Top 10 places to visit in Greece

Top 10 places to visit in Greece

Top 10 places to visit Greece

If you come to Greece for a short time, it is best not to spread yourself over a wide range of attractions, but to visit the locations in a targeted way to make an impression of this country, fall in love with Greece and come back here again. Of course, first of all Greece is known for its ruins, cozy villages, friendly atmosphere and delicious cuisine with a traditional inclusion of seafood. Not for nothing Greece is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Europe. However, tourists are attracted not only by the beauty of historical sites, but also by natural locations. Here are ten places you must visit in Greece.

Cape Sounion

Sounion is located in the south of the Attica peninsula and is famous for the fact that here is the temple of Poseidon. The cape is only seventy kilometers from Athens. The best time to visit the cape is in the evening, at sunset. In addition to seeing the temple of Poseidon, the guides will tell you about the ancient sanctuary for the gods, which has not survived to this day. The cape was thought to be a symbol of the inseparability of the land and water gods, because it not only protrudes into the sea, but also goes far into the land. The Greeks saw it as a special sign, and so began to build cult buildings here. The temple of Poseidon contains sixteen columns of white marble brought here from the canyon of Agrilesas. Unfortunately, the temple was partly destroyed by the Persians, so today in its place you can observe only ruins, but they have long served as a haven for sailors, and the inhabitants of the capital hid here from the conquerors.

The birthplace of European civilization, Greece is now on the list of the most visited European countries: annually about 20 million people come here.

Thessaloniki

Thessaloniki is the second largest city in Greece and its correct name is Thessaloniki, where more than one million people live. It is located in Central Macedonia. Today it has completely taken over its position as the cultural capital of the country. Every year the city hosts dozens of festivals and other cultural events. With a history of more than three thousand years, Thessaloniki has preserved the imprints of antiquity – the domination of the Roman, Ottoman and Byzantine empires, as well as traces of the presence of the Jews. You can visit the old city, well preserved until today. It is even listed as a UNESCO heritage site. In the old town there are Byzantine walls, Turkish baths and colorful food markets. The city is characterized by comfort for both locals and visitors.

Zagori

The region with the beautiful name of Zagori has an amazing natural beauty which is why there are two national parks in Greece. The rocky mountains and dense forests of the region are cut by mighty rivers that carry their torrents into the valleys. Traditional villages can be found all around and some of them even have buildings more than two hundred years old. If you want to explore this region as fully as possible, it is best to go on a hike. numerous trails connect the villages and are sure to lead you to Vikos Gorge.

Halkidiki

If you are near Thessaloniki it is time to visit Halkidiki. It is an island which is shaped like a trident and it is rich first of all with beautiful beaches. This is why the fame of Halkidiki spreads among those tourists who love to sunbathe, sunbathe and swim. Being separate peninsulas, it so happens that each of them has its own theme. If you want to have fun and go out at night in the disco, welcome to Kassandra. On Sithonia you can relax quietly, exposing your body to the warm rays of the sun, but getting to know the monks and seeing the temples is best on Athos. Cassandra is the most developed, but for tourists on Sintonia too, there are campsites, hidden coves and very clear water. These two regions are constantly fighting for popularity, but they are equally popular with tourists. You can go to Athos by boat and this part of the island is open only to men.

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Peloponnese

The Peloponnese island is shaped like a big leaf, that’s why it got its ancient name of Moreia. It is located in the southernmost region of the country and is connected to the mainland by the Rio-Antirrio. In the Peloponnese you can find primarily classical architecture, Greek temples and Venetian fortresses, Mycenaean palaces and Byzantine churches. Historical events have left their indelible mark on the architecture of the island, so it abounds and echoes several cultures at once. Be sure to walk through the ruins and see Olympia, where the games of the same name were first held in honor of the god Zeus. There are also the ancient cities of Epidaurus, Sparta, Mycenae, and Argos. You can visit the island at any time of year, but if you’re hoping for a swim, it’s best to come here from May to September. During the warm season you can also admire the thickets of olive and orange groves.

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Delphi

If you leave out the Athenian acropolis, Delphi can be considered the most historically rich monument of Greece. The city is located just two hours from Athens near Mount Parnassus. Long ago Delphi was very revered and considered by the Greeks as the center of the earth. Delphi is dedicated to Apollo, the Greek god. In ancient times, many priests came here, but today the city is crowded with tourists. Here you can see the ruins of the temple of Apollo, the hippodrome, the once working theater, and even the Athenian Treasury. In Delphi there used to be the ancient Pythian games.

Meteors

From the Greek word “meteor” literally translates as suspended in the air. And this phrase is perfectly suited to the landscape, which tourists see when they come here. The cliffs of Meteora rise more than 360 meters in the air. Their peaks offer a view over northern Greece, where you can see the villages of Kastraki and Kalambaka. The cliffs are made more majestic by the historic monasteries along the peaks. They were built in the fourteenth century by monks who became withdrawers-they fled religious persecution and sought spiritual isolation.

It is one of the largest Greek islands, but it is also a spectacular part of the country, filled with fascinating contrasts. Here you can see a tranquil coastline with perfectly clean beaches and immediately find yourself bumping into rocky mountains that turn into hilly terrain dotted with thickets of olive trees. The megalopolises of Crete are not as lively as modern tourists imagine. Nowadays, they look more like comfortable villages with lots of cozy outdoor cafes, inviting tourists for a bite to eat. Crete is rich in history, which has been carefully preserved for centuries.

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Athens

The ancient city, which has already turned three thousand years old, in spite of its respectable age, surprises more and more, by no means being enrolled in the old books. As the cradle of civilization, Athens combines both modern features and the spirit of history. Speaking of archaeology and antiquities, tourists should definitely see sights such as the Parthenon, the Acropolis, the theater of Dionysus and the ancient Agora. But Athens is not only the remains of temples and buildings. Today the city positions itself as a business center, a Klondike of nightlife and cultural life of the country.

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Greek Islands

If you are going to Greece for a vacation, be sure that you will spend a large part of your trip in the islands. And that’s not surprising, since Greece is surrounded by more than two thousand different islands that are scattered around. The most important tourist sites have a good location and infrastructure. Travel companies have thought out an excellent transfer service, so there will be no problems with visiting the islands. If you can not choose where to go first, then listen to an experienced guide. They will find you the location of your choice, where you can not only visit the beautiful beaches, but also to see the ancient ruins and even active volcanoes. Santorini, Mykonos, Rhodes and Corfu are definitely worth a visit.

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The unknown romance of Greece: Top 10 places worth visiting for tourists

The early booking of tours in Greece is more active than last year. In addition to the beach resorts, there are still many beautiful places in this country that are not too well known to our compatriots. And almost all of these places are great to visit not only in the summer, but also in the low season.

Despite the difficult season, Greece is still popular with our compatriots. This year it entered the top 5 tourist destinations for summer holidays among the Russians. And according to statistics from the Ministry of Tourism of Greece, Russians who visited this country between January and the end of July 2018, were also in 5th place, behind Germany, Britain, Italy and Poland.

“ATOR Bulletin” compiled a list of Greek regions, routes and cities, which tourists should pay special attention to: by choosing to vacation in these places, you can discover “another Greece”. And most importantly, all of these places are great to visit in the low, non-swim season. The review was prepared jointly with the office of the National Tourism Organization of Greece in Russia and the CIS – GNTO.

PELOPONNES

This is the southernmost part of mainland Greece, consisting mainly of small resort towns with inexpensive hotels. Thus, according to statistics from the Greek Tourist Confederation (SETE), their cost in July is about 60 euros in the lowest segment of 1-2 star hotels, and no more than 300 euros in five-star.

The Byzantine route Mistras-Monemvasia

Mistras and Monemvasia are located in the southern Peloponnese and it takes less than 2 hours to get from one point to the other by car, so they can be combined into one itinerary

Both cities have preserved the richest Byzantine heritage, only Mystras was a mainland fortress and Monemvasia an island one.

The fortress of Mistras is considered the prototype of Goethe’s Faust Castle. In 1989, it was included in the list of protected monuments of UNESCO. In the fortress and in the town itself there is a rich Byzantine historical heritage – the palaces of the dynasties of the Paleologians and the Cantacuzinos, which can be considered a rare example of secular architecture of those times. It is also worth to visit the church of Agia Sofia from XIV century and many other monuments from different epochs.

At 5 km from Mistras there is the famous Sparta, more precisely the new city built to the south of its ancient predecessor. There are interesting statues of King Leonidas, who died with the 300 Spartans at Thermopylae, as well as the chasm Keada near the village of Tripi. According to legend, the Spartans threw their enemies and the sick infirm into it. In Sparta there is also a museum of olives and olive oil.

Monemvasia, on the island of the same name in the Aegean Sea, now connected to the Peloponnese by a dam, is a virtually intact medieval fortress consisting of an Upper, Middle, and Lower Town. Each has its own points of attraction – an ancient shopping street, medieval mansions and a bastion, the Church of St. Sophia soaring over the sea, the Portelo sea gate and much more.

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In Monemvasia one must try the gogues or saitias – handmade pasta, fried pies with cheese and the famous malvasia – the most expensive medieval wine of Europe. This sweet nectar was first produced here, then it spread throughout the Peloponnese and, thanks to the Genoese merchants, throughout southern Europe.

You can visit Mistras with a tour organized by the tour operator Mouzenidis Travel under the program “Sparta, Mistras, Dirou-Mani” for holidaymakers in the Peloponnese. It costs about 120-140 euros for adults and 60-70 euros for children aged 6-12 years old. Younger children go for free. This is a VIP group tour, and the variability in the price depends on the region of departure (starting point).

In addition, you can order and individual tour by car (1-3 people) or minivan (up to 6 people), but here, the price will also be calculated individually.

The secret harbor of Gerolimenas

Gerolimenas is a picturesque village on the southern part of the Mani peninsula, which is washed by the Mediterranean Sea. Its number of inhabitants is a little more than 100, and until the 1970s you could only get here by boat. Thus, the name Gerolimenas can be interpreted as both “old harbor” and “secret harbor.

Gerolimenas stretches along the water, with its stone facades, boats are tied to the piers and residential houses alternate with hotels, stores and restaurants. Thanks to this infrastructure, the village is always full of tourists.

In Gerolimenas you can spend the day, visit the fish market, taste authentic Greek food and go to the secluded pebble beach. It is considered one of the cleanest in Greece and is equipped with showers, sun loungers and umbrellas.

Hot Waters of Kayafa

Loutra Kaiafa, stretching along the Ionian Sea, unfortunately, is not too well known to Russian tourists visiting the Peloponnese. However it is a thermal spa resort which is located 5 km. from Zacharo and 26 km. from Pyrgos town and works all year round offering very effective curative baths.

The water in the springs, which according to legend originate in a mystical cave of the nymphs, is 32 degrees Celsius and is very good for treating rheumatism, neuralgia and a number of other ailments.

The very location of the resort near the freshwater lake Kayafa, which stretches along the seashore, gives Lutra Kayafa a special charm. Here you can choose between Europe’s longest white sandy beach of the Ionian Sea and active sports on the lake. And the scent of pine trees, which grow on a 400 meter strip that separates the sea from the lake, makes the walks particularly pleasant.

FESSALIA

The Powers of Nature of Alonissos

Alonissos is a small island in the archipelago of the Northern Sporades in the Aegean Sea. It covers an area of only 64.5 square kilometers, but its natural diversity is so vast that, together with the neighboring islands, Alonissos forms a unique ecosystem.

The geographical isolation of the island has led to the coexistence of over 300 species of fish, 80 species of birds and reptiles and monkeys. The calling card of Alonissos fauna is the monk seals, which are listed in the Red Book. There are no more than 500 seals left in the world, and, according to scientists, 2/3 of monk seals live in Greece.

All kinds of recreation are available on the island – ecotourism with hiking, diving, fishing, water sports, plenary sessions for artists or photographers, as well as medical tourism – there is the International Academy of Classical Homeopathy, where every year doctors from more than 15 countries come to Alonissos.

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But even if you do not set a specific goal, Alonissos is great just for recreation. There are many monasteries and old comfortable houses, restaurants, museums, hotels and comfortable villas.

GREEK MACEDONIA

Almost half of Greece’s population lives in Macedonia, the same historic area in the Balkans that now belongs to several states.

A curious overview of the cost of hotels in July 2018 is given by statistics from the Greek Tourist Confederation (SETE). Thus, Western Macedonia had the lowest price for a five-star hotel out of ten major tourist destinations in Greece this year. It was 94 euros per night, while in Eastern Macedonia the average price was 207 euros, and Central Macedonia showed one of the highest prices of the season – 399 euros.

The mountain fairy tale of Aridea

Aridea is a very beautiful and cozy town in Central Macedonia, built on the right bank of the mountain stream Toplica. It is a popular destination for mountain and health tourism.

Mountain lovers will love the well-developed road infrastructure, which allows easy access directly to the foothills of nearby Vor and Paikou, and, if desired, to the highest mountain ski resort in Greece – Kaimaksalan (it is 3-4 hours by car).

For lovers of thermal springs, however, choose Lutra Pozar, located near the town and hidden in the middle of a beautiful forest on Mount Voras. The water temperature here reaches 37 degrees Celsius, and its healing properties have a beneficial effect on the nervous system and respiratory organs. The resort is open all year round.

You can visit Aridea as part of a group tour of the tour operator Mouzenidis Travel “Aridea and Edessa,” which the company organizes for holidaymakers on the island of Halkidiki. It costs 50 euros for an adult, 25 euros for a child from 6 to 12 years, and kids under 6 years old go for free.

In addition, now at this resort in the company has opened an early booking for 2019, the prices for tour packages with flights on a breakfast basis start at an average of 60-70 thousand rubles, and if you pay in full for the tour, you can get a 10% discount.

The modest beauty of Nympheo

The historic village of Nimfeo (Neveska) is located near the town of Florina in Western Macedonia. It is a very unusual mountain village that was once a center of salvation from the onslaught of the Ottoman Empire. Nimfeo is hidden in the mountains behind a beech forest, and in winter, when it is covered with white snow, it almost blends in with the surrounding landscape.

Today, Nymfeo is one of the top 10 most beautiful villages in Europe. The fact is that in the 17th century silver jewelry business developed here, which flourished for 300 years. During this time, the city was enriched by beautiful mansions of the local nobility with exquisite interior decoration.

In the XX century, however, the city fell into decline, but it soon revived the local residents. Part of the mansions turned into hotels and restaurants, while the city was taken under the protection of the state.

The city is famous for its shelter for bears that can not return to their natural environment. Some of them came here from the circus. The shelter offers short tours for visitors, and you can always donate a little money here.

AEGEAN ISLANDS

The Aegean islands proved to be one of the most expensive tourist destinations in Greece this year. In July, for example, the cost of hotels in the South Aegean Islands has never dropped below 100 euros, even for 1-2-star hotels, and 5-star hotels broke the record for the year, offering a maximum price of 467 euros.

Castelorizo Color Therapy

Kastelorizo (Megisti) is an island in the Dodecanese archipelago in the series of Southern Ionian Islands in Greece, just 2 km from the border with Turkey. Its modern name comes from the fourteenth century Red Fortress (Castello Rosso), which was built on the island by the Knights Hospitaller Order of St. John. It is still visible on the top of the hill.

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The town itself is a very interesting example of local architecture – all its buildings are close to each other, rising from the coast in the form of an amphitheater. The houses are tall and painted in bright colors, which creates a real holiday atmosphere.

In Castelorizo is really cheerful and there are always a lot of people visiting the island, especially after the filming of the famous movie “Mediterranean Sea”, which received an Oscar in 1992.

A unique attraction of Castelorizo is the Blue Cave. The rays of the sun create an unusual color effect here, so that both the water and the high walls repeat different shades of blue.

The artistic heritage of Samothraki and Furni

Among the northern Aegean islands there are two places not the most known to Russian tourists, whose contribution to world culture is invaluable. They are the ancient Samotraki in the northern Aegean Sea near the coast of Thrace and Fourni Ikarias, an archipelago of more than 20 islands.

Samotraki, the island of the great gods, as the Greeks themselves call it, was at one time the center of religious festivals and from the top of Mount Saos, located on the island, the events of the Trojan War were allegedly watched by Poseidon himself.

But the most important event, which made the island famous all over the world, took place in 1863: the famous sculpture of Nika of Samothrace, now exhibited in the Louvre, was found here.

Fourni supplied marble to Miletus in Ancient Greece, a huge metropolis in Asia Minor. The islands are now being actively excavated, with subterranean archaeologists conducting their research as well.

Both islands annually host tourists who prefer a quieter ecological type of vacation, mountain hiking and deep immersion in history.

IONIAN ISLANDS.

An alternative tourist paradise in Paxi

Paxi, the smallest among the Ionian Islands, according to legend, was a retreat for Poseidon’s wife Amphitrite. And now its compact size (25 square kilometers) attracts those tourists who, like the Greek nymph, are looking for opportunities for a relaxing but fulfilling vacation.

The island can also be traversed on foot, but it is still worth booking a boat here to see the panorama opening from the sea and get to the Ipandi Cave.

The infrastructure of Paxi is also very well developed – there are good hotels, tavernas and fish restaurants. Great opportunities for travelers and the mountains, where all kinds of hiking and biking are possible, as well as bathing in the thermal springs at the top. In addition, you can always include in your travels and neighboring islands, where there is a fairly rich historical heritage.

You can visit the islands of Paxos in the mini-cruise “Paxos and Antipaxos”, which is organized by the tour operator “Mouzenidis Travel” from the island of Corfu. This tour lasts all day (about 8 hours) and gives the opportunity to swim in the crystal clear water near the islands, taste the Greek cuisine and buy authentic souvenirs.

The cost of the cruise is 40 euros for adults, 20 euros for children 6-12 years old and free for those under 6 years old. The cruise varies depending on the weather and the period of the year.

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