camping

8 Awe-Inspiring Camping Destinations for Travelers in Greece

Because of its incredible climate and wide range of scenery, from islands to mountains, Greece is a top vacation destination for outdoor enthusiasts. Many people choose to be as close as possible to nature by camping, which has grown in popularity in Greece. While there aren’t many official campsites around the country, those that exist often come with a lot of amenities. They also vary widely in terms of landscape, from campgrounds on the beach to sites in densely forested areas. Experiencing Greek islands and national parks from a campsite provides a unique perspective on the natural beauty of the country—those who love the outdoors should consider a Greek camping trip for their next vacation. A handful of the top locations for camping in Greece include:

 

  1. Gythion Bay

Located near Gythion in the Peloponnese, this site sits right next to the beach and provides guests with a swimming pool and equipment for windsurfing, as well as quick access to the many historical attractions of the area. The Peloponnese features a number of ancient cities and Byzantine ruins, as well as gorgeous beaches and endless stretches of orange and olive groves. For maximum convenience, the main camping area has a bar, a restaurant, and a miniature market. Guests can rent caravans or tents in addition to bringing their own gear.

 

  1. Leros

The island of Leros, part of the Dodecanese, sits off the beaten tourist track. The camping site on the island is located in the heart of an olive grove that has produced fruit for several centuries. Leros tends to attract scuba divers, since the campground features a diving club that offers lessons, scuba adventures, and snorkeling trips. People who do not want to sleep in a tent can rent a bungalow to get a bit of shelter from the hot Mediterranean sun. The campground also features a small café for easy meals and facilities for grilling.

Leros

Image by anybookers | Flickr

 

  1. Lichnos

On the western coast of Greece is Epirus, a mountainous region with lush forests. Outdoor enthusiasts often find themselves in this area because of the variety of landscapes situated in a relatively small area, including rugged mountains and rivers cutting deep valleys through them, not to mention some charming stretches of beach. The beach at Lichnos features apartments along with camping grounds that offer basic facilities, as well as umbrellas and sun beds for beachgoers. There’s also a beautiful garden. In all, the site is an excellent place for nature-lovers to stay while hiking through Epirus.

 

  1. Skiathos

In Greece, the island of Skiathos has become known for its excellent camping along Koukounaries beach. The camping site is located less than a quarter-mile from the beach, and a bus makes it easy to travel to Skiathos Town or the other beaches scattered around the island. Ancient trees around the camping grounds provide protection from the bright sun, making it a perfect home base for an island getaway. Travelers can reach Skiathos via ferry from either Volos or Agios Konstantinos, and these boats also serve the islands of Skopelos and Alonissos.

 

  1. Lemnos

Located in the Northern Aegean Sea, Lemnos does not receive many tourists, which means that its beaches are relatively pristine. On the island is Surf Club Keros, a windsurfing resort that offers guests a wide range of accommodations, including safari tents and luxury studios. You can also bring your own equipment if you prefer. The island features some truly breathtaking landscapes that are worth spending some time exploring, but Lemnos is also one of the best places in Greece for windsurfing.

 

  1. Evia

Travelers with children who enjoy the outdoors should definitely consider spending a few nights on Evia. Along the northeastern coast of this island is Agia Anna, a small village near the beach with a well-developed campground resort that boasts basketball and volleyball courts, as well as swimming pools. The programs and activities for children are extensive here, so the kids will have an unforgettable time. In addition to tents and bungalows, the accommodations include a special garden cabana and a luxuriously appointed yurt.

 

  1. Paros

A four-hour ferry ride from Athens, Paros has become a popular choice among people who want to introduce some nature into their vacation. Great campgrounds are situated in Agia Irini, Krios, Naoussa, and Santa Maria, and all are virtually right on the beach. Strategically planted trees provide shade from the sun as well, and guests have access to great facilities. In addition, Paros proves a great choice of home base for exploring several Greek islands, since the ferries can carry travelers to many surrounding destinations.

 

  1. Naxos

One of the more popular Greek islands, Naxos has golden beaches, ancient ruins, and beautiful stretches of land waiting to be explored. Kitesurfing and windsurfing are both popular pastimes for vacationers. Those who want to maximize their outdoor time often choose to camp on Plaka beach, which is famous for its watersports; or Maragas beach, known for its beautiful, blue waters. Both of these campgrounds are only steps from the sea and can be reached easily from the port of Naxos, where ferries dock.

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santorini

7 of the Most Unique Beverages That Greece Has to Offer Visitors

Tourists who visit Greece should understand the unique drinking culture that exists in the country. The most traditional drinks are designed to be enjoyed with food, and it is rare for Greeks to drink alcohol without at least a little something to nibble on, even in bars. In the more rural parts of the country, complimentary small plates may be provided alongside glasses of beer or wine. A number of different traditional spirits exist in Greece, several of which have flavors that tourists may not expect, such as aniseed. Of course, Greece also has a rich wine and beer culture, along with some traditional nonalcoholic beverages. Some of the options that tourists may want to try include:

1. Tsipouro

A product interwoven closely with the Greek lifestyle, “tsipouro” is almost always found on occasions of hospitality or entertainment. The spirit is produced by distilling grape marc, the fermented skins of grapes otherwise used to create wine. Individuals may serve tsipouro in a number of different ways depending on the season and time of day. Sometimes, tsipouro comes chilled as a form of refreshment while at other times it comes hot. Many people drink tsipouro instead of coffee or wine, and the flavors pair particularly well with feta, olives, ham, and other mezze, as well as desserts such as halva.

2. Ouzo

People who have not yet visited Greece may still be familiar with “ouzo,” as it has become a popular spirit around the world while remaining intimately connected to Greek culture. Ouzo has a very strong anise flavor and aroma. Frequently, people serve it with a bit of water and ice in a small glass, a preparation that turns the clear liquid to a cloudy white color. The slightly sweet flavor of the beverage means that it pairs very well with small fish, as well as fries and other appetizers.

 

Ouzo

 

3. Raki

Also known as “tsikoudia,” “raki” comes from the island of Crete. A strong spirit, raki usually contains between 40 percent and 65 percent alcohol by volume, so travelers should definitely keep this in mind when they try it. People who travel in Crete will undoubtedly find the spirit, but it has spread to other regions of the country. Usually, raki is offered as a sort of digestif after a meal in a restaurant or taverna. The annual distillation of raki in Crete has become a massive celebration complete with food, music, and dancing. Usually, this event takes place toward the end of October or the beginning of November, so this would be an ideal time to come to Crete. Tsikoudia is the Greek name for the drink, but the Turkish word “raki” has become more popular. The term raki come from a similar Turkish drink.

4. Retsina

A uniquely Greek drink, “retsina” is a sort of wine cocktail that uses white wine or rose as a base and then adds the flavor of pine resin. The history of retsina stretches back thousands of years in Greece, and some say that the flavor profile comes from when Aleppo pine was used to seal amphorae and other wine vessels. The sealing process helped to keep air out while also adding the flavor of pine to the wine.

5. Greek Coffee

Travelers who have had Turkish coffee may think that the Greek variety is very similar. Unlike coffee from a lot of other places in the world, the Greek version is quite thick, as hot water is combined directly with very finely ground beans that are allowed to settle into the bottom of the cup. Individuals should be careful not to consume the grounds when they sip. What distinguishes Turkish from Greek coffee is the roasting process for the beans. Greek coffee uses beans that have not been roasted as long.

 

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6. Metaxa

Many people around Greece drink Metaxa as a type of digestif after a large meal. The spirit tastes a lot like a sweet brandy. Unlike the other drinks on this list, Metaxa refers to a brand rather than a style. Produced in Athens since 1888, Metaxa has become one of the most widely exported spirits from Greece, so visitors may have seen it in other places around the world. The liqueur is made from white wine distillates aged in oak casts in an underground cellar before being blended with Muscat wine, rose petals, and herbs.

7. Masticha

Another Greek after-dinner drink is “masticha,” which is created from the aromatic resin of the mastic tree that possesses therapeutic properties. The tree flourishes only in the southern part of Chios, and the liqueur is produced primarily on the island. The production process involves the distillation of mastic, which can only be undertaken in Greece, according to legislation from the European Union. The product has become available in a few international markets, but there is nothing like trying it for the first time in its homeland.

Greece

8 Must-See Examples of Architectural Marvels in Greece

Home to a large number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites, Greece has served as the home to some of the most prominent civilizations in history, including the Minoans, Byzantines, Ottomans, Greeks, and Romans. Each of these civilizations has left its own mark on the country, especially in terms of architecture. Travelers will find an overwhelming number of incredible structures throughout Greece, from ancient ruins to modern designs that pay homage to tradition while demonstrating something new. A few examples of extraordinary architectural achievement in Greece include:

 

  1. Achilleion Palace

Located on the island of Corfu in the village of Gastouri, Achilleion Palace was actually constructed for the Austrian empress Elisabeth of Bavaria in 1890. However, the design borrows heavily from the heritage of Greece with the use of columns and other design elements. Inside the palace, visitors will find several different paintings and statues that celebrate the mythological figure Achilles. They’ll also be impressed by the elaborate gardens, as well as the wonderful views of Corfu Town and the surrounding sea from the top of the palace.

Achilleion Palace

 

  1. Agios Andreas

One of the most stunning Greek Orthodox churches in the world, the Basilica of Agios Andreas is located in Patras. Visitors will recognize the structure from far away, thanks to its massive dome topped with an elaborate gold cross. The inside of this Byzantine-style basilica is perhaps even more impressive than its exterior; the worship space is decorated with colorful murals on the walls and ceilings, along with an intricate chandelier depicting the saints. In addition, the basilica contains the relics of Saint Andrew, who is believed to have been crucified in Patras.

 

  1. The Parthenon

Many of the architectural wonders from the ancient world have eroded over the centuries, but the Parthenon in Athens remains an extremely impressive site. Perhaps the most influential building in all of Greek history, the Parthenon tops the Acropolis and was dedicated to Athena, the goddess of wisdom and patron of Athens. Originally built as a celebration of the Greek victory over the Persians, the structure became a symbol of Athenian democracy and even Western civilization, and it continues to inspire architects to this day.

 

  1. Knossos Palace

Located on Crete, Knossos Palace once served as the center of the Minoan civilization during the Bronze Age. It was abandoned at some time between 1400 and 1100 BC; legends say the palace was the home of King Minos, who famously kept a half-man, half-beast creature called a minotaur in a labyrinth there. Today, visitors can see reconstructed versions of the mosaics and frescoes that once decorated the palace walls, and wander through a number of rooms connected by winding corridors.

knossos

 

  1. Stoa of Attalos

Built in the Agora of Athens, the Stoa of Attalos was a gift from King Attalos II of Pergamon, who ruled in the second century BC. A sprawling, elaborate building, the structure was built from Pentelic marble and limestone using a design that features both Doric and Ionic elements. Altogether, the building has two stories, each consisting of 21 rooms. While the Heruli destroyed the original building a few hundred years after it was built, a full reconstruction in the 1950s means visitors can get a true sense of the Stoa’s contribution to Greek architecture.

 

  1. Onassis Cultural Center

One of the best examples of contemporary design in Greece, the Onassis Cultural Center embraces simplicity but stands out thanks to an exterior clad in bands of white marble, which both play with light and allow the building to serve as a giant screen for projectors. The facade also features a massive painting by a Greek graffiti artist. Located in the Neos Kosmos neighborhood of Athens, the center hosts various cultural events and contains theaters, lecture halls, and exhibition spaces, as well as a café and a Michelin-starred restaurant called Hytra on the top floor.

 

  1. Villa Petridis

This mansion in Thessaloniki demonstrates a variety of architectural styles, including Romantic and Art Nouveau flourishes. The Great Fire of 1917 destroyed much of the city, but the villa, finished in 1909, was spared. When the building was abandoned in the 1990s after being acquired by the Petridis family more than six decades earlier, Thessaloniki decided to undertake a careful, conscientious renovation and restoration. Now, Villa Petridis hosts a variety of different public events, including the Open House series.

 

  1. Temple of Hephaestus

Located within the ancient Agora of Athens, this temple is one of the best preserved of all ancient structures in Greece. Dedicated to Hephaestus, the god of fire and craftsmanship, the temple is a wonderful example of Doric design, with some Ionic elements. Built in the fifth century BC, the temple has served a variety of different roles over the centuries, including as a Greek Orthodox church, a Protestant burial place, and a museum. Today, it has been restored to its original appearance so that tourists can enjoy it in its original splendor, complete with both Parian and Pentelic marble.