situated right at the spot where the continents and Europe, Asia, and Africa intersect, and is regarded as the centre of Western civilisation. It is also the birthplace of democracy, Western philosophy and literature, and even the Olympics. In short, Greece is a centre point of Western culture, and that alone makes merits for Greece a spot in anyone’s travel bucket list — yours included. That being said, here are some of the things visitors can do to explore the so-called Cradle of Western Civilisation.
Learn the culture, partake in history
Image credit: Wikipedia.National Archaeological Museum.
Greece is a country steep in culture and history, so it makes sense to explore both. One way you can do this is by paying a visit to the various museums and libraries that populate the country. To this end, you ought to check out the Trilogy of Athens on Panepistimiou Street. This grand complex is made up of three majestically designed buildings that were built as an homage to the 12 Olympians. The buildings themselves reflect Athenian neoclassical architecture, and one of them — the National Library — is about as good a site to visit for anyone who want to learn about the culture of Greece.
Also worth checking out is the Acropolis Museum, where you will learn more about Greek mythology, notably in relation to Acropolis and Athens. The cavernous National Archaeological Museum deserves your time, too, as it is him to an assortment of ancient artworks — statues, carvings, and more —connected to Greek mythology. Stops at the Delos and Delphi museums are worth your while as well, as are detours to the Nafplion, Olympia, and Thera Prehistoric museums.
Tour the temples
Image Credit: Wikipedia. Olympieion
Mythology is a vital part of Greek culture, and you can learn more about it through guided tours of various temples all around Greece. These temples were built centuries ago in honor of various gods and goddesses, like Zeus and Athena. The Olympieion should thus be atop your temples-to-visit list, as it is said to be the haven of the mighty Olympian Zeus. Hailed long ago by the historian Vitruvius as one of the finest marble structures in the world, the Olympieion is a shell of its former self, but what remains is a testament to the structure’s ancient magnificence. Another temple worth visiting is The Parthenon, a site dedicated to the goddess Athena, the patron and protectress of Athens itself.
That mythology has remained an enduring facet of Greek culture is unsurprising. It first survived via word of mouth, until such time when it became part of written literature. Ultimately, Greek mythology made its way to pop culture by way of TV shows, plays, and films. Now, even the gaming industry is keeping Greek mythology alive and well via games like Apotheon, which was developed by Alien Trap. Online outlet Android Slots has a range of games inspired by Greek mythology, including Age of the Gods: King Olympus, which is an ode to the aforementioned Zeus, and Age of the Gods, which honours a number of Greek deities.
All these games have given people all around the world another avenue to discover this aspect of Greek culture, and have helped it remain relevant even in today’s fast-paced, ever-changing times. Then again, playing games will never compare to actually exploring historic sites related to Greek mythology, so any visit to Greece must include detours at as many temples (and museums, too) as possible.
Visit the Islands
Image credit: Wikipedia. The town of Fira in Santorini
Greece is home to a multitude of islands. Notables include Mykonos and its vibrant nightlife, Naxos and its 46 traditional vilages, Paros and its range of water sports offerings, Santorini and its scenic landscapes and seascapes, and Crete and its breath-taking tapestry of beautiful beaches. In short, you can’t go wrong with any of the Greek islands; the five enumerated here, though, ought to be high up on your island-hopping itinerary.
Bask in beautiful beaches
Image credit: Wikipedia. Navagio Beach, with the MV Panagiotis
Beautiful beaches are aplenty in Greece, with some of the best being in the aforementioned island of Crete. A tourist favourite, though, is the world-renowned Navagio Beach, which according to Culture Trip is known to the locals as Agios Giorgos. Long home to the shipwreck of the contraband-carrying freightliner MV Panagiotis, the Navagio (or Shipwreck) Beach is one of the most majestic beaches in the world, largely due to its spectacular surroundings and crystal-clear turquoise waters. It is only accessible by boat, but trust us when we say this: That boat ride is well worth it. Other beaches you might want to visit are Myrtos Beach in Kefalonia, Balos Beach in Crete, Valtos Beach in Parga, and Porto Katsiki Beach in Lefkada.
Tickle your taste buds
Image credit: Wikipedia. Moussaka.
Greek has a surprisingly appetising food culture, and to this end the island of Crete is, again, a go-to destination. Simply, it is one of Greece’s best food hubs. The most delectable taverna, for instance, is served in this island, which is home to a handful of traditional Greek restaurants as well. Some of the tastiest treats Greece has to offer, as outlined in “Top 10 Dishes to Try in Greece” by BBC Good Food, include the popular moussaka (layers of sautéed aubergine, minced meat, fried pureed tomato, onion, garlic, spices, potato, cheese, and béchamel sauce) and the simple yet sumptuous taramasalata (fish roe dip).
Like all other countries, there is a charm to Greece that is uniquely its own. And this charm can is best experienced with a — obviously — Greek getaway.