The incredible history of Greece and its Mediterranean climate make this a spectacular destination – whether you’re visiting Athens or heading straight to one of the numerous islands.
One of the best things about a visit to Greece is a chance to immerse yourself in Greek cuisine.
You’ll discover lots of regional variations on your travels, and it’s always best to follow the lead of the locals. But here’s some of the dishes that you might want to keep an eye out for on your menus:
- Mprizoles — a beef or pork steak cooked with olive oil and lemon juice, generally found in Athens.
- Sparangia kai aginares — boiled asparagus and artichoke hearts in olive oil and lemon juice, generally found in Athens.
- Souvlaki is a classic street food — meat and salad in a pita-style wrap. In Athens they’ll generally include some fries in the wrap.
- Soutzoukakia — meat patties spiced with coriander, pepper and cumin, generally found in Northern Greece.
- Tas kebab — a casserole made of goat, mutton or beef, generally found in Northern Greece.
- Gemista — oven-baked vegetables stuffed with rice, pine nuts and herbs, generally found in Northern Greece.
- Spetzofai — spicy sausage sliced up and combined with herbs and vegetables, generally found in Central and Western Greece.
- Bourtheto — a coastal dish in which small fish are coated in a spicy tomato sauce, generally found in Central and Western Greece.
- Glyko kastano — a chestnut pudding flavoured with honey and orange, generally found in Central and Western Greece.
- Arni me votana — a lamb casserole with herbs, vegetables, beans, carrots, tomatoes and potatoes, generally found on the southern peninsula.
- You’ll enjoy a lot of seafood on your travels through Greece. On the southern peninsula look out for lobster and crab, char-grilled or pan-fried and simply seasoned with herbs, sea salt, olive oil and lemon juice.
- Dolmadhes — rice wrapped in vine leaves, then cooked in water, oil and lemon juice. A classic snack that you’ll find throughout Greece.
- Mezedes — the small snacks you’ll share at the beginning of a meal. The selection may vary from region to region, but generally will include skewers of meat, taramosalata, and tzatziki.
- Mousaka — layers of fried aubergine and potato slices with spicy minced meat. A staple dish that you’ll find throughout Greece.
Here’s some useful tips for Athens:
- Psyri — an edgy neighbourhood good for nightlife
- Klouvi — a good bar in the Petralona neighbourhood
- Kolonaki — an upmarket neighbourhood on the way to Mount Lycabettus
- Exarchia — an edgy and artistic neighbourhood
- Gazi — the heart of the gay scene in Athens
- Sodade– one of the most popular gay bars
- Shamone — gay cocktail bar and restaurant
- The Apartment — gay club
The island of Mykonos
There’s numerous islands to choose from in the Greek archipelago, but one of the most popular is Mykonos. You can access Mykonos by ferry, but there are also direct flights from most major European airports.
Mykonos is ideal if you’re looking for a vacation that combines amazing beaches with an up-all-hours nightlife. Perfect for a group of friends looking for a few days of fun in the sun.
Here’s some useful tips:
- Hire a car to get around the island — not essential but means that you won’t be relying on buses and taxis.
- You’ll see a lot of people on motorbikes — they’re tempting, but unless you’re an experienced motorbike ride you’re almost guaranteed to have an accident that will ruin your vacation.
- Elia Beach is generally the favourite option. The system on the beach is fairly organised — hire a sun-bed for the day and make friends with the waiter who is looking after the area where you’re sitting. Most people tend to hire the same sun-beds each day, so you quickly get to know the people that you’re sharing the beach with. Tip your waiter well for best results.
- Sip cocktails while watching the sunset from the Elysium hotel
- Party at Jackie O’s.
The island of Samos
Over near the Turkish coast, Samos is a relatively quiet part of the world. What you get though is great weather, perfect pebble beaches, endless days of swimming in the Mediterranean and feasting on Greek food. It’s hard to beat.